Sunday, May 25, 2008

Easy Peasy Green Macaroni

Did you know that it's almost impossible to get fresh spinach over here? You can only get the red kind, and only at the Indian grocery store.
I bought some frozen spinach the other day (to experiment with some filo pastry I accidently bought thinking it was puff pastry), so I decided to use half of it to make today's lunch for the kids.
Voila - Puke Green Macaroni. Looks absolutely vile, but taste absolutely delicious. Would be a good dish to serve at a halloween party. My kids ate it even though they knew it has spinach in it. Hide that fact if you think your kids would be turned off by the thought of eating vegetables. That's why I call it 'Green Macaroni'.

Easy Peasy Green Macaroni (Macaroni with creamy spinach sauce)

250grams elbow macaroni, cooked per instructions
200grams frozen spinach
10 3/4 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
soup can of milk.
1 clove garlic, finely chopped.
1 tbsp cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
more parmesan cheese for garnish.

Thaw the frozen spinach in hot water, drain well.
Put spinach and canned soup in the blender.
Measure milk in the empty soup can and add into blender.
Blend till smooth.
In a saucepan, saute garlic in oil till slightly brown.
Pour in blended spinach cream soup, bring to a boil.
Turn off heat and add cheese.

To serve:
Pour sauce over macaroni, mix it around (or not), garnish with more grated parmesan.

Looks ugly but tastes yummy.

You can use any kind of creamy soup. If not using soup in a can, subtitute with one cup chicken stock and one cup cream.
If using fresh spinach: In the saucepan, saute garlic in oil then add chopped fresh spinach and stir till wilted. Put into blender with soup, blend till smooth as per recipe. Pour back into saucepan to bring to boil.
You can use other types of pasta instead of macaroni.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ilham is 10!

Today is Ilham's birthday :)

10 years old is like a milestone in a muslim boy's life. He is expected to perform the 5 solat (prayers) daily and properly and dilligently. We have been teaching Ilham how and when to do this for the past few years. Alhamdulillah he has memorized most of the surahs and recitations, especially the tahiyat (spelling?). He asks and joins his dad for solat jamaah whenever his dad is home. I have to ask him how he's going to do it in school though.

In other areas, I think he's grown a lot since the last year. He's taller and lankier. He eats as much as his dad now. He's grown to like curries :) and is more adventurous when it comes to food. He's at least willing to try new things.
Sometimes I think he's still immature in his thinking. He still talks nonsense and goes off tangent in conversations, which just exasperates me sometimes. Don't get me started on how easily he gets distracted and the stuff he gets distracted with. (No prizes for guessing where he gets that trait from).
He's getting to be very good with his hands though. He has made models of trucks and ships and tanks from pieces of paper and old toothpaste boxes, most of which would be left lying around and destroyed or thrown in the bin in anger by me at one point or another. I really should put them in the display case, but he keeps wanting to play with them, and I let him coz I think he can always make another one.
He's turned into a very responsible boy. I could trust him to look after the younger siblings. He's even good at changing Izani's dirty diapers. Alhamdulillah.

Well, he's not perfect, but he's my boy and we love him to bits and are proud of the acheivements his made, no matter how big or small.

Happy Birthday Ilham!!

(and Happy Birthday to his godfather, Wal a.k.a. Grom Airiss too!)

And I just remembered ... Today is also Nael's birthday.
(Nael - zan's eldest boy)
Happy Birthday 5th birthday Nael!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not So Good Morning Teacher

*pulls hair*

Today the school is having a virtual school day.
That means that the kids are at home, doing school work from home, work that was given to them yesterday or from sites online.
Why are they having a virtual school day?
Because that big dolt from the land of the free is here for a visit, and since our school is right next to the embassy, for security reasons, they have decided not to have kids in school today.
So who has to be the 'teacher' for the day?

Since 7 o'clock this morning, I think I have screamed at them at least 3 times.
Once to make them brush their teeth and have breakfast.
Once to tear them away from the TV (that I turned on to stop Izani from disturbing them) and to start doing their work.
The last time was at 9:30am, at Ilham, because since 8am I asked him repeatedly to show me his homework diary and it took him one and a half hours to finally show me it, coz he kept doing 'other stuff' (he wanted to follow his class schedule to the T - first french, then science, then math, then literacy). When I finally gave up asking and rummaged through his bag for his homework diary, I saw in it that he had a literacy homework that was supposed to be emailed in before 9:30am. It was already 9:30 am and he hasnt even started!!!! arrrghhhhhhhh
sometimes I just want to strangle that boy.

It has only been two and a half hours.
I still have the rest of the day to go through with them.
God Help Me.

This is why I don't think I can ever homeschool my kids.
Or be a teacher.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

this made me cry

In other news, I cried, like a pregnant woman with raging hormones, watching this:

simply beautiful.

I don't care if he wins or not, he totally rawks!

if i knew how to, I'd play this song over pictures/videos of babies looking at their moms.

my english too much worse

I had to give a short presentation on Malaysia for Ihsan's class during their geography lesson today.
I was the bus monitor today, so transportation was no issue. I just told the bus driver that he didn't have to wait for me to return with him on the bus, and walked into school with the kids.

The presentation was okay. I showed the kids where Malaysia is on the map, talked about the weather a bit, led into how the weather is very conducive for plants to grow and therefore we have lots of rainforests, how the government takes good care of the natural resource by having forest reserves and national parks, which then led to me showing pictures of our recent trip to Taman Negara National Park. My audience oohed and aahed at pictures of the kids walking on the canopy bridge, swimming in the clear river and the blow-pipe demonstration. In the end I asked "So, who wants to visit Malaysia?" and all of them put up their hands.. tee hee! Ihsan gave them some 'Visit Malaysia Year 2007' stickers as souviners.

My only gripe is that I think my spoken english is really deteriorating. I had trouble forming my sentences properly a few times during the presentation and when I was trying to answer the kids' questions. Sometimes I didn't even know whether I made any sense.
It's different when you're writing. You form the sentences in your head first, then you type it up and then correct your mistakes later. When you talk, the thought and correction process have to be made on the fly, and I think my brain have gone a little rusty.
This discovery bothered me a bit for the rest of the day ...
... until I boarded the bus to pick the kids from school.

The bus driver asked me, "Ma'am, this morning you not coming?"
Thinking that he is asking me why I did not board the bus in the morning (when I did), I answered, "I *was* on the bus this morning, remember? I just didn't come back with the bus"
"Yes," he said, "I waiting waiting, 8:10, I think maybe you no coming"
He meant that he had waited for me to return to the bus untill 8:10, when he gave up and drove back to the compound without me.
"Eh, but I *told* you I wasn't going to come back with the bus. I told you , you did not have to wait for me" I insisted.
"ah", he gave in, "maybe I hear ..." and he made like a confused sign.
Maybe if i had not said "I will not be coming back with the bus, so you don't have to wait for me", he wouldn't have been confused.
Maybe if i had said "I not coming, you no wait" , with a little waggle of the head, he would have understood me.

I think I should talk less to bus drivers and talk more to english speaking folks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Pregnant Man

I saw the pregnant man on Oprah last night.
I expected it to be shocking, but I was suprised that I wasn't that shocked.

Anytime the topic of transgenderism is brought up, I am often reminded of the religious lesson I had in high school, where we learnt about khunsa, the malay (arabic?) word for transgendered individuals. I learnt then that Islam acknowledges the existence of transgenders. From what I remember, transgenders are expected to make a decision (when they are matured enough to make that decision) on which gender they chose to live the rest of their lives. They are then expected to follow the rules and dress codes based on the gender they chose. I also remembered my teacher mentioning about transgendered people whose gender may 'change' in time. I was confused about that bit. How does a person's gender change from time to time?, I asked. My teacher explained something about changes in their body affected by the cycles of the month and such. I still didnt understand it till I got much older and watched more Oprah.

So maybe that's why I didn't feel so shocked or offended by the pregnant man's situation.
In fact, i felt kind of in awe of Allah's greatness. I mean talk about fate and destiny... if the guy wasnt previously a woman, he and his wife wouldnt have been able to have their own baby (because his wife had no womb). Masya-Allah indeed.
And hearing this story just makes me feel amazed at the beauty in Allah's flexible design of our body. How the slight adjustment in hormones could change our body entirely, how artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization is possible for those of us who can't have babies the usual way.
He meant it to be this way. Masya-Allah!

I wish the couple all the best.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

FOR SALE: The Little Red Mixer That Could

I want to sell my little red mixer.

I bought it for SR700, and have used it for less than a year. It has been a really good beginner's mixer. I have made countless cakes, cinnamon rolls and cookies with it. (You may have even tasted some of them!)
I now want to upgrade to a more professional mixer ;)

Anyone interested?
It would be easier if you're staying around Khobar-Dammam-Dhahran-Jubail area, but I am willing to consider delivering it to you if you are from Riyadh, Bahrain or Qatar (or even UAE), or you can come and pick it up yourself and sample some of its potentials! (yummeh)

Leave a comment here, or email me ( or leave a message on my book of face, whichever is more convenient for you.
I want to sell it for SR500, make me an offer!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Easy Peasy Coconut and Cheese Pancakes

Woke up this morning to pack the kids' lunch and realized I ran out of bread.
So I made some pancakes instead, with whatever I had in my fridge. Turned out not bad for a campak-campak (throw anything in) recipe.

Warning: Measurements are guesstimates. It was waaaay too early in the morning.

Easy Peasy Coconut and Cheese Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly grated coconuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Mix flour, milk, egg, sugar and salt in a large bowl, preferrably with a whisk, until batter is smooth. Add milk if it's too thick. Stir in coconuts.
Ladle onto an ungreased small non-stick pan over medium heat, spread evenly. Sprinkle grated cheese.
When edges start to brown, flip to cook other side.
Serve with your favourite condiment.

I had mine with last night's sambal tumis (thick chilli and onion sauce). It tasted good on its own too.
You could also omit the cheese if your family are not fans of cheese. You could also substitute the parmesan with cheddar or mozarella or whatever cheese you fancy or have in your fridge.
The coconuts give a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture to the pancakes. I wish my coconuts were younger, fresher and more roughly grated though. It would've tasted awesome. You could use dessicated coconut instead but the texture and taste would be slightly different, perhaps drier and sweeter.

Happy trying and tell me how yours turn out!