Friday, May 6, 2011

Lazy Friday

In UAE, our weekend is Friday/Saturday and Sunday is the first working day of the week. I have for the last five years lived out crazy-busy weekends here. Before we became parents, we used to go out all the time but weekends were especially hectic. Infact, I think they were more tiring than the weekdays even though we worked at full time jobs. Things have slowed down a bit- only a bit, mind you. Today has been one such day. A rare friday when we have stayed home the whole day, cooked and eaten at home and are expecting nobody for dinner. My weekends are rather crazy otherwise. Packed with outings, errands and socialising/hosting friends. It is amlost as if it is taboo to have a quiet realxed time on fri/sat! Honestly! For a long time I remember, I would feel depressed if no plans had been made by wednesday. It was a compulsion to be out and about. Sounds mad no?

Last night as I finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I made mysef stop and think hard. And I realised that I badly needed to just be 'STILL'. I am constantly on the move if not physicaly then mentaly. I actually stood still near the kitchen sink, looked out of the window, deep in thought  and decided that we will stay home on friday. The original plan was to attend church (which takes half a day-almost) and then drive down to Fujairah to meet friends for lunch/dinner. But guess what, I just couldn't face a long day out with a pesky kid and sleep deprivation. I function on six hours of sleep, a bad back which play up only during night and a full day of chores. So I informed hubster that I would like to relax and rewind at home. No malls, no errands, no meeting anybody for a meal, no going for some show or exhibition and figured I would more than survive the seemingly 'boring' day at home instead. In Dubai, everybody loves to hang out at a mall. I may be over-generalising a bit but bear with me. Over the last few months, I have become so disenchanted with malls. They are tiring and mindless. People think that because it is so hot and humid here they have nothing to do except hang around a mall. No doubt the malls are cool, clean and serious eye candy but there's only so much hanging around a mall you can do, right?

Anyway, I speak for myself. We have been making a serious and a concious effort to keep Yohaan away from big huge malls and are doing rather well. We have made an effort to take him to the beach, the different city parks, Abra rides, The Spice Souq, Zoo and Aquariums and the times when we dont go out, I ensure he plays in the appartment complex's beautifuly landscaped lawns and several sand pits and play areas built especially for kids living here. I just let him be. He is so happy when he he is down there, getting dirty and meeting lots of other children from so many nationalities! That is priceless. Children from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, SriLanka, Pakistan, Phillipines, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, England, Germany, Russia, USA, Canada, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Nepal., Malaysia, Singapore, China...and these are just some of the nationalities in our complex. Brilliant no? Thats Dubai for you guys!

With so much already on our plate, therefore, I really do need to calm down. It has been a long, lazy day. I just lounged around in a plain old tattered T-shirt and shorts and asked the boys to look after themselves. While I pottered around the house. Brought out some knick-knacks which were stored away and had to be showcased, did up the guest bathroom with some old bottles and candles. Organised our clothes. Cleaned the balcony and repotted a few older plants which were begging for  some TLC, folded tons of laundry, dusted off my miniature chinese pottery collection, sorted my craft basket and even decoupaged an old coffee bottle . I am tired but happy to have accomplished so much at my own pace. There was no mad rush to get anywhere, no seeking of excitement and thrill outside of home. All three of us just did our own thing. I suspect hubster watched 2-3 movies back to back and Yohaan has played with water the whole day in varying ways which only a toddler can manage, just dont  even ask!

Okay now, confession time. Tomorow, I have a trip to Dubai Flea Market planned with a girlfriend and yes, we will go sans kids. This will be the first time I will leave him alone with his dad at home. I am a bit torn that he is growing up so fast and seems to be okay hanging out with dad. Anyhow, I think I am born to have extra-busy weekends. Which makes the point of this post rather pointless. Hmmm.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There is only so much one can do!

Everybody knows I love to cook. If I am  not cooking  I can be surely found cleaning my kitchen or simply pottering around there. It is by far my favourite hangout in the whole house. Did I ever mention that I love to also do dishes by hand. Yes sir, I dont have a dishwasher in this new rented flat having sold off our dishwasher to our tenant. Back in the older villa, I hardly ever chose to use it anyway because I find washing dishes by hand very calming. You give me any amount of dishes to be cleaned and I am a happy bunny! At every informal party with friends or family here, I am always the first to offer to clean up once the meal is over. Infact, I get restless to do the dishes much to the host's embarassment! Must tell you all about this one time when my neighbour invited me to do her dishes after a party she had organised and was left with a big pile of washing up. She knew about my obsession so she took up my offer to help. Well, I was in dish-washing-heaven! I loved it. In turn she made lunch for Yohaan and me. Yes, yes we are weird like that. Werid neighbours included...

Anyway, I digress. The other day MSIN called me for a chat. I informed her with fair amount of pride that I had prepared roast Lamb Shanks for our dinner. The first time ever. It was fun and tasted Yumm eve though I say so myself. With some green vegetables and bread it was all good. But unfortunately, the hubster of mine totally freaked for some reason. He found the 'largish' size of the shanks a turn off and he refused dinner!!! How crazy is that now??? How can the size of a meal turn someone off? What about the presentation? The taste? The effort put in? I was pretty crushed actually considering he is a hard core carnivore....I thought he can eat anything dead and cooked...But see, thats the thing with hubster. He hates change. I have been given strict instructions not to experiment in the kitchen which I find rather frustrating. It's like having to curb y creative instincts in one area I know I am good in. Over the years, he has refused many a meals because he deemed them too different from the usual! Arghhh!

So then, dinner that day was a fiasco with neither of us touching the darned shanks! Yohaan included. Hmpppph. The boys were hungry though and I quickly came up with this awesome chicken salad. I have no name for it although the stuff that goes in to it ?The usual suspects. Mayo, mustard, cooked diced chicken cubes etc. I am sure some reader from the western hemishphere will find it familiar. For us south Asians, or atleast for my family, this is a novelty since we dont eat salad by itself as a meal! Salad is strictly on the sides to accompany the main course. And often just as spicy! So without further ado, let me recap this super quick, easy-peasy creamy chicken salad for those times when your partner is being a spoilt brat!

1 cup of diced apple. I used Granny Smith ones because that is what I had on hand.
1 cup of roasted walnuts or mixed nuts. I had lots of raisins in it too. Roast the nuts.
1 cup of  mixed  fresh grapes. I halved them all. And included the juice that ran.
1 cup of salad leaves - lettuce. I used ice-berg.
1/2 cup of  diced celery.
1 cup of peeled and seperated Pomegranate seeds. It gave a lovely red colour and the juice was ever so sweet.
2.5 cups of cooked/boiled (in salted water) chicken - diced.

Mix all of the above in a large salad bowl except the raosted nuts. Now make a dressing by mixing 1 cup of  regular mayo, although I had only garlic falvoured mayo in my fridge- which is fine too, 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of mustard sauce. Salt and pepper according to taste but not too much. Pour this over the assembled salad greens. Mix well. Top it off with the roasted nuts. Serve with any bread of your choice. I served it with Khaboos- Arab local bread. And Iced tea. Doesn't it sound easy to put together. Unless ofcourse you dont stock cooked chicken bits for times such as these in which case you will have to prepare the chicken first. I usually cook and keep chicken along with bones and stock too, mostly for Yohaan' meals. It is wholesome and nutritous. Do play around with the greens you want to use and some of you may want to drop the nuts due to allergies. Feel free. I just threw in whatever I found in my fridge. And yes, the hubster and brat both ate it and liked it but hubster was back to his old ways. He said to me, 'It is really nice, but next time and at all times, please stick to Indian'. Clearly, there's no pleasing a certain someone around here! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Growing Through Motherhood

Growing Through Motherhood

Came across this beautiful post on one of my favourite blogs. Just when I had screamed at Yohaan for the n'th time! Enjoy and be blessed!