January 25, 2007

Are you really a vegetarian?!

So, this gets more interesting. That's why aunty *insert familiar name here* always used to say, while also waggling a warning finger, "Don't keep reading all that nonsense on the computer" - it was always "computer", not internet, the poor machine got the blame each time :)

So what did I read on the computer? Among many other websites, I have recently started reading the Mahanadi food blog and am hooked! She has a variety of healthy recipes that always surprise me with their flavors - I tried 4-5 recipes (notice how subtly I linked to my food blog here - so cool :p) so far and almost all of them have received a nod from k.

So, that's the background. Today, I was reading through her recipes for pasta and noticed her comment on how American foods that look vegetarian aren't really so. She lists table salt, sugar, cheese among other things. And I faithfully googled about animal products in day-to-day foods that I eat and shocked myself.

So, That's a whole bunch of paragraphs beginning with so, so to not lose the trend... :)

So, if you are among the few fighting a losing war (eating vegetarian food) and are interested in alternatives, here's what I found:

Sugar - try looking for labels that say that animal-cruelty-free or just look for organic evaporated cane sugar/juice and you should be safe. Regular refined sugar might use charcoal made from animal bones in the process of refining sugar. Brown sugar makes the cut though plus it is yummy!

Salt - haven't been able to figure out what animal product goes into making salt? But, for now, I have decided to switch to sea salt instead of regular salt. Heard many good things about sea salt, remember to look for sea salt with iodine though.

Honey - Reading about the procedure involved makes me want to puke, maybe I'll just switch to good ole' maple syrup or sugar and water instead of honey.

Cheese - Look for cheese products that say "no animal ingredients", rennin means the cheese is not vegetarian. You might want to just buy "Horizon Organic Cheese" - they declare - 'No animal products'and I trust them - hey! you gotta trust someone!

Milk, Yoghurt, milk products, pastries, cereal, jelly - Look for products/bottles that do not contain "gelatin". K or Kosher does not necessarily mean the product is vegetarian.

Fur, leather, silk, down - we already know the story here. So, I'll skip the lecture here.

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, pills - this is a tough one. Organic stuff in this category that say "not tested on animals" are usually pretty expensive and some pills might not have a vegetarian alternative. So, can't do much here. And don't trust those shiny red apples you see in the grocery store, who knows what was sacrificed for the sake of "shine"?

So before you throw a mildly-shocked look at me and declare, "Oh, I don't eat mushrooms or garlic. I am a pure vegetarian!", do take a look at these links.

Hmm...on second thoughts, you are better off not reading all this and feeling bad about it, ignorance is bliss. Indeed.

Organic Food Stores @ Lex (expensive! but hey you can buy yourself some peace of mind and that's definitely worth it!) - Good Foods Coop and Wild Oats.

January 20, 2007

Guess who?!

Recognize the boy on the left? First one to guess the right answer gets a million dollars...hmm...better still, gets special mention @ :p

Foto from Reader's Digest.

Edited: And IBH and Sb got it right!

January 18, 2007

Pizza competition @ home!

k's fancy pizza
versus anm's artistic pizza?

I say my Kanu plate wins the prize :)

January 11, 2007

Lex, KY to Lawrence, KS

I spent an interesting week in Lawrence, Kansas. Am going to be a lazy blogger and just upload a few photos and let them do the talking (I'll add my 2 cents inbetween of course!)
We rented a PT-Cruiser at Kansas City and drove to Lawrence. Man! People meant it when they said, "Kansas? The drive to Kansas is one long, flat, boring drive!" The PT-Cruiser was a different story though. Interesting attributes - a vivid purple body color and a funny shape (reminded me of Mater from "Cars" :p) The picture here should give you a better idea!

I didn't quite catch all the "Hawk" stores and "Hawk" street names (JayHawk boulevard) until I began to notice the slightly serious-funny looking bird everywhere on campus. I've asked p~ to get me a souvenir next time she comes to Lex. p~ (k's sister, Payal) gets to study @ the University of Kansas for the next two years. I wish I could go to school there, a nice literature degree or something, hmm...

For someone who has spent 6 years in a mid-sized (oh, alright...small) town like Lexington, the buildings at the University of Kansas seemed pretty grand to me. They have several libraries, some of them much bigger than our famous Youngs library (Sigh! And I thought we had one of the best libraries in the country).

k and I absolutely loved the cafeteria on campus - there was this "make-your-own-pasta" center where you get to pick the pasta, the vegetables to go with it, herbs and sauce of your choice. I tried a few, let's say, "interesting" combinations and it all tasted great. k had to be dragged out of that place. He wanted to have breakfast, lunch and dinner there and insisted that I click a picture of the best garlic bread he ever tasted!

While p~ had a lot of work to do, orientation and all that, we pretty much chilled and stuffed ourselves with as much food as we could. There was this one neat Thai place called "Zen Zero", if you don't mind oily but very-very tasty food, this is one great place to try. can't see much of "Zen Zero" in this picture, but you can catch our satisfied smiles :)

The temple at Kansas City was not empty, considering it was a cold weekday morning. Except for the slightly loud bhajan on the stereo, I enjoyed the visit.

We made a short trip to the Nelson-Atkins museum. We enjoyed the museum from the err...outside. It was freezing and the museum had closed :p The parking attendant returned our money about mid-western niceness! Inscribed on the walls of the museum were these words: "Art deals with things forever incapable of definition that belong to love, beauty, joy, and worship. The shapes, powers and glory of which are forever building, unbuilding, and rebuilding in each man's soul and in the soul of the whole world."

How does that saying go? That you are never too old to fall in love?


January 01, 2007


We all make ambitious new resolutions, promises for a bright future; we ask our friends to give us that gentle nudge when we digress from our well-thought-out plans to have a better, healthier, richer life. What we often forget is the need to congratulate ourselves for our small achievements, to give ourselves that little pat on our backs for small courtesies, good karma and any contribution by us to make some other person's day brighter. What we almost always forget is to congratulate ourselves and revel a little bit on obstacles we have crossed, on drops of sweat and tears that we have shed to give something away to gain something else, to take that difficult last step to reach a milestone...

Maybe it was to gain a degree, to build a house, to get a new job...maybe it was as simple as calling up an old friend to say sorry. Whatever the situation, we did forego our comforts, ego or perhaps sleep(!) to achieve what we achieved.

So, here's to all the small achievements in our lives. Here is a post not to make new resolutions but just to feel good about resolutions of the past that we have managed to keep up. Here's to our good intentions and hard days of work. A post to say, "Congratulations! That was good work. Take a break and have a good year ahead!"
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.