Tuesday, December 30, 2008
To my even greater surprise, Julian from houzz.com asked if I could do a weekly ideabook that could be featured on their site, so here I am - doing as many ideabooks as I can.
I must add here that I really love the site, it helps me organize design ideas into different sections and categories. I am hoping to design our new apartment this way. Will post pics when I am done...especially with that gorgeous wind chime I got from Sarchi in Costa Rica.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Or a yummy cake!! So after having it on my wish list for more than a year, I finally got myself a bundt pan and baked my first bundt cake in it...banana nut chocolate chip cake with a caramel rum glaze...ooh yumm! The whole places smelled wonderful when I removed it from the oven. Can't wait to make my next one :)
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Today's top list:
"I have to be physically attracted to someone, but I can't be with someone just because it's great sex. Orgasms don't last long enough." - Courtney Cox Arquette
"Beware of the man who praises women's liberation; he is about to quit his job" - Erica Jong
"I hate to spread rumours - but what else can one do with them?" - Amanda Lear
"Everyone says I'm like the girl next door. Y'all must have really weird neighbors" - Kelly Clarkson
"If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married" - Katharine Hepburn
"In the Bible, it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times seven. I want you all to know that I'm keeping a chart" - Hillary Clinton
"Dr. Ruth says women should tell their lovers how to make love to them. My boyfriend goes nuts if I tell him how to drive!" - Pam Stone
"Even if you don't believe a word of the Holy Scriptures, you've got to respect the person who typed it all" - Lotus Weinstock
The rest for later when I find 'em...
Monday, December 01, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
For the kids that were going to come over, we made some chocolate chip cup cakes and decorated it with the only things available at home - a tube of orange icing, tiny marshmallows (leftover from A's bday party) and chocolate syrup (yes it was A's idea again - i told you he loves it!!) and the kids really loved it.
And I ended up making some banana-walnut loaf cake for tea, which I do not have pictures for. But it was surprisingly warm and delish (to put it in Rachel Ray's words) and the guests really loved it, although I should have made more of it, 'coz I hardly got a bite :( .
On Sunday, Mr and Mrs R invited us over for a barbecue party followed by a southie dinner. We hogged on corn, chicken, fish, veggies and lots of more junk, took a huge break and had some extremely yummy "mor kozhambu and parpa usli". Oh and leaving the best for the last, we had amazing carrot halwa and kesar pista ice cream. I was surprised I could even move after that.
All in all a fabulous weekend, thanks to everyone for cooking, inviting me and for just being there.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
For the night, we had planned to stay at a cabin in the La Pine campground near Bend. To get there, we decided to take the path through the mountain range. This road forms a part of the West Cascades Scenic byway and was truly scenic. Tall trees lined the road on either side and we could see snow clad mountains approaching closer at every turn. The drive took us to an elevation of almost 5500 ft. This proximity to nature was truly exhilarating. We spent our drive debating the finer points of identifying sentient beings and discussing alternate scenarios where trees were more highly evolved than humans. And reached La Pine at around 10 pm. We had rented a little wooden cabin with bunk beds and spent a few hours playing cards after which we had to have our rest.
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and for once, we were ready to start our day early. We planned to visit Crater Lake (2.5 hours) but before that we had to eat. In La Pine, we found a trucker's diner called Gordy's and decided to try it out and we were glad we did. The diner serves local fare on a piled plate. It also had a brilliant collection of tiny trucks - from Walmart to Fedex and everything in between. After the yummy food, we resumed our drive towards Crater lake. The north entrance of Crater lake is closed until late-June and so we had to drive further to get to the South entrance and I am glad we had to because on the way we found some very pretty scenes. As we came to the junction that led to Crater lake on one direction, we noticed that the signpost indicated that a lake lay just 4 miles on the other, and so we decied to make a detour. We were on the banks of Agency Lake - a bright blue lake with houses right on the shore. We also found a cute dog herding sheep around! :)
After the little detour, we were back on our rad towards Crater Lake. Crater lake was formed about 7000 - 8000 years ago because a volcano collapsed Mt. Mazama and snow and rain filled up the caladera. A smaller volcano formed an island in the lake called Wizard's Island. This lake is noted for it's pure and pristine water. When we reached Crater Lake, we saw that the view points were all under about 5 ft of snow, which we had to climb to take a look and the view was UNBELIEVABLE. The only word that popped out at that time was "WOW". The snow gave us a huge advantage because now we could see the entire area without any obstacles due to the extra height. Crater Lake was amazing.
After Crater Lake, our next part of the plan was to take the Rogue-Umpqua scenic byway, which lay along the River Umpqua and explore the water falls that line the byway. Our first stop on this byway was the Clearwater falls, which (apparently) requires no hike. But, the road leading to the falls was under snow, so we could not take the car to the Falls point. This did not stop us though. We treaded through the deep snow and found our way to the 30-ft waterfall and it was worth it.
Our next stop on the byway was Watson Falls, near the Tokatee Campground. This is a 275 ft water falls that is best viewed after a 0.6 mile hike up a rocky hill. As we reached the uppermost viewing point, we were drenched with the spray from the falls. It was beautiful.
It was late evening, when we finished our hike and resumed our drive across the byway and to Portland. On the way we made a stop at a beautiful frozen lake, where we had to stop for pictures and soon it started snowing. Two minutes later its stopped (!) and we were on the road again. And this was when my friend saw a sign board that read Umpqua Hot Springs, so of course we had to find it. The search led us off the highway into an unpaved driving path through the forest. We followed the spooky path for a few miles after which we had to turn around. We stopped at a clearing and were discussing our options, when a kind Portlander stopped by to tell us that the road led to a bridge that was (can you believe it) broken! So we had to head back and unfortunately never found the springs :( But we had a wonderful time just looking for it :) After a few more stops along the road to see swift waters and grab a bite, we made it to Portland at about 12 midnight (by which time I was asleep in the back seat :D, thanks A&A for not waking me up).
Monday was the last day of our trip and we had only until 1pm. Of course, our first stop was Byways Cafe, a famous diner featured on Food Network. The hash and the Amaretto French toast were both amazing, true to their reputation. We had one more hour before heading to the airport and so we landed at the Chinese Botanical Garden. This garden is situated in the Chinatown in Portland, but once you enter the premises, it is unbelievably quiet and calm and peaceful and ... I can go on. The sound of water instantly calms you down and the flowers and shrubs are very artistically placed. We tried Chinese tea at their restaurant called The Tao of Tea. The Lotus Ancien that I had was very flavorful and woke you up in an instant. My friends had milder ones, but all of us were happy with our choices and very glad to be introduced to this kind of tea drinking culture, which is so different from the kind that we are used to. I will definitely try this again at home and I am sure my friends will too. This was our last stop and we left for the airport, taking our respective flights back to Philly and San Diego. We were sad to end our lovely trip but very glad that we did this together. I must say here that if I were to repeat this trip over or go for another, I would not ever trade my trip companions, they are the best!!
Thanks guys for an awesome trip and let's hope for lots more to come.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
These are some of my favorite Sufi poems, oft quoted and oft used.
You've no idea how hard I've looked for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean.
Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these.
So- I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me.
- Jalaluddin Rumi
Thy Spirit is mingled in my spirit
even as wine is mingled with pure water.
When anything touches Thee,
it touches me.
Lo, in every case Thou art I!"
- Mansur-al-Hallaj, The Mystics of Islam.
Friday, April 04, 2008
The Wild Flower
On the way to work today
I was stalled at a traffic light
I looked towards the bay
And saw a flower, purple and bright.
She raised her head to the sun,
And whispered a sweet, shy greeting.
The sun pausing his run,
Sent her warmth without the heating.
Ready to start her morning,
She drank some dew and then some more;
And then without any warning
She was visited by her butterfly beau.
The sea played a melody
The soft breeze sang a tune for them
The butterfly asked the bee
To watch over their peaceful realm.
The traffic light then turned red
But this morning I did not zoom
"Congrats", I turned and said
To the wildflower and her new groom.
Anyway, the occasion is here and I just began my planning last week. I have one more week to go and I think I am on schedule. The difficulty this time was the type of food I have envisioned in my mind. Making a fusion of different culinary styles is not always easy but with some planning and experimenting, it can be done right and can taste very different too and I might just be able to satisfy my guests.
The most difficult part is the ingredients. Heralding from an Indian background, I had to make sure each dish has a characteristic Indian touch to it and that took hours of swapping one ingredient for the other to make a complex yet coherent dish that encompasses the American/European style and Indian flavor. I do not want to say more as that will steal the surprise element, but I will put up my recipes once the party is done. It suffices to say that I will start and end my party with Jello shots - once they are in, I am sure my guests will be ready to try anything!!
So good luck to me and I will keep you posted...