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Best Dad in the World


“It was good especially since I can’t remember the last time I had pizza.”

– Ram Swaroop, 82

Today we gathered at my parents’ house to celebrate my Dad for Father’s Day.

As usual we had plenty of food including veggie and meat versions of California Grilled Pizza, green salad and then the dessert buffet including Haagen-Daz bars, mini-mint ‘n chip ice cream sandwiches, raspberry sorbet, strawberry shortcake frozen yogurt, fresh mango, freshly picked apricots and English cookies.

It seems like a lot, but all of that doesn’t even come close to thanking my Dad for all the support, guidance and help he continues to provide to me. Even now, he remains one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.

In addition to that he is smart, funny, analytical, kind, methodical, even-tempered and great model for character, intellect and compassion. He’s taught me that you can judge a person’s character on how he/she conducts himself on matters of money, time and keeping his/her word. And that character is what truly matters when looks, money and prominence fade away!

He jokingly considers himself tight-fisted and even cheap since that was part of his frugal upbringing in lower middle-class India where he grew up. Even though he moved here to go to school, brought his entire family over and proceeded to secure upper-middle class success here in the United States, he still thinks some of the prices we pay are outlandish!

The older I get the more I realize how blessed and lucky I am to have him in my life. He’s the one I always turn to in all matters of spirituality, finance and relationships. It astounds me how often his advice is spot on.

I love you Dad! In the picture below a pint-sized me with my Dad when I was less than a year old. I’m not sure why I look so scared, though. 🙂


Giving thanks


In my faith, we periodically have pujas where we have an opportunity to gather, sit quietly and give thanks for our blessings. At every puja there is prasad offered usually by the person or for the occasion we are marking (birthdays, anniversaries, new job, new home, etc.). Usually it is a sweet or deep-fried treat.

Tonight, we are having a puja. Because I just started a brand-new job working in the industry I spent a year training for I am feeling especially grateful. So I asked if I could offer a Prasad to thank God for the bountiful blessings I’m enjoying.

The answer was yes. So I asked my niece what was the best thing she’s learned to make in her 5th grade home ec class. She told me about Simple Cinnamon Bites. I wondered how good they really were? I told her to rank them on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being mediocre and 5 being addictively delicious.

She told me they are a 6! So we decided to make these to offer tonight. She ended up making them with me assisting her. Above, is a picture of the chef with the first batch from the oven.

All-American Super Bowl fiesta


“The sauce is so good you could use it as a spread.”

Shailesh Swaroop, as he quickly put some of Sangeeta’s Zesty Sauce on his burger in place of ketchup

We all gathered at my brother, Shailesh’s, house in Carlsbad to watch the big name pitting the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco Forty-Niners in New Orleans. Of course, in our family the main event is always food so we brought our A game and made this spread.

The cooks included my sister, Suki, brother Shailesh, myself, my nieces Sangeeta and even Maya and her boyfriend Aidan Keefe cooked up the bacon for the sliders. The spread included bacon cheeseburger sliders, garlic fries, hummus, guacamole, shrimp, cocktail sauce and cupcakes.

The food was all great with Sangeeta’s tasty cocktail sauce getting delighted nods all around. Click here for her cocktail sauce recipe.

The game has been great with Ravens dominating the Super Bowl. Beginning with Raven QB Joe Flacco set the tone for the game with an early touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin to Ed Reed’s interception of Forty-Niners QB Colin Kaepernick pass in the second quarter to Jones touchdown at the end of the second quarter. Hopefully they will be able to hold on to their lead. The score was 21-3 Ravens at the end of the first quarter.

The first day of the year


“Mmmmm, that was good.”

– Sujata Swaroop

Every year on the first of the year our family gets together to have an anniversary puja that starts around 10 a.m. A lot fewer people usually come to this puja than others. 10 instead of 25.

Since it is the day after New Year’s Eve and the morning of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, many wander in for brunch around 11 am or noon.

Happy New Year!!

Comfort food

Spicy turkey chili with a slice of fresh sourdough bread.

Sometimes all you need on a cold, blustery winter’s day is something simple like a bowl of soup with some crusty bread to make you really happy. I made this Spicy Turkey Chili along with some piping hot sourdough bread for myself in the height of the holiday craziness. During a time when there is too much to do and way too much rich, sweet food all around it was nice to have some comfort food while I took some time to relax after decorating the house in all its holiday finery.

It was simple, quick and very satsifying. I enjoy a bit of heat and this delivered it in abundance. I topped it with grated cheddar cheese and small spoon of sour cream to indulge myself.

A bit of chocolate heaven

The season of chocolate continues with this tiramousse that I whipped up today for a New Year's Eve party tonight. This recipe was easy and has a deep chocolate taste tinged with coffee.

“It’s intense and chocolatey.”

Sunjay Swaroop, at the family New Year’s Eve party

This mousse was easy! The most time-consuming part of it was melting the chocolate, which is done in the microwave. The other ingredients are mixed in a blender and then you combine the two. It’s that simple … and the deep chocolate flavor is enhanced by a red wine when you serve it.

Want to make it for yourself? Click here.

Truffle Doughnuts

These incredible confections were made from a recipe by Sherry Yard. The are crisp and crunchy on the outside and molten chocolate on the inside.

This is an incredible treat that you want to make right before you serve. They need to be eaten hot!

This is so scrumptious that it’s hard to believe it can be this easy. Kudos to Sherry Yard for making a delectable treat so simple, easy and fast.

After I had made the batter, I was wondering how a flash fry (30 seconds on each side in scorching hot oil) would allow the soft batter to cook solidly. Turns out I needn’t have worried. The Panko crust of the exterior fries up crispy and light while the inside turns into molten chocolate. Quite a heady delight!