This Thought Catalog article offers some interesting insights about India from the American perspective. I certainly feel the same way about most of the points the authors make. We may have different customs in America, but it doesn’t make us better than other countries; every place is different. India helps you see the world from a different perspective, it makes you more thankful for the things you have, but it also makes you appreciate and gain a better understanding of how other people live.

Rose + Cardamom Cookies

I had been dying to make a dessert with rose syrup ever since I had rose falooda at Rajdhani’s in Artesia. But who knew you could make rose cookies? Yesterday I was thinking about my two favorite sweets associated with Indian dessert making – rose and cardamom – and how I wanted a recipe that incorporated both. During my Internet search, I was shocked to find a few different rose-cardamom cookie recipes. Along the way I found an amazing blog entitled A Brown Table – which is great news for me since I love cooking Indian food! Here are some pictures of this cookie making adventure, thanks to the recipe from A Brown Table.
A note to those not familiar with where to get rose syrup and cardamom – I recommend Rooh Afza rose syrup which can be found at your local grocery store or any Indian grocery store. The original recipe calls for cardamom seeds, but I just used ground cardamom from Target.
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Last week in food/drink

strawberries

{Chocolate covered strawberries / mix semisweet chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream over low heat and dip strawberries or any other fruit for a delicious dessert}

bread

{Seasoned bread / pour a bit of olive oil over some aluminum foil then wrap around a generous piece of fresh bread. Season with rosemary, oregano and chili flakes then place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes. The end product will be crispy on the outside and light/fluffy on the inside… great way to start off your dinner}

chicken

{Garlic-Rosemary Chicken / to make this chicken, I lined an oven safe dish with aluminum foil, then poured in white wine. Then, I dipped pieces of chicken in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, lemon and parsley and placed it on top of the layer of wine. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees}

conservatory

{Conservatory for Coffee, Tea and Cocoa / this cute little coffee shop in Culver City roasts their own coffee in the store, providing a fresh, pure taste you won’t be able to find at big coffee chains}

handsome coffee

{Handsome Coffee Roasters / this cafe has a very modern feel and reminds me of La Colombe Torrefaction in New York City. There is no menu, they just stick to the basics. I had an iced latte on a hot day, which was refreshing and not too strong}

Dear El Coyote…

Thank you for cooking up some delicious Mexican food that made me feel at home.

Sincerely,

Homesick Texan in LA

El Coyote is located at 7312 Beverly Blvd and boasts a huge lit up sign that you can’t miss. Though I’m a downtown LA-er, I’m always in the West Hollywood area, so I pass by the restaurant all the time. Finally, after a these past years of living here, I decided to try it.

First of all, I’d like to comment on the prices – they’re amazing. A friend and I got out of there with a margarita and an entree each, with a final bill of $30. A margarita and damn good enchiladas for 15 bucks? I’ll drink to that!

The Enchilada Howard is the closest I’ve gotten to tex-mex here in LA. The plate consists of a cheese enchilada topped with a thick chile con carne sauce with extremely tender pieces of pork along with some rice and beans. The portion is not overwhelmingly huge like at other Mexican restaurants.. I was able to finish the whole plate and feel full but not stuffed.

Try out El Coyote next time you’re looking for a nice, reasonably priced yet delicious dinner spot.

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Spiced Lamb w/ Sauce of Yogurt, Mint and Cucumber

Thank you, Jamie Oliver, for your spiced lamb kebab recipe.

I decided to make a modified version with the materials already in my kitchen. If you make this for your friends they will love you forever and be astounded by your cooking abilities. Plus, who ever really thinks to cook lamb at home? It’s not very common, so try it to spice things up!

First, place the lamb in a mixing bowl and add some spices – coriander, cumin, chili powder, thyme and rosemary. Then add salt, pepper and parsely. Next, saute an onion in olive oil. Then add the lamb mixture and cook for about 20 mins. For the sauce, mix yogurt, fresh mint, cucumber, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Heat a tortilla then pour the lamb and the sauce on top of the tortilla like you would a taco. Enjoy!

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Homemade Valentine’s Day Wrapping Paper

I don’t wrap gifts enough to buy and store wrapping paper, so this year I decided to use the things I already have at home to wrap gifts for Valentine’s Day. Growing up, I always loved making homemade cards rather than sending store bought cards… making something at home always adds a personal touch, plus it gives you a chance to be creative. This craft is incredibly simple – all you will need is a set of water colors, a paintbrush and a brown paper bag.

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First, cut one of the edges of the brown paper bag all the way down to the base.

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Second, cut out the bottom of the bag so you are left with a long rectangle. Make sure to also cut off the handles.

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Lastly, paint the blank side of the bag with any symbols that represent the holiday.

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Sloppy Joes (flashback to my 90’s childhood)

As a kid, every summer camp I attended served sloppy joes in the mess hall. I found myself missing this food that reminds me so much of that time that I decided to make the camp cafeteria favorite at home. For this meal, I did not use measurements of the ingredients, just added a bit of each until it tasted just right.

Start by sauteing an onion, then add the ground beef. Strain over the sink, then add the mixture back to the skillet. Turn the heat on low then add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, mustard and brown sugar. Scoop the mixture onto a toasted hamburger bun and enjoy!

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Nail Polish Key

Getting into my room requires three keys – for the gate, front door and my bedroom. It’s been taking me a while to remember which key does what, so in order to make the memorization task simple, I decided to paint a portion of each key with a different color of nail polish to tell them apart. All you have to do is paint the handle portion of the key (on both sides) with two coats of any nail polish. Problem solved:

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Favorite room objects, through the lens of Instagram

{I am obsessed with finding neat pillow combinations. The round one with the flower print is by Shabby Chic, while the heart and square pillow is from Kohls}

{Pillows / These are just a few from the pretty large collection I own. The round one with the flower print is by Shabby Chic, while the heart and square pillow is from Kohls}

{I love the light, fresh scent of this sugar blossom candle from Target}

{Candles / I love the light, fresh scent of this sugar blossom candle from Target}

{This classy/vintage looking piece is from... Ross! It holds all of my office suplies and more. I love the feminine touch it adds to the room}

{Storage / This classy and feminine looking piece is from… Ross! It holds all of my office suplies and more}

Jodhpur

We spent most of an afternoon at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, and it’s no wonder the tour took so long, the place is huge! The walls are massive and the inside is like a maze. Apparently the maze-like structure was meant to hinder intruders from entering the fort – the sharp turns would slow intruders down, since most of them traveled by elephant. The architecture was beautiful, especially when it shone in the afternoon sun. A Hindu temple sat atop the hill and looked out onto the city of blue and white houses. The view was amazing and I loved the experience of taking part in a Hindu prayer ritual. You may recognize the Mehrangarh Fort from the latest Batman movie – pretty cool!

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