Monday, May 25, 2009


We were told when we moved here that the corn wasn't good. It didn't really matter since we could never find any anyway. Until now. I saw some in the market about a week ago and it looked really good. I couldn't resist. So I bought some, brought it home, and cooked it. I was awesome! Just as good as any of the corn I eat at home during peak season. Although it's better on the grill at my mom's house...but I digress. So I went back to the market and there wasn't any corn! I was bummed. But then. A few days later. There was more. So I bought it again and made a big meal for Ira and me. You would think that would be enough. But I went back again. This time with the intention of freezing it, which is my new plan for preserving all the yummy fruits and veggies here. So I brought it home, boiled it and it took all my will power not to eat it before I cut it off the cob and put it in the freezer! Last night I went to the market because I knew that corn was waiting in the freezer (so much for saving it!) and I knew I could make corn chowder with a few more ingredients. But who wants to eat corn chowder when it's 100 degrees?? And then, I saw it. More corn! Hmm...I could save the corn in the freezer and buy some fresh corn and make something ELSE! So that's what I did. And here is the fruit of my obsession...

Summer Orzo Salad

You could really use any combination of veggies in this and I've made a similar Greek version. This is what looked good and fresh yesterday...

1 box Orzo, boiled and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped (although I prefer a few small pickling cucumbers)
1 cup sliced olives
2 ears of corn, boiled, sliced off the cob
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. olive oil

Prepare the orzo and set aside. Toss together the veggies with the orzo, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature (if you can wait that long), or refrigerate overnight for a cold salad.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ana and Peter

I was telling my bf Lauren the other day (on g-chat, our main form of communication) that this is a weird life. I mean, life is weird in general but this life that Ira and I are leading is particularly weird. Not because we live here but the way that we live here. Hmm...I'm not explaining myself well...probably because I'm trying to explain several things at once. And because it's 4am and I can't sleep. Anyway, let me try again. So the first thing that is strange about the way we live our lives is that we're always saying good bye to someone. Now up until tonight that meant "See you in 4 months!" If we were in the States. Or "See you in 2 months!" if we were in Egypt. I knew the good byes we said tonight would be different, and I've known since August that they were coming, but it didn't make it any easier.
Peter was the wise cracking European guy at orientation. He actually missed the first morning of orientation because, well, no one told him about it. He always had a funny remark or random question for the presenters, and kept all of our spirits up when we didn't think we could take one more presentation about health insurance or why we couldn't get mail here. And then there was Ana. Before we even moved here, Ira sent me some info on her. While he was in Miami he followed one of her pieces she wrote for the Miami Herald. She also wrote this and this and this. Anyway, she was here in Egypt as a Fullbright in the Journalism Department. I just adored her right away. She was so fun and laid back and easy to get along with. She had been all over the world and lived abroad many times, but she just seemed so down to earth. She and Peter were the romance of our "Freshman Class", as I like to call this year's newcomers. An unlikely couple (or so we thought at first) but they truly complimented each other and now it's hard to remember a time when they weren't together. Ana took my yoga classes and she was a great student, although I could never get her to try a headstand, grrr...They were always a lot of fun on our ill fated AUC trips and we still laugh about the long bus rides, day long dusty tours, bad hotels, and the "death marches" (as Ana called them) with no food. So I knew they were leaving at the "end of the year" but I guess it still hasn't hit me that that's what this is. We all knew that Peter, not being the biggest fan of Egypt, would be out on the first plane after his last class. But I was hoping that Ana would stick around a little longer. And she was planning to. Until a pot hole had better plans and caused her to break her foot last week. She couldn't get around by herself and had to make the decision to leave early. There was a little party at Peter's last weekend. But I knew that tonight would be the real good bye. "The Fuuls" were playing at the Maadi House and Ana and Peter were going to stop by before the car came to take them to the airport. It was just sad. And it's made me realize that sooner or later I'm going to have to say good bye to ALL the friends that I've made here. Whether they're leaving, or we're leaving, it's going to happen eventually. I guess you could make some sort of philosophical argument that we have to say good bye to everyone in our lives, but save it! It just makes it all feel temporary to me. So the best I can do is stay in the moment and enjoy the life that we have chosen and love the friends that we have made.
Good luck in Amsterdam, Ana and Peter! We'll miss you...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Goodbye Guruji

Today the beloved Sri K. Pattabhi Jois passed away. "Guruji" as he was called by his students, was 94 years old. In his long, amazing, productive life he taught the Ashtanga series to millions, either himself or through the teachers he blessed. Although I had always dreamed of going to India, and still do, I never made it there to study with him. However, I have been blessed to study with a very select few that he did bless and I always felt I was in a direct line to his wisdom and light. He was, for lack of a better word, the "founder" of Ashtanga yoga. Before I came to Egypt, one of my teachers, Christine Hoar said "you'll teach yoga when you get there". And knowing that Guruji had told her the same thing, that she should teach, made me feel I was in good company. And so I do teach the series to anyone who wants to learn, to anyone who wants to follow the path that he has so carefully and specifically laid out for us. Although his presence will be missed all over the world, he has truly left a legacy greater than any one person could dream to create.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

my least favorite number...

100. That would be how hot it is today. We've been getting little tastes of this weather for a week or so, but I think it means business now. It was this hot yesterday, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop. And being pregnant does not make it any easier. I have to walk a little slower these days and I'm used to rushing as fast as I can into the AC. I was at the pool yesterday with Amanda and it was all we could do to sit there for more than 15 minutes without having to get in the water (which was like a bath) So, as if there was any doubt, if there isn't AC or a body of non-Nile water around, you won't find me! Ugh. 27 days...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Barefoot and Pregnant

That's me! Still cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Today it was lentil soup and then later peach cobbler for dessert. I had intended to make some tomato sauce as well but some knitting got in the way of that...I will post the recipes soon, since they're all in my head (and truth be told, different each time) I want to make sure you get the best version. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A lovely evening

We spent our first anniversary making homemade pizzas on Egyptian flat bread. The fresh basil was the best part! After dinner we watched the wedding video and I got very teary, especially watching my friends and family. Oh, and this is the book that Ira gave to me, can't wait to dive in!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Today is a big day times three. First of all, it’s my mom’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old she is for fear of being disowned, but she’s old enough to have a 31 year old daughter and a second grandchild on the way, yet I am always met with disbelief that she’s old enough to be either. She teaches pilates and “Body Flow” (cross between pilates, tai chi, and yoga) and has private clients as well. She is fun, energetic, and always up for a party or a night on the town. When I was living in the states we would talk 5 times a day, usually the conversations would start with “You know that guy who’s on that show you like? Who is he married to again?” And somehow I know the “guy” and the “show” that she’s talking about. Now that we can’t have those conversations much anymore, they have turned into marathon Skype sessions. She has been so helpful and comforting during this pregnancy, especially in the beginning when I was worried about everything. I know she’ll do something fun and fabulous for her birthday. Have a great one, mom. Love you!

And then mom gets a double whammy (which she hates) because it's also Mother's Day. I guess she likes to have the two spread out to enjoy both. Anyway, this year I was at a loss for what to do about gifts. Not what to get, she's pretty easy in that department, but how to get it to her. You can't send packages from Egypt (or get them). So my first idea was to send something from Greece, I thought that would be fun. But then I had an even better, and more economicial, idea. While Laurie was here back in March we did a lot of shopping. So on our outings I kept my eye out for a birthday present and a mother's day present that she could take back with her, hand off to my dad, and then my dad could get it to my mom. Whew! And he did! Thanks Dad (and Laurie!) Since she already sent me an email thanking me for the gifts, I can tell you what I got her. For Mother's Day, I found this really cool candle holder, it's a brushed silver and looks like a bowl and there are tiny holes punched in it the whole way around. When lit, it has an amazing effect. And then for her birthday, I found a beautiful scarf that I know she loves, and a gold cuff bracelet that looks very "Egyptian". She seems to like everything and I can't wait to Skype later today and see them modeled! So there are many other women in my life that deserve honoring on this day. My sweet friend Kelly, because this is her first Mother's Day. My Aunt Barb, because she's always been like a 2nd mom to me. And Harriet, my mother in law, for being a great mother and raising my favorite guy. Which brings me to the third special thing about this day...

One year ago today I married the man of my dreams. We had the most perfect, simple, handmade wedding overlooking the river and mountains. My friend Heather and I spent months making tablecloths, blankets for the kids at the wedding to sit in the grass, handmade invitations, not to mention scouring craft stores and anywhere else we could think of to find fun unique touches to make this the best day of our lives. And it was. We had friends and loved ones come from 17 different states (and Japan!) we wrote the whole ceremony ourselves. We obtained a self uniting license, which meant we could have anyone marry us. So we decided to have Ira's sister Jodi, and my brother Connor (who was 13 at the time and did an AWESOME job) We had friends and family read parts of the ceremony and participate as much as possible. The food was awesome, catered from different places, including a Moroccan restaurant that we love. And there were cupcakes of course! We danced to "Knocks Me Off My Feet" by Stevie Wonder. My "best women" gave incredible speeches. Because the park would only let us stay until 8:00, and we knew we had to keep the party going, we moved on to our suite at the Hilton and danced, drank, and some even played cards, until the wee hours. So that was the wedding, but how is the marriage?? haha Even better. This has been a whirlwind year for both of us, but through the moving, the travel, the adjustments, there has been love, and happiness, and light, always. I love you Ira, and next year at this time we'll be celebrating with the new love of our lives. I can't wait.

Here are some pictures from our magical day. 1) The ceremony 2) singing to each other during our first dance 3) breaking it down! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More food...

In addition to making that salad yesterday, I had an urge to make something banana as well. It was actually less of an "urge" and more of a need to get rid of the rotting bananas on the counter! There is a, ahem, banana overbuying problem in this house. Someone gets excited when they go to the fruit stand and the guy cuts them off the stem for him. Anyway, I guess if it results in banana muffins it's not all bad...
I adapted this recipe from Martha, but I put marscapone in it which I think is super fun. I almost put some peaches in them, but that would have meant I wouldn't have been be able to eat the peaches all by themselves and that was not an option.

Makes 12 Muffins or 36 Minimuffins

  • 4 (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) ripe bananas, plus 1 for garnish (more if making mini muffins)
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup marscapone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan, regular or mini, with paper liners.
  2. Peel four bananas, and place them in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until mashed, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar, oil, and egg; beat until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until combined.
  3. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Slice remaining banana into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; place a slice on each muffin. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes for regular muffins and 20 for mini, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store, covered, at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Summer Salad

It's been a while since I've posted a recipe and if you people want these posts to be about anything other than my lack of sleep (although it went better last night!) you are probably going to see more of these in the next month...
So those of you who have eaten with me in restaurants know that if there is a beet salad on the menu, I am there. In fact, if there's a choice, I would rather eat a beet salad and some yummy dessert than an entree. Anyway, I love beets. I know a lot of people hate beets. But I think that most of those judgments are made on pickled beets. I love those too, don't get me wrong! But they do have a strong taste and beets when they're naked and very mild and even sweet. I took a beet salad to a New Year's party this year and I had 3 beet converts! So if it's been a while since you've had beets, try them again, I bet you'll love them.

Beet and Orange Salad with Mint and Goat Cheese
2 small oranges, cut into one inch segments
3 medium cooked beets, diced
1/2 cup goat cheese (or half a "log"), crumbled. You could probably substitute feta as well.
2 tbs. chopped fresh mint
sea salt to taste

Cut the oranges and place them in a bowl. Chop the mint and toss with the oranges. Dice the beets and toss with oranges and mint. Crumble the goat cheese and lightly toss. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
*if you are preparing this salad ahead of time, but it's going to be couple of hours before you serve it, or if you are traveling with it, you may want to wait to assemble it until just before serving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still no sleep...

So this is a picture of my eye. My eye after a night sleep that went like this; going to "bed" at 11:00...gettitng up at 12:00...trying to go back to sleep at 3:00...getting up at 4:00...going back to bed at 4:45...falling asleep sometime after 5:00 (no thanks to an extra long call to prayer "remix" of some kind)...waking up at 8:00, hungry...back to bed at 9:00...back up at 11:00. That was my last 12 hours! And of course the day that I'm wiped out and grumpy the sky actually doesn't look like the apocalypse. It was bluer and less smoggy early this morning but it still looks nice. Oh well, maybe if I feel a little better after some lunch I'll head out...
p.s. for those of you that read Ira's blog, that's the lamp in the backround that he talks about in todays' post! I didn't even do that on purpose!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A new day

First of all, you may have noticed that I went back to my old layout for the blog. I know it's not as pretty but I felt like the other one was kind of...distracting. I plan on adding photos more frequently (more on that in a minute) and I don't want the bright colors and design to take away from that.
So I'm still not going outside. Now it's less about the allergies and more about the sandstorms! Today is the 3rd day. You know when you heat up the oven and then open it to put something in? That's what I feels like when you walk outside. You open the door and it's like opening the door to an oven. And then once you're outside, even if the wind isn't blowing there is a fine silt in the air. At night, you can see it in the beams of the headlights of cars. It gets in your teeth, your eyes, your hair. It's gross. So since I'm not teaching today I'm going to stay in and hope it's better tomorrow. No one seems to know how long this will last. We were warned about this, but we were told that it would happen in late winter or early spring. Oh well.
My latest obsession has been the blog When I was doing my baby registry I found a book about having a creative family and it looked so great. Then Heather told me that the author had a blog, that she got started doing a blog and then wrote the book. So I checked it out, and a week later I am now reading all the archived blogs from as far back as 2005! So in addition to inspiring me to make baby clothes, and learn more about Waldorf education, she has made me want to be a better blogger. This woman has 4 kids and she manages to blog pretty much daily AND post lots of great pictures. So since it's only been May for a few days, I'm going to try and post everyday or at least every other day for the rest of the month. We'll see how it works out!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Great ? Outdoors

I am sad to say that outdoors is not my favorite place to be right now. I have been plagued with nasty headaches that I assume are pregnancy related, but are exacerbated by Spring (and the usual dust and pollution) in Cairo. As simple walk to the yoga studio or the market can make the entire right side of my skull tender to the touch. It's so unfortunate because the weather and the trees and flowers are truly lovely right now. I was especially excited to see the Indian Jasmine blooming on the median at the end of the street. I want to be out in the sun before it becomes brutally hot and I won't want to leave the AC!
In other news, Spring has given us some great fruit. I am gorging myself on peaches, and 2 different kinds of melon. They are very small and I assume they are cantelope and honeydew, based on the color. But they are much sweeter than the melon I've had in the states. There is also a curious little fruit called loquat that we actually had for the first time in Greece and now we are getting them here as well. The are small, orange, oval shaped fruits with a thick skin. The taste can be slightly acidic, but when they are truly ripe they are very sweet. It reminds me of a cross between a kiwi and an apple, maybe with a little starfruit thrown in...