October 24, 2010

Fall in New England: Climbing Bear Mountain

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Bear Mountain is the largest peak in Connecticut at 2,316 feet. And it was recommended as a great hike for viewing Fall foliage. I must admit here that if you are in Connecticut or New England during Fall, you'd have to work really hard to not enjoy foliage everywhere you look. Even at work, I glance out of the hospital window to a spectacular fall scene. But I digress, if you are in the area and looking for a moderate hike to bond with nature in a beautiful fall day, the hike to Bear Mountain summit is for you.

The trailhead is about three miles north of Salisbury, CT off Route 41. Everyone in CT seemed to have had the same idea as we did the day we did the hike, as the parking lot was overflowing to the road. I am happy to report, however, that we did not encounter many people. Perhaps the crowds were taking different routes than we did.

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Undermountain Trail rises straight up for about two miles then it joins the Appalachian Trail for another mile or so to the summit of Bear Mountain. It is a beautiful hikes where you are surrounded by rocks, streams and low bushes until the view opens up to amazing vistas.

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September 3, 2010

Dunkin' Donuts Country

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth yet, it is just that blogging had dropped off my to-do list somehow. I can't believe how long it's been before I posted a blog entry! We've driven across country since then and currently reside in the heart of Connecticut, also known in our household as Dunkin' Donuts Country, since there is practically a Dunkin' Donuts shop at every corner, ah, the temptations. For the record, I haven't given in yet! (Yay!)

Needless to say, we are super excited about spending the Fall in New England, and definitely looking forward to NOT spending the winter here and heading south to Florida. It's been a great five-week here, weather (up until last week) had been awesome, and we already managed to sneak in a couple of trips to Vermont and NYC, as well as couple of hikes here. I really need to catch up on my blogging.

Our current assignment is in Waterbury, CT, a very run-down city to say the least, but the surrounding area is beautiful! Our first weekend here, we checked out the Farmer's Market in Litchfield, and did a hike in White Memorial Conservation Area. I'll post a few photos from our hike, and hopefully catch up on more blogging later.

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June 25, 2010

The Bob Kerrey Bridge

I am still trying to catch up on my Omaha blogging. Next on the list is the 2200-foot Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that connects the cities of Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The curved bridge spans over the Missouri River and provides a good place for a stroll or a bike ride. Isn't cool to be able to walk from Nebraska to Iowa in less then ten minutes? One could even have a foot in NE and a foot in IA!

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June 1, 2010

The Heartland of America Park

It's been a long time since I blogged about anything or visited any of my favorite blogs, and for that I apologize. It's been a busy month with work and I predict more business in June. I do, however, feel guilty about not sharing our Omaha discovery with you all, so I thought I'll show you some pictures we took of the Heartland of America Park, the first site we visited in Omaha.

Omaha's downtown public park is just the Missouri River throw away from Iowa, and offers nice views of Omaha's skyline and a green, peaceful retreat from the city. A famous landmark is the Heartland's fountain with its 300-feet water jet.

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The park is also home to Airborne and WWII Memorial Sculptures.

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We saw a sign for "Gondola Rides" that will be available in June, and then I saw this fountain that reminded me of Venice. Aha, found a way to connect with Italy even from the Heartland of the U.S. :)

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April 19, 2010

The Heart of Our Country..

It is that time of the year when we are planning on leaving home in Florida and head out on a work assignment. A couple of weeks ago, we received a phone call from the staffing agency asking us f we'd consider going to Omaha. "What's in Omaha?" was my first question. Well, it is just so happened that this specific agency is located n Omaha, and our recruiter started reciting some of the things that one can do in Omaha, add to that a good pay package and attractive work schedule and we were sold. So, here we are packing again and getting ready to drive to the heart of our country for our next adventure. We've never been to Nebraska before and looking forward to knocking a new state off our list. Omaha better has all the horses I hear it has...

April 14, 2010

Shrimp Lasagna

Since I bought Bobby Flay's book, Bobby Flay Cooks American, I had my eye on his recipe for Crawfish Lasagna. Patiently waiting for crawfish season and finally it is here, but I still can't coordinate it with the fish market to get the three pounds I want. Every time they get them, they sell out fast, the one week I remember to call and reserve, they don't get them, and so it goes. And since we are leaving soon (I'll write about that later, but we will be heading to Omaha, Nebraska soon), I decided that I am not leaving before trying this recipe, so I went for the alternative suggestion Mr Flay gives for the crawfish: shrimp.

I had no trouble finding some nice fresh shrimp at the fish market and I found the rest of the ingredients in my pantry, fridge and supermarket across the street. The sauce was divine and really makes the dish, I used more cayenne pepper than Mr Flay suggested for a bit of extra heat, other than that, I used his recipe to a tee. It turned out wonderful! I made it for dinner when my in-laws were visiting, served it with a green salad, and everyone loved it. Definitely going in the favorite recipes pile.

Shrimp Lasagna
Adapted From Bobby Flay Cooks American

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The Sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
35-oz can plum tomatoes, drained and pureed in a blender with juices reserved (we only use half of the juices in the recipe)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Heat the olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the cayenne pepper and cook for another minute, Stir in the tomatoes puree and half of the reserved juices, add in salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. White the sauce is cooking, boil the heavy cream in a non-reactive saucepan and reduce by half. Add the cream to the tomato sauce and cook for another five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley and basil.


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April 11, 2010

Sunday Slow Suppers #8: Braised Turkey Thighs

I am not really sure which week we are on now with the Sunday Slow Suppers Group, I missed a couple during the last two weeks of Great Lent, and I am now trying to catch up.

During Jan's week, she chose braised turkey thighs, a dish she said she made many times and never the same twice. After browning the turkey thighs, you remove the skin and saute some vegetables and place everything in the oven to braise. I followed Jan's recipe without changing a thing other than cooking the meal in the electric skillet for the whole time. The turkey thighs turned out juicy and flavorful, and I served them over polenta the first night, and rice the second. Bill especially loved this meal and is already requesting a repeat.

Braised Turkey Thighs

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4 tablespoons olive oil
2 turkey thighs
1 cup dry white wine
2 large onions, diced
4 medium carrots diced
3 medium stalks of celery diced
8 oz. Mushroom, sliced
4 medium cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 28 oz. Can crushed tomatoes
parmesan cheese rind (if available)

¼ cup chopped parsley for garnish

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March 30, 2010

Turret Arch

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The view from Turret Arch:

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Turret Arch, Arches National Park, September 2009
According to Wikipedia, a turret is a "small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle", can you see the name?

March 29, 2010

Palm Sunday Dinner

"Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel" (John 12:13).

Palm%20Sunday%20Icon.jpgPalm Sunday is the one of two feast days during Great Lent where the Church deems it appropriate to eat fish (the other being the Annunciation Day). Since we've fulfilled our sushi cravings on Thursday, I thought I'll prepare us a fish meal last night. After church, I stopped by the fish market and got a couple of tuna steaks (and BTW, crawfish is in season and I ordered three pounds that I hope to pick up Saturday, keep your fingers crossed for me.) I generally prepare tuna steaks with some lemon and parsley or oregano, but thought I'll change it up this time and found Mrs Hazan's recipe for sweet and sour tuna steaks (Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking) very appealing and I had all the ingredients on hand. I adapted the recipe for smaller portion.

Mrs Hazan said that fish steaks prepared this way (Trapani style) come from the Sicilian cuisine. We appreciated the balance blend of sweet and sour flavors that did not overwhelm the fish. I served the tuna steaks with Bobby Flay's lemon-glazed sweet potatoes and roasted asparagus. It turned out to be a fabulous meal and it took less than an hour to prepare.

Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks, Trapani Style

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3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced very thin
1.5 Pounds of fresh tuna steaks (about an inch thick), rinsed and patted dry and skin removed.
Flour for dredging the steaks
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 Tsp. granulated sugar
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

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March 26, 2010

PhotoHunt: fresh

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The theme for this week's photohunt is fresh. I looked up the theme list right before we were heading out to dinner last night, so I grabbed my camera on the way to Akaya Japanese Restaurant and took a shot of our Annunciation Day--which I blogged about last year here--feast.

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Happy weekend!

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Candi

About Me

I’m an Arab American born to, and raised by, Palestinian parents. I am married to my wonderful husband, Bill, since June 2008. Our life revolves around traveling; we do a lot of moving around for a living. We are both travel hospital lab technologists, who do 3-6 month contracts in different parts of the country, and we love it. One day, we will settle down! Read more

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