Summertime Grilling Inspiration with Veggie Dogs

Summertime is all about the chilling, swimming, and grilling. But oh the grilling when you are vegetarian or vegan. What do you do then? To be honest, there isn’t an Indian version of a hot dog that’s quick to make, so other than that cheese cutlet, there aren’t many options.

Enter the vegan dog! Lightlife makes all plant based products from veggie burgers to veggie bacon to veggie dogs! These are perfect for desi kids who want to participate in all things American summer offers without the meat.

Lightlife was kind to send us some hot dogs and bacon and since my toddler son is well, in a hot dog obsessed stage. This was the perfect opportunity to create hot dog day.

Since I’m Indian, I love grilled/sauteed onions. YUMMY.

Fire up the stove and saute one onion for 10 minutes in olive oil. You want the onions to melt and become caramelized.

Once the onions are done you can turn off the stove and let them cool in the pan. On an indoor grill pan or outside grill, put the veggie dogs and bacon on. Cook on medium-high for 5-7 minutes – we like them with a little char.

Once done, well, you’re done! You could get fancy and make a chutney to go with the dogs, but we stuck with classic Americana of Heinz’s mustard, ketchup, and sweet relish. We also had the grilled onions, avocado because we are Californian, vegan mayo, and crumbled Smart Bacon.

Those little hands couldn’t wait to eat it!

For the kids and adults, we loved the soy based Lightlife dogs. It’s a great alternative to meat hog dogs and bacon, while maintaining taste. A tiny word of caution, if you a vegetarian who has never tasted meat, the Lightlife hot dogs and bacon do have a meaty flavor – it could be a taste bud surprise.

You can buy LightLife products at Safeway, 365 Whole Foods, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and many other stores.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lightlife. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

You Know You’re A Nursing Mom When…

This has been a post in the making because there’s nothing like having a small boobsucker attached to you all the time.

There are so many moments of nursing that are routed in insanity and hilarity. I captured some below but I would love to hear from you on your “you know you’re a nursing mom when…” stories.

Also, don’t feel bad if you didn’t nurse baby. I nursed my firstborn for a week before it was too difficult to get him to latch. No number of lactation consultant visits helped. Instead I exclusively pumped for 10.5 months. I have post coming up just for you pumpers!

You Know You’re A Nursing Mom When…

You go to the bathroom with a baby attached to your boob.

You are in the kitchen for the 5 seconds you have time to escape baby, only to realize your boobs are hanging out.

Your baby decides nursing in a “normal” position is no longer fun and starts experimenting in different yoga positions. Currently popular: baby in downward dog while you lay on your side.

You are sleeping and don’t even know someone is attached to you. Beware, the boobsucker strikes!

Baby kicks the daylights out of you while nursing. Because you need to eat and exercise at the same time apparently.

You whip out a boob in public as soon as baby is hungry. Or tired. Or cranky. Or whatever is causing her to scream.

Your boobs become floppy when nursing ends. Really, you wonder if the boobs will ever inflate again.

Your baby can instantly sense you’re in the house because they smell the milk and want it from the source!

You pull the car over, hop in the backseat and nurse to sooth baby.

You miss it when it’s all over because you know it’s a special time.

Because Formula Isn’t The End of the World

On the roller coaster of becoming a new parent, you are inundated with so much information that your head spins and tears increases.

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Over the past decade the pendulum swung back to emphasizing breastfeeding over formula feeding. The unfortunate result were offshoot groups pushing breastfeeding as the only salvation.

And moms felt the guilt. I felt the guilt. I spent the first four months in tears in everyday because the bean never wanted to latch properly. Once he got hooked onto the bottle, well, that was it too.

To make myself feel better, I pumped. For 10.5 months. Exclusively pumped. But I also had to do 1-2 formula feeds a day because I could never produce enough milk through pumping alone.

Everyday while I pumped, I had detailed notes on when and how much I pumped and how much formula kiddo had.

Here is a day’s worth of notes:
Sept 2:
*00:40 pumped 12 min, 90 ml
06:10 fed 100 ml
06:30 pumped 20 min, 170 ml
07:00 fed 30 ml
08:30 fed 150 ml
09:30 pumped 20 min, 110 ml
12:00 fed 70 ml
Mini poop
13:20 pumped 20 min, 130 ml
Giant poop at CVS! 😂
15:45 fed 150 ml
18:30 breastfed 15 min
19:00 pumped 15 min, 90 ml
21:15 fed 90 ml formula
22:00 pumped 20 min, 90 ml*

My notes were copious for the first 6 months and then after I just did totals each day and marked the number of pumps (that actually helped me with dropping pumps/day once I was ready to do that).

Perhaps this kept me sane (or less insane to be honest), but I want to stress to you, new mom, that it is OK to give formula. Formula today isn’t formula of the 1950s, barely regulated and without a lot of nutrition. Sure, formula does not contain antibodies or different flavors like breastmilk does, but if you cannot breastfeed or your life is turning into a complete mess, add that formula.

*”J’ai faim” – “I’m hungry”*

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For me, a formula supplement allowed me to skip a pumping session and sleep a little extra. I need a good 8-10 hours of sleep and without it, I fall sick easily and have massive headaches. That formula session (where my husband could feed baby) was everything.

And speaking of husbands, formula feeding (or bottle feeding) allows your spouse to bond a little more closely with the new bean and lets them feel more involved.

Dreamforce 2015 & Nursing Moms Don’t Mix

Well mommies, it happened. I learned what it’s like be a nursing mom and attend a conference with my baby.

A tech conference (Dreamforce).

In Moscone Center.

In San Francisco.

For two hours.

Since I had been to Moscone Center and seen children present at other conferences, I figured it would not be a problem bringing bean in the stroller. Plus I did not find anywhere on the Dreamforce website that children were not allowed (although I admit to not perusing the fine print).

With a free expo+ pass in hand, it seemed like a great idea to go with my dad and the little bean on the last day. Conference ending in a couple hours meant less people and a less troublesome baby.

And this sign welcoming you:

After picking up expo passes in Moscone North, the three of us headed to the elevators.

Dum dumm….

(sounds like the making of a horror movie… promise, it is)

We are told that babies are not allowed to use the elevator, BUT we can carry baby down the escalator along with the stroller and go to the expo.

Errr…okay? Seems silly that a perfectly functional elevator stands unused but that I have to carry my baby in my hands and that my dad has to carry the stroller on the escalator.

I then went to the Salesforce information lady with and she seemed confused that a baby wouldn’t be allowed in the elevator. She went off to find a security personal.

A few minutes later the security personal, the elevator guard, and the Salesforce info person returned.

“Kids are not allowed on the expo floor. It’s a liability issue.”

Ok? Kids have been to Moscone before, so I ask, “why isn’t this written anywhere when signing up for the ticket (at least in legible font, not the fine print)?”

“That’s the rules, kids aren’t allowed.”

The security guard walks off and so does Salesforce info person. The elevator guard hangs back and says that there’s a nursing room I could go to in Moscone West and hang out there while my dad visits the floor. We can then switch off.

I was disappointed but pleased that she offered a solution and we ended up talking for 10 minutes. She was very nice.

My dad headed off to the expo floor and I headed to Moscone West where the *Nursing Room on Level 1, Sponsor Room A* is located.

When inside Moscone West, I go to the Information booth to ask where exactly is the room.

The guy is dumbfounded and says that no such room exists. After insisting it does, he looks it up and tells me, the nursing room is in Moscone North.

I said, “no, Moscone North just sent me here. It’s in this building.”

He says they have no idea what they’re talking about and points to the booklet. I reply, “but right here it is written, *Moscone West*.”

“Ohhhh, well, then go through the expo hall and it should be in the back.”

Already feeling tired and annoyed, I go into the expo hall. After a few seconds, a security guard chases me down and says, “NO KIDS.”

I explain that I’m just going to the nursing room. He says no such room exists and I may not enter the expo floor. He says go to the check-in desks and ask them.

At this point, I am ready to give up and head back to the car or feed the bean in some public place.

I give it my last chance and head to the check-in desks. Nearly in tears I tell the lady that I just want to go to the nursing station but security won’t let me inside the expo hall to WALK through it and go to the room.

She gets it. She says that we’ll figure it out. After speaking to security, who reiterate NO KIDS, the security guard calls Head of Security to sort this out.

Within minutes he comes and says it wouldn’t be a problem. He escorts me to the “nursing room” in the back of the expo hall.

Would other moms be allowed to the nursing station? I dunno. Can I walk through the expo floor to *leave* it and not be accosted by security? I hope so…

After seeing all the plush couches on the outside of expo hall, I figured the nursing room would have a nice plush couch and water.

Yea…no…

The nursing room is this:

Two chairs, a table, and a trash can.

Very inviting!

Outside the room…

Well, it was a private room. I nursed the bean, we hung out, and did a little crying.

I tweeted about the incident and Salesforce had this response:

Appreciate the canned response. I know how you really feel about moms now.

**So Dreamforce team, I have only one thing to say: next time you implement a half baked idea to win over tech moms, make an effort to read your own rules.**

We have a long long long way to go to achieve any sort of equality in the workplace, or errr… a conference.

PS – Bean at least didn’t cry or whine at all; he took in all the sights. Yay for that!

PPS – No, I never saw any of the expo halls at Dreamforce. #fail

What I Learned About Exclusively Pumping

Hi mommies!
I did it. I made it to three months exclusively pumping for my bean. To say the journey has be difficult is an understatement.

My milk started late and not a lot came, my bean had tongue tie, and we had lots of trouble latching. In tears, we began formula supplementing when he was three days old. It was NOT how I envisioned this to be.


For all the sleepless nights, poopsies, and screaming, I wasn’t prepared for the difficulty that breastfeeding possesses. There is so much to say as a new mom. The struggle is real.

I know I’ve only been pumping for 13 weeks, but I have learned a lot.

**Formula is OKAY.** Truly, it is. You know, I was *that* asshole four months ago that was against formula if you can make milk. I totally support moms who give formula when they are incapable of making milk or that their babies need it. What I didn’t know is that most moms have trouble making milk. Some take hours to get a supply, others days, and others weeks.

When we brought home our bean from the hospital after three days, he was screaming so much (he’s a vocal sort!), I went out to CVS with my dad and bought newborn supplements and a pint of ice cream. I was a real mess.

A couple days later, we went to a pediatrician who gave us a box of supplements. He said, ‘mom, if you continue to cry, you will never make milk. You need to destress and let baby eat. It will happen.” Two other pediatricians said the same thing.

And so, we supplemented with formula. First it was 80% of his meals, then 50%, then 20%, and now, we give supplement during a growth spurt or when I want some for the freezer. And you know what? He looks awesome.

None of my pediatricians have given a rat’s ass about feeding formula.



**Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone.** I now pump 99% of the time. For me, I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband and my dad who can help take care of baby and the house.

But here’s my secret, I haven’t found breastfeeding to be amazing. I don’t feel a “connection”, my hips still hurt, my tendonitis is returning, and I’m exhausted. I feel that at least when I pump, I can type, I can read, I can still play with the bean.

**Pumping sucks. Literally.** Your boobs will hurt, you’ll be on a schedule (my alarm went off every three hours for the first six weeks), and you will feel like a cow.

It is an uphill battle, until it isn’t. I have found a groove now and know when I want to pump. I know that when my dad leaves, I won’t be pumping as often, and if I pump less, that is OKAY. Because, I can supplement. And I am totally not a loser mom.

**Your baby takes a bottles from anyone.** There ARE benefits to pumping and formula. Your baby will take a bottle. And your baby can take the bottle from anyone in your family.

You know what’s awesome? Letting your husband feed your baby while everyone enjoys an adult beverage. And then he burps and changes bean’s diaper and then they play. And bean? He doesn’t care who feeds him, as long as someone feeds him.

**You CAN go out for more than one hour.** Sometimes my husband works home, and on those days, I go out, by myself, for 3-5 hours. Run errands, get a massage, meet friends and grab a drink, it’s amazing. Because you need you time.

Pumping lets someone else feed the baby. Even if you do BF, a couple pump sessions here and there will allow you to get out for much needed R&R.



**You do whatever makes it work.** Seriously. What I say, what others say, it doesn’t matter.

You know what matters? Your sanity. Do what it takes so that you have a good transition for pumping/formula/breastfeeding whatever.

Hugs and kisses moms!
/P