Saturday, March 27, 2010

I like it, I love it....

We had a great weekend so far.

On Thursday night we hopped in the car to head to a fundraiser in Dubai for CURE for their work in Haiti.  It was a hip-hop breakdancing contest.  It was really fun....the boys doin' their moves were really good.  

It was over late and we decided to stay in a hotel and explore some the next day.  The weather is gradually getting warmer so it's nice to explore now before the summer really comes.

First we headed down to the beach and to see the Burj al Arab.  This is the only 7 star hotel in the world.  You can only get in if you have a reservation and we didn't ....soooo.....we enjoyed the outside.
Here's the beach with the Burj al Arab in the background. The water was pleasant but too bad our bathing suits are still in the shipment. I didn't plan so well when packing the shipment but it's hard to think that we would need our bathing suits before April when packing our stuff in the frozen climate of Massachusetts!

The tallest building in the world.  A tilt shift lens would do us well in this picture as the building is not actually's just that tall! Unnecessary, really.  Why do we care about building tall buildings?!  I guess they bring in lots of tourist. It's supposed to have the fastest elevator, but we wouldn't know about that because it's closed right now. That is one elevator I want working and working right!

This is a place where we went shopping for a bit and ate a delightful Lebanese lunch out on the balcony overlooking some pretty water and the tallest building in the world (a.k.a. as the Burj al Khalifa).  Burj means tower and Khalifa is the name of the head Sheikh of the UAE.  Anyway, this area is supposed to be like an old Soukh but indoors and a little more modern but it was very pretty.

This is where we had our pleasant lunch. That hotel right there in front is very nice and I would enjoy a night spent in that hotel!  The tan building is the mall of Dubai and we enjoyed ourselves there yesterday for a while.  Now I know where I can spend my spare time when it's hot!
Same area.  These were the BEAUTIFUL apartments built on the water in the area of the Burj al Khalifa, the Dubai mall and this pretty water.  This water is the site of the daily Dancing Waters show.  We stayed for it last night and really enjoyed it.  The Dancing Waters start at 6:00pm and every 15 minutes they have a short show.  If you come to visit, we'll be going here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Fish, Two Fish.....

Tonight I made some good salmon. Thought I would pass the recipe along for you all.

It's from Epicurious and can be found here. I sort of did my own thing.  I made mashed potatoes instead of the way they did them. I put the salmon and sauce in a pan alone in the oven. Then instead of the spinach, I roasted some asparagus in the oven with EVOO and salt and pepper.  Man, it all turned out great! The sauce on top of the mashed potatoes was great, too.

**Excuse the small problem I have with getting the directions to show when I copy and paste them from Epicurious.  If they don't show up, just click on the link above and go from there. Sorry.**

Seared Wild Salmon with New Potatoes and Dijon Broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes or new red potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 6- to 8-ounce skinless wild salmon fillets
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Life has sort of found its groove and we're tickin' along.  Things are going well with life here so far and we're enjoying ourselves.

    Last week a sweet girl came from Iraq--really from Kurdistan which is in the north-- to have clubfoot surgery. Just her and her dad. Her mom stayed home with her siblings.  Her situation was pretty severe but the surgeons did a great job last Saturday. We were able to come over in the morning and talk with her a little bit. When we walked into pre-op she was crying but everyone managed to keep her mind off of things.  T (Fondly known as Terry here, too!) prayed with her and then the surgeons came to examine her one last time before surgery. When she woke up from the surgery, she asked her dad why they didn't do it! Isn't anesthesia a nice thing....Trey said he did the same thing when he had his wisdom teeth out. 

    It's pretty amazing that things that we take for granted that can be fixed rather easily if caught in time and due to the fact that we have good medical many at home don't have to worry about these things.  A guy here was explaining that if clubfoot is treated in the first 2 years, most likely it won't even need surgery.  They can cast it and gradually help it along over a 6 month period.

    Anyway, this little girl is 13 and the surgeon asked why she never had surgery back home. The dad said that he didn't trust anyone there to do it.  So ....they did it here last week. I'm glad she was able to have it done!  I'm excited to see her with her cast off before she goes home and to see her walk and run. Maybe she won't be able to run by the time she leaves......I don't know the usual timing for all of that.

    Each day we go to check on her (she is just down the hall from my office) and she seems to be doing better each day.  We bought her Connect 4. I think I like that game more than she does!  I forgot how fun that was. I figured that was a pretty universal game and even if visitors come who don't speak arabic, than they can still play with her. No words necessary!  Just fun.  The little girl speaks Kurdish but can also speak Arabic which is nice for us communicating together.

    If I get a picture, I'll post one.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010


    This past weekend we decided to be adventurous with some friends and head to Oman.  We received this book called Off Roading in Oman. We should have known. I should have hid that book right from the moment I set eyes on it.  I'm going to hide it now before I forget.

    So we headed to Oman in a nice, normal, civilized manner. Cross the border, drive 2.5 hours to a small village where there is a wadi and something that is supposed to be like "Paradise".  Paradise always sounds like a good place to go visit, right?!  

    We get close to our final destination and the road turns into gravel and then gets a little more rocky and a little more.   We finally find our destination, park the car and get excited to explore for the day.

    The book called it an "Easy" hike. 

    It was definitely pretty.  See how pretty this pool of water is? We should have swam in this pool.
    We continued our hike through the wadi. The weather was gorgeous and the scenery beautiful.

    At more than a few points along this hike, we were happy to have Trey and his strength.
    Yeah, there was a rope at one point to climb up a rock. There was a lot of "throw your leg over this rock and pull yourself up" action going on.  Trey's arm was our stepping boost at one point. 

    After passing a few really pretty pools (remember we were aiming for PARADISE) we started to wonder if we missed the glorious Paradise. Yup, we did. We walked right by it.  At one point, Trey finally put down his camera and told us to stay where we were and marched ahead to see if we were missing it.  There was nothing ahead except a ton of big rocks to climb over so we turned back. 
    What do you know....we had walked right past it.  As we were trying to make our way back to P-dise-land I took a nice digger and slipped on wet, moss-filled rocks and fell right into a dirty pool of water. Mmmm......the problem was that I needed to try to get myself up this big rock in front of me and my sneakers were wet. Well this provided great comedy for my husband who was supposed to be pulling me up the rock....nope, he just laughed really hard and let go of my arm! I decided to wade through the nasty water and figure out another way up. 
    We finally reached it!  It really was pretty. But really, c'mon, you call it Paradise! If this is the Paradise of Oman, I'm not sure too many more weekend trips are going to be happening for me.  I'm sure in a "normal" guide book we'll find some cool places....and places that don't involve getting bruises on the belly and knees and "just throw your leg over and pull yourself up" jibberish nonsense! 

    I felt like I was back on LaVida at Gordon...this 12 day hiking trip we had to do at Gordon.  
    But the way back was rather pleasant except for a few exceptions for those afraid of heights. There was one place that we just had to jump over a crack in the know, if there hadn't been a huge drop down below, I wouldn't have been scared but it's funny how that plays with your mind.  At one point, Trey just picked Jenna up and carried her over the crack.  I felt the same way she did. Anyway, we made it and accomplished a lot in that day!  Overall, I'm glad we did it. 
    We made it out before dark.  I thought this would be a great picture to leave you with. 
    When you come visit, we're not going to Paradise. Sorry. 
    And don't ask about that Off Roading Book in Oman. I hid it!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Black Bean and Corn Salad/Salsa

    My friend Jenna gave me a recipe for a black bean and corn salad.....but we both agree that it tastes good as a salsa, too.  I made it this week to use as a salsa with tortilla chips.

    You can find a link to the recipe here.


    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar (I ditched this)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 (8.75 ounce) can sweet corn, drained
    • I added red and yellow pepper, too.  You could also add avocado just before you serve it.
    • Also, I added a little red onion


    1. In a small bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
    2. In a medium bowl, stir together black beans and corn. Toss with vinegar and oil dressing, and garnish with cilantro. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. 
     The picture here is not my salsa. It's the picture from the webpage.  It's prettier with red and orange peppers and some red onion.

    This can be used as a salad with Mexican food or as a salsa on top of chicken....or really, however you want!

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    It's better for you....

    So we're in a breakfast rut.  Neither of us get ready early enough in the morning to sit down and eat breakfast so I was trying to come up with some things that are healthy, taste good and are good for an on-the-run breakfast.

    I searched through a few recipes for to make my own breakfast bar. I sort of ended up making breakfast balls but they taste pretty good and I think are a good least for this week.

    So make any variation of this that you want....add more of what you want and less of others.

    About 3 cups of oats
    1/2 cup of honey or agave
    1/2 cup of peanut butter (I found some that put in 1 cup for more protein but I don't like that taste to be too strong.)
    2 tbsp flax seed
    A bunch of dried apple pieces (next time I think I'll do apricots, too)
    1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

    You can add as much dried fruit as you want (and any kind) or add wheat germ, sunflower seeds, walnuts...whatever you like.  If it doesn't stick together enough, you may want to add more honey or peanut butter. 

    After I mixed it together, I rolled them into little balls and now have them in the refrigerator so that they would firm up a bit and because I think flax seed needs to be refrigerated once opened......just what I heard.

    So enjoy if you make them.

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Check on it.....

    The other day my co-worker and I decided to sneak into a few patient rooms to see what they were like. I had always heard about these VIP rooms but didn't get a chance to see them.  There are a total of 3 VIP rooms in the hospital but I got to see 2 which are pretty much the same. The third one is supposed to be huge. Someday I'll have to take a trip and visit that patient on hospital business or something......that person will probably wonder what I'm doing busting out my camera while visiting them! 

    Anyway, wanted to show you a few pictures. The first is a regular room here which isn't bad at all.....better than many rooms I've seen at home....and then the VIP room will follow.  Enjoy.

    This is a nice regular room. The nice things about these rooms are there are 2 doors. The one I'm taking the picture through is for doctors and nurses. The door you can see all the way through to the other side is for visitors.  There is a second room connected to this room through the door next to the cabinet.  It's for visitors...mostly men.  Men and women usually sit separately so the men would stay in that back room while the women come to visit the woman and the new baby. There is a small room with a sink in that back room because here the people like to bring all their own food into the hospital.  It's cultural....if we supplied food for them, they wouldn't eat it. They would still have their families bring in huge pots of food. The rooms smell like food when the people leave. 

    Next up....VIP.
    Here is the private door for visitors.  Nice, huh.  This leads into a tiny hallway where the other VIP front door is for guests, also. Then they have a direct door to the outside. It's pretty nice. 

    Please, come into my living room with lots of couches and nice wood and windows and painted so lovely.
    View from the doctors and nurses entrance.
    Yes, and you too could have your own private dressing area, make up counter, private bathroom (there is another one for the guests) and closet for all your clothing that you'll need for your hospital stay!
    Mmm...yeah, that hospital bed never looks anymore delightful...even in's still a hospital bed.  But all the chairs are for the women who would visit the new mom.  There is a big wall up between this room and the living room.  It also has a kitchen. A small eating area and a tv for your guests, etc.  
    If it was a crowded visiting time, the women would be sitting here with the new mom while the men were on the other side.  When the women are together, they can pull back the veil of their head covering.....not all women wear the veil but those who do would feel more comfortable pulling it back when it's only women. 

    Pretty nice, eh. They're bigger than most hotel rooms I've ever stayed in....even those with the little kitchenettes.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    These Days....

    Many have asked what a typical day looks for us.  I think it's a lot like yours except we're in the desert and maybe a few other languages or how people dress.   So here we go:

    We leave our house which right now is on the campus of the hospital.   We'll be leaving this place in some time (I don't want to say in one month or something because you know how construction goes.....we're moving into a doctors house off campus that will be moving into this new housing on campus).

    There is this really nice brand new housing on the campus, too.  Doesn't it look like a hotel getting built at the you think I"m looks so nice. Those balconies are great and have slider doors. 

    Then we walk into the hospital through the back door......( I was trying to take this photo fast as some construction men outside were watching and probably wondering why I cared enough to take a picture of our back door......they don't even know about all you all!)

    I walk past Trey's little closet...I mean office.  The hospital is using every free space they have.....the new hospital will be built in about 2 years (but again, you know how construction goes...and then the Arab world gets combined with that......). The guy who gets creative about office space does a really good job of fitting lots of desks in a small space and making it work.  I forgot to take a picture.  Sorry.

    Then I walk towards the lobby......

    Past these 2 sweet girls.....

    And into my temporary office......I'm working in HR for right now and will gradually slide into a new role.....flexibility, right?!  I'm enjoying myself actually.   Someone new is starting in HR soon so I think they'll need this desk...unless of course the guy who is so good at figuring out how to fit the maximum number of desks in each office, does something to turn this place upside down and finds me a space.....otherwise, I'll be moving......

    And here is the crew in our 3 room office space.....

    We work each day......usually around 8am until 5:00 or 5:30pm.  Sometimes Trey has stuff at night for work.   We try to go for a walk after work at a place that has grass.   On Thursdays (which is like Friday for the rest of you) right after work we let ourselves take a nice trip to Starbuck's to celebrate the weekend.

    Yesterday and next week, I'm working for our CEO as his assistant is on vacation. It's a change of pace but the day went fast!  And he's really nice and not scary...and from New England....and he loves all that makes for a good day!

    What else....usually I stop and chat during the day with some friends along the way like Jenna (Yay Gordon--she went there, too.)

    Trey...he goes to meetings like a big adult.  Me, not so much.  I'm happy about that.

    After work, we either hang out with someone, go for a walk, run grocery shopping, or hit the mall! We're still trying to find the fun things to do!  There's an ice skating rink in the mall, but really, I could care less. There's a kiddie roller coaster...... 

    There you go!

    I have some photos of the hospital private rooms coming up....they are special.....just wait.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Come on over, come on over baby....

    This girl just got really excited!  I just got the scoop that Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn are making their way to the malls in Dubai.  I love home stores like those.  I love entertaining. I love to buy dishes and home stuff like this and especially with their style.

    Crate and Barrel opens next week and hopefully the Pottery Barn is coming soon. I'll try to save this great activity of shopping and hold my excitement in for those days that are too hot to do anything else! 

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Everybody's workin' for the weekend.....

    Don't you love the weekend?  I do!  I love waking up and not thinking about a schedule and getting to explore and do some fun things. On Thursday night we went to a concert here at Al Jahili Fort 
    with Lebanese Singer Majida al Roumi.  She's a pretty big deal and she was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.  We had a great time. It was outside. The setting was beautiful. The weather was perfect.  The company was great.  And she sang it!  She was really a beautiful performer who engaged the audience in a very tasteful way.  What an evening.  There was a full orchestra which who also brilliant (for those Brits out there). And I wish you could have see her dress in these pictures.....I NEED it for some sort of occasion....I'm sure of it.....I just don't know what that occasion is yet! 

    This was part of the Al Ain Classics Festival.  I think I'm going to try to go again next week to another concert.

    Al Jahili Fort was home of the late ruler of Dubai Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The fort was built in (Zayed the First, 1855-1909)The fort is distinguished by its impressive main tower, which has four floors.  This fort tells about the history of Al Ain city and of the Emirate in general.

    Then on Saturday we went to our Arabic teachers house for lunch. I would love to show you a picture of her and her baby....but I won't do that as she might not appreciate that.  If I ask her and she says yes, than I'll post it later.  But for now, you can see their backyard where they keep all of their animals.  This is where they get their meat from......except on Saturday we ate fish.....and I'm pretty sure that didn't come from the backyard.  Her mom put the fish on the coals outside and it tasted delic-ee-o-so.  They drove us around their city a little. Oman seems to be pretty different from the UAE in the few hours I was there.  We'll see as we explore more.

    Today while we were doing our weekly grocery shopping we found a few things.  The coffee picture if for Trey's mom as she is from Louisiana and that's the kind of coffee they like down there!  And really, the 3M thingys are to show you that really they have almost everything like home....before we moved here, I ran out to grab a few of these because I have these calendars I want to hang out and need them. See, I could have bought them here!

    We're off to a b-b-q tonight.  We'll chat soon.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Where's the beef....

    Another recipe here for you!  Yesterday I posted a recipe with couscous and today is another one but this one is vegetarian.  Both turned out great and we served them together for our company so that we got to taste 2 new things!  It's better that way in case 1 tastes really bad.

    Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers

    • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
    • 1 1/4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
    • 2/3 cup couscous
    • 4 large bell peppers, mixed colors
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 6 oz zucchini, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
    • 6 oz yellow squash, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
    • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    • 15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Do you wanna take my picture, cause I won't remember...


    We got a new lens when we were home in January. 
    It seems to be working out pretty well for Trey and he continues to get 
    some good photos.

    On Thursday he went on a trip to Oman for work to visit a Sheikh (Head of a village).
    The Sheikh took them to visit their old family house.

    Somehow he keeps getting fabulous photos like this one....
    LOVE IT!
    And sweet ones like this......
    And then you have me....

    As we were driving home from the mall, we saw a camel in the back of a truck.
    They must have been coming home from the animal market which
    is right behind the mall. When we get home, we'll open one up at your local
    mall and you too can drive home with a camel in your trunk!

    somehow after reviewing Trey's photos from the day yesterday and then mine, 
    it just doesn't compare.  BUT there were 2 things about our day yesterday that I wanted
    you to there, you saw them.
    Maybe the bad photos were due to the photographer, or the material, or us driving 
    and me trying to take a picture out of a dirty window and feeling shy that the 
    man in the truck would think I was the paparazzi.....on second thought, maybe 
    he would have liked if I was the paparazzi!

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Hey good lookin'...

    Watcha got cookin'.....

    So last night we had some friends over for dinner.  We made a new dish that we thought we would pass along!  Actually 2 but I'll post them separately.  Above is the final dish and below is the salad before I assembled everything.  It actually was even good cold today for leftovers.

    Grilled Lemon Chicken and Moroccan Couscous Salad

    • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
    • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
    • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 10-ounce box plain couscous
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
    • 1 large carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
    • 1 cup thinly sliced green beans or trimmed sugar snap peas
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 6 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/3-inch thickness
    • 3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds (optional)
    • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges