Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lima Beans Kootu (Lima Beans / Butter Beans in spicy lentil gravy)

When I resigned my job last September, the stock market had not tanked, Wall Street had not become a villain and bonus was not such a dirty word. The picture seemed rosier. Was it really but compared to now it definitely was. I wanted a break and moreover the job did not make me feel like I was accomplishing anything and making me itchy and restless. The 2 years that I spent in the company after it was acquired is a story for another day, but it was an important experience in terms of how people spun everything for short term benefits.

I was so busy those days that I used to wonder how DD2 went from being a baby to a preschooler. I always had this worry at the back of my head about how I was going to fare with all this free time because I have never been without a job. Would I become someone so obsessed with my house and children that I would not recognize myself after a few months? Would I compete through my children and drive them nuts? Will I shop till I drop all in the name of beautifying something or other? Lets see.

Now I was left with all this time in the world and it felt great. Nothing earth shattering to rush out the door for. After the initial euphoria with my free time wore off I had to devise a strategy to use the time. If I lived in a place that was warm all year round I might started to look for a piece of land to grow stuff. seriously.

For most of us the day jobs outside our homes defines who we are, so when that is yanked we seem to lose our bearings. Now and then with all the gloom and doom I do wonder if I did the right thing. Even if I start looking for a new job right now I am not going to get gainfully employed any time soon, so I decided not to try. If you had been layed off from work this might give you some ideas about how to structure your time and not worry about not having that job.


First and fore most learn to enjoy the time on your hands and not worry about being jobless. This might be considered as the time off you always wanted but never got around to it. Also use the extra time to brush up on some technology or skill you wanted. Learn to cook healthy and learn a few tricks, so when you do go back to work it will come in handy. Take that afternoon nap and go for a walk when the weather is good. Develop some good exercise habits which is sure to help even when you get busy. Brush up those hobbies and interests that have never had the time of day. Here is how I spend my time,

1.Take part in every activity at the kids' schools. I have all the time to take part in their activities and be part of their life. While DD has become independent to a large extent, DD2 actually enjoys having me around.
2.Try out recipes that have been bookmarked for ever.
3.Exercise regularly, I especially enjoy going to the swimming pool in the mornings and swim with sunshine streaming through the windows. There are lot of senior citizens at that time of the day. I overheard 2 ladies talking about going to the senior Olympics. They inspire me and wish fervently to be as active at that age. Of late I have been seeing a lot of people my age. Is this is a sign of what is going on in the job market?
4. Spend a couple of hours or longer, keeping up with the latest technology, so if I do go back to work I am not completely rusty.
5. Dab a bit in the stock market. I have always been intrigued by people who only pay capital gains tax and no payroll taxes. Trying my hand to see if this can become a full time job. I am only half kidding.
6.Take walks around the neighborhood when the weather is pleasant and explore the park and creek nearby with DD2 who gets home in the afternoon. This is usually what gives the most joy.
7.Take the pleasure of the extra few minutes in bed in the morning, this is not always possible because the kids have to get to school but I know I can always catch a few zzzs once they are out the door. Take that afternoon nap if I need to. I am not big on afternoon napping but I know I can if I want to.
8.Learned to shop smarter especially groceries. I am a lot better now, yes occasionally I forget my coupons and don't always look at the fliers but the times I have done I know I have saved quite a bit.
9. Learning to play tennis, something I have always wanted to but never had the time.
10. Volunteering. I teach English. I got trained and am tutoring through this organization.
11. The last but not the least is this blog and blogging. This has to a large extent kept my sanity, giving me the medium to crib, rant and complain when I needed to. I have also learned a lot from the various blogs that I visit regularly.
This article is not an endorsement/encouragement for anyone to quit their job(not that I believe that anybody is going from reading to writing a resignation letter). I was firmly of the belief that a job was essential to happiness/contentment and when I finally decided to quit the results were quite different from my expectations. This absolutely does not mean I won't go back to work full time. The important takeaway is to be happy wherever we are, especially if the break was forced. I am not really sure if I was successful in conveying that in all that blah.

The minute I saw this double beans recipe on Arundathi's My Food blog, I knew I was going to try it very soon. I rarely add beans to lentils/dal. I usually use onions or tomatoes to form the base for the gravy but to use mashed dal in its place seemed more healthy and of course easier. I gave it a try and it has become my most favored way of cooking dried lima beans.


Recipe Source: My Food Blog - Double Beans Kootu

Lima Beans Kootu
1. 3/4 cup toor dal cooked with a pinch of turmeric, drop of oil and extra water to be used for the curry
2. 1 1/2 cups dried lima beans soaked overnight
3. 1/2 red onion chopped
4. 2 roma tomatoes chopped
5. 3 green/red chilies
6. 2 tsp sambhar powder
7. 1 cup green beans chopped
8. salt to taste
9. seasonings: curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and a pinch of asfoetida
1. Take a pan and heat a tsp of oil and add the seasonings followed by the chilies.
2. Add the onions, green chilies and saute till translucent and add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Add the sambhar powder.
3. Now add the green beans and double beans and the water from the toor dal and let them cook till the double beans is almost cooked.
4.Now add the mashed toor dal and salt, mix and let it boil for a few more minutes.

Serve with rice or rotis.


  1. Oh Indo u make me long to quit my job ;) Even though its not in the vivinity of the near furture I too have a big list of things I would do if I leave my job. U make me envious (especially wandering during the afternoons with DD2). This curry is been bookmarked since I read it in Anu's place and this is a strong reminder ! The bowl of kootu looks inviting!

  2. Hey tats nice to read about how to spend time in a useful way.....The other side is always greener....When u are off to work u long for those free times & whn u r at home, u feel like boredom! Double beans has come out very well....Its my favorite too!

  3. Every time I fantasise about taking a break from work, my head knocks me back to reality, Indo! You've captured the feelings well.

    The recipe's fascinating - beans, lentils, beans all the way. Must have made a lot of kootu, right?

  4. WOW!! You are using your time very wisely and constructively. I don't do any of those, mainly because I am loner and I enjoy my "loneliness!" :D

    I do admire people/women who have full time job outside, come home to manage a house and kids. I worked for a while in B'lore in a software company, hated it. I can't take orders or be told what to do or what not to do, my problem even today. Glad I have a husband who understands that. Otherwise, I would be a miserable human being!:P

    Enjoy simpler life, it's not that bad to stay home and be a part of kids life too to some extent. I don't think kids want us in their lives after certain age anyway, neither do the husband want me clinging to him for attention and our happiness comes within ourselves. Lot of people feel unhappy because they expect others to make them happy, wrong thing to do if you ask me! :)

    I love the soft texture of Lima beans in dishes, looks great.

  5. I always think I'd be quite lost without a job but a friend of mine who took a 2 yr break told me how she kept herself pretty occupied and that it just depends on us personally on how we view it and use that time effectively. I had a 2 week Xmas break and i thought i'd be bored stiff but with my daughter around it went by in a whiz and i didn't even get around to finish everything in my to-do list. I like all your suggestions. You must miss interaction with your colleagues though... but you've got us :)

    That is interesting to use a toor dhal base for lima beans.. would never have thought of it.

  6. A lovely post. I think you have struck a great balance in keeping your life busy and happy. And I certainly enjoy your regular posts and the welcoming aroma of home cooking on this blog.

  7. when i resigned, i started my blog so i guess everything happens for the best, but ur tips on how to use the time constructively are awesome!

  8. Nice post & i got a thing or 2 to learn for u.. U seem to give some time to yourself, which i absolutely do not do! & it's getting on to me..
    just get sooo darn busy with kid's activities that I am failing to jsut get in sync with myself! my DD2 is 3, & is in preschool & that's the only little i get which goes in chores inside & out. need to rethink my life.

    lima beans is good;-).. my kids even love it steamed.

  9. Nice reading Indo...I am a homemaker and at home most of the time. I spend my time volunteering in my daughters school and our community for three days a week. Thanks for the link Indo, I have already looked into the Seattle council and would like to take the training and teach there.

    Kootu looks delicious. Volunteering and the recipe both look healthy.

  10. Nice to read about how you're utilizing the "free" time, ISG! When I first came here on H4, I could not work for almost 2 years. I used to volunteer at Red Cross, just to be able to meet people and chat! This list would've been so helpful then! :)

    Kootu looks awesome, btw!

  11. Lovely post Indo ! The lima beans kootu looks delightful. I have a lima beans post coming up next week and just saw one on Vaishali's site, must be something in the air we all have lima beans fever :-)

  12. Thanks guys! I am glad some of the information was useful.
    Any change is hard but though cliched the saying "if one door closes another one opens" is always true.

    Soma, absolutely need to find something you can do just for yourself. The swimming gives me that time, all my grand ideas come to me during then.

    Cilantro, I am glad that link helped.

    Sra, Nirmala - it might be a different proposisition in India though. But give it a shot, you might never know otherwise ;)

    Asha, so true - if something or someone has to make us happy, we are never going to be happy. I have the same problem too, wonder how I survived in a work place.

    Laavanya, I meet my colleagues once in a while for lunch. But strangely I don't miss it much, though I thought I would miss it terribly. But you said it, I would have been lost without this blog.

    Vani, you do yearn for adult conversations but I make do with what I have - the other adult at home but sometimes it ends up in a fight :)

  13. Sharmilee. Very true. But I am glad to report I do not feel bored nor I am looking forward to going back to work but the economic compulsions are different aren't they.

    Nupur, glad you stopped by. It was also important to prove to myself that I can have a life without being wedded to the job. I liked the work but not the job. Miss your posts big time. Oh, yes the cooking has improved and the family have been clear beneficiaries.

  14. I had quit my job a while back...took a break coz i was fed-up that my job was leading me nowhere and i needed a change of pace. I then felt guilty and took up another job in a few months. Then my husband got a job in another city and i have had to quit my job....this time i am taking it a lil easy to get back into the market. I am in accounting and really the market is so tight i am not even wasting my time and stressing about job and other stuff. Like you said...i have started to spend my time more fruitfully!!..going to the gym...voulunteering...have fun with ur kids and taking a relaxing time off :)

  15. :) You have no idea how much this post of yours has been helping me.

    During the past year, I've been getting out, learning many new things, getting healthier, socializing more, connecting with friends that matter, etc using the time at home better than I was doing before.

    But I've been looking for a job since December after 4 yrs break in my career. And with this economy, it has been very draining on my morale. Your post is almost like an energy drink. :)

    If you don't mind, can you share with us an approximate routine of your day please. I can't seem to figure out a simple routine for myself.

  16. You are real productive. I have taken several breaks after Big Sis S arrived and never did I do even half of the stuff you had on your list:-)

  17. ISG, very well put and has put many things in perspective for me. It depends on how we view things I guess. I will come back to review this post again.
    But I loved the lima bean recipe. We love lima beans at home. Did not know that we could pair it will toor daal and add sambhar powder. Very nice, I will try it soon.

  18. Indo, looking at my amma I always felt its tougher when u r fulltime stay-at-home mom than working women. Life is more demanding for her as she is expected to cook, pay the bills, entertain guests at anytime of the day, look after kids and home, help them with their homework and school projects and so many other expectations!! i am not even sure if she had many 'me' times when we were kids! my mom is my best bud and i will always be grateful to her for all the things she did for us, encourage us to chase our dream. but I cant help but think that in someway she may had to sacrifice some of her dreams for us!

    i have seen many working mothers in my office who are so stressed out all the time as they are finding it really difficult to manage home and work. The reason I found is quite interesting as coming to work is the way of escaping from routine work at home for them as money is not the issue. they said it is a place to breath and socialise with someone other than family members and friends. they find comfort in working in a environment where they can meet people who are not really close to them as it gives them much needed 'space' they are after! So I think it all depends on individual as how they see their life and I really admire the way you have written your thoughts and how you keep urself occupied. You remind me of my amma in many ways:)

    oh, happy Ugadi to u and ur loved ones :)

  19. Rajitha, you are in NY city, enjoy the time. Yes learning to relax is hard who knew.

    bindivya, I know for sure the blog has been a big big help and ofcourse all the blogger friends.

    Kay, I am really glad to hear that. I will write the schedule it might help a great deal to see that in writing as well. Job search is never easy and in this market enough to drive one crazy.

    RC, yes perspective is very important but I guess it has a lot to do with maturity too. If I had tried it a few years ago or when I was younger I would have been completely miserable.

    Sandeepa, S was young so the stuff I am doing is equivalent to spending with her. As long as there are no regrets it should be completely fine. That is what I wished to convey probably unsuccessfully.

    Thanks Sia, and hugs to you. Working outside the home is a lot easier than managing the home and doing it successfully. I am also a firm believer that it is important to put to use your skills and training and if you love doing it you should. I decided to chuck it when I was not enjoying and found out interests that were never pursued because of lack of time. I and am happy to say I am enjoying it.

  20. Kay, here is a rough schedule. Most times I just love not having a schedule and doing what I please. But some like lunch prep, exercise are things that cannot be not done so.

    6:00 - 8:30AM - Breakfast, DDs ready for school (sometimes lunch prep)

    8:30AM - 10:00AM - Swimming pool, house cleaning, blog hopping

    10:00AM - 12:00AM - Lunch and Dinner preparation / Volunteer time

    12:00AM - 1:30PM - DD2 comes home, read/play with her and lunch

    1:30 - 2:30PM - walks and stroll outside, watch TV sometimes

    2:30 - 4:00 - Quiet time/computer time (DD2 takes a nap or she is keeping herself occupied reading/playing)

    4:00 - 6:00PM - DD does HW, DD2 and me do stuff or I am doing some reading,learning

    6:00 - 8:00PM - Tennis/ after school activities/ all of us are at the pool 3 days a week where DD goes for swim team practice and since we are members we use the time to swim. These are days when I have not gone swimming in the morning.

    8:00-10:00PM - Dinner/TV time/Movie time

  21. Awesome! thank you, dear Indo. :)
    I'm not much into routines either... but nothing's getting done here and I think I just might fare better with a simple routine. I think that would get me away from the computer rut..


  22. Thats very nice! Good to see you spending time in useful ways... I always think...., but never implement! :) Though somedays we find lot of leisure hours, most of the days i feel like 10 more hours extra for a day will do good. :p
    Sabji looks delicious!

  23. Hi,

    When I was so burnt out with my job and thought I hated what I did, I decided to take a break. For the first few days I didn't know what to do. I was still mentally attached to my job, so I would correspond with my ex-colleagues regularly. Then I slowly put a routine together and started doing things I had always wanted to do. More importantly it made me realize that I enjoyed my work. But I needed the break to gain that perspective.

  24. I was never a big lima bean fan ISG -- leave it to you to make them look so appealing! It's great that you can now have time for so many varied and worthwhile things -- I never regretted being home when the kids were small but I must admit, I did not take on near as much as you are! :) Have a great weekend!

  25. Srividya, thanks for the comment. What I am talking about here is entirely different. This is not about voluntary quitting of a job but finding your inner peace with what you do everyday.

    Linda, I am ardent fan of Lima. Give this method a try. I will vouch you will change your opinion :) I guess what I tried to convey is liking what you are doing and not doing too much.

  26. Lovely read...I quit too when my son was born and wondered what i would do !! Tht initial months were busy with the feed-clean poop-change diaper routine, but then i did make a schedule and enjoy being around..started working part time from home and its like having the best of both worlds..

  27. nice recipe. i am surely trying this with frozen lima beans. and good tips on how to spend time usefully when you r not working. i am a homemaker too..

  28. looks fantastic. enjoy your time. you will miss it when you don't have it.

  29. victoria ldg3/29/09, 11:46 PM

    wow! so amazing to see a stay-at-home mom's daily schedule which doesn't include kids pick-up drop-off, grocery shopping, vacuumming, bathroom cleaning, washing clothes,drop-off,pick up for kids activities in the evening are fortunate to have enough time when you are at home..;-)

  30. I love double beans - maybe because it's not something you find easily or year round - that kootu looks delicious.

    I took a year long break when we moved to Delhi in 2007 and got back to full time work only last July. I loved that time - settling my daughter into pre school, being with her as she got to know her new friends upstairs and down the road, making myself new friends who now I have to only call and they are there to help when I am at work, cooking, starting this blog and even having a brief change in career by writing for a parenting website. During that year I also featured in Femina and a video of mine and my daughters was uploaded onto the global website of J&J.
    All these things I couldn't have done if I was working full time.

    But after a while I knew that I missed working - just the whole "I have a life which is only Mine" , a set of people who were different from my acquaintances I made through family, kids, neighbours etc etc, the whole routine of getting up in the morning and going I started looking around and i was prepared to wait for a year to find what I wanted, but had to wait only 3-4 months before I came across this job.And love it now - of course with it comes the stress of work life balance , but I know if it gets too much I can quit and take another break ;)

    You have put forward so many great pointers people can use - I'm sure you will love this time in your life when you think back - enjoy the time! :)

  31. Arch, yes part time work seems to let you fit in both worlds. I am happy for you.

    Mahimaa, glad to be of help :)

    bee, I know, I am making the best use of it. I got tired of longing for the day when I can be free of a schedule and longingly looking at people who have it. Here now I have it.

    Victoria, No No, I did not include those because they are part of life if I am at home or have a job. Instead of being a chore I actually like those as they give me an opportunity to step out of the house and they don't take a lot of time anyway.

    Exactly Miri, the chance to enjoy the time off when you have it. I'd love to see the video, link please :)

  32. Hi Indosungod, nice posts. The recipes are quite different, Interesting preludes to your recipe posts. Like your style of writing.Iam new to this blogging .just started to blog. Iam following your blog, getting hooked with this blog thing. Thanks and keep posting.
    Have a nice day...

  33. very well written Indo... I always fantasize about quitting my job, and starting something on my own, but I am too scared :( Sometimes I secretly wish to get laid off, it can be that kick in the butt I badly need. I do fear that if I quit, I wouldn't do anything else and will be bored to death or will become a hermite glued to the TV :)

  34. I really should take your advise.
    Lima beans look yumm.
    I have never used them, should try them.


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