Friday, February 20, 2015

Choice Theory

Disclaimer: I never got around to completing the book but I’d almost read 90% of it.

I liked the topic of this book but felt like the author was going on and on describing the same thing in different words. If I were to summarize the book, the author says that where you are in life is your choice. Often times you may not realize so but that is what it is. The best example (according to me) that he uses is of a person who is depressed. He explains that the person is not depressed because of circumstances or external factors; but because he chooses to depress. He chooses to not to do anything about it.

It’s definitely a good book to read and gives you a new perspective. In essence, it tells you to stop blaming external entities for where you are or what you’re doing. You and you alone are responsible for it. The more I read it the more I agreed with the author. If you’re not happy with your life then change it. It’s all up to you. If you don’t change it, then it means you’ve chosen to live the way you are.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Apple Muffins

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There are very few things in this world that are healthy and tasty; and I’m happy to announce that I found one of them! These delicious apple muffins! They’ve the goodness of apple and whole grains (in the form of whole wheat flour!).

The recipe is from King Arthur Flour. Yes I’m a huge fan of theirs and the more successful I’m at trying their recipes the bigger a fan I’m becoming! I followed the recipe as it is except that I substituted the egg with ground flaxseed.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg 1 tbsp ground flaxseed in 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (I used the Indian atta)
  • 1 cup Unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples; about 2 large apples, about 3/4 pound whole apples

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the insides of the papers.
  2. Mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, beating until fluffy.
  3. Add the flaxseed mixture and mix well, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. Gently mix in the yogurt.
  5. Stir in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Fold in the chopped apples.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar on top.
  8. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Croissants

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Who doesn’t love croissants?!?! That too warm, flaky fresh from the oven!! Ooh yummy! I tried to bake croissant for the first time and let me tell you, DH and I were very happy that I did!

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Look at all those layers! How I wish I had some in my oven RIGHT now!

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Can you see little specks of chocolate brown in between the swirls? DH put some chocolate chips in between to make something similar to pain au chocolate. It tasted really good! Ok enough of drooling over the pictures! How did I make them? I followed the recipe from King Arthur Flour to the T. I did halve the recipe because the original was a lot! If this is the first time you’re trying it then let me warn you – it’s going to be tedious but well worth it!

I made really small bite sized ones and hence the increased quantity. The baking sheet above is a half sheet so you can figure out how small the croissants must be to fit ~15 of them Smile

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Factory Man

Author: Beth Macy

While the world is dominated by sweatshop-goods, I wanted to read about the story of Bassett furniture to see how it had survived this domination. I’ll be honest here – I never completed the book. Before I could finish it I had to return it to the library. That is not to say that if I’d had it I would’ve finished it. It’s kind of slow, really slow in the beginning. The author begins at the beginning. Right from when the first Basset factory was setup, the family feuds, the social geometry and so on. That was not what brought me to the book. I was more interested in reading how exactly had they survived this era of sweatshop-goods when left, right and center I see all manufacturing units shutting down. Whenever given a chance, I like to promote goods made in the country. Why? Because I know that people who worked hard to make these goods were given their due wage so that they can lead a decent life. That’s why I was curious to read what is that Bassett did, that others didn’t. However I’m sad to report that I don’t know the secret. Maybe someday I’ll give it another chance. Till then wait for my next book review Smile

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vegan cookies invade your cookie jar

Author: Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

I recently go this book from the library to see if I liked the recipes. I was able to try two of the recipes and was very impressed! One of them was banana cookies – which everyone devoured and the other was chocolate biscotti (again a hit!). Below is a picture of the chocolate biscotti made using the recipe from the book.
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Of the two recipes that I tried, both were really good! So the recipes seem like a keeper. The ingredients required seemed to be there in my pantry – another thing I liked about the recipes. The instructions are clear and the book covers almost every type of cookie – from breakfast cookies to decadent cookie bars. Needless to say this book is now on my wishlist and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for vegan cookies!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kulfi–Indian ice cream

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This summer was as warm a summer as I’ve seen here! So it was the perfect time of the year to make some cold treats. Kulfi had been on my list of things to cook for years and since summer here was never too hot I never got around to making it. Basically I would start thinking about making it at the start of the summer and by the time I got to it the summer would be over. Not this time! We’d our fill of summer!

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Doesn’t it look yummy? DH loved it – testament to the fact that I’m not tooting my own horn!

I got the recipe from a teeny weeny booklet that came with some brand of spices. I believe my mom got it and she kept it for me because she knew I was fond of keeping such things (isn’t she the sweetest?!?!). So here’s what you need:

  • Milk – 1 liter
  • Wheat flour – 1 tbsp
  • Cornflour (or corn starch) – 1 tbsp
  • Sugar – 160 gms
  • Khoya/Mawa – 50 gms
  • Chopped nuts (I used almonds, you can also use pistachios)

Method:

  1. Mix wheat flour and corn starch in 100 ml of milk.
  2. Boil remaining milk till it reduces to 3/4 of it’s original volume.
  3. Add sugar.
  4. Mix in wheat flour/corn starch paste and stir for 5 minutes
  5. Cool milk and then blend in mawa.
  6. Mix in nuts and freeze.

Note: If you have saffron you can add that too. It will add a nice flavor as well as color to the kulfi.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yurts at Kanaskat Palmer State Park

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Dh and I love being close to nature and so summer is our time to go camping! Living in washington state we’ve plenty of options. There are lots of state parks and almost every park has campgrounds. If it’s late spring/early summer when chances of rain are quite high, we try to pick a campground where we try to get a yurt/cabin – anything with a built roof to shelter from heavy rains. This year we tried the yurts at Kanaskat Palmer State Park! It was pure bliss! When we checked-in, it was pouring and I can’t describe in words how beautiful it felt to be inside the yurt in the middle of the rain. The yurt has windows on all corners and a huge expanse of skylight! So you get the best of both worlds – you’re sheltered from the elements and yet feel right in the middle of them!

There was plenty of space for four adults. I would say it could fit 5 (friendly) adults. As you can see in the below photo, there’s a queen futon and a bunk bed with full-size lower bed and a twin upper bed. The restrooms are shared – just like you would in a tent.

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Here’s a photo of a nearby river – the Green river. It was a (really) short hike from the campground.

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All in all we had a lovely time and would highly recommend the park as well as the yurts! You do have to book them early in the season.

Contact Info:

Address: 32101 Cumberland Kanasket Rd Se, Ravensdale, WA 98051 · (360) 886-0148

Website: Kanaskat Palmer State Park