Happiness is only real when shared : reflections at 27

Get ready for the irony. This post was intended for my 27th birthday reflection, and although I started its outline at that time I definitely am  not getting around to writing it until now as I type this, at a time when I have no other choice but to blog (because I left my flashdrive of work at home and I don’t want to leave this amazing coffee shop.) You’ll get it if you read all the way until the end.

In October of last year, one month before her 84th birthday, my grandmother passed away. She passed away on the day of the Indian New Year, a day of celebration and joy meant to be shared with family. It’s a day that emphasizes new beginnings and moving on. I guess in a way it was a new beginning for me. The thing is, that entire day a voice in my head had been telling me to call her, and I kept putting it off for what I thought were good reasons- lunch with a friend, curling my hair, getting dolled up for dinner, sitting by the firepit and watching the children do fireworks. I never did get around to calling her when I found out late that night- by that time I just thought I would call her tomorrow, even though it was morning in India where she was.

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“Chicken” noodle soup truly is “good for the soul”

It is December now, and winter is coming. In preparation for that, my palette has craved nothing other than a variety of stews and soups these last two weeks, and my body seems to be in fat-storing mode- I have not had the motivation to exercise in over a month now. The good thing about eating soup and stew is that I am not eating a many carbs and can sneak in protein. I’ve always been lured by the idea of chicken noodle soup; how could I not be, what with all the “mmm-mmm good” commercials?  Luckily for me, local grocery stores have started sending out quarterly newsletters with recipes and health tips. One such newsletter had a simple veggie-loaded chicken noodle soup recipe, which I adapted with vegan chicken griller strips for my diet. If you do eat meat, feel free to use real chicken. However, if you use real chicken, be mindful to let the stock simmer on low for 10 minutes after everything is added to make sure the meat is fully cooked (or so they say, what do I know?)

Here is the adapted recipe, and I don’t think it took me longer than 30 minutes max to make:

For 2-3 servings

4 cups veggie broth or water if you don’t have broth

Sprig of fresh parsley

½ oninon, minced

1 carrot, minced

¾ medium length zucchini, peeled and shredded

1/4lb fettuccine pasta

3-4 roasted Simple Truth vegan chicken griller strips

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon juice to taste

2-3 stalks green onion, diced


1. Boil pasta in separate pot

2. In a saucepot, boil broth and let it come to a simmer. The original recipe called for a sprig of thyme; all I had was frozen parsley and it worked great in this soup.

2. Add onions and carrot to the stock. Once onions are tender, add the rest of the vegetables except for green onions;  also add pasta when it is cooked.

3. In separate saucepan, grill chicken strips in a bit of olive oil. Once cooled shred and add to stock.

4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Ladle into deep bowls, add green onions as garnish.

It truly is good for the soul- makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside!

It truly is good for the soul- makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside!

Enjoy with crackers, bread, or on its own- it has protein and veggies! I think I even said “mm mmm mmm mm mm” as I had this for dinner. Pathik just eyed it and saved it for later, but I think he knew why I was so happy once he finally tried it 🙂

Vegetarian Skillet

I have been mulling over what to eat for breakfast for quite some time now. By quite some time, I don’t mean since I woke up this morning. I mean for a few weeks now, ever since I signed up for Sarah Adler’s health blog updates and the first thing she told me was that eating whole wheat bread isn’t actually all that healthy. Actually, I think I subconsciously knew that already, but her tip made me look into the whole issue of grains. This website I found explains the issue in a very straight-forward manner, and the whole dilemma FINALLY made sense to me. I was getting so confused- some people said eating wheat was okay, but it had to be 100% whole wheat, but Sarah suggested that only things from the earth contain true fiber.

So anyway, I have no idea what to eat for breakfast anymore because I usually eat cereal, bagels, or muffins- all big no-no’s. I never really ate breakfast until I started working, and I think this was because as a therapist I cannot sit and snack at my desk throughout the day, so I really need to make sure to eat a healthy breakfast to keep me going. After a while, I noticed that I would get hungry within an hour and a half of eating such a breakfast, and even though bagels/muffins would be more carbs I would get hungry faster eating those items than I would eating a Greek yogurt and a banana. I used to think that maybe I just worked harder those days and burned off all those calories being on my feet, but I never put two and two together until now. My blood sugar was probably peaking and then crashing, leading me to stuff a packet of graham crackers into my mouth while typing notes mid-morning, repeating the cycle- I then scarfed down my lunch with ease even though I just had a bunch of sugary crackers.

This brings up a whole new dilemma, reminding me why sometimes ignorance is bliss. I now had to figure out what to eat for breakfast that contains a lot of protein and some carbs to keep me going, but that which won’t contribute to celiac disease or cause my blood sugar levels to go haywire. This is very difficult for a lacto-vegetarian (a vegetarian who eats dairy but doesn’t eat eggs.)

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D.C., Baltimore and Reston

For some reason the concept of time has been warped in my mind as of late. For example, I will say “I’m leaving for the trip on Friday” without realizing that Friday is tomorrow and I have not packed yet. Or I will attempt to plan a week long vacation without realizing that this is only the second time I have ever been on a week long trip, the first time being when on my honey moon. Sometime in July I went to DC for a week and just realized at the end of the trip how long it was, but at least every step along the way I knew how the trip was turning out to be awesome.

Pathik had a conference in Reston, VA for the week so he was mostly working while I was vacationing, but as is the theme of most of our vacations as of late, we had plenty of time to see family and friends on the weekends while we were there. Hopefully the outline below can help you plan your own DC vacay at some point.

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