Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rotini Salad

My husband and I decided to take a drive to Hacienda Heights last Saturday, which is about 20 miles East of Los Angeles, to visit the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple for the first time.  Let me tell you, I had no idea there was such a gem hidden in the hills of Hacienda Heights

Seated atop a hill, the temple sits on 15 acres of land. From the moment you drive in through their gate to park your car, you are greeted with a beautifully landscaped garden.  Needless to say, the architecture is Chinese temple type architecture which of course stands out among the residential buildings around it, in its form, color and grandeur.  I am glad that it is open to the public where you can go on a self guided or guided tour.  You can see different gardens, a museum, and the main shrine more importantly.  The main shrine is magnificent in its opulence, where mini Buddha statues line the walls and at the centerpiece are three huge Buddha statues. They also have a tea room and a vegetarian restaurant open to the public.  Sadly, I did not check the hours of operation, that the restaurant was already closed by the time we got there.  For more information, visit their website at:

 Just some of the amazing architectural features of the Hsi Lai Temple.

 Try to find these baby Buddhas when you visit the site.

 More of the amazing and colorful features of Hsi Lai Temple.

 Garden art.

Top: The gateway that welcomes you as you arrive at the temple.  The Chinese characters represent "the four universal vows of Buddhists: to save all sentient beings, to eradicate all worries, to study the boundless Dharma, and to attain supreme Buddhahood."  
Center: A buddha head statue.
Bottom:  Art work from one of the students. "The earth is linked heart to heart.  Everything in the world including religions peacefully co-exists."  And I think that sums it all up.

Rotini Salad

Inspired by the bright colors at the temple, I decided to create a tri-color pasta.  For me, the many colors symbolize our differences as a people, but instead of dividing us, I would like to celebrate our differences, by recognizing that it is in diversity where we can achieve higher ground and learn to be united.  Hsi Lai means “coming West.”  To all who have come to the West, welcome!


2 cups of dry Rotini pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
5-6 pieces of sundried tomatoes cut in strips
1 small can of black olives
dashes of the following according to taste:  paprika, parsley, basil, celery salt, salt and pepper


1.  Cook pasta till al dente
2.  Wait for the pasta to cool and mix in all the other ingredients according to taste.  Serve cold.  This makes a good side dish.

Looks appetizing already even before it's cooked.

These sundried tomatoes come in a bag.

Pillars of flavor.


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