Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries are the best thing you can bake this fall. Seasoned with salt, this recipe makes a sweet and salty snack that is so much better than regular fries. If you like heat, add a generous amount of spice for some easy and comforting week night alternative. And no, the spices do not over power the sweetness of the potato. Instead it compliments it and gives it a delicious flavor that you can enjoy as a side with some salad or steak for dinner.

With very little prep and a minimum of 30 minutes to bake, try this delicious spicy sweet potato fries this season. Here is my simple recipe that makes a healthier and greater alternative when compared with regular potato fries.

1 lb sweet potatoes scrubbed and peeled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp curry powder or cayenne pepper

Method :
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.

Chop the sweet potatoes into wedges or fries as per your liking.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt, curry powder (cayenne pepper) with some black pepper and toss well to coat all the fries.

Spread evenly on the baking sheet without overcrowding. 

Drizzle some olive oil and season with salt.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes turning once in between.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall 2013 Boot Trends

Boot season is here and it is time to take out and air your fall leather boots. I am very passionate about my boots and cannot wait to put them to use. The stores are raging with new styles from Italy to London to New York. Designers are busy stocking stores with their latest Fall 2013 trends. From sleek to luxury, from leather to sexy, everywhere shoe stores are accenting their windows with some exquisite designer collections this Fall. If you haven’t got a pair, this is the year for you to pick up those sexy boots that your closet is missing.

Here are my favorites for the season and I cannot wait to see what more the designers have this fall. Go out and try some of them before you make your choice.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My French Bean Casserole

I know it is still too early for Thanksgiving, but I could not resist making some french bean casserole for dinner last night. Delicious and reviving, the caramelized onions infuses sweet flavor to the otherwise bland french beans. The melted cheese and the flavorful white sauce synchronize well in this dish. For a variation tonight, try this scrumptious meal, it will have you begging for more.

I must say that the effort for putting this all together was demanding as I paid a lot of attention to detail. But the end result paid off and hence it was worth making and serving. My husband loved it and I am sure your family will too. Make your own home based white sauce and infuse garlic or herbs to intensify flavor,  this will indeed make a tastier bean casserole.

Perfect for a weeknight, with some effort, it can be well planned and put together before hand and served with some warm toasted bread.

Here is the recipe for my tried and tested french bean casserole.

1 large white onion sliced
1 lb french beans trimmed and blanched
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup Gruyere cheese

For the white sauce :
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp corn flour
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup cold milk
Cayenne to taste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fresh chopped parsely
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water with a pinch of salt and blanch the green beans in the boiling water for about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and keep aside. This is to dismiss the raw taste from the beans and have them par boiled.

Melt some butter in a pan and saute the onions with a pinch of salt till brown and caramelized. Keep aside.

On medium heat, melt the butter for the white sauce and slowly add the all purpose flour and corn flour and whisk to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper. Add some nutmeg and cayenne pepper and continue to whisk. Pour the cold milk very slowly while whisking. Lower the heat and add the herbs and simmer till the sauce thickens. Switch off and set aside.

Melt some butter and add the Panko bread crumbs to melted butter, mix well. Keep aside.

Preheat your oven to 375F and grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking spray. 

To assemble the dish:

First divide the caramelized onions and spread one half as the bottom layer of the dish.

Add the green beans and evenly distribute. Season the beans with salt and pepper.

Pour the white sauce and spread evenly to coat.

Sprinkle some cheese and the remaining caramelized onions.

Top with the Panko bread crumbs mixture.

Add another layer of cheese and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until the top is crisp and golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with toasted bread.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

6 Foods That Prevent Hair Loss

Do you fear hair loss? Does your hair appear to be thinning and lifeless? Are you afraid of going bald soon? Better looking hair can start at your next meal. You do not need special hair treatment or laser treatments to resurrect your hair. When it comes to healthy hair, it is important to pay attention to what you eat instead of worrying about what you put on your tresses.

With rising levels of stress, pollution and insufficient sleep, hair loss is a gnawing issue for men and women. No magic nutrient can make up for those concerns but there is a lot more leverage to this problem. Glossy and shiny hair can be obtained by simply including a healthy, balanced, and varied protein rich diet. The nutrients you consume today help fortify the hair follicle.

Below are the top six foods that you should include in your diet to control and prevent hair loss:

1) Carrots
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene that helps reinforce the roots. The body turns beta-carotene into vitamin A that can produce scalp sustaining oils for well-nourished roots. Carrot is the indispensable food to increase the blood supply to the scalp. Make a healthy soup or steam carrots or just wash and eat them fresh, all excellent ways to include carrots in your daily diet.

2) Lentils
Legumes are rich in protein, iron, zinc and biotin and thus a great food for vegans and vegetarians to include in their diet. Add them to soups or salads or steam and eat them fresh to benefit from their nutritional value.

3) Spinach
The iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C in spinach help keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating. Drink a glass of spinach juice or add them to soups and salads. Green leafy vegetables are a good source of nutrition especially if you are longing for some lovely locks.

4) Fish
Fish, especially salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acid that is deficient in the human body. Hair needs this nutrient to grow. Eating food rich in omega-3 fatty acids help produce the oils necessary for the hair shaft. Halibut is rich in magnesium that helps hair growth. Grill smoke or bake, fish like salmon, herring, trout, sardines and halibut are rich foods to consume.

5) Walnuts
Rich in biotin, vitamin E and omega-3 , walnuts protect the cells from damage. Exposure to the harsh rays of the sun requires a better shield and walnuts create that protection for your hair. Apart from the above nutrients, copper found in this nut is responsible in keeping the color and luster of your hair rich and healthy.

6) Eggs
Loaded with protein, zinc, selenium and iron all essential to carry oxygen to the hair follicles. It is a good source of protein 
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Have A Great Week!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Experience Autumn In Door County, Wisconsin

There is a place on earth that I visited where it justly feels like the closest to heaven on earth, it is called Door County in the US state of Wisconsin and the time of visit has to be ‘fall’. Literally the heart of Lake Michigan, this little splinter of land that protrudes into the great Lake Michigan is bounded by some implausible landscapes and picturesque surroundings. 
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With more than 300 miles of breathtaking shoreline, adventure and discovery are waiting for you to revel in. A place like nowhere else with its attractive beaches and elegant lighthouses, county parks and tranquil seaside, all year recreation and novel romance, Door County is absolutely the four season outdoor recreation and romantic destination for any vacation.
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The place has a lot to offer all year through. But the embellishment of this county is restrained to a wonderful time of the year – autumn.

 photo IMG_2166_zps558095b1.jpg The temperate season transitions from summer to winter lies in autumn. But at Door County the transition is witnessed by the autumn foliage or fall colors. The dazzling colors, the pungent aromas, quiet sounds of nature all lure mankind to rely on the experience of a heaven on earth familiarity.

 photo IMG_1997_zps7b5be1b3.jpg Providing a perch, 75 feet above, Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park gives you an occasion to appreciate the attractive setting at Door County. The water feels vast and all-embracing and the towns fill in as an appealing apparition to the setting. If you enjoy a hike, Eagle trail is the one to take along the shores of Lake Michigan. With so much of coastline around, tourist spend a lot of time on the water. Whether it is sailing or water skiing or just sauntering on a quixotic walk, all around Peninsula State Park is the perfect setting for a glamorous dream.

A visit to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum provides a glimpse into the past, the maritime and navigational history that is the peninsula’s legacy to the future.
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 photo IMG_2026_zps685e2d68.jpg If this is not exciting enough, receive all the splendor of fall colors that envelop the Door Peninsula in the sleepy, nostalgic village of Ephriam. Go shopping or just kick back and relax. Immerse yourself in autumn’s palate through miles of hiking and biking trails. What once was apparently an endless sea of green is now artistically renovated into burning crimson, orange and golden hues. The natural beauty of this place makes a photographer of anyone willing to take a shot.

Sturgeon Bay, Door County is located on a canal that connects the waters of Green Bay to the waters of Lake Michigan. You will have remarkable views of beautiful homes and extraordinary bluffs. 

 photo IMG_2022_zps644860c7.jpg Within the interior, you will pass cherry farms and stores that offer a range of fresh picked cherries and gala apples. The fields are scattered with bright orange pumpkins and the orchards boast of crisp red delicious apples and cherries that are ready for picking. Take a sip of the famous pumpkin spice coffee and explore further. Do not forget to sail into the lake to witness the last rays of the setting Wisconsin sun. 

So, this autumn, make sure that Door County is on your list of top destinations. Enjoy yourself in a land where the autumn leaves seem to be swirling from the sky and rustling beneath your feet while you explore true paradise.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fall Excitement - Free Printables

It's the favorite time of the year, FALL and the leaves are changing hue. I am inspired by the fall colors outside to design some free printable materials for the season. 

Go ahead and download the same and print and use as per your interest. All of my designs are strictly for personal use. Hope you like them!!!

Gift Tags
It is the season of giving thanks. I love designing label tags for any personalized gift item. Keeping in mind the colors, here are my fall tags that you can download free of cost. 

Shopping List

Are you ready to bake this season? Do you have all the items for making a delicious autumn feast in your pantry? If not, head to the grocers with this shopping list template. Cool and classic, it incorporates the season colors to the core. Just print and use this fall shopping list as per your convenience. 

Recipe Card

I know I just love cooking during this harvest season and with so much of fresh produce available it is fun to be cooking this season. Here is a neat recipe card that you can print and use to jot down those favorite home delicacies you know you just want to cook this fall.


Finally, I have a very nice autumn decor art for your walls. Download and print this handsome deer poster , frame and hang to add a touch of autumn to your beloved home.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sprouting Lentil

Sprouting is the process of germinating lentils to change the composition of the lentils. While the beans sprout, they neutralize the phytic acid content which could otherwise be difficult to digest. Rich in vitamin C, sprouted lentils tend to have more mineral and vitamins that can be absorbed effectively by the body.

Sprouting is no hard process. With little effort, germination can be fun. My favorite sprout is green gram lentil. Rich in digestive enzymes this is one of the best protein packed sprouts to consume. To sprout green gram lentils like I have done below you will need a mason jar with clean water and cheesecloth.

Procedure to sprout green gram:
Select good quality green gram lentils that are plump. Wash them thoroughly in clean 

Soak the beans in a mason jar filled with clean water to submerge the beans well. Leave
on the counter overnight or at least for 8 hours.

After soaking the beans turn plump and slightly soft. Wash them with clean water.

Dampen a muslin cloth or cheesecloth and transfer the green gram onto the cloth.

Tie the cloth into a bundle and hang loosely to drain out the water.

Place the bundle cloth in a pot, cover and leave untouched at room temperature 
overnight. Make sure that the cloth is damp but not dripping wet. If the cloth dries up, 
sprinkle some clean water over it to moisten.

After germination, the lentil develops short shoots and it is ready to consume.

Once germinated, the sprouts hold good for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

You can eat the sprouted lentils plain for a snack, use them as a salad topping or add 
them to whatever dish you would add non-sprouted lentils to when you’re cooking. I 
prefer to sauté in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

San Francisco - City By The Bay

Founded in 1776, San Francisco is one of the richest cities in the world. Derived from the Spanish word for St Francis, San Francisco is ranked 44th among the most highly visited tourist cities in the world. 

The city by the bay is highly renowned for pleasant weather, foggy clouds and steep rolling hills. With its extensive mix of architecture and design, the focus of the city is the landmarks of historical importance like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Union Square, Chinatown and much more. In exact sense, this city has overwhelmed me since I first laid eyes on it.
In no favorable mandate, here are some of my preferred places in San Francisco.

Lombard Street is one of San Francisco’s top rated tourist destinations. Built with eight switchbacks on a 40-degree slope, its intimidating curves make you squeal in pseudo fear at every turn.
Union Square is home to tons of swank boutiques, trade stores, art galleries, night clubs, restaurants and hotels. From Macys, Neiman-Marcus and Nordstrom to the art galleries touting works by brilliant regional artists, this is undeniably a shopping paradise. Sip a cup of coffee and enjoy watching people enthrall you all around.
Alcatraz or the rock was the prison that no one could escape from. Located offshore in the cold hazardous waters, it is best known as the site of the disreputable reformatory where some of the most notorious criminals were imprisoned. Since its closure, visitors embark on different tours to the island to learn more about its history.
Pier 39 is one of San Francisco’s premier attractions and my all-time favorite pier. This complex by the waterfront houses shops, restaurants and eateries. If you are looking for a fine souvenir, this is a nice place to find some cool artifacts and treasures. Hop aboard the historic carousel, visit the aquarium of the bay or simply enjoy the sea lions frolic in the surf. From whale tours to wine tasting on the bay, Magowan’s infinite mirror maze, caricatures, bungees or street performers, Pier 39 is the place to be while you take in the sights and sounds of the city. 
Fisherman’s wharf is ideal to grab some fresh seafood like the famous clam chowder served in fresh sourdough bread bowls. The popcorn shrimp is indulgent but the famous Dungeness crab is the most delectable of all seafood available.
Just across the Golden Gate, huddled at the northern end of the bridge, two miles from the city of San Francisco is the very prominent waterfront of Sausalito City. This trivial but distinctive city is filled with top notch restaurants, lodges and of course some sunny California weather. It is more like a French Riviera set against the coastal backdrop of the pacific. Enjoy the fresh scrumptious seafood or stroll by the waterfront or just check out the numerous art studious, cafes and restaurants this city has to offer.
Finally, my preferred destination is the reverently historical Golden Gate Bridge: a technical masterpiece that can only be described in superlative terms. The hallmark of superior engineering, it is an impressive sight that stays in your mind like a captured photograph. As you drive across the bridge, just take in the magnificence of the work which is a gorgeous commitment of man’s colossal creativity. The vista points that surround the bridge provide sensational views that make it a great sight to capture this eye-catching orange-red suspension bridge photographically. It is an alluring spectacle that is truly marvelous anytime of the day. Dress in layers as this place can get somewhat chilly due to the elevation. 
With the combination of modern and Victorian style houses, what is truly captivating in this remarkable city is the famed cable cars. Every cable car is pulled along its hilly track by an underground cable. Hop on and enjoy a ride and simply lose your heart to the city of dreams, San Francisco.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Have A Great Weekend!!!!

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Teacher's Appreciation Ideas

Teacher's play the most significant role in the life of a rational person. There are a lot of ways to show your appreciation to the one who educated you to face the world. Show your appreciation by personalizing a gift for your favorite teacher. Skip To My Lou has some fantastic ideas to make any teacher special. Follow the blog and find your best gift option.

Happy crafting !

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