Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Menu

We went camping last weekend and had a blast with old friends & new!  We camped out at Pace Bend Park on Lake Travis.  Even though the lake is a whopping 35 feet below average level (!!!) I was able to do some kayaking.

very dry Lake Travis


Smokey made some friends:  Leo & Mia (sleeping with her tongue sticking out)

Smokey & Andrew in front of our homestead

Andrew is in full marathon training mode (we now have a separate budget to cover his food intake over the next several months) and he stuck to his training program running 9 miles, while I ran 6 miles.  I brought along my famous beer bread (Cooking Light, November 2008) and a newly discovered brownie (King Arthur Flour) to share.  Another culinary treat I enjoyed this weekend *drum roll*:  s'mores made with Reese's PB cups (in place of Hershey's chocolate, of course)!

On our menu for this week:

Poached Salmon (Cooks Illustrated, May 2008) with Quinoa & Roasted Broccoli (Cooks Illustrated, January 2008)

Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas with Homemade Guac

Herb Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Zuchinni & Garlicky-lemony Noodles

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi with Quinoa & Steamed Broccoli

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekly Menu

I've made some great dishes the past few weeks.  I find LOTS of recipes on Pinterest these days...I think it's the pictures that make me drool, then leading me to cook ;)

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Avacado Fries

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Baked NYC Brownies

Oh yeah, I'm addicted to chai tea.  Here's the recipe to the concentrate I make with the spices I got from India.  SO easy. Drink it hot or cold (depending on the funky weather here in TX)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back to Blogging

No "Wooster Roost" updates?  Where have I been for the past month?  Did you miss me?

  • Traveled to India and back!
  • Made wedding albums!
  • Training for a 1/2 Marathon!
  • Smokey got a rash :(
  • Musical amazing-ness at Austin City Limits festival with Rob, Lisa, Sara, Vijay and the Kelly's!
  • Andrew's 10 year high school reunion in Clarksville!
  • Dustin & Kylie's wedding in Nashville! 
  • Organizing & cleaning the house! 
  • Officially changed my last name to Wooster!

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    India! Week 2

    Week 2!  After Jack & Diya's beautiful Indian wedding, Andrew and I went on our "second honeymoon"!  We say this because we actually took a shorter honeymoon after our wedding than we would have if we did not plan our two week Indian adventure.  Sooo, we wanted to make the second week of the Indian adventure more romantic and relaxing that the first week of touring and wedding fun. 

    We took a short flight to Kochin and then a LONG 4 hour car drive up the mountains through tea and spice plantations to Thekkady.  The climate here was much more cool (in the 60's - and nope, I didn't pack enough cold weather clothes!) and the landscape was lush green.  We stayed 3 nights in an eco-tourist resort.  There was no internet or TV.  How refreshing it was to know we could go 3 days without being connected to the rest of the world!  We spent much time sleeping, reading, and relaxing.  We enjoyed some of the best Indian food we've ever eaten at our resort here in Thekkady.  The resort grew much of their own spices and produce - we could taste the freshness!  Did I mention that I made paper and we rode an elephant?!?

    Porch of our villa

    Paper Making!

    After our stay in the northern part of Kerela, we drove 5 hours to the coastal town of Kovalam.  The beaches of Kovalam are a popular tourist destination for Indians and specifically Indian honeymooners.  We happened to visit at the low tourist season:  the plus side - our resort was not at all crowded, the minus side - we did not actually spend that much time on the beach or swim in the Arabian Sea.  In Kovalam, we spent much time eating, shopping, & relaxing in the pool.  I loved listening to and watching the waves explode against the jagged, rocky coastline.  We took a day trip to ventrure out to Periyar National Forest & Tiger Reserve where we took a boat ride to observe wild animals.  Although we did not spot the coveted site of a tiger, we saw wild elephants, boars, deer-type animals and lots of birds.  

    View from the coast looking at our resort nestled in the palm trees (there's a little lagoon between the resort & the sea)
    View from the coast looking out to the Arabian Sea
    Lake Periyar boat ride

    Touching the Arabian Sea

    Enjoying our best meal in Kovalam - spicy tomato aperitif drink (pictured) and fresh red snapper grilled on a mango wood plank with roasted veggies - words can not do this meal justice.

    Just to say I did it, I had a "Big Spicy McPaneer Wrap" at McDonald's.  Ewh - it tasted like greasy, fried, artery clogging American McDonald's.  That's one thing I surely did not miss about America.

    Lessons Learned in India
    1.  We Americans take our cleanliness for granted.  Pretty much, there is no form of waste disposal in the areas of India we visited.  Trash just piles up in the street, between buildings, wherever it falls.  
    2.  That being said, one minute you can be dodging a huge trash mound, then then next turn around to walk into a gorgeous five star hotel.  India is a very diverse environmentally, as well as socioeconomically.  Servants, maids, and drivers are common in the upper/middle class households.  We were told that given our careers in the US, we could live a very luxurious lifestyle if we were to move to India performing the same jobs. 
    3.  Space is very limited.  Very crowded and congested.  The big cities of Dehli & Mumbai were loud and busy (similar to NYC I suppose).  They know how to pack a lot of people into small spaces and there are the smells to prove it.  

    All-in-all, our India adventure was the trip of a lifetime!  We would not have traded going to the beautiful India wedding of Jack & Diya for the world.  We learned more about the world and the India culture than we realize, and are blessed to share this experience with our friends and each other!