Madison: White Jasmine Cooking Class at Madison Public Library

This past spring, Madison Public Library hosted a series of cooking classes with White Jasmine. I was able to sign up for two of the classes and had a great time at both. The classes were aimed toward learning how to cook a variety of Pakistani food. I really enjoy all food, especially food with a lot of flavor and spice, so I was really excited to get an idea of how I could make some tasty food for myself.

During the second lesson that I attended (the final lesson in the series) the class focused on vegetarian cooking. I personally prefer to have a meat dish with every meal but it was fun to learn how to cook some alternative meals options such as chickpeas and zucchini. Though they were intended to be vegetarian main courses, both could be eaten as a side dish.

When we arrived at the library, we walked into a room set up to view a cooking demonstration. At the front of the room were several ingredients, spices, and cooking tools. Each seat had a copy of each recipe that was being prepared as well as a survey for everyone to complete toward the end of the program.

White Jasmine Cooking Class Madison Public Library

After everyone arrived, the organizer of the event said a few words. Huma Siddiqui then took over the show. She explained to us that she had moved to Wisconsin from London and was startled by the lack of flavor and spices used in American cooking. She started to share her recipes and cooking experience and began to teach cooking classes in the Madison area. The spices are for sale on their website and at Woodman’s grocery stores.

 

While she was sharing her background, she began to prepare the meal. First, she started to prepare the lentils, then the chickpeas, and finally the zucchini. She did a great job giving tips about each dish to us and answering questions while the food was cooking. For those of us who weren’t familiar with all of the spices that were being used, she passed around the jars (which are a product that she sells) which allowed us to see and smell each one. We also had the recipes in front of us so that we could take notes on how to properly prepare the food for ourselves at home.

After the food was ready, we got to do the fun part. We all lined up and were able to eat as much of the food as we wanted. Everything was incredibly delicious, and I was especially in love with the chickpeas. I went back for seconds.. and thirds! It was hard to eat the chickpeas because they were incredibly spicy due to the chili pepper, but that certainly didn’t stop me from eating as much of the delicious food as I could.

Madison Public Library will be hosting another set of these cooking classes this fall and registration is currently open. The classes are also periodically available throughout the community at a low cost and information about upcoming classes can be found on the White Jasmine website.

IMG_4454.JPG

I haven’t yet had the chance to make one of these recipes, but I am pretty sure the chickpeas would be a great fall meal. I also really enjoyed attending this class with my mom and one of my friends, it is a fun way to try out something new in our community.

Advertisements

Review: Yardbird Las Vegas 2017

My family recently enjoyed a meal at Yardbird Las Vegas and it was absolutely incredible. The restaurant is known for its fried chicken, and it was some of the best fried chicken that I have ever had. Yardbird is located inside of the Venetian and it’s recommended to arrive with a reservation.

Chicken Wings and Okra at Yardbird Las Vegas

My brother ordered the chicken wings with okra. The chicken wings were good (I would have preferred the sauce on the side but he enjoyed his meal) and the okra was delicious. We ended up ordering an extra side order for the table.

Fried Chicken and Watermelon at Yardbird Las Vegas

I ordered the chicken plate (not chicken and waffles.) I really enjoyed the chicken – the breading was perfect – so delicious that I was eating it on its own. I saved the chicken for the dipping sauce, which was a mix of sweet and spicy. The biscuit was good but standard, and the spiced watermelon was really tasty. I ended up giving my watermelon away to my family as it’s not really my thing.

Cornbread at Yardbird Las Vegas

I also ordered a side of corn bread which I loved. The cornbread was nice and warm and the perfect compliment to the fried chicken. I definitely preferred it to the biscuit. I ate mine with honey butter that had come with the biscuits and it was a great combination.

Every single one of us loved Yardbird and highly recommend a visit. It was probably my favorite meal in Vegas and I will definitely be back next time I am in town.

Style: 2017 Backpack Picks

Apparently now that I’m going to graduate school I need to do things like study and carry around textbooks. I was very disappointed when I saw that my econ textbook is the standard gigantic and expensive disaster that you think of when you hear someone mention college textbooks. I still have my backpack from undergrad but I’m not all that interested in using it. It’s a trusty old North Face that I bought in 2009, and on day one I packed a yogurt which, of course, burst and flooded the front pocket with fruity goo.

Here are some of the backpacks that I’m interested in purchasing.

  • North Face Jester in Black: I like the idea of getting another North Face because I know that it will hold up. This one is small, but big enough for a laptop and textbooks, and the $65 price point is great.
  • Herschel Little America in Windsor Wine and Tan: I love Herschel backpacks. They started to become a thing when I was still in undergrad and I was really interested in getting one, but didn’t see the point since I was graduating. I think that this one is super pretty, but I am a little bit concerned about the lack of zippers.

  • Rebecca Minkoff Julian Velvet in Pink: I probably won’t buy this because it’s out of my budget, but the color is perfect and I’m amongst the many humans who are obsessed with velvet right now. A girl can dream!
  • Herschel Dawson in Black: Another neat option from Herschel. I love black fabric and leather together as well as the big pockets. Why are these bags so cute??

  • Vera Bradley Iconic Campus Backpack in Grey: Vera Bradley is one of my favorite brands but I haven’t been a fan of their patterns in recent years. I like this bag because Vera Bradley uses quality materials, and the neutral color scheme really stands out. This backpack is in my top three for 2017.
  • JanSport Cool Student in Black and Tan: As an older student, I have fond memories of JanSport bags. I remember suddenly noticing that everyone I knew had a JanSport bag and excitedly getting one the next year. Looking at them now I feel a little silly, especially since the price point is comparably low, but they bring back memories and they’ve been around for years, so they must be a trustworthy brand.

Do you think you’ll purchase one of these bags? Do you have a go-to brand at back to school time? I am so excited to make this decision!

Travel: Vegas Day 1

A few months ago my family decided to take a quick trip to Vegas for Labor Day weekend. We wanted to take a fun trip together before I start grad school and thought Vegas would be a nice place for a quick visit.

IMG_7111.JPG

We had a really easy time getting to Vegas. We used Frontier and our flights averaged to about $240 direct from Madison to Vegas. They would have been closed to $200 but we added on checked bags. Everyone was very happy when the realized we were flying direct rather than traveling to Milwaukee or Chicago.

Not only was our flight convenient, we had a great crew that kept the trip super exciting. They did a couple of different games like a raffle, an age guessing game, and a trivia and gave away assorted prizes. It helped make the last hour of our flight go by quick.

As soon as we got to our hotel (we are staying at The Venetian) we all realized that we were hungry and started looking up options for dinner. We decided to go to The Buffet at Wynn. I was excited because it was very colorful and seemed to have a lot of food options. My family was excited because they were hungry and it was nearby. We were a little disappointed when we arrived to find out that it was $45/person as the website we had used to find it had said $25-35, but we decided to try it out anyway.

I loved the food and was excited to try new things. I tried a couple of things that I didn’t like, but I found out that I love quail. I also really loved the pork belly buns, the duck and the potato latkes with cottage cheese. Who knew that was an amazing thing?

Dessert was on another level. The room was amazing. There were so many options and I ended up getting butterscotch bread pudding, creme brulee, and banana sticky toffee pudding. Twice. Literally my only criticism was that the sticky toffee pudding was banana, I would have preferred traditional.

I was also really impressed with the Wynn. I would definitely consider staying there in the future. The setting was so beautiful. And I won $100 in the casino.

IMG_7110.PNG

I’m pretty excited about my winnings. My daily gambling budget is $20, so no matter what I’ll break even at the end of the trip.

After dinner and a brief foray into gambling, we walked back to our hotel but stopped to watch the fountain at the Wynn. It’s very lovely for a few moments but the songs are limited and get repetitive fast.

We ended the night with some pool time at the Venetian and hang-out time in the hotel room.

Have you been to Vegas? What are your favorite things to do? Give me your recommendations!

Roubidoux Spring Path Missouri Ozarks

Adventure Travel: Missouri Ozarks Roubidoux Spring

Prior to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I met my family at a hotel in St Robert, Missouri. We found a really nice hotel for only $50 a night, perfect for a quick stay. We arrived around 6pm and wanted to explore the area a little bit. Since St Robert is in the Missouri Ozarks, I googled trails in the area to see what our options were. I saw that Roubidoux Spring was less than a ten minute drive away, so we decided to check it out.

We arrived to find a nice sized stream. It had rained a bunch in recent days so that water levels were high. The water was brown with random bursts of blue/green that were beautiful. We read the signs and found out that the stream was part of the path of the Trail of Tears, and that it is a prominent location for trout fishing.

Roubidoux Spring

Roubidoux Spring Missouri Ozarks

The path from the parking area to the spring was short. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to walk more after being in the car all day, but the path itself was beautiful. In the following picture you can clearly see how blue/green the water was. I had a weird realization that the water, trees, and current reminded me about a place that I had dreamed about.

Roubidoux Spring Path Missouri Ozarks

IMG_6898.JPG

Above is a picture of the spring when we first arrived. We touched the water and were surprised by how cold it is. It maintains a temperature below 60 degrees in the summer. Since it was so hot in Missouri (90-100 degrees and SO HUMID every day) we decided to head back to the hotel and grab our swim suits. The picture below is an accurate representation of the color of the spring when we returned.

Roubidoux Spring Missouri Ozarks

Getting in the water was a bit difficult because of how cold it was, but we had a really great time.

IMG_6892.JPG

We met a nice little kid (you can see him at the end of the video) who told us that although the signs suggested otherwise, it was “completely safe” to jump in. Jumping into the water was an incredible experience because the force of the spring pushed you right back up to the top and out of the way.

IMG_6893.JPG

In the above photo you can see the mist rising up from the water, since it was about 30 degrees cooler than the air.

We had an amazing experience at Roubidoux Springs and I can’t wait to return to the Missouri Ozarks.

Guest Post: TonyMoly Inked Cushion Gel Eyeliner

The following post is a guest review by Kara S. who currently lives in Superior, Wisconsin. Want more? Check her out on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook.


Tony Moly Inked Cushion Gel Liner Harry Potter eyeliner

I received Tony Moly Inked Cushion Eyeliner (aka Harry Potter eyeliner) from my dearest best friend Jennifer. I completely forgot that she picked this up for me, so it was a nice treat! We are both mega nerds when it comes to Harry Potter, and we both like makeup, so of course this was a no brainer.

So the first time I put it on, I didn’t realize that the brush wasn’t already in the liner, the way an inkpot works. It took me a hot second to realize that I had to unscrew the bottom.

Once I figured all that out, it took me a second to get used to the quill. As someone who usually uses drug store liquid liner pens, it was a new experience. I am pretty low maintenance, so I’m not used to washing out brushes after putting on my makeup.

Tony Moly’s description of the eyeliner is:

“Formulated to go on intense like ink and glide on light as a feather, our liquid gel-type cushion liner never skips, clumps, or drags, helping you achieve the perfect winged look. The cushion pot helps control the amount of product that is picked up and the built-in brush is designed to work perfectly with the formula so you always get an intense payoff with precision and ease.”

I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the description 100%. I had no problem with the consistency of the eyeliner, it was smooth, but the brush was really thick- too thick to have a winged look. Maybe I’m just not skilled enough with eyeliner, but I also am a former art major so I don’t think that’s the case. I like the color, and I would agree that the black was very inky. It was easy to make sure that the liner got close to/ in my lash line, so there was no gap near my eyelashes.

All in all, I love the novelty of using this, I love the richness of color, and I love how close I can get to my lashes, but I still pull out my more precise liner for a wing.

 


Are you interested in guest posting on jenrazzle.com? Send a pitch to jenrazzle@gmail.com. Thanks Kara for the wonderful review!

Joplin Tornado Memorial Pictures

Six year ago, my grandmother and I were in an EF-5 tornado in Joplin, MO. It was very awful and destroyed a large portion of her city. A few nights ago, I took a walk to the memorial garden. The garden is beautiful and a lovely tribute to all of the people who lost their lives and homes.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with q3 preset

Joplin Tornado Memorial Hope Fountain

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I also found several rocks around the memorial. When I flipped them over, they said “Joplin, MO” on them. Does anyone know what these signify?

Travel: Ledges State Park, Iowa

I was in the mood to do some hiking last week while I was in Iowa and one of my friends suggested we take a trip to Ledges State Park. I grew up close to Ledges, and even went to girl scout camp about a minute away, but had never been to the park before. I didn’t know what to expect but we had a great experience.

The first thing we saw was a swampy area.

Ledges State Park Swamp

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

I personally love areas like this, as long as they don’t smell. Fortunately, this one was all good. AND there was a lovely surprise! If you look closely at the picture, you can see dozens of tiny cricket frogs sticking out of the algae.

Swamp with frogs

The following is another section of the same pond. If you look to the left of the big branch, you can see little froggie heads sticking up.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Next we walked to the “secret lake” – not really sure how a giant green swamp is a secret, but it was lovely. Here is a pic of my friend Mikey, the wonderful guy who took me to Ledges.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Now, the secret lake ended up being one of the best experiences of my entire life. The entire shore was covered in bull frogs and cricket frogs, so every time we moved a dozen would hop into the water.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

You can see some of the frogs in the photo above if you look closely. There aren’t as many close to the camera, but if you look further out you can see just how many were on the shore.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

This next one really worried me. Wasn’t sure if it was a monstrosity or a normal development. Apparently it’s a polliwog. I thought that was a Pokemon, but my friend explained that she is actually a scientist and its a mix between tadpole and frog.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

I never wanted to leave that area, but apparently since we were at Ledges State Park we were required to see the actual ledges.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Here is Mike being an ~expert~ hiker. He even has a backpack with a water pouch!

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Here is me. I’m a normal hiker. I put lipstick on before hitting the trails.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

The view of the Des Moines river was quite lovely.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

This next ledge was a little terrifying. Normally I would have been a daredevil and tried to hop onto it, but apparently some guy died doing that this summer and I wasn’t super interested in following in his footsteps.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

I loved the park and had a great experience, especially the jumping frogs. What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen at a state park?

Travel: Iowa Hindu Temple

During a recent hiking trip in Iowa, we stopped off to check out a hidden Hindu Temple. It was completely unassuming and located between cornfields. I had never heard of it and didn’t know it was there, so I was pretty surprised by the spectacular beauty.

Iowa Hindu Temple

This was my first glimpse of the temple. I was very excited!

Iowa Hindu Temple

And there were elephants!!!

Iowa Hindu Temple Elephant

The details were remarkable.

Iowa Hindu Temple Details

Iowa Hindu Temple Details

Iowa Hindu Temple Details

We left an offering with this guy.

Iowa Hindu Temple Offering

And this is the sign.

Iowa Hindu Temple Sign

What is the coolest site you’ve stumbled upon out in the wild?

Review: Solar Eclipse Glasses

I am SO EXCITED for the this year’s solar eclipse! I am going to be in Joplin, Missouri which unfortunately isn’t a part of the full coverage path, so I am planning to drive to St Louis. My family is taking the day off to drive down and we are going to watch it together. Please let there be amazing beautiful weather!

Needless to say I was really excited to have the opportunity to get a 10 pack of solar eclipse glasses for free so that I could try them out and review them. During the last eclipse (partial, the night of my college graduation party) one of my friends brought a pair of eclipse glasses. Before this, I had no idea that you even needed special glasses to view an eclipse.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I was so excited when the package arrived. Getting this product awoke the inner nerd in me.

Solar Eclipse Glasses

The package came with ten pairs. I saved pairs for my immediate family and have been using the additional pairs for bribery. JK I have been giving them to fellow space nerds.

Light through solar eclipse glasses

It was dark when I received them so I tried a pair out against the light. It was a really bright shiny light that I couldn’t look into (just like the sun!!) so it was neat to see what kind of effect they’ll have on the day of the eclipse.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Here is a picture of my brother and I showing off our extreme fashion! Since I received these glasses, they had sold out or have had the price increase significantly. Here is the link in case you want to check, but the last time I looked it was down. I am so glad that I was able to receive these for free from my blog and pass them along to friends and family.