December reads? What better to read than Mischelle Obama’s Becoming Michelle. Click on the link below to get your copy!
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So Thanksgiving is done and now the festivities continue to next series of events in the US! After living in America for more than two decades, I have gone through different bouts of being depressed (not in clinical sense – but in missing-family sense) or happy or indifferent during holiday season. For the first few years, it seemed unjust that I did not know what to celebrate, later the irritation was why do I have to send kids to school and work when it is our holidays and then stay home and plan vacations to celebrate times we did not grow up celebrating in our prior lives, country and culture. And of course the season made me miss my own holidays, my birth place and my family terribly!! But over the years, as it happens with all us immigrants, we change – whether we want to or don’t want to. By the stage we are eligible to receive our citizenships we are all pretty much “colored” in American ways. We look forward to chocolates, sweets, festivities, we wait for new movies to come out, we find deals, plan to travel and invite people during holidays. On the other hand, we continue to struggle to transfer our own culture and heritage to our kids, so pretty much double duty!! But like I said, slowly we all find solace in enjoying the end of the year and the break that comes with it. We and our kids, among thousands of other immigrants answer this question every year from our neighbors, colleagues, friends, “Do you celebrate Christmas? “Thanksgiving?”. Complying with the traditions, for thanksgiving we have been making turkey one or the other year. Mostly I would put the spices from Pakistan on the turkey (tikka masala, chicken roast etc.) and bake it. Or just have dinner without turkey. The kids would protest – “Why cant we have a normal American turkey?” so we did that as well! In places like Dallas, we can pre order zabiha turkeys and enjoy without the hassle of marinating, baking one from places like Jimmy’s Burger. When my mom was here two years ago, my youngest brought out the halal marshmallows and rice krispies and said he would make the treats with Nano (as my mom is known to my kids). My mom who had years of cooking to her credit felt failed at the inability to make an unknown dish for her grandson. My sister who was accompanying my mom asked about the dish and why specifically mom. I told her that apparently he heard from his friends that kids make this with their grandmas on holidays? Even I seem not to be aware of this tradition , if it is a tradition that is but he obviously was coming from somewhere! This year the Thanksgiving has been so awesome! We spent time with precious families who we have come to know and love over the years. We booked an Airbnb at Concan, called CONCAN house! The home is absolutely beautiful, spacious enough to sleep 28. The décor is very chic-ly done in barn, with industrial elements and boho accents. We would highly recommend the place if you are planning on traveling with a big group. The owners are super sweet and very accommodating. Exploring Texas with the dear people was invaluable and to find out that the state has nice places with mountainous beauty. The fall colors seemed out of a picture! It was really nice to do hiking, tracking and to soak feet in pebbled water. Only in Southwest can you find the places to enjoy beaches and water in this fall and still enjoy the fall. On the way to Concan, we stopped over at the Outlet. I don’t like to shop or hunt deals on the night of Thanksgiving. Its too cold to go out and its too many people! Even if I ever planned to go out, I cancelled at the last moment in fear of leaving my cozy home and driving in the night. But with friends, it seemed like fun to shop. Not really in the mood to acquire any items, I did fall in love with Kate Spade purse. I did not have a standard black purse for my everyday use – nothing too special nor too unspecial. I like the size and that it has a zipper. To counter my nature of cluttering things in one place, I have started using smaller purses. And now December is here! I am specially looking forward to the month since my mom is going to be visiting me from Pakistan! I am super excited for myself but more for my kids who being the off springs of first generation US parents have been devoid of such grandparental happinesses. My mother has never stayed with me on her own, my sister or someone always accompanied her so it is my first time with just me, my mom and my own family! I am beyond myself to receive and cherish her! This is her at my wedding – isn’t she beautiful!
Know what’s hilariously awesome? this: watching and enjoying Sameen Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat while browsing through Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen by Carolyn Ketchum! After being low fat for so long in life, the hardest part of keto (limited time that I did and considering again) was to undo the mental conditioning of higher fat intake more than lesser carb! So ingrained it is in our generation to have low fat foods that it seems poison but overall I love the diet. I just need some more determination to start back on it – compiling recipes for now and Carolyn’s Everyday is a pretty good start!