Creamy Corn Spinach – Cooking Experiments #2

corn spinach saladI am not much of a cook and most of my cooking experiments left me with mixed results that I lose the will to attempt again to get them better. But these days, I am getting better at cooking and I have started to realize that practice do make things better. Still, I have a long way to go and there are only a handful of dishes that I can make well and that too consistently. (making a puffed up roti is the highlight in this list)

Now over to the above Creamy Corn Spinach. When I first made this dish, I followed Dassana’s Corn Spinach Recipe as closely as possibly. Then my cousin Nickhie suggested making a creamier version ( yummier but less healthy version) and I think I am going to stick to this version from now on.

I made this corn spinach creamier by adding more cream and cheese. I think a bit of corn flour and milk might be a good substitute, but I am someone who can afford to have those extra calories. So in goes more of cream and cheese!

This recipe is apt for those picky eaters in your home who crinkle their noses when they hear the word spinach aka palak (in India). Trust me, I used to do that :)

Science of Parenthood by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, Jessica Ziegler

Science of Parenthood book cover

Genre:Entertainment, Comics & Graphic
Release: Nov 2015
Publisher: She Writes Press
Source: Netgalley

Just when you thought you couldn’t laugh any more at the follies, foibles and faux pas of modern parenting, along comes Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, to set you laughing all over again. Based on the authors’ popular blog, which uses real scientific principles to lampoon parenting SNAFUs, this illustrated gift book drills deeper into biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to offer up tongue-in-cheek “explanations” for the ludicrous situations otherwise capable adults find themselves in as a result of reproducing. Utilizing flow charts, diagrams, infographics and their signature cartoons, the ladies of Science of Parenthood endeavor to answer such mystifying questions as Why do children grow up so fast, yet Candy Land drags on so slowly? Why must children sleep perpendicular to any adults laying down with them? How many tequila shots does it take to get through an episode of Caillou? It’s been said (by Norine and Jessica actually) that raising kids defies all reason, logic and most of the laws of the universe. Anyone who’s despaired of showering, sleeping or excavating their living room from layers of plastic toys will find Science of Parenthood a hilariously enlightening read.

~description from goodreads

Science of Parenthood was a book that I wanted to enjoy a lot and really expected myself to enjoy considering that I have a toddler and pre-school kid. I expected to relate to the book quite well considering the newness of the experience called parenthood.

I should say that I could relate to many things in the book, but I did not find it as entertaining for a book. There are a serious of chapters which looked like a series of blog-posts converted to have some semblance of a book.

There are illustrations, flowcharts, diagrams etc spread across the book which are quite funny. I was reading this book on a Kindle with its black and white tones  and that brought down the effects of these illustrations. I realized that much later, but then never bothered to look at them on my mobile using the Kindle app.

Overall a funny read about parenting though there were times when I thought the author(s) were trying hard to be funny.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendBroken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

~Description from goodreads

There is something charming about books about books and book stores. That is what made me request this book for review on netgalley and I was not disappointed.  If you have read ‘The Collected Works of A J Fikry’, you will recall the joy you might have experienced when you were reading that book. I will not compare The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to the Fikry book ( I love to call it like that) because that is a book which is utterly close to my heart for some unfathomable reason 😉 The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend did not evoke any such strong feelings in me, but I still liked it a lot.

Writing an unconventional story around books, a laid back town in rural America and love is what Katarina Bivald has attempted in this book. I should say that the romance part was quite predictable, but then romance was not the only theme in this book and I enjoyed the book as a whole.

Sara as the central character is a sweet lady and I kind of liked her from the beginning. Amy’s character is known only from her letters and from what her friends talk about her. Then there are other characters like Tom, Grace, Caroline, George,John etc and the author has dedicated a few pages for their character development and to tell their stories, which makes the book a more interesting read.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is the story of some sort of growing up for Sara, when she explores a world beyond books and the transformation of a town when they embrace their unusual tourist with open arms. This book is bit of a chick-lit, but there is a lot more to this story that it would be unfair to categorize it so.

There is something compelling about this book that I was very much tempted to take a day off work and finish this one. Since that was impossible on that day, I just read the book whenever I could spare a minute (literally).

Final verdict: A charming book about books and bookstore!

Rating: 4.25/5

Another year, another Goodreads Reading Challenge

Goodreads reading challenge 2016

Another year has gone by and yet again I failed to complete the Goodreads reading challenge. This has been the case for the past few years; I fail to achieve my over-ambitious goal in reading.

So…I am going to be a bit more realistic in 2016 and challenge myself to read only 35 books in 2016. This will give me some room to read those big books that I have avoided. Probably pick up Shantaram, the LOTR, The Suitable Boy etc.

I have already finished my first book which was Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations . This was a humorous book about parenting written by two people who had certain success at blogging. Personally I thought this book was weak inspite of the fact that I could relate to many things written about parenting.

I am currently reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. I have read 25% of the e-galley and is finding this book about books charming. Hope this will turn out to be a satisfying read after the disappointment with the first book of 2016.

So dear friends, what is the number of books that you all plan to read in 2016? Did you join the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016?

Welcoming the new year

Wishing all of you a fantastic 2016!

I was too held up with work till yesterday morning that I was not sure if I will be able to spend any meaningful time with my family during this year end & the weekend. I achieved a major milestone today which meant I can afford to take a break during the weekend. The original plan was to work through the weekend to finish off few things by Monday morning.

About the year gone by, 2015 was a tough year in all terms, especially managing a demanding work schedule with two small children. There were days when I really wanted to call it quits and become a stay at home mom. On the other side there were also a lot of learning in terms of developing my skill set and it has boosted my confidence tremendously. Anyway I have emerged more confident and happier by the end of the year. The son has become a naughty toddler and the girl is a textbook case of ‘terrible three’. I wish them to grow up quickly and being more independent though I know I will wish the opposite in a few years.

goodreads reading challenge 2015

Onto the subject of books: I read 29 books though I planned to read 50 books as per my Goodreads challenge. I will not put a separate post of about yet another time when I missed completing the challenge. Anyway I think I will keep the challenge to 35 books in 2016 to give more time to read those huge books that I had avoided for some years ( Hello Shantaram, Lord of Rings, The Three musketeers)

2015 – My Year in Books

In 2016, I plan to gain some progress on my classic club reads. As of today, I have read 6/50 for the challenge, the highlight being The Brothers Karamazov. For all those who are in two minds about reading this masterpiece by Dostoyevsky, please don’t hesitate. Just start reading this one. You will not be disappointed.

The new kindle has changed the way I read. I love the ease it provides and I think I will be reading more kindle books in the coming years. I love physical books, but the physical convenience of a holding a kindle vs holding a big book wins me over me.
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I am excited to start the new year by reading the third book in the Coromoran Strike series by J K Rowling. Have you read it ?

What are your book related plans for 2016? Do let me know !

A birthday and a Christmas gone by…

Merry Christmas everyone!

I had decided early that I will not put up any Christmas tree or decoration this year. The reason is my 17 month old toddler who climbs places which we think impossible at his age. A decorated Christmas tree kept at any height would be too much of a temptation for him and I don’t want any untoward incidents when we are away at office.

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I was not expecting any expensive gifts from the husband this year given that we are busy setting up our apartment. So I was shocked when he said he has ordered the kindle paperwhite for me. It arrived 3 weeks before my birthday and I was not at all sad that TH once again missed the idea of a birthday surprise. I have read books using it and has enjoyed the experience. Completing The Brothers Karamazov is my first priority and I have read around 90%; tremendous progress after I started reading on the kindle.
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This is my cafe mango birthday cake from chef bakers at Bellandur. Since it is Christmas time, the cake came in a Christmas theme package :) We had a very quite Christmas and after the morning mass, we spent the day with my mother-in-law enjoying her vegetarian cooking 😉 We had not kept the advent, so didn’t mind the lack of non-vegetarian food on Christmas day. It was my brother-in-law’s birthday on Christmas, so I ended up eating a lot of the cream cakes in the last few days.

This is the chicken salad that we had for lunch someday last week  from Leon Grill, Indiranagar. This place is a tiny restaurant hidden in one of the by-lanes of Indiranagar and serves awesome burgers, rolls, salads etc.  We got to eat some amazing food that day, but I am sure we will be going back for more!

Christmas 2015 is officially over for me and I have a hectic work schedule planned in the coming days. It is so sad that I have to work in this holiday season, but I hope to wind up a few things before new year so that I can celebrate it peacefully with my kids and family.

The Invasion of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling#2) by Erika Johansen

the invasion of the tearling by erika johansen

I am so happy that I decided to read this second book in this The Queen of the Tearling trilogy. Like many readers I found that the first book was slightly disappointing in terms of plot and background even though it had a great story line. I still wanted to read the second book because I saw a lot of potential in this story line. And…Erika doesn’t disappoint.

The Invasion of the Tearling shows stronger characters much more evolved and many unknowns explained. There were quite a few things which were pretty unexplained in the first book and it also emerges out well into a great story. Kelsea’s character has turned darker and the reader no longer finds an immature Queen. She is replaced by a stronger Queen who knows her mind and is not afraid to take risks. The narration is tight and there is a lot more story told in this book than what you would expect.

The surprising element of this book was the story of the Crossing and it was way different from what I thought it might be. The lack of clarity about Crossing was the most frustrating thing about the first book and the second book explains most of what happens before the Crossing and the past, yet it doesn’t bore you to death.

I am waiting eagerly for the third book and then I would start recommending this trilogy to everyone. It might turn out to be much better than The Hunger Games too. At this point I should confess that I am not much into YA and have not followed most of the fantasy series out there except Hunger Games :)

Review of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 

Classics Club #1 – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is my 5th read for the Classics Club, but this is my first post on a classic that I have read.

I am in my 30s,  but I still find reading such girly books fun. There is some charm in reading these kind of books that you want to read them again and again. I also found that reading long and difficult books may not work towards achieving my Classics Club adventure and my struggle with Dostoyevsky‘s The Brothers Karamazov is a good example to prove this point. I can’t even recall when I started reading that book and have just managed to reach chapter 47 out of the 90 odd chapters.

I was actually marveled by the fact that Louisa May Alcott wrote this book out of financial and family compulsions. She wrote Little Women because the publishers wanted her to write something which will appeal to small girls, and she did well too. This book is loosely based on her own life, though she has changed a few things here and there to make it a happy read.

I loved the character of Jo the best who is the central character of the book. Though I am yet to read the second book called Good Wives, I have got some idea what will happen in that part. The character of Laurie adds much fun to the story though I don’t feel much connection to him. I hope to read and enjoy the next books in the series too and would love to see how Alcott has developed the other characters like Amy, Beth and Meg. She might as well stick to Jo’s story all the way, which is what happened in the end.

I plan to watch the movie Little Women (1994) some time soon to bring a better conclusion to this read. After all, the idea is to appreciate the classics.