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.
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


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!


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)


  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


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.


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


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

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Last Original Wife

I found this title when I was looking around for some books in the humor section. Left to myself I wouldn’t put it in that category necessarily. It reads like a story perfect for one of those entertaining family movies but not outright humorous. A good read nevertheless.

The story is about husband, Wesley and wife, Leslie (well you must’ve got that from the title itself) who’re well past their middle age. Well it’s more about the wife than the husband. It turns out that all the friends of the husband have lost their original wives one way or another and are attached to fashionable young women half their age and Leslie is the only original wife in the whole group (may or may not be for long). When Leslie realizes this, she also realizes why she’s the only last original wife – because she’s the only one of all the wives who’s been willing to be on the giving end always. Be it providing day care for her grand daughter or housekeeping for her husband; and nobody to appreciate. The regular housewives’ frustration but unlike regular housewives’ Leslie decides to take action against it. The whole story spins around that.

I found the story quite interesting especially the feminine point of view that it provides.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It’s that time of the year again!

DSC_0421 (2)

Yes the seeds have been planted inside! We sowed – cherry tomato, stupice tomato, summer squash, zucchini and jalapeno pepper. We also put some fenugreek and cilantro in bigger pots. I’ll share a picture of them later.

Yes some of the above pots are the remnants of single server yogurt Smile. Unlike last year, this year we’ve sowed the seeds directly in compost and have bypassed the vermiculite. From my observation, I think the seeds sprouts quite fast in vermiculite as compared to compost.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

This was one of those books that left to myself I would’ve read it one sitting; but we all know how life goes Smile

It’s a love story but it’s different (seems like a line straight from the mouth of a bollywood actor). The hero of the love story, Don, is on the spectrum of autism, highly intelligent, socially inept, very organized and looking for a wife. In his past experiences with women, he realized that they were all the wrong women and he wasted time in figuring out whether they could potentially be his wife. So he starts what he calls “The Wife Project”. As part of the project, he designs a questionnaire which must be filled by all prospective “wives” before he can date them. As part of this project he meets Rosie. Rosie is looking for her biological father and it so happens that Don has the resources to help her out. His journey through the Wife Project as well as helping Rosie find her father is hilarious!

If you’re looking for good humor, then this is it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Daffodils make a statement...

When March knocks on the door
Daffodils step out of the earth
Wiping the gray and white of the winter
as if the sun has risen
shining in bright hues of yellow
Announcing to the earth
Spring is here!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The China Study

Author: Colin and Thomas Campbell

Well the cover the tells you what this book is about “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted”. I don’t know if it’s the most comprehensive or not; but I would say that they’ve done a lot of research. The book focuses on the effects of animal food vs plant food on the human body. The authors did research on rats as well as humans. The reason it’s called “china study” is because the authors were part of a big research project that studied the effects of dietary habits on people in China.

The authors attack the common myth most people have that a meal should be heavily dominated by proteins and that plant food doesn’t have enough protein so they need to resort to animal food.

There are a few chapters devoted to major diseases like cancer, heart diseases, etc. and how they’re a bane of the meals rich in animal food. Thy were also able to quote some real studies done on people who had heart diseases and how a low fat diet rich in plant food helped the patients.

Then they talk about the basic principles of nutrition. This seems similar to Michael Pollan’s rules. The number one being – which was and is my favorite even before I read this book – eat food and not nutrients. Food is more than sum of its parts. Implying eating an orange is more than eating separately whatever it’s constituents comprise.

It does get tiring to read about so many studies etc. and so I did skip some sections. Other than I think it’s an interesting book. If you’re baffled by all the protein debates that you keep hearing these days, then this is the book for you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lean In

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and recently became the first female billionaire. In this book, she talks about women in the workplace. About biases against women, about biases among women, about how women can have a work life balance, what you need to have such a balance and so on. I was a little skeptical before reading this book – it sounds like one of those self help books that give you nothing more than common knowledge. However the more I read it the more impressed I was. There were so many things I hadn’t thought about and still wouldn’t if I hadn’t read it. There’s a lot of good, practical information in the book.

For example, there’s one topic I specifically remember because I never thought about it the way she explained it. Sheryl says that many women shy away from the workplace because they have kids and the salary they would get would barely cover the daycare expenses. So they’re unable to justify being a salaried employee. However she says that it is only in the beginning. As you progress in your career, your salary would eventually high enough for you to be able to justify to yourself.

The book is not just about theories and anecdotes from her life, she’s quoted a number of research studies on various subjects.

I would recommend this book for not just women but also men. Men share the space with women – be it in the workplace or at home.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick pots de creme


I’m always looking for simple and quick desserts. This quick pots de crème from King Arthur fit the bill perfectly!


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I’d fresh cream so I used that)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Place the chocolate chips, salt, sugar, and espresso powder in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground.

2) Add the egg and pulse just until the mixture is smooth.

3) Heat the cream to just below a boil, with small bubbles forming around the edge of the saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl).

4) Turn on the processor, and slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Add the flavoring of your choice and pulse to blend.

5) Divide into 6 individual serving cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

It was liked by one and all! Can you see the little white thing towards the bottom of the bowl? I’d some ladyfingers stashed in the freezer. I thought this would be a good time to use them. Turned out it wasn’t a bad idea!

If you’re running low on the clock and looking for a yummy chocolate dessert then look no further Smile

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sabitri’s story

I’m a big fan of KIVA and have been a lender of it since it’s early stages. KIVA is a non-profit organization which does micro-financing in developing nations. A few years back KIVA also added India to its portfolio. That made me very happy because I think there are a lot of people in India that could use such a service.

Recently I got a newsletter from KIVA which had this story. Of course it shows how much good KIVA did but more than that it shows the resolve of this woman and that made my heart so happy. I wanted to share this story with one and all because I think it can be an inspiration for each one of us.


Sabitri was born without working legs. She learned to carry her body around primarily on her arms, and at 34, her upper arms muscles are so strong they resemble those of an American football player. She is dedicated to supporting herself and her family. For nearly 10 years she has worked alongside her brother as a government contractor, selling highly subsidized rice and kerosene to the families in her village living below the poverty line. Her brother is in charge of transporting items to and from the market, while Sabitri runs the shop out of the two rooms in the front of their house.

Last year, Sabitri applied for a loan from Kiva through People’s Forum to expand her business to include the sale of aluminum pots and containers, which are staples in all kitchens in Odisha. In a short amount of time, her daily income has jumped from 3,000 INR (about $50 USD) a month, to between 8,000 and 10,000 INR a month. She has invested some of these increased earnings in her business and family expenses, but she is using most of it to build a new home to live in with her brother, his wife, and their two children. A huge improvement from the single room they currently share, a new home with three rooms would provide them with much more space.


You can donate to KIVA in multiples of $25; you would be surprised to see how far your $25 go!