Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Pakistani Recipe: Sabzi

If you would like to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, maybe you'd like to try this simple Pakistani recipe called "sabzi" which means "vegetables".
All you need are:

2 medium sized potatoes
1 large carrot
1 small/medium sized red onion
1 handful of peas
1 fresh tomato
dried fenugreek leaves
1 tsp coriander powder (crush the pods- so much tastier)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
desired salt and chili powder

Fry onions until translucent.
Add all chopped vegetables.
Add all spices including dried fenugreek leaves.
Add a splash of water and cook on low/medium heat, checking a few times.

It's easy and tasty and a great way to add more colorful vegetables to your table.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kids Unscripted: Chapter 29

Ben: (at supper) "Talia, you're waxing poetic about that..."
Elias: "Talia's not waxing in the diamond room!" 
(Diamond meant "dining.")
Elias: "Whale eat Jonah with cheese..."
Me: "With CHEESE!?"
Elias: "Yes. Whale eat one Jonah. Shark want two..."
Talia: "When I see bright purple it makes my throat feel spicy..."
Talia: "Sheeram and Yokeedotch [that's a phonetic spelling, I have no clue!] were running around the classroom. I think they wanted to get their energy out"
Me: "How do you get your energy out at school?"
Talia: "I write, you have to wiggle your hand to write!"
Elias: "Grammy went back to the Nice Dates of America"
Me: "I have an idea for your birthday cake"
Elias: "In the refrigerator!"
Me: "No, your birthday is not until December"
Elias: "We have to drive to December and get the cake!"
Ben: (to the kids outside) "Why is the bicycle on the table?"
Talia: "Because we are building a house."
Ben: "So why is the bicycle on the table?"
Talia: "It's a machine to carve off the sharp."
Me: "Talia, do you like mashed potatoes?"
Talia: "Yes, especially when they're surrounded by things I don't like..."
Me: "You didn't like the chicken?"
Talia: "No... it turns into strings when you chew it and it tastes like beach sand."
Me: "When did you try beach sand?"
Talia: "Well, it was an accident..."
Ben: "It's supper time!"
Elias: "No, it's shawarma-warma time!"
Ben: "Do you want some chill out tea?"
Me: "Chamomile? Sure..."
Elias: "I want some tea! Chilly tea!"
Talia: "It's a moth! It's brown, you like brown!"
Ben: "I like coffee brown and wood brown, not moth-that's-been-flapping-around-in-the-desert brown!"

Braiding Bread

Talia has been wanting to learn how to braid bread, so we had the opportunity to try not long ago and she did a pretty good job.

Next, she wants to learn to braid her hair and other people's hair. I have a feeling that will be a little bit trickier, and without such delicious results.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Coffee: Convenience over Culture

How great of a marketing feat must it be to go to a country famous for its high quality coffee and get most of the population to drink coffee crystals rehydrated with hot water?

This is a question posed in conversation with some friends the other day while discussing the prevalence of Nescafé (in Guatemala sometimes jokingly called no-es-café, or "it's not coffee") throughout the world. Guatemala had ideal conditions for quality coffee: lots of high elevation cultivation land that was 2) enriched with volcanic soil. Supposedly, these two qualities contributed to some of the best flavored coffee. Like most quality things produced by Guatemala, most of the general public never consumed it, but rather exported it.

While coffee isn't an export here, it is still very much a part of the culture. If you have business to do in a bank or other important office, sometimes you will be offered coffee or tea while you are waiting. Turkish or Arabic coffee, (coffee mixed with cardamom or other spices) is something associated with this region... and yet, almost everybody drinks Nescafé.

Perhaps, like many things, it's an example of convenience over culture.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ezra 9.5 Months

Ezra has been growing up so quickly! It's amazing to see how different each child is from each other, even at 9 (and 1/2) months!
The weather has been beautiful lately and only started heating up the last couple of days. Because of this they've been able to ride bikes outside a lot and Ezra loves joining them on the fenced front patio in his walker. He loves feeling the breeze, and watching his brother and sister play, but if we aren't careful, he also tries to sample leaves from the trees. 

He is in the beginning stages of walking and very curious about everything within reach. He's a very social child and is always very focused on a person's eyes, mouth and reading their body language. He is quick to smile and laugh at strangers, (if I'm holding him,) and overall a happy baby. It's so sweet to see him light up when he sees his brother or sister or father walk through the door! 

Something I haven't been able to find the words to write about is the friend and midwife I had with Elias passing away in June. I still don't have the words. Thalia's receptionist/accountant/friend/birth assistant got a box of fabric from her husband to give away. In it she found a quilt Thalia had started for me/Ezra and she finished it and sent it. I bawled when I got it from the post office. It's a Spanish themed quilt with words in Spanish and English and pictures of typical Spanish scenes. It is perfect and a treasure that seems fitting for where we would like a future placement.

We are so blessed to have Ezra in our lives. We all smile more with him here!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Seen in Abu Dhabi: 29

There is a cage with several peacocks near a man-made lake on the way to the post office in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.