Tuscan Skillet Chicken

One of my favorite things to do is search on Google for recipes and go through Pineterst just to check
out pictures and get new ideas an be inspired to cook. . I can spend hours just searching for, reading 20150401_133404about, and watching youtube videos on different recipes.

Before the internet was readily available (the prehistoric days 😛 ) – I used to watch PBS
cooking shows whenever I got the chance. I grew up watching Julia Childs, Jacques Pepin,
and Martin Yan on the weekends. I always looked forward to this on Saturday
mornings/afternoons. We didn’t have cable so Food Network wasn’t availble at the time.
I’m not even sure if Food Network was even conceived during this time. Another thing I did was go to the library to read recipe books. I never really cooked growing up, but I loved to watch others cook. After getting married, I realized I would have to start cooking so that’s how I started! Anyhow, back to the recipe.

I found this recipe for Tuscan Chicken through Pintrest. I took a risk the first time I
made this and cooked this for 13 people.For some reason, I get these inspirations to try
out new recipes when guests come over, which is probably not a good idea. You can find
the original recipe here. This recipe was a hit and I made it again last week for just The Husband and me.

My favoritething is that you can cook everything in one pan! I love to cook, but the only thing I hate is the aftermath with cleaning and washing all the pots.In Kuwait we don’t have a dishwasher so everything has to be cleaned by us. 😦 <— Sad Face

For the recipe I used mainly the same ingredients but I made some changes because I couldn’t find the right ingredients. I found some regular sun dried tomatoes, but it was selling for KD 5 at the store! This is around $18 and I just coudn’t get myself to buy this so I bought the sauce instead which was only KD 2 (about 7 bucks). One thing I just can’t get around is how expensive things are at the grocery store. Sometimes I gasp at the amount I spend at the grocery store for a week.

Ingredients

Some olive oil
4 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (I cannot find chicken tenders in Kuwait, and I
like having it in bite size pieces)
1 teaspoon – black pepper
1 teaspoon – italian seasoning
1 teaspoon – Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb
1 onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
2 packages mushrooms – sliced (You can use 1 package if you want less, but I love mushrooms
and can never have too many)
1 8 oz – bottle of sundried tomato pesto sauce (This is the main change I made)
1 15 oz – can Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz – cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
Chili flakes – as needed
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

First – season the chicken with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash and let it marinate for 30
minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high
heat, then add the chicken and brown for 3 minutes on each side.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and let it cook for 3 minutes
on each side. You should get it brown on both sides. Once this happens, take the pieces of
chicken and set it aside on a plate.

Next add a little bit more oil (The recipe says add oil, but I didn’t) and add in the
mushrooms and let it brown and set it aside. You can work in batches so that you don’t over
crowd the pan. Once this browns set it aside onto another plate.

Now add a bit of oil and add the onion and saute till it glistens. Add in the garlic and
the sun dried tomatoes and mix. Next add in the fire roasted tomatoes, italian seasoning,
chilli flakes, beans, and sugar and mix well. Once it’s mixed, add the chicken pack into
the pan and gently mix the sauce mixture so the chicken will submerse inside.

I let this mixture bubble then I lowered the heat, and closed the lid for about 25 or 30
minutes. I added the mushrooms and and mixed everything together.

Give it a taste and add salt, pepper, and chilli flakes if needed. I added some more because I like to have a little bit of kick in my food!

And you’re done! This is a pretty heavy dish that you can eat by itself with a salad. Ifyou want, you can make some pasta and mix it with the chicken. You can also eat this with a nice crusty bread. 

Hope you enjoy!

20150401_133404

Easter Sunday

The Husband and I woke up at 2:30 AM early this morning to go to church for our Easter service. We had to arrive around 4 so that we can get a place to sit! When we reached the place was empty and I was thinking, o man I could’ve slept an extra 30 minutes, but then by 4:15 the place was packed and people were sitting on the grass and all. 20150405_035928

It was such a wonderful feeling to be in the midst of so many people of the same faith and being able to worship God together. There were so many different people from all types races and walks of life, but coming together and praising God was just amazing.

I took a couple pictures, you can see the transformation from night to sunrise.

Here's the sun slowly starting to rise.

Here’s the sun slowly starting to rise.

Below is a link for a song that I really enjoy listening to (Sorry I tried to integrate it into this post, but wasn’t able to)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLy8ksqGf9w&list=RDaowdjLeaCYs&index=4

Palak Paneer Recipe

I love spinach and paneer! And putting them together creates an amazing dish!

When I go to Indian restaurants, this is a must have for me! The biggest downside of Indian restaurant palak paneer is they add lots of heavy cream to give it the rich and creamy texture. I tried making this

Palak paneer from frozen spinach

Palak paneer from frozen spinach

dish once back in Toronto but that was an epic fail. Since then I was always apprehensive about trying again, but a couple months ago I thought I’d give it another go. I wanted to make something that was healthy and delicious minus the cream. So I thought I’d try out what I did for my Butter Chicken recipe and just add yogurt!

The results turned out great! The palak paneer was delicious, my only one complaint was I should have added more paneer.

Hope you enjoy!

Palak Paneer

Ingredients

Spinach (Frozen or Fresh) – I used about 2 bunches of 8 leaves each. First time I made this, I used fresh spinach. I had the option of the baby spinach, but it is expensive in Kuwait so I just washed the

Palak paneer made from fresh spinach

Palak paneer made from fresh spinach

spinach and tore them up into smaller pieces. Please make sure to wash the leaves real well. Last night I used frozen leaves and I can say there is a difference in the color once it is done, but I think the taste is the same. Also, with frozen spinach make sure to drain all the water after defrosting! I forgot to drain properly and I can see there’s extra water in my spinach.

1 large onion – chopped

1 or 2 cups paneer – cubed (The amount of paneer depends on how much you want in your curry)

1 Large Tomato – chopped

2 – 3 – Green chilies (I use the Thai green chili’s) – Finely chopped

2 tablespoon Ginger – Finely chopped

2 tablespoon Garlic – Finely chopped

1/2 cup – Yogurt

1/2 cup water

some oil

Spices Needed

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

salt to taste

pinch of sugar

Marinade for Paneer

Oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon chili powder

salt to taste

Instructions

First you need to marinate the paneer. In a bowl add turmeric powder, chilli powder (I use kashmiri since it’s less spicy), pinch of salt and a little bit of oil to make a paste. Add in the paneer and mix it so that it is all evenly coated with the spice mixture. Keep this aside and let it marinate.

Fresh spinach – take a large pot of water and add the spinach, the spinach should cook in about a couple minutes. Once it is wilted, drain the water out. Make sure you do not overcook it.

Frozen spinach – thaw this and make sure you drain out all the water

Once spinach is cooked/thawed – keep aside

Next take a big frying pan and add some oil in it. Once the oil is hot drop in the paneer and brown the sides, make sure not to crowd the pan. I did this in 2 batches. Once this is done, take the cooked paneer and keep it aside in a separate bowl/dish

Now to start the process of assembling the palak part

On a medium to medium high flame, add a pot with a little bit of oil. When the oil is heated up drop in the chopped onions and let it soften up. Once it is soft add the finely chopped garlic, ginger, and chilies. Side Note** I use a chopper for the onions, garlic, ginger and chilies. This saves a lot of time and it really does a good job of evenly pulverizing!

Make sure to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. You’ll know when the onion mixture is ready when it turns a nice brown color. A little bit darker than caramel, but lighter than chocolate. Once this is done, add in the masalas – coriander, garam masala, cumin powder and salt. Fry it in the pan, once you fry it for about 45 seconds to a minute add 2 tablespoons of water. This will make a nice paste and also help the spice onion mixture not burn. Add in the tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes cook down. Don’t forget to keep stirring so nothing burns. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the tomatoes have cooked down, add the spinach that has been kept aside. Make sure that you drained out all the liquid. Fold the spinach into the spice mixture. Once it’s all thoroughly combined, turn off the heat. Add the mixture into your blender or food processor and pulse it until you get a nice smooth consistency.

Next return it onto the stove and mix in the yogurt and the half cup of water. Turn on the heat to low, add in the paneer and mix. Close the lid and let the palak paneer simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

Serve while hot

You can serve this with basmati rice, chapati, or naan bread.

Try Again

Dear Blog Readers,

I am so sorry for not writing since my January New Years 13 days late post! I have just been so busy with work! I’ve been taking pictures, but not able to post it. If you look in my Blog folder, there are about 10 differetn drafts that I’ve started, but not completed. For some reason the motivation just isn’t there.

After coming home from work, I am just exhausted. I have to cook (We let go of our maid..) and then I try to work out.. Try being the key word, by then it’s usually around 10 or 11 and then I’m ready to just pass out.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to update folks on what’s going on in our Kuwait life and also to improve my writing skills. I even joined a few writing clubs, but didn’t really keep up with it. Anyhow, enough excuses! I need to just get back to it.

Happy New Year!

Happy new Year

I know I’m 13 days late, but wanted to say Happy New Year to everyone! Wishing everyone a wonderful and blessed New Year!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi

Recently I had to go to Abu Dhabi for a work exhibition and I had a free evening so I was able to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Since I moved to the Middle East, this was one of the things on my bucket list to visit! I’ve read about the grand mosque, seen pictures, but I can say that words and pictures did not do it justice! I have never been in such awe of a structure in my life! The details of the building was just fascinating.

My only complaint was the staff of the mosque. I think the problem was they didn’t speak proper English and when they came to enforce rules, they were very rude! One example was, after I got the Abaya, The Husband and I took a picture together in front of the mosque. One security guard came running after us saying that he needs to see the picture and we have to delete it. He kept repeating we need to take “simple” pictures and finally when we were so confused he said we shouldn’t show any affection at the mosque, which confused us even more but we realized it’s because we were standing too close together. Thankfully we only got stopped twice, once for the picture and the second because I didn’t cover my head as I was walking around. But these guys were after all the people to make sure they followed the rules.

I really enjoyed this visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and happy I am able to cross another thing off my bucket list.

Here’s some pictures for you from my trip!

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Sawatdeekah

Sawatdeekah is hello, good bye, good morning, good evening in the Thai language.

Phuket, what can I say about this beautiful place?

I’ve always been to countries towards the west, and besides my last trip to India 5 years ago, this was my first venture into the Eastern side of the world!

As I sat on the plane going back to Kuwait from my Phuket vacation, I started thinking why is Thailand such a popular destination? What is it about the place that makes people travel from all over the world? (Not so many North Americans, but more British, European, and Russian people) Is it the food? Is it the people? Is it the beaches? Is it the shopping? Is it the crazy anything goes nightlife?

We just finished a 7 day vacation in the Phuket. We stayed in the Kata Beach area and I really enjoyed the place we stayed! Usually when The Husband and I book a vacation, we pick a huge resort by the beach. This time we picked something a bit different and chose a smaller place that had individual villas with pools and it was about a 10 minute walk to the beach. The area we stayed was pretty quiet compared to other tourist spots. I’m so happy we stayed where we did because it was beautiful and clean! We went to another area called Patong, and this place was packed, dirty, and crazy! So happy we didn’t stay there..

The food in Thailand is great! If you enjoy eating different flavors, spices, and chilies then you will enjoy the food in Thailand! My only complaint is that the different areas are surrounded by restaurants catered for tourists that you can’t really taste the “real” Thai food! Thankfully we found a few places and were able to enjoy the food and taste different things. Thai people love their food! Their passion revolves around their food! We went to a couple different open air markets and all these markets are all about the food! Different types of chicken, shrimp, fish, pork, etc. would be served. Another big thing was the desserts! They are ENDLESS! We went to a local market and we were given the chance to taste a few different types and I was in love! I am not a big dessert person, I always go for savory over sweet, but the things I tried were so good! More than anything, my favorite thing about Thailand was the fresh fruits! Every day we were able to try something new and delicious. Almost every day I was able to drink fresh coconut water and eat the flesh in the young coconut. For those of you who haven’t had that experience, please try it at least once! Having a drink of the cool water is just amazing when you are feeling so hot! We were able to have delicious fresh mangoes, rambutan, mangosteen, dragon fruit, pineapples, papayas, melons, and longan fruit. All these fruits were so tasty and I think it was my favorite part of Thailand!

The beaches in Phuket were nice, we only went to the beach a couple of times this time. I just didn’t feel they were as amazing as it has been described as. We couldn’t go to any of the islands because the water was too choppy and didn’t think it would be worth it. I am sure if we went to a more secluded area that wasn’t all run over by tourist it would have been nicer. But it was just nice to walk along the beach barefoot a couple times.

The shopping in Phuket cracks me up! You walk into any store and the first thing the person will ask you is “Hello my friend where are you from?” I didn’t understand why they needed to know that information.. It started getting to be irritating when you hear this day after day! Were they going to jack up the price depending on where we are from? The Husband kept saying we came from India (this was not a lie, we are technically from India!), and then they’ll just shut their mouth afterwards. Most of the stores you can bargain for everything, all the stores pretty much carry the same stuff but with a couple hundred Baht price difference! I didn’t understand that either, one knick-knack I saw in the mall for 300 Baht and then at one small shop 200 Baht and another store was having it for 100 Baht! All were the same product!

The massages were great! Every corner you turn there will be a massage shop and most of them the ladies are just sitting outside waiting for people. Every time you pass by they will say “Hellooo masssaaage” I didn’t do the traditional Thai massage, but I did the foot massage and foot scrub. This was great! I had the opportunity to do this on the day we landed and on the day we were leaving! I wish I could take one of the lady’s home with me because it felt so good! The Husband also did it, but I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures of him getting his sexy legs massaged! 😛  The price of a one hour leg massage was 300 Baht, which is not even 3 KD or less than $10!

The Thai people in general are really nice and friendly, I feel bad for them because I see how some of the tourists treat them and it’s just horrible! Many of them were saying how one set of people treat them really badly and are so rude to them, but they can’t do anything because they survive with the tourist money!

We got to know one taxi driver (We kept calling him to take us to different places) and he was telling us his story, all he cares about is working hard for his two kids! He’s a Masters in Environmental engineering, but works as a taxi driver because after the tsunami he lost his job. You can tell how much he cares for his family because he talks about them all the time and how proud he is of his two kids! We were able to meet his wife and son on one of our trips and it was nice to peak a bit into his life. This is one of my favorite things about traveling to a different country. I love to get to know the locals and understand their life, their struggles, know what their goals are, etc. I think learning about the culture and understanding how people live is one of the best things about traveling to a new country!

The nightlife in Phuket especially a place called Patong is crazy. We didn’t experience this because it’s really not our thing, but as we were driving back to the hotel one night we passed by the infamous “Bangla Road” and it was just ridiculous how packed and crazy it was! I guess many people just go there to have fun…

Another thing you see is the countless amounts of Mopeds and Motorcycles on the road! You can identify the tourists from the locals because most tourists are wearing helmets and the locals don’t. Driving in Phuket is very scary because of all the motorbikes weaving around the road and there are lots of curves along the road. Our taxi driver was saying how there’s so many accidents because of all the motorbikes. The day before we were leaving we saw many police check points where they were pulling people who were not wearing helmets.

All in all, our Phuket trip was nice and relaxing! It was great to get away for a bit from the stress of life and relax and unwind and just take a mental break. I have way too many pictures to post on this so sharing a few with y’all!

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I Love September

I know lately I’ve been slacking on my blog, and not sticking my 3 posts a week, but I have just been so busy with work and traveling! So hoping to make up for it by keeping track of my days and write something atleast 2 times a week!

September is my favorite month of the year! The air turns a bit cooler, in Kuwait this means from 130 to 100, which is a HUGE difference. My memories of childhood come back to me.. The excitement Fall in Niagraand fear of the new school year to start, all the shopping and prepping for the first day of school, and seeing my friends and finding out who will be my teachers for the new year… Ya I was a nerd…

In Toronto, Fall is my favorite time of the year because you see all the leaves changing colors. I love seeing the orange, yellow, and red leaves as I drive through the streets. In September the Mister and I would drive to Ottawa or Niagara just so we can enjoy the beautiful foliage around us. I really do miss doing things like that living in Kuwait! Here the palm trees just get closed up for the winter! No leaves to change colors. 😦

Another reason to love this month is because of football! I miss watching football! I miss being in Texas where everything revolves around different sports! I miss the Cowboys!

Another reason why September is the best time of the year is because it’s a great for change! You might be thinking, uumm isn’t January just a few months away? September is not a “New Year”, but I like to do them in September because no decision I ever make in January ever sticks so if you start them early, you will get used to it and by January you’ll have your resolution already in the basket!

My last reason for loving September is because it’s my Birthday month! WooHoo! This year I turned 30! Yup, I still remember turning 20, and now I’m 30. I don’t think it’s hit me that I’ve turned 30 because I don’t feel any anxiety or anything really. To celebrate my birthday the Mister and I went to Thailand. We wanted to go to a few cities to see Thailand all around but because of how busy work was we weren’t able to get away for longer than a week. We decided to just relax and chill so we went to Phuket. We went during off season time so it was great! Another reason to love September is the kids are back in school so many places are not as busy! Phuket was pretty dead so we were able to relax and enjoy the place without having to deal with so many tourists all around!

I’ll write another post later on about my thoughts on Phuket.

That’s all for now!

Marriage as I know it

Last weekend a friend of mine came over and we were talking about random things. She mentioned a Couples Picturesseries of videos she watched by Mark Gungor. So then we (Friend, The Husband, and I) sat and watched one of his seminars, and The Husband and I really enjoyed watching it and I hope we’ll be able to continue watching them together.

I was Googling Mark Gungor and was just going through different links on his website, there was one page that was all different types of articles. As I was going down the different titles I saw the first link under Married Life that says “10 Resolutions for My Marriage in 2014” The reason this caught my eye was in the beginning of the year The Husband I wrote five things that we wanted from the other person to make our marriage better. The sad part about this is that we both wrote our five points, but then never got the chance to discuss it! Anyhow, I saw this and thought I’d see what this lady’s 10 Resolutions for Marriage was. (You can read it by clicking HERE)

She starts of the article by stating she has an amazing marriage, but she can do better! I think I am also in the same boat! I have a wonderful marriage, but I know I can be a better wife. I love my husband more than I did the day we got married, but I can be a better person a nicer person to my husband.

After reading this article, I started thinking about what makes a good wife and what I’ve learned about marriage in the five years I’ve been married. I am writing this through my perspective as a wife and have provided Bible verses. Even if you are not religious, I think these are good points to go on. I am not writing this as a marriage expert because I have only been married for 5 years and I know there are many other capable people out there who can say so much more, but these are a few thoughts that I have come up with that have helped me in my marriage.

After reading my points you might think I am not a feminist and I don’t care about my rights as a women, but being a submissive wife does not been that you are letting your husband tell you what to do or you have no rights… I will write another post on my views of submissiveness.

1. Make sure to keep your marriage in your prayer! God has a plan in every marriage and for us to know what that is,we need to pray and seek God’s will! (Proverbs 2:1-6 & Proverbs 3:5-6)

2. Show your husband love, Show your husband kindness, be a peaceful wife, have a joyful heart, Show self-control and restraint, strive to be an excellent wife, always be faithful to God and you will be faithful to your husband, Be gentle and tender towards your husband (Galatians 5:22-23)

3. Don’t give up on your marriage! Love never fails! (1 Corinthians 13)

4. Don’t be selfish.. It’s not about you always! (Philippians 2:3)

5. Be respectful towards your husband (Ephesians 5:33)

6. Keep the Lord as your number one (Colossians 3:17)

7. Marriage brings together two sinners (Romans 3:23) so marriage should make two forgivers.

8. Serve your husband by submitting to him! (Ephesians 5:22-24)

9. Be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger (James 1:9) I am the type that is quick to speak, but the husband is very methodical in speaking and I can at times just go on and on. I have learned over the years to listen more because The Husband has much to say.

10. Smile! After a rough day at the office, when he comes home.. SMILE at him! When we were in Toronto, one thing The Husband likes me to do when he gets home is get up and greet him with a smile and hug. Remember a smile goes a long way!

11. Don’t think what you see in the movies or read is what real romance is like. Grand gestures is not what is real romance (not that grand gestures are bad…), real romance is the everyday things. True love is sacrificing things you love for your spouse, sharing your burdens, listening to everything he says, keeping promises, making him happy just by doing simple things.

These are a few points I have come up with and there are many more. I am not a perfect wife, but a wife that sins and I have to constantly work to remind myself these things.

You are not alone!

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” – Patch Adams, Patch Adams

Yesterday morning I was reading through different headlines and saw there was a post saying Robin Williams dies of an apparent suicide at 63. I had to Google Robin Williams to make sure it was true. This was a complete shocker! One of the most talented actors who was known for his comedic roles killed himself.

As I am writing this post, it just feels so surreal to be writing about him in a past tense. Writing about a man whom I had grown up watching, killed himself. I couldn’t help but reminisce of my three favorite movies of Robin Williams. The Genie in Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and in Patch Adams. I remember watching Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire countless time. Mrs. Doubtfire especially, I remember this was one of the movies my brother and I could watch over and over with our parents!

It just breaks my heart when I think that he felt he had no where else to go or no other choice and had to end his life for that reason. Nobody knew what he was struggling, but one thing is that his struggles are not uncommon.

I am not writing this post to say suicide is wrong or right. Growing up in an Indian family, discussing situations like this is taboo, but I just want there to be an awareness that depression is a disease. This stigma that is associated with depression should change. It shouldn’t be hidden away or swept under the rug. Nobody should think they are ever alone.

Speak to somebody, talk to a friend, your spouse, visit a doctor. Please try to get help! Don’t think that you don’t have an option because there is always an answer.

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