Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recipe Review: The Brownies

Hold onto your hats!  We might have ourselves a winner here!

You may not know this, but I have been desperately searching for the perfect brownie recipe for years now.  I admit it, I have been hooked on commercial brownie mixes all these years.  Why?  Oh, well it might be the...add a little water, a little oil and a couple of eggs and PRESTO...brownies!

But before you professionals out there swoon in shock, please note the real reason why I haven't found a suitable substitute for my beloved box brownies is the consistency/texture.  Most brownie recipes I try taste more like a chocolate cake than a brownie.  As in, you have to eat them with a fork and are much better with frosting on them.  But brownies are meant to be eaten with your fingers!  And the ooey-gooey goodness should simply melt in your mouth.

Craving them yet? ;-)

Well, we'll just have to wait and see.  I'll let you know how they turn out (or rather how our guests this evening enjoy them topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce).  Now I KNOW I've gotten your attention!

Don't worry I'll be adding the recipe as soon as we taste-test them.

How do you like to eat your brownies (hands, fork, topped with chocolate syrup, hot/cold)?  Do you have a favorite brownie recipe?  If so, please SHARE!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Joined the iPhone Craze

I know what you're she trying to sell us something?  NO, I am simply making my confession to the world that I have taken the plunge.

Let me give you a little background on my cell phone ("mobiles" here in Egypt) history.  Ten years ago I was one of only TWO in my class who didn't have a cell phone.  No kidding!

And I held out for as long as I could.

I finally got my first cell phone only when I absolutely HAD to because I was renting the upstairs room in this lady's house and couldn't use her phone.

Even when I came to Egypt the first time, buying a mobile was not high on my list of priorities.  I don't think it was even a thought in my head until much later!  Somehow I had in mind that I was in a third-world country and somehow needed to *rough* it (as in, do things the hard way).  Silly, silly Erin!  What was I THINKING?!

First step...getting a phone.

Second step...getting a phone that wasn't the cheapest one in the store.  I don't know what it is but somehow I have always felt guilty about buying a nicer phone.  I mean, it's just a PHONE right?!  You talk on it and that's about it.


Oh, if you could see me now.  Now I must admit that I HAVE had nicer phones (mostly Nokia) in recent years that had some bells and whistles on them.  But nothing like an iPhone before!  This is unlike any world I have ever known!

And the iPhone is particularly addictive due to the wide range of applications available for download.  I think there really is just about anything you can imagine available.  And many of them are FREE (yes, I said FREE!)

Now I got my iPhone just last Christmas so this means I have had it for less than a year.  So I know I am not nearly as iPhone-savvy as many others out there are.  But I can waste (I mean "spend") a lot of time on this baby!  And you should see me when I meet other iPhone users - it's like we're in some special club or something.  Hilarious!

So now the question you may be asking what applications are you using?  (I thought you'd NEVER ask? ;-))

Here are my Top 5 applications in use:
1.  Facebook
2.  Total Baby
3.  MobileRSS
4.  Solebon
5.  AllRecipes Pro

Honorable Mention:  iPhone Weather, TextFree, Free Pedometer, SYTYCD Fan, Craigslist

Do YOU have an iPhone?  If so, what are your favorite applications?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Egypt

Okay, so maybe this face would only bring the grandparents (and maybe an auntie as well).  It was worth a try!

I know, I know, this may seem cliche but being the only surviving Ancient Wonder of the World - there is nothing like seeing them for yourself!

And don't forget the SPHINX as well!  It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the Pyramids since they are right next to each other anyways.

Surprised?  I couldn't believe how good these babies are in Egypt!  Granted you can only get them fresh (as in - from the donkey cart on the side of the street) from about July to September, but they are well worth the wait.  I have seen several kinds too, from huge red ones to tiny green ones...the deliciousness can't get any better!

Speaking of which, I have a few of these in my refrigerator that I need to eat soon.  Jealous?

Like history?  Like Biblical history?  Come on, don't you want to walk where Moses walked?!!  It is quite a hike to the top of what is traditionally known as Mt. Sinai but well worth the trip.  If you're particularly ambitious, you can hike the entire thing.  Or if you're more like the rest of us (or me), you can ride a camel up halfway...and then trot up the rest of the Stairs of Repentance (hey! I didn't name it that).  You can hike it at night and then wait for the sunrise - which is my favorite.

Cairo traffic is not an experience for the faint of heart.  Yes, you will gasp a few times when that car just barely *scrapes* by you...but we are ALL about the adventures here!

Sailing down the Nile River sounds so exotic, doesn't it?  This is a must-do in Egypt.  Even in the middle of Cairo (you DID read #5, didn't you?), there is something strangely peaceful about being out on a boat on the Nile.  The warm breeze in your hair, the gentle lapping of the water, the swaying of the boat beneath you, the bright sun on your can just feel it, can't you?

I know what you're thinking...the WHAT?!!!  Yes, perhaps the best snorkeling in Egypt is just outside a little place called Dahab.  Apparently this location is world-renown to divers as being one of the best diving sites in the world...I wouldn't know because I only got as close as the surface (aka snorkeling).  But it's pretty awe-inspiring from the top as well!

Perhaps the most famous Egyptian pharaoh ever known, King Tut's story is a bit of a mystery and I think this adds to the fascination the world has with him.  The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacq (my FAVORITE Egyptian historical fiction author) tells the fictionalized story of Howard Carter and the discovery of King Tut's tomb, in case you're interested.  This is the main reason why we send all our guests to the Egyptian Museum - to see the contents of the only pharaoh's tomb found intact.  I think it's well worth the trip!

What beats watching an early morning sunrise by hot air balloon?  I have done this only once - got attacked by a tree on the way down (a story for another time) - but even though I am not a morning person, this was my favorite thing we did in Luxor!

#10 OM ALI
Honestly, this one was a toss-up between Om Ali and Roz bi Leban (Egyptian rice pudding).  But since I have this obsession with almost always trying the Om Ali whenever I see it on the menu, I thought it best to share this one with you.  Om Ali ("mother of Ali" in Arabic) is the Egyptian bread pudding made with phyllo dough, raisins, nuts, and sweet milk.  It is served warm and is utterly delicious!

Wow!  Now that I think about it, I really COULD go on.  Would you like a Top 20 list instead?!  But seriously, this is an amazing country, and I wish I could share it with everyone.

Ahlan wasahlan!  You are welcome to come visit us anytime.

If you liked this article, also check out 100 Things to Do in Egypt.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Bloggers Extraordinaire

As I sit here waiting for my tea to cool down, I think it's time to share a little about my latest obsession:  food blogs.  I mean, seriously, these ladies are amazing!  Are they cooks or photographers?!  And they're so funny.  I know sometimes I think I'M funny but they are HILARIOUS.

For those of you who are new to the blogosphere...although I can't give you an actual definition of a food blog - basically a food blog is a blog about food (duh!) but I see many that are basically people posting recipes and often posting pictures of the recipes step-by-step (I know, pretty cool, right?). So if you like to cook or just if you like to eat (that includes all of us, doesn't it? ;-)) then you really should check some of these out.  There are apparently hundreds of them, because I discover loads of them daily.  It can be a bit overwhelming.  I mean, I consider myself an okay cook but these ladies make it look easy.

I do wonder, however, how much of their daily lives are wrapped up in "the blog."  I tried just to take a picture of my finished product of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cake recently and it took me a while to get the lighting right to get the *perfect* picture.  And, seriously, a lot of their photos look professional to me.  And I think if I tried to take pictures while I was actually cooking, I might feel a little schizophrenic and forget something crucial like the flour (I am always trying to live down that one moment in my baking history where I forgot the flour).  It could happen!

I laughed the other day when I was reading the Simply Scratch blog where a lady commented that she felt "inadequate" when she read this lady's blog.  And I can definitely see what she means...I mean, who is going to read my piddly little blog when there are so many amazing blogs (how many times can I use the word AMAZING in one post?) out there that put the rest of us to shame?!

But like with anything, if you do it just so people see you - what kind of happiness are you really going to get out of it anyways?  I started blogging as an outlet for my creative writing genius (ha!), but really if blogging makes me happy - even if nobody reads it (heaven forbid!) then blogging it is!

My tea is cooled down now, and I think I hear a little voice in the other room telling me that my little boy is awake now.

But before I go, here are some of my favorite food blogs so far:

Happy reading!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art of Long-Distance Friendships

In this day and age, the reality is that many of us will move.  We may move from city to city, across states, across the country, or (in my case) across the world.  And it is often difficult to maintain the relationships from such a long distance, however far away that might be.

I am not sure why some of my friendships have withstood the test of time and distance while others have slowly faded and still others stopped the moment I moved away.  But after a bit of reflection, I think I can string together a few ideas that might help you maintain your long-distance friendships.  My friends can attest that I am NOT perfect and I really could do better, so please take each of these with a grain of salt.

BE SINCERE.  People know when you really mean it and when you don't.  In my opinion, sincerity in a faraway friend is stemmed from a genuine interest in you and your news.  We all know people who say nice things when you see them and then drop off the face of the earth as soon as you're gone.  So let your friend know that they still matter, even though they are farther away that you would like them to be.

MAKE THE EFFORT.  It takes a lot of effort to maintain long-distance relationships - let's just acknowledge that fact right here and now.  However, it can be more difficult and discouraging when you feel like keeping in touch with your friend is a one-sided effort.  You send out an email only to wait weeks or maybe never for a response.  The friendship is still there but it feels like you are dragging it along.  But keep in mind that everyone has circumstances that keep them from answering you in a timely fashion so be reasonable.  Although if you are the guilty party who never replies when others try to reach out to you, maybe it's time to make a little effort from your end.

BE AWARE.  The hardest thing in long-distance friendships is keeping up on everyone's news.  People have babies, lose loved ones, change jobs, get married, move, etc. and if you aren't aware of these changes in your friends' lives you may miss out on a chance to let them know that you care.  I think the friends that I have had the most trouble keeping in touch with have been the ones that I have missed out on several important events in their lives.  And that breaks your connection with them.

BE PATIENT.  Wait for them to answer you.  Like I mentioned before, be reasonable and give people their space.  We all get busy so give them a break!

MIX IT UP.  A little variety will go a long way.  I am constantly amazed at how far technology has come in providing ways to keep in touch.  There are various social networking options (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), emails, internet phone calls, blogs, you name it.  I fell almost guilty now if I can't keep in touch with someone because really even across continents with all this technology at my fingertips there is no excuse!

ENJOY THE MOMENTS.  I can't tell you how great it feels to have lunch with a friend I haven't seen in months or years and to talk to them like not a day has gone by!  And I am always thankful for these moments because there is no substitute for some face-time with one of your favorite people.  So when you DO see your friends, I say enjoy those moments as much as you can.  They may come few and far between!

LET THEM GO.  For all your good intentions, there are still some people who move away and move on.  They have no interest in keeping in touch with you or are too busy with their new lives to make any effort to keep in touch with people they knew before.  When this happens, try not to get discouraged.  I believe the only thing you can do is to put the feelers out from your side (send them a heartfelt email, etc.) and maybe one day they will respond.  You may be surprised to get a response one day...and maybe not.  Some friendships come into our lives for a season, and the best thing you can do is remember the good times and move on yourself.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recipe Review: The Quick Pasta Alfredo for One

Don't get me wrong I LOVE a classic Alfredo sauce!  But if you are like me and may not have the time or energy to go through all that trouble, I think you might enjoy my adapted version of a similar recipe I found on the Tasty Kitchen website.  I made this in less than 10 minutes (not counting cooking the pasta) - how can you beat that?

Here is my version (double or triple the ingredients for more servings):

  • 1-2 servings cooked pasta (any type will do:  spaghetti, shells, penne, bowties, etc.)
  • Dab of butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2-3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cups pasta water
  • Dash black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving at least 1/2 cup pasta water.  Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in pasta pot and add garlic.  Cook just for 1-2 minutes just as garlic starts to brown slightly.
  3. Take  pot off the heat and drop the cream cheese into the pot.  Add pasta immediately right on top of the cream cheese.  Begin mixing the cream cheese into the pasta.  If the cream cheese doesn't begin to melt right away or is difficult to mix, pour up to 1/4 cup of the pasta water in and continue mixing.  
  4. Once the cream cheese begins to melt and starts to blend into the pasta, add the pepper and Parmesan cheese.  Feel free to add extra pepper and/or cheese to taste!  If you're having trouble mixing the pasta, add up to 1/4 cup pasta water.  You may want to put it back on the heat as well to get the flavors blended well and the pasta heated through.

Note:  This pasta is SCREAMING for extras so feel free to add whatever you have on hand.  I might try to sauté some mushrooms to add at the end, some steamed broccoli or even some leftover chicken.  The possibilities are endless!  Feel free to experiment and change - that is what it's all about.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Proud Big Sister

(Left to Right:  Mom, Logan, Chelsey, Dad, Dillon, and me)

I don't know what it is about becoming a mother that has made me so much more introspective lately.  Maybe it's the realization that a little one is always watching and learning from what he sees, but I have become more aware of myself and the people around me.  And sometimes I feel like I am seeing people with new eyes.

For instance, take my three siblings - Logan, Chelsey, and Dillon.  I'll call them the "Triple Threat."  They are pretty amazing.

In case you couldn't figure it out, I am the oldest of four.  My brother Logan is 6 years younger, my sister Chelsey 10 years younger, and my baby brother Dillon is a whopping 18 years younger than I am!  So the distance between us in age is quite large for your average family, and it has taken a while for me to really connect with each one as an individual.

I can't tell you how many times I have used the words "my brother Logan..." (albeit usually in Arabic) as an example of a hard-working, determined young American man.  I was amazed that he was able to finish not one but two master's degrees all the while working nights at UPS!  Yes, the big sister in me is proud but come on, that's quite an accomplishment!

And my sister Chelsey is no different.  She finished her undergrad in Sports Administration and went right into an MBA program.  With ten years between us, you would think that we wouldn't have much to talk about.  How wrong you would be!  She has such a passion in everything she does, and I must say that it is quite inspiring.  I was floored when she got her black-belt in Taekwondo years ago, but now that she is in Guatemala on her first mission trip I must say that I can't wait to see what she will do next!

My youngest brother Dillon is still just 14.  He will be entering high school in the fall, and it boggles the mind to think that the time has passed this quickly.  I believe his resume may outdo all of us - with several acting gigs in local theaters, a black-belt in Taekwondo, numerous Boy Scout awards,...and I'm sure many other things I am not aware of.  I think I speak for my entire family when I say we can't wait to see what the future holds for Dillon!

And I must give recognition also to my parents.  Without them and their love & support, none of us would be where we are today.  I praise the Lord for them!

In a world where so many families live so far apart, many people often have to substitute friends for family.  And although I fully understand this (and have done the same myself at times), there really is NO substitute for  my family.  It can be easy to let Mom do all the work in bringing the family together, but I think it is our responsibility as well to stay in touch with our siblings.

And to Logan, Chelsey and Dillon - I am so proud of you and I love you all so much!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Recipe Review: The Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

Are you ready for a simple, chocolaty, delicious snack cake that will take your breath away?  Well, look no further because THIS would be a crowd-pleaser!

Note:  I cut this second piece for photographing purposes and *sacrificed* by eating it as I didn't want all that yummy goodness to go to waste!

This recipe was adapted from one that I found on All  I LOVE that you can type in the words "oatmeal cake" and the first recipe in the list is exactly what you need!

Here's my version of the recipe:
1 1/3 cups boiling water
3/4 cup oats (I used quick cooking)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 whole eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).  Grease a 9"x13" pan and set aside.
2.  Combine water & oats together and let sit for 10 minutes.
3.  Add butter & sugars and stir until mixed well (i.e. no clumps of butter left).
4.  Add eggs and mix well.
5.  Add flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt all at once.  Mix together well to make sure dry and wet ingredients are combined.
6.  Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and fold gently into the batter.
7.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle 1 cup of chocolate chips over top of batter.
8.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Note: The original recipe called for walnuts which I did not have, but I think they would be a great addition to have sprinkled across the top as well. Also, I used mini-chocolate chips (because that's all I can get here).

Well, there you have it!  This was wonderful served warm.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Accentuate the Positive

I know you know it..."accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative" (can't you hear the song in your head like I can?)  Well, I have had this notion in my mind for several years that if people focus on my *eyes* that they won't notice the rest of me, perfect or not so much.  Granted, I do live in a country where I tend to stick out anyways due to a number of things, my hair color, my eye color, my way of dressing (Westernized although moderately conservative, i.e. no sleeveless, no shorts/short skirts, no tight clothes).  Plus I do have always with me the perfect accessory nowadays - I call it the CUTEST KID EVER! (Just HAD to plug that in there somewhere ;-))

So, I have slowly developed over the past few years a love of eye makeup.  I mean, I love the colored eye liners, the different shades of eye shadow, the colored mascaras, etc.  I am by no means some kind of expert (ha!) but there is just something about getting your eyes all done up that makes you feel like a woman.  And over the past few months I have definitely needed this.  With my hair falling out post-pregnancy and trying to regain some shred of my former bodied self, a little eye makeup goes a long way in boosting my self esteem.

I encourage you (ladies only, please) to do the same.  As my college buddies can attest, I was never much of one to primp.  We call that the "natural" look - the nice way of saying that she really doesn't care what she looks like.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the natural look.  But I have found that when I take a little care in my appearance that I feel better about myself in general.

Now I DO live in a country where the ladies can pull out all the stops when it comes to dressing up to go out. Egyptian ladies do NOT go out of the house in their sweats like we do in the States.  But maybe - on occasion - you might like to dress it up.  I am not saying you should overdo it, a *light* hand should be used for all makeup - unless of course for an evening out.

So have some fun with it and see how you feel.  I assure you that the mirror (and that special someone) will love you for it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's Called a Dictionary

Through the years I have been appalled at the growing number of native English speakers who cannot spell.  Emails, Facebook posts, Internet sites, you name it, are full of misspelled words, and I have to be honest that it drives me crazy.

Yes, I am one of those people, those perfectionist kind of people.  But I try to think of it in a positive way - as in a striving for excellence.  And yes, I try to make sure that all of my words are spelled correctly.  I am never so embarrassed as to write something on Facebook or one of my blogs and to realize later that I spelled a word wrong!

My mother used a very effective way of teaching me to spell correctly when I was little.  I used to ask her how to spell a word, and she would almost always tell me to go look it up in the dictionary.  What?!  Yes, looking a word up in the dictionary actually teaches you how to spell that particular word correctly.  Trust me, it worked for me and it can work for you.

And now I don't understand what the problem is.  There are dictionaries galore all over the place, many of which are downloaded already onto your computer (aka "spell check") and automatically put that nice little red line under the misspelled word so that you can see it.  Do people turn that off?  Do they simply ignore it?

I am not saying that I, for one, spell every word correctly every time.  On the contrary, I have misspelled several words while typing this post and have corrected them (or been corrected).  It's basic, you just have to make a little effort.

I had a professor in college who ranted and raved about this.  He would even return a paper back to a student with spelling mistakes.  His perspective was that using spell check was not enough, that a personal touch was needed as well to make sure that "there book" is correctly written as "their book" - and I can see what he meant.  And I must confess that this has stuck with me through the years because I use spell check and then I still go back and re-read the document again, not just for spelling errors but also grammar (but that's a subject for another day).

So, please, if you're a bad speller - we still love you - but please try a little harder.  A little correct spelling will go a long way in getting you the respect you already deserve from those around you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recipe Review: The Potato Salad

Potatoes!  Oh how I love potatoes!  Fry 'em, mash 'em, bake 'em, you name it...I am ON BOARD!  Maybe it's that red-blooded American in me but I just love me some potatoes.  I have been trying to eat less of them in recent years because all that starch just adds up to extra calories (and extra you-know-what as well).  But how can I resist sharing this love with the rest of you when I couldn't resist the whole idea of making the potato salad in the first place!

First of all, I must admit that there was no "aha" recipe for me this time when making my potato salad.  If I were making this for guests or strangers, I would have put a lot more thought into it.  However, this was mostly for me and for Sameh if he so chooses.  As it was, I was trying to make something different with the potatoes I cooked up the other day to go with the roast beef.  Sameh is not much of a potato person so I have to make them in small quantities for myself or otherwise they go bad (or the other scenario is that I STILL eat them all and you know where that will leave me).

My first pet-peeve when it comes to potato salad is when the potatoes are too hard.  You know what I'm talking about, the store-bought potato salad you bought to go with the fried chicken and the potatoes are so hard you think they might still be raw.  So I like my potatoes well-cooked, which means you have to be very careful with them when you're cutting them and mixing in other ingredients because they can fall apart and then you have potato mush and not potato salad. 

I am sure you all have that favorite potato salad in mind that you are always striving to find again.  For me, that potato salad will always be Momma's.  Years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes and so she gradually stopped making all that good southern-style (aka "to die for") food that we all knew and loved.  And unfortunately I never had the foresight to write down any of her recipes, one being her potato salad.

But there are certain things I know.  You never use just mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip or whatever your choice of white goo is).  You always add mustard.  Potato salad requires a little crunch so add in your onion (as finely chopped as possible in my case), your celery (unfortunately I did NOT have any on-hand as this is not a regular vegetable item we find in the stores here), and your pickles.  Everybody has a favorite pickle as well, whether dill or sweet or bread-n-butter (what IS that anyways).  Mine happens to be dill so in it went.  I actually chopped a bunch of pickles up into itty bitty pieces and then when tasting, I realized that it needed some bigger pieces in all their crispy glory to add that bit of *crunch* that I was missing (no celery, mind you). 

Oh, and never EVER forget the hard-boiled eggs.  For me, a potato salad is never complete without the hard-boiled eggs.  You can layer them on top with some paprika sprinkled over for color or just chop them up and *gently* fold them in - either way delicious things happen!

I have to be honest and tell you that I DID have my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook out for reference and to remind me of the basic ingredients.  There IS a great potato salad recipe in there that I have made on occasion.  My version didn't make much, though, so I wasn't too stressed out about the exact measurements of everything.

That's it for now.  I hope you enjoyed my potato salad comments.  As always, take my advice with a grain of salt because I am NOT a professional! =)

Happy cooking!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Recipe Review: The Roast Beef

There is nothing better than a simple roast beef recipe that you throw in the oven and bring out to all that meaty goodness!  I found this recipe on All and was very pleased with the results.  I actually made this roast beef again today - we get this great eye round roast from our butcher here in Egypt and I couldn't resist making it again.

A few notes I would like to make about making a roast beef, basically some advice I read up on from reviews on this recipe and my own two cents as well.  One is that you leave the roast out for a while to reach room temperature by the time you stick it in the oven so that it cooks evenly.  Secondly, it is important to tie the roast (this really means to tie a string around it at about every 3 inches or so) - keeps it from falling apart when it cooks.  Also make sure you have a meat thermometer - that whole guessing from looking at the inside doesn't really cut it.  You want to make sure the inside reaches the "safe" temperature so that it is cooked thoroughly to the way you like it.
A side note is that I do NOT like a rare roast beef.  Some people can eat it straight off the cow but I am not one of those people.  In recent years I have gotten more "adventurous" and eat my steaks at medium-well (pink but no blood).  But I have sent back a steak that was supposed to be medium well and it had blood coming out of it that was mixing with my mashed potatoes...uggh!  Maybe it's a living abroad thing but I want to make sure that baby is cooked to get all those crazy bacteria that may be lurking inside from Lord knows where good and dead! 
Oh, and the roast will continue to cook once you take it out of the oven so be ready to let it sit for a good 15 minutes before you try to do anything to it.  Plus it is much easier to cut if it's not so pipin' hot coming out of the oven. 

I use an electric knife to cut my roasts with and would highly recommend it.  This tool is very useful for this and other things like whole roast chicken and turkey.  There is a bread knife part on ours that I have never used, but I might break it out if I had some major bread cutting to do.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Separation of Mama & Woman

I think that regardless of what country you live in or what country you're from that the idea of being a mother is remains the same.  Many women become mothers and this defines them.  Some take to it so naturally that you might think perhaps that they were born mothers.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  In fact, I have been perfectly happy for the past 7 months to define myself as the "mother of Amir." 

Interesting fact about the Arab world (and it may be true in other cultures as well) is that many women will actually be called the "mother of (insert oldest son's name here)" although I think this tends to hold true more with the lower classes rather than upper & more Westernized classes.  The first time I met the lady that cleans our house, my husband said that her name was "Om Fady" (Mother of Fady) and I was like "what?!"  So when he left I asked her her name again and she said it again herself "Om Fady."  I had to ask a couple of times to get her actual name.
Don't get me wrong, I am COMPLETELY happy being Amir's mama.  I love that I am able to stay at home with him everyday and not have to go off to work and leave him to daycare.  This means I get to experience every moment with him, to see each new thing he learns, and to capture these moments on camera.  Sometimes I feel like we are living in a dream world where everything else is just kind of a haze, although less so now in the past few months as we are getting out more.

But I guess there is a separation that has to come as well between the woman herself and the "mama persona" that she has become.  Maybe it's not so much a "separation" as maintaining a healthy balance across the board - whether in dealing with my husband or other family members or in interacting with others outside the home.

I have so much respect for moms around the world who are successful as individuals as well as being great moms.  It seems such a daunting task to try to be a great mother and to still have goals & dreams for myself as well!   
Related Posts with Thumbnails