Monthly Archives: February 2012

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Homemade Salad Dressing

Years ago, my go to homemade salad dressing was a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.  Ick!  What was I thinking?  Oh right, that was the 21 year Parita that just wanted to lose weight.

The 28 year old Parita now knows better.  Homemade dressings should be flavorful, refreshing, and fun to make.

So you can imagine how excited I was to try out a new dressing recipe I heard about from one of the girls in Austin.  She made it sound drool worthy, so I knew I had to give it a try. 

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The original recipe sounded great, but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, so I improvised a little.  And honestly, even my slightly adapted version was slurp-straight-from-the-bowl good. 

Honey, Lemon, Mint Vinaigrette
Serves 1

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed mint
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Annnnnnd you’re done.  Easy peasy!

Poonam, my friend, tops an arugula, shaved parmesan, and slivered almond salad with her version of the dressing (sub strawberry jam for balsamic vinegar). 

Again, I had no arugula or parmesan in my fridge, so I improvised.  I made a spinach, goat cheese, avocado, and almond salad for my dressing.

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Here’s another view!

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Y’all, this dressing and salad pair so well together!  The flavors were spectacular – the sweet tang from the dressing and goat cheese, the creaminess from the avocado, and the crunch from the almonds.  I have a feeling I’ll be making this over and over again! 

So please do me a favor and never be like the 21 year old Parita, and if you ever have the urge, remember the 28 year old Parita and this dressing and make it!  You won’t regret it – I promise!

What’s your favorite kind of salad dressing?  What’s one thing your salad always contains?

February Foodie Penpal

You probably didn’t notice, but I took a Foodie Penpal break over the past few months.  Life got a little too busy, and I didn’t want to fully commit and not be able to follow through.

But I’m back, baby!

First some information.  Foodie Penpals is the brainchild of Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean.  It’s basically a fun way to connect bloggers and readers from around the country (and even Canada!) and have them share their favorite foodie treats.  If you’re interested in participating, email Lindsay (theleangreenbean@gmail.com) before March 4th and be sure to include the following information:

-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
-WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. – this is SUPER important so you get on the right list!

Now for the great reveal…

My February Penpal was Brittnye from the Healthy Living Chick, and she put together an AWESOME box for me.  When Vishnu saw all the goodies she sent me, he was amazed and asked if I was going to continue participating after the wedding.  Haha.

The first item I want to talk about is a delicious Texas salsa…

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Umm, y’all, this stuff is freakin’ good.  I literally top every dish I make with at least a couple of spoonfuls of this stuff.  The flavor is unlike any store bought salsa I’ve ever tried.  The smokey spices and slight sweetness take every dish to the next level.  So far, it’s made it’s way on top of my enchiladas, salads, omelets, and tacos.  I’m kind of a fan!

Next up, we have what I would call a snack stash…

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Pistachios…the nut I love but am too cheap to buy.  I wish I were kidding.

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The bars that have kept me one step ahead of intense hunger during my last couple trips.  If I had to choose favorites, I would definitely go with the Chocolate Almond Go Lean Crunch bar, the Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna bar, and the Kind bar.  YUM!

Also in my box were some yummy “butters/spreads”…

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The almond butter made it’s way into a breakfast smoothie, the chocolate hazelnut butter found itself paired with a banana after work one day, and the Nutella has not been used yet (only because I have an entire open jar that needs to be finished first).  And thanks to these little samples, I will be driving down to the Tampa Whole Foods this weekend to buy myself some hazelnut butter.  Heaven in a jar I tell you!

And there’s more…

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To be honest, I’m not a huge tea person, but I gave this honey lemon kind a chance early last week, and I was surprised by how much I liked it.  If hazelnut butter is heaven in a jar, then this tea is comfort in a cup!  I wish I had some when I was sick a few weeks ago.

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Brittnye also sent me a Maple Pancakes tea candle from Yankee Candle, my old employer!  I worked at Yankee Candle my senior year of high school, and this little candle took me back to the “good old days!”  And writing about it now has me craving pancakes!

And FINALLY, my wonderful Foodie Penpal also sent me a piece of Chocolate Texas…literally a piece of chocolate shaped like the state of Texas.  Sadly, I don’t have a picture of this delicious treat because Vishnu and I ate it up before I remembered to take a picture.  I assure you it was good…very good!

Brittnye, thank you SO much for everything!!!  I would never have guessed that I was your first Penpal!  You did a terrific job picking out all of my foodie treats.  And thank you, Lindsay, for organizing and hosting – you rock as well!

So if this post didn’t convince you to sign up as a March Foodie Penpal, I don’t know what will!  If you need more convincing, be sure to check out what everyone received over on Lindsay’s blog.

If you had to send your favorite foodie treat to a stranger, what would you pick?  I would have to go with Lindt’s 85% Extra Dark chocolate bar. 

Wedding Prep To Dos

What a whirlwind weekend!  My mom (and sometimes dad) and I accomplished so much.  We’re a superstar team when it comes to checking things off our wedding prep list.  Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures to share because my mom wants everything to stay under wraps until the big day.

But who says I can’t paint pictures with words?!

On Friday, my mom and I met with my henna artist.  It was fun because she did a little sample henna for the both of us so we could see how dark the color came out.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting a few questions at work tomorrow!

I also met with the lady that designed Vishnu’s wedding outfit to talk about my bridesmaid saris.  Think hot pink, dark green and gold!  My girls are going to look beautiful!

And finally, we met with the lady that is making our wedding day garlands.  These are the garlands Vishnu and I will be exchanging upon seeing each other for the first time.

We got home around 7 pm on Friday night.  After eating dinner, we started assembling and addressing our beautiful invitations.  I’m so incredibly happy with how they came out.  To be honest, I was a little nervous because we ordered them from a designer in India, and a lot of our communication was done via email.  But she really listened to our wants and made them a reality with the final product. 

On Saturday morning, Cabby, my makeup artist, came to the house to do a consultation.  We talked through my vision, selected colors, and got to work!  I have decided to go with airbrush makeup for the wedding and reception because it’s waterproof and sweat proof and provides the best coverage.  Cabby did an amazing job!  I’m so thankful I found her.  And I think I’m safe sharing this, so here’s a little sneak peak…

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In the afternoon, my parents and I met up with Vishnu’s parents at the jewelry store so everyone could see the wedding band I picked out.  It was a winner among the parents!

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I asked Vishnu if I could start wearing it now.  He said I had to wait four more months.

When we got home that night, my mom and I set out to organize all of the wedding clothes and jewelry for me, my mom, and my sister.  It took us 3 hours!  Why?  Because we had to neatly pack 15 outfits and 15 sets of jewelry (5 events x the 3 of us).  And the fun didn’t end there.  The next morning we picked another nine outfits (3 events x the 3 of us) for my cousin’s wedding that’s at the end of March.  I’m a little sari’ed’ out! 

And now, just like that, I’m back in Florida watching the Oscars.  The next four months are going to fly!

Did you have a good weekend?  Do anything fun!?

“One List Life”

Attention Publix Shoppers! From February 23–29 you can participate in P&G’s “One List Life” promotion, available exclusively at Publix: simply select any four fabulous participating P&G items and pick up a FREE Rotisserie Chicken while you’re at it! Learn more at www.savingspg.com.

As most of you probably know, I’m in Atlanta for the weekend.  We have lots of wedding things to do – meeting with the makeup artist, the henna artist, and the lady who will be getting me ready and hopefully purchasing my wedding band! 

Today was kind of a free day, so I worked out, lounged around, and then went to Publix upon my mom’s request.  She wanted me to pick up a few items for her, and honestly, I wanted to pick up some breakfast staples as well.

Luckily, I was also able to take advantage of the “One Life List” promotion going on at Publix right now.  Basically, I selected four P&G items off the checklist and received a free rotisserie chicken [for my dad of course]!

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The list contained quite a few common household items, so I channeled my mom and picked things I know she uses all the time.

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Into my shopping cart went Charmin Double Roll toilet paper, Bounty Big Roll paper towels, Tide detergent, and Cascade Action Pacs.  It was fun shopping in an area of Publix that I don’t usually go to.  And the prices were very reasonable compared to what I’ve seen in other stores.  In fact, all of the items I purchased were on sale, and from what I understand, you can save up to $2.50 on Charmin and Bounty and close to $2.00 on Tide 50 oz.  Awesome deals!  And for all of you dedicated coupon clippers, if you saved your January 29 P&G brandSAVER, there are coupons for Tide, Charmin, Pampers, Bounty, Iams, Pantene and Cascade that you can stack on top of the in-store savings!

If Publix is one of your neighborhood grocery stores, you definitely want to check out this “One List Life” promotion (more information at www.savingspg.com). 

Well, I’m off to write out wedding invitations!  We got them in a couple of weeks ago, and I’m in LOVE!  I’ll share some pictures and details soon.

Thank you to P&G for sponsoring my participation in this “One List Life” promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

What’s your favorite P&G product?  Do you buy non-food items at your grocery store?

Girl Talk: Compliments + Confidence

As you can probably imagine, there were all kinds of conversations going on this past weekend.  With most of us never having met before, we were excited to get to know each other.  It was pretty awesome because there was a high level of comfort present from the beginning.

With that being said, there was one topic that surprisingly came up quite a few times – body confidence. 

The conversation initially started because we were so complimentary with each other – clothes, shoes, hair, makeup, you name it.  I didn’t think too much of this, and it was actually nice to laugh and share hair and makeup tricks and tips.  However, the compliments were then directed to each girls’ physical appearance.  At first, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this.  However, I started sensing that the follow-up to each of the compliments was a silent, “I’d love to have your _____.”  This made me stop and think because even I engaged in that kind of thinking.

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As we were walking around the city, one of the girls and I started talking about our past (and sometimes present) body confidence issues.  She shared her story, and I shared mine.  I told her that as we were getting ready earlier, I noticed her long, lean arms and was a little jealous.  With a surprised look on her face, she told me that she was thinking the same thing about me and one of the other girls.  It was almost like what we saw in the mirror was not the same as what others saw when they looked at us.  For example, when I heard my new friend tell me that she was envious of my petite frame, I couldn’t believe my ears.  In fact, I kept saying things like “no way” and “you just don’t know.” 

Part two of the body confidence conversation occurred with a larger group of us the next morning.  As I was getting dressed, a couple of girls commented on my small, petite frame and how lucky I was.  To most, their comments would’ve been extremely flattering.  I, however, stopped what I was doing, turned around to look at them (two tall, beautiful women by the way), and told them to stop it.  Instead of being happy about what was being said, I was frustrated because by lifting one another up, we were putting ourselves down, and I was guilty of this as well.  My conversation from the previous day kept coming back to me, and I realized how destructive both behaviors actually were. Complimenting others shouldn’t run parallel to not loving yourself, and accepting compliments shouldn’t run parallel to disbelief and self-doubt. 

If I recall correctly, my exact statement to the group of girls was, “We are all beautiful – tall, short, curvy, flat, thin, thick.  We have to love and accept ourselves.  True beauty is a part of who you are, what you exude.” 

Luckily, another girl agreed with me.  She said that she thinks she’s sexy, therefore she is sexy.  She doesn’t need anyone else to reaffirm her thoughts, although compliments are always nice!.  She mentioned that negative thoughts and comparisons cross her mind from time to time, but she knows she’s an intelligent, competent, beautiful woman.  She acknowledges that everyone’s bodies are different, and this fact should be celebrated.  Her mindset is all about what she has, not what others have that she doesn’t. 

Needless to say, her statements made us all stop and think.  We asked her where her strong self-confidence and appreciation for her body comes from.  We wanted her to divulge her secrets.

Well, it just so happens that this one isn’t a secret at all.  Positive body confidence comes from within.  YOU have to appreciate what you have.  YOU have to make an effort not to engage in negative self-talk.  YOU have to elevate others while not putting yourself down.  YOU have to stop purposely looking for your so called flaws.  YOU have to believe in yourself.  YOU have to exude that confidence, baby, because it’s there, you just have to find it!

So while I can’t personally say that I am now 100% confident with my body, I can say that these conversations remind me to not be so hard on myself, to love myself, and to appreciate and be kind to the body I’ve been give.  

Oh and they also remind me that I love girl talk!

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When you hang out with your girlfriends, do you ever talk about body image and confidence?