Procrastination……..

So it’s come to a point AGAIN where I’ve wondered where the time has flown. I have been away from the blog for about a whole month now. While the guilt of not posting has been breathing down my neck constantly for the last few weeks, I think I have some idea what writer’s block means. My head has been churning with ideas about all the things I want to share with you all, but the discipline to put it down in words has eluded me. To my credit, I did sit down at the computer couple times to start working on a draft. But first, I wanted an image to refer to my procrastination:

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Or, how about this one: You can change ‘dissertation” to “blog”

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Did you know that Pinterest is such a good source of entertainment information?!?! :))

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While I was online, I found out that Feb 5, 2015 is World Nutella Day! Of course, I had to go through the 700+ recipes to see what might inspire me, right? I’m mean, it’s Nutella!! Look at this picture for No Bake Nutella Cheesecake. You know you want some. nutella_cheesecake_03

Or, how about some Creamy Nutella Liqueur. Sounds delish. I’ll be making some for the next girls night :).

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The cheesecake & liqueur would be so amazing to share while chatting away with my high school classmates – we’ve been spending quite a bit of time over the last few days catching up on WhatsApp and it’s such a welcome sight to wake up to dozens of messages from friends waiting to be read. We’ve been reliving the simple pleasures of growing up in India in the 70s and 80s (there, now you all know what age group I’m in:)). Life has taken us in different directions – personal, professional & geographical – yet, it was easier to feel a connection with them after 20+ years than it is to make ‘new friends’ as we get older.

We also travelled to the west coast over the holidays. While I’d been to LA several times before, it was my first trip to Scottsdale & Sedona, and I loved it!! The landscape is so unbelievably beautiful and unlike anything I had seen around DC.

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Santa Monica Beach & Pier

Though I’m not a beach person in the summer (I’ve been told I’m weird – many times!), I enjoy walking on the sand in spring and fall. The cool ocean breeze, the sound of sea gulls and lighter crowds all make for a relaxing outing.

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Santa Monica Pier

We biked to Santa Monica Pier for the rides, games and watching the sun set.

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Universal Studios, CA

While my kids are too old for Disney, Universal Studios is a great place to go, especially with an 11-year old. I really wanted to do Mummy Returns, but my kids said I was ‘too old’ for it! The best part of the visit was that I was able to climb 200 steps  from the lower to the upper lot. The looks on the faces of the people on the escalator was prizeless. Of course, it’s probably a breeze for many of you but was definitely an achievement for me. The last few weeks at the gym were finally showing some results. 🙂

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Crazy Cayote Tacos – enroute LA to Scottsdale – Featured on Anthony Bourdain

Many of the places we ate at on this trip were hole-in-the-wall / mom-and-pop joints. I mean, there’s only so much chain restaurant meals you can have over 10 days. I will write more about them and provide links for you to use if you are ever in the area. Crazy Cayote Cafe was a family run shack located just outside an Indian Reservation about 2 hours out of LA towards Scottsdale. We had really delicious tacos, spanish rice and a burrito almost the size of my forearm!! All items were under $10 bucks, and the portions were pretty big. Spicy too! But in a good way :))

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McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trail – Scottsdale, AZ

Besides Old Town, Scottsdale, we really enjoyed the scenic hike at McDowell Sonoran Preserve. These tall saguaro plants are exclusive to the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona & western Mexico. It is the tallest cactus in all of USA, but grows at an excruciatingly slow pace of about an inch or two every 10 years. While they can grow up to 40-60 feet tall, interestingly, their roots are only a few inches deep long and are spread as wide as the plant is tall. About 1.6 million of these plants are in the Sonoran desert, and are truly a sight to see.

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Earthquake fault line at Broken Arrow Trail, Sedona, AZ

One of the coolest things of the trip to Sedona was taking the Broken Arrow Trail with Pink Jeep Tours. We rode with a professional guide/driver in an open pink Jeep Wrangler, and were taken off road to some spectacularly beautiful view points. The picture above shows an earthquake fault line (different versions state anywhere between 12-30 miles long), and I was amazed at how straight it was, although I’d never expected to see one in my life. It was supposedly so ‘small’ that it didn’t even have a name. Our guide called it “Nobody’s Fault” :)).

We also got a chance to finally go up to the National Christmas Tree by the White House. The 2014 theme was Pathway of Peace. The tree was surrounded by 56 smaller trees representing every US state, territory & Washington, DC. Model trains chugged around at its base, and there was also a giant Menorah on the grounds. We had driven by on several other years, but this was my first visit on foot.

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National Christmas Tree 2014 (time.com)

College acceptance letters came back and my son got into his dream school. Back to feeling “Where did the time go?” It wasn’t that long ago that I was walking him to the kindergarten classroom. ******* sniffle****

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Now that you know why I’ve been away, I hope you can excuse my absence 🙂 and walk along with me as I work my way through my recipe stash and share them with you in 2015. I have a lineup of interesting & international cuisine to share with  you – salads, personalized Valentine’s Day cake, idlis that need no fermenting, easy entertaining recipes, and even low-carb healthy meals that I’ve been making each night for the last few weeks. Hope you all enjoy your weekend and have a fantastic 2015.

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