Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The emerald city

We decided to go on a 'babymoon' during the fifth month of my pregnancy. After a long debate we chose seattle and started on a four day vacation. I have to admit that despite seeing some spectacular sights of eastern and western America (thanks to my husband), I was not prepared for the sheer beauty and breathtaking wonder of the pacific northwest.

One of the benefits of visiting seattle is that the city has something to offer to everyone with majestic mountains, woodland trails,waterfalls,beautiful islands with small towns,ski resorts and its close proximity to Canada (british columbia).

On the first day, we reached anacortes and took a ferry to orcas island which is one of the san juan islands north of seattle.Orcas Island is not the largest island, but is thought by many to be the most scenic, with a varied topography offering a mix of forests and pastures. Many people choose to stay in the island overnight or even for a few days. We reluctantly came back the same day to keep up with the schedule. Orcas island is a photographer's paradise. At the upper most point of the island is a wonderful look-out, where the major mountains, waterways, and islands can be seen. On the way back to anacortes, we even got some fabulous sunset pictures! On the second day we headed out to Mt.Rainier, northwest's largest mountain. Mt.Rainier is snow covered all through the year. We caught some breathtaking views as we drove through the national forest but the winding road upwards was a little tedious. We were told by the locals that we had chosen the best season(August)to visit Mt. rainier and I knew why once we reached the peak. The whole mountain was covered with wild flowers and it was a sight to behold! The next day we took the scenic road through the cascade loop and reached the Snoqualmie falls. Its located in the beautiful foothills of the cascade mountains and I was quite surprised to find out that the snoqualmie is a good 100 feet taller than the Niagara. We took a small hike towards the bottom of the falls for a better view. The dramatic torrent of water from the snoqualmie river somehow brings to mind how small we are compared to the grandeur of Mother Nature. Some of the quaint little towns we passed along the cascade loop looked like they were right out of a greeting card.

On the last day we started early and reached the pike place market, one of the largest and oldest markets in the world. Ive never seen so many shops all at one place before. It was a great experience. From there we went to the Chittenden Locks, a complex of locks that sit in the middle of Salmon Bay, part of Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal. They are known locally as the Ballard Locks after the neighborhood to their north. We saw the fishes jumping across the fish ladder and also got the opportunity to see some of the exotic kinds of salmon.
There are so many beautiful places to see and things to do in seattle but we could not see everything due to lack of time.I promised myself that I would return again someday to visit this fabulous city. I do love houston but I cant help envying people who live in a place like seattle surrounded by such diverse landscapes and lush green neighborhoods. It was a great retreat for us and I cant wait to go back again!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chickpea Tikkis

I think most of us almost always come home from work feeling ravenous...atleast my husband always does. So I keep looking for healthy whole grain or protein rich snacks to give him in the evenings. I came across this recipe the other day and gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at the taste. It turned out almost like potato cutlets but had so much more protein and much less fat. You can serve these tikkis like cutlets with tea or even use them as patties in sandwiches for breakfast. They are yummy either way.

Ingredients :
1 1/4 cup chickpeas
1 slice bread
1 small potato
3 green chillies
1 inch ginger
1 small onion
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
2 tsp Olive oil

Method :

Soak the chickpeas overnight and boil them with the potato. Drain the boiled chickpeas well and grind them with salt. Peel and mash the potato and add it to the ground chickpeas. Soak the bread slice in water and mix it well with the chcikpea mixture. Saute the fennel seeds, onion and ginger in some oil and add it to the mixture and stir well. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder green chillies and mix well till incorporated. Make into patties and fry in a non-stick pan drizzling some olive oil when needed.