Eggplant Bharta {Dip}

by Naila Sheikh


I like this variation of an eggplant dish which is a huge hit in my household i.e. the hubby only...๐Ÿ˜‚ He requests this meal when at times he feels close to his Pakistani roots. I am however, more keen on using eggplant in Italian dishes. When I do happen to make his fav "Baingan Bharta" - maybe because of the time crunch and it's easy to prepare (don't we all have motives in life? ๐Ÿ˜†) but of course also, upon his sweet request, I make sure to make it exactly as he likes it: super spicy. I then add yogurt to my plate for the much needed coolness in blowing off steam. No, not that I'm angry...I mean, steam from the spices, you silly. 

 

Today has been an exhausting day - heck, my entire 3 weeks have been back-to-back crazzzyyyy, but tonight we must celebrate, relax and open a bottle of bubbly Apple Cider ๐Ÿพ , binge watch Netflix, drool over Mahira Khan and Shahrukh Khan's Zaalima song in upcoming Raees movie! Doesn't she look fantastic! I have a total girl/woman crush on her - her innocence and simplicity truly oozes on screen (women are simply sexy in their 30's, woohoo! and yes, that's a biased opinion but true too) Loved her in Humsafar (on Netflix now!) so imagine my excitement for this movie. Anywho, Anyways: back to the Kitchen talkin' ... 

 

 

Azam is watching Jaws 2 while I'm quickly typing this up on my phone screen for y'all to read or curse me, later...I'll leave that to you.  By the way, the actors in Jaw look like sharks themselves. What's with the gritty faces? 

... 

 

"Baingan Bharta" 

Ingredients

 

โ€ข olive oil

โ€ข 1 onion

โ€ข 1 tbsp red pepper flakes & 1 harri mirch ๐ŸŒถ (jalapeรฑo sliced in half)  / depending on your preferred level of spicyness.

โ€ข 1 eggplant ๐Ÿ† , peeled and thinly sliced

 โ€ข 3 to 4 potatoes, peeled and also thinly sliced

โ€ข 2 tomatoes  

โ€ข 1 tbsp of LaaL Mirch Powder  

โ€ข 1 tsp of Turmeric powder (Haldi) 

 โ€ข black cumin, 2 tsp (kalonji)

โ€ข tomato paste or tomato sauce

โ€ข I like Shan's Achar Pickle Masala - 2 tsp

โ€ข ginger & garlic paste 1 tbsp

 

๐Ÿ’ฌSuch a fake fin! Jaws' music is compelling though. The kids are now watching with eyes wide open๐Ÿ‘€ -- "it's a shark!"

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

 

Cut your onion thin, add a drizzle of olive oil. Let it fry until onions appear golden brown.

Add a pinch of Achar/Pickle Masala, add laal mirch, haldi and red pepper flakes - dem spicessss! 

Add your garlic/ginger paste, let it mix and fry together.  

Once all masalas are making you cough and you turn teary eyed wanting to cry like a baby...justttt wait, have patience...grab your tomato ๐Ÿ… if you can see through all the burning...add yo tomato and pasta/sauce to this concoction. You will now simply thank me for your instant relief. You're welcome. 

 

Lets not forget about the protagonist of this story: the eggplant. Now, please add your eggplant and potato slices and close the lid. Let it simmer on medium heat for about 20 min. until everything is soft and mushy.  

Add black cumin called kalonji (it's powerful ancient stuff, gives you strength) .

 

Upon opening the lid, you will see eggplant transformed into slimey strips resembling... I-don't-know-something-slimey? 

IGNORE. Just give it a good mix and grab your utensil that mushes it all together, the one that looks like a grater but is handheld...? I may have to attach a pic here, I'm lost for words... englishhhh vinglishhhh ๐Ÿ˜‚

 It's called a POTATO MASHER!!!! Duhhhhh.ย 

It's called a POTATO MASHER!!!! Duhhhhh.ย 

Now, here comes the fun part: take out all your frustration and put all of your weight (not the figurative weight, I mean your real weight)ย  onto the masher and slam that thing, ever so gently, to the bottom of your pan. Keep on mashing it.

Mash. Mush. Smash? 

Done?ย 

Rejoice! Add some cilantro for garnishing - grab a plate (and some yogurt to put out the ๐Ÿ”ฅ) ...either eat with Naan or you can also westernize this DISH by calling it an 'eggplant potato dip' in front of your sophisticated friends (make sure it's dip-worthy and no remains of eggplant strips are visible). ย 

ย 

You think I'm talking crazy? Well well well...see for yourself then...ย 

ย 

 Enjoy! ย 

Enjoy! ย 

ย 

ย 

ย 

With โค๏ธ๏ธ,

Naila ~ย 


Day 10

by Naila Sheikh


I've always been a firm believer that in life - whether healing from childbirth, or getting your body used to a new exercise regimen or just acclimating to any challenge or happening in our lives - one is to give at least 10 days before results are shown. 

ย 

ย 

This 10 days formula has helped me in the past and I still believe it to be true. Now, I don't conclude within this time frame for the body to heal or adapt right after, but I believe that mentally & physically we tend to become ready or form shape to a new concept. 

 

 

I've been particularly excited about my new workout routine. I decided to not skip the gym starting from Dec 1st, to lessen sugar in my life and wear my workout clothes in the morning when dropping my kids off to school. This mind shift in thinking and my little decision pertaining my morning outfit, has made a tremendous change in my routine. 

 

 

Today marks DAY 10 and I can say with surety that I feel much healthier (I've always been active)  and more leaner. The first few days of attending those gym classes - although I've always loved Zumba - may have been the hardest, especially when trying out new methods such as Kickboxing or a class called Pound in which sticks are used to drum your way through exercise. One feels like dying at the moment and wanting to just lay down but the good part is that the stretching towards the end, is something one can look forward to. 

 

 

So, while I was on my busy schedule to visit the gym daily, I had done some meal prep at home to avoid stress on what to eat. The best decision I've made is to cook minced chicken or minced beef (keema) and have it ready for serving to either put in salads, pastas, naan rolls (as lunch to-go for the hubby) ...

 1 whole packet of minced chicken cooked in masalas, pasta sauce w/ peas. 

1 whole packet of minced chicken cooked in masalas, pasta sauce w/ peas. 

I like to cook it with peas since peas are easy to chew for my kids who are extremely picky when it comes to hard chewed foods/veggies๐Ÿ™„ - also, the beauty of minced meat is that is becomes multi-functional rather than cooking the whole chicken. However, when REAL Pakistani dishes are served, I am of course the first to opt for chicken with bone since it's definitely more flavorful. 

ย 

 It's December 1st! ๐Ÿ˜Ž  Day 1 of my fitness journey begins; to a healthier, toner, more leaner, meaner ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜œ ME.  #resistingtheholidaybinge #gymeveryday

It's December 1st! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Day 1 of my fitness journey begins; to a healthier, toner, more leaner, meaner ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜œ ME.

#resistingtheholidaybinge #gymeveryday

ย 

ย 

 My mysterious 'trench coat look' ๐Ÿ˜Ž every morning leaving the house. Wearing my workout clothes when dropping off Imaad and running errands, has made a huge difference in getting motivated to go to the gym. Luckily my destinations are aligned so I'm not going out of my way...๐Ÿค”  The STRIKE kickboxing class was amazing; so much energy & fun! But also very very tough! (Do I wanna sit on the couch and read a book? Or sweat it all out and get it over with? Hmmm...  Feeling stronger! Happy Thursday Everyone!

My mysterious 'trench coat look' ๐Ÿ˜Ž every morning leaving the house. Wearing my workout clothes when dropping off Imaad and running errands, has made a huge difference in getting motivated to go to the gym. Luckily my destinations are aligned so I'm not going out of my way...๐Ÿค”

The STRIKE kickboxing class was amazing; so much energy & fun! But also very very tough! (Do I wanna sit on the couch and read a book? Or sweat it all out and get it over with? Hmmm...

Feeling stronger! Happy Thursday Everyone!

 post-workout on-the-go ๐Ÿš—lunch...  #naturevalley

post-workout on-the-go ๐Ÿš—lunch...

#naturevalley

 Vinyasa Yoga!  #heatedroom #coldoutside

Vinyasa Yoga!

#heatedroom #coldoutside

ย 

Love,ย 

Naila ~ย 


What's for lunch?

by Naila Sheikh


I am pretty sure the majority of people must contemplate every day what to eat for lunch. Back when I was working in Real Estate, I would buy myself a Subway sandwich or on some days, frequent Panda Express for much needed carb-cravings. Fast forward into present time: I have now the privilege to prepare lunch at home, for myself and the hubby on-the-go. I firmly believe that lunch really sets the tone of the day, more than breakfast - however, breakfast is vital to not overeating during lunch and one should have it as early as possible. 

 

 

My day begins before 6 AM: I try to become regular in my prayer, especially the Tahajjud & Fajr Islamic prayer, but most of the time, I'm unfortunately either too lazy to roll out the prayer mat, or it just skips my mind. I find it frustrating and it saddens me that I'm not strong enough to take out my time to worship God, talk to Him, rely on Him. I wasn't like this. Nor am I like this during the month of Ramadan. Why is that as humans, when a deadline or reward is given, we are more likely to respond? I feel like we haven't grown up in that regard or maybe life has slowed us down. Of course, the rewards of praying are infinite and I should really score those extra points with God as my heart pines for solace at times. 

 

 

Breakfast is as usual; crepes for my daughter and left-overs for me (this will be covered in another Blog Post) , and during drop-off, I drink my big bottle of mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, 1 tsp of organic apple cider vinegar (keeps the nasty flu ๐Ÿ˜ท away) - not only is it good for digestion but it also instills the habit of staying hydrated. 

 

 

Today marks December 1st - oh how fast time has flown! For us to embark on 2017 very very soon, and for Trump to be president, is a harsh reality we will have to live with. But one can not be disheartened by what the future might bring since we are unaware of the prospects. All we can really do is pray for the best and prepare ourselves to be stronger and better. 

 

 

To keep strong and not think of what I should have for lunch every day, I've made a pact with myself to eat fruit. I cut up all the fruits I have (gotta love organic bananas, apples and dates! Always have medjool dates!), I sprinkle chia seeds, fresh squeezed orange juice and some black pepper. Keeping it simple. I usually have lunch - my bowl of fruit salad - during my drive when picking my daughter up from school. My son eats it first, and only then I allow myself to have my lunch. ๐Ÿ˜Š The baby bird gotta be fed first! ๐Ÿฃ

 

 

By the time we reach home, I've finished my fruit salad, drank my water and feel happy with having my daily intake of fruits which I'd normally ignore. Unless the fruit isn't cut up and presented in a plate, we are often ignoring the good things we can eat and should eat. My daughter has her "fruit time" which I obsessively remind her of. Either slices of apple or a whole banana after school. I tell the kids that there is no way out - but they are free to chose the fruit of their liking. 

 

 

If not a fruit salad, then a regular salad with baked chicken nuggets and no dressing can suffice on days when it gets too boring or I've come back from an intense workout.  

 

 

It keeps me excited and going! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ  

What's for lunch in your neck of the woods?  

 My fruit salad bowl on-the-go. It might take time to cut up the fruits, but the labor pays off! ย 

My fruit salad bowl on-the-go. It might take time to cut up the fruits, but the labor pays off! ย 

ย 

Love,

Naila -ย