Homemade Indian Palak Anda & 33 Things I’ve Learned Over the Years… [RECIPE]

Good Morning Everyone!

Today is my birthday 🙂 As such, I’m sitting with a cup of tea before the sunrise, typing to you all, and reflecting on life. Life is funny, isn’t it? It’s so fleeting, yet so beautiful. In the end no matter how rich or poor we are we all want the same thing: time. Just time. I think this birthday has been the best birthday I’ve ever had. Here are some highlights the Noob Family did for me this year:

  • I had a beautiful dinner with my mom and her husband. He even gave me a huge jar of organic honey which made me SO happy since I love to drink tea a lot!
  • Jr. Noob Chef made me a beautiful card and love note. That brought tears to my eyes.
  • Mr. Noob Chef tried to buy me more Nori seaweed for sushi… but when the grocery store was overpriced, he ended up buying me a HUGE pack from Amazon! Weeee!
  • I steam cleaned my tile floors and marveled at how gorgeous they look with my new steamer! (Thanks Mom!! ❤ )
  • And I found a new song during our seasonal fall family song competition: check out “Geronimo” by Sheppherd (an Aussie band) on Youtube. It’s very positive and great to drive to! 🙂

So there you have it! It has been such a wonderful birthday 🙂 And the good times keep rolling as we whip up a bunch of yummy Vegan dishes today. (Stay tuned all this week for pictures and recipes from today’s birthday bash).

And now for 33 things I’ve learned over the years…. 

  1. Save your money. Chances are you don’t need as much as you think you do. So save your money and spend it on the stuff that really matters!
  2. Savor time. We all never get enough time with the people we love. So soak it up, snap a picture, and enjoy every moment with your loved ones. It’s so fleeting.
  3. Realize that everything really will be okay. There will be up’s and down’s. Good times and bad, but in the end life moves along. Wounds heal. The body learns to adapt. And I promise you…. things will be okay ❤
  4. Exercise. It sucks. You get sweaty. But even if you don’t like the way you look. Stretch your muscles. Move. Your heart and organs will thank you for it!
  5. Invest in yourself. We spend so much time fussing over our loved ones, we often neglect ourselves. Take time to do things that make YOU happy. It’s not selfish, I promise!
  6. Dance. Who cares if you can’t dance? I don’t know how to dance, and you can bet that if you saw me today…. you’d see me dancing and twirling up and down the grocery aisles. 🙂 Dance like nobody’s watching!
  7. Live to eat. I hate that saying “I eat to live, not live to eat”. Really? Okay, then don’t talk to me. Because honey, I love to cook. I love to enjoy the hell out of my food. Do I overindulge? No. But do I swoon when I see a dish I worked hard at, coming together perfectly? Heck yes I do! 🙂 And you should too. Food is a universal thing that brings all people together. Enjoy it! Cook, and grab your friends and family. That’s what life is all about!
  8. Put down the salt shaker. Did you know there is salt in most food you buy from the market? I know… it’s scary. But unless you’re eating super fresh daily, chances are high that there is salt in canned food, etc. And if you’re a soy sauce-loving person (like me) then there is no need for added salt.
  9. Let that person cut you off on the road. It’s annoying… possibly even maddening. But more importantly, it’s dangerous. We’ve all been there. You’re driving and someone doesn’t signal, but instead just cuts you off on the highway. I always inhale sharply and wonder why the person is driving so erratically. But I always let them cut me off, because it’s not worth it to get in an accident. So take a few more seconds and ease off on the gas pedal.
  10. Don’t smoke. I don’t smoke. Never have. It’s gross. But believe me, I do sympathize with people who are quitting smoking. That’s tough shit. My heart goes out to you. You CAN do it!! And your body will feel miles better once you do.
  11. Listen to your gut instinct. If your body and mind is saying “Houston we HAVE a problem!”…. odds are really good you should listen. 9 times out of 10 you won’t be wrong.
  12. Laugh once every day. Even if you live alone, turn on a stand up comedy special, or search silly Youtube videos… find something to giggle at and have a good belly laugh. It’s great for you, body, mind, and soul.
  13. Laugh at your mistakes. I have a saying I tell my husband when I mess up in the kitchen. I say, “oh well, it’s either laugh or cry”. Sometimes I do both, but mostly I just laugh…. because there’s no use in crying over spilled milk, right? 🙂 So laugh! And then see if you can save the dish at all ❤
  14. Remember your please and thank you’s. I always hear the Barney song when I type this. (You can tell I’m definitely a mom!). But they really are the magic words. I’m always caught off guard when someone compliments the Noob Chef Jr. on her manners. I think, “doesn’t everyone say please and thank you?”. Apparently they don’t, but you’d be surprised how that simple act of kindness and politeness can go a long way.
  15. Acknowledge and trust your body. Only you know what’s good for your body. There are a million diets out there. A billion supplements of every vitamin, mineral, etc. But only YOU know what will feel right and good for your body. So tune out the noise and just listen to yourself. 🙂
  16. Be daring and try new food. This one can be hard for people. But step outside your comfort zone and give new foods a try. Personally, I dance through the grocery store always on an adventure to try new recipes. But my favorite ones are dishes from other cultures because I learn so much! Then I usually go on to find out the history of that dish, or learn more about the people of that culture.
  17. Which reminds me, always continue to learn. I don’t mean college, although that’s important too. Just learn! Soak up every day and learn something new. Whether it’s a food hack… or reading a new book. Do something to engage your mind. It’s a muscle too!
  18. Never apologize for being who you are. If you’re shy and introverted, that’s okay! If you’re the life of the party with a huge social circle, that’s okay! If you’re highly sensitive and a very feeling person, that’s okay! Just be yourself…. because you’re perfect the way you are.
  19. Keep your stress low. Stress is a chemical reaction in the body to stimulus or emotion that we find uncomfortable. But that chemical reaction can break down your immune system, make you ill, and shift your emotions rapidly. So do what you’ve got to do to keep that stress low and you’ll find yourself much happier!
  20. Please don’t use produce plastic bags. If you take away nothing else from this post, please heed my advice on this. When you go in the grocery store and reach for that thin plastic bag that you’re only using from the store to home… STOP. Back away. Just pick up your vegetable and put it in the cart! You’re going to wash it before you eat it anyway, AND you won’t be putting plastic bags in a landfill. Win-win!
  21. Be open-minded to others. There is beauty in diversity. Yes, there will be many people we disagree with. But you know what? That’s okay 🙂 Let them be them, and you be you. We are all one glittery, kind of odd… rainbow. I like being part of a rainbow, don’t you?
  22. It’s okay to be different. Honey, I am totally different. I’m bouncy, quirky, nerdy, but pretty darn happy. I don’t own much, and I have no money tree in the backyard. But after 33 years I have everything I need in life. I have a family whom I love with all of my heart. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. It doesn’t get better then that. Be different. Be weird. Be yourself! The world needs more of YOU.
  23. Cake is overrated. Okay, now before you give me the cake vs. pie argument… don’t flame me! I love both, people! But, all I’m saying is that on a birthday… you don’t HAVE to have cake. That’s kind of overrated. If you want to ring in your birthday with a cookie, or a piece of fruit, do it! Who cares?! 🙂
  24. No one cares if you shave your legs. Ladies I’m about to go completely against the 1952 Gillette ad that told ladies to begin shaving and thus started the stupid trend of us having to be “silky” all the time…. psst!…. no one cares if you shave! If you want to shave because you like it, do it. If you don’t, guess what? No one cares about your legs. We’re mammals. We have hair. Don’t shave, I approve of this message ❤
  25. Don’t forget to thank the men in your life. Ladies, guys have it rough too. They’re often raised to be “tough” or “strong” and rarely show emotion. They might be expected to join sports, when secretly they want to join the robotics club. Yes, guys have it rough and have just as many gender stereotypes as ladies do… but aren’t allowed to show their insecurities like women can! Guys, be yourself and be confident in it! Ladies LOVE a confident man! So be geeky, or artistic, or athletic and OWN IT!
  26. You deserve a break! Yes, YOU. *points at you* You, right there on your phone, tablet, or computer. You deserve to slow down and recharge. Even if you need to get a sitter or family member to watch the kids…. or you need to tell your partner, “Ay! I’m tired! It’s your turn!”, you deserve time to just take a breath…. and unwind.
  27. Live the life you imagined. We all only get one life, so live it how you imagine it to be. That may mean taking baby steps towards your goal: but do it! If you want that mansion on the beach, save for it! Do free walk through’s of mansions and dream big! If you want to live out of a backpack, chuck out your stuff and buy that backpack! Do what makes YOU feel good… and then work hard towards that life you want. 🙂
  28. Remember your carbon footprint. It’s so easy to just throw stuff away. Chuck it in the bin. Toss that trash bag in the dumpster… but it does go somewhere. As cheesy as this sounds, our planet really needs your help in reducing waste and energy consumption. Please remember the three R’s: recycle, reduce, and reuse.
  29. It’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes we aren’t okay. Sometimes we’re having a health issue… or having a horrible day… and we just aren’t okay! Guess what? It’s okay to not be okay ❤ You have the right to say, “you know what? No! I’m NOT okay!”. Own those emotions and find someone you trust to help you work through them. ❤
  30. Take time away from screens. We spend so much time in front of the TV, computer, or phones. But there is a huge, wide, beautiful world out there just waiting to be explored. Walk away from the screens and soak in everything around you.
  31. Pray. Meditate. Give thanks to whatever you believe in… or simply just meditate on being a part of the universe! But take time to remember that you are one strand in the fabric of life. It’s nice to be humble and small too 🙂
  32. Tidy up. I know it can be annoying to tidy up if you have a house full of stuff… but a clean area is a relaxing area. So tidy up! 🙂 Your stress will go down tremendously.
  33. You deserve to be happy. Whatever that picture looks like for you…. YOU deserve to be happy! You deserve to wake up everyday and count your blessings. You deserve to look across the room and see the life you’ve imagined. You deserve to hug the people you love… and marry whoever you want. You deserve to be spoken to with love and kindness. You deserve to wake up and know that who you are…. right now in this moment…. is enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH! And yes, you are gorgeous ❤

Now let’s have some fun and take a look at today’s recipe….

I was SO taken by Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer, that I had to make my own. I wanted a vat of this creamy spinach in my face, my friends. I wanted those fiery chiles and creamy vegetables to roll over my tongue as I swoon. Yes…. I wanted it all. So I got to work tinkering with this recipe and guess what? I did it! 🙂 Now my version is packed with protein because I creamed together cooked lentils and spinach. But I promise you it tastes just the same. And while this dish isn’t a “looker”…. wow is it tasty!

I didn’t have paneer on hand, so instead I used hard-boiled eggs. It turns out there is a dish for that called Palak Anda! We learn something new every day, right? 🙂 Enjoy this recipe everyone and as always, keep on cooking! ❤

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Homemade Indian Palak Anda

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 8 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/2 bag (or 2 cups) brown lentils, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

Instructions: 

  1. In a large pot, put the lentils and frozen spinach in the broth and boil for 30 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, curry paste, and sriracha. Then use an immersion blender to mix until it’s a beautiful, green, creamy soup. (Or alternatively you can mix in batches in a blender. Be careful, it’s hot!).
  3. Serve hot with rice and hard boiled eggs and enjoy!

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