Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Consuming your Antioxidants...

As everyone knows that blueberries are very high in antioxidants I try to use as much as I can. 

 Toss them with any fruit I have in hand. 

Pears and berries a healthy alternative for breakfast...
Quote of the day “step delicately”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kale, Beans, Tomato Soup...

Kale has become one of the trendiest vegetable. I have seen the kale chips that is available in the grocery store isle but have not try it out yet. However, I am a big kale lover. I enjoy eating my greens growing up. I guess I was the weird one who liked to eat the green in our family but we always had some greens. 
Adding kidney beans to any soup it becomes almost a meal. 

To make it extra healthy I added ground turkey, less fat.

Add onions, carrots, celery, and sautéed until wilted finally add kale and continue to cook everything is wilted. 

Now it is the time to add tomato. 

Top it off with grated parmesan cheese, add salt and pepper and serve warm...

What you need:

A bunch of Kale (yield 5 cups)
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups crushed tomato
1 can kidney beans
1 lb. ground turkey
1 white onion
2 carrots
1 stick of celery 
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups water
How it is done:

Add olive oil and sauté the garlic. Add the ground turkey and continue to brown the meat. 
Once the meat is brown add chopped carrots, celery, and onions and continue to sauté. 
Add kale and continue to cook until kale is bright green. pour in tomato and chicken broth, kidney beans, and add 2 more cups of water. 
Add salt and pepper to taste bring it boil. cover and simmer for about 40 minutes in a medium low heat. 
Serve and enjoy with cheese. 
Quote of the day “use the good silver”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Changes in Blogging...

 Decided to change few things up in my blog. Not so much the style of blogging in other words publishing pictures. I have been commented few times by some of you that I do a great job in taking pictures so I decided to let that take in to the center stage because that’s what you guys liked. 

Publishing my pictures x-large and writing in between the pictures so you have an ideas what I am talking about makes more sense. 
I am a more in tune to read blog that help me to understand what is going on with the post. If I get the pictures to be large and explain what is happening it is much easier to understand; at least for my case. 

 Promise to keep things simple and clear going forward. If you do not like it please do not hesitate to contact me.
 Notice the new tab for contact information. Now it is one more step closer to send a personal message if you like. 
I hope this Makes sense
Also I wanted to be centered with my writing that will flow easily with pictures.

Quote of the day “ remember that you have an ability to start over”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Am I Rooted in My Culture or in the Process of Assimilation...

In the early twentieth century, a Jewish immigrant named Israel Zangwill offered this description of the US in his book The Melting Pot: “There she lies the great melting pot- Listen! Can’t you hear the roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth-the harbour where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the world to pour in their human freight. Al, what a stirring and a seething - Celt and Latin. Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian, Black and Yellow... Jew and Gentile.”
According to Zangwill, European immigrants would gradually lose their traditional ways of life and blend together. A new mixed culture would emerge from this process. This process is named assimilation, the change in which people lose their cultural differences and blend into the wider society. 
Where do I fit in is the big question. I use to heavily engaged in the Sri Lankan community then with traveling and work that bond disappear. No matter what I believe in my religion but do I practice  enough by means of going to the temple, participating in Sri Lankan cultural activities I wanted to say I like to do more in this area. 
I have been questioning myself a lot lately because I am taking a class that involved in diversity consciousness. I know deep inside me I am trying to fit in to the culture that I am surrounded with by doing so am I diverting away from my culture is the biggest question. I do want to pass the beautiful culture which I was born. I was born to two beautiful people with different religious beliefs, ethnicity, race, but at the end they united to take care of their children. I was raised in a family to respect other people’s beliefs, ideas, personality, above all I was exposed to two different cultures. 
I believed in my faith, religion, found peace, made resolutions during tough times. ask for strength to take on difficult tasks, and I want to pass this belief  to my children. I want my children to understand our culture and integrate it to their life and world. 
Part of me embraced the American culture not to bring any memories of the Sri Lankan New Year. Because it was the day I lost my Mother for a heart attack. Deep inside I think part of me wanted to fit in to people around me. 
I found solace in someway going to temple participating in activities. I could not bring myself together to celebrate the New Year but I cannot live in that forever. I want to pass my heritage the beautiful culture that I grew up to my children.
I found peace with the auspicious times and the loss of the most important person in my life. I want to remember, offer arms, and celebrate with my family the beautiful heritage that belongs to me.  
In the book further more it discussed the process of the Pluralism which is the cultural differences are acknowledged and preserved. In to some extent this is a debatable subject. Visiting back to the melting pot we as a nation as become more like a  salad bowl which i like very much.
If you have any thought on this please feel free to write them.
Quote of the day “Let go/ forgive/ accept”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Salmon and Dill...

We as a family consume a quiet a bit of seafood. If you are flower of my blog you may have notice from the cooking recipes I have posted. 
We love salmon with steam rice. This is a fairly simple recipe. I bought a whole bunch dill from the grocery store. I love to add dill to soups and fish. 
What you need:
1 lb.  salmon
1/4 cup of Mayo
3- tbs chopped dill
Juice of a half a lemon
Kosher Salt
How it is done:
Line a bake sheet with aluminum foil if you have a glass baking dish spray with non stick cooking spray and set a side.
If you are a person wants to wash you fish please do so and pat dry with a paper towel. place the fish in the pan. Mix in the mayo and dill together and apply it to the fish. Add salt and pepper. Finally sprinkle some lemon juice on top and bake it 350 F for 30 minutes.
Serve it with lemon wedges. Over steam rice or your choice of vegetables. 
Quote of the day “eat food that pleases all your senses”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Setting up Routines...

Organizing and having things in order is something I have always strived to do. In way i think I need help in this area not matter how much I try. As a montessori teacher I believe everything should have a place and there is a place for everything. I do not think this is an overstatement. 
Working with Nicolette to organize her room which consist of sleeping, playing and working is always a work in progress. Nicolette loves playing kitchen so we got this kitchen from IKEA which works well. I am not completed organizing her toys and her work station yet. 
I always try to get her to clean after she plays or in other words put toys back to their own places. This is an ongoing process. I always look for ideas to organize children’s places. 
I like how she takes the initiative  to clean after play. How can you foster this. Always show children that it is part of play to clean up. Have bins and storage units for easy access to put toys away. When you buy a new toy please make it a habit to donate old toys ( I keep a bag that we take out every season for donation with clothes). Do not accumulate older toys keep few for memories or take pictures. Better to pass on. 
If your child like rewards have a system so it will promote the cleaning habits. Some children work better with reward systems. 
Quote of the day “ nothing can erase your good deeds”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Do I believe in Fairy Tales...

During my childhood English was my second language. Matter of fact it will always be. Which leads to the next sentence that I will always speak my English with an accent. This could be a issue depending how you look at it. I do not look at people with accents as I cannot understand what you are saying but I know people who do that. Let’s not go there. 
Growing up I read many books English as well as my own language. Most of the English books I read was navigated around fairies. I imagine these little people were real sometimes. Even the poems we recite were funny like the little miss muffet. 
When I was decorating my daughters room I found myself revisiting this side tales. I bought this canvas print with little people...
It is funny how we revisit out own childhood with children...
Quote of the day “Experiment”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Banana Bread...

Who would not like banana bread. It is hit at our house. this was more often made when I was working the school which I worked would offer snacks for children. This include fresh fruits so we as staff would some times take turns taking rotten bananas to make bread. 
Sometimes we bake them with kids for their snacks as well. There is something really warm and comforting making banana bread at home the entire house smells delicious. I love to wake up for this smell. That will never happen at my home because I am the baker. I hope one day one of my kids will pick the trade of baking. Baking gives so much therapy to me and fruits to my family. 
I love making home made bake goods and enjoying them with my kids and friends. I have made many versions of banana bread this is one of my favorite recipes making this wonderful bread. I love to throw in some chocolate chips with the walnuts. Sometimes I add few drops of orange essence or If I have oranges I add the orange zest. This will sure to wake you up the aroma is so divine. 
What you need
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (orange extract)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2-3 medium bananas, sliced/mashed 
How you make

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Quote of the day “be tactful”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Summer Camp - A Chance

I love creating fun memories for children. My son enjoys going to BSA summer camp during summer. He loves the outdoor activities. Being in BSA he enjoys anything that involved outdoor activities. The Catarina Island camp offers  so many fun activities being in the water is my sons favorite activities during summer but not actually participate in a camp like that. 
He has worked hard during this school years to get in the honor program and manage work actively in his BSA troop. He is working hard on merit badgers as well this school year. 
He is truly a hard worker and wants to do best. He is a wonderful big brother to his sister as well. When it comes to helping in projects around the house or in the garden he is always there to help. 
I wanted to share this this summer he helped our neighbor in her yard work. He is very thoughtful  and a loving brother. 
I remember when I was a kid I LOVED spending time and doing fun activities with my friends. Staying up late and talking to friends. I feel like those are the fun memories we create and lasts forever in our hearts. We will continue to revisit this memories we create in summer camps throughout our life. Summer camp can create wonderful memories and teach kids life long skills that will be useful. There are the lessons that will last forever. 
I would really like my son and his friend to participate in this summer camp. Thanks so much for offering this opportunity to the SITS Girls!

I am entering to win a session of summer camp for a child at Catalina Island Camps from The SITS Girls

Friday, February 10, 2012


I grew up in Sri Lanka a small independent country which is located close to southern tip of India. It is an island once call the pearl of the Indian ocean yet beautiful and surrounded by breath taking blue Indian ocean. 
We were very careful with the resources we had growing up in Sri Lanka. I try to preach the same concept at my home in the US. Mainly I wanted my children to understand poverty, and the uneven distribution of wealth, and the natural resources on our dear planet Earth. 
My recent visit to IKEA I purchased some votive candles named MATTFULL one cost .79 cents. I know you cannot miss this deal they were very cute and lightly scented with a floral scent.  I decided to stock up and bought six. I believe if I were to burn I can burn these for at least 2 days non stop. Well I did finished burning one. I could not recycle this tiny glass votive. I find it easier to clean these if I place them in the refrigerator and cut the wax with a sharp knife it will pop out easily. 
When it comes to healthy eating habits. I know the proportion control is the key factor. Now I found a new use for these wonderful votives. They are my newest serving dishes... wait a minutes did I called them dishes... Oh yes! I did they are ideal to serve one scoop if ice cream for those sugar rush hours. 
I know I went overboard to add the chocolate and the peanuts because little Nicolette has been really good for me so I could study the entire afternoon while she looked at books in her room quietly. 
Quote of the day “ 
Enjoy !

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Flowers at Home...

I am planning to add a new aspect to my house as well as to my blog. Hopefully my goal is to be informed myself with names of flowers. I was a teacher and I use to get most beautiful flower arrangements as a whole for the classroom as well as for myself. I thanked from the bottom of my heart to all the thoughtful parents I had. 
Well the aspect of this is now that I own a house with a reasonable size garden I wanted to add flowers to my garden. I have been working on this from last summer. I enjoy bringing fresh flowers from the store once in a while to brighten up the snowless winter we have this year. 
To begin I am going to start with the most common flowers which is used by the florist is Alstroemeria. Did you know this is also called the Peruvian lily. This is also called a filler flower. 
I love the colors of this bouquet it is a wonderful green reminds me of Spring is just around the corner.  Even though my bouquet is collection of mums and Asian lilies. they all blend in harmony. 
Quote of the day “send flowers to express your love to someone”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to Decorate with Picture Post Cards...

 This is not rocket science pretty easy project.  You can do this in so many ways like DIY picture frames or custom made. 
I am not a very big Disney person. However we took our oldest back in the days when he was the king of the house to disney to celebrate his 9th B’day.  I do not think he feels that way, any more with little sister around. 
When we were at the theme park I bought some picture post cards featuring Tinker Bell. I had these for the longest time. The reason I bought it because it features all the four seasons. I thought it was cool to see the magic of nature through Tinker Bell...
I started framing them through custom framing at the local craft shop using the coupons.   It took a while to finish all of them. After finishing and moving around, I really did not get a chance to appreciate the beauty of these frames. 
Finally finishing Nicolette’s room, I was able to hang them in her room.  I felt Tinker bell belongs in her room. It looks great together in a cluster. It adds a professional look to these inexpensive post cards and a fun way bring the memories back from a vacation.
I am hooked on IKEA frames and shadow boxes. 
Quote of the day “There is a reason for everything”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Comfort Food Healthy - Version

Soups on cold winter days days makes my soul and house warm. I enjoy soups vegetable, meaty, watery. thick, chowders and many more. Lately I have been trying to add greens to my soup. You may think why because it is much healthier choice and I want my three year old to have more vegetables. She does not like much greens i am sad about it because I love my greens. 
I love to incorporate kale, swiss chard, chard, mustard green, broccoli, dandelion, leeks, beet tops, and collards. I sometimes go through the painful ways prepare them like the Sri Lankan cooking which takes forever cutting them into tiny pieces. 
In traditional Si Lankan cooking includes a meat, fish,  vegetables and a green (Mal-loon). Which I have always loved my mum can make best (mal-loons). As a kid I always asked for something green for lunch. 
I think this where I got my visual colorful reminders. Sri Lanka food could be very colorful and pact with spices. Living in US has introduce me to many healthy green alternatives. I do love the choices that offers and I am getting use to all the food. 
I love using kale for my soups this is a great way to use greens. Little Nicolette does not care as long as she think she is having her soups. I also wanted to let you know if you want this entire soup to be a vegan meal you can do so by replacing chicken broth with vegetable broth. Omit adding cheese. 
What you need
1 medium carrot diced
2 celery stalks cleaned and diced
1 medium white onion diced
2-3 table spoons olive oil
2 cups chickpeas 
5 cups chicken broth
2 chicken thigh meat (only) seasoned with salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic
5 cups cleaned torn kale bunch do not add the stems
How you make 
Add the olive oil to a medium sized pan. Add the seasoned chicken and brown them until golden in color. Sautéed the onions and garlic when the onions are translucent add the celery and the carrots and cooked for about 3-4 minutes. 
Add the beans and the kale and continue to sauté. When the greens are wilted add the chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and bring it to boil in a medium high heat. Once it started to boil bring the heat down to low cover and and let it cooked for about 2 hours or until the beans are cooked well. 
Serve warm add grated parmesan cheese and fresh crack pepper to taste and enjoy...
Quote of the day “support medical research”