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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Camping essentials for summer fun

I love camping and I know you guys too. Summer is the only season to enjoy camping and experience forest living. But many people get nervous if they organizing camping first time. So I finally decided to write about camping essentials.

Very first step for camping is identify the place where you want to go? And for how many days you are planning to stay?

There are number of state parks and national parks who providing camping site. Before you plan for your camping do research about the park facilities and surrounded area. Find out park timings, fees and camp site details.

Things you need to carry with you

Most important thing is Water.  You need to carry whole water carat as you required to stay hydrated in summer. Obviously it depends on how many persons are there. Even you required water to make coffee and if you are planning to cook something than also you required water.

Bug spray  is very essential to keep you safe from bugs and mosquito bites. There are many brand in the market and also it comes in unscented and scented form. So it's up to you which one you want to use. I usually use OFF! Family care.

Drinks and Snacks

I don't know about you but I cannot stay hungry 😆😆😆. So I always prefers to carry food and drinks with me. Many of the parks not allow alcohol beverages so make sure while you planning your visit. Take the different flavored sodas, energy drinks like Gateroid or lemonades etc. it's totally your choice. 


I am sure you don't want to miss clicking these wonderful moments and capture it in you camera. If you are passionate photographer than don't forget to take your tripod stand. And if you are selfie mania than take your selfie stick.

Comfortable footwear 

I really like wearing flip flops but when I go for camping and hiking I prefer wearing shoes. It's safe because it covers whole feet so safe from any injury and very comfortable in walking. Are sure you are not wearing heels or else you will not forget your camping experience life time 😆😆😆😆


In most of the park at the entrance you will get map but if you want you can find map online and get it printed. So it will work as backup if you lost original map. And if you have map ready with you than you can identify the activities to do and how to spend time moving around?

First aid box is very tricky. Many of you have confusion what to carry and what not. I would suggest few basic things you should carry. Check out the list:-
          1. Adhesive Bandages
          2. Cotton 
          3. Pain killers 
          4. Antiseptic wipes or solution
          5. Antibiotic ointment 
          6. Scissor 
          7. Tweezers
          8. Roller bandages 
          9. Adhesive cloth tape
          10. Oral thermometer 

Torch and lantern 


Group games are great option for Spending time with friends and family. You can carry bean bag toss, NFL ball throws etc. Board games are also good for fun.

Friends and family

Oh I forgot to mention to take your family and friends with you. How you can forget them? Camping is really fun when you do in group. As you have large group it will be more fun. You can enjoy camp fires and barbecue parties in the park.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Quick Dips for summer parties and picnic

Are you party person? so am I. I love hosting parties and entertaining my guests with variety of foods. And summer is a great season for party. Barbecue parties are very famous in this season. Beside barbecue I love to serve some munching, like different kind of chips or crispy veggies with delicious dips. I really like adding basil, mint and coriander leaves in various dips.

Green hummus

We all love regular hummus but I like hint of mint in my hummus. So today I am sharing my secret recipe. So you need following ingredients.

1 cup Canned garbanzo beans
1/2 cup Roasted sesame seeds
Olive oil 1/4 cup
10-12 leaves of mint
5-7 stamps of coriander leaves
2-3 garlic cloves

Strain and rinse garbanzo beans very well. Take food processor jar add garbanzo beans, sesame seed, olive oil, mint, coriander and garlic cloves. Blend it until it becomes smooth paste. You can add water or oil if required. 

Coriander mint magic

These is my favorite dip. These dip is totally depend on your taste. Those who like combination of coriander and mint they will love it. You need following ingredients.

1 bunch of coriander 
15-20 leaves of mint
1/2 cup raw peanuts 
1-2 green chilly  
2 tsp lemon juice 
Salt as per taste
Water as per required 

First take the bunch of coriander cut in to big chunks add mint leaves and rinse it very well. Take a blender add peanuts and grind it until it become fine powder. Now add rest of the ingredients and 1/4 cup of water. Grind it very well. You can add water more or less depending on required consistency. 

Crazy Coconut 

Coconut lovers get ready to try new form of coconut. 

1 cup shredded coconut 
1/2 cup roasted Chana dal
1-2 green chilly 
Salt as per taste 
Water as per required 

Take a blender and add roasted Chana dal and blend it very well. Now add coconut, chilly as per your taste, salt and 4 tsp of water. You can add water according to the required consistency.  You can avoid green chilly if you don't like spicy.

Tomato garlic Dip

2 ripped tomatoes 
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
2 tsp oil 
1 whole red chilly

Heat oil in pan. Add onions and saute until it becomes translucent. Add garlic stir it for 2 minutes. Now add whole red chilly or chilly flakes and tomatoes. Let it cook until tomatoes get mussy. Add water if required. You can serve these mixture as it is. Onions will give nice crunchy flavor. You can blend these mixture if you want smooth paste.   

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Starved rock state park

Hi guys after creating 10 national parks to enjoy summer one of my friend suggested to create a post for state parks and other less famous parks so today i am creating post for Starved Rock state park. It might famous and known for hikers but not for all.

Even i dint knew about these park until one of our friend planned to visit and than i google it about these place and i came to know these is voted as number#1 attraction in the state of Illinois.

Did someone say they love canyons and waterfalls? Oh than Starved rock state park is perfect place for you. Starved rock state park is situated at the Illinois river bank. 

How to get there

Chicago o'hare international airport is nearest airport from the Starved rock state park it takes approx 1 hour and 45 mins to get there but still time will vary according to traffic. 

Another option is Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport or Dane county regional airport are other two airports which quite near from Starved Rock state park. It takes more or less than 2 and half hour to reach there. 

You can rent a car from Airport and drive to Starved Rock state park. If you leave near by than obviously you can drive straight to park. 

Tip to explore Starved rock state park

  • First and foremost thing reach as early as possible around 9 AM. As day will pass on it will get crowded. And difficult to walk around and reach to the spot.
  • If you are planning to walk on hiking trail than wear proper shoes which comfortable for walk. Do keep water bottle and granola bars in your hiking bag.
  • You have to park your vehicle at the parking lot around visitor center and trail will start behind the visitor center so grab all your stuff from the car when you head to visitor center so you don't have to come back again. 
  • If you are planing to spend just one day and cover whole park than stay energetic because trail have plenty amount of steps for up and down specially at bluff trail.
  • I would suggest you to spare at least 2 day so you don't have to keep running all day to cover points you can divide your adventure in 2 days.
  • As visitor center don't have exact address enter lodge address:-  Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center, 2668 East 873rd Road, North Utica, IL 61373 once you enter in the state park look for sign visitor center and follow it unless you are staying at the lodge.
Points to explore Starved rock state park

So very first thing you have to do is go to visitor center and grab a map. The day when we went it was raining and we were worried about getting wet. If you face the same don't worry gift shop beside the visitor center have ponchos so you can purchase one for your self and stay safe from rain. :-) :-)

So now you have map which will look like these.

Trail map of Starved rock state park

You can board starved rock state park trolley from outside of the Great Hall of the Loadge. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children. Very 1st stop will be visitors center. 

Starved Rock trolley
Starved Rock state park is all in one package. Starved rock state park offers hiking along the nature trails, Magnificent views along the Illinois river and recreational opportunities. You don't like hiking than don't worry you can do Picnicking, Fishing, Boating, Horseback riding, Camping and winter sports.

Wildcat canyon

These state park have almost 18 canyons formed by glacial melt-water and stream erosion. They slice through covered tree and sand stone bluffs for four miles at starved rock state park.

View of dam from starved rock

The park is best known for its fascinating rock formations. These state park provides great view of wild trees and great waterfalls.

Pontiac canyon

You can see view of dam from the other side of the dam as well. You can do kayaking and fishing. The day we visited it was cloudy and rainy so romantic isn't it ? You can see the picture which shows beautiful cloud. 

Beehive overlook

Basswood canyon

We were walking through the trail and looking around tall trees and suddenly I had seen one tree lying on ground and the tree was seems like face of horse.

One of the more popular canyons for photographers. This canyon is quite a long walk from the Visitor Center parking lot, but great for avid hikers. This canyon features a waterfall that is active most of the year. You can exit this canyon from a trail on the west or the east side of the waterfall by walking behind the actual waterfall. This is also a gorgeous icefall in the winter! 

Water fall from inside of LaSalle Canyon

LaSalle canyon