Category Archives: Photography & Travel

My new hobby and learning photographer, techniques, ISO, Focal, Lens blah blah also out travel experiences with photographs!!

Handmade Diya’s & Homemade Diwali Cupcakes.

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Diwali ( a Hindu festival of lights, fireworks, home decorations with diya’s, flowers, rangolis, fun with family and friends, lots of food especially sweets, beautiful dresses, exchanging gifts…) is always special to me and gives me immense happiness since childhood. I love all the festivals and I make sure to celebrate all of them very well at my home and also being a mom, I do these for Arya as well to make him believe and understand our culture and values. This time we had a simple, peaceful time at home and I started working on these diyas 3 days before. I used Crayola Clay and Fabric Paints and few gemstone embellishments. Neither I know about making clay sculptures nor I tried before (Well I did Ganesha Idol for a festival which was a month before). Without any hint I just laid my hands on this cute project and I think I able to create my vision of beautiful Deepams. 🙂 Check my gallary:

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Yes, the cupcakes in the background are also homemade by me. As it is Diwali, I baked Almond Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting in Mehandi and some Diya designs on them. I can tell you a best tip if any one wants to try these mehandi design cupcakes (I’m not sure if that is what the bakers do outside) – I used the Ziploc bags as the piping bags and after you put the batter in the bag, cut the edge where you want to pipe as per your design. Could be small or medium. I did cut a very small part to make sure I get the thin lines on my cupcakes. In this you can avoid using tips and waste the piping bags. 😉 Again the gallery of my cupcakes:

 

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I hope you enjoy the post as much as I enjoyed doing everything for the family. Please leave me comments if anyone needs more details. I really want my blog to be very helpful and more interactive if you like it.

With Love,
♥Prashanthi♥

 

Strawberry Chia Seeds Jam

Today I feel like to blog after so many days. The break is due to my trip to India and then Arya was home till he was back to school and I haven’t tried out so much of projects or baking or cooking. Hence not to put full stop to my Enthu…., here I’m posting a simple healthy recipe that I tried before my trip to India.

More than We, Arya loves to go to Farm. Give a chance, he wants to go everyday for those farm animals. We already took him twice this summer and our latter visit was Strawberry picking at Alstede Farms, Chester, NJ. It is usually 1hr 10 minutes drive from our place. We picked pretty nice and fresh berries in a large basket. Most of them are very sweet that we couldn’t stop eating at the farm itself. I decided to freeze some so that I can make some smoothies for Arya and the rest to make a Strawberry Jam.

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I wanted a healthy ones that stays for one to two weeks at the maximum, if we store it in the refrigerator. That means I don’t want to use any preservatives. Hence I looked for few recipe’s online and I could able to find a blog where that awesome blogger posted totally my choice of ingredients and I no longer waited and adapted from hers and made this jam and used for several purposes which i will state below.

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The ingredients I used are:

  • 1 pound Fully Ripe Strawberries
  • 1/4 Cup Honey (Add more to your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds

Preparation:

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Clean and cut the green part and also the white part of the berry then cut into pieces like in image 2.  As in the image 3, Put all the pieces into a sauce pan along with Honey and boil it on medium heat till the fruit gets soft and starts liquify. Then try to smash the strawberries with fork or masher until it reaches a desired consistency. Allow it to boil and continue to boil till it becomes a saucy consistency for 5 minutes.
Stir in chia seeds into the sauce and cook it for one or two minutes more.Stir again and remove the sauce form heat. Let it cool down completely and you can see the magic of chia seeds turning into a thick and a very healthy jam.
Store the jam in an air tight container like I used mason jar and keep it in an refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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NOTE: Please do not store more than two weeks since we have not added any preservatives and not sure of the shelf size of the chia seeds as per the sources.

Here is the very simple and incredible healthy recipe for the whole family. You can use it in many ways, like I used on bread, in south Indian Crepes, in the smoothies… 🙂 Yes, in many ways. Just imagine and be creative. Have a good healthy life!

Some of the pictures taken in the farm:-

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With Love,
♥Prashanthi♥

Vasantham… (Spring!)

“Vasantha” is the sanskrit name to Spring season. The most beautiful season and also termed as the new beginning of the year for the trees in this season fills with new flowers and leaves. Like you all, I am also so much in love with this season for the fresh fragrance in the air, the cool breeze, the colors around that bring joy and amazement. A Morning walk in this season is a must for any person for their comfort soul and strong life. I happen to take a walk in the Bayonne park on one week day after dropping Arya in school. I also carried my DSLR to take beautiful spring blossom every corner trees and bushes. I guess I was the only walker holding the camera and in gym dress wearing nike shoes to take pictures and as well walking. 🙂

I did capture some pleasing pictures and hoping they will enchant to your eyes…

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_mg_0371_newPeacock @turtleback zoo.

With Love,
♥Prashanthi♥

A weekend in San Francisco!

SAN FRANCISCO ~ named in the honor of Saint Francis, wows the visitors anytime, with its beautiful sights and steep rolling hills. Like anybody, I’m no exception, fell in love with the city. The first thing I noticed was, the city is very neat and clean and is a Cool city. Every street, every house(i must say mansions) are well maintained and flamboyant. This city is the destination for multidimensional nature including the culture and food, architecture and landmarks.The weather was so unexpected on the day we reached SFO. It was raining in few areas and sunny in the other. But it was a beautiful casual environment, fresh air, cool breeze, not much pollution, little chilly by evenings. Coming from a cold NY (this year is in peaks), we felt the weather was pleasant and awesome. With just three days in hand, I was not sure if we can cover the checklist, my husband prepared. To my surprise, we got time to see lot of sights, meeting friends and family, driving through small towns.. and we were very happy with whatever we covered.

For me, this is my first visit to the west side and California State. I was so excited to experience the beautiful San Francisco and very much the Golden Gate Bridge as it was my one of the dream sights!!!!                                                     A must to mention here – SFO is the place where Chaitanya landed for the very first time in the United States of America for pursuing his Masters. So our trip is more Personal and Nostalgic and emotional.

This post will be overloaded with the pictures we captured(we both love to take pictures) just to make it look more real and attractive 🙂

First Day: SFO City part(1)

We headed to the city after the hotel check-in and Chaitanya was very very excited stepping in after 10 long years. He mentioned that San Francisco smells like a new book. (;-) that is his first sense when he was in the city for the first time) Our first sight was the LOMBARD Street also known as Crooked Street which has eight steep turns and is One-Way going down. I was the one who was screaming and enjoying the drive through these steep roads. And this was his first drive on that Crookedest street ever. simply loved it!!! Then we went to the famous Swiss chocolate Ghirardelli Chocolate Company at Ghirardelli square. We loved the place with waterfront dining area, a cute water fountain, opposite to it a pinkish interiors Kara’s Cupcake shop and the few more shops and restaurants. After buying chocolates there we went to visit Chaitanya’s Graduate school, the prestigious, University of San Francisco, CA. He was there for first semester and transferred to California State University, Fresno.

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Who will not become emotional and excited when they revisit their school? I really cant express his inner feelings but I can say his face lit up with glee. He took us to his classroom, the professors chamber (he wanted to introduce me to his best, favorite professor unfortunately could not as he was retired by then.), the library, his favorite lush greenery area where he studied and spent the evenings with friends and the very beautiful Church in the campus. He also showed us the house he rented there, the grocery store where he usually shops, the corner Mc Donald and also the famous Mel’s Drive in (An American food place). Purely Nostalgic!!! Then he took us to the Pacific Ocean Beach to the other side of the city. The beach was beautiful in sunset and the water was very cold. Then we went to shop around Chinatown. By this we ended the day after having dinner at Indian place in downtown.

Second Day: Livermore Hindu temple, 17 mile drive and Fresno city

This is happening every time when we are traveling places, “visiting Hindu temples around”, and it happened again for us and we decided to start our day by going to the Livermore Hindu Temple in a beautiful small town Livermore Valley. This is where my husband got his Car Puja (ceremony) done when he bought his first car. We went and fortunately took part at the Venkateswara Swamy’s Abhishekam (a devotional activity of giving shower to the LORD)  and left the place with happy hearts.

Later part of the day, Chaitanya, decided to take us to the 17-mile drive, pebble beach. It is one of the best scenic road drive through pacific coastline I have ever been and passes famous Huge Golf courses, Beautiful Mansions, Cypress trees, many attractions like, pebble beach, ghost trees, bird rock etc., You also come across the Monterey Bay, a small town Carmel and breath taking hills and houses on the hills etc.  All through the drive it was a WOW experience. Worth the drive and seeing the nature and playing in the beach. You can see the surfers, seagulls, big rocks and the water splashing on the rocks. JUST AMAZING!!! It almost took 2 hours drive and we head towards the Fresno City, where Chaitanya spent rest of his Education and time for the Reunion Party 🙂

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On our way to Fresno, we experienced, also Arya enjoyed and literally shouting R.A.I.N.B.O.W. Yes, it was the full rainbow after the mild rain in the fields and it was AWESOME. It was very clear that Arya was saying the colors. Chaitanya and I were totally mesmerized by seeing the full version. (I know it sounds childish. 😉 …but we were enjoying nature.) It was actually double rainbow. Two big arch’s on our way…… WhooHoooooo!!!!Also passed through huge mountains and the water between them. It was lovely and your ears can feel that air pressure. Before we were entering, we will come across more and more Cherry Blossom tress. Pink, White, Purple….And this is other beautiful experience drive.  I took most of the pictures from the Car itself.

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Chaitanya and I were thinking so hard why the Cherry Bloosom fields everywhere? We know it will be there for one season and that is early spring and why people raising farms with hundreds and hundreds trees? What is the other purpose, other than sights?  Finally we came to a conclusion that they need this in perfumes, showergels, body lotions etc etc (the famous Bath and Body Works products … l0l) Anyways, COUNTRYSIDE in NORTHERN CALIFORNIA IS LOVELY! PERIOD(.) (Please get time to visit the countryside. of California. DO NOT MISS IT.)

Third Day: SFO City part(2) and San Jose city

Chaitanya was very happy meeting his friends and they all had great time talking about their old days, work days, family and the present. After that reunion, we were on the wheels to round the city and here it is same again. His University, CSU-Fresno, his block, his apartment, the famous Bull Dogs Stadium, his first work place after school as Director of IT, the Robertitos Taco Shop, the bus stops and so on and on. Revisiting is always a great feeling if you have the best memories for lifetime. He is the one happy man on the planet while this whole trip. Leaving the city with heavy heart, we decided to spend the whole day in the SFO and after two and half hours drive from Fresno to the city, we directly went to the Golden Gate Bridge. OMG! my dream sight. always wanted to come here (I dont know why I was crazy about this 🙂 ) Finally the day came and the Geddam family is at the Bridge. The day was so welcoming not so chilly and not so hot, very pleasant day and so the bridge views. One of the best views of the bridge is in the foggy morning around 5:30 Am. I wish I could experience that but I was happy visiting this place anytime in a day. Being there for 45 mins is superb feeling.

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Gradually we headed to Park Presidio and is a trekking place and good for joggers and bicyclists. We drove in the park for half an hour and we went to the last sight of our trip, Pier 39 – Fisherman’s Wharf. This place is all crowded and quite opposite to the other side of the city. It is a nice eatery place as well and there is a famous Boudin bakery and Bread company.

You cannot leave SFO,  without experiencing the cable car ride. 🙂 We took the to and fro ride from Powell Street to Union Square (the busy place with all stores and malls).  Damn, I’m missing the city and the ride now. This was our last activity in San Francisco and I truly enjoyed the time with my family.

Lastly, we visited my husband’s cousins family in San Jose. It was like 45mins – 1 hour drive and the gathering was a much needed relief to us. We love you and Thank You Lakshmi Akka, Vijay Annayya and their kids and akka’s parents for the great time and delightful dinner.

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With Love
Prashanthi.