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The Why Post

By October 28, 2017 Art, Everything Else, Food, Learning, Memes, Reviews, Travel, Writing

My previous(still actively current as well) blog

I started blogging years ago actually and as part of setting up this new blog earlier this month, I even imported content from there (excluding a couple more recent posts).. So you might be asking, why a why I am blogging post? This is more of a reinventing myself as a blogger post – of moving from a free blog to my own space on the world wide web. If then, why import all content from my previous blog? Because that is a part of me as well, and as part of reinventing, I also plan to refresh and redo some of my posts from earlier.

Writing Fuels me

Writing has been a treasured part of my life forever now (well, since I learned to write anyways, and before that, I made up stories to tell my little brother), and blogging is an extension of that.  As a child, I wrote poems, stories, and participated in writing challenges whenever I could. Everything I wrote, no matter what it was, gave me a sense of accomplishment that it energized me, made me happier, made me ‘me’, and that eventually led to a better me, which meant I was able to also help others (tutoring classmates the previous night before finals and all through the year was one of my first such experiences; mom would worry that I would not be able to focus on what I needed to study for, but teaching and sharing my knowledge made me better at it so it was all gooood!) (By the way, I also experience this same energy-up when I work on art or end up taking a really good photograph or somehow manage to have cooked up something yummy that is also healthy)

What was I blogging about?

My initial blog started out as my spot for my R&R – this could easily mean the traditional ‘rest and recreation’ or my little twist on the traditional ‘Recreation and Relaxation’ or my very own ‘Raving and Ranting’.  In the beginning (and even today), I read many blogs about blogging – and many of them had a central message – “pick a niche”. That led me to thinking – what is my specialty? I realized I am more of a Jack of Many Trades (with some level of mastery in a few) and it would be me being me, if I wrote about all of those passions and interests I have. So I have been writing about reading, travel, participating in memes, sharing recipes, tips, my poetry, and photographs, life’s magical moments, parenting and its many facets, reviews of books and products, and more.

And now 

All those varied things that I (plan to) write about inspired me to add the tagline for my blog – this is not a niche-less blog, but a blog(ful) of niches!!  I am still working on the theme, the logo, updating my older posts so they fall in place with my categories, and some more branding to make it more like home, a cozy place for readers to drop by and explore.

Today, I hope to keep doing all that and also include more posts where I can let my readers relax a bit, learn some more, and leave with a smile on their faces, facts in their brains, a spring in their step, and a desire to return (of course)!!…

So here is my question to my readers (old and new) –

what energized you today? Or made you smile? Do let me know in the comments!!

 

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The Tuesday of Children’s Book Week, 2017

By May 3, 2017 Books, Food, Memes
So, now that I completed two challenges in April, I realized I need the challenge of a challenge to keep me going, at least for now… So, while I was commenting on blogs for the April challenges, I noticed one of the bloggers was planning to take part in something called the 31 Day Writing Challenge over at WritersBra. Though the challenge started midway in April, I also noticed that Deanna of WritersBra also mentioned it would be OK to start it at anytime! So here is my Day One of that 31-day Challenge – Create a Cool Infographic.  It took a while to get an idea and then to learn how to do it – for the very first time, including figuring out the tool for it; but here it is:
 Tuesday on my blog, meant per my initial plan/theme, was for a Yummy Tummy Tuesday post featuring recipes tried, tested, and loved. It has been a while since I made an effort to write down such a post, though not for lack of trying out and enjoying new recipes! While I work towards actually getting recipes out here on my blog, today’s post will still be food-oriented and also towards my Top Ten Tuesday post.  And since this is Children’s Book Week (May 1 – 7, 2017), the Top Ten list today is geared towards children’s books (some middle grade as well)
 
Top Ten Covers of Children’s books featuring food covers all that I said earlier 🙂 
Have read and enjoyed:
GREEN EGGS AND HAM DR.SEUSS BOOK COVER

 

 

 

Want/Yet to Read

 

 

 

 

 

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R is for Roohafza

By April 22, 2017 Food, Writing
 R brought to my mind Roohafza first as I thought of my theme, and when I asked my DD what she could think of, she came up with ‘rangoli’ (or kolam as we call it in our mother-tongue Tamil) and ‘rasgulla’ as well as ‘rasmalai’.
But for today, I present Roohafzah – with summer soon upon us, this is going to be a refreshing post!!
Roohafza – Word Origins – ‘Rooh’ means the soul; and ‘Afza’ means ‘that which nurtures/nourishes’, so there you have it – that which nourishes the soul – Roohafza! And a sip of this drink (taken in your favorite version) certainly does that. Growing up, mom always had a bottle of Roohafza in the fridge and hot summer afternoons were cooled down by a soul-nourishing flavored milk, a beautiful pink in color; or by a bright-red, ice-cold juice where it was mixed with water. And many a time, I took an extra spoon to add to my milk, just to lick it off. It might be too sweet for some tastes but a little bit of it added to cold milk is pure heaven – in looks and taste and its refreshing, nourishing, energizing, healing, soothing powers.
Containing herbs, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and roots that were specially chosen for their cooling properties, Roohafza is the perfect summer drink and popular in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and parts of the Middle East.  First made in 1907, it definitely has over a century of sweetness behind it and its branding as a natural, herbal nourisher with a unique sweetness all its own, and a strong cultural following over the decades mean it is here to stay!
And now, I enjoy it with my kids. While they have also mainly taken it with a glass of cold milk or like a lassi (with buttermilk/yogurt) so far, I have discovered wonderful recipes that I know we will all enjoy.  Here are some of the links that you can try out too. Roohafza is available to buy in the US in many Indian and Pakistani grocery stores as well as online.

Q to the reader:
What is your favorite summer drink? Have you tried Roohafza? If yes, what is your favorite way to drink it?
Signing off on Day 21 and the letter R as I continue on the #AtoZChallenge  and #UltimateBloggingChallenge
My #AtoZ2017Posts and #UBCPosts:

Theme_1 A3 B4 C5 D6 E7 F8 G9  Day9 H10 I11 J12 K13 L14 M15 Day16 N17 O18 P19 Q20 R S T U V W X Y Z

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D is for Delhi, and for Dharwad Peda

By April 6, 2017 Food, Travel, Writing

Delhi is what I put in every form where it asks me ‘Place/City of Birth’. And that seems to be enough to make me feel a special connection to this city which I have visited not more than five times in my life (I think, and this includes my entry into the world!) but each visit was a treasure chest of memories its own. One of them is recorded here.
My last visit to the capital city of India was last summer with my DH and my little (well, not so little anymore at 14 and 11 years) ones. (Check – – Favorite Childhood Memories, be it games or books or food or movies or just random somethings – with one additional twist – these are memories I would like to build in the future as well – with my kids, if possible).

Here are some glimpses of Delhi from the eyes of my camera…

#Delhi

Dharwad Peda: This simple looking, often overlooked in the sweet shop (except by die-hard fans like me) dessert is simply put, delicious. While other people might go for the fancier looking sweets shaped like flowers or fruits or all colorful, or rich milk sweets like rasmalai or the cham-cham, or the nuts based barfis, my eyes (and taste-buds) always lead me to this sweet – the Dharwad Peda. Named for where it hails from, the town of Dharwad in north Karnataka, this simple sweet has an interesting history that goes back two centuries. Baba Singh Thakur of Unnao in the northern India state of Uttar Pradesh fled to Dharwad when plague struck Unnao in the 19th century. He started making the pedas and his grandson popularized it – today Thakur Peda or ‘Line Bazaar peda’ or Dharwad peda is known all around the state and elsewhere and always leaves your sweet tooth satisfied. The recipe is zealously guarded but there are faithful copycat versions and recipes and someday, I will eat it whenever I want – homemade! One recipe can be found at easybitesonline should the reader want to attempt it.
And yes, now I share the love for this peda with my little ones too – it is the family favorite!

#Dharwad Peda
Attribution: Wikipedia

Q to the reader: What is your favorite dessert? Have you tried the Dharwad Peda?

Signing off on the letter D as I continue on the #AtoZChallenge and #UltimateBloggingChallenge  
while listening to this familiar tune from childhood

 

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One product, many uses – Country Crock Make It Yours Challenge

By April 29, 2016 Food, Reviews

Baking is  something I started developing an interest only over the past few years and it has definitely become a more frequent thing to have the wonderful smell of something baking in our home since my little girl decided she loved baking (over the past couple of years!).

My 10 year old girl loves spending time with me in the kitchen and is always earmarking pages on cookbooks specifically baking related) with recipes she wants to try out and her library bag is invariably filled with books on baking. So it was no wonder that we had to try out a couple of our favorite recipes as a twist on the #MakeItYours challenge from CountryCrock when we received a free sample of Country Crock – thanks to Influenster and CountryCrock.

A quick review of the product itself first:
This was maybe the second time I was using this product – the first time being years ago.
Pros: It was better than I expected – perfectly spreadable at all times, even straight from the refrigerator – it was great on toasts, and with pancakes too! It is buttery, lending itself easily to all my recipes – I used this for a twist on the #MakeItYours recipe inspired by a rainbow tie-dye sugar cookies recipe I had done with regular butter earlier as well as for a much loved banana bread. They were both enjoyed. The cookies turned out more chewy than crispy – had expected slightly crispier cookies – but they were definitely yummy. The banana bread was delicious and not very different from the time I used regular butter.
Cons: Well, it is not butter! and it is a little salty for my tastes (though others at home loved this as they need that additional zing of salt!).
Overall: A product I would buy again and store in the refrigerator as a backup for those days when I run out of my regular butter or I just need spreadable butter on toast rightaway!

The County Crock Make It Yours recipe is here. And below is my twist on the same – my twists in italics below.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Country Crock® Spreadable Sticks or Tub, cold from the refrigerator
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk used 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • food coloring mixed to portions of the dough and mixed up to create a tie dye effect.
  • sparkly sugar to add on top of the cookies
  • marshmallows, M and Ms, mini Oreos cut in halves to add as mix-ins
Directions: (from the original recipe directly)
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix Country Crock®
Spread, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, egg, egg yolk and vanilla
in large bowl until well mixed. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and
baking soda until blended. (Dough will be soft and creamy.)
Add your favorite mix-ins in any combination, and mix until every spoonful of dough has some of the delicious mix-ins.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets 3-inches apart.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack; remove from sheets and cool completely.
Add toppings and decorations.

Including a photo of a few mini cookies I made with the dough in a mini muffin pan 🙂 They turned out crispier than the rest but aren’t they cute?

As for the banana bread, the recipe is straightforward and makes for a super moist, delicious banana bread.
What is needed:
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter (I used the Country Crock original spread)
3/4 cup coconut sugar (oh, I am in love!)
2 cups all purpose flour (I instead used Trader Joes multigrain mix (my favorite one to use) and slightly reduced the baking powder/baking soda)
1/2 cup yogurt (you can use 2 eggs instead)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinammon
1/2 cup raisins (and or walnuts/cranberries/chocolate chips – as you wish)
1 tsp salt (reduced the salt to 1/2 tsp as the Country Crock butter I used in this instance was salted)

How to:
Preheat the oven to 325 F
In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, add the butter, the yogurt, vanilla, milk to this and mix well till creamy.
Add the sugar to this and mix well.
Now add the remaining dry ingredients one by one – baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and lastly the flour – and mix till it all well.
Add the raisins (and/or other items) and stir
Pour in a greased 9 in by 5 in loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Serve warm with vanilla icecream

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Cooking our way to a great party

By February 20, 2016 Food, Party

My DD knew exactly what she wanted as the theme for her 10th birthday party (just like she has known since her 3rd birthday party).  After my son’s thirteenth bday party in December, we were still having post-birthday party syndrome. That was a game truck party and a definite success.  I will write more in detail on that soon. But for today, while it is fresh in my memory, here is our cooking party:

Once we had decided on a cooking party, the first thing we got ready was – the guest list and the invite. I had initially planned on printing out a recipe-type invite and handing it out to her guests but as that proved not feasible to do, settled on an evite instead using one of evite’s free cooking based designs. Evite has been around a long time and I have used it for all my party invites – sometimes it tends to get lost in the spam mails but now with other social media options on evite – like sending invites to Facebook friends or posting on twitter or sending shareable links instead – helps avoid this issue when I don’t see responses from guests after sending out the initial invite. The wordings for the invite were
A
dash of laughter,
A
sprinkle of fun,
We
are having a cooking party
Hope
you can come!
Once the invites were sent out, we planned on what we needed for the party itself:
Goody bag items: Aprons and cookie cutters were finally decided upon as the goodies the kids would get to take home and so I ordered those from Amazon.
Aprons: The aprons I ordered were from ChefSkin (Chefskin Lot Apron LOT Chefskin Wholesale Discount (Lot of 15, Assorted Medium (8-12) PLS Email List) and very reasonably priced – I ordered these in different sizes as the guests incluAprons Childrens Party Favors Cooking Partyded chefs  ranging from ages five to thirteen. The sellers send an email promptly and even call to confirm the colors we need for the aprons since I had requested for a mixed color set.  Once I let them know the colors I wanted – a few in every color almost (blues, lavenders, bright pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, whites, and baby pinks as well), the order arrived home very quickly. The colors were as pictured – both the pastels and the brights – and the quality was good.

After all the kids arrived, they were asked to pick an apron in the color of their choice and decorate it with the fabric markers. They  quickly picked spots all around the house to decorate their aprons – my DD had the
brilliant idea to have every guest sign their name on her apron and that made her apron a keepsake automatically (this was totally her idea)!

Here she is working intently on her apron.

The cookie cutters were Wilton’s 101 set from Amazon and the plan was to let each kid pick a couple of their choice (and use it during the wilton's cookie cutters 101 party favorsparty – this did not happen though since the chefs forgot to pick up their cutters in the excitement of tie-dye cookies). The cookie cutters are well made, offering a range of shapes and sizes that cover occasions through the year. They are color coded that makes it easy to find shapes easily; and we can use it for not just cookies but for shaped sandwiches, Indian breads. I plan to use the bigger ones for giant cookies and home-made Indian breads – like rotis/naans and the others for cookies and fun-sandwiches. All in all, a purchase that is worth it.

Decorations: We used an easel we had (the one with a blackboard on one side and white board on the other) to write down the name of the restaurant ‘Sweet S….Savory Shoppe’ on the blackboard, while the whiteboard had the menu for the day. We had a welcome plaque by the door that said ‘Welcome Chefs’. Colorful balloons and a colorful table cloth set the mood for the party.
Party Themed Party Cooking Party Preparations
Other preparations: Ingredients for pretzels and utensils/bake ware set out. Cookie dough prepared and ready to use chilling in the refrigerator.  Don’t forget to have the oven preheated and ready to use as everything in this party involved the oven; the matches, candles, plates, cups, forks and spoons and other such items were also set out ready for use along with the aprons/fabric markers/cookie cutters appropriately.
The Menu: After reading through many ideas across the web, and recalling many Tasty videos and other videos shared on Facebook, we finally decided on the following dishes that the kids would make:
home made pretzels
Pretzels  – the idea was to have all the ingredients ready and let the kids work on the pretzels from scratch all by themselves. The recipe I used was from PBS Kitchen Explorers. The kids had lots of fun getting the dough ready and shaping it as well. And the end result – surprisingly good for a first attempt (yes, I had not tried this earlier at all).
home made pretzels
Cookies – we decided to let the kids make tie-dye cookies and stuffed cookies or stuffed-tie-dye cookies as they chose.  I prepared the dough before hand and kept it in the fridge to chill for use. The recipe used for the basic sugar cookie dough and the idea for the tie-dye cookies were both from Baked Bree and it was super easy and super delicious.
home made rainbow cookies with marshmallows and oreosrainbow cookie doughWhen it was time to have the kids bake the cookies, the dough came out in all its colors, the kids picked the colors they wanted and each was given a small amount of the different colored cookie dough. They worked those together to make 2 to 3 cookies each and picked the stuffing of their choice – mini-Oreos or marshmallows or none at all and the cookies went in to the oven ready to bake. Some of the kids chose to leave the marshmallows on top which meant we had caramelized toppings on the cookies but that worked out well too as they tasted great.
Since a couple of the kids had special dietary needs – I had two sets of pretzel dough getting prepared – one regular and one gluten-free.  (same for the cookies)

In addition to the above, we had also included frozen jalapeno poppers and spring rolls from costco which also spent their time in the oven while the girls prepared the pretzels and the cookies for baking. So everyone had something to munch on while cooking. We ordered pizza and had a crunchy kale salad for anyone who wanted it and ended it with yummy mango mousse cake and a chocolate mocha cake – both super delicious and definitely something we will order again – from a local bakery – La Patisserie Bakery.

The games: During the two baking times – for the pretzels and the cookies – the kids played a cooking game. The game they played was a memory game with food as the theme –the first player says ‘ I went to a picnic and took an apple with me’; and the next one adds to the picnic basket saying ‘I went to a picnic and took an apple and a banana with me’ and so on (and the alphabetical order of the foods is just coincidence – the kids did not play it that way though that can be an added challenge to make it more fun or difficult)

All in all, the party was a success and the little chefs had loads of fun – they got to take their aprons home and I am sure those will last a long time. As they left, they picked a couple of cookie cutters of their choice from the set we had ordered and were given a mini-cook book that included the recipes they had made during the party (with attributes to websites they were taken from included as well).

The recipe booklet was made using a cookbook template available in Microsoft Word – though it can be easily made as a set of recipe cards and put together with ribbons or putting them into small photo albums (also included as part of their take home goodies). Here is a screenshot of the pages that I printed out.

One main thing or tip I want to share out of this experience is to Go With the Flow. So when things went a little not according to plan, like burnt marshmallows, or the girls choosing to make a movie on the iPhone rather than playing the second and third cooking game I had planned for them or when the music was not loud enough for them to dance since they were all talking as well, just go with the flow and join in the fun. It makes it all worthwhile when you see a smile on the face of the one you are doing it for and when you hear that ‘Thank You, Mommy, it was the best birthday party ever‘!
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Yummy Tummy Tuesday – Teasers that tease and Top Tens

By January 14, 2014 Books, Food, Memes
hollow city miss peregrine's peculiar children

frog music

For TTT where we are listing the top ten reads we are looking forward to in 2014, over at The Broke and the Bookish

  1. Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3) by Stephanie Perkins – just finished the first two books in this series in the past two weeks in 2014:).  Reviews here and here.
  2. Graduation Day: The Testing Book 3 by Joelle Charbonneau (also Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2- which just came out) – Loved ‘The Testing’ – my review of the book is here.
  3. The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffith – I read book 1 of this series (loved it and reviewed it here) and somehow missed books 2 and 3 – plan to finish reading them – 13 times table! – by the time this one is out.
  4. Family Life by Akhil Sharma – When I read about this book, I had to add it to this list.
    His first book has been something I wanted to read for a long time.
  5. The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi – this is featured in many lists of books to read this year.
  6. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – Her first book was one I enjoyed reading and I do plan to read this soon
  7. Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis Perfect by Rachel Joyce – ‘Unlikely Pilgrimage….’ has been  on my TBR for a long time and currently on hold in the library for me. Perfect – seems just wonderful!
  8. Every Day Is for the Thief  by Teju Cole – again, like ‘The Last Word’, this book was just everywhere. So as part of trying new authors and different types of books, I added this one.
  9. Frog Music: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
  10. HOLLOW CITY Miss Peregrine, Book Two by Ransom Riggs – am finally reading book 1:) and looking forward to book 2 already.
  11. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – Have been meaning to read Murakami forever now so why not start with this one.
  12. The Past as Present by Romila Thapar Aleph
  13. Reel India: Cinema and Small Town India by Namrata Joshi

 

everyday is for the thief teju colesue monk kidd the invention of wings
For Teaser Tuesdays today, I present two books:
From ‘The Vegan Cookbook: Feed your Soul, Taste the Love: 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes by Adele McConnell ‘ –  a picture:) After all, a picture says a thousand words. Here is my teaser: This is the Moroccan Quinoa Soup featured on pg 56 of the book.

moroccan quinoa stew vegan

Wild Cheryl StrayedAnd from ‘Wild‘ by Cheryl Strayed – a book I have been wanting to read for a long time for various reasons – for the fact that this ‘wild’ is the Pacific Crest Trail, that I have enjoyed books like this in the past (Journey to Timbuktu), and more.
‘It occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to take a photograph, but to unpack the camera would entail such a series of gear and bungee cord removals that I didn’t even want to attempt it. Plus, in order to get myself in the picture, I’d have to find something to prop the camera on so I could set its timer and get into place before it took the shot, and nothing around me looked too promising.’
From Pg 54

Today, people around India celebrate the harvest season and the sun itself  – celebrated as Pongal in the south, Sankaranti in various parts of India, as Bihu in the north east, as Lohri in the north. We celebrate Pongal at our home. Traditionally, Pongal is a harvest festival and celebrates life in all forms – from the life giving sun to the birds and the bees.
As kids, we looked forward to many of our festivals as they marked the arrival of new clothes and of course, festive and delicious dishes. The main dishes for Pongal (other than a wedding scale feast on day one of the 4-day long festival) is the two pongals!

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Yummy Tummy Tuesday – A Recipe, a Giveaway ending today, and memes

By February 13, 2013 Books, Food

Here is a recipe for a yummy, filling and healthy snack that is easy to make as well. And there is still time to enter the giveaway on my blog for a yummy vegan desserts book here.

 
Quick Cutlet
Sandwich with veggie cutlet (pattie)1 slice of bread – toast well and crumble it to bread crumbs
4 small or 2 medium potatoes
1 carrot
Few green beans (4-5)
½ cup peas
Salt
Red chili powder
Chaat masala and/or amchur powder
Dhaniya (coriander) powder
Coriander leaves
Spinach or kale or other greens – ½ cup cooked (I used frozen)Boil the carrot, potatoes, beans, peas until soft.  Put them in a food processor, add the greens and the powders along with the coriander leaves and grind for a couple of minutes. It does not have to become a puree just mixed well together and mashed a little (or you can mash by hand).
Now take the mix little by little, pat into a patty shape, roll it on the breadcrumbs to coat the patty with the crumbs evenly.
In a heated pan, add a little oil and fry the patty on both sides until golden brown
Serve by itself with any chutney or sauce/ketchup of choice or use as a burger patty (like I did)

The topic for this week’s Top Ten over at The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Favorite Romances: I know I have taken liberties here by including whole series of books – if I could, this list would have become a top 100 pretty soon 🙂 but kept it to ten by using these series and I know there are a great many I wanted to include which I have not here (and others that when I look at other lists or recall later, I will wonder why I did not include them here today), but here is my list, for now:

  1.     Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  2.     Pride and Prejudice (my favorite of Austen’s now) and other works of Austen
  3.     Tess of D’Urbervilles, The Mayor of Casterbridge and other works of Thomas Hardy
  4.     Twelfth Night (my favorite romantic comedy of Shakespeare) and a few others as well
  5.     Stephanie Laurens – The Cynster series
  6.     Lisa Kleypas – The Hathaway series
  7.     Julia Quinn –  Bridgerton series
  8.     Johanna Lindsey – Malory Family series
  9.     Eloisa James – The Essex Sisters series
  10.     Nora Roberts – Three Sisters Island trilogy

For Teaser Tuesdays over at Should Be Reading, from Never
Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic’s Edge
in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
by Zac Unger

It’s rare to be in the presence of a true carnivore, and there’s something about knowing that an animal wants to eat you that makes a man feel alive. You don’t even have to see the teeth to get the full effect, although it certainly helps. ‘
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Yummy Tummy Tuesday – Falafel…(where I eat out)…

By January 8, 2013 Books, Food, Memes, Reviews
Local Falafel favs for me: Falafel Drive-In and now the newer Falafel Stop: Love falafel though the kids are not so crazy about it. So we do not go too often.
In the past, the Drive-In has been our go-to spot for falafel and we loooove the falafels, the milk shakes and the baklava there. We love the onion rings and baba ghanouj too.…
A 5* for the food..:) parking might be a problem if you go at busy times..Lots of choices on the menu, reasonable prices, assured taste, years of good food.

Now we have discovered the Falafel Stop which is conveniently located way closer ..and what is best is we love it too.. couple of points –vegetarian (they have couple of dishes with eggs), falafels are different from the regular green ones so add a variety when we eat here instead of at the drive in, wonderful salad options, great pita bread, but sadly no baklava though the cream bavaria we tried was totally yummy… all in all,a new favorite which we might up visiting now more than the drive in because of proximity.. and the prices are not bad too. The photos below are from our first stop at the Falafel Stop last week. (hot sauce, dessert, falafel salad)

For NaBloPoMo:, where the prompt for today is: If you could be given the option to never sleep and also never be tired, would you take it if it meant you’d also never dream again? :)nope, I love sleeping and I love my dreams (even the scary ones) though I would love to have the option to be less tired (not never tired)..

The Top Ten theme at The Broke and the Bookish this week: Top Ten Bookish Goals For 2013
  1. Work on my challenges – that covers many goals
  2. Read to my kids more
  3. Write a short story (or more)
  4. Review more of what I read
  5. I want to re-read and review books that I have read and loved but for whatever reason did not review
  6. Write comments on my blog/goodreads for other books I have read before but not reviewed
  7. Update my book lists – TBR/completed/others – and link to reviews wherever they are (my blog/amazon/goodreads/brazenreads) and put it up on my blog. Link on Pinterest
  8. I will not continue to read books if I find them uninteresting even after 33 pages.
  9. Leave more comments on book blogs
  10. Have fun reading and blogging and reviewing and doing all that I have stated above

For Teaser Tuesdays at Should be Reading, from White Fang by Jack London – totally enjoying his imagery –
‘Half an hour passed, an hour; and nothing happened. The balls of quills might have been a stone for all it moved; the lynx might have been frozen to marble; and old One Eye might have been dead. Yet all three animals were keyed to a tenseness of living that was almost painful, and scarcely ever would it come to them to be more alive than they were then in their seeming petrifaction.’

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Yummy Tummy Tuesdays – Grilled Oatmeal ..

By May 10, 2012 Food

Grilled Oatmeal

– When I saw this on the menu at Trader Duke’s, the restaurant attached to a Doubletree I stayed in, I knew I have to have this. I did, on the third and last day I stayed there and am glad I did. Grilled Oatmeal is breakfast heaven – healthy, hearty, and happy! This is warm, gooey, comforting, hearty, and familiar steel cut oats encased in a crunchy, crispy exterior.

Crunchy oats along with loads of scrumptious berries and packed with goodness nuts cooked with maple syrup and grilled to perfection – aren’t you in breakfast heaven now?

So here is what I ate at Trader Duke’s: Grilled Oatmeal – Homemade oatmeal with strawberries, blueberries, and Vermont Red Maple Granola, grilled and topped with a yogurt honey drizzle. $6.75
Here is the photo – not sure if it does full justice to the food – that I took before I dove into it at Trader Duke’s!

grilled oatmeal @ MyRandRSpace

Flash forward to when I came home and described the meal to DH and the little ones. Of course, they all love oatmeal and they wanted me to make it for them. So using what I remembered the friendly lady serving us told me about how they make it, and of course, the internet (one recipe I found was here), I ventured into the land of grilled oatmeal.

So here is my version of it:

What you need:

 

  • Steelcut oatmeal (I used the Trader Joes Quick cooking Steel cut oatmeal) – 1 cup
  • Nuts (I used sliced almonds) – 2 tbsps
  • One banana – Sliced
  • Mixed berries (I used mixed frozen berries – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) – 1/4 cup
  • Maple syrup – to taste – 2 tsps (you can also use other sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar, or even jaggery)
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Butter/coconut oil – 2 tsp
  • Toppings of your choice

How to make it:

 

  • Boil the water and add the oats to it, when 3/4 cooked (about six to seven minutes), add the milk to it. Cook for about three more minutes and add the maple syrup (or you can use other sweeteners), nuts, berries, and the bananas to it.  Gently mix and cool it down.
  • Spread it in an 8 inch cake pan and once a little cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight (or at least two hours).
  • When ready to grill the oatmeal, preheat the grill – or in my case, I used my faithful old pan.
  • Cut the oatmeal into desired shapes and place it on the grill/skillet/pan.
  • Lightly brown it by adding a little butter if and as needed on both sides.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice – maple syrup, fruit sauces, fruits, nuts and more.

Here are my photos:

grilled oatmeal pan seared oatmeal healthy breakfast @ MyRandRSpacegrilled oatmeal pan seared oatmeal healthy breakfast @ MyRandRSpace

Tips and Notes:

  • This dish has endless possibilities – you can add anything you want in it – nuts/fruits/other – even savory items; you can add anything you want on it when ready to serve – nuts/fruits/spreads/yoghurt/whipped cream/others.
  • If you find yourself without two hours in hand to refrigerate it, you can bake it for about 15 minutes. You can turn the oven on as you get the ingredients ready and as you cook the oatmeal so the oven is ready for you on time
  • You can make batches of this oatmeal beforehand, freeze it and use it anytime you want. The pan seared/grilled oatmeal is super portable and if you need it sweetened/flavored, you can add it while cooking the oatmeal so the dry, crispy, crunchy, almost toast-like oatmeal is ready to eat for you without the need for toppings (since you have everything in it) anytime, anywhere.

As I researched some more, I found that it is also called pan seared oatmeal and one of the recipes I loved is here.

So, do you think you will try grilled oatmeal soon? Do let me know if you like it when you do and leave a comment either way – your own version of it which I would love to try, what I can do different.. 

Memes:

Top Ten Favorite Quotes from books – this is the theme over at the Broke and the Bookish this week – one of the favorite bookish memes around.
There are so many of them but since I did not actually note
all of the ones from years ago anywhere and have a few from more recent times
on my computer, I used that list to get my top ten quotes. Each of the books in this list has a whole set of quotes I love but I chose one (or a couple) for this list.
  1. “Wasn’t that the
    definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted” –
    Verghese, Abraham –  Cutting for
    Stone
  2. “Have regular hours
    for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that
    you understand the worth of time by employing it well.  Then youth
    will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a
    beautiful success, in spite of poverty.”
“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can
unlock the door remains to be seen.”
Louisa
May Alcott
, Little
Women
  1.  “She read all sorts of things: travels,
    and sermons, and old magazines. Nothing was so dull that she couldn’t get
    through with it. Anything really interesting absorbed her so that she
    never knew what was going on about her. The little girls to whose houses
    she went visiting had found this out, and always hid away their
    story-books when she was expected to tea. If they didn’t do this, she was
    sure to pick one up and plunge in, and then it was no use to call her, or
    tug at her dress, for she neither saw nor heard anything more, till it was
    time to go home.”  ― Susan
    Coolidge
    , What
    Katy Did
    – this quote is perfect for me, as my parents said exactly
    something similar to firend and relatives of me and actually would ask
    them to hide the boks if they wanted me to talk and play
    J
  2. “Nothing
    comes from nothing, Thieflet; no story comes from nowhere; new stories are
    born from old–it is the new combinations that make them new.”
    Salman
    Rushdie
    , Haroun
    And The Sea Of Stories
  3. “People
    can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having
    your own opinion.”
    Anne
    Frank
    , The
    Diary of a Young Girl
  4. When a child asks you
    something, answer him, for goodness’ sake. But don’t make a production of
    it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than
    adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.
    To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. It’s the possibility of
    having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
    The Alchemist
  6. Today you are you, that is
    truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you. – Dr.Seuss
  7. “In
    Liesel’s mind, the moon was sewn into the sky that night. Clouds were
    stitched around it.” – – The Book Thief
  8.  And last, but not the least, a tribute to Maurice Sendak – “And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.” (Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, 1963)“Then from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat, so he gave up being king of the wild things.”
    ― Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

So, did any of these authors or books or maybe even the actual quotes make your list? Do let me know by leaving a comment or link back… Would love to hear from you..

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