Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

In our house we live by Michael Pollan's addage: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  This week we're going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi's strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). The link is no accident; it just so happens that Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869! While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even … [Read more...]

5 Secrets to Springtime in January, thanks to the Hindu Harvest Festival

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You know that old saying, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere"? Well the same can be said of springtime. Even while ice and and snow pummel the northern hemisphere and hot days sizzle in the southern, there are plenty of people celebrating springtime in India and other South Asian countries... Yes, in January. After the wild hair seventy degree day we had a couple of days ago, Ava and I were ready to say goodbye to winter, too. So how do we get there? This January 14 marks Makar Sankranti, the … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: India

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THE SCENE On my brother Keith's last day in Tulsa, in the very last half hour, he said something that will stick with me for a long time. I was sipping my tea, watching him play with Ava, thinking how happy I was. Conversation turned to our next visit and how work always tries to ruin plans. The way they make you guilty for taking even a little time off.  How, inevitably, they squeeze as much out of you as they possibly can. Rather abruptly he said: "I won't cancel, no matter … [Read more...]

Recipe: Masala Chai for Uncle G (Spiced tea with milk)

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Serves 4 I've officially learned how to blackmail my brother into doing anything I want. Make him a pot of masala chai. He drank this sweet, milky treat his entire visit. A mug was never far from reach. The flavor is as intense as any local coffee shop, but the satisfaction is 200% greater, as we made it ourselves. One more thing - you can serve it hot or cold which makes it the perfect drink in my book. I'm honored that this recipe was featured in Penzy's Spices' 2012 early summer … [Read more...]

Recipe: Kulfi

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Makes 4.5 cups The sweet, rich flavor of kulfi will transport you (and any toddlers you know) to India quicker than quick. No need for fancy equipment, either. Freeze the kulfi in any mold you have - I used plastic shot glasses from a party supply store. The two year-olds I polled had no problem with this. Ingredients: 1 12 oz can evaporated milk 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 2 slices bread 1 cup cream, whipped 2 Tbsp pistachios 1 tsp rose water 1/4 tsp cardamom red food … [Read more...]

Recipe: Saag Paneer

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Serves 4 It's creamy. It's earthy. It's one of my favorite dishes from India. Ladle over saag panner over basmati rice and it's also a surefire way to get a picky man to eat his spinach. Ingredients: vegetable oil 1 tsp fresh grated ginger 1 tsp fresh grated turmeric 2-3 tsp homemade garam masala 1 onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic Serrano chili, sliced thinly (to taste) 1 lb frozen spinach, thawed, juices retained homemade paneer, to taste salt pepper finishing touch 2 Tbsp … [Read more...]

Recipe: Dreamy Homemade Garam Masala

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Makes about 3 Tbsp Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Imagine you're in India. Having trouble? I can help. Let's make some Garam Masala. Garam Masala is possibly the most well known spice blend from India. Grandmas all over the northern region grind up fresh batches of this earthy goodness for dinner every day. They've got the right idea. Grinding whole spices as needed is the secret to bold, flavorful dishes. You, too, can fill your home with the warm, sweet smell of … [Read more...]

Interview with Sophie Herbert

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"Me, me, me" is most certainly not Sophie Herbert's mantra. Sophie's passion for social activism on a global scale shines like a bright light. Everything she does is for the benefit of others - from yoga, to singing; from films, to writing. She's been to India 8 times, spending a total of about 14 months there as a volunteer and yoga instructor.  She's also taught yoga in Kazakhstan for 3 months. Sophie writes for Whole Living Magazine, is an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a charity dedicated … [Read more...]