Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mt. Diablo State Park

We went to Mount Diablo for a half day hike and picnic over the weekend to get a break from everyday routine. Mt. Diablo State park is located in San Francisco Bay area and provides spectacular views on a clear day. The weather was perfect and we worked up a sweat. While walking on the trail all you can hear is chirping of birds and sound of grass swaying to the breeze. This time of the year it's green everywhere on the hills around giving that European countryside look.
I packed light picnic food, chicken sandwich for hubby, apple cheese sandwich for me, garbanzo beans salad and fresh cut strawberries. We found a perfect picnic bench under a tree with beautiful view. It was a relaxing and refreshing trip. Since the summer is almost here, we promised ourselves that we will keep doing these day trips more often. You don't have to plan ahead, just grab something light for lunch put on your sneakers and get going to the nearest trail. As usual I forgot camera, so had to make do with my iphone :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wall Decal

Can you believe that we did this wall art in an hour!!!
It's not an actually painting but something called wall decal just a higher version of wall sticker we can say. I have been thinking for a while to transform this empty wall in our formal sitting room. I am no artist to do free hand painting, so found this cool wall decal idea on google. Where would we be without dear old google J
If interested, google wall decal. There are many models available for less than fifty bucks. This particular one I chose is a Magnolia tree with flowers. It came in two sheets (pic shown below) along with the instructions. We just had to cut it and stick to the wall piece by piece. You may need help of a second person for trunk and stems. My husband volunteered (rather I forced him) for  the good cause J

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boiled Edamame

We have been getting lot of rain these days. On a rainy day, don't you love cozying up at home listening to pitter-patter of rain and reading a book. Of course, that's when I crave for something hot to eat. These boiled edamame perfectly suit the occasion and I don't have to feel guilty eating them. They are super healthy, low in fat, high in protein and fiber. Edamame are nothing but young green soybeans.
I buy them from the frozen section of my local grocery store. I always have a bag stashed in my freezer. Actually, preparing these beans is not much of a recipe. Just boil water in a big pot and add salt. Now add the frozen beans an boil for 5 minutes. Drain the water and they are ready to eat. They are delicious, addictive and fun to eat too. Squeeze the pods to pop the beans out.
Modify salt quantity according to your taste and quantity of beans. Sometimes I add a stick of cinnamon and couple of bay leaves to the boiling water before adding beans. Spices infuse their flavor and aroma to the edamame.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DIY: Center Pieces with Lentils

Glass vases need not always be for flower arrangements. This post is an example for that. I used  different kind of lentils and beans from my pantry to create these easy but beautiful centerpieces. It hardly takes 5 minutes to put everything together. It would be a fun project to do with kids. 
Try with any kind of lentils, beans or grains as long as the colors contrast well. Just layer them one after another in a clean glass vase. Top it with a candle and got a cool centerpiece ready to adorn any table.

Here is the list of what I used -
Green lentils 
Red lentils 
Black beans
Black eyed peas
Green peas
Split peas

Once you get bored with the look, take the top layer out, wash the remaining layers well and use it for soups or stews :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Flowers from My Garden



Virichic Tulip


Ornamental Strawberry

Rose bud

Rolling hills next to us - couldn't help sharing this beautiful scenery

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strawberry and Fennel Sorbet

I made this sorbet to use the Fennel fronds from my backyard. I gotta say the marriage between strawberry and fennel works really well. Fennel gives a fresh note and mild liquorice flavor to this sorbet. I believe that we eat with our eyes first. The bright red color from strawberries looks so beautiful. It would be a delicious treat when weather warms up. 
This is a simple freezer sorbet. I don't even have an ice cream machine at home. I am stopping myself from buying one because I think if I own it, I will end up making ice cream everyday :) Anyhow the point is, there is no need of ice cream machine to make this sorbet. 
For adult only version, add a dash of rum to get that daiquiri flavor.

What you need:

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup finely chopped fennel leaves
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp sugar ( I don't like mine too sweet, increase to 1/4th or 1/3rd cup based on your taste)

Steps to follow:
  1. Heat water and sugar together, just until sugar melts
  2. If using frozen strawberries, thaw them for a while. Blend strawberries, fennel leaves and sugar water together
  3. Pour this mixture in a bowl. Cover and freeze it
  4. Take the mixture out in couple hours, blend again and pop it back into the freezer. Repeat this twice to get a smoother sorbet. 
  5. Scoop it in a serving bowl and enjoy

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Every time I see Daffodils, I remember William Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" we studied growing up.

".....When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze....."

Since daffodils are not native to India, I always wondered what they look like. I was so pleased when I first saw them physically here in US.  Daffodils represent the arrival of spring, flowers blooming everywhere, fresh green grass and weather slowly warming up. This is my favorite time of the year.
Daffodils will not be in season for long, so grab them while you can and enjoy these gorgeous flowers. They always put a smile on my face :)