Friday, August 29, 2014

Green Smoothies

The idea of juicing a mixture of fruit and veggies together had never appealed me. I remember at the age of twelve I made a smoothie with peaches, apples and grapes and I couldn't bring myself to finishing it. So that made me stay away for a long, long time. Then a while later my friend told me a recipe for an apple and banana smoothie/milkshake thing and I loved it. I made it for several days in a row. It was a constant breakfast, dinner and even snack. I like my smoothies/milkshakes to be blended with tons of ice, so when winter came I stopped. Then I didn't feel like having it, I'd just rather have something else.

The other day I found a picture of a green smoothie and the girl posted that if you knew the benefits you would make some as well. I googled more about it and I loved the idea of drinking it in the morning on a empty stomach and it doesn't need digesting so your body would suck the nutrients fast. Also getting more greens into your everyday diet and consuming something before coffee. More about the benefits over here.

It is simple. You choose your leafy greens, one or two fruits, water or milk and some lemon. If you like ginger then add it to spice it up, some flax seeds. Honestly the combinations are numerous. I'll share some I made:

- 1 green apple
- purple grapes
- water
- ginger
- long-leafed lettuce

- orange
- lemon
- ginger
- lettuce
- dates to sweeten it
- water
- mint
- long-leafed lettuce

- avocado
- green apple
- water
- lemon
- ginger
-  long-leafed lettuce
- mint

- watermelon
- cucumber
- water
- dates
-  long-leafed lettuce
- ginger
- mint

* I prefer not juicing the lemon and orange, add it all so you would gain more fiber and not waste the nutrients in the fruit.

Feel free to add honey or any kind of sweetener you'd like, but I would prefer you don't. Use naturally sugary fruit if you like your smoothies really sweet.

Do you make green smoothies? What's your favorite combo?

Happy sipping,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pride and Prejudice Review: The Book

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Rating: ★★★★★

Pride and Prejudice is a classic, if you read the synopsis then it would just give away the majority of the plot. I'd rather if you did not know much, it is better to embark on the book that way. If you disagree then you could look up the synopsis on google or goodreads. So no synopsis from me.

I have only watched Pride and Prejudice (the movie) when I was younger and it was only in parts not whole, thus I cannot really remember anything- thanks to my brilliant memory. Which is why when I started reading Pride and Prejudice I only had a very vague idea of the plot as a whole. I was pretty surprised by how good the book is. Going into the book at the start, I was afraid because people either loved it or hated it and most of the people whom opinion I trust thought the novel was too slow and lacked action.

The novel concentrates more on character development and personality analysis, which could be to many viewed as dull as they seek more action and perhaps a plot twist. However, the novel portrays the mindset and outlook of the era quite impeccably. I have not read many books in that time, nor have I read many with the subject of courting and marrying and it does quite interest me very much. Therefore, I found this novel highly entertaining and very well written. I do not have any negative feed-back about it at all, which is quite surprising because I thought I may enjoy it but I would have some minor issues. 

I am a bit concerned that maybe if I read too much of this writing style it could be tedious. However, I will continue reading Austen's novels after this good start. 

absolutely loved Mr. Bennets character, I wish Austen shed more light on him. Mrs. Bennet on the other hand should be strangled, she really got on my nerves and I kept fuming whenever she dropped a very rude and shallow remark, yet she was brilliant in a I-want-to-kill-her way. It does though, portray many personas of that time. I did not however, expect a character like Mr. Bennet to be present. All the other characters are well-written and entertaining as well. 

Spoilers below this sentence.

I found it quite amusing the gradual change of Elizabeth's feeling from loath to utter love. 

Let me know what do you think of the book? Who is your favorite character and why?

Happy reading,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

50 Book Related Questions

I wanted to answer some book related questions today, I googled it and I found this blog post with the questions and now I'm doing it. Lets get started:

1. Favorite childhood book?
This is easy I loved (and still do re-read every once in a while) The Twits by Roald Dahl. 

2. What are you reading right now?  
I just read a couple of pages of Pride and Prejudice. I didn't have time to sit down a read an adequate amount. 

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
4. Bad book habit? 
Not being able to stop myself from buying more books.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? 
6. Do you have an e-reader?
 Nope, I prefer the physical copy of a book, but I occasionally do read using an e-reader. 

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? 
For the most part a book at a time. 

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? 

9. Least favourite book you read this year?
A book I just read in Arabic called اللص والكلاب - نجيب محفوظ

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
I can't choose one, but at the end of the year I'll probably do my top ten or fourteen...

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? 
I just read books that appeal me. Some are more challenging language wise or its hard to get through but I don't feel like I classify the books according to how comfortable I am reading it.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
 If you mean genre-wise then I like magical realism, historical fiction, classics, some contemporary and young adult. Again, I don't understand how is there a reading comfort zone. Just read what you like. 

13. Can you read in the car? 
For the most part. 

14. Favorite place to read?
Honestly everywhere I don't mind as long as nothing distracts me. I like changing the places where I'd read, especially around the house.  

15. What is your policy on book lending? 
That they better return the book.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books? 
I used to do it all the time, now I mostly use bookmarks, I do still do it sometimes.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? 
Yes. Rarely though. 

18. Not even with text books? 
I do.
19. What is your favourite language to read in? 
20. What makes you love a book? 
I wouldn't say there is something in particular. As long as I lose sense of my surrounding and immerse myself into the book, I relate to some extent and beautiful writing wins me over as well.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? 
Ones mentioned in the answer above.
22. Favorite genre? 
I'd say magical realism.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? 
If I wish I did then I just will?   

24. Favourite biography? 
As long as I am interested in the persons biography and its written adequately then I'd like it. I do not have a favorite and I don't read that many.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? 

26. Favourite cookbook? 
I don't have one, but if any of you got any to recommend then please do. 

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? 
Extremely Loud Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

28. Favorite reading snack? 
Coffee/tea and cake.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. 
I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green when I read when it first came out, I still do, but whenever I see the excessive hype it makes me cringe.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? 
I don't look up to what the critics say.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? 
As long as I am being completely honest then I don't mind. I think if I had to review a book of an author I'd personally know it would be stressful since I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings. 

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? 
Russian so I'd read the Russian classics, I think I'd enjoy them more that way. 

35. Favorite Poet? 
I don't read a lot of poetry, but its Ilya Kaminsky. He's absolutely brilliant, check him out. 

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
One or two at a time, sometimes four but not more than that.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? 
Not very often. I don't check it out unless I do want to read it.

38. Favorite fictional character? 
I will list a couple I could think of right now, but of course there are more.
  • Fermin Romero from the Shadow of the Wind. 
  • All the characters in Harry Potter honestly.
  • Levi from Fangirl.
  • The mother and father in the Book Thief the ones that adopted Liesel 
  • and Max (my heart still aches)
I think that is enough for now.

39. Favourite fictional villain? 
Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter because she is pure evil. I do not think anyone out there who has read the book doesn't hate her. It is like she demands to be hated.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. 
I have no clue. 

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. 

Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by 

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? 

When people speak really loudly around me or to me while I am reading. It gets on my nerve.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? 

I liked The Book Thief, Life of Pi (didn't enjoy the book that much but the movie was really good- I know odd) thats all I can think of right now.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation? 

I can't think of any.
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? 

Perhaps around 50 BD (around $133) but that was only once. I usually spend 10-20 BD.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? 

I don't. 

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? 
If I can't seem to enjoy it at all. 

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? 


50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? 
Keep books. If I didn't enjoy the book they I would probably donate it or give it to someone whom I think would like it. 

Feel free to answer the questions as well in the comment section or some of them, or even post a blog post and post the link below. :-) 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cacao Cupcakes and Dutch Waffles

I have been doing a lot of cooking lately. This is turning into a food blog. Just now I emerged out of the kitchen after helping my mum for 2.5 hours because we will have heaps of guests tonight. My mum made a feast. I'm very proud of her. 

I made the soup and salad since easy food is my specialty. The salad is nothing special-It just occurred to me, I will hopefully take pictures of everything and post it. Who doesn't love looking at food? Therefore I will stop talking about what food had been made. You get to peer into the great food my mum puts in my belly. 

A couple of days back I went into the kitchen to make salad and I still had time until we ate. So I decided to make extra chocolaty cupcakes and cake. I had cute mini cake pans that I used as well. I only made a small amount because it was for trial, I wasn't sure how good will it be. The guide recipe is from here. I did add more things so I will list the ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 cup (192 grams) flour
  • 1 cup (201 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (7 grams) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla essence or 2 tsp. (2ml) vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 cup (200 ml) water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 table spoons of coffee
  • as much as you want of the Hershey chocolate chips 
  • as much as you want of butter-scotch chips 
It turned out very delicious and moist. I need to make more soon. I'm glad my sisters have been enjoying my baking as well. I have a few more ideas and inspiration, if they do not turn into an epic failure then stay tuned I will post the recipes. 

  These are the mini cakes from the little pans. 

I also came across the other day those Dutch Waffles, I never knew we had them here in Bahrain. But I spotted some in Caribou and I had to snatch it. If you do not know the best way to eat it, you just make a hot cup of tea or coffee - whatever you prefer - and you pop the waffles on top while its still hot. Then it would melt and you can eat it with you hot drink. yuummm I wish I had one right now. 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Raw Chocolate

I was thinking the other day of a way to make healthier chocolate at home, so I would feel less guilty eating them. When I searched online I found many recipes, most of them were super easy that is why I gave it a try. You'll only need three things:
  • 1/4 cup of Coconut oil
  • 5 table spoons (it depends on how sweet you want it, I use 5) of Honey/Maple Syrup/ Agave or whatever else to sweeten it
  • 2/3 cup of Cocoa Powder
What you have to do is heat the coconut oil on very low heat until the chunks dissolve. Then add both the honey and cocoa. Use a whisker to whisk everything together as it makes it a heaps easier. Pour it onto whatever molds you choose and pop it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes. It depends on how deep your mold is, but it does not take long. Of course you can add nuts or what you want to increase the variety. And voila!

They do melt in your fingers once out of the fridge, but I do not mind that. I like the texture of the chocolate. Also do not overheat the coconut oil otherwise it will have a funny texture to it. 

I did do different flavor ones. In the broken chunks I added mint oil and it tastes really good, minty dark chocolate. In the round one I added some lightly crushed almonds. And the chocolate chunks I left it with nothing more. This way you get different flavors, but they are all so good. 

Until next time,