Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Palak Paneer, thick pita, and Fritos®

That is all.

p.s. Fritos are Kosher, so everything's ok.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things I will not miss about my old job:

  • People claiming they have a gifted/mature/talented 6 year-old who just can't possibly take a class in the age group they biologically fit into but must instead jump ahead three years. Also they have hockey camp (in the summer???) during the time of the age-appropriate class so they would miss 4 of the 5 days so as long as that's okay (and we will only charge them for one day) then maybe they will check with Rylan [or insert any other made-up name here] to see if she wants to do it.
  • The Baleen e-mails.
  • Credit Card Detail Explanation Forms.
  • Healthy Benefits updates and that hideous board they are using to post them in a gallery space.
  • Nudie art and similar.
  • Summer.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pure exhaustion

After waking up for fajr (morning prayer) at 6:30, it was a nonstop day of car shopping with my friend who is looking to buy her first car. Sandwiched in-between two marathon sessions of driving from lot to lot and sliding around on the ice/in the slushy waters of said lots in inappropriate footwear trying to find a good deal (all while avoiding the skeevy guys who work there), I also had training at my new, new job.

This was technical training on how to manage the organization's website, which is easy enough, but when you are on very little sleep and your toes are still numb from test-driving a car with no heat (seriously, people!), it's hard to concentrate.

We finally gave up at 4:00 and she decided to save some more money so she could afford to buy something not gross.

Am now lounging at home in the East African equivalent to the mumu and loving it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So most of you know that I gave up my stable (albeit crazy and stressful), full-time job for a part-time position in a growing (read SMALL) nonprofit. It was a big leap of faith, and Alhamdulillah (thanks be to God) it worked out.

I just got an offer for a second part-time position at an organization focusing on providing relief to the Africa and I accepted!

All said, I will make more than at my original job even though the average of the two salaries comes out to slightly less, because it's 40 hours per week instead of 35.

None of that matters. I am going to be doing what I have dreamed of for a long time now—helping two charitable organizations do real work in the areas of humanitarian aid and social services.


OMG, I AM GOING TO GET TO GO TO AFRICA ... This is really too much. I need to calm down.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

So productive!

I managed to work on my first emergency assistance case today for my new job, stop by the office for mail and the noon prayer, interview for a second part-time job (it went well!!), grab some groceries, go to a friend's house for a late lunch gathering, and go snow tubing, all before 9:00 p.m.

Did I mention I slept in until 11:00 today?

Sunday will be action-packed too—I have Arabic class in the morning, tubing trip #2 for the weekend (yes, I am obsessed!), then babysitting my favorite little girl at 6:00.

It feels so good to get out and DO SOMETHING on the weekends, rather than sit around. Now if I could just work cleaning my apartment into this schedule...

Friday, February 12, 2010


I hope I haven't given up on this blog already. I'm just so swamped, it's hard to maintain all of the electronic "friends" in my life. But this blog is supposed to be just for me (and the three people who will ever read it) as a way to just type everything out. So I'm going to try to keep up, if only to retain some sanity.

Working your old and new job at the same time is not advised, but I really need the overlap paychecks to get my financial act together. Student loans, Ruby Sue (my lil' Impreza), and rent are taking a bite outta my chex.

I'm considering moving in with my friend's little sister, who has become my good friend since her sis moved to Saudi Arabia last year. It would be an adjustment to have a roommate, but I think she and I would be a good match. She can't really cook but doesn't mind cleaning, and I am the opposite. I would be able to cut my rent down to less than half of what I'm paying now, but would have to move to the evil twin of Minneapolis.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Those sub-continent peeps got it goin' on!

I've recently discovered that not only are Southeast Asian dishes delicious (I knew that) but they are ridiculously simple to make (if you ignore the grandma methods...) and REALLY good for you (if you avoid the wonderfully naughty cheese called Paneer).

Here's a modified version of what I can only assume is a favorite dish among the Desis. It's high in fiber, protein, and vitamins, there's almost no fat, and it is even better the next day (see earlier posts about leftovers):

Sweet Potato Curry with Spinach and Chickpeas

2 whole sweet potatoes (or frozen cubed)
Medium yellow onion, diced
1 can chickpeas, drained
8 ounces frozen spinach, or large bundle fresh
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs hot Madras curry powder...or more :O
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (tip: always keep the leftover Pho broth!)

In a large skillet or dutch oven, saute the onion on medium heat in a little olive oil with a dash of salt until tender, but not soft. While you're doing this, cook the whole sweet potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes (poke holes in them first!) or steam them, or bake them...whatever. Let them cool before you try to peel them. Once peeled, chop into 1-inch cubes. If using frozen cubes, skip this step.

Once the onions are tender, add the spices and red pepper flakes, stirring so they don't burn. Add the tomato paste to the pan and let it cook a little before stirring in. Add the chickpeas and coat them with the mixture and cook for a minute or so. Add the broth and the spinach, increase heat to medium-high and cook for a few minutes to thaw or wilt, depending on which type you used.

Salt the mixture and taste, adding more curry or other elements if needed. Add the sweet potato cubes, reduce heat back to medium and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.

Serve over basmati rice or with naan/pita/chapati whatever bread you have.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Watched Some Like it Hot and realized I'd seen most of it on TCM or something a long time ago. I am terrible at movie/celebrity names and am always forgetting.

I love Jack Lemmon though. He's a classic.

This entry isn't very motivational, but I've had a long week. Now to cross off item #1...

Weekend To-Do List

I am going to do at least two of the following:

  • Sleep early
  • Sleep late
  • Watch "Some Like it Hot" before Netlflix thinks I died and that's why I never returned it
  • Hang out with a certain Egyptian lady
  • Laundry
  • Elliptical machine
Yes, I noticed that the less exciting things are at the bottom of the list, but maybe that's because they are fresher in my mind???

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tempting, but...

This blog is also about winning mind games with yourself. I had almost talked myself into going to the middle eastern restaurant across the street from where I have a meeting tonight, and then I realized I had tortillas, shredded cheddar, and vegetarian refried beans.

Quick Blog Fight: Which is better, a quesadilla or good ol' grilled cheese??

Not BTW: My current, and soon-to-be former, job made me love the Oxford comma. Grrr!

Baby steps

This theme must really be coming together because one of my favorite movies of all time is What About Bob?

Some baby stepping I did yesterday:

1. Finally took 2.5 minutes to put in the winter floor mats that Subaru gave me with the car in May. January may go down as the slushiest month on record, but at least I am making some effort.

2. Switched laptop bags to something a little more professional.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Recession Food

So I'm on this new campaign to spend absolutely $0 on food this week, unless it's unavoidable. A misbegotten onion ring purchase during a weak moment at work doesn't count. Anyway, someone else bought those onion rings and I only had 3 or 4, so whatever.

Here's what I've been able to cobble together from my fridge and pantry, which has actually proven pretty satisfying.

Breakfasts this week (3):

Monday and Tuesday I made fried egg sandwiches with some heavy-duty pita (thanks for the tip, Toni!) and Kiri cheese (yes dad, it's made in France!!!).

Today I had just the bread and cheese because the eggs were finito.

Lunches this week (3):

Monday I had leftover sweet potato, chickpea, and spinach curry with rice and some kibbe.

Tuesday I brought a red beans, rice, and chicken dish leftover from Saturday's class, along with some romaine lettuce and chopped cucumber. This is the best part: I made a dressing from the contents of the office fridge—a little mayo ("borrowed" from Betsy), some half and half, salt, pepper, and sugar. My mom's recipe for a simple dressing for greens.

Today I had the last of the curry (thank God that's over—it was amazing, but after like 5 servings...) and some bread.

Tomorrow's all packed up in the fridge: Boca Spicy Chik'n Patty, sharp cheddar cheese, some mayo, and you guessed it, pita. Breakfast will be bread with Kiri cheese and strawberry jam, which sounds gross, but this is cream cheese we're talking about.

I will admit that some of these foods are little on the naughty side, but the super-healthy curry and the high-fiber/low-fat bean and rice dish and salad should even things out. Insha Allah (God willing).


Does everyone post this much when they first make a blog?

It's probably like exercise, which is the one thing I procrastinate the most. For the first few days, I am really into it—cardio like crazy, forgoing 30 Rock for walking to the co-op for Smart Food®, and feeling REALLY GOOD.

Then, something snaps and I go eat a 1/2 lb burger and fries at this awesome restaurant serving halal American food (I know, right?) and everything goes downhill from there.

I mainly started this blog so that I could break this vicious cycle and also support my parents in making some healthy changes to their lives.

Here's hoping a blog will help me in this venture and not just give me one more excuse to sit in front of the laptop!

First big step

I officially gave my notice at my job today. It's a big deal for me, because I have worked and/or studied here (it's a college) for 10+ years now and that's a 1/3 slice of life pie, my friends!

I'm off to a brand-spanking-new position with an organization I love, so it will be a fresh start on many levels. I'm up for the challenge!

One foot in front of the other

Here goes! A blog for people who have great plans, but terrible follow-through.

p.s. I have been wanting to start a blog for a long time, and yes, I do see the irony.