Summer is finally in full swing! How many barbecues have you been to already? I know our calendar is full of outdoor events the next couple of weeks. Check out my post on Zardozi for colourful, healthy, raw, gluten free ideas on what to take to your next picnic in the park or a barbecue. If you're still stuck on ideas for what to make for an outdoor event, call us- that's where we can help sort you out. We will handle all the work for you and you just sit back and relax.
Greetings from Cuba! (FILL IN THE BLANKS) Roast chicken is everyone’s favourite as it can be an easy complete meal when paired with vegetables and greens. It works well for those of us who are trying to maintain a balanced diet. Yes you can buy a rotisserie chicken (halal and kosher too) from many places but it’s so much more fun to play around with the flavours and ingredients at home. That way you also control what goes in and on the chicken. The brine allows this lemon, thyme & rosemary roast chicken to be salted through to the bone and is absolutely essential. Though this isn’t a beautiful bird (we don’t have a convection oven and thus the browning isn’t always equal), it’s finger lickin good- especially if you love the herb and lemon combo on your poultry.
It’s always a pleasure having families over for parties. There are grandparents, parents, children, uncles, aunts, friends, classmates etc. People of all ages are usually invited for family gatherings such as these. Such events take lots of planning, time and effort, but don’t let them scare you. The smiles on the kids' faces makes up for everything. After the party, my younger boys said that they want their next birthdays to be at home as well.
Decorating the living room was a lot of fun. We used streamers, banners, balloons, mobiles hung from the ceiling, disco balls, signs and tissue paper accessories. I could have gotten more creative, but the room needed to look welcoming, not overcrowded. I placed the loot bags in two baskets and they became a part of the décor.
Lots of factors had to be taken into consideration when deciding the menu for this special occasion. One of the most important ones was food for different age groups and dietary needs. In order to make this easier for myself as well as my guests, I set up three tables. The first one was a kids table, the second for drinks and desserts and the third was the adults' food table.
I also don’t like it to get too crowded around one table with all the food and drinks. Entertaining about 50 guests can be overwhelming as it is, so I wanted to be really organized about the whole presentation. Planning requires lots of effort and thinking ahead. It’s always a good idea to have some items on hand that don’t need to be cooked, or heated before serving. It’s best to have a mix of room temperature, cold and hot menu items so that everything doesn’t have to be warmed up when dinner is served.
We had lots of kids games at this party. This came with lots of fun, laughter and noise. In order to contain the kids in one room, I made sure that everything that they wanted was nearby and easily accessible. After all this was a kids birthday party, so they were the focus of everyone’s attention.
I was taking the photographs, my brother was making the video, someone else was conducting the games and my sisters and sister in law were in charge of serving the pizza and making sure that it didn’t get burnt. It’s a blessing to have a family that helps you willingly. I was very lucky to have them when the party was done. They helped me with the dishes and we lay out a clean towel on one of the tables and let them dry there. I put away everything the next day.
Plan your next party and let us know how it turned out. Remember, you don’t always have to make all the food yourself; that’s what kitchencultures is for! Also, refer to our other blog posts about party planning and I am sure you will find lots of other ideas there. (Look under the tag tools & tips or use the search bar in our header for keywords; such as, easy entertaining etc)
Below is the menu I served.
Salsa + tortilla cups
Veggie platter - baby tomatoes, celery, baby carrots, mixed peppers, onion dip and ceasar's dressing
Two bite brownies
Adult Food Table
Dahi Bardey (Dumplings in Yoghurt)
Street Style Chickpeas & Potatoes (recipe coming soon!)
Tamarind Chutney (recipe coming soon!)
Green Peas & Rice (Matar Pulao)
Chicken Karhai with Gravy
Veal black pepper (recipe coming soon!)
Mixed vegetables (recipe coming soon!)
Tangy Minced Beef (recipe coming soon!)
Marcaroni, fruit and vegetable salad (recipe coming soon!)
Do you guys remember the post I did a couple of weeks back on Malavika's #100healthydays? - well 39 days later and she is going strong. I told you guys she had inspired me and I would like to share the great news with you- I am on day 9! April 14th was the 1st day. Easter weekend was very tough what with so much good food around and not being home most of the time but I controlled quantities to help and what I found amazing was that I simply didn't need to pig out as I had spent the week training my body to expect a little less food and some better foods.... What am I doing differently on a daily basis at the start of this challenge?
I have a smoothie every day for breakfast for a major energy boost instead of skipping breakfast and going insane by lunch as I used to do. I sip on my smoothie for a while, making it last- and I have some vitamins after. The smoothies are random. I try and get in some calcium, a fruit serving, and a vegetable serving topped up with some chia seeds or goji berries. If you need a good formula- check this out.
Lunch consists of either soup, a salad, kebabs, a healthy sandwich, stir fried veggies or whatever low carb/high fibre meal I can have at the time depending on work. It is important to note here that I used to eat a very heavy lunch because I was skipping breakfast. Terrible I know. But I am just being honest.
With lunch being light and fairly early, I tend to get hungry late afternoon so I choose 1 of these as a snack: carrots, a couple of almonds, 2 clementines, an apple, kale chips (feel like air but hey- I still technically ate something), a piece of cheese, sandwich meat, a fruit yoghurt etc
Dinner is normal-ish for me- which is why I focus so much on what else I am putting in me the rest of the day. I figured out early on that in doing the 100 day healthy challenge right- I need to make small sustainable changes in my lifestyle and dinner was not going to be the first one to amend. Both the husband and I are usually exhausted and want a nice meal to share as we spend time together or watch our fave tv show or go out somewhere. So what have I changed for dinner? a small change: I make sure my plate looks appropriate. By that I mean doing this in the best way you can:
Now if you're like me, you might say, well that is easy enough with a piece of baked chicken, a potato and salad or mixed vegetables, but how the heck do I do this with ethnic food or other creations? We eat a fusion of cuisines (obviously) at home so some times there might be lentil curry and rice or chicken biryani or a lasagne for dinner. How am I handling that? As I said, dinner is normal-ish. For example, I did make a chicken, vegetable and rice casserole a couple of night back and it had everything in it but definitely more starch than should be on this plate right? But I knew what I had the whole day and that I had not had any carbs; therefore, I took out how much I wanted to eat and then halved it. That is what you can also do to help when you're looking at a plate of mixed food/1 pot meals that you cannot segment easily.
Why am I making these changes as inspired by #100healthydays and sharing them with you without any fear of embarrassment?
1. I need to lose the fat I have gained in the last 1.5 years for aesthetic reasons as well as for my health in the long run.
2. I find it very hard to make huge changes drastically and so I am making little changes day by day.
3. Sharing my success and failures with you makes me accountable and I need your encouragement!
4. I want to be strong and healthy so I can feel good again.
5. Flash forward 100 days: I want to find it easy to eat a balanced diet and control portions without a second thought + be able to actually work out properly and for it to be part of my routine completely. If I lose any weight- that is a huge plus.
What is next?
Adding working out to my challenge because it's about food + staying active. This will be the hardest part for me. I need all the help and motivation I can get. Expect an update every week from me!
Hot & soft breakfast biscuits with a hint of spice and delicious salami, topped with melting butter? Yes please! My husband and I are not big on heavy breakfasts (I have a smoothie every morning and he has nothing) but once in a while we will do a loaded brunch on the weekend and so I make the classics because the gaps are big enough between each brunch to have missed them. I will however experiment now and then with at least 1 of the items on the menu. This was one such morning. My husband cashed in his “breakfast in bed” coupon and I made him a complete brunch and these delicious cheat biscuits were part of it. Whip these up as an alternative to classic biscuits this weekend for your special someone. You hear that gentlemen? The recipe for the omelette I made is coming up tomorrow! Take notes!
“Everyone runs around trying to find a place where they still serve breakfast because eating breakfast, even if it's 5 o'clock in the afternoon, is a sign that the day has just begun and good things can still happen. Having lunch is like throwing in the towel.”
― Jonathan Goldstein, Lenny Bruce is Dead
hAPPY eATING & kEEP sMILING
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