Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deal Day

Yesterday I went to a thrift store with a couple of friends. If anyone needs directions this is the best I can do. I was happy to find inside a large clean  and well organized store. An interesting element to this store was a cafe situated in the front left portion of the building. I am not sure if it is regularly open, but they did have a stage and seating.

Mural located on the wall of Neighborhood Thrift
My baby isn't sure what to think of this particular subject matter.
 He is developing his taste in art as well as his eye sight

 I only had 10 dollars in my wallet for the day so I wasn't really looking for much maybe an old cookbook or 60's style plate. As it turned out I had more than enough cash.

Four great finds! Bon Appetit from August 1983, The World of Tea by (Lipton),
Grand Diplome Cooking Course 1971, & Eat and Stay Slim 1968

 One of my new hobbies this year is collecting old recipes, I want to turn the clock back in my kitchen. This idea started with some cake decorating books gifted to me by a friend who works in a local library. She thought of me when she spotted them in the reject pile. I enjoyed them so I picked these up. I find it refreshing and nostalgic to look at these magazines and cookbooks.

After the thrift shopping we stopped by a Mexican bakery for a pastry and coffee then headed home. Not a bad morning.  

Tea with.....

I used to drink tea with milk and sugar. No more!
 Ever since I got married I have been steadily finding new spices and herbs to add a different dimension to an ordinary black tea or green.
I will say that I do enjoy a regular cup of tea with no frills especially when it comes to green tea. If the leaf is good quality it is almost a crime ( in my opinion) to add anything to a green tea.
Most recently my husband brought home a plastic bag of a mystery leaf. I loved the smell and recognized it from a tea shop I had visited before. He told me some people at the Mosque had brought it from the garden of someone. Like I said, mystery.
 That day I was having a couple of friends over for lunch, when it came time for tea I dropped a small bit of this plant in the pot along with some Persian Mint (also included with Mystery Leaf). I didn't leave it in long due to the strong aroma of the leaves.

                                                                  Mystery Leaf

The reviews were great on this little green garden gem! My friends loved this new flavor. I had to find more and secure my supply. I searched the net in Arabic and English and found nothing that was a perfect match. I did learn it was a Geranium of some sort but that was to vague. When I visited my mom she identified it immediately, but commented on its aroma as being particularly fragrant.
 Since then I have received several deliveries of this savory leaf, but only just learned how to grow my own.  I guess it is rather easy you just get a larger clipping and put it in water, roots then grow and you plant it. Wow! I have to admit I was a bit sceptical so I made a tested on mint.

Mint Test

As you can see it works. Just today I put the Mystery Geranium Leaf in some water, we shall see what happens. I should mention the mint that my Hubby called Persian Mint is not the one shown in the picture above. I do plan on starting a bit of that too.
Additions to tea in my house are also Cardamom and Sage. When making a pot of tea I first boil the water in my electric kettle then pour it over the tea bag(s) or loose leaf. If adding something special I pour the heated water in a sauce pot set to high heat, dump a bit of sugar and add the leaf(s). Once it boils I remove the leaves and add loose leaf tea or bags. If you don't mind leaves in your tea you can just let everything steep together in your teapot. I sometimes do this, just remember the flavor will get stronger.
As I write this post I will admit I have done nothing to my current cup of tea, not even sugar.

Touch Organic Tea
I love this brand of tea. I have to say out of all the bag tea I have tasted this is the best. I have tried Mango Green, Green Tea, and White Tea all are Yummy!  I even put it on my face as a skin toner. Green tea has all sorts of benefits for the body inside and out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


After many requests by my hubby I finally made pizza. I don't know why I put off this relatively easy meal....maybe I was (am) afraid of having to make it all the time. The pizza dough is so simple.
1 packet Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2cup warm water (not hot),
3 1/2cups flour,
1 tablespoon olive oil,.
 Mix water and yeast, sifted flour in a bowl, add water mixture to flour, add olive oil and salt, Kneed into dough, dust a bit of flour on the dough when it starts to get a little sticky,  move to a new oil coated bowl let sit covered for about 2 hours.
This makes a very simple unexciting dough. When I do this again I plan on adding a bit of garlic powder or maybe rosemary, something anyway to add a bit of dimension.
After I rolled the dough out I covered top and bottom with olive oil, spread it evenly over the whole surface area.
 I then floured a flat metal pan and centered my pizza. I add all the toppings at this point, but take into consideration the cheese ( if you are using it) . I recommend adding the cheese towards the end of your baking process so it doesn't melt too soon. I did a bit at the beginning then added more just before I turned the broiler on to make the top of the pizza golden.

Your oven should be very hot. I have a crummy electric oven so the best I could do was 500 degrees. Make sure you preheat your oven. I can not stress this enough, also if you are going to use the broiler at the last minutes of baking, watch your pizza closely. I have been known to burn things this way. It never fails just at the most inopportune times my little baby boy decides he has to be held and fed. Lucky for me I have a husband who holds food in high regard and watched the pizza to the point of perfection. My hubby had waited ....I don't know ...maybe a year for this homemade pizza and no son of his was going to mess it up.

I am sure I will be doing this again in the very near future.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Destruction Begins

I have heard stories of the destructive abilities children posses, but how early dose this start? My son is in his fifth month and he has already started down this path of wreckage. I have to admit, due to his inability to move himself around the apartment I have to take some responsibility in his first crime. On second thought, his baba (daddy) was sitting with him! I am free and clear of this one.
The Perpetrator

Remnants of a glass teacup

Cake Decorating Flash Back

Wilton Yearbook Cake Decorating
How cool is this! Last Saturday and a friend gave me these vintage cake decorating magazines.The library that she works at was going to toss these out when she thought of me. One mans trash is another man ...cake. I was totally surprised that someone would think of me when looking at vintage cake magazines, what sort of image do I give off? I am so much cooler than I thought. Anyway I am totally happy and strangely fascinated with the images.



I want to try and make more cakes this year. My baking skills are a bit rusty in the cake area. I have been stuck in the whole cupcake craze, I can't even remember the last cake I baked. Why not bake this year with the theme? Hummmm.....I have it, "Flash back Frosting"! This is going to take planning and a bit of research. Not only should the outside design be vintage but also the recipe. When someone takes a bite of my cake I want it to be like, "WOW my tastebuds are on a time travel back to the....20th century".

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Getting Started: Day One

 I am going to try and post something regularly in an attempt to keep track of whatever it is I do. Last year was one of the longest in my life, I had a kid, traveled to Jordan, had my one year Anniversary, moved into a new apartment, and started (for real) to learn how to cook. I'm not much on keeping a journal, but lets give this a go!
Simple Breakfast

Olive Oil,
 Banana Lassie

My husband always bugs me to make a recipe notebook so I can remember the things that are good and how I made them. This morning was nothing to new. I made  a mango lassie before but never a banana. The banana was a success, but was missing something. I have to work on this one. When I get it right I will post the recipe!

 I started working-out in the morning just after sunrise & I am trying to get my husband to do the same. One motivational technique I have, is to have my work out done by the time he comes back from the Masjid. If I can do that he can start his workout right way.  I then have breakfast ready when he is done. Food I learned is the best motivator for my husband. Banana Lassie was his reward for a early morning work-out.
My mom gave me a whole bag full of magazines a few weeks ago. I have been trying to get to them but my baby is always keeping me busy. I finally figured a way to keep him happy.

After Aser prayer the best expected surprise was delivered. My Love Package came in the mail! My long time friend sent me a box stuffed with make-up, Hello Kitty pencils, candy, lotion and lashes. This sounds juvenile, but it's awesome to get a box of stuff that you wouldn't regularly least not all at once. I love knowing each item was picked because it was a good deal and my friend knows I will love it.

                                                       I can't wait to send some love back!

The only problem I face is she is has everything. Check out her blog at......

I found a strange recipe this afternoon for a cookie with Ricotta Cheese as a main ingredient. It just so happens I had a tub of Ricotta waiting to be used. I originally got the cheese for stuffed Jumbo Shells, but I have yet to make the red sauce. Anyway, I made the cookie to take over to my friends house for craft day. I don't know how it will be received , but it doesn't matter so much it was a test recipe. If I do it again I will add more vanilla or maybe lemon.

What is craft day?

 The girls get together in the afternoon to work on art projects they may have going. This week it's going to be at Annie's house. I am trying to think of a project to take that isn't to much fuss to move. Just the other day I was at my mom's house, she gave me a great wooden tray...... maybe I will paint that or at least draw out a design to get it ready to paint!

 End of the day 

 My husband showed me how to roast coffee beans and make a cup of Arabic coffee. He said, Bedouins (his family) say, that when making the coffee you have to have the right intention. If you are angry or emotional it can compromise your coffee. It turns out coffee making is quite the art. Songs and such are made apart of the coffee making process.