Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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No Fear

January 9, 2008

This song will forever remind me of decorating the Christmas tree, 2007. My favorite part from the song comes at the end:

A parte che i tempi stringono
e tu li vorresti allargaree
intanto si allarga la nebbia
e avresti potuto vivere al mare
ed anche le stelle cadono
alcune sia fuori che dentro
e un desiderio che esprimite
ne rimangono fuori altri cento..

I’m terrible at translating but it goes something like this:

Apart form the time that becomes less
while you would like to have more
meanwhile the fog grows
and you could have lived by the sea
and the stars fall
some of them outside
some of them within
for every desire you express
you have one hundred wishes left…

Click here to see the video Niente Paura by Ligabue on YouTube.

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Thanksgiving and 10th Anniversary

November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving was a family affair. Just me and my tribe. Food was alright. Been married 10 years now. Together for 16.

What? You want me to elaborate?

The Menu:

  • I scrapped the idea of roasting a chicken. I don’t like bones so I cooked chicken breasts dipped in buttermilk (leben), salt, freshly ground pepper and then coated them in crushed corn flakes. I fried some in canola oil and baked the rest. The baked ones were super tender but some of the coating fell off during the process (which I expected).
  • Boxed sage/onion/lemon stuffing (GROSS) and gravy granules (so nasty I had to toss it and make my own using butter, flour, chicken stock, black pepper, white pepper and poultry seasoning, not so nasty but not great either).
  • Mashed potatoes put through a ricer (I think that’s what you call it?) with salt and pepper, and just enough milk and butter to make all fluffy.
  • Pureed butternut squash with sour cream, salt, pepper, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Homemade dinner rolls.
  • Lebanese style green beans with olive oil, tomato sauce, onion, salt and pepper. (Which, by the way, is SO NOT good for Thanksgiving dinner but OH SO GOOD on its own)
  • Cranberry sauce.
  • Apple crisp. Crisp included oatmeal, butter, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Yummy.
  • To drink: that fake red wine which is really red grape juice and tastes just like red grape juice. (I know, I know, should have been fake white wine.)

As you can see, I tried to make a simple meal that would be kid-friendly but my children ended up eating none of it. My son couldn’t wait to eat and had two bowls of cereal. Instead of sitting with us, he spent his time googling car logos. My daughter sat with us but had two bites of a dinner roll and said over and over again, “Thanksgiving food is blah. Thanksgiving food is blah. Thanksgiving food is blah” until we excused her. They both had pizza later on.

So, yeah, the children weren’t that into Thanksgiving.

For those of you who scrolled through to the end looking for more details on my 10th wedding anniversary, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m waiting on a foot massage and that’s all it takes to make me happy

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Ramadan Tips for Maidless Fools Like Me

September 17, 2007

It isn’t easy coming up with fatoor/sahoor every night, plus clean your house and look after your children. Not easy, no, but doable, yes. Here are a few fatoor tips off the top of my head to help those of you who are crazy enough to live without hired help.

  • Ziploc bags and your freezer will become your best friends. When you make soup, double the portion. Ladle out what you’ll need for the night and then freeze the rest in ziploc bags and lay them flat in your freezer. To make it easier on yourself, you could freeze them in specific portions, so you know how much you have in each bag. I wouldn’t recommend freezing soup containing dairy so make the soup up until the point where you would add the cream/milk/whatever, and then freeze it as is. Defrosting is easy. Place the bag in a bowl and let it defrost enough for you to get the soup out of the bag, then pop into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it or place in a pot on your stove-top. If the soup requires dairy, wait until hot, then add.
  • You can also freeze things like sambosa, eggrolls, kibbe, etc. Just make sure you freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet first, then place in freezer bag.
  • Marag for tashreeba does well in the fridge for a few days. In fact, I think it tastes better on the second day. Gives the flavors a chance to develop even more than when it was fresh.
  • Buy a Dustbuster. These things are great for quickly sucking up all the breadcrumbs or other tidbits from the floor beneath the table.
  • Use a large microfiber cloth and a squeegee mop to clean the floor around the table. Wet the cloth in the sink with hot water, ring it out. Spray some disinfectant floor cleaner onto the cloth, drape over the squeegee part and wash the floor this way. This is for nightly use, once a week do the proper hot water/cleaner in bucket with string mop thing.
  • Face it, you’ll be in the kitchen a lot this month. If you have children, get them involved in the cooking process. They’ll love it and it’s educational. If they’re too young to help, bring some toys into the kitchen to keep them occupied.
  • Don’t get bored. Invest in a stereo system and/or television for your kitchen. I love cooking while listening to music.
  • Fill the sink up with hot soapy water and clean as you go along. If you have a double sink, use the other sink to rinse off dishes and put them straight away into the dishwasher. This saves a massive mess at the end of fatoor. And who wants to deal with a dirty kitchen with a full tummy? Not me.
  • Give yourself a break and eat out once a week. (But not at Applebees in Abu Halifa. They’re closed for renovation as we found out at 6PM last Friday night.)
  • There are lots of cookbooks and online recipes that feature meals made in thirty minutes or less.

If any of you out there have more tips, please share them in the comment section.

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Christmas 2006

December 29, 2006

This year it was all about Dora the Explorer, Barney and a doll that wees into her own toilet in hopes that my daughter will follow suit and we can finally get her out of diapers.

For my son it was time to get him an educational game console and a plug-and-play art center so that he might be able to learn how to play on his own.

For my family in the States it was an Amazonian affair which was extremely easy for me and allowed me to get them things I think they’ll really enjoy.

I got zilch but that’s OK, I wanted it that way.

Christmas Eve lunch was at Chilis where my kids felt up our waitress. She came to our table to clear it when all of a sudden my daughter started poking the waitresses’ chest and screamed, “BOOBS!! BOOBS!!”. My son joined in on the action. Talk about embarrassment.

Speaking of Chilis, we’ve X’d the one on Gulf Road because the last couple of times we went there, the food wasn’t good at all. We got an order of Southwest Eggrolls and they tasted like they had dirty freezer burn. They were old and were soggy. My son informed us that the pizza there smells like vomit. (“It smells like vomit, trust me!”) Chilis Too in Al Manshar wasn’t bad though. I had the Cobb Salad and it was good but they need to give more dressing.

Speaking of Al Manshar, it’s always “wicked” cold there. They have the air conditioning on when it’s freezing outside. Also, I hate the industrial look to that mall. I don’t like exposed piping or air conditioning ducts or whatever those huge metal pipes are. The new Ikea is the same way with the exposed pipes.

I started off talking about Christmas and ended up talking about exposed pipes. Maybe it’s time to actually think about a post before I start typing.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and for those of you celebrating Eid, have a happy one tomorrow.

Blogged with Flock

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Christmas Tree

December 12, 2006

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And the winner is…

December 3, 2006

…Sultan Center in Fahaheel. I’ll break it down for you.

Ace – Had the worst trees, I thought. None of them did anything for me.

True Value – Had a few nice ones. They have a few fiber optic trees but they weren’t my style. The fiber optic branches were white/clear and I thought it made the tree look a little tacky. They also have a few trees that have branches that sweep down, very cool and natural looking and I almost picked the taller of the two.

A to Z – Aweful selection.

Sultan Center’s choices were so-so but I liked this particular tree which is as high as our living room ceiling. It was only KD29 (KD25 at the one in Al Kout and KD49 at the one in Mangaf. I don’t get it.) and really easy to put together compared to the old one.

Now it’s time to decorate. I wonder if it will look like the one we had last year. It had a massive concentration of ornaments towards the bottom of the tree because I let my son have total creative control.

Do you have a tree? Is it up yet?

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Christmas Tree

November 24, 2006

I’ve had the same pitiful Charlie Brown-like artificial Christmas tree for nearly ten years. I’m done with stringing up the lights and so I’m on the lookout for a pre-lit or fiber optic tree to make my life simple. I’ve already checked ACE and found nothing.

I’ll be checking True Value and AtoZ later. Any other suggestions?