Thursday, October 17, 2013

And This Festive Season

It feels really strange to mention Diwali is here, it feels like just yesterday we celebrated and then a year went by. Diwali brings such happiness, joy and lights up our lives. Personally I reflect on the year that passed by and be grateful for all the blessing we have been showered. There are days when I can't stop tears from flowing down my cheeks and then there are days where it's hard to put my feet on the ground. There are days where I long for solitude and then days when I would want to run to the comfort of my mom's lap. Like every year there are ups and there are down and its been a blessing to be on this journey with people whom I love and family and friends whom I can't live without. Past year has been a beautiful journey and a memory and hope the year to come would be the same.

This festive season I would like to wish all my family, friends and my readers a season of love & peace.
May your hearts be filled with love and tolerance. This also is the time of the year to open our hearts and wallets and be generous to those in need, I am staunch believer in Karma, sow shall you reap has always been my principal and I have experienced it first hand both good and bad. I do believe in the power of giving, giving does not have to be monetary, it could be time and other resources too. Below are few local organizations that have been doing an outstanding work, please click on the links below for additional information.

Sankara's Mission:
Our mission is to reach out to the rural poor and provide quality eye care free of cost to the needy by building operationally self-sufficient super specialty eye care hospitals across India. Click here for more details.

Maitri Foundation

Helping Women Help Themselves

Maitri's Mission statement: 
Maitri’s mission is three-fold:
  • To help integrate clients into the mainstream of American society, so that they feel comfortable and become full participants in it. Maitri recognizes that the very social and cultural separation or isolation that it’s clients experience contributes largely to their problems, and is a hindrance to their solutions.
  • To focus efforts on supplementing and complementing existing services, not on duplicating them. To this end, Maitri has developed close working relationships with mainstream agencies and organizations, as well as organizations working with similar ethnic groups.
  • To work towards fostering self-reliance and self-confidence in its clients. We believe that a large number of difficulties experienced by Maitri’s clients arise out of a real or perceived situation of dependency. This philosophy is encapsulated in Maitri’s motto of “Helping Women to Help Themselves” and Maitris mission statement:
Maitri believes that the best human relationships are characterized by mutual respect, open communication, and individual empowerment. To that end, Maitri’s activities are designed to help South Asian women make an informed choice of the lives they lead.
Maitri currently has a quadruple donation match, best time to stretch those dollars.

As they say there is no bigger giving than the giving of education.
Asha's Mission:
Asha for Education is a secular organization dedicated to change in India by focusing on basic education in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change.

Sanjose Homeless Shelter

May all of you feel generous, now get ready for the next few post on ideas to decorate your homes and to wow your friends with some home made goodies.
Till then,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stir Fried Vegetable Fried Rice - October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.  For more information click here and information about how you can participate or contribute click here

Last few weeks have been very hectic, between kids activities, work and home hardly have time to breathe. Today's recipe is inspired by my visit to Trader Joe's last weekend. I love Trader Joes PERIOD. The amazing array of ingredients from around the world and reasonable prices make it my first choice for groceries. Every time I walk the aisle there is always something new, get the creative juices flowing and makes want to experiment. So made stir-fried vegetable fried rice, so delicious and healthy that kids asked for seconds and that's a rarity.

Makes for about 4 cups
Cooking time ~20 min
1 cup of boiled rice-left over rice works even better
2 cups frozen stir fry mix from TJ's (contains beans, mushrooms, baby corn, red bell pepper, broccoli,carrot and lotus stems)
1/2 cup flavored tofu or firm tofu cut into cubes
1/4 cup green onion chopped
couple tbsp fresh mint
tbsp fresh basil chopped fine
1/3 cup coriander chopped fine
2 tbsp ginger julienned finely
1 garlic chopped fine
3 tbsp of Ginger mango chutney from TJ's
1/3 cup soy sauce adjust according to taste
fresh ground pepper
salt according to taste
and pinch of sugar

Stir fried vegetable fried rice

Ginger Mango Chutney - Perfect blend of heat and sweetness
1. Heat wok and add tbsp of oil and when hot add ginger and garlic and saute for 20~30 seconds
2. Now add soy sauce, sugar, salt and allow it cook for few seconds, Soy sauce thickens
3. Add all frozen vegetable and tofu and toss till they are well coated with the sauce
4. Allow for the vegetables and tofu to cook, takes about 6~7 minutes
5. Check for salt and adjust accordingly
6. Add rice and all the fresh herbs and saute till well mixed and allow to cook for about 2~3 minutes.
7. Garnish with coriander and green onions and serve hot.

Makes for comfort food, especially now since evenings are getting cold.
Have a fabulous rest of the week, I am looking forward to the festive season and can't wait to celebrate the same with family and friends.

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