Friday, August 7, 2015

Yes please!

Author: Amy Poehler

Yes-Please, amy poehler

This is a life story of Amy Poehler in her own words. If you have seen Saturday Night Live then you might be familiar with her. I hadn’t and so didn’t know much about her. Her writing style is so funny!! I just loved reading the book!! For that alone I would recommend the book.

There’s not much you can say about somebody’s life can you? It is what it is. Though it was interesting to read how much she’d to struggle (although she doesn’t refer it to as struggle) to get to where she’s today. Most of the times when people look at celebrities they only think of the luxuries that they have, how much money they get paid for each show/movie/etc. Little do we know how long did it take them to get there and the road to that destination wasn’t easy. I had some why-do-I-need-to-know-this moments; probably somebody who knows her from her shows and is a fan of her would be more interested. She has life lessons too in there and I liked some of the bits of advices she threw in there. One particularly that stuck with me was – she says don’t go after your career, depend on your creativity (or talent or skill). I quite agree with her there. This does not mean you should not have a plan for your career, you certainly must.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Salt Sugar Fat: How the food giants hooked us

Author: Michael Moss


If you never ever ever want to set your foot in the processed food aisle go read this book! I’m actually not kidding once you read this book, you would think twice before buying any of those convenience foods like pasta sauce or yummy cookies like oreo.

The book is almost divided in three sections, one section each for sugar, salt and fat. For each ingredient, the author has done research on what roles they play in making processed food tasty and have a long shelf life. When you read it you left aghast at how many teaspoons of sugar one single oreo cookie has or how much percentage of sodium is there in the bottle of pasta sauce. Or when people call it junk food, it is really that – junk. The author goes over how things changed, what brought about these changes and where we’re headed. It turns out that people are becoming more and more aware because of which companies have had to introduce low-cal, low-salt and/or low-sugar products.

The book is filled with lots of facts. I just wish it wasn’t as thick as it is. At some point I felt like tearing my hair, banging my head and screaming “I get it! I get it!”. A lot of it was interesting – to see how the changes were brought about, what the companies were thinking, what the government was doing (or not doing) and where did all that put the consumer.

One thing was clear from the book, end of the day it is our attitude towards “convenience” that pushed us to the market of processed foods; and we’re so blinded by it that we don’t care to look at the ingredients to see what we’re eating. That brings to my mind Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”. One of the rules in that book was to not buy anything which had an ingredient you couldn’t pronounce. If one were to follow that, only 1% of the processed foods would remain in your cart.

It’s hard to put a bottomline on this one. I enjoyed reading most of it and gained a lot of insight. However I would’ve loved it had it been a little shorter.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gardening update


Here’s an update on how our veggie garden is doing. As you can see it’s thriving! The sun god has been very generous this year (and so has the heat goddess!). While both are too much for me to take, I take relief in the fact that the veggies are relishing it!

Unfortunately I forgot to post photos when we’d just planted all these veggies Sad smileIn the above photo:

  • In the front square: onions on the bottom left, lavender just next to it. Red Pepper on the top right an spinach adjacent to it.
  • In the back square: tomato all along the vine and then a summer squash plant.


In this photo:

  • In the front square: Strawberry plant in the bottom left, onion on the bottom right. Beans in the rest of the area.
  • In the back square: Cucumber all along the vine and a zucchini and summer squash plant in front of it.

Can wait to harvest the veggies!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Butterscotch ice cream

butterscotch ice cream

Sorry for the terrible photo – I wanted to take a photo of the ice cream before it got over. Everyone really liked it!

This year we’ve had summer since the spring! Yes seriously the temperatures started climbing in spring and we’ve seen no end to it. I figured it’s a good year to put my ice cream maker to use and get some expertise in the art of making ice cream.

Butterscotch is a very popular flavor of ice cream in India and something that we don’t get here. So I tried to search for recipes for butterscotch ice cream. I already had a base recipe and just wanted to figure out how I could modify it for butterscotch.

My recipe is a marriage of two different recipes. I took the base recipe from KAF and the recipe for pralines from Tarla dalal.


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butterscotch flavor

For the pralines:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tsp butter

To make the pralines:

    1. Powder the cashews using a grinder. I was careful not to powder so much that it became butter and to be on the cautious let some pieces remain larger than the others.
    2. Prepare a baking sheet with a non stick mat or grease a plate.
    3. Heat the sugar in a broad non-stick pan and cook on a medium flame for 5 to7 minutes or till the sugar melts, while stirring continuously.
    4. Remove from the flame, add the cashews and butter and mix well.
    5. Spread the mixture on a greased flat surface and allow it to cool and harden.
    6. Scrape it out using a palate knife and coarsely powder it using a mortar-pestle. If you don’t have a mortar-pestle, put the pieces in a zip loc and smash them using a rolling pin.

To make the ice cream:

  1. Mix sugar, cream, butterscotch flavor and milk till the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the above mixture to your ice cream maker and make the ice cream per the directions of the ice cram maker.
  3. Half way through add the praline bits.
  4. Freeze the ice cream for at least 2 hours. Cover the container with saran wrap and then close the lid. This prevents ice crystals from forming on the ice cream.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Big Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty is soon becoming my favorite author! Why do I say that in continuous tense? Because this is only the second book I’ve read so I don’t want to jump the gun so soon! She has an easy style – like Sophie Kinsella. You become completely immersed in the story that’s going on. As if you’re sitting amidst all the characters. Everything is so down to earth and that’s what makes it feel so real. So next-door. No perfect families, no best-evah wife or husband.

The story is centered around three characters (and their families). Jane – a single mom who doesn’t seem to settle down. She keeps moving from one place to another. Never likes to talk about her son’s father. Madeline – a mom of three with a nice husband. With her ex married to the “ideal” woman. Always ready to stand up for her own people be it friends or family. Seems to be losing her teenage daughter to her stepmother. Every single person in the town seems to know her. Celeste – the most beautiful woman married to the most eligible husband. She has twins who are uncontrollable. Other than that her world seems perfect to all. The lives of these women cross when their kids start going to the same school. It’s the interaction between them and their interaction with the other parents of the school that spins an engrossing story. It starts with the investigation of murder. Murder of one of the parents in the school. Enuf said. Anything more I saw may spoil the thrill of the story.

It was pure joy reading this book! I would highly recommend it!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Being Mortal

Author: Atul Gawande


This is one of the few non-fiction books that I found to be quite interesting. Otherwise most of the times I’ve to make an effort to get through the initial pages and dive deep into it. Sometimes, even at it’s depth it’s hard to keep your interest. Not this one. Probably because of the way the author writes. He just just state statistics and make inferences from them. Sure there are statistics, and there should be for one to believe what the author is saying. However more of the book has anecdotes and stories from real people. That’s what makes the book feel so real.

So what is the book about? Most of us must’ve seen in our families that when people in the family get old and frail and start facing health problems, the immediate reaction of the next of kin is to impose certain rules and regulations for the safety of these aged members of the family. Similarly when they go to the doctor, the doctor’s only reaction is how he/she can fix/mitigate the problem so that the person can live longer. No matter at what cost – emotionally, physically or mentally. What is missing in all these reactions is the concern for the happiness of the person involved. That is the main topic being handled here – safety vs happiness of the old and frail. I must say I never thought of it that way and the book was in some sense an eye opener for me.

Whether or not you agree with what the author says, it definitely gives you a new perspective on this issue and I’m quite sure most of us have never thought of it this way. To me, what he said made a lot of sense. The author himself is a doctor.

I would highly recommend reading this book!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabins

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

We recently stayed at a cabin in Ike Kinswa State Park and I must say we were very pleased with it as well as the overall experience! Overall the cabin way exceeded our expectations. We thought a cabin would be a one room with beds but this was like a lodge. It had a bedroom and a living room with dining table and chairs; and a futon. So awesome! This is especially useful if you go in the rainy season. You can eat the meals inside if it’s raining! The cabins are also equipped with heaters so once again the perfect place to go during wet and cold weather! Oh and the porch! Did I tell you how much I loved the porch! It was so much fun sitting on the porch!

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

The bedroom had a bunk bed with a queen bed and a twin bed.

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

As you can see from the photo below, there’s a view of the lake from the site. The lake shore is not accessible from the site. You need to go on a trail. Nevertheless, it just feels so good to sit out there and just look at the lake!

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin

Here are a few photos of the lake mayfield from the trail. The trail is quite short and easy. There are more than one access points from the trail to the lake shore. Basically if you think you can access the lake shore from the trail at any point, then you can!

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin, Lake Mayfield

Ike Kinswa State Park Cabin, Lake Mayfield

Oh and I must mention that the cabins have their own restroom and showers. There were two restrooms and two showers. We stayed at cabin C3 and the restrooms were pretty close from there – close enough to not be a trouble Smile. The showers were out of order but the restrooms were really fancy by camping standards (at least I thought so). Very clean and air cooled. It could be because the campground was not yet crowded.

Overall we would highly recommend staying at one of these cabins! Well of course our expectations were low and we were blown away but now that you know what to expect you may not be so. Even then I think it would be quite enjoyable!

Ike Kinswa State Park
873 Highway 122
Silver Lake, WA 98585
Ph: 360-983-3402

Camping reservations can be made online.