My latest fascination with fruit juices. I made it with what I have on hand..a peach lychee smoothie with almond milk yesterday

Today, I made a carrot cucumber juice by blending – 8 carrots and 2 cucumbers. Per serving yields 119 calories

Can it be true? I found whole fish in a nearby international grocer store. It gets better…they sell Golden Pompian fish – which is better known to me as pomfret fish, one of my favorite fish from childhood days.  I had been salivating for a light meal and craved for my mum’s simple “steamed pomfret”. I hadn’t been able to find whole fish (in the entirety of head to tail) here. Not any more!!! With glee, I bought 2 whole pompfret and prepped it for steaming. 

The recipe called for the fish, , soy sauce, cooking oil, cooking wine, ginger slices, chilli peppers, parsley or cilantro (optional) for garnish. Clean the fish, add all the ingredients but save the parsley or cilantro for garnish at serving. I used a double boiler for steaming as that is the only utensil I have for steaming purpose.  I captured the process on video. If the theme for dinner is Asian, it is never adequate just to have one dish so I added a plate of flash boiled baby bak choy with oyster sauce. The baby bak choy with oyster sauce is very easy to make: clean the baby bak choys and put them in a big bowl  – boil enough water to be able to cover the bak choys. Pour the boiling water over the veggies; the hot water would make the green stand out. After half an minute or so, depending on how I like the crunchiness of the veggies (I like them super crunchy – almost raw) pour out the water but save two-three tablespoon of it. Arrange the bak choys on a plate. In a separate bowl, add a few dollops of oyster sauce and a couple of pinches of sugar, add the tablespoons of the saved veggie water, stir to make a smooth mixture and pour it over the veggies. That’s it. Rice is the last accompaniment to the meal. Simple and Light!

My very first trip to Puerto Rico – and it coincided with the Fiesta De la Calle San Sabastian. There were 2 more days of festivities and music. We learnt about it when we arrived and was told that this was the biggest party in Old San Juan and it’s something we should not miss. So we tried to get there right away on a Saturday at around 4pm, we joined the endless cars driving in and around Old San Juan- we drove for more than 2 hours trying to find parking but it proved fruitless;  streets were being closed even as we made numerous detours. We gave up on the third hour but were determined to get there early Sunday to make sure we found parking…and we did and spent the entire next day just enjoying the sights, food, activities and music. We headed into the first crowded local diner upon arrival and I ordered bifsteak lomillo with monfongo. (steak and onions with mashed plaintains) Delicious! It was one of the best we had and because it was so good the first time, in the next few days we ordered monfongo with our meal but they were not as good as that first day at the diner, in our opinion. I was wondering if I can find the right kind of bananas and make some myself when I returned home.  The one regret I had was that I never got to taste Peurto Rican coffee which I heard is very good. I also loved their Mojitos. Got to practice my Spanish as well.  For activities, we went kayaking after dark through mangrove channels that led into Laguna Grande in the famous Bio Bay bioluminescent Lagoon tour. In the dark we could see the glow created by microscopic plankton as the paddle moved in the water as well as when our hands disturbed the water-we could see the luminescent microbes encompassing our hands and as the water rolls off – one can see the “glitter” as the glowing organisms followed the water flow.  My very first vacation away from wintry Midwest this year was a great experience.

http://s835.photobucket.com/albums/zz280/Musegrrl25/1st%20Visit%20to%20Puerto%20Rico/?action=view&current=35dd9ab3.pbw

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This is truly a great country for road trips! We drove across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and ended in Utah – in Monument Valley to be exact and along the way, we stopped at places that looked interesting or sounded interesting. For ex. I was dying for a starbucks coffee but we were no where near any for the longest stretch but we drove past this small place that advertised “Expresso Cafe” – and it’s got an artist feel to the building with many handmade things from pottery to suncatchers. They also had a beautiful garden out front that stood out. So we u-turned back and stopped for coffee but also ended up with healthy lunches. I wasn’t at all surprised that they serve organic ingredients in almost all their dishes. It was also very reasonably priced and Iordered the avocado and walnut sandwich with a side of bananas which is refreshing with fresh avocado, tomato, cheese and a sprinkle of walnuts, while hubby got a quiche.  Nutritious and refreshing! It’s such a simple recipe that I will try making one at home soon.  And they serve their coffees in cute ceramic cups that I ended up asking them whether they made them there and was disappointed to find that they bought them from the local store and are mass-produced from China, on one hand, but on the other, I did find a local store they told me about as we continued on our trip and found the exact ones for $1.50 a piece! Another town that caught our interest and we had to stop by just to find out the history or at least how the town came to be as it’s named is the town of Parachute, Colorado. It is of particular interest to us as ultralight pilots as well. It seemed that the town is shaped in that of a parachute..hence the name..at least that is what I’ve glimpsed from the postcard in the visitor center. Interesting!

We saw fall colors and snow on the mountains along I70 in Colorado – passed Vail and couple of ski areas; visited and camped at Colorado National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, revisted Arches National Park after a 3 year hiatus, and toured Monument Valley Park by car, first flight in Monument Valleybut the creme de la creme is flying Monument Valley. The monuments looked huge and towering from the ground but to fly and see them from the air, one has to be really high up, at least to clear some of the top of them..and the vastness of these magnificient rocks/structures really began to dawn on me..and it’s a really hard to describe the  feeling..something between marvel, awe and humility. I’m grateful to be able to see this “Wonder” and from the air as well and am safe to write about it now because one knows how winds that come across these huge structures can cause major rotors and the latter is not good for our sport!   

Me flying Monument Valley (above) Monument Valley as seen from the air (below)

MV as seen from the air

 Pagosa Springs COPagosa Springs CO

On our way back, we visited Four Corners USA – we spotted it on the map (as an attraction!) and so we went for a visit – (standing on 1 spot we are in 4 states simultaneously…UT, AZ, CO, NM).  We also stayed at Pagosa Springs CO, famed for it’s hot springs and did spend a night at “The Spa” motel and RV park..got our first taste of hot spring waters and even a choice of three temperatures..95, 102, 108 degrees. We tried each of them. Spent equal amount of time in the 95 and 102 degrees and we had to try, at least a couple of times, to dip in the 108 degree pool which is SUPERhot. Not recommended to stay more than 5-10 mins in there. It feels like a really hot sauna in the room where the pool is and takes quite a while for the skin to get accustomed to the temperature. I barely made it in the first time, just ankle deep and had to bail. But after sitting in the 102 degree pool for a while and trying the hottest one again, it’s doable-barely and this time I made it down to where my neck is underwater but had to chicken out of submerging my entire self under even for a second. We both smelled like eggs with the familiar smell of sulphur for a while but it seemed to have put a sheen on our skins after soaking and swimming in the springs pools.  It’s a shame we only spent a day at Pagosa Springs along our itinerary because I’d love to go back to the hot springs again; I very much doubt I’d be able to gleam the healing aspects of the hot springs in just a couple of soaks in a night and day period.  Our drive home was uneventful, and since we were accompanied by drizzles, rain and fog, we pretty much drove 8-9 hours a day without stopping anywhere except for meals, breaks and sleep.

Today’s rains bring back memories of sad news we hear from friends, acquaintences, even strangers affected by last year’s June flooding. My backgarden is once again flooded even though the water level then was much lower than today’s. Last year, my garden is totally submerged and one can’t see the fences or the door into the garden. Good thing the rain has stopped and I can still see half of my garden though the low lying plants are all underwater. I am worried what havoc today’s rains have wrought..already the evening news is showing some of the affected areas…

Wordle generate word clouds from text and I thought I’d give Wordle a try by putting my hobbies and likes to see how it turns out. I played around with the layouts and colors and it’s really fun. Give it a try!

 

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 Incidentally,  the winner is Paul Bonhomme from GB and he flew this plane. Of course, we didn’t know it at the time of the picture taking.

We went to our very first Red Bull Air Race in Windsor Ontario, across from Detroit MI. Left the house early around 6.15am and got to the border in Detroit  just around 11.30am. Drove across the Ambassador Bridge onto Ontario..and the town appears to be very much similar to the US. Familiar names like Walmart, Petsmart and Payless Shoes were there. I never even felt like I left the country. Perhaps the only thing that might have given it away are the car license plates.

It was easy to find the venue and after parking a few blocks away, we proceeded to the event. It hadn’t started yet, much to my surprise as I thought it was starting at 11am. Turned out that was the time when the gates were open. We found a decent spot just by the railings next to the river which offered great view and photo-taking.

Weather was surprisingly cool and I had to get my windbreaker for the most part but it worked out really nicely.

The qualifying rounds were fast paced and exciting! Planes flew at speeds of up to more than 300 kph,  races into the course with smoke trails and doing their necessary maneuvers to get across the course as fast as possible and pulling as high as 9Gs, all tht time having to abide by the rules of the race. Huge screens with live real time info and view are situated strategically and was just as impressive,  as we, the audience could see the real time from the cockpit of the plane, the speed they were going at and the view as if we were next to the pilot himself, if not in the pilot’s seat. Before the day ended, we got a great show by a helicopter doing all kinds of interesting and dare devils moves that defy helicopter flying. Even the helicopter is equipped with a very nice camera on the front and could capture the audience as it flew by! Spectacular! A crowd pleaser!

This being the first day, it ended with the first qualifying rounds. Tomorrow is deciding day for the overall winner. We also bought a pass to go and do a public pit walk and get to see the planes and pilots up close.  Managed to get a few autographs and pictures with the pilots.

Downtown was the place to be and it was festive and crowded with revelers an; we both had lamb dishes at a Lebanese restaurant.  By this time we were really exhausted, especially having eaten a  nice and relaxed meal. So we headed to our hotel – it’s more a college inn/convention center and our room was in a dorm-like setting.

On race day..we managed to find street side parking. Also found out at the Tourist center that the city is on strike. We saw tall grass in public playgrounds and piles of litter everywhere but didn’t really pay much attention until it was mentioned.  Found ourselves a fairly good spot under a tree and plunked our lawn chairs down but was standing most of the time in order to watch the race and take more pictures.

The action was just as exciting as the day before.  As with all races, some contenders are sure bets etc but the results were really interesting.  I think the commentators were also slightly surprised as the race unfolded.

We made a bee-line to our car and try to beat the traffic to the border to get back home, in anticipation of long lines. But we needn’t have rushed as traffic was decent. Truly enjoyed the air-race and would love to attend another one in the future if it’s close proximity like this year’s. The only regret is we didn’t get a T-shirt or cap but the designs did not impress us enough to justify paying the high prices; and there were a few we would have considered purchasing , but again the prices were just too high. But not all is lost..as my husband is pretty happy that we did  not splurge!

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