New Year, New Beginning!

Happy New Year! There’s so much to look forward to in 2017 and I hope that I can continue to bring, for myself and for you, joy and excitement in sharing new cooking experiences.

In 2017 I would like to focus more on semi-homemade dishes.  I realize more and more, we are all so very busy with so many things to do.  We’ve all heard of time management but how many of us put it into practice?  Have you heard the expression, “Work smarter not harder”?  Pardon the pun from a cooking columnist, but that is food for thought!

There are many of us who could use some shortcuts and smart suggestions to help us out in our quest for flavorful, healthy meals and less time in the kitchen.

I and my friends are aging.  I don’t feel good saying we are getting old so I say we are aging. Many of us still enjoy entertaining friends and family, but I must admit it is becoming difficult.

I have seen that the younger generation is too busy to spend too much time in the kitchen. Nor should they! I am speaking with a voice of experience.  I am the mother of two boys.  Now I have eight kids – my sons and their wonderful wives, and four absolutely adorable grandchildren.   They bring me such pleasure and joy.  I am blessed with such a loving family and fortunate to have many good friends.

Back to the original topic of the younger generation –  life has become more demanding for younger families and their expectations for themselves has increased. For example, I’ve noticed now that parents of elementary school kids are already planning for their college admissions and wondering how they should prepare their children for so much competition. Parents are active and running with their kids. However, they still want their family to eat healthy.

With that said, I have decided to blog and post video recipes that cater to families with young kids.  Many people ask me how they can effectively put a meal on the table in a short time. How and what dishes can we freeze or what can we refrigerate for a longer time?  How can we manage our time in the most effective manner?  I will be blogging about this and more!  These are my thoughts for 2017 and I am always open to more suggestions.

Here’s to a great start of 2017!

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6 thoughts on “New Year, New Beginning!

  1. I found leavened bread is a bit fussier to make but freezes well. This is particularly useful for gluten-free eaters: when I make a batch of gluten-free buns I store them in the freezer and use them when my coeliac friend is eating with us. They last a lot.
    Also I have used your tamarind chutney on everything, it’s great on leftovers to make things more interesting.
    Chickpea spreads are another quick meal fix, I have been tinkering with them because I had dental surgery and thus can’t chew very well now. I love using roasted bell pepper and lemon in them, you don’t have to have tahini on hand.
    Homemade ice-cream and other freezer cakes are a great idea for an artisanal dessert you can prepare in advance.

  2. Hello Manjula,
    We are a very busy family and we must all pack and bring lunch every day. Also, many nights there are meetings and lessons and such. We have found that cooking several dishes of your dishes on the weekend, doubling some of them, and making a large pot of rice works well. Then we have quick and easy to pack lunches and ready-to-warm up dinners. Most of your dishes reheat beautifully and so we can mix and match during the week what has been prepared over the weekend. On the not-so-busy evenings we can make a few more things. Also, we always make enough of anything for dinner plus a lunch. Some things freeze well, such as palak paneer. I can make a large batch and vacuum pack small portions which are quickly and easily reheated when desired. Thank you for so many great recipes!

  3. Namaste, Manjula, and happy new year! I love your recipes and videos. I’m intrigued about your plan to focus on shortcuts! One of the first Indian cooking classes I took was entitled “Punjabi Home Cooking,” and it offered a lot of suggestions for busy people. (One of their ideas was using Mission flour tortillas for samosas, and “gluing” them shut with a paste of whole-wheat flour and water! If you crimp them gently with the tines of a fork, it actually works pretty well! The same ladies also used instant biscuit mix such as Bisquik or Jiffy Mix in making gulab jamans!) …I could see you doing one entire video about pre-processing fresh ingredients such as ginger (and for those who use it, garlic) and freezing it so it is one less thing to chop when you get home from work. I thinly slice, then process ginger (with a bit of water) and put it into a quart-size freezer zip bag, press all the air out, and seal it as a single thin layer. (Squeezing out the air eliminates “freezer burn.”) I freeze it flat on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, it fits well in my freezer with other similarly prepped goodies (such as roasted red pepper puree, basil pesto, processed/deseeded concord grapes, persimmon puree, extra portions of sauce from your vegetable curry, etc.). When I’m cooking, all I have to do in the “ginger department” is break off a piece of the frozen ginger–being thin, it breaks off easily to a size I want, thaws very quickly, and for most uses is indistinguishable from fresh. I do the same with chopped hot fresh green chilis, whose texture, once cooked, won’t matter too much. …Another idea might be to include a category of recipes that are especially adaptable for using with leftovers. (I love your mother’s poha recipe, because I can even put leftover french fries into it!) …I’ve blathered on too much here, but I mainly wanted to say THANK YOU for teaching me so much!

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