It snowed on Monday, which is a rarity, since it hardly snows here. Well, to be fair, it was the kind of snow that just melts as soon as it hits the ground. But, nonetheless, the snow made me all excited and lifted my spirits. After a nice weekend in Phoenix, coming back to an empty house did drain my energy out. Well, the first flakes of snow did cheer me up. The snow also meant that winters are here, for good!

I was always a winter person, and hated summers, but my two year stay in Russia changed that. Months of sunless skies and the cold can make one morose. Come summers and one could see the change- bright clothes, smiling people everywhere, kids playing in the park- everything seemed beautiful. Fortunately, Moscow summers aren’t like India’s. Probably that’s why (actually, exactly why), I used to have this dislike for summers. In India, summer comes with sweaty clothes, power cuts, water shortage..well, you get the drift. But, post Moscow even Indian summers changed for me. Now summers for me is a time where I can wear skirts, floral dresses and show my skin off . Even though these days with the weight that I have put on, the prospect of doing so puts me in a depression worse than what I used to experience during Moscow winters and no sun 🙁 . Well, that’s where I think winter dressing comes to the rescue. The layers cover all the stored up fat! 🙂 Though there is a charm in winter dressing too- boots, colorful scarves, long coats, stockings, caps – it’s fun.

Speaking of fun- today, I decided to make Pita. And it was everything but fun! The prospect of Pita and Humus has been haunting me for a while now. Since we don’t get Pita bread at the store here, I decided today would be the fateful day I would try my own version. Half way through making Pita, I realized the humus that we had was way past its expiry date. I could have and would have made the humus, but neither did I have the energy nor the time, nor the soaked chickpeas in hand to make the humus. So, instead I had to substitute with this other dip that was their in the fridge. It was no hummus but it did the job.

Now the reason why I didn’t call the Pita making process fun was that it did not go as the recipe says it should. Even though the pita was tasty, it did not fluff up. I tried spritzing the rolled up dough with water but that didn’t help either. Next time, Ill try keeping the dough more moist. (Yes, there is going to be a next time- I’m not the once bitten, twice shy kind of person- well, at least not when it comes to baking.) Another thing I’ll change is to keep the dough overnight. (I just kept it for two hours to rise)

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Thanksgiving is in the air! Food Network and the Cooking Channel are filled with recipes for thanksgiving. Even google’s search page had a thanksgiving doodle by Ina Garten (of Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa fame). Its such a wonderful festive time. After Thanksgiving its time for Christmas! I think this is the best time to be in the US. Everybody is in the festive mood and in the mood to EAT! Loads of cook shows, loads of recipes, loads of calories to put on!

Now, V doesn’t eat any other meat than chicken and sometimes, lamb meat (though prefers it only when it is in a kebab form). So turkey for thanksgiving was out of the question. Even though after watching so many thanksgiving shows I was really keen on trying my hand at one. Alas! Acceptance (like my dad said)- thats a key to a successful marriage – and that’s what I did and made my peace with it.

We are having a pot luck on Friday at V’s friends place in Phoenix, and somehow living 4 hours away doesn’t justify not bringing something to eat and since this is going to be like a Thanksgiving feast but with Indian dishes, I thought of taking a dessert that would be somewhat true to Thanksgiving. Now, its not the traditional pumkin pie, or any other kind of pie- because I don’t know how well it will hold off till the next day (but, to tell you the truth, the actual reason is that I’m still not confident with pie crusts- they are still my nemesis-hopefully soon that would change- fingers crossed!). So, I decided to make an Apple coffee cake with crumble topping instead. The recipe is from the Food network site and its Emeril Lagasse’s. Well, what can I say about that guy, I love the guy and his show Emeril Live! Reading the reviews (its got a five-star rating), I am hoping the recipe won’t disappoint.

Note: I did double the crumble topping because I love the crumbs on top! I also took out a few pieces for us for two reasons- one, so that I know what I am serving is good and two, well it smelled so darn good that it was hard to resist!

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I am getting back to my old routine and finally over the initial withdrawal symptoms experienced due to the absence of my in-laws in the house. After what seemed like ages, I met my friends and caught up on all the gossip that I had missed in the last one month. I have also got back to my morning gym routine with my friend P, and occasionally going to the track for a run. My friend, J, or how we jokingly call her Jillian (after the tough-as-nails trainer from TV’s Biggest Losers), is our motivator- pushing us to our limits and making sure we don’t give up!

On Monday, for the first time I went to a chicken pen to water and pick eggs, since my friend, who owns the pen is out of town, and in return, for taking the trouble, I got free farm fresh eggs! Woo hoo!

Another first is that V is growing a mosutache! He is doing so in support to Movember. Each year, Movember (Moustache November!!) is responsible for the sprouting of thousands of Mo’s (Australian slang for moustache, where the movement began) on men’s faces around the world, raising vital awareness and funds for men’s health, specifically for cancer affecting men.

Men who grow moustaches for the month of Movember, called Mo Bros, become walking, talking billboards for the cause, raising awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. So, V has become a Mo bro! And the moustache makes him look so funny. He is going to kill me for posting his Mo bro photo on the site. But, what the heck, I’ll do it anyways!! 🙂 🙂

Now, on the baking front, I got this book from the library exclusively on bread recipes. Had been itching to try the recipes in it but wasn’t able to find the time. I remember V’s mom wanted to learn how I make bread and thus, I got the opportunity to explore the book. Since I had spring onions on hand at that time, I decided to give the book’s version of Herbed Green Onion Bread a try with great results. V’s parents loved it and so did I! Of course V loved it too!

My mom-in-law found bread making pretty time consuming. I guess perception and passion plays an important part in how you feel about the work you do – I like bread making- I actually enjoy it and don’t find it too much work. Yes probably it is time-consuming in the sense you have to be in the house. Probably you can knead the dough and run a quick errand before it rises to double. But as for actual work- there’s only the first kneading that takes a little time but that’s just it. I love the dough- the flavor yeast gives to it and the pleasure you get eating a freshly baked loaf of bread. I am not the kind who likes what I cook- probably because of the effort it takes but when it comes to baking- I always like what I make if it turns out well- maybe its the passion I have for baking and not so much for cooking mundane things?

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