Wrangler almost hits my daughter on Stanley SIDEWALK

Just an hour ago, my husband and I were walking towards my daughter's daycare, along with his parents. All of us, happily anticipating how she would react when she saw that we were all there to meet her. Her reaction more than matched our wildest hope.

We walked back home, heads bent against the rain or covered by an umbrella. Our 21 month old fell asleep in her stroller, tired from the day's activities. My husband was pushing her. As we walked on the east side of Stanley, between Renee Levesque and Sainte Catherine, I sensed rather than saw that a garage door opened just as we were about to walk past it. Without thinking, I threw my arm out to stop the stroller. A Wrangler shot out of the garage at great speed and came to a halt only as it was about to enter the street, filled with evening traffic.

If I hadn't reacted or if we had been a second sooner or the car, a moment later, who knows what would have happened!

After the car left, we looked up, above the garage door, to see a red signal, as if pedestrians routinely look up while walking on the SIDEWALK. Granted, if someone was far enough from the garage door, he or she would be able to see it. But what of the person to whom it matters the most? The one directly in the path of oncoming ton of metal?

Do you walk with your heads pointed straight up for any red lights that may show up?

Which begs the question – how do buildings get away with such dangerously placed garage exits?

I am still shaken up. I am too numb with shock to even feel anger.

Oven-roasted cauliflower that the V family just cannot resist

This is part of my find-a-recipe-for-a-vegetable-you-hate adventure.

A very very very long time ago, my sister had a bad experience while cutting cauliflower. Let's leave it at that. But it scarred me enough to hate the buttery looking vegetable, well into my adult life. As a matter of fact, even until after becoming a mother. When I decided that if I have to make my daughter eat all vegetables, I should first learn to do so without cringing. 

Funny thing is, once I like a certain recipe, I can extend the tolerance to many other previously maligned recipes. Don't know why!

I am copying the recipe verbatim below as well, because occasionally, people decide to delete recipes and I am left without it. But the full credit goes to Manggy, the author.

Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin, Coriander and Chili

  • 500g head (18-oz) of cauliflower, washed, green leaves removed and cut into florets (half-florets if you want extra crunch)

  • sea salt
  • olive oil (add a knob of butter that has been melted for serious flavor, but I wanted to keep it wholesome)
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or 2 dried chilis)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • mommydiaries says: Oven mitts; fork; cool air, for you won't want to wait too long to eat it.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Make sure the cauliflower is completely dry by patting it in between paper towels. In a sheet pan or roasting pan, toss the florets with a good glug of olive oil. In a mortar, bash the spices with a pinch of salt. Sprinkle over the florets evenly and toss well. Make sure they are laid out in a single layer on the pan. Roast in the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes, then give them a good toss to ensure even cooking, and roast for 10 minutes more or until the edges are brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.


    My 2 cents. I don't pat the cauliflower dry. I prefer not to use paper towels or anything "disposable" if I can avoid it. I leave the florets to drain in the colander if I have enough patience. Else, I start the recipe after the water has drained out but the cauliflower is still moist.

    I use coconut oil in it occasionally, or ghee. I have made it with olive oil too. It just depends on my mood.

    I can eat a whole big cauliflower by myself, prepared this way, and that's saying something.

    Today, I forgot to turn the oven up to 400 F. I had it at 375 F for 15 min, tossed the florets around, then turned it up to 400 F and left it for another 15 min. The cauliflower was damp when I started, so it was soft, but still tasted yummy enough that M wanted more of it. I had to stop because I wanted her to eat some protein too. 

    I'll save some for M's snack when out and about to buy another cauliflower this afternoon and roast it again so that my husband doesn't suspect that I ate it all. Oh I meant household supplies. To buy household supplies. Household supplies it is, I am sticking to my story.

    Shoe Size

    Baby shoes – (softly) tup tup tup tup tup tup

    Mommy shoes – (louder) tup tup tup tup tup tup
    Daddy shoes – (even louder) tup tup tup tup tup tup

    M’s version – 

    Amma shoes – daga daga daga daga daga
    Appa shoes – daga daga daga daga daga

    A’right, that being said, M just started daycare, part time. They have outdoor time for about a half hour everyday, barring inclement weather. I was having trouble as it was, trying to find warm winter boots that I can push her feet into. Now, the more laid back approach to the great boot search took on a new urgency. I sat down on the floor of many big stores, trying to find something for her. Big store, numerous shoes, right? Big store, many shoes, few salespeople, hardly any help.

    Finally, in desperation, I called Mitsy to ask where she got shoes for her now almost-preschooler, last winter. Birkenstock-Naturino in Westmount. Off I went to Westmount but sadly, the store was closed for the day. I went again the next day. It is a small store with friendly and helpful staff. They only had 4 pairs of boots in her size, but with the saleslady’s excellent advice, we found a cute purple pair. And also, indoor shoes for M to use in daycare.

    Did you know that winter boots are supposed to be 2 sizes bigger than your toddler’s foot size? I didn’t. Small wonder that I couldn’t get her feet into all of those size 4 and 5 boots!

    And if you live in the area, I highly recommend the store.

    Mixed Vegetable Paratha

    October 14, 2011.

    A few weeks ago, I made <a href=" http://mommydiaries.posterous.com/broccoli-paratha“>broccoli paratha for our Friday night dinner. Now, R would have been on a semi-fast on any given Friday, and did not appreciate the fact that I was ruining his paratha for him by adding broccoli into it. He thought it was gross betrayal. His thoughts probably ran worse, but I don't know, and I pretended not to care.

    Fast forward to today. I have some leftover peas and carrots and corn and other vegetables stir-fried with various spices from yesterday. One of those days again, that M isn't interested in eating. Neither am I, really. So, I turned to my tried and tested paratha. I swear that recipes must have been invented by harried mothers whose kids were refusing to eat the usual fare. So, here I am, deciding to post about anything strange that I make (you may already know about it, but it is strange to me, it is an invention, perhaps not a new one, but an invention nonetheless).

    Out comes the food processor again, chop goes the stir fry, knead goes the dough. Sizzle goes the oil. Gobble go the "mixed vegetable parathas".

    And hey, I am getting better at rolling out circles too! There must be something to this proverb.

    "Practice makes Perfect."

    "Necessity is the mother of invention".

    Broccoli Paratha

    It is Friday (September 16, 2011). I went to lunch with friends and their beautiful daughters. We called ourselves the "Terrors of Montreal", what with our 3 giant strollers. One of my friends even suggested that area high schools should invite us to their schools to show girls how difficult babies can be. To convince them that abstinence is the best policy.

    Lost a shawl. Forgot to pick up a tea bag for the tea that came with my lunch. Got told, "It's Friday!", in a tone that meant that a person is allowed to be scatterbrained on a Friday afternoon. Except, this could have happened to me on any day, these days.

    Anyway, I started writing this post yesterday, but I think my phone rang. My mother was calling and we skyped with her, to show her M's new fancy. Size 7 shoes. Her feet are a dainty size 4.

    Eating a broccoli paratha may have made her think herself quite big.

    Here's how that came about. R doesn't eat rice on Fridays at all. Neither do I normally, but we can talk about it later. Usually for M's dinner, I give her rice, although she may get different grains during the day. But on this day, I was in no mood to cook 2 separate kinds of meals. I wanted to eat something "good" (defined as, I-am-feeling-lazy-and-clueless-but want-something-hot-and-tasty). I opened the frig and ransacked the crisper, while I tried to keep the door open. People fear about preventing their children from opening doors. She's at a stage when she shuts any open door she encounters. Anyway, I found a head of broccoli from our Sunday trip to the market. I wondered now. Can I make a paratha out of it? After all, cauliflower is used for gobi parathas! So, I googled the word and came up with many hits. That's all I needed to know, before setting about making some. R was not too happy that I was spending so much time to make something so stupid (read containing broccoli).



    One bunch of broccoli, florets broken out and grated/shreddded; I used a hand cranked food processor

    Cumin powder to taste, 1 tsp

    Coriander powder to taste, 1 tsp

    Salt a pinch or 2

    Thyme powder to taste, 0.5 tsp

    Asafoetida a sprinkle

    Red chilli powder, 1 tsp

    Ginger 1 inch piece, grated


    Whole wheat flour for dough 3 cups

    Whole wheat flour for dusting 0.5 cup




    Oil for shallow frying


    Add salt to the grated broccoli and set aside.

    Add water into the wheat flour slowly, folding the flour into the dough until the dough doesn't stick to the hands.

    Let it sit covered for at least a half hour.

    Tip from my paratha-land friend: put the dough into the frig. if you're in a hurry. Leave it there until it is needed. Knead it again and use.

    Place cast iron pan on the stove and begin heating it.


    Squeeze the water out of the broccoli (this water can be reserved to use in a soup or a stew or another recipe that calls for water).

    Mix the remaining ingredients of the stuffing in with the broccoli.

    Remove dough from frig., re-knead for a minute or so, apply a few drops of oil in your hand and make several balls of dough.

    Flatten a ball between the palms, make a cup out of it in your cupped palm, and place a bit of stuffing in it.

    Close it by pulling the edges closed, making sure not to tear the dough (I have torn it, and it makes the rolling out trickier, but it has worked for me, so don't panic).

    Flatten the ball again and coat it with flour on all sides, roll it out into a circle (or, if you aren't a shape fascist – another name for someone who knows what they're doing and can actually get circles that are of even thickness; given by those of us who don't always get it right; ok, by me). It is more important to get it to a uniform thickness than for it to be a circle, for the taste. Aesthetics? That's another story. I roll it out as thin as I can.

    Then, shallow fry it on the now hot pan, with oil (or ghee, which will give you a more authentic taste, and of course, not a little too much calories. As if the ghee weren't enough, serving it with butter and pickle? Yummmm).

    Serve hot with plain yogurt or a raita (finely chopped vegetables, usually cucumber, onion, tomato, or a combination thereof, along with herbs and spices, in a ladle-whipped yogurt base).

    This seems like a lot but isn't really too much, as I found out when I started making something that'll include a vegetable into her "tapiti".

    Lord of Dals (a recipe for mango or tomatillo or green apple dal)

    In the Land of Mango, in the Fires of the Red Chilli, the Tart Dal secretly rendered many palates awash.

    In my eagerness for an imitation of the original, I accepted the sphere of tartness, the tomatillo, in the Land of Stars and Stripes. Without question. As it drew me inexorably into the shadow where The One Dal seemed forever out of my reach. Forever did I sense it, forever did I search for it. I had become one of those. A Dalfaith.

    The search continues in Maple Earth. Where even the tomatillo is nowhere to be seen.


    All hope lost, I am now making a variety of different dals for my little and my big ones. And introducing a variety of fruits to them. Yes, them. He only eats fruits that are easy to eat. Cut fruits being one of them. I had reached for a green spherical object in a moment of distraction, hoping to mix it with oats. There are few foods that M refuses to even try (quantity she'll eat is an entirely different issue though), and one of those is oat porridge. There goes that hope. I could have given it to her raw, but somehow, it got lost in the frigid depths of my freezer. For two and a half thousand minutes (no one's counting), it lay there, lost to all memory. 

    Until this afternoon, when I went a-fishing for something interesting to cook dal with, and my fingers brushed against it. Something smooth. Something round. Something cold to the touch. The green apple. I set about making a green apple dal out of it. A very poor imitation of the original, granted, but it tasted wonderful to me. My little ankle-biter is on a food strike and won't eat anything but cookies, sigh! She's on a milk and cookies diet. Have to try offering a different fruit to her and see how that goes. Not too many hopes though, as she refused to touch one of her favorite fruits, the strawberry.

    I don't measure and thus, the amounts are an approximation. Feel free to play around.


    Raw mango (or tomatillos or green apple) cubed   1 cup

    Toor dal, cleaned (Pigeon peas)                                       1/3 cup



    Mustard seeds 1 tsp

    Urad dal (Split black gram lentil) 2 tsp

    Red chillies 2

    Asafoetida a small pinch/a sprinkle

    Curry leaves 1 sprig (I didn't have any, so I didn't use it, but dried ones will do in a pinch)

    Jaggery to taste

    Salt to taste


    Pressure cook toor dal with 2-3 times water. Set aside.

    Heat a cast iron skillet (I use cast iron but you can use whatever you use at home).

    Once hot, add the ingredients for seasoning and toss until the mustard seeds pop and crackle.

    Curry leaves go in at this stage, if using. Toss until crisp, which won't take long at all.

    Add the cubed fruit in, cook until just soft.

    Add dal, stir.

    Add salt and jaggery to taste.


    PS: I had a post referring to this very green apple dal. This recipe has been slumbering in my drafts folder almost complete. I'll strive to bring the rest of the draft bytes into daylight soon.

    On the lines of learning…

    Each day, as M learns about the world, we learn about parenting. She is constantly making discoveries with her voice, with objects, with her feet.

    And each day, she teaches us how best to parent her. What she responds to best. What she would like for a new toy.

    I remember asking my mother what we would do with the baby once we brought her home and set her on her bed. She told me that the baby will guide my actions when she arrives and show me what she needs. What it takes to be a parent.

    There is a certain amount of leeway. She is forgiving to many lapses in routine, unyielding to any in other aspects.

    She tells us what she's ready for, what we can show her, what she can do.

    As I teach her about the world, she's teaching me how to parent her. To search my mind for inconsistencies between word and action. To try my utmost to be the ideal that I want my daughter to be.