Saturday, January 30, 2010

That's how the cookie crumbles. .

I had an awesome Thursday. In my own opinion. 
All stay at home moms will agree with me: as much as you love your kids and as much as you love staying home with them, there are so many times when you just need a break from the physical and emotional energy that they require. And you need to do something for yourself that is not baby-related in any way. 

Sometimes, all you need is a little time on your own. 

Feeling all of that more and more strongly as the year rolled along, some time towards the end of last year I told hubby I'd really like it if I could just stay home for a weekend while he takes the kids and stays at a hotel. Just so I can get a break from my daily routine, organize my thoughts,and relax. Basically: get my groove back. Even one whole day would do. 

It was a bizarre proposition but he agreed. He's been traveling a lot the past several weeks so he thought he would get some quality time with the kids, and I would get to do my own thing. Win-win situation. 

What a great guy! Seriously. 

The kids were so excited at the prospect of going on a 'trip' with their father that they didn't even turn around to say bye to me. After forcing asking them to give me hugs and kisses I saw them out the door, feeling both elated and a little bewildered at the prospect of 24 hours on my own. 
What was I going to do with myself?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bring out the Sun!

With everyone around me falling ill including myself, there really hasn't been anything interesting going on food-wise or otherwise. And I do so dislike cloudy winter days: they make me plummet into the gloomiest of moods right away.

Our apartment doesn't get a lot of bright sunlight. At least the living area, where we spend our entire day, doesn't. And so, on cloudy days, it gets dark and oppressive indoors. And that makes me crabby. Add to that picture: whiny kids. And the beginning of a much-too-long Spring Break for my Kindergartner.

Playing Florence Nightingale to 2 little children and a grown up man can make anyone crazy. However, I do suppose I should get their perspective on it at as well since I don't have the most charming bedside manner when I'm unwell. 

In order to retain my sanity, I've taken a week-long hiatus. I've been sleeping till noon with the kids, reading a lot, thinking a lot and watching old movies. I haven't cooked or cleaned or lifted a finger to do anything else that needs to be done & have laid all anal-retentive tendencies to rest while I get through this phase. Which will be over as soon as we have that first, completely sunny day! 

Since I didn't cook or bake, there's nothing blog-worthy to post. However, I dug out an old photo of something I will be making tomorrow. I won't get any good photos under fluorescent light in the dark and gloomy kitchen, so this old one will have to do. 

I just didn't want to take too long a break from blogging when I've just managed to start and who knew Facebook-addiction can be cured by blogging? ;-)

So, here's what I'm going to make tomorrow: Jessica Seinfeld's Blueberry Oatmeal bars. 


Non-stick cooking spray
2 cups old-fashioned Oats
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup trans-fat free soft-tub margarine spread, chilled
1 cup low sugar blueberry preserves
1/2 cup spinach puree

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and vanilla and stir to mix well.  

Add the margarine and cut it into the dry ingredients with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and is no longer powdery. Do not over-mix: bits of the margarine should still be visible. 

Set aside half of the oat mixture; press the rest firmly into the pan. Bake until slightly browned along the edges, 13 to 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, mix the preserves with the spinach puree in a small bowl. 

Spread the blueberry mixture over the partially baked oat layer, then sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture. Bake until the topping is slightly brown, 20 - 25 minutes. 

Set on a rack to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars. 

(Note: when I took this photo, I had used quick cooking oats in place of old-fashioned (I think I had run out of the latter), which is why the bars look crumbly and mushy. But otherwise, they were pretty darn good and you can't taste the spinach at all. Not even a trace.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Habanero-Peach Hot Sauce

I got to bring back home a big box of these beautiful Habanero chillies  after a visit to a friends' farm last  week. 

There were so many of them, and other than myself - no one in my house is crazy about gut-burning chillies. I didn't want them to dehydrate or get moldy sitting on my kitchen counter, so I immediately put a large tray out to air-dry and I've frozen some (stalks removed, sliced in half). 
I love Tabasco Habanero Sauce, even though I can only stand very little  of it at a time. And I still had quite a few Habaneros lying about so decided to try and make hot sauce with them. I wanted to make a small test-batch. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A very belated birthday ...

My daughter turned two, three weeks ago! We got her birthday gifts a couple of days before her birthday, but somehow it never seemed the right time to celebrate (even though it wasn't going to be a huge celebration). 

Finally, convinced that she will grow up and hate me, I had to carve out the time to do it last Thursday. I wanted to finish with her cake before she woke up, which meant waking up before 6 a.m. on a weekend :( 

It's been a loooong while since I picked up a decorating bag, so the shells border was messy and I forgot Hello Kitty's whiskers! (No one noticed, so: shhhhh!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quaker Oats Chicken Soup

Each time I have stayed at the hospital to have my kids, this soup was always served with dinner. I knew it must be ridiculously easy to make, like most arabic food, but never tried figuring out how to make it. I found the recipe while browsing Arabic Bites recently. 

I'm craving some comfort food today, without all the added calories. So I just had to make this soup this morning. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Lasagne

Ok, so it's taken me just a little over a year to get back to this blog ... and I never did that cupcake challenge.. my bad. But I'm back now, and hoping to keep on blogging. 

First blog post, you say - and no photo of the actual lasagne? Here's what happened: the kitchen light bulb needed replacing this morning but I wasn't too bothered because my kitchen gets really good, natural sunlight for just between an hour or two,around mid-morning. And otherwise, there's light enough in there to find my way around till the sun goes down and it's completely dark. So I started taking photos of the Bell Peppers and suddenly realized I was all out of milk. So off I went to the grocery store & by the time I got back, natural light was fading fast. Then it was a matter of getting the cooking over with before it got dark and I couldn't see any more. 


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