Leaving My Passion ~ My Biggest Regret

I am usually a girl that makes BIG decisions on the fly.  I rely a lot on my gut.  I don’t know about you, but the prospect of not knowing what happens next excites me, elicits in me a spark of inspiration and wonder.  It’s like a brand new adventure with nooks and crannies yet to be discovered.

I decided I wanted to be with the man of my dreams forever a week after I met him.  I chose the place I wanted to live after one showing.  I bought my first home as if i went to buy a pair of shoes at the mall…

Basically, I jump into life’s crazy twists and turns without a harness or a safety net.

reget

I have yet to regret this trait of mine… till now.

A few months ago, I jumped into a career opportunity that was so far out of my comfort zone that for the first time, I felt like I leaped and did not land on solid ground.  This, has never happened to me.  I have always seemed to flourish in whatever new environment I find myself in.  Like water, I take the shape of the vessel I am in.  However, it did not pan out this way for me.  Everyday I am finding challenges that are chipping away at my resolve instead of lighting a fire within me to take on the new endeavors that are coming my way.

Initially, I had thought…why not? why not leave everything you have learned and become accustomed to and throw caution to the wind.  Try something totally new.  I knew it would challenge me; this new step. In my life,

I had come to think of working and employment in a very logical way.  To me, if I am working for anyone other than myself, I am replaceable.  I am just an employee that produces and gets compensated for my work.  In my mind I wanted to advance at a quick rate because I felt that in order to get noticed, I must work harder and quicker then the next girl because I wanted to make the money.  I used to look at opportunities in the monetary gain department.  I took the option that gave me the most money. The Hubzter never understood this.  Why do you have to ALWAYS go where the money is? Um… duh.. I want to live the “life”.  I want to enjoy the fruits of my labour…. yesterday.  Who cares about personal fulfillment?

And this is where I went wrong.

As I sit here, I confess that I made the wrong move.  I put money before happiness.  I put success before inner satisfaction.  And I cannot begin to explain how much regret I feel.  and the funny thing is… it’s not even THAT much more money.

Before you freak, I didn’t sell my soul to the devil or anything like that… but I somehow feel like I sold myself short.  I took too lightly my passions, and went in a different direction just because I felt like i would make more money in that industry.  I was wrong and i thoroughly regret it.   In fact, I wish I could take it all back.

Unfortunately, real life does not work that way…  I now know what I let go of… and I am going to put my heart and soul back into the search so that THIS TIME… i think a little harder before I throw myself into another twist of life…

Who knows? maybe I’ll redeem myself.

Simple Spicy Grilled Chicken & Summer Quinoa Salad

The Hubzter has been on a mission lately. He wants to get in shape for summer. He’s been working out hard and honestly, I’m so proud of him for always doing his best to live a healthy lifestyle! [He wants to maintain his boyish good looks as long as he can!]

Since I am not much of a “Worker-Outer” I tend to stay away when he’s off bench pressing or worse… Cardio. [dude, you asked for a life partner, nowhere does it say anything about running partner on the contract I signed]. In an effort to help both myself and his efforts, I have been working on how to incorporate healthier options into our meals.

spicy_grilled_chicken_quinoa_ScribblesFromAShahzadi

Spicy Grilled Chicken & Summer Quinoa Salad

I also find that eating healthy is the summer is so much easier to do with a grill! So today? I’m going to share with you a recipe that I loved making and had the Hubz go back for seconds, without feeling the guilt.

For the Chicken:
2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of soy sauce
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
0.5 tsp of red chilli powder
Salt & pepper to taste

In a bowl put the chicken in and dump all the ingredients on top of it. Then massage the chicken with the marinade. Put the chicken in the fridge overnight to let the spices do their magic!

THE NEXT DAY

Preheat your grill to 400oC. Place your chicken breast on the grill and make sure you hear the sizzle! That means the grill is the perfect temperature. Close the cover of the grill and let it cook away!
After about six to seven minutes, turn the chicken 45 degrees and place it back in the grill to give your chicken some crisscross grill marks [I know, very gourmet of me]
That should be another minute and a half. Then flip and do the same on the other side. This time leave it for 5 minutes.
Once the chicken had cooked through, take it off the grill and set aside.

For the Quinoa:
3 cups quinoa, cooked [follow cooking directions on the package]
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 can of sweet corn
1 small head of broccoli, chopped
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of one large lemon
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Spices to taste:
– Dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients, toss and Done!
Slice up the chicken breast and serve along side a hearty helping of the salad!

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this recipe out!

<3

Even at your worst, I love you, and you should know that.

I am a passionate person. I have very strong opinions about things and I often try to be as open to other’s points of view as possible. But sometimes I find myself in situations, whether it be related to my family, friends, husband where the conversation escalades to a full blown argument. I actively participate in the argument as I have no problem with confrontation. Now the odd thing about me is that I can’t hold a grudge.
In my life I have always thought that grudge holding was a colossal waste of our finite time on this earth.

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The way I see things is this:
Everyone has a an opinion that they have crafted as a result of many factors that don’t necessary have anything to do with me. So when I don’t agree with a particular opinion, I state my opinion, attempt the make the other person see things the way I do.

Sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t. This is when I either get indifferent or upset. But when I get upset, I get this overwhelming feeling of sadness towards that person. Then I can’t bear to be mad anymore. It just takes so much effort to be mad at someone you love. It could be my mom, my sister, my hubzter, my best friends, it does not matter.

I just feel so much love for them that any anger or sadness they cause me pales in comparison. So I do what I’ve always done.

Get over it. I tell myself:

Every minute you are angry at a loved one is a minute less you have with them.

And when I think about it, it’s just not worth it. So I move on.
Sometimes I feel like the people around me know this about me and unknowingly take advantage of it. They often joke around that I can never be mad at anyone for more than two minutes. Some also hold out on apologizing to me because they know I will forget about it in a little bit.

Is that fair to me? Is this how it’s going to be forever? I mean is that not a little inconsiderate that you can just hold out and wait for me to make up? What about them reflecting on what they have done, what they have said? I guess it’s my fault for giving in, I don’t know.

What I am trying to say, I guess, is that life is way too short, and grudges, tiffs, fights all suck. So let them go. And If you are the passive aggressive type, realize that you aren’t doing your friend a favour when you let them “simmer down and forget about it” because you refuse to give them the closure they would really appreciate.

I think for me personally, I like the fact that I don’t like holding on to negative energy, it takes the stress out of acting like you don’t care. Because I do. Even at your worst, I love you, and you should know that.

Bangladeshi Chicken Curry

My favorite part of living the married life is the fact that I make most of the dinner decisions.

Growing up under the wing of my Ammu and my Nani, there was little you got to do in the kitchen than chop onions and make garlic paste for hours… because you just didn’t get in their way.  Either you anticipated what the next step was before they asked you to do a task in their kitchen… or you got the heck out of their way and buried yourself under the piles of vegetable chopping that was too beneath them to do!

Early on in my married days, I realized I loved to cook. I liked to pin recipes for hours, then study them, then go out and purchase a million different ingredients [that I would use only once].  For the last few years, I have tried my hand at Thai food, Chinese food, Indian, Italian…

Although I LOVED all the recipes I’ve tried, nothing beats a simple Bangladeshi chicken curry.  One of the basic and most common place on a Bangladeshi dinner table, other than RICE of course!

Bangladeshi Chicken Curry | Scribbles From a Shahzadi

Bangladeshi Chicken Curry

Today I thought I would share with you MY variation – because God forbid anyone tell you the EXACT measurements for ingredients in any particular recipe.  Go on.. ask your Ammu for any method to a recipe… she will reply with

“iktu lobon, iktu holud, morich dite paro, diye nara chara korle.. hoye gelo”

roughly translates to:  “a little salt. a little turmeric, you can put chillies if you want, after just stir a little and –  DONE “

Um. NO. It’s not that simple! But it’s simple enough.  Simple enough that you can stumble through this recipe and get a pretty decent chicken curry! This is my first recipe on the blog so just humor me.. and if you think I should change it up a bit or have suggestions on how to better write a recipe please leave it in the comments! Here goes!

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil [we try to make things healthier around here... sometimes]
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into “curry pieces” [the butcher, can do this for you.]
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 – 2 large tomatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic, grated using a micro-plane
  • 3 – 4 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 – 2 dried red chilli
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole cardamon pods
  • 3-4 cups approx. of boiling water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste [optional]
  • 1/3 cup of fresh coriander leaves, chopped [optional]
The Holy Grail of Bangladeshi cooking ~ The spice mix!

The Holy Grail of Bangladeshi cooking ~ The spice mix!

METHOD

  1. Wash your raw chicken really well and leave it in a colander to drain.

    Clean your chicken really well!

    Clean your chicken really well!

  2. Once drained, go through the pieces of chicken to trim off any fat deposits that may be lingering on the meat.  It doesn’t hurt and doing this step will ensure you don’t have extra fat in your dish AND, I’ve noticed that sometimes there is an odd smell that comes from the curry if you leave it. [eww. gross]
  3. Get your kettle and get some water boiling.
  4. In a wok style pan, add oil and heat.  Add sliced onion and stir and get them sweating a bit.  When they begin to get golden around the edges, add your chicken.

    Sizzling onions

    Sizzling onions

  5. Once you’ve added your chicken to the pan, add your garlic, green chillies, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder, ginger powder, coriander powder,  coriander powder, break your cinnamon stick and add it in, add your dried red chillies, crush the cloves and cardamon pods a little bit to open up the flavour and dump it right in.  Stir to coat the chicken in the spice.

    Spices galore!

  6. Saute the chicken for a good 10 min to make sure the spices are cooking up and breaking down the chicken.  The chicken will begin to give off it’s own liquid which will be the beginnings of your curry.

    Cooking away!

    Cooking away!

  7.  You want to keep stirring every so often because you don’t want the chicken to get stuck on the bottom.
  8. After about 10 minutes of sauteing you will notice that the chicken is now cooking in its own liquid. Add enough hot water to the pot to cover the top of the chicken. bring the water to a boil.
  9. Add the tomatoes and your tomato paste (optional).

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    Tomatoes and tomato paste go in!

  10.  Once the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 min.
  11. Taste for spice/ salt level and adjust according to taste. let simmer.
  12. When you see oil surfacing to the top, add your chopped coriander and take it off the heat and let wilt.
  13. Transfer to a serving dish and serve over rice!
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Bangladeshi Chicken Curry, Shahzadi Style!

ENJOY! <3

Please let me know if you make this recipe.  If you do anything differently, maybe I can try it out! <3

The Reality of Running Your Own Household!

The hardest part of running your own house is having to do EVERYTHING yourself.  Who knew that getting married and having a husband was a lot more responsibility then the life I left behind?  You mean to say, that being married is not dinner dates, romantic gestures, sleepovers every night  and having a Hubzter who forgets special days for which he has to sleep on the couch?

WOAH. NO WAY! – wait.. this is not what I signed up for… or did I?

In fact I did.

Apparently I signed up to cook meals whenever the fridge is empty and it’s my turn to fill it.  Apparently I signed up to do laundry (that includes folding and ironing) instead of buy new clothes when I ran out of clean outfits.  Apparently I have to also plan our meals, help with the groceries, update our shared calender with the myriad of social commitments we always are a part of.  I have to pack his and my lunch, I have to make sure that he wakes up in the morning to get to work on time… and the list goes on…

He has a list just as long too of all the things he contributes, like paying a lot of the bills, doing the garbage, the bathrooms, the floors… and the crap load of sarees he has to iron courtesy of being the Hubzter of a Bengali girl who happens to LOVE her heritage.

I don’t think either one of us realized how much work goes into day to day operations of a household.  I can’t put words into his mouth, but I had NO IDEA what so ever.  It’s been two years, and honestly, it’s still a daily struggle on my part, to make sure all our chores are done.  I just figured that things would just sort of fall in to place when I first got hitched.  But slowly, I began to realize that things don’t just fall into “place”… you have to make a space for it… and work on getting your “things” to settle in their place comfortably.

I guess you could say I was mildly spoiled.  My parents shielded me from a lot of real life experiences as they felt it to be their responsibility to not let anything scar me in a way that would alter my sunny disposition about my life.  They gave me all the things I wanted, before it got to the “whining stage”.  Maybe they should have let me whine.  Or maybe I should have been more rebellious about things they wouldn’t let me do (of which there were many, and of what I was too lazy to fight).  What’s done is done… but now I feel less adequately prepared to be an equal contributing member of our little family of two.

You are thinking.. wow.. 2 and a half years and you still don’t know what’s going on??

I’m afraid so.  I just hate routine so much! And part of a successful operation is to have a process that is tried and true.. and WORKS. This is something I realize I need to start embracing.  I hate doing the same things in sequence.  -_- guys, I am so immature! LOL

Anyways, I think I have finally come to terms with the idea of a routine.  I think the best way to get around it is to just dive into it!

GET’ER DONE.

Out of the way.

Get home from work, finish the tasks at hand and then you have the rest of the night to yourselves.

If you agree with me or if you do some fun things to keep the chores from getting mundane and boring, let me know in the comments! The Hubzter would profusely thank you.. because when we have to do chores…I’m just not that much of a joy to be around.

 

<3

 

 

Marrying Within Your Culture is as Difficult as Marrying Out of it!

When I brought home a Bangladeshi husband, I thought I was home free!

Having grown up in Canada, it was hard enough to hold on to the roots that my parents held on to so tightly. I had always made sure that  any guy I seriously ever considered dating was Bangladeshi because I knew that bringing home a guy that was of another race would cause problems.  My parents would have to get over cultural barriers, after the initial shock that I had ACTUALLY brought home a potential partner. My guy would have had to deal with understanding my limitations as a Bengali Muslim girl, would have to put forth a lot of effort to understand how to straddle the line between my more liberal ideals against my family’s more traditional expectations.

I was so not into all that.  Imagine the effort I would have to put into making it “work”.  Celebrating separate holidays, taking part in the other’s traditions I didn’t really understand, but respected and was eager to learn about.

Thank the lucky stars that when I found my main man, he was Muslim and Bengali, he fit into the family so seamlessly.  He enjoyed my mom’s cooking like his own, held together a conversation with my father, became my little sister’s partner in crime, and cracked jokes with my grand mother for hours! Everything was peachy keen.

We got married {best day of my life} and moved on to spend two and a half years in happily married land. We have our own little place and created a life for ourselves that we love.  We visit the parents on the regular and it’s always nice to be home. Being doted on.  fed our favorite meals, in general, be loved.

Until recently I had not realized something very very big.  The Hubz and I are from completely different backgrounds.  Yes, we have the common threads of religion and culture running through us.  And yes, he does get along with my family and I, his.  However, we have completely different upbringings and values.  I was raised in Canada, and he in the UAE.  Our families, although both Bangladeshi, each have a different aspect of culture they give more value to.

It came to me as a complete surprise when I realized that the expectations I previously thought my mother in law would have of me… she didn’t.  I also realized that there are some expectations I had of her, that she did not anticipate.  Essentially both of us were feeding off of the feelings we are expected to feel according to our own cultural biases.  We all watch the serials on TV and it is hard not to get influenced by them, consciously or unconsciously.

I realized that we are no different than an interracial couple.  We go through episodes, where we don’t understand where the other is coming from on the basis of different values.  There are times when we are at odds with how to make the other’s parents understand us.  Sometimes, we have alternate traditions that other other had never heard of, but are eager to learn about/ or not.

All I know is that we respect each other enough to understand what matters to the other.  And we put aside the ego, and try to do our best to keep our family woven together.

And it’s a constant work in progress.  It’s not easy.  I am not home free, and even thought I thought I didn’t have it in me… I love every minute of it.

<3

Mrs. [Insert Husband's Last Name Here]

I am one of those girls that planned her entire wedding when I was six years old.  I knew how I wanted everything… and believe me, it happened just as I had dreamed it.  Minus my husband’s height. I let him slide under the height requirement because he made it his personal mission to crack me up at least once a day. That being said, one of the only things that I didn’t plan out was whether I wanted to take on his last name…

I came across a blog post on masalamommas yesterday and it really resonated with the girl in me.  I see how the writer of the blog wanted to maintain her identity and hold on to her family lineage.  I liked that basis, but for me, changing my last name to that of my husband’s has a different significance all together.  Here is my story…

I always had an attachment to my last name.  You see, my situation is a little unique.  When I was born, I was not given my father’s last name.  I was rather, given my grandmother’s name in memory of her.  In Bangladesh, there is really no practice of family name that is strictly followed, especially for female children.  So I was the cool kid that had a funky last name that really was her grandmother’s nick name.

You can imagine the novelty of such a thing.  But it was also awkward.  My father had his last name, my mother opted to take on my father’s first name instead of his last,  and my sister and I were given my late grandmother’s nickname as our last name.  We were a family, but unidentifiable by any one family name.

When we moved to North America, my father was often called by my last name… my mother by my father’s last name… it was never cohesive. Over the years it became an ordeal to explain each time we met someone new that Mr. Ali is my father, Mrs. Nowab is my mother and I am Ms. Nuri. Yes. I have to admit, my last name was pretty cool.  I have never met another “Nuri” other than my sister… and each time I heard my father say the name, you could see he remembered his own mother.  Yes.  All that meant a great deal to me.

Than I got married.  His last name isn’t unique.  Rather, it’s the Islamic equivalent of “Johnson”, it’s not as bad as “Smith” but I mean, google his last name and you’d have to spend an hour just getting through the first page of results. Needless to say, I was not too thrilled with the idea of going from a super unique last name to one that would probably get me listed on a security watch list at the airport. [JUST KIDDING GUYS] lol.  In all honesty, my husband was pretty indifferent to my changing my last name to his.  His thought was that his mom had kept her maiden name, he didn’t think “today’s woman” even did that.

But I oddly felt at odds with myself. On one hand I felt a little feminism kick in… I wanted to maintain my identity.  But as I thought more about it,  I realized that when I married him… we started a new family.  One that should have an identity.  At that point I thought of convincing him to change his last name… come on… Mr. Nuri had a cool ring to it… didn’t it?  He didn’t find it very amusing.   When that didn’t work, I got to thinking about all the times I had to explain to people why my family was a mosaic of last names.  Although, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with keeping your maiden name, I realized that I wanted our new family to be known as it’s own unit.

In a sense, I realized that once I got married, my life entered a new chapter.  When we were growing up, I always wanted to be referred to as a TEEN.  Even when I was 12, I would demand that my mother refer to me as a pre-teen, (at least the label had the word teen in it) because we wanted so badly to move on to the next [more significant- in our eyes] part of our existence.  In my opinion, when I entered this chapter of my life, I inherited a title that I was given the option to adopt.  When I finally changed my last name, I did not make a submissive decision to be identified by my husband’s identity but rather a title that came from the new chapter of my life.  I know that when my children are born they will have a name both my husband and I share, just as their conception will be something we both share. When I look at my last name, I feel more a part of a partnership, a team, than I did when we didn’t share a name.

I sometimes miss my old last name, but I feel every bit a “Nuri” as I have ever, because to me, no one can take that away from me.  I don’t think I would be any less a “Nuri” even if every wedding invite that came in the mail was addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. [Enter Husband's Last Name Here]”  I don’t think I would be any less a “Nuri” because my passport says otherwise.

I think my identity is in my manners, in my values, and in the twinkle in my eye that mirrors that of my Grandmother’s, whose beautiful name I was able to carry as my own for as long as I had.

Scribbles From A Shahzadi

Scribbles From A Shahzadi

<3