Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Life in perspective

I thought life was hard. Our international flight was delayed 7 hours. We got put on another flight. That meant we reach our destination a day later. We'd to spend a couple of hours sitting in an air-conditioned airport talking to a customer representative. That wasn't easy. 

Almost 200 people died and hundreds (if not thousands) lost everything that they owned - in the flooding in chennai. 

Life. Is hard. For them. 

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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Quinoa enchilada bake


Do you go to costco? If you do, has it ever happened to you that you see a good deal for 5 lb quinoa and even though there are just two of you, you think “wow so much healthy food for so little”. Then you pick the bag of quinoa and put it in your cart, patting your back. Saving those few dollars made you forget that you don’t even like quinoa that much! Well it’s happened to me.

The good thing is that quinoa is has long staying power. So after sitting in our pantry for a months and months I finally decided to give this recipe a try.


Let me tell you not only does it look delicious, it is! It was yummy and healthy – there are very few dishes that we can put in this category!


I slightly adapted the recipe to what I had on hand and the quantity I had on hand. That is why for some ingredients you would not see a specific quantity just a range. I would encourage you too to use what you have on hand or what you like. We really like stir-fried green pepper, onions and serrano pepper. So that is what I added to the recipe. Use as much or as little cheese as you want.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 8-10 oz enchilada sauce
  • 10 slices serrano pepper 
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup black beans, boiled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tbsp for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced


  • In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  • Stir fry onion, green pepper and serrano pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8x8 or 2 quart baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, onion-pepper mixture, black beans, 2 tbsp cilantro, cumin; season with salt to taste.
  • Stir in half of each of the cheese.
  • Spread quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and cheeses have melted, about 15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with avocado, tomato and cilantro.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Almond Biscotti


Almond biscotti

Biscottis are everybody’s favorite at our home! Even my mom and dad loved biscotti when they were visiting us! So it’s an obvious choice to bake when I feel like baking any sort of cookies. This is the second time I tried this recipe. The first time I did, it got such rave reviews and was over in no time. I couldn’t even take any photos. So this time hubby took the photos as soon as they were out of the oven {he’s so cute!}.

Almond biscotti

The texture, the crispness – everything is just perfect! I wanted to dip some of them in chocolate but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Almond biscotti

The recipe is from my favorite source – King Arthur Flour.


  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds (the recipe suggests using 2 cups but I found 1 cup to be plentiful. You can use raw almonds too, since I only had roasted at home I used them)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line one large (about 18" x 13") baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. If you bake often and don’t have a silpat, I would highly recommend one!
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. At low speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky. Add chopped almonds and mix.
  4. Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide it in half, and shape it into two 9 1/2" x 2" logs, about 3/4" tall. Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here.
  5. Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven.
  6. Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the logs, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti much easier. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
  7. Wait 5 minutes, then use a sharp chef's knife or serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti. As you're slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they'll topple over during their second bake.
  8. Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They'll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they'll continue to dry out as they cool.
  9. Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store airtight at room temperature; they'll stay good for weeks.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Everything I never told you

Author: Celeste Ng


This was quite an engrossing novel! If life didn’t come in the way I would’ve finished it one seating! It was kind of like a suspense novel…

The book is about a mixed race family back in the 60s – a white wife and a chinese husband; and their three kids. Of which, the eldest Lydia is the apple of their eye and for some reason both the parents look up to her to fulfill their dreams or rather the dreams that they couldn’t fulfill on their own. Her mother had wanted to be a doctor but somehow ended up getting married, having three kids and becoming a housewife. This would pinch her every single day of her life. So she decided that she would not let her daughter fall into this trap and have her become a doctor. Her father on the other hand, being a chinese at a time when there were hardly any and more like none in small towns, wanted nothing more than to blend with everybody. To be just like everybody else. So this is what he wanted for her daughter to become – to blend in. In their race, both the parents hardly cared or worried about the other two kids. One day Lydia’s body was found beside the lake. Nobody knew what and how it came to be there. And this is what kept me gripped to the end of the novel. Although I was kind of disappointed with the end.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Artisan Bread in 5

Many of you must have heard of the bestseller bread book “Artisan bread in five minutes”. I thought of giving it’s basic recipe a try and boy was I pleased with the results!


This is how my bread looked:

artisan bread in 5

I couldn’t believe that we baked it at home!

artisan bread in 5

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? Ready to be devoured?

artisan bread in 5

I followed the basic recipe as outlined here except that I increased the rising time before baking to around 90 minutes. For baking I used a baking stone and preheated the oven for 30 minutes at the minimum, as suggested. Also I used a parchment paper to make it easy to slide the shaped dough into the oven and after around 20 minutes removed it (again suggested in the recipe).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cleaning hood microwave filters

Till I came across this post I had no idea that microwave vents needed to be cleaned! Oh and especially after all the cooking we do, it certainly should be. We tried out the method outlined in the post and it works like magic! literally!

Here’s how our filters looked before cleaning:

cleaning microwave filters

and after cleaning:


cleaning microwave filters

Can you imagine?!?! The way to clean is pretty simple! Boil a big pot of water (pot should be big enough that you can put your filters in it). Once the water boils, add half a cup of baking soda (yes the elixir!). Then insert your filters. You’ll see grease and dirt getting off right away! Let the filters be in the pot till they’re clean and then just rinse!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Its time to plant!

Once again its that time of the year when activity in the garden begins!


I too these photos 1-2 weeks back when we cleaned up the bed to get it ready for spring plantation. Oh I should’ve taken the before photo! The beds look so good now – am so proud of them! Smile


We got a staple gun this year and stapled the chicken wire as well as the weed barrier to the raised bed. The beds look so neat and tidy after that! {pat our backs}


The two little plants that you see are basil and lavender. With some regret I need to report that the basil is probably not going to make it Sad smile After we planted there’ve been plenty of nights where the temperature dropped a little below 40F and I thought that wasn’t much to worry about; but I guess that took a toll on the basil. I’ve never had luck with basil. This is probably the 3rd year but somehow I don’t lose hope with it. I know hot peppers won’t do well in our climate and probably the same is true for basil but I think I chose to live in denial. When I see Lidia (from Lidia’s Kitchen) pluck fresh basil from her herb garden I want to do exactly that. I guess that’s what keeps up the hope Smile Maybe this is the last chance basil gets! Enough about basil. Let’s talk about other veggies. We also planted a little strawberry plant; then spinach, radish and coriander – all from seeds. Finally some 80 onion bulbs! Yeah we don’t know what we’ll do with them Embarrassed smile So stay tuned and I’ll post a new photo in a few weeks with the updates!

Friday, April 3, 2015

A House in the sky

A house in the sky

This book is a true story of a woman who spent more than a year in captivity in Somalia! It starts at the very beginning – with the childhood of Amanda. How, where and in what circumstances she grew up. Once she grew up, she took up a job as a waitress and one fine day she decided that she would save money from her job and try to travel and see the world. So she started saving money and soon she’d enough to make her first trip. After her trip she was fueled up and realized that she would like to do it more often. So it became a regular feature with her – save money for a few months and then travel to some far away place. As she started to do it more often, she became more bold and courageous; and started to venture into dangerous lands. Some didn’t do any damage to her, while some others almost cost her her life. One such being Somalia.

Almost the first half of the book is about her background – her growing up, travelling the world and so on. The second half is all about her captivity. It’s heart rendering and hair raising and sometimes hard to absorb (and that makes you wonder that if you can’t even read it how did this woman take it all in and still maintain her courage). Somewhere there she mentions that she always thought that at heart every person was good but experiencing what she was, she wasn’t sure of that anymore. I couldn’t agree more – I too would always like to believe that inside each of us there’s good but when you see humans treating other humans like they wouldn’t even treat animals, you have to tell yourself that no there are people who are inherently bad. There’s another anecdote that stuck with me. On one of her trips, in Afghanistan, she met with a sudanese woman in prison. She was there for drug trafficking. The imprisoned woman told her that she was sorry that she did what she did and that could Amanda please help her get out of prison. To which the author replied that somebody ought to pay for the crime that she committed. When the author was in captivity, she remembered this instance and realized that she was so wrong to not offer any consolation to her. It made me realize that before trying to be “right”, we should always try to put ourselves in others’ position. What the author said was not wrong, but in that situation nobody needed to hear right/wrong. One needed to hear what would be good for the heart.

The book is very well written. Since I’d read the summary I knew this was about the author being kidnapped so I spent the first half of the book for that to happen. I would highly recommend reading it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Crunchy and crispy granola!

Crispy, crunchy granola

Now who doesn’t like granola!! Add it to milk, eat with yogurt or munch on it just like that! I like to make my own granola- that way I know what’s going into it and I can also tweak it to my tastes. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour.

I changed it just a little bit. Instead of maple syrup I use honey. I tried with both and found that when I make it with honey it’s more crisp and I like that. Also I bake it for 2 hours at 250 F and then turn off the oven and leave the granola in for a few hours. Also I half the recipe every time  I make it. That’s good enough for me.



  • 3.5 cups rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut (optional, but good)
  • 1 cup stabilized wheat germ (I don’t have this in my pantry)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (typically I use sliced ones but this time I didn’t have any so just chopped some almonds and found that I like them better because they add a lot of crunch)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups mixed dried fruit** (raisins, cranberries, cherries, diced pineapple, diced apricots, chopped dates, or the mixture of your choice)


  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with silicone mats; or line them with parchment.
  2. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, nuts, and seeds. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, salt, honey, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture in the bowl, stirring and tossing until everything is very well combined.
  5. Spread the granola on the baking sheets, patting it gently to flatten.
  6. Bake the granola for about 120 minutes, stirring the mixture with a heatproof spatula after 60 minutes. You want to bring the granola at the edge in towards the middle, so it all browns evenly. Reverse the baking sheets in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) when you stir.
  7. When the granola is a medium golden brown, remove it from the oven and cool completely on the pans.
  8. Transfer the granola to a large bowl, and mix in the dried fruit.
  9. Store the granola in a tightly closed container at room temperature for several weeks; freeze for extended storage. Or portion into pretty patterned plastic bags for gift-giving.

Note: Next time I want to increase the quantity of oats or reduce that of dried fruits/nuts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thandai– An Indian milk beverage



Thandai is a traditional indian beverage made with milk and flavored with various spices. It’s mostly made in the northern part of India and is specially popular during the festival of Holi. Back home, it would be available as a concentrate in bottles just like we get hershey’s chocolate syrup here. In the hot summers of northern India, thandai was a popular drink. This holi I wanted to make a drink for our guests and figured what better drink on holi than thandai! I



  • 4 1/2 cups full- fat milk (I used 1/2 cup cream and 4 cups 2% milk)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (I misunderstood this to be confectioner’s sugar which is way less sweet. So I ended up using around 1 cup confectioner’s sugar)
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • a few saffron strands (optional)

To Be Blended Into A Fine Powder
1/4 cup almonds
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
20 whole white peppercorns


  1. If you’re not using pasteurized milk then boil the milk in a deep non-stick pan, allow it to cool completely.
  2. Combine the prepared powder and milk in a deep bowl, mix well using a whisk and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Strain the mixture through a strainer, add the sugar, pepper powder and saffron and mix well.
  4. Pour equal quantities of the thandai into 4 individual glasses and serve chilled.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Almost famous breadsticks

Almost famous breadsticks

Hubby and I are big fans of Olive Garden! We really like that place. There was a time when I just couldn’t eat pasta – I didn’t get it! Now my mouth starts to water as I think of yummy pasta. So when that changed love for Olive Garden re-ignited in our house (hubby had always liked it!). No wonder then that when I saw the recipe for these Almost famous breadsticks (which I think means Olive Garden’s breadsticks) on Food Network I was tempted to try them out. They turned out totally yummy!! I think this is going to become our go-to recipe for breadsticks! I made half the recipe and it yielded nice good sized 8 breadsticks!


For the Dough:

  • 1/2 package (or 1 1/8 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour,plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine salt

For the Topping:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of dried oregano


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl and add the yeast as well as sugar to it. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. To your food processor bowl, add the flour, butter, fine salt, the yeast mixture and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water. Mix until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.
  4. Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes.
  5. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 8 1 1/2-inch-long pieces.
  6. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
  7. Brush the breadsticks with 3/4 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt.
  8. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 3/4 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Husband’s Secret

Author: Liane Moriarty

I absolutely loved reading this book! I can’t pinpoint exactly what we it was but I just wouldn’t feel like keeping it down – it was so interesting! I think it seemed very real, very next-door and easy to read. At the same time, you were always curious to know what would happen next.

The story involves three different families. A mother, son, daughter-in-law and her grandson. The mother’s daughter was murdered when she was a young girl and the murderer was never found. So the mother never got a closure and is always haunted by those memories. Her grandson seems to be compensating for her daughter who’s no longer there.

A successful husband, his equally successful and a very organized wife and their three lovely daughters. The wife comes across a letter written by her husband to her and to be opened if he’s dead. However when the wife comes across it and mentions it to her husband, it makes her husband very uneasy. This propels the wife to open the letter despite everything; and guess what? It was like opening a can of worms!

The last family: a husband, wife and their son. The husband admits to having an affair which tears apart the family. It gives the wife the license to do things she never thought a married woman should do.

Of course, these families are not independent of each other. They cross each other’s path every day. it is how their lives are intertwined and how they weave through the issues in their life which makes it quite engrossing to read!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yummy granola bars!


I’m always on the lookout for some nutritious and tasty snacks; that can be stored; which don’t need refrigeration… I know so many qualifications! You know snacks that are perfect for your afternoon cravings and don’t make you feel guilty that you just gorged on half a bag of chips! Instead they make you feel that you just did something good for your health. So I thought why not make some granola bars that suit my taste. While searching for granola bar recipes I came across this recipe from Minimalist Baker. It was perfect! I liked all the ingredients, I had all the ingredients and it was simple to make. I was a little apprehensive on whether it would indeed be bars or would it crumble; but it turned out fine. These are more of the chewy kind of bars are not the crunchy ones. I love them whatever they are! I added a very small amount of chocolate chips so that they please my chocolate-craving senses!



  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I make my own)
  • 1 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1 cup chopped and toasted almonds
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips


  1. Toast the oats: Preheat oven to 350. Spread the oats on a baking sheet lined with silicone mat (or parchment paper). Bake the oats for around 15 minutes.
  2. Puree the dates: Mix the dates in the food processor till they come together and form a ball.
  3. Mix the peanut butter and honey in a saucepan and heat it over low heat. Just warm the mixture, don’t boil it.
  4. Put the toasted oats, almonds, chocolate chips and dates in a big bowl.
  5. Pour the peanut butter and honey mixture on top of it. And mix. I found it easiest to miz by hand but suit yourself.
  6. Line a baking pan with wax paper and spread the mixture. I used my brownie pan for this. Put a sheet of wax paper on top of the mixture and then press it using the heel of your palm t spread it in the pan.
  7. Refrigerate it for half an hour or so.
  8. Now you’re ready to cut your bars!

Note: I love them as it is but the next time I’m going to try and increase the oats by 1/2 a cup or less and also add some chia seeds. I’ll report back on how it goes!

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


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.


  • 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


  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



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!


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


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