Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Recipes inspired by The Undertaker

Happy Diwali to everybody who celebrates this beautiful festival of lights!

Meanwhile, Halloween is coming up too, and I bet a lot of you must be gearing up for halloween parties. If you are throwing one, you probably are thinking of some fun recipe ideas too. I got the opportunity to guest blog for Full Circle and this time I got to suggest a topic. So taking cue from my foodie consultant (guess who?), I thought that there are a lot of WWE fans out there, and in particular, fans of The Undertaker. So I took inspiration from the iconic Undertaker, aka The Phenom, The Deadman, and came up with a few recipes that I think would be pretty apt for Halloween.

Here are my creations, which I put so much effort into- and glad they turned out to be quite brilliant actually, if I may say so myself! (Err, OK, my dessert-making skills need some work..... but still.....) Do check out my post if you didn't already, and rate it too. The link is:

Tombstone Piledriver

Buried Alive 
 Sweet Caskets O'Glory

Happy Halloween! ;) 

*Thanks to Full Circle for the opportunity. 

*Special Thanks to my foodie consultant. I dunno what I would do without you!

*Thanks to my daughter for helping me, and shaping those "caskets!" 

*Thanks to my son for saying, "Cool!" 

*Thanks to my hubby for taking pics with his special camera. Um, I finally used pictures that I took with my phone.... just saying! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Summer 2014- Back to Pavilion

Oh what a wonderful time we were having! Even if it meant everybody doing their own thing- umm, as the following picture depicts......

Quality Family Time! ;) 
Now if only we could be on a holiday forever, which sadly does not quite happen in the real world. Our stay was coming to an end--- and we had to pack our bags and get back on the road. We planned to pretty much retrace the route back to Sammamish. My sis-in-law packed up food for the way, and my bro made us panini for breakfast that Saturday morning of Aug 23rd. It was painful to put all our things into the van. It is so funny- when we started off from Sammamish, packing was so fun and everybody was so excited. But when the holiday ended, spirits were all dampened. With great difficulty we finally said our goodbyes, and started off. Had I stayed there a minute longer, I would have bawled away like crazy! We kept waving at each other until we drove out of their neighborhood. Just as soon as we entered I-90, it was evident that our road trip back home had begun.

Highlight of our back-home trip- Mt Rushmore: 

Like I mentioned above, we pretty much retraced the route--- and our first night halt was at Rapid City, SD. This time we decided that we must go see the world famous Mt Rushmore. It is considered after all  "a project of colossal proportion, colossal ambition and colossal achievement." So after spending the night at the hotel, we checked out the next morning, and headed towards Keystone, and further to Mt Rushmore. As we walked towards the mountain, standing magnificently with the statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, it looked incredible! The effort put forth toward carving this Memorial is just astounding. There were 400 women and men involved in the project, led by sculptor Gutzon Borglum. They started on Oct 4 1927 and completed the project on Oct 31 1941- 14 long years of immense hard work and dedication to create a Memorial that would beckon people from all around the world to go see it for umpteen years to follow.....

Where is it, where is it?

We see it, we see it!! 

We just stood there gazing at the mountain sculpture completely awestruck! If it were up to me, I'd have sat there in admiration for hours together. No, really! Apparently there is an evening lighting ceremony that happens every evening from sunset until 8 pm. I bet it is spectacular! I had only read about Mt Rushmore back in elementary school, and never ever thought that I would actually see it. For me it was an absolutely enthralling experience, and I hope we will go back there some day more leisurely.


The one picture we got, and it turned out to be out of focus! 

Our second night halt was at Butte, MT. Butte has a huge mining history, with discovery of gold, silver and copper in the 1870s, that brought in many new companies and people to the fast-growing city. However, unfortunately, a fire in 1879 destroyed the entire central business district. That's when the Butte City Council passed a law that required that all new buildings be built with brick or stone. As we entered Butte, that's exactly what we saw- red brick buildings everywhere, and it looked so pretty!

My bro had recommended we eat some Butte Pasty and we did try finding a place. But the one place that wasn't too far from the hotel was closed for the day; besides it was a Sunday evening. Well, we ended up getting food from The Pita Pit, which we realized later, is basically a subway sandwich shop, only with pita instead of subs. Oh well! The next morning was going to be our last stretch.

And the Road Trip comes to an end: 

Finally, we reached home on Monday, Aug 25th around evening. We dragged all our bags into the house, and all of a sudden, we realized that we were exhausted. Thankfully I had frozen some leftovers the day we left for the trip, and those came in handy for dinner. As we ate dinner, we talked about our excellent holiday, the cute baby, my loving sis-in-law and brother, and how we cannot wait to see them again!


I think that road trips are an eye opener- you realize that there is so much beauty out there, and just SO MUCH to see! Road trips are a great way to get out there and experience that wondrous beauty. And going on road trips as a family is even better, especially in this day and age, where everybody is forever rushing about; for it allows for some unwinding to happen, rejuvenates you, and makes you fall in love with your family all over again!

Saw this rainbow as we left Butte, heading towards WA.... 




Friday, October 10, 2014

Summer 2014- Part 3: Being Tourists

Our initial plan for our 5-day stay at Waunakee was to visit the International Crane Sanctuary, a cheese factory (of course!), the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, for that's where my bro teaches, Milwaukee, for that's where my hubby went to on his first business trip back in 1996, and the very famous Capitol in Madison. Included in all this was to check out some German food, for Wisconsin has a long German history- German immigration into Wisconsin happened in the period between 1845 to 1890; and who wouldn't want wurst (bratwurst and currywurst are my favorites) and some German potato pancakes! Above all, our main plan was to just chill with family, and hold, squeeze and eat up the new baby. Err, OK, that last bit didn't sound quite right- but you get the gist I hope!


Hubby wanted to see and show us the hotel he stayed in, the restaurant where he had butter burgers for the very first time, and the office he worked at back when he visited Milwaukee. Of the three, we couldn't find the office- looks like that place is now a medical facility. It was a nice walk, rather, drive down memory lane for the hubby.

That's where hubby had butter burgers for the very first time

The hotel (the room is on the first floor, behind the tree on the right)

As we were driving, we saw this huge body of water, a dome, flags, and a lot of people. It was the Veteran's Park right by Lake Michigan. Looked very inviting, and so we thought we might as well check it out. It was lovely! The weather that day was gorgeous, the lake looked beautiful with the lovely blue sky above, and there was a gentle warm breeze blowing. There were kids rollerblading, moms walking with their babies in strollers, couples holding hands and just strolling, people trying to fly big, colorful kites; I say trying because there wasn't much wind, really, and so half the time the kites were landing onto the ground. As we were walking, enjoying the atmosphere, we saw this big group of people on segways, going around the park, and it sure seemed like fun. We spotted the bike, skates, and segway rental place and decided to rent a surrey bike, a quadracycle, and cycle around on the lakefront. It was SO FUN!

What about lunch, you ask? Well, that was the day my bro got us those butter burgers for breakfast- so we were very full, and therefore skipped lunch. We ate some ice cream, and drove back to Waunakee. All in all, it was a fun outing to Milwaukee.

Posing with statue of Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Surrey Bike- FUN! 

The Capitol: 

What an impressive building! The Capitol dome- supposedly the only granite dome in the United States, rises to a height of over 200 ft, and has a dazzling bronze statue, "Wisconsin," right on the top. I tried to click a panoramic view of the beautiful ceiling that you see as soon as you enter the first floor rotunda, but now that I look at it, I feel that you have got to go there to really see and feel the beauty yourself. The 43 varieties of stone from all over the world, the hand-carved furniture, and the lavish glass mosaic are simply magnificent. Check out this  Virtual Reality Tour (ref: Those court officials who work there sure have beautiful offices!!

The Capitol 
A glimpse of the inside
The statue of Wisconsin atop the Capitol Dome

We toured the Capitol on the day we visited Fromagination, the place with the gazillion varieties of cheese. Downtown Madison seemed pretty decent, and after walking all over deciding where to eat lunch, we finally ended up going to Noodles & Company and ate pasta/noodles! Nothing Wisconsin about it at all, huh? But you know what, we don't have it here in Seattle, and believe it or not, we thought it was pretty darn good! Either that, or we were very hungry..... ;)

Mac & Cheese with meat balls @Noodle & Co. 

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater: 

When my bro went to WSU, Pullman, I thought that it was such a lovely little college town. When he started teaching at Gonzaga University, Spokane, I thought wow, what a nice place to be. And now, when I saw UW, Whitewater, I thought to myself, ooh, this is really awesome! It takes about 50 minutes from Waunakee to get to Whitewater, and I quite liked the drive. I especially loved it as we entered the town, because it reminded me of the Air Force camps we lived in back while growing up in India- similar look and feel to the place. The building where my bro's office is located is very new, and looks really good. His office is very nice too. They just need to get a proper nameplate for him, though! ;) I felt proud of my little brother, now a prof! After the little college tour, we went to a nearby park, and had chai that my s-i-l had got in a thermos. It was a quick picnic of sorts, and enjoyable.

Nice new building

On our way back home, we decided to pick up some dinner from this New Orleans take out place that my bro was raving about. Their menu sounded really good- jambalaya, gumbo, étouffée, po'boy sandwiches, sweet potato fries, sweet potato pecan pie, etc. *Slurp* I got the shrimp étouffée that they claim is very very hot- and I was stumped, because it WAS in fact very very hot! And extremely delicious. My daughter got the fried cod po'boy sandwich, and I took a bite, and thought, dang, I should have got that! The sweet potato pecan pie was a tad bit too sweet for my liking, but still pretty good. My only complaint for this place is that their portions are very little, and you'd need at least two sides to really feel comfortably full.

So there, out of the 5 touristy things that we planned, we managed to check off 3. We somehow couldn't try any German food. Ah, but wait- my bro and I had a brat each at Costco! I'm telling ya, that brat was tasty!! Hey, but we did spend high quality time with family, and that is the best part of the trip.

P.S.: No, we didn't eat up the baby!!

Just one last part, and I'll wrap up my mini-travelogue.... coming up soon!