Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Next, I boiled 3/4 cup of water in a large flat pan. While waiting for the water to boil, I dissolved 2 satchets of the Gelatin with 4 tablespoons of cold water.
When the water has boiled, I added in the Gelatin solution and stir till it's completely dissolved. Then I poured in 4 cups of birdseeds and mix till all the seeds are well coated with gelatin. At this point, I removed the pan from the heat and placed it on a heat resistant surface. I continued to stir the seeds such that every single grain got evenly coated.
When most of the gelatin solution had been absorbed or coated on the seeds, I spooned the seeds into the bundt pan. Then I leveled the seeds and pressed the top gently with a spatula to compact the seeds. Then I left the pan in a cool place (0 deg C) for it to harden. You might want to place the bundt pan in the refrigerator if your home is too warm for the gelatin to harden.
Within 3-4hours, the gelatin would've set. I then inverted the pan and knocked the bottom of the pan gently to free the birdseed wreath. Then I placed the wreath on a cookie rack so as to let it air over night.
Tomorrow, I'll decorate the wreath with some ribbons all over and then top it off with a huge bow and a ribbon loop so that TP can hang it up easily.
Simple to do....& it probably only cost a couple of dollars the most. But for a bird lover, it'd probably mean many hours of joyful moments watching the birds come feed at it. I hope TP likes it!
I asked a town resident why he's always standing there....and was told that he has been doing so for the past decade.
Apparently, the man's wife met with a car accident and died....he was so devastated that he became a little crazy.
Everyday without fail, he'd ride his bicycle to the bridge...supposedly to wait for his wife to return.
I've to hold back my tears everytime we pass by the bridge and see him standing there.
Even though it might have been craziness that has driven him to do this....I'm sure a large part of his action would've been the love for his wife. How sweet and noble is that!
Recently, I read an article in a magazine (can't recall which mag already)...the author - a cancer Doctor in a large hospital wrote that the greatest love of all can often be seen at the hospital he works. And that the best man a girl can ever ask for is the one who'd sit and wait patiently at the cancer ward...and who holds the girl's purse while she's receiving her chemo treatment. That's love!
It's easy to love somone...the hard part is to love "in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer....."
For this X'mas....I wish everyone - LOVE!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
While we were shovelling our walkway the other day....we suddenly had this crazy idea of building a little "rotary". You see, rotaries are a big part of driving in Massachusetts. Everyday, RG will go through at least a couple of rotaries to get to work.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Here he comes....in his huge truck to clear the driveway. Our saviour!
That's me with my ski-poles...struggling to walk in the knee-deep snow!
Look at how much snow RG had to clear off the back porch!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It looks quite pretty when the lamp is switched on...as the light would bounce off the reflective surfaces of the ornamental balls.
For the final touches, a few more of my spray-painted white twigs near the fireplace.....
Some "golden" pine cones on the mantel (next to my landlord's snowman & tin solder)....and we are all set for X'mas!
I found a basic choco chip muffin online and made some amendments based on the things that I have in my pantry as well as changes to some of the measurements to yield the kind of soft, light and moist muffins that I prefer.
2 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour (original recipe called for more flour but i substituted some flour with cocoa to give muffins a more chocolatety taste)
1 1/2 cups of fine sugar
3/4 cup of baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream (original recipe called for applesauce which I didn't have)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup semisweet choco chips (original recipe used less choco chips, I was being greedy!)
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt evently.
Add eggs, sour cream, water, milk, oil and vanilla essence into the mixer bowl and blend with electric mixer at medium speed until well mixed.
Stir in half the dry ingredients and mix. Then pour in the rest of the dry ingredients and fold till moistened.
Add in the choco chips and fold till well mixed.
Line the muffin trays (2 x 12 = yields 24 medium size muffins) with papercups.
Spoon the mixture into the papercups until 2/3 full to allow batter to rise.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or test with toothpick which should come out clean (although I prefer mine to still have some moist crumbs stuck to it).
Cool for 5-10min before removing from muffin pans onto wire racks.
Here they are....all packed and ready to go!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
We've too have started our own decorations around the house (in fact, we are a little behind time). I know I wanted our decorations to be unconventional and to beautify without breaking the bank.
So my X'mas theme for 2009 will be:
This is my first creation and I've placed it at the alcove window. I've assembled a few broken twigs that I had spray-painted white and secured them in the vase (courtesy of my landlord) with some florist foam and garden pebbles. Then I folded several longevity cranes using used dryer sheets and then strung them up on the twigs using white sewing thread. Cost of the decorative piece - USD1.50 (for the spray paint), joy in putting it together - priceless!
The whole piece is white in color. The twigs are from nature and by placing the piece at the alcove window...it completely blends in with nature as if one. The recycled dryer sheets look good as cranes and smell great too! The piece is so simple, unfuss and yet, it always gives me a feeling of zen just by looking at it. The cranes lend it an asian-feel...and symbolise longevity for me, RG, our families and friends.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The restaurant is called Ayur-Shri (menu can be found @ http://www.menujoy.com/menu86.htm)...quite a small quaint place with both dine-in and take-out options.
The menu is super long and we were spoilt for choice. Each of us decided to order a different type of bread for sharing..so that we can try more things. TP ordered lamb naan, I had paratha and RG had his favorite poori. We also ordered a chef's special briyani and a few other sides like veg pakora, aloo gobi, chicken/lamb curries etc.
Look at all the food we had!
It was a truly great meal. The food tasted very authentic...not like one of those very "americanised" indian food at all. We couldn't finish all the food in one sitting...so all of us went home with a big doggie bag each!
It's definitely a place that we'd go back again whenever we miss authentic indian food. We might be back there sooner than we think 'cos we were told that their lunch buffet is starting on the coming Tuesday.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
There are 7 potatoes lying around in the corner of the kitchen tabletop...so I'm thinking mashed potatoes. That's an easy one to do!
6-7 medium size potatoes (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1/2 cup of low-fat milk (pop it in the microwave to warm for 1-2min)
1/4 cup of butter (melt it slightly in the microwave)
8-10 strips of low-sodium bacon (cut into tiny strips)
3/4-1 tsp of salt
Dash of pepper and garlic powder
(would've been nice to add some chopped spring onion or chives too - unfortunately, I do not have either)
Put potatoes in a pan filled with enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes cook for about 20min till soft.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a pan using very little or no oil until a little crispy. Set it aside together with bacon fat.
When potatoes are cooked...drain well and then pour them out into a big bowl and add warm milk, melted butter, bacon bits & bacon fat, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mash until fluffy and well mixed. Taste and then add more seasoning, if necessary, according to one's taste.
So easy to make and yet extremely satisfying. Potato as always is such a good comfort food. The steam from boiling the potatoes heated up my entire kitchen and brought much needed warmth on this cold snowy day.
I'll eat some for lunch and leave the rest for dinner with RG. Maybe I'll make a gravy for the mashed potato later if I'm not too lazy. For now, it's good on its own