Saturday, May 19, 2007

Monthly Blog Patrol, Weekend Stuff

Every month, Coffee from The Spice Cafe sends us off on a mission called the Monthly Blog Patrol: the idea is to browse our favorite blogs and choose some recipes that make us want to run to the kitchen and try them, and, well, run to the kitchen and *actually* try them, instead of just drooling all over the keyboard. The theme for this month was Something Sweet. I chose the simplest sweet treat ever: Banana Muffins from one of the most gorgeous new blogs on the block: Tasty Palettes, written by Suganya. I loved this recipe because (a) it is a good way to use over-ripe mushy bananas that would be otherwise fated for le garbage. (b) most muffin recipes are for 12 muffins, this one only makes 6, the perfect number for my little family (and I only own one 6-cup muffin pan anyway). (c) it calls for all pantry ingredients, no sour cream or any such thing that I don't usually have on hand.

I followed the recipe quite closely, only omitting the walnuts (since I made it the day after V's dental surgery, as a get-well-soon treat, and he was certainly not able to chomp on walnuts at the time), and adding a dash of cinnamon and a couple of drops of vanilla extract instead. Here is a look at the muffins right after they emerged from the oven:
muffins1
I wonder why the tops looked so funny! Any ideas from experienced bakers? The only thing I can think of...the oven temperature was too high, so the outside of the muffin cooked before it got a chance to rise. Next time, I will bake at 350 F instead of 400 F.

Anyway, the muffins tasted wonderful, and made for a very special breakfast-dessert indeed!
muffins2

Thanks, Coffee for hosting and thank you, Suganya, for a lovely recipe!

Weekend City Blogging-1

(Pictures taken by V)
Now that the weather is nice, I thought I would share some glimpses of Saint Louis. The first in the series has to be the iconic Gateway Arch that defines this city. I'm never too interested in monuments and touristy attractions, but I do think the arch is a very beautiful creation, rising sleekly into the sky at the bank of the Mississippi river, denoting the border between Missouri and Illinois.
ARCH1
It is in the shape of an inverted catenary arch and is made of stainless steel. It is the tallest monument in the United States. You can get into tiny pod-like elevators and take a 4-minute trip to the top of the arch.

We recently made a trip to the arch as part of a Flat Stanley project. What is it all about? Basically, an elementary school child (in this city, V's cousin's little girl) makes a paper doll ("Stanley") and mails it out to a family friend/ relative (in this case, V and me) in another city (in this case, St. Louis). The recipient has to take the doll on an adventure and write back to the child telling her all about it. It is a lesson in geography, letter writing etc. and fun for all concerned. Read more about the Flat Stanley project here.

Here we are, taking a paper doll to see the arch...
ARCH2

Weekend Dog Blogging

(Pictures taken by V)
As part of his adventure, our lucky paper doll Stanley also got to spend some quality time with the most adorable dog in all of St. Louis, Dale!
DALE1
But posing for pictures is so exhausting! After a few minutes, Dale heads off for a nap...
DALE2
Dale might be asleep, but his ears stay wide awake in case someone should utter the magic words "Chalo" heralding a walk!

I'll leave you with a final link: As a avid food-blog-watcher, my new favorite place to find new posts is Food Blog Desam. Many thanks to Mathy and Indira for their efforts in creating this time-saving resource that lets us find newly written posts the minute they are posted! See you tomorrow, for the Q of Indian vegetables.

12 comments:

  1. Lovely shots of the Arch -- usually this time of year it would be surrounded by flowering pears, not this year, thanks to the April freeze, however. BTW the Arch may sit at the border of Illinois and Missouri (and has anyone ever asked if the Arch straddles the river?) what it marks is the 'border' between the American East and the American West, hence the official name, Gateway to the West.

    So glad you're getting to explore the city!

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  2. I think Dale may even be a contender for most adorable dog in all the world! I trust Stanley made it home OK :)

    I have to say after having seen a few of the other entrants in the design competition long ago for that monument, that I have new-found respect for the simple elegance of the arch design. I sincerely doubt any of the other designs could have become the icon that the St. Louis Arch has become!

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  3. Thanks for the lovely pictures, Nupur. It is always so nice to read and learn about new places, and you make it so interesting! And of course, the pictures of Dale are priceless - I just love the bemused look on his face in the picture of him with Stanley! I would give anything to find out what was going on in his mind at that time!
    Kamini

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  4. dale has truly claimed that rug you recently bought, hasn't he? i can't repeat enough how gorgeous he is.

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  5. Lovely post Nupur - I like how you give us a glimpse of the city and adorable Dale, along with your recipes. Flat Stanley sounds like such an exciting project - reminds me of the globe-trotting gnome in the movie "Amelie".

    Mamatha

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  6. Hi Nupur,

    Try this recipe for Banana muffin/bread:
    http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/diet/recipes.html#ban

    I tried this in muffin pan and it came out nice and super fluffy. Best thing is it has no eggs or sugar. This quantity also makes 6 muffins. I have tried many banana muffin recipes but I liked this the best.

    -Anitha

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  7. The photos are so nice and muffins look great. Nice entry Nupur. Viji

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  8. Thanks for the introduction to Stanley :) I really love the idea behind the project...it must have been fun for you and V to put the 'report' together!! :) :)

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  9. Flat Stanley was always one of my favorite stories, and now my kids like it too.

    Dale is such a sweetie!

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  10. I know how fussy we foodies can get about the appearance of things not coming out the way we expect and it is interesting how the look often does not detract from the actual taste :) The muffins look rustic as is and like you said, they tasted yummy.

    Dale the cutie.

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  11. Great pics of the Arch! I lost all of mine so it's really nice to see yours!

    A couple of months ago, we got a huge and heavy Build-a-bear monkey called Bananas in the mail to do a Flat Stanley thing. It came from Medha's old school in Illinois. I was rather upset about how much was spent on this project when something smaller would have worked just as well. Almost everyone ended up sending the monkey to the next person via Priority or Express Mail. But in cases like this you just do, you are not supposed to complain or expect the teachers to know better. Everything else about it was fun!

    We sent Bananas camping in the mountains in our friend's new camper and also took pictures of Bananas with Medha. Medha wrote to her friends telling them about Colorado, so it became an exercise in letter-writing for her, too!

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  12. Don't know why, but looks like u din't get mt comment :(.. I just wanted to say 'Thank You' fry trying my recipe :)

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