Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to a Happy 2013

As 2012 comes to an end, we wonder at how fast it went by, in alarming speed.

Take time to reminisce on 2012, cherish the happy moments, and pluck out the sad and negative, only to be left with memories that leave a smile on your face. 

Look forward to the new year - a fresh start, a blank diary, and a great excuse to start a resolution. 

Wishing you and my beloved Bahrain a happy 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Not so niño Nino - A Review

It's not usually on top of our list but whenever we do go we realize, "Why isn't it?"

We always have a good experience at Nino.  Always.

Let me start with the bread basket.  Their bread is baked fresh daily and it is the most delicious bread basket you can find around here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Banana Bread - a must-have staple in every household

Where do I begin.

The sheer versatility of banana bread just reconfirms how important it is in your life and that you should always have a fresh loaf in your home.

It is the perfect partner for afternoon tea, goes well with coffee, can be eaten as breakfast (my kids love it), is a perfect home-warming gift, and is your savior for bananas turning brown.

Not only are bananas an excellent source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C and B6, but they also help reduce high blood pressure and reduce heart disease (more benefits here).

There are so many ways to enjoy banana bread: with a smear of butter, a slab of cream cheese, a coat of jam, a blob of clotted cream...the list goes on.  I like it as it is - thick slice with a cup of chai 7aleeb.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

How to jazz up نخي الخباز (translation: chickpeas from your neighborhood bakery)

Some things never change.  No matter how many exotic cuisines there are in Bahrain, sometimes all you crave is a simple traditional Bahraini dinner consisting of hot khubiz khabbaz (baker's bread) and cheese with a side of nikhee (chickpeas); and chay 7aleeb of course.

The nikhee served by the khabbaz is pretty good as it is - served so hot it can actually burn your lap.  But sometimes you want to add a bit of your favorite flavor or spice and make it your own.

And that's what I did.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hello, my name is Zain and I am addicted to...

Nail polish.

The abuse my nails suffer through is ridiculous.  My nails never go unpolished.  Ever.  Well, maybe for a day or two tops.  But then, polish again.  I know we are meant to give them a break but I just can't help it. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh Philips... (A product review)

Oh Philips - you did it again.

I received a gift from a good friend.  I emphasize 'good' because she knew for a fact that I would find this gift useful.  And my God did it make my life a notch simpler.

Behold, the Philips Soup Maker:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When bad skin happens to good people (A very long review - Part II)

My makeup is quite boring.  Not the first thing one should say at the beginning of a post but please do read on.  I use the same type of makeup day in day out.  But I like natural and simple and do get the occasional: "What's your eyeliner?" Or "Your blush is nice!"

I am no makeup know-it-all but I figured I could share my favorite makeup products and maybe you can find something that interests you.
I heart Trish McEvoy

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fresh Air is Good for the Soul

When I feel fidgety in the office, I step out for some fresh air - irrespective of what the weather is like.  When my kids are restless at home, I take them out for a walk or to the park to play in the dirt and de-stress.  Common denominator: fresh air.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's from a box...

When you have very little time to prepare for guests - sometimes 'a box' is all you need to whip something quick and delicious up.

With the temperature dropping, taste buds tend to lean towards desserts with ingredients like cinnamon, sweet potato, pumpkin and allspice. 

Today was no exception.  One of my favorite Duncan Hines flavor is the Spice Cake. 

Holy Moley Guacamole

So, not trying to show off or anything, but apparently, my guacamole is to-die-for.  My husband and I sometimes have it for dinner with toasted pita bread - it's THAT GOOD.  I did try it out on my friends and family all of whom say it really is that good.

Okay, so here's my not-a-secret-anymore recipe.  And it truly is mine, all mine, although it was inspired by my good friend D and adjusted (after much trials and errors) by me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year

On the eve of Bahrain's National Day, I reminisce on the past year and a half and shudder at what could have become.  The revived love we all have for Bahrain is expected - the past 20 months were gloomy.  Negative publicity, unfair coverage, and the fact that we 'silent majority' were truly ignored (no surprise there) resulted in a frustrating and tense period.

Bahrain's National Day was always a happy occasion - children celebrate with concers in the schools, the flags adorn houses and all organizations, lights line the streets and the entire island is festive.  The decorations last till new year's day and driving through the streets of Bahrain becomes a joy for both adults and kids.

Since the protests began it was noticeable that people put in a bit more effort to really vocalize their undeniable love for Bahrain.  National Day parties became common, more people would wear shirts and scarves with emblems, decorate their cars, and OTT home decor was smiled at rather than frowned upon.  Shortly after the protests I hung a flag outside my house (until a gust of wind knocked it off).  I put it up with pride and my daughter would always point and comment when she sees it.

So driving around the streets of Bahrain will show you the love and the patriotism - the number of lights and dangling emblems will put a smile to your face.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When bad skin happens to good people (A very long review - Part I)

You know how girls are, "I just LOVE your mascara - what is it? Do you like it?" Or, "I need a new moisturizer, what do you use?".  We love to know what everyone uses and we always like to try on new products.  It's in our DNA.

Not that I have a ton of people asking me what my beauty secrets are, but I thought I would share some of my favorite products and give you my honest opinion about them.  Since my beauty regiment is quite lengthy ( who would have thought), I have decided to break the post into parts - not sure how many yet as I tend to go on and on and on and on...


First things first: prepping the skin.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't forget the cow and the banana!

A typical phrase heard in my household.  Rush hour is literally an hour of intense 'rush' that starts at 6am and after a flurry of hugs and orders, we shuffle into the car at 7am and start our day.  For my daughter, it's a constant, "Eat our cereal", "Wear your socks", "Wash your hands", "Eat your cereal", "Eat your cereal", "Eat your cereal".  All the while my toddler son is running around the house with one sock on his foot, the other on his hand, vest unsnapped and a handful of raisins in his un-socked hand.  All headless chickens.  

Every single one of us.  Yet our lack of synchronization actually gets us all out of the house in an hour - so crazy works.  In my house.

This is a picture of how we look like in the morning:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nes-lay Toolooose (Lulu Finds - A Cookie Adventure Take 2)

Some of you might get this. But if you watched that Friends episode where Phoebe thinks her french grandmother's recipe is a legacy then realizes it's Nestle Tollhouse, you'll get my title.

So today I decided to dig into my chip-stash (see previous post) and chose the Tollhouse 6-oz semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I tried the recipe on the back of the plastic bag. Only adjustment I made was sprinkle a teaspoon of good quality instant coffee. I find it gives a really "what is that?" taste and keeps your testers guessing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lulu Finds - A Cookie Adventure: Part 1

Since Geant opened I don't frequent Lulu anymore.  However, the other day, I paid the ever-so-hyper-market and was greeted with a cacophony of chips.  My kids freaked out and the nanny thought I was going away for a while - or prepping for war. Behold my bounty:

Funnily enough, the recipes on the back are award-winning blue-ribbon recipes, so don't belittle them. My first cookie victim was the cinnamon chips.  The recipe on the back was for oatmeal raisin cookies with cinnamon chips.  I LOVE OATMEAL RAISIN.  My husband does too.  My kids on the other hand snack on raisins day-in, day-out.  A perfect family treat I figured.

The end-result was this heavenly bite of calories:

Friday, December 7, 2012

No time? No problem! Quick Dinner Ideas

Amidst the chaos that is my life, ensuring I leave work on time, picking up my kids from their grandma and driving home - means I only have about half an hour to forty-five minutes to make my kids' dinner. 

So, healthy and quick (and homemade) dinners are essential.

A lot of my friends ask me sometimes how I can manage, and honestly, I don't even know.  But, I do spend a few minutes just thinking of new and fun ways to feed the kids their dinner.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Picture: Sama the Patriot

My 4-year-old is super excited about our National Day and especially about all the decorations scattered around the island.

She asked for flags so she could decorate our palm tree. How can I say no? Hello patriotism!

Best Meatballs You'll Ever Have

One of the first blogs I started following was The Pioneer Woman.  City-turns-country girl had an interesting perspective on things and her recipes were easy and sounded delicious.  One of the first recipes I tried was the BBQ Comfort Meatball. Recipe here. 

My kids love this, my husband is thrilled when he knows I'm making it, and my friends crave it every now and then.  With Bahrain's temperature slowly dropping, it is the perfect time to make it.  I use lean beef (Geant or Lulu) and also, if you want to make it ahead (it does stink up your hair),  you can fry the meatballs and set them aside, before baking slather the sauce and pop it in the oven.


Photo cred: Pioneer Woman
Recipe after the jump.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Here goes nothing!

So I finally decided to join the blogosphere. Representing the 973 and specifically Riffa - the suburbs - where I have lived for (almost) my entire life.

So in a nutshell, I have always wanted an outlet where I can share my trials and tribulations - my cooking, my trips, my rants and raves, and my expertise in juggling - I have 2 kids aged 4 and 1 and a half - quite the handful bless them.

So yeah - my life on the triple-w. Enjoy!