Monday, August 29, 2011

It's the end of the......

Ramadan ended this evening.  We are now into the celebratory time of Eid.  The roads are packed this evening (I can hear the beeping cars outside of our house) and everyone is getting ready to celebrate.

This means:
  1. We get to go visiting a lot of friends of the hospital over the next couple days. It's sort of a like a marathon and we will drink more tea, fresh juice and some things which we might know, in one day than we have probably had in the last few weeks.  
  2. We can drink again out in plain site.  Woop woop. It's hot here and carrying around a water bottle is necessary.
  3. Places to get coffee in the morning or middle of the day will be open again!  Even though we don't do this every day, it's just nice to know it's there if I am feeling extra sleepy in the office.
  4. Sad part: Our 6 hour work days are over.  We go back to a normal day after the Eid holiday is over. Sad, sad, sad.  It's enjoyable to go to the pool for the afternoon or to leave work early and take a nap.  It's sort of a like a whole month of afternoon vacation days.  Well, until next year.....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood....

So it sounds like all you peeps back on the east coast might be feeling like this right now.....

I sort of wish we were there. It feels like a snow storm on tv.  We're getting such as much coverage on CNN International as you probably are.  That's all there is!  No other news.  My favorite are the reporters that are standing in 2 inches of water or who are half blowing over to prove to us that there is a hurricane on the east coast. 

On the other hand, we over here are still melting. 

It was still 47 degrees C on our car temperature gauge today.  
A friend told us the other day that it would be cool in about 3 or 4 days.  Hmmm,
I'm having a hard time believing here.  Either she's A) Optimistic, B) we think "cool" 
means something different, or C) all the heat did something to her brain
and she doesn't know what she is saying anymore:)

So this what we feel like....

It's the end of the season and I'm almost fully melted. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You put the lime in the coconut.....

Have you ever been looking so forward to a recipe that you have wanted to make for a make it and it turns out EXACTLY how you expected it to be.  Then it makes you want to shout "I'm an amazing cook!".  Yeah, well that happened this morning.  Honestly, the opposite happens sometimes, too.   Or maybe you're a bit more humble and never say those kind of things.

You ready for what Min and I made for our Saturday morning breakfast?! 


A breakfast restaurant could be successful on this recipe alone.....well and in my humble opinion, some eggs benedict. 

Are you ready for the rather easy recipe?

First you need to get your butt of the couch and make 
yourself some chocolate chip banana bread.  Any recipe.  
You can make your grandmothers recipe that your family has been making since 1875, 
you could steal from Betty Crocker or you could invent your own.  

But don't let yourself cut it the night before. It's a bad idea.  
Then you just want to eat the banana bread all alone. 

Slice your loaf up

 Get your pan ready with a bit of butter and some cooking spray

Put the coconut out on a plate.

Whip up an egg mixture of eggs and milk.  
Start dipping your bread into the egg mixture like regular french toast.

Then bath it in coconut and start frying it until it is golden brown.
Can't you just taste it now?!

If you're good at multi-tasking while cooking, I recommend
you make these caramelized bananas to go on top.  
It was a bit rich but well worth it.  C'mon, that's what the gym is for. 

Put some butter in a pan and add brown sugar.  I just kept adding butter
and oh a little more butter until the consistency was what I liked.  
Then I threw in the bananas and let them get a little soft and that was it.

Make your french toast all pretty on a plate so that you feel like 
you are eating breakfast at the Ritz Carlton, light some candles, 
get your coffee and start filling your plate......

Can you taste it!?  Every bite was as delicious as it looks.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

The watermelon crawl.....

What do you do on Friday night at 5pm?

Enjoy a watermelon martini.  Delcious-o!   I know it's Friday morning for you all back at home and you wish you could be having this right now.....but soon it will be 5:00pm for you, too.

Grab yourself a watermelon and ice on the way home -- pull the alcohol out of the cabinet--throw it into the blender and enjoy yourself a good drink.

We're off to an Iftar dinner this evening at a friends house.  Ramadan will be over next week which means we can drink water again on the street but our we go back to normal work hours. That is the hardest part.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo.....

On Sunday night when we returned home, this is what we found on the chalkboard in our kitchen from Min.  Apparently, we live in a zoo.  Poor girl.  Drinking the Pioneer Woman's iced coffee in our fridge for those things is worth it! I'm just sayin', the iced coffee from Pioneer Woman's blog is so fabulous.  What she says lasts her 3 weeks, lasted us 1.  I never used to drink coffee. Now I'm addicted.  I'm trying to do half decaf, half regular to eventually get myself to mostly decaf and then nothing by winter.   The heat makes you so exhausted here that you need some caffeine to keep going.

Anyway, on to the above chalkboard.

1)  Min had to get the cleaning team from the hospital to come clean up the dead cat. She was so freaked out by herself that she couldn't do it.  I'm with her!  She said she went inside while they were deciding how to get it.  It was in our courtyard area by the hose.  Maybe it was looking for water.  All you cat lover, don't think about it. I'm not a cat lover so it's easy for me not to think about it:) She keeps making the face of what it looked like and I just can't stop laughing. 

2) Cockroaches.  Unfortunately they are reality here.  Not the kind that you get from being dirty. These are the big suckers that come through the pipes if you don't flush your toilets daily or use the drains.  So when we go away we have to spray stuff and then plug up the drains.  By the time we get back, the water in the toilet is all dried up due to the heat!  That even happens sometimes in our guest bathroom if we haven't used it in a while.  I try to make a conscience effort to flush it each day because I don't want to see any animals in my house but if I forget, sometimes I have a dried up toilet and then I tip toe around the bathroom to make sure that I don't see any cockroaches.  If I do, you'll hear me!  I just start yelling and Trey just starts walking towards the special spray immediately to save the day. 

3) Lizard. Hmm....I don't see many of them so I don't know where that came from...but it was outside on our porch. Hopefully it is eating all of the other bugs that I don't want in the house.

All of that deserved the iced coffee in the fridge.  Min, you can have our iced coffee anytime!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More of Italy.....

Here are a few more pictures for you of our time in Rome and Tuscany. You will see picture of me below at a vineyard with a speaker.  We went to this one vineyard that was sponsored by Bose and had speakers all over playing classical music. He really believes that it helps the grapes and that the wine tastes different. I think he's been on Good Morning America or something like that.   He said that he has talked a lot about it in the US. Pretty interesting. We thought it tasted good....we bought 2 bottles. There are a few wines that only come from that region of Italy so we wanted to be sure to get a couple bottles to have. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I see trees of green......

We are home and getting back into the swing of life again after vacation.  Isn't is hard to jump back into reality immediately?  Man, I was used to sleeping in and staying up late, taking a nap if I wanted to, drinking espresso twice a day, eating gelato when we felt like it, a good glass of wine with our dinner.....oh the life of vacation!

I wanted to post some of our HDR pictures that Trey took while we were there.  Enjoy the view of the countryside, beautiful hills and churches of Italy. 

I think Italy is a place I could live and a language that I could learn.  Anybody else with me?!  People were fabulous, the food is good, so much history, beautiful scenery, good shopping....oh I could go on and on.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who Says You Can't Come Home

It is nice to go away but, it is always good to come home to your own bed!  I will be posting some good pictures as the week goes along each day.
On my way home now- just getting on my connecting flight!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Knock You Naked Brownies from the Pioneer Woman

Min made these brownies from the Pioneer Woman. And they truly are delicious. Check out the recipe and trust me these are worth all the small steps it takes to make them! Here's the almost final product... they still needed the powdered sugar layer!

Friday, August 19, 2011

In a Small Town

As John Mellencamp would say "I can breathe in a small town"! This small town we are staying in is such a breath of fresh air! Here it is, just some people hanging out in town, the pace of life is perfect here! I am still waiting for a grandma to invite me to cook with her... no one in sight yet.
Look at these people out for a stroll in the afternoon! Drinking espresso and eating gelato- I don't think I would ever get sick of this stuff.

We really are having a fun time together, as if there is ever a boring moment with Trey!

And here I am in front of this pretty, old church, taking advantage of the wireless internet. And yes, it's from the Ipad 2 that Trey gave me before we went home in June. You really should get one! They are so much fun. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller..."

We made it to Trevi Fountain and I threw my coin and made my wish. And, no I didn't actually wish to be taller but, Trey may have wished he was a baller. I don't know, after all you aren't suppose to make your wish out loud or it won't come true!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When in Rome Do as the Romans

We found a bit of wirless internet! While the Colosseum was not on my list of things I wanted to see in Italy, it should have been. Look at how beautiful it is. The construction of the Colosseum began in 72AD and still it stands in the center of Rome.
The structure was capable of seating around 50,000 spectators at one time. While today there are no gladiator shows happening, at it's peak the Colosseum was used for public entertainment hosting plays and even executions!
 According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles; the Roman Hercules, a son of Zeus. 
Now, bare with me for a moment...

I told you I live in a dream world sometimes...

What do you think? Think I could have been in the ancient Roman Olympics?

This guy might have had a better chance than me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cowboy Take Me Away

Here are Trey and I in the airport! The hot summer weather and Ramadan (this month while Muslims are fasting) was a perfect time to get away for a vacation. 

The day before we left for vacation Trey surprised me with a present. Look at this beautiful necklace that he found at a cool jewelry store here!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Burnin' Rubber

You know how in New England we put snow tires on our cars for the winter months and then change them back to regular tires when the snow all melts away? Well, a similar thing happens here. Because the roads get so hot our tires have to be changed more frequently. Our car went to get new tires and check these things out!
Only problem is- we got the car back and there was this huge oil footprint in the passenger  side of the car. Now, about 4 weeks ago our car was detailed and all cleaned up! It made me so happy. I guess next time it should be new tires then the detailing!

On to better things- this granola recipe from Min's college friend! Let's call it The Best Granola You Have Ever Tasted In Your Whole Entire Life- is that too dramatic?

The Best Granola You Have Ever Tasted in Your Whole Entire Life (for short we can use the first letters TBGYHETYWEL):
1 cup oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup oat bran
1 cup coconut
1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup flax seed
1 cup flax seed meal
sprinkle cinnamon and vanilla over all ingred.
1 cup honey 
1 cup canola oil

 Throw all that stuff in a bowl and give it a good mix!

Bake at 300 for 40 mins on a jelly roll pan. Smell the vanilla and cinnamon filling your kitchen- it smells like you are baking a cake!
I also added almonds, dried blueberries and dried cranberries- get creative add whatever you would like. A bit of advice though- don't skimp on the honey, it's not as good without it all!
Then try your best to let it cool before you start picking out those huge junks that lump together!