Monday, March 31, 2014

Sight for Sore Eyes

This is the walking path that is closest to our house.  At this time of year when it is used the most, it has been closed for refurbishment.  I'm all for improvement so expected great things.  Unfortunately, those who did the planning were not thinking clearly at all and certainly were not considering the environment.
When we walked by there the other day, I was disgusted and disappointed to see what had been done.  It's still cordoned off so it was hard to get a good picture, but the track has been painted like a garish rainbow, the trees in the middle are fake with fairy lights and the green stuff, it's basically a carpet.  All of the real grass was ripped out so they could roll out fake grass.  And that fake grass has to be glued down with what I am sure is toxic glue.  Now I know we live in a desert country and during the summer it is hard to keep things alive, but people waste water each and every day cleaning their cars.  This walking path is right next to a Hardee's where they wash the drive thru area with a hose every single day.   
The walking path is 1 kilometer around so you can image how much fake stuff has been used.  Such a waste.
 Fortunately, there are people who do care about the environment and their surroundings.  Our neighbor just around the corner has created a beautiful oasis around his property.  Everything is well maintained and cared for and the butterflies were having a field day when we walked by there on Saturday.

It still boggles my mind that anyone would think it is a good idea to create a fake landscape on such a large scale.  I for one do not even want to go there once it is open again.  I'm sure at night it will look nice with all its fake fairly light trees lit up but I much prefer a natural environment.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. 
― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Food is Fuel

Food is defined as nutritional support for the body.
I must say, I have had a lot of "support" over this past weekend.

Pumpkin soup.
Sauteed onion, canned pumpkin, almond milk, vege broth, salt & pepper, curry powder & nutmeg served with seasoned toasted rye bread.
Rocket salad with homemade honey mustard dressing and potatoes with cilantro.
Avocado and tomato with balsamic dressing and spicy pita chips.
 Grilled vegetable wheat pasta.
 Vegan mint mug cake.
 Raw energy bites (vegan)
Recipe found on instagram @chaesea
1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup nut butter, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup honey.  Mix and place in fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up.  Roll into bite-sized balls.
 Date walnut bread (no dairy; no oil).
 Zaatar spiced flax crackers.
Recipe found here.
I enjoy weekends because it means I have more time to cook.  More time to play around in the kitchen.  I enjoy making up my own recipes and trying new ones.  Good food does not have to be complicated.  I never make anything that takes longer than 20-30 minutes (not counting baking time, of course).

Yesterday morning I went to an Indian restaurant with Samantha who I met at one of the farmer's markets (and then we connected via Instagram).  The weather was so nice that we were able to sit outside and share a South Indian breakfast.  
Pani puri and rava masala dosa. 
(Today we are having a major dust storm.  Ugh!)
Samantha makes fresh nut milks which I am totally in love with.  She uses all natural ingredients and the flavors are just amazing.
Pistachio cardamom & saffron; pistachio orange blossom; cashew rosewater; cashew chai; cashew dark chocolate; hazelnut barley coffee; lavender almond.
Oh my!  They are all so good!  An indulgent, healthy treat.
 My tastebuds have changed a lot since going mostly vegan a year ago.  I'm not afraid to experiment with food.  Hardly do I ever come up with something that I can't eat.  Now my family is another story.  My husband tried the zaatar crackers but did not like them at all.  My 15 year old said they just looked bad.
Of course, food should be tasty and enjoyable, but beyond that, I believe that it should be good for us.  After all, it is fuel for our bodies.  

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.

Have a healthy, happy day!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Beginning of Another Weekend

It happened yet again.  Nearly a whole week gone by without blogging though I have been visiting when I can.  The weekdays just fly by which is good in most ways.  I just wish the weekends didn't seem to do the same.  
Our weather is still comfortable though the daytime temperatures are reaching close to 90 F.  Air conditioning is a must already and walking is best during early morning or late afternoon.  Flowers are still blooming on both balconies but watering is required much more frequently because of the heat.
This morning hubby and I went to his warehouse so he could oversee some work being done.  We had chai and chapati for breakfast then headed over to Souk Al Juma'a (Friday Market) for a look around.  I have added to my collection of dallahs (Arabic coffee pots) and picked up some more enamelware for the kitchen (plus a few other things).


Weekends are all about relaxing, recharging and doing joyful things so that's what I plan to do the rest of the day.
Wishing you a great start to yours!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dust If You Must

 Today we were greeted with gorgeous blue skies.
I was up  early and enjoyed some quiet time and crochet before heading to a friend's for brunch.
Even took an hour long afternoon walk with my husband.
But then it happened.  I decided to dust a little, which then turned into a 3 hour cleaning spree, rearranging, moving of furniture.  I finally gave up and just pushed some things into the corner and said to heck with it.   Not really how I had wanted to end such a lovely weekend.  Housework and I do not get along at all.
Hope your day is going well.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Arab Mother's Day

In the Arab world, today is Mother's Day.
With mostly cloudy skies, it was a perfect day for staying home.
I cooked, blogged, painted, relaxed and took lots of photos.

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.”
(Jane Austen)

Happy weekend wishes!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

International Day of Happiness and the Equinox

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

International Day of Happiness
Did you even know there was such an occasion?  I didn't until I saw some posts on Instagram.  Turns out it was established by the United Nations General Assembly on June 28, 2012.
Our school held its International Day Festival today with the theme "The World is Our Village".  Unfortunately, my days are always so busy there's little time for much else, so I just had a quick look around at noon.   Booths were set up by regions rather than by countries as they have been in the past.
Today also marks the first day of spring in the US and some other parts of the Northern Hemisphere.  As you can see by all the short sleeves, it was a warm day here.  I know many of you are truly wishing warmer weather would come your way to stay rather than just visit for a day.
As for my little visitor yesterday, Marilyn tells me that it was not a bee but a wasp.  Interesting!  I've only ever had experience with the sort of wasps that build nests and go crazy when they are bothered.  This little fellow was happy as could be flitting about my geraniums and wasn't bothered by my presence at all. Amazing what you learn when you Google.  Turns out there are solitary wasps and social wasps.  Perhaps my fellow was a solitary wasp which is why I mistook him for a bee.
I sure hope Jingles doesn't come into contact with a wasp or a bee.  She tried to catch one when she was little and got stung which caused her mouth to swell up.  Not sure how she managed it today, but she did wind up catching a butterfly.  She ran in from the balcony and was batting it around the living room before I knew what was going.  Saving it was futile, of course.
Another weekend here has begun and that makes me very happy.
Happy day!
Happy Spring!
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