Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not the best looking, but the best tasting FATOUSH!

I don't know why my fatoush isn't photogenic. Trust me, it was like amazing! Probably the best I had and this is coming from a salad-a-holic. I've been making this regularly like 3 times a week since I first made it a couple of weeks ago.

Thank you guys for your suggestions on my previous fatoush post. I cut up the typical vegetables (no onions for me though. Romein NOT iceberg lettuce) along with avocado cubes. In a separate bowl I mixed the following:

fresh lemon juice
chopped garlic
chopped fresh mint
fresh thyme (za3tar)
olive oil

I mixed this dressing mixture with my veggies. Then I mixed in just a little bit of goat cheese. Then when ready to eat I topped it off with the Whole Foods pita chips. Not the kind in a bag with the rest of the chips, but the kind they sell in the plastic container in the bakery section.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I almost forgot it was my birthday.....

I was too distracted having a panic attack (as I usually am the evening before a major exam) until my roomie came to my room at midnight to sing me Happy Birthday. So began the train of text message which always make me smile. I turned 26 today!

I only got 3 hours of sleep thanks to an 8 AM killer exam, but alhamdulilah it went well and I just have to make it through the rest of classes so that I can enjoy an evening dinner at a beachside restaurant with about 10 of my favorite people in this city. My intuition says I will be getting some things in the mail soon, we'll see. After that it's back to reality-the books that is!

Of course it would be much nicer if I was home now with my family and friends, or if my cutesy futesy could be here....but alhamdulilah for everything I have so much in life to be thankful for.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The practice of getting back up on your feet....... much easier said than done.

I either despair and surrender a little bit too easily, or I simply have way too much on my plate for a single person to handle. One or the other just has to be true because this can't be normal everyday life stuff. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

Academic-wise this semester I've been doing "okay," not great and not too bad...until 3 weeks ago. 3 weeks I totally bombed an exam...and I mean did like really bad. It didn't feel good to perform so horribly. This isn't's doctor school and they fail people out. It's a race just to keep up sometimes.

So instead of moping around or having a panic attack I decided to do what any type A -minded person would do: Identify the problem and do something about it! The bad number was enough to motivate me to want to work extra hard and make 90-somethings on the next exams (I have exams every single week). So I pretty much studied my ass off for the next test. I spent ten hours on a saturday studying...10 whole hours! I'm talking minus the breaks too. I spent even more than that on Sunday studying and woke up before the crack of dawn on Monday to do a final review. At that point I had pretty much studied more for that exam than any other test this semester. I felt on top of the world and so ready to go out and conquer.

The outcome? it was HARD! but I was relieved when everyone else thought it was hard too. However, when the grades were posted I couldn't believe that despite all of that hard work I boasted about, my test grade was still below the class' average. I mean I didn't do bad on it I still got a B, but it was 3 percent points below the class' average and I'm pretty confident I studied more for that test than the average person in the class.

Again I decided that I won't freak out, I'll identify where I went wrong and I'll do something about it! The next exam we had was rumored to be the hardest exam we will have to take all semester and I was determined to prove myself. I joined a hard core study group for it and actually started preparing for it like 2 weeks before the exam. ALOT of hours went into preparing for that exam. I just took it this past Friday and no joke it was pretty brutal however I felt good about it. I identified the tricks, eliminated the distractors, knew all the formulas I needed to know, and beat it....or so I thought!

I spent the morning after smiling until the answer key was posted during lunchtime . My content was quickly replaced with panic as I was comparing my answer sheet to the posted key and putting a red X where I missed a question. My hands started shaking and I couldn't even bring myself to count how many I got wrong and calculate my grade. I handed it over to my friend to do who then announced to me my grade in a sympathetic tone. To say that I was devastated wouldn't be an overstatement.

I wouldn't be so upset right now if I didn't work so hard. My confidence in my abilities is questionable, my sense of self-control and discipline shaken, and the fear and anxiety has set in. I'm trying to be positive and remember to just put my faith in God, but I feel like I've been knocked off my horse too many times too close in proximity that I really just need a little bit of time to get back up. Unfortunately life doesn't always give you that option.

So in the meantime I've been faking being ok hoping that at some point while following the same routine the calmnesss will come back and settle in on its own...and it's actually starting to. Today I've been feeling better than yesterday and even had some spurts of energy and motivation here and there. I've taken it upon myself to do some major organizing of my notes and desk and it really helped declutter my mind. I know that if I do well on this week's test I'll feel awesome. There is a brightside. The worst is over and I still have a passing average in that class. Plus, the Saints did actually win the Super Bowl!

So I think I'm starting to climb back up on that horse again.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Early Valentine!

A dozen roses in a vase, a box of assorted chocolates, and a note saying "I wish I was there to give them to you in person" delivered to me...............How cliche, yet how so happy it made me!

Whatever your relationship status is, Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Post-Saints win: Project WHO DAT cookies!

In honor of my team, the Saints, going to and winning their very first Super Bowl-I made from scratch 100 + almond cookies and brought them to hand out to my entire class. I iced the words "WHO DAT" in black and gold. If you know anything about me you'd know that this project was a major undertaking. The kitchen is not my favorite place and I have never in my life baked anything from scratch. Alhamdulilah they were actually freaking delicious. My friend the Persian Princess was convinced I bought them from the Italian bakery and just iced them myself. Sorry to disappoint but I definitely made them all on my own!

I wanted to put a smile on everyone's face just like I'll be smiling for a while. GEAUX SAINTS!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On the lookout for FATOUSH recipe suggestions!

Ok people. I'm always craving fattoush and that is resulting in frequent trips to the nearest middle eastern restaurant about 15 minutes away. However, I realized I've been spending way too much money on eating out and I need to make my own fattoush!

Mind you I actually do make a pretty good fattoush, but it's not authentic fatoosh it's actually quite americanized. Basically what are the best herbs and spices to add to fatoush and in what form (dry? fresh?)? I google recipes and I get frustrated with the variation...I just want someone to tell me what's BEST to use!

Also how do you make lemon work when adding to salads? Everytime I add lemon juice (even if freshly squeezed) it just taste I'm eating lemons! I can't get it to mesh and blend well with salad. Do you have to do something to it first and not just add it straight on to the salad like you would with dressing?

Inspire me! Maybe I can have a bowl ready this evening to share with my study group.

Monday, February 8, 2010

someone pinch me I think THE SAINTS WON!

One of the happiest moments of our lives. The most watched event in TV history ever.

Although the whole world, every celebrity, apparently the Vatican, and all their mamas was rooting for Saints to win it, people didn't really think they actually could. "I'm happy for New Orleans but let's be real for a second. We all know they're not going to win. Manning is a machine!" I heard on my morning radio program just a couple of days before the big game.
They started off rough 0-10 colts before the Saints scored their first points. They finished off Manning and his teammates 31-17. WHO DAT SAYIN DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS!

I will remain in a state of highly exaggerated euphoria for a longgggg time. I'm on top of the world!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bringing New Orleans to Miami: WHO DAT!

I love my team. I'm so proud of them. This is our very first Super Bowl and I got to be part of history as Miami was transformed into New Orleans for the weekend.

The magnitude of what the New Orleans Saints Victory over the Minnesota Vikings to become the NFC champions and make it to the Super Bowl is something that non-Saints fans may not understand. This is more than just a game. It's a symbol of resilience, recovery, and revival. The victories of this team brought inspiration and joy to a beat down city. It created an attitude of "if they can do it, so can we!"

I just feel sorry for the Indianapolis Colts and their fans right now that they have to be our contendors. Saints fans from all over poured into Miami outnumbering the Colts fans 10-to-1 easily....a South Beach business owner was quoted as saying it seems more like 100-to-1. No other NFL team has a culture like that of the Who Dat Nation (collective term for Saints fans). This is being called the least-neutral Super Bowl in history. Not even President Obama, Katie Couric, or Carrie Underwood who will be singing the nathional anthem at the game could hide their partialism for the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl tonight!