Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Stew to Beat the Flu

I have been so sick the last few days. Ugh. Throwing up is the worst, and being nauseous all day long is not better. I seem to be on the mend, though, so hopefully I will be back to my usual perky self tomorrow. I have the best roommates ever who have taken great care of me. They did my dishes, laundry, and even took me to the doctor. It's almost like having my mamma here with me.. (But not quite.) It has also been good just to have a couple of days to relax. I never take time to just sit and catch up on sleep. My body really needed it. I guess there are always good things that come from the bad. Today's recipe is nutrient dense, protein packed, and warm and comforting. It could fight off any bad flu or yucky cold. It's always nice to have something warm and settling to help you regain strength after sickness. (After the puking ends, of course.) This stew fits the bill completely.

Quick Farro Chicken Stew (4)
Quick Farro Chicken Stew
serves 2-3         
1 cup cooked faro
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 cup tomato sauce
dash of garlic powder
¼ cup thinly sliced onions
¼ cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
1 tsp oil
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a saucepan. Add the onions and peppers. Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, garlic powder, chicken, and faro. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Season to serve and top with the cheese and parsley.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sailor Boy Card

Isn't this just the cutest card ever? I love the little sailor boy look. The card opens upwards to allow you to write a caring message to the expectant parents, birthday boy, or whoever else you want to send this adorable card to. I think I am going to try to use the layout to create a baby girl card. Maybe with a little tutu?

Good luck crafting!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Munching on Machboos

Bahrain is a Middle Eastern island nation near Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It's actually joined to Saudi Arabia by a 16 mile long bridge called the King Fahd Causeway. It was one of the first areas to convert to Islam way back in 682. Over 70% of the population is Muslim. You would expect it to be higher, but since more than half of the people living in Bahrain are immigrants, many other religions have been brought to the island. Hinduism followed closely by Catholicism are the next two most prevalent religions.

As the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain has set up the freest economy in the Middle East and was the fastest growing one back in 2006. Due to the limit of their oil and water resources, Bahrain has a lot of long term instability. Unemployment is on the rise, causing the country to also be the fist Arab country to implement unemployment. Hopefully a fast growing tourist industry will help to curve this and make the Bahraini's future a little more hopeful.

The culinary scene is Bahrain is similar to other Persian Gulf cuisines. Since it's an island with not too many resources, Bahrain imports most of its food. Like most islands, fish plays a big role in the local diet. Either fish or chicken are the traditional meats cooked in the national dish called machboos.

Can I interest you in any machboos? Match who? No machboos, the DELICIOUS Bahraini dish. It's made using a combination of a ton of different spices that make up the blend called baharat. These are added to a pot of sautéed onions, tomatoes, and chicken that is boiled down. The chicken is then broiled or grilled to a golden crisp and rice is cooked in the remaining broth. You can find machboos' counterpart in Saudi Arabia and Jordan where it is called kabsa. Machboos ala dajaj literally means 'spiced chicken and rice' which is what it is. Loomi, or dried limes, are often added along with rose water to make the meal even more flavorful. I had to sub the loomi with lime zest and leave the rose water out, but my machboos was far from lacking in flavor.

Machboos ala Dajaj
1 ½ onions, chopped
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1 green chili, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp lime zest (or 2 dried limes, loomi)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
3 chicken leg quarters
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp rose water (optional)
1 cup basmati rice

Heat the ghee over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili, and spices. Cook for about 2 minutes until the spices are aromatic. Add the tomatoes, lime zest, water, and chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for an hour, or until the chicken is done. Meanwhile, soak your rice in water for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot, and stir in the rice, rose water, and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, adding a little extra water if needed. Remove the pot from the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Preheat your broiler over high and arrange the chicken skin-side-up on a pan. Broil for a minute or two until the skin is golden. Serve the chicken over the rice.
Khubz is the staple bread of the Middle East. It means 'bread' in Arabic, and can be found from the Arabian Peninsula to Morocco and then up to Israel. I made it for my Jordanian breakfast and decided to revisit it to go along with my machboos.
makes 4
1 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (110 degrees)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, and oil until a soft dough forms. Knead for 10 minutes, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place for 90 minutes. Once the dough has doubled, divide it into 4 balls and roll them out into ¼” thick spheres. Let them sit for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cook the khubz for 10 minutes. Increase the oven’s heat to 500 and cook for another minute or two until golden.


I was looking forward to trying Bahrain's food. Middle Eastern food is my cup of tea, and the pictures online of machboos looked delicious. I was not disappointed. The long spice list may seem a little intimidating, but trust me, it all melds together to make a deliciously flavored dish. I was surprised that the chicken actually wasn't a little more flavorful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waffle Dreams

It has been a while since I posted a super yummy Belgian waffle recipe. It has been even longer since I was able to enjoy one. I can't wait to get home over spring break to see my family and use my mom's waffle maker. They think I'm coming home for them, but I have ulterior motives. Ulterior motives that have everything to do with creamy, peanut buttery syrup topped waffles like these. If you are lucky enough to have your own waffle iron, I suggest this to be your midnight snack. :)

Peanut Butter Belgian Waffles
makes 5 waffles (20 triangles)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup PB2 or PB fit
2 ounces roasted peanuts
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 bananas
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Blend the oats and peanuts together until they form a course four. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Put the buttermilk, bananas, and eggs into the blender. Blend until smooth. Combing the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until fully incorporated. Preheat your waffle iron to your desired temperature and setting. Pour in the batter, spread out, and cook.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Brilliant Sisters

I made these foam letter tiles that spell out Carson's name as a Christmas gift for her this year. She is only 2 years old (not even 2.5), and she can spell both her first and last name, count to 30 (I think), recognize most letters and numbers, say multiple Bible verses complete with their references, and sing her ABCs. That's just to name a few. This child is brilliant, and my mom doesn't know what to do with her. The other day she asked for 5 grapes. My mom gave her 3, and Carson told her that she needed 2 more. I know 7 year olds who can't subtract. This kid is 2. (And just to clarify things, Harper is not the 7 year old I am referring to. That child is amazing as well. She can do math like no one's business and reads on a 5th grade level.)


My mom throws these tiles up in the air to scatter them, and Carson collects them and puts them in order. What a great game for any preschooler!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lunch on the go!

I don't generally post recipes that are this simple or quick to make, but every once in a while you just need something fast. This chicken wrap with a Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean flare is just the perfect pick-me-up during a long day at work or after a morning full of stressful classes. (Trust me, I've experienced both quite frequently lately and having something to eat that you can just throw together when you get home is very nice.) Of course, you could make your own wrap, whip up homemade hummus and baba ghanoush, or cook chicken from scratch, but the novelty of this meal is that it's just as good if you make it on the spot.

Mediterranean Chicken Wrap
serves 1
1 wrap
3 ounces deli meat chicken (I used Boar’s Head Reduced Sodium)
1 ounce feta cheese
2 tbsp baba ghanoush
2 tbsp roasted red pepper hummus
¼ cup shredded carrot
1 ounce chopped roasted red peppers
shredded lettuce

Spread the baba ghanoush and hummus on the tortilla/ wrap. Sprinkle the feta over top along with the carrots. Layer on the chicken, roasted peppers, and lettuce. Roll up and enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Snow/ Ice Days!

It has been a snowy/ icy world outside for the past few days. We had three days off of school earlier this week, and should have probably had today off too. I'm so sick of the ice and just want a heat wave! I never thought that I should have brought ice skates to school, but they would be a lot better at getting me to class than my slippery tennis shoes. I know all over the eastern US schools are being cancelled for snow days. Here's a cool snowman to celebrate the extra free time! Too bad that our snow is actually ice. Icemen are not as easy to build. :)