Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union and Moi

Today was one busy day following President Obama's State of the Union Speech.

1. I asked the President a question (which you can vote on here)

2. I gave my thoughts to PBS

3. Talked a bit more in depth on about the address.

Would love to know what you guys think!

The Baking Experiment

Hi guys,

So this stuff was supposed to go up yesterday, but after the afternoon I had, I was just too exhausted.
So to fill you in, my sister got back in from school yesterday only to let me know (with an afternoon’s notice) that there was going to be a mini fundraiser at her school for Haiti.  That there was a bake sale, and that it would be a good idea if I did something from that.
So I thought it would be a good idea to do a variety of different things… a batch of cupcakes, an apple pie, some chewy granola cookies and some cinnamon bun bread.  I started off with the cinnamon bun bread that I showed you guys from last weekend, and commenced to do something I’ve never tried before- a woven latticed apple pie.

I was so excited the whole way through, and I’m so glad I did it!

 You guys have no idea how many years I’ve wanted to do that! I don’t know, there’s something so satisfying about a lattice top. And here’s a pic of it out of the oven.

So I did the multicolour cupcakes from a few weeks back, except with a lemon cupcake recipe that I’d never tried before, and from all accounts I hear it tasted good (food colouring and I don’t get on well together, you know with my allergies and all).

Near the end of the night (it must have been near 10.30) I decided I’d try some Chewy Granola Cookies that had all sort of good stuff, and they turned out amazing too! (I had 6 that night... yeah. no good at all!)

It definitely was a great experience (except for me throwing out my back by the end of it!)
So the lesson from all this, never ever go on a baking binge. 
It’s may be harmful to your health.

Thanks for listening,
Lots of love,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Davos Davos Davos...

Hey Guys!

So you won't believe it... I finally got out of my little bubble, and decided to get back into what I was trained to do.... argue over politics. Now new and improved with a video!

So this whole thing started out after I watched Rima Maktabi (I think that's how its spelt!) on the Al Arabiya channel on YouTube asking for questions about the power dynamics in the Middle East.  I was initially stuck by how professionally the video was done (for Arabic news channels) and how presentable she was as a host (because believe me, I've seen some train wrecks!).
So if you're familiar with the Arabic news scene, most of the women anchoring or presenting look a little something like this.

Now before people get up in arms, this is NOT a TV presenter, couldn't think of any off the top of my head at the moment , but suffice to say that they are not the most 'natural' of beauties (or at least they make sure they're never mistaken for that!)
So juxtaposing that with the clip below.... well... you'll see.

Anyway I wasn't really sure I should get involved, but as I scrolled through the comments, I noticed that the only thing people were noticing was how she looked, and the fact that her english wasn't perfect. Not the content, her professionalism or anything else. A few comments noted that there was no way she was Arab, and that an Arab woman would not look anything like that.
So yeah.
That pushed me to make a little video, and I'm so glad i did.
Check it out!

Oh and I'd really love it if you would check out the Davos Channel Page and vote for me... It would mean a lot!
Thanks guys!

Monday, January 25, 2010

And...*POOF*... All Gone.

Hey Guys!

So I spent all of yesterday working on another one of  my "projects".
It's a top secret venture for now, but I have a feeling it's going to turn out awesome!
(I promise you'll know soon!)
This morning was spent trying to figure out a few technical Apple glitches that could (theoretically) help me out with my terrible video editing/making skills. I"m going to try a few things out for the next vlog, we'll see what happens!

After sorting out a few things, I realized that I never uploaded the notoriously terrible pic of something I made of the weekend.
It's supposed to be the easier version of cinnamon rolls (true) and it turned out amazingly!
From what I hear.
I made it Friday night, and by the time I woke up the next morning it was ALL GONE!

According to my sources it's best left to cool down, then you microwave it on defrost or something.
It's incredibly easy, and I definitely recommend you try it out!

Should get going, keep an eye out on my channel tomorrow, something a bit different should be coming your way!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Run Lyla Run!


So if you haven't check out my latest vlog, you can check it out here

So last night as I was catching up on all the latest in the realm of the YouTube videosphere, I saw the somewhat disturbing news that Sxephil was carted off yesterday to the hospital for his PKD.  His vlog the next day, as well as the latest push by Shaycarl and his Shayloss program has got me thinking about obesity and the role of community in fight against the bulge.

News has come out that Oklahoma City Mayor, Mike Cornett, has launched a city wide initiative to combat obesity.  I'm not too sure how effective it'll be, but it's a great start, and according to a Fox article over two thousand people had signed up for the program during the first week of Jan.

With the Biggest Loser, all those diet books and guru's out there telling you what do, it can be hard sometimes to get involved.  Maybe it's because they're so far removed from out daily lives, or maybe its because they make it sound so easy when it's not. Having Phil or Shaycarl upload regular vlogs documenting their struggles while having a comprehensive plan that anyone can get involved with seems like it would be a good idea. I'd love to do something like that sometime soon, but to be honest with you, I'm extremely tired, and my motivation is lacking.
Which is probably the best reason why I should start today!

Anyhoo, I should run, lots of work to get through!
Enjoy the rest of your day,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun Things to Do Outdoors?

Good Morning!

Ok... I guess it's not morning over here anymore.... about 2 pm at the moment, and since it's Friday, it's a weekend!
So here in Bahrain, our weekends are Friday and Saturday, with other places in the GCC (Saudi for example) taking Thursday and Friday off.

So one of the cool things about not living in the US or Europe is that things don't look like this

Ok.... well that looks gorgeous, but  what I mean is in the Middle East the weather rarely gets to that point.

Hearing the news of all the terrible weather going on in the US and Europe, it can be hard at times to understand what it's like, when over the past few days it's been in the 24-28 degrees C here (in the 70's for our International friends).

And though it's a bit on the chilly side for me (hey! I grew up in Saudi!) it's still kicks butt of ice storms, soggy wetness, and overall miserableness.

So I wanted to ask you guys, what do you do when the weather is amazing?
It seems like we're never outdoors (the occasional lunch etc), but I'd love to soak up a bit more sun and fresh air.... Any suggestions?

Anyhoo, thanks for reading my ramblings,
Take care and have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Links of the Day- 21.1.10

Hi Guys,

So I want to apologize for not putting the links up sooner!
I had to leave just as I was uploading the vlog, and jut got back home now (five hours later...eek!)
So, without further ado, here they are!

  1. John Edwards is THE most UNPOPULAR guy EVER
  2. John Edwards Admits (finally) to fathering Rielle Hunter's daughter
  3. Muslims Face More Bias Than Other Religions in the US
Oh and if you feel the need to actually check out the vlog, you can do so here!

Thanks again!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Mad Dash- Ravioli Edition

So, if you're not one of the people who happen to know me very well, there's one very very important thing for you to know, that would explain a lot of my behaviour (whether on this blog or on my YouTube channel).

And it is this.
I'm very very randomly focused. 
That is, I'll get something into my head, and under no circumstances will I remove myself from that task (regardless of whether I have the materials necessary, the time or the patience) until it is (in some form or another) completed.

Now, looking back on the past few posts, the mood has struck in the kitchen for the past few weeks, and before that in the fine arts department (painting) and before that well.... it's just a never ending cycle with me!

So this afternoon I fell victim to one of by biggest cravings.
Pasta with red sauce.
A Mediterranean classic.

So instead of doing what I always do (wake up in the middle of the night and boil me some pasta), I decided that I would try something different (and much much much more time consuming!)

I decided I would make ravioli from scratch.

To keep things in perspective, even though I cook almost everyday, the things I choose to tackle must have a very very basic ingredients list.
In this house, we rarely have things other than the basics, (and planning ahead is such a pain).

So away I went, only choosing recipes that I knew I had ingredients for (ran out of white flour, but found some whole wheat... why not use that?..etc. etc).

Anyhoo.... I must say that given the lack of ingredients, recipes and it being my first attempt it turned out amazing!
I filled the whole wheat ravioli with spinach and ricotta, plopped them in the oven with some spicy red sauce and mozzarella, and POOF!
One pot of amazing fresh ravioli.

Now being the person I am, it wasn't that great... the whole wheat flavour wasn't for me, plus some additional tweaking for the stuffing, but a great first attempt!

So I saved half of the batch to test out a few other ways of cooking it for tomorrow, and will report back soon!
Hope you all had a great day!
Lots of love,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Blondes Are Mean."

Hey Guys,

So my latest vlog is up, and here are the links to the stories I've been on about.

  1. Cameraman saves Haitian Child (and almost gets fired for it!)
  2. Cruise ship docks and parties in Haiti
  3. Blondes are the most Aggressive of the bunch (apparently!) 

So there you have it!
Oh and if you haven't actually check out the vlog you can here!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Psychedelic Cupcakes For Everyone!

Today has just been one of those days.
One of those days that you really want to do stuff, but are just too darn exhausted for no apparent reason.
I blame it on the weather.

So I spent all morning cooking, doing some research and trying to figure out what I'm going to do with myself for the next few months.  And guess what!
All I figured out were these lovely cupcakes...

So my mother and I spent a considerable amount of time deciding on the amount of sprinkles necessary.
Being the minimalist that I am, I thought that these were sufficient for the surprise that the cupcakes held in store, but apparently that wasn't good enough for her, and she commenced further bedazzle several innocent cupcakes!

So I know that these cupcakes seem somewhat generic and inconpicuous, but they're awesome!
I've honestly never heard of cupcakes done like this, and I think they're amazing!
I got the recipe for multicoloured cupcakes from an amazing blogger called Delicious Delicious Delicious!

Given the limited amount of time I had this morning to try something new (and the lack of butter anywhere in the house) we decided to try the concept with help from our good friend over at Betty Crockers, and it turned out fabulously!

If you get the time you should definitely check out his post (and the amazing accompanying pics!)
Thanks again for listening!

Lyla in A Tree

Hi Guys!
Man have I missed you!
So I know that I was supposed to upload something the other day, but after I filmed edited, etc. etc. for some reason it wouldn't upload. I must have tried for two days straight, fiddled around a bit, then realized it probably wasn't meant to go up!

So yesterday, I decided to film Sunday's vlog in a tree.
Check it out:

Why? I hear you ask.... well... partially because I could.
And partially because I wanted to get out of the house and do something a 'bit crazy'.
Yeah, that's right, I said it.
My idea of crazy is talking in a tree.
(wow... I'm getting dull).

So anyway, what enabled all this to happen was my trusty gorillapod.  It's pretty awesome, and before you get all suspicious, no....i did not get it for free or anything like that.
I live in Bahrain for heavens sake.
We don't do that here.

So as promised, here's a pic demonstrating an 'alternative' way to use it.

Hope you guys enjoyed the vlog, and I just want to thank all of those who responded to my deep deep troubled question.
It's really meant a lot.
And if you haven't, do it now!!!
Anyhoozle, thanks again for listening,

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Flu... Boohoo

Hi Guys,
I hope you're all doing well.
I decided a few days ago to do something a bit different with my channel, bring a bit more of myself, which I hope will translate into me being more sincere on camera.  It's going to be a big change for me, and  a very big risk in my personal and professional life (which is something I've never never wanted to put in trouble).
So I got up this morning all ready to do it, until I realized how sick I was. All the stress, and thinking over it the past few days gave me a pretty bad flu, and well... being as wound up as I am, i'll wait until tomorrow.

Thanks for being so supportive,

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gym or More Food?

Hi Guys,

In an effort to slow down my crazy cooking frenzy, I thought I'd just focus on making only one thing yesterday.  It was very hard to stick to that, but I did!

After much pushing from my family (the testers of my sometimes dubious creations), they unilaterally decided that they no longer wanted sweet items, as 'things were getting out of control'.

Now I can understand where they come from (after all you can't bake 3 cakes and a batch of biscuits and expect 3 people to eat it!) So i thought I'd try out a new recipe from Martha Stewart (I'm not the biggest fan of her personality, but she can cook.

This recipe was billed as the ligher version of chocolate pudding, and I'm here to tell you it was AMAZING (though nothing about it is 'light').  What's best about this dessert is that it's incredibly easy to make (it's shocking really), and with some additions it can be really impressive for guests. If you're interested here's the link!


So I woke up this morning feeling more antsy than usual, and decided to go to the gym.  The compound I happen to live in at the moment has a communal gym, so I got up, got all ready, only to find that it was closed! So I did what any girl in my situation would, turned back round and started planning what I wanted to make for everyone.... so much more satisfying!

Based on what's in the fridge, I think I'm going to go for the Spinach Roll (partially because it looks so impressive and unusual) from one of my favourite blogger Palachinka!

Wish me luck, it's going to be a looong day!

Hugs from Bahrain,

Yesterday's Links

Hi Guys,

Sorry for putting this up so late, but below are the links from yesterday's video.

Campaign 2010


Mayor Dixon

And there you have it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Revelations Come in the Shape of Chocolate Cakes

Hi Guys,

I hope everyone is doing fabulously, and that the New Year has really brought a change in tempo.
I've been in a bit of a cooking frenzy for the past few days, culminating in experimenting with 8 new recipes yesterday (mostly sweets- i find them more gratifying when done!)
It's definitely fun, but more than anything exhausting if you don't know your limit.

One of the things I've tried (which I thought you all might be interested in) is a relatively new invention called the 'mug cake'. Besides its awkward sounding name, this cake is amazing at what it's supposed to do.  It's basically a personal chocolate cake that's assembled in about 5 minutes (with ordinary things you should have in your kitchen) and cooks in ..... wait for it..... a minute and a half max! I know!

You can find it here on Not Quite Nigella.
To tell you the truth I was quite shocked by the outcome. I was most definitely not expecting that.  IT turned out fluffy and rich (though you have to be careful not to over cook it (as it comes out rubbery). Since I didn't have any other cocoa in the house I used Nesquik, which turned out great, but if you're planning on using a sweetened cocoa then I suggest you put in less sugar!
Other than that it was fabulous and I happened to find a jar of Betty Crockers chocolate spread and inconspicuously put some on top.... Just perfect of a late night craving!

Anyway, thank you guys for continuing to stick by me and I promise I'll try and get something up soon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Food, Food, Food...

So I just wanted to start of by apologizing for not sticking to my normal schedule!
Due to several factors (slow news days, being very busy and getting sucked into another one of my 'projects') I haven't had the time to make vlogs as much as I could.

So the past two days I've been on a bit of a cooking frenzy.  I've been known to randomly be struck by 'the mood' and end up baking several cakes at a time (which no one in the house is willing to eat!).

From what I've figured out, these bouts of 'extreme cooking' usually last two days of non-stop cooking, which is exactly what's happened here!

Among my many creations, I experimented with making broccoli soup from scratch, fruit sushi, and this morning, the ever elusive bread bowl.

After having a fabulous lunch (iced green tea- which is amazing, veggie packed tuna sandwiches (hence the green colour), and fresh salad in a bread bowl), little cantaloupe and peach 'kabobs' with honey dressing to finish it all off, was just perfect.

There really is nothing better than a refreshing simple lunch. 

Anyway, thanks for listening, and if you want to check out my latest vlog you can do so by clicking here!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hi Guys,
Apologies for not putting something up for the past two days. It's been incredibly busy on this end, so I hope you can forgive me!
Anyway, for those who saw my latest Thoughts of the Day, here are the links to the stories I talked about.

Christmas Ornament Diverts Flight

Danish Cartoon Shootout

I hope all of you had a fabulous new years, and that you've had some time to think over your resolutions.
I don't know about you, but it seems like resolutions are on their way out... perhaps not as popular as they once were...maybe?

Anyway, take care, and I'll talk to you all tomorrow!