Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Legoland trip

Past two years we had been thinking going to Legoland. However, every time something happened and we cancelled the trip. After my son finished his grade one we decided to visit Legoland that very summer, but he broke all rules, and behaved very badly. I asked him to stay good and listened to me for the first month of summer, if he wanted to go to Legoland. He directly told that, he didn’t want to visit Legoland. So, at that very moment we cancelled our trip. Next this summer we decided to go , but we faced some unavoidable circumstances, and had to change our plan. 

Las Vega

On the very first week of this September, we had a long weekend. Also September is the birth of my son. So, I suggested of going to Legoland as an early celebration of his birthday. Going Legoland was an event. I didn’t tell my son about the plan. We went on Friday. When he was going to school, he didn’t know our plan. I told him that I would pick him up little early, as I had to take him to doctor. He asked me why. At that time he was suffering for little cold. So, it was easy for me to make up the story. I told him that, we needed to visit doctor for his bad cold. He completely believed me.

San Francisco

We were super excited, when we found Ferndale. Ferndale is a very, very small town in Northern California with spectacular Victorian style homes.

Even when I was taking back him home he didn’t ask me whether I was taking home, instead of going directly to doctor’s office. While he was in school, I promptly packed everything and kept the bags in garage . Mr. Man also came back home early. While I went to pick him up from school, Mr. Man loaded everything in the car. So, when he came back home he didn’t  doubt anything. Only he asked why his daddy at home. Mr. Man told that , both us would take him to doctor. I told him to hurry up, as before going to doctor’s office we would have lunch at Starbucks. He loves Starbucks sandwiches. He quickly got ready. After having lunch , we started our journey. When he found that, we were driving on different direction, he doubted something. He asked exactly where we were going. We wanted to keep the surprise as long as possible. Unfortunately, he pissed off and stared yelling, as we were not telling him exactly where we were going. Then we had to spill the bean. To my great amazement, instead of getting excited, he got angrier. Mr. Man told that, then it was better to turn around going back home. Then he cooled down a little, and told us to take him to Lagoland.

Griffith Observatory
San Francisco

We reached our friend’s place at 9 o’clock at the night as per plan. Next morning at last we went to Legoland. My son was super excited, as we entered the theme park. As soon as we entered the park, we could see all the stunning models starting from animals to cartoon character made out of Lego. To me, the Lego cities were the best. Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Ferndale, and many more city models we saw made out of model. My son enjoyed the roller coaster rise the most. First roller coaster ride, I went with them, but I’m extremely scared of roller coaster. So, in the second one I didn’t go. Father-son duo enjoyed the last roller coaster ride. 
It was a fun day. We were there around 7:30 in the evening. Then we went back to our friend’s place.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Little one turned eight

The month September is very exciting to our sonny boy, because it is his birth month! Since the very first day of the month he had been counting the days. He was eagerly looking forward to it. Every morning he used to tell me how many days to go. His all waiting came to an end on last Friday. A last he turned eight. He was so happy. Ge was the last in his class to turn eight. 

The banner

Anyway, he wanted me to bake his birthday cake with a plane on it. This time we decided not to have any party, rather to celebrate only between ourselves. We already went to Legoland for his birthday earlier this month. I decided to do everything at home, even making the goodie bags for his friends. So, from Thursday, I had been extremely busy. Thursday morning I baked more that two dozens of cookies to distribute among his friends. 


However, in the afternoon after coming back from home he declared that, I couldn’t give away all the cookies. Since it was his birthday, I must give importance to his decision . Also, I was extremely tired of cooking, decorating, shopping, visiting library, so, I didn’t want to go on any argument. Again I baked some mini cupcakes, which was easier to me,rather than baking bunch of cookies again. Mr. Man went to buy some small gifts. In late evening, we three sat down, and prepared all the goodie bags, which were to be distributed on the very next day. 

The cake with plane 

After dropping him off at school, I thought I would come back home, but then I realized I had volunteer duty in school. So, after finishing all those tasks, I hurried back home, and started preparing for night time celebration. First was to bake the cake. I decided to bake chiffon cake. However, when I read the recipe it was little bit daunted to me.

Mini muffins
The goodie bags

 I was skeptical about the result. Then I thought of giving a try. To my amazement, it came out perfect. Then it was time to cook biryani. Mr. Man and sonny boy, both wanted mutton biryani for dinner. I prepare the mutton Thursday evening. After putting the cake in the oven I started cooking biryani. Though I made only three dishes for the celebration, but all of them were very elaborate. There was no short cut method known to me to  prepare them. Anyway, I successfully made all of them. As a gift he got Lego City Sea operation. He was super excited. He spent the whole Saturday to built that. 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Beet root chops

One big beet root

One big potato

Two tsp. of garlic powder

One tsp. cumin powder

One tbsp. of Kausari methi ( dried fenugreek leaves)

Bread crumbs

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Peel and cut beetroot into chunks. In a juicer extract the juice of the beet root. Keep the juice for future use. Take the residue, and keep aside. Cut potato into halves. Boil the potato in water, until tender. Let it cool down. Peel the potato. Take big bowl. Add the beet root, potato, salt, garlic powder, cumin powder, fenugreek leaves. Mix well with hand. Add bread crumb as needed to make a tight dough. Make small balls from the dough, and slightly flatten them. Heat oil in a deep frying pan in high. In a plate take bread crumb. Take few balls at a time coat them in bread crumb. Fry until the chops take dark brown color. Serve hot as afternoon snack.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Day in the life-A busy weekend

I’ve never shared “Day in the life”. There is nothing to share in day to day normal, obscure life. However,after spending the whole Saturday, I just want to share this very weekend with you friends. The weekend was not a typical lazy weekend, or not very eventful. However, it was extremely busy weekend, though we never went out of home. 

I finished all chores on Friday, including the Costco grocery shopping. I wanted to keep the weekend only for gardening, and window cleaning. 

Saturday morning we started with the window cleaning. For a long time I couldn’t find out how to take off the net from the window, so that, I can clean the windows from outside. After talking with my friends I figured out how to take off those net from the windows. I told my husband, and we decided to clean them Saturday morning. Anyway, I don’t have many windows, so, I didn’t take much time to clean them with the help of Mr. Man. 

Our next job was to change the soil of all the potted succulents, and to propagate some of them. I already had almost fifty succulent pots. After cleaning all the windows, we gathered all the pots in our backyard, where we have some shade. Saturday was a very hot day, and working outside was very tiring. One by one we changed the soil, added nutrients. I did few of them , and it was already one o’clock in the afternoon. We hurriedly finished our lunch, and went back to work. We at last all the repotting, rearranging , and cleaning around five in the evening. When I came inside, I didn’t have a drop of energy left in me. Mr. Man suggested having pizza for dinner, instead of cooking at home. I readily agreed with him.

Sunday again we had few things left in our garden. We cleared boxes f the raised garden, to make them usable for winter gardening. We planted some tulip bulbs. I didn’t have energy to do much thing. Rest of the day we were at home, still I felt tired. Anyway, that much of my uneventful busy weekend. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rosemary Chicken Curry

What a day I spent, yesterday! The day was started as usual. I woke up at usual time. I did the morning chores, except cooking, because I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning, and I didn’t want to have strong cooking smell all over me. My plan was to go some shopping after the appointment. I went to doctor , she told me every thing is fine and normal. I was relaxed and on my way towards Target supermarket. At that time the problem started. I found that my car indicating that it had only 80 miles fuel. That was fine, I was not going far. Then a big truck came in front of me, and I missed the signal where I supposed to take right. I thought, no problem, I would go all the way round on my usual route. I was on my way to Target, and in that particular target I never drove by myself. I had a very good (no, very bad ) quality, I can’t remember any route, even I go on the route thousands of time, unless I drive all by myself. So, I couldn’t find the route. I drove and drove, and came to point where first time I missed the signal for the very first time. The clock was running fast, and I had lots of chores to finish at home, so I came back. I decided to go shopping after finishing every thing. I finished all chores including cooking and little bit gardening, and again went out at 1:30. Same route, same every thing, again I couldn’t find the supermarket. I was watching on the righthand side, but nothing was there. Then I went inside a parking area, took out the phone, and searched in the map. Ah!!! With my “intelligent” mind I never thought about taking the left, when the shopping complex was on the left hand side. Anyway, this time successfully I went there, and did my shopping. Then again every thing was all right. No, that was utterly wrong. A series of happenings were to occur . Next, I was taking my son to Kung Fu class. I tied my shoes, he remembered his Kung Fu stick. I took off my shoes ,went inside to take the stick. Again I tied my shoes, I saw the back door was opened. I took off shoes went inside and closed the door. Then I started the car, I remembered I didn’t take my son’s water bottle. I let it go,as I had some water bottles in the car trunk. I had been driving, when I about to reach his class, I remembered I didn’t my mobile phone. Phew!!! Then took my son to swimming class, where I missed one parking area. My son reminded me. Thankfully there was no car behind me , so reverse my car and parked there. Then I got a severe headache. Somehow I managed to drive back home. 
Ohh!! Lots of jabbering, huh? Now it is the  time for a recipe.

One boneless chicken breast
One small onion
Two teaspoon of garlic pawner (or 3-4 cloves of garlic)
One tsp. ginger paste
Four table spoon freshly pasted tomato
Two sprig of fresh rosemary
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
Two tbsp. of oil

Cut the chicken breast into cubes. Marinate with salt about half an hour. Take a deep heavy bottom frying pan. Finely chop the onion.  Finely chop the garlic cloves. Heat two table spoon of oil in medium. Add onion and garlic. Fry for few minutes, keeping the heat in medium. Add ginger paste and sauté about 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, give a good stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook, until the water in it dried up. Add the chicken pieces, and mix well. Cover the pan and let it cook stirring occasionally. When water almost dries up, add two to three cups of water , salt, turmeric powder, rosemary sprigs, and until chicken pieces are tender. Increase the heat, and cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Serve hot with steaming rice. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dal fry

What is dal fry? I really didn’t how to dal fry. I heard about it many times. However, I never cooked it, I don’t why? Anyway, one day I asked my best friend what actually a dal fry. I found out that, it is nothing but a way to make left over lentil soup tasty. She told me the recipe. When I went to cook, I found that, the main ingredient, green lentil was absent in my kitchen. I searched in the pantry, there was new package of green lentils. 

One fourth cup yellow lentils
One fourth cup red lentils
One fourth cup Split Black gram
One fourth cup Split Red gram
One medium sized onion
One medium sized tomato
Two tsp. ginger paste
Three cloves of garlic
One tsp. of cumin seeds
Two tsp. of cumin powder
Salt to taste
Two tbsp. of oil
A pinch of turmeric powder

Wash the lentils, pour in a pressure cooker. Pour water two inch above the lentils. Pressure cook until three whistles. Let the pressure down. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion. Cut the tomato into chunks, and make a paste in a mixer grinder. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan in medium. Add cumin seed into hot oil. When the seeds start to crackle, add ginger paste. Stir it lightly, add onion in it. Stir the onion, let it cook for few minutes covering the pan. Keep the heat in medium. The add garlic, and tomato paste. Stir it eel, and let it cook until oil starts oozing out the spice, stirring occasionally. Then add cumin powder, and stir it. Then add the boiled lentils. Add two cups of water, salt, and turmeric powder. Bring it into boil. Let it cook to desired consistency. It is generally thicker than lentil soup.  Serve hot with roti or steaming rice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Salmon in Mustard gravy

After spending a whole day in Legoland I was tired like a dog. I was dying to get out of Legoland, but kiddie and Mr. Man was still full of energy. Kiddie desperately wanted to ride the last roller coaster which was still left. I have a fear of roller coaster, so I waited outside when two of them went to ride. I just wanted to sleep on the bench. Anyway, our plan was to our friend’s house who lives 80 miles from there. Again it was another one and half hour drive. Tough I don’t drive on those long distance travel, still it was painful to sit back. We reached their place at 10 o’clock at night, the family greeted us warmly. Kiddie was feeling tired and hungry like starved hunter. When I could put the bags down at their home, I sighed in relief. Anyway, to fill our hungry stomach they arranged some hearty dinner. My friend cooked Rohu fish in mustard gravy. It was extremely delicious. I asked her the recipe.  Today I’ve cooked salmon based on what she told to me.
Four pieces of salmon fillet
Two tsp. mustard seeds
One tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
Two tsp. watermelon seeds (You can get any Indian store, where it is known as “Charmagaj”)
One tsp. sesame seeds
Four tbsp. shredded coconut (If you can grate fresh coconut, the taste will be better)
One inch cinnamon stick
Three green chili (Slitted)
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric
One tbsp. of oil (I used olive oil)
Wash the salmon pieces and marinate with salt.
In a mixer grinder, grind mustard seeds with water. After grinding into a smooth mixture, strain it in a bowl, and discard residue. In the mixer grinder, pour the mustard water. In the water add poppy seeds, water watermelon seeds, sesame seeds, shredded coconut, and make a smooth paste. In a deep frying pan, heat oil in medium. Add the cinnamon stick, when the fine aroma will starts coming, add the paste into hot oil. Add 2 cups of water into it, bring it to boil. In the boil gravy ad the salmon pieces, salt, turmeric, and turmeric powder. Let the fish fully cook. Then cook the curry until desired consistency. Serve hot with steaming rice.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Eating Sushi

“Sushi eating experience?” yes. I didn’t it till date. No, no actually long ago I ate sushi at a restaurant, but unfortunately the experience was not good. After eating sushi at that time, I dared to try sushi again. Many of my friends told me that sushi is really delicious. Even my husband likes sushi a lot. Whenever, he asked me to have sushi, I always turned down his suggestion. However, in recent time I just wanted to try sushi again. But taking my son to have sushi wouldn’t be good experience. He was not going to love anything , rather he would disturb a lot, so that we couldn’t even get the actual taste of sushi.

At last we got one chance to go and enjoy sushi together. One weekend, my son had a birthday party invitation. As soon as I told my husband about the party, he promptly suggested having sushi at a Japanese restaurant, while he would be in the party enjoying with his friends. There were plenty of restaurant nearby. So, that Sunday afternoon, after dropping my son at the party we two went to a nearby Japanese restaurant. 

From outside it was looking  smaller ,but inside, the restaurant way was bigger than I thought. The ambience was nice. I was little skeptical that whether I would like sushi or not.

 Also I’ve crab allergy. So, I had to find out some sushi recipe without crab. All the pictures in the menu card was so enticing that I had tough time to choose. Then I found one sushi roll in the menu without crab meat, and I wanted to give that a try. Mr. Man chose four different sushis. Then they serve slightly boiled salted edamame beans. Those were really delicious. Mr. Man tasted those kind edamame beans before, and asked me to prepare the same. Even once he bought a big packet of edamame beans from Costco. However, I never cooked edamame beans in that way.

edamame beans

 Anyway, the main dishes came. The slightly fried sushi rolls which the restaurant named Hungry roll, were really increased my hunger. The train of sushi rolls sitting on a mixture of soy sauce and mayonnaise took the taste to a different level. After having all the rolls and other sushis, Mr. Man wanted to have more. Unfortunately we couldn’t any other sushi without crab meat, so we chose tampura. 

Sushi roll

In near future again I’ll go back and have sushi in the same restaurant. 


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Upper Yosemite Falls hiking

For four months we had been planning to go to Yosemite National Park. This time our plan was not  just go to the Park, but to hike on a difficult trail. Anonymously it was decided  that we would hike on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. There were many more difficult trails to hike. An avid hiker could find the Yosemite National Park  is very enticing. As the day was coming nearer other hikers in our team were more into lunch and dinner ideas rather than hiking. The Friday evening when we reached there , one by one hikers started withdrawing from the hiking next day. However ,Mr. Man was determined to go. I was little undecided, but Mr. Man didn’t let me stay at  the hotel. 

So, next morning around 8 in the morning we both started, leaving our kid with the others. He happily stayed back with them. Though we decided to start at 8 o’clock to avoid the sun, still we couldn’t do that. After reaching the trailhead around 9 O’clock, we started our hiking on a wrong route. Before starting I showed Mr. Man that people were going exactly opposite direction. As usual ,he didn’t listen to me. Standing at the point where the park shuttle dropped us we looked up and see the water was falling in full force from the above. First thought came into my mind, “Can I do it?”.  

The straight tall huge granite mountain was standing tall amid conical long fir trees. We walked few steps and ended up at a camp ground. Then he admitted that we had been walking on wrong route. Anyway, I showed him the direction and the board where it was written. The board showed that the hiking was 3.4 miles. However, I didn’t believe, because it usually take almost a whole day on a round trip. 

The Half Dome

We started our hiking on a very rough trail full of stones and pebbles. The trail was created with granite slab. That was not at all a plain trail. The starting point was very scenic. Then the actually path started. The granite slabs were kept  sporadically just to step on them to go forward. In fact, the starting was not at all an easy one. As soon as we start I realized why the trail was marked as difficult. The trail was going continuously upward in a zigzag way. Every parts of the zigzag was so steep that on every bend I had stop and breath , and sip water.

  We had only two bottles of water. Though the bottles were pretty big, still I had a fear in my mind that whether I could cover the whole trip with tow bottles of water. At every bend of the zigzag few granite slabs were stack on each other to gain the elevation. That was the difficult on every angle, because those steps were not pretty big. Some time I had to use my hands and legs to step up  .Those steps were very uneven. One step could be small, and the very next step could be high, depending on the size of the granite slab. Even somewhere putting the entire foot was difficult, as the slab was very narrow. However, the toil at every bend gave us rewards. As we going up we could see view of the mountain more and more. In the map the zigzag part was the small part of the trail, but going on that part was taking for ever. The main difficulty was yet to come. Not only the trail was full of stones and pebbles. On the top of that those stones were loose, and also full of sand. Many a times we slipped on the sands. It was going to be more difficult during come back time.  At every bend we stopped to see the view of the bottom. 

Every time whenever we were seeing at the bottom everything were getting smaller and smaller. We realized how fast were gaining heights. We managed to cross the zigzag way. Then the trail was quite easy. There were no stones, no pebbles. The trail was smooth and was going downwards. As the trail was going downwards, the walking was easy, and we gained some energy which we lost during the first part of the hiking. The map showed that we were very near to the falls. We were actually very near to the tail of the falls. After walking for half an hour when we just turned at a bend , we could see the roaring falls falling from way up. As an enormous stone was blocking the view of the falls from the path, we could only heard the sound of the falls before crossing the bend.

 I couldn’t compare the falls with any big falls like Niagara, but seeing the falls from near and getting the sprinkles of cold water from the falls gave a thrilling experience. After reaching there we understood that the miles which were written on the board at the starting point was the distance up to the bottom of the falls. Reaching the top we had to hike another three and half miles with elevation of another 1500 feet. Mr. Man was extremely motivated to reach the top of the mountain to see the source of the waterfall. 

The simple route was ended at that point , and again stone fused route started. The route became more difficult. Before starting again I asked my whether he was really ready to move further. He said, “Yes”. I understood nothing was going to stop him to reach the top of the mountain, even his body didn’t cooperate with him. We started hiking again. The route was so, so rough, I felt pain under my feet even after wearing special hiking shoes. As we gain some energy while coming down on the smooth path, walking was not that much hard in the beginning. After hiking over the stones and boulders again we reached another zigzag part of the route. This part more steeper than the beginning. On the top of the we were running out of our energy. Every bend I had to stop. Soon after I even started stopping 2-3 times on every part of the zigzag. I started telling him, that I wanted to give up. However, he didn’t let me to stop. At one point I just couldn’t walk anymore. He asked me to sit  under a shaded rock. He went on. After sitting for a while I felt better. Also, the breeze was so cold that I felt uneasy . So, I decided to walk. On the starting points of every bends, I thought of stopping , but ended up climbing next part. Then Suddenly I felt too tired. I started yawning too much. Soon I realized something was going wrong with me. Then I stopped and sit on a rock. I had no energy left on me to search for a little shade. Meanwhile I tried to search my husband, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. Suddenly I felt that my legs were not under my control, everything in front me started becoming hazy, and then for few moments every thing before my eyes went black. Still I tried to stand up to find out some shade. But the path was no steep and so rough, I couldn’t put my feet properly. I didn’t take any risk to climb down. I just sat beside the path, and tried to call my husband. Luckily on the top the mountain I got the network and managed to call my husband. He was about to reach the top. He missed that for me. He just rushed down. Then helped to sit on a shade. He fed me some oranges and water. After sitting for a few minutes I felt better. Then slowly we climbed down. It was thrilling hike, but I couldn’t feel happy. We were almost to reach the top, yet we couldn’t do that.