Oh The Geeky Things We Notice!

Me and my husband love this show. People come to these wealthy people to try to convince them to invest their company/business or project. Brilliantly done, I love the cast of  Sharks (Robert is my favorite), and is quite entertaining. But it was this show that brought a point out that I was surprised to find out:

I look at WAY too many rugs.

Why would Shark Tank point this out? I can give you a few.. pictures that shows EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Look at those Persian/Oriental rugs! The fact that I NOTICED them is quite a feat. The next part:

I KNOW WHAT KIND THEY ARE. O.O

Oh yes, and I have proof! Let’s visit my buddies at http://esalerugs.com/

First, the top picture. Doesn’t it look a LOT like:

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Similar isn’t? It’s the traditional Kashan style rug.

Now, for the second Shark Tank Photo (Thank you Hulu!). Look familiar?:

Now, the coloring may be a bit off, but you know what.. I would say that is it! This could pass for two different styles, possibly three. The first that came to my mind was the Mood style rug (the one shown above). It could also be very similar to Tabriz or Indo-Tabriz.

So, yes, I spend a LOT of time looking at rugs. Yes, I DO notice these things. But that just shows you how much I like them! I bet you do that from time to time!

My husband CONSTANTLY does that with cars. “Oh look! It’s a (enter type of car here that I had no chance at recognizing).” Oh yeah. Sometimes he just resorts to “Do you remember that car Paul Walker drove in the Fast and the Furious?” *LAUGHS*

What do you notice that many other people probably don’t?

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Everyone Has Their Hard Days

 

Everyone has their bad days. It is unavoidable. There is nothing we can do about it. But there is things we can do to get us out of that sad feeling.

Everyone is different so each method may not work best for you. But here are some things I found useful, and I will add comments and make some suggestions of my own.

Here is the article I am getting a lot of suggestions from:

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Happy-when-You’re-Sad

1. Talk to a friend.

Sometimes just talking to someone can make a world of change. I know that everyone has their person that they can go to. It can be a friend, a family member, counselor, anyone as long as you can get it out. Once you do, most of the time, it helps a lot. It’s part of the healing process. Bottle things up too much, and it has negative effects.

2. Watch a good movie.

Some people would probably prefer to watch a funny one, but there are some who prefer sad ones so they realize maybe what they are going through isn’t so bad after all. Either way, make sure it’s one you have seen before and you  know you enjoy. Watching one that you haven’t seen and it turns out it just… isn’t your type, it may not help.

3. Express yourself.

There are MANY ways to do this. Write! Draw! Sing! Dance! Anything and enjoy it! Some people sing a happy song, some write a dramatic story. Do whatever you love doing, and enjoy!

4. Cry.

Sometimes all you need is just a good cry. I can definitely say that it is true.

5. Give yourself a treat!

Now, I am not saying always eat when you are sad, but sometimes, you need to treat yourself. Some would treat with a movie. I would treat myself with a delicious dessert. (Want a recipe? Just the bottom of the blog. *wink*)

6. Dream.

Sometimes just letting your mind wander and dream on your own helps. Think of that dream wedding. Look at those rugs you have always wanted. Think of names for you future children. Imagine your speech that you will give when you receive your Grammy! Some people, it makes them sad, but me, it reminds me of the possibilities that are out there, and reminds me that not all is bad.

So, what do you do to help cheer yourself up? Your suggestion may help another.

Better Than Sex Cake! (Oh yes, it is very delicious!)

Now for this, I must say that when I was originally taught how to make it, it included marshmallow fluff as well! I do not recommend making it all the time, but once a year is fine. ;P

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 ounces caramel ice cream topping
  • 3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

  1. Bake cake according to package directions for a 9×13 inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm. (Hint: I crush my candy bars into small chunks as opposed to crumbs – I like to have pieces I can chew on!)
  3. Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping. Refrigerate and serve right from the pan!

To The Love of Books!

   

So, I was informed today that one of the movies that I am looking forward to is coming out this weekend! I am most excited! Why? I LOVED the Hunger Games Trilogy! It was a fantastic book that had me from the get go and someone that had me reading it just about non stop!

I have also, within the last month, watched a fantastic movie that was based upon a book (Ah books, most wonderful, aren’t they?). I usually prefer books over movies, but there is still that excitement! Plus it’s something my family can watch together and enjoy! It’s hard to read a good long book together, but it’s easy to sit down and turn on a movie and have everyone enjoy it!

So to celebrate and prepare myself for the Hunger Game movies, I am going to try a Pie recipe that I have been wanting to do since seeing The Help. The only difference: No “secret/special” ingredients.

But first, let me tell you about the Hunger Games!

The Hunger Games is actually set in the future after some apocalyptic event. Things are very different and all of our technology gone. There are some high tech devices, but these devices are not for the everyday person. Only the Capitol has the wealth to truly have this technology. Other than the Capitol, There are 12 other districts. And sadly, their names just say their district. For example, the district that the main character is from is District 12.

Now here is a clip from Wikipedia that I think describes what the Hunger Games is: “As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or “tributes”) must fight in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol, until only one remains.”

And this is the world we find Katniss Everdeen.

Now, I don’t want to ruin the plot or anything, so I will leave it as so. But trust me when is say it is a MUST READ book!

And to celebrate my excitement, here is a recipe from The Help! Which was a book, now a movie. I cannot wait to try this!

As for the movie, it is a GREAT movie! My husband and I watched it together (took some convincing but he eventually agreed to it) and let me tell you, he was quite surprised how much he liked it. We bought it. Fantastic movie. The Help is about, well… the Help. This was during the par-tide where people in the south justified “Separate, but equal” but really, the blacks were still treated quite harshly and unjustly. This is trying to see the point of view from a woman who was a maid. Her mother was a made, and her grandmother was a slave, and so she always knew she’d be a maid (or so is the gist of the opening dialogue of the movie), and Rita Skeeter, a white southern lady who loved her maid growing up and has a respect for them that many others do not. They try to show others the injustice and the point of view of being the help by anonymously writing a book. There’s more to it, but you need to see it! Now, for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 packaged pie dough crust, such as Pillsbury
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  5. 2 large eggs, beaten
  6. 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. Whipped cream, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Ease the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.
  3. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center. Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.
MAKE AHEAD The chocolate pie can be refrigerated overnight.

Happy New Years!

Now, many of you are wondering why I said Happy New Year. It’s not January 1st, so it’s not the regular calendar New Year. It is not the Chinese New Year, so what is it?

Today is the first day of spring! And on the Iranian Calendar, it is the New Year! (There are actually many different New Years that we don’t often hear about. I just chose to write about this one because it’s a bit easier to remember and there aren’t notices everywhere like for the Chinese New Year! I mean, First Day Of Spring! What a nice day to have a New Year!)

I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate. *wink*

And to celebrate the New Year, what better way than a traditional New Year’s Dish and some Iranian inspired decor! (Yes, that means some Persian rugs! Nothing more classic. Plus, I love rugs, if you couldn’t tell.)

First, Food beFORe thought. ;D

We’re going to show a traditional New Year’s dish in the Iranian culture. Sabzi Polo ba Mahee. Basically Fish and Persian Herbed Rice.

Ingrediants:

4 c. Basmati rice
4 tbsp canola oil
1 large piece lavash bread or lettuce
1/2 c. scallion tops (greens only), washed & chopped fine
1 1/2 c. flat leaf parsley, washed & chopped fine
1 bunch (4-5 stalks) green garlic, washed but left whole
1 c. cilantro, washed & chopped fine
1 1/2 c. dill, washed & chopped fine

Instructions:
  1. Soak the rice in well-salted water for a few hours before cooking, changing the water once towards the end of the soak.
  2. Fill a large, heavy pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Add the rice (and the water it was soaking in), and bring it back up to a boil.
  4. Stir gently a couple of times, and keep an eye on the grains – as they begin to turn translucent on the ends, occasionally take one out and chew it – you’re looking for something slight on the crunchier side of “al dente”, but chewable.
  5. Drain the rice in a colander, and run some water over it to rinse off the excess salt.
  6. Add the oil to your pot, along with 1/2 cup of water or milk (to make tahdeeg), and lay the lavash bread  on the bottom in one layer (an alternative to lavash bread is lettuce)
  7. Begin adding the rice and herbs into your pot, but “mounding” everything so that you have a pyramid of sorts at the end. You want to lightly “fluff” the herbs into the rice to incorporate as you go along. The garlic you want to lay about halfway through the mound in one or two layers as needed.
  8. With the handle of a wooden spoon, make a few holes around the mound of rice to create “steam vents”
  9. Wrap the lid of the pot in a clean kitchen towel and secure it, ensuring that the towel is well out of the way of any flame.
  10. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons water or oil over the top of the rice, and put the lid on (the towel will help absorb the steam so water doesn’t drip back onto the rice).
  11. Cook on high heat for 5-8 minutes until you see steam, and hear a sizzling/crackling coming from the bottom of the pot.
  12. Reduce to medium, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, keeping an ear and nose on things – you don’t want to smell smoke, but you do want to hear light crackling/popping.
  13. Finally, reduce again to medium-low, and cook a final 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you smell a “toastiness” from the tahdeeg on the bottom, and the top grains of rice are tender.
Serve this with the fish, which you warm slowly in the oven, and narenj (bitter orange, which is actually tart-bitter). If you can’t find narenj, lemons will do.
Traditionally, this dish is served with white king fish however I choose to use salmon. You can really substitute for any type of fish that you fancy cooked in any way you know best.
Now, for the design! There are many different style of rugs you can look at for Persian Rugs. They add a nice feel to a room!
Beautiful rugs! These are the authentic hand-knotted ones. There are machine made ones as well that aren’t as expensive if you are on more of a budget.
Wanna see how it can look in a home?
(Okay, one of them is more contemporary, but I couldn’t help it! It looked cute!)
And this is how I am celebrating this Iranian New Year. ;P

Celebrating “The Blues!”

This morning I was listening to the radio when they said something about how a new study is showing that blueberries are actually good to help with DIABETES. Now, I know in the past I have heard that they are one of the top fruits people recommend because of the antioxidants, but I decided to dedicate this entry to the positive facts of blueberries and to celebrate, show my OTHER favorite BLUE things.

This will be fun!

– Blueberries can improve memory!
– A recent study that included blueberries as a low-GI fruit has found that blueberries, along with other berries, clearly have a favorable impact on blood sugar regulation in persons already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
–  There is 35% of Vitamin K, 25% of Manganese, 24% of Vitamin C, and 14% of Fiber
– Damage to muscles following a very taxing exercise can be reduced by eating Blueberries!
–  It can even help protect your brain from oxidative stress!

Basically, the more I look into it, the most positive things I find! There are a LOT more beneficial things about blueberries, but I don’t want the ENTIRE blog to be about all the good it can do! (but I should do that one day). I want to celebrate by seeing other blue things!

I have always loved the blue roses. Though I am not sure they are “all natural” there is a way to get them… I think.

There is always Cookie Monster! He was one of my favorite Sesame Street characters growing up!

And Grover! But you don’t hear much about him anymore. One of my favorite books when I was a kid was a Grover book called “The Monster at the End of This Book”. …. or something like that.

My favorite blue rug!

And my favorite team has a blue jersey! (And blue in their logo. ;P)

What are your favorite things that are blue?

Juicing – The Healthy Treat

I hate vegetables. This is a fact. I feel terrible as a mom that I cannot stand the good habits I need to teach my daughter so she grows up healthy and strong!

But there is a way around this! Where I CANNOT taste most vegetables but it is SO healthy and everyone enjoys it! Including me! (My daughter is young enough where she will try anything and enjoys just about everything.)

And what is this way, you may ask? JUICING. Yes, the wonderful world of juice!

I could go into this long thing about why I started, the good stuff it has done, the weight I have lost (Yes, I have lost weight from this and let me tell you, with all the stuff I have tried, it is amazing how this natural thing works so much better than anything else), I decided I’ll just stick with writing some “recipes” we have done and love! That way you can try it and like it, THEN find out how awesome it really is!

It’s really easy. If you don’t have a juicer (I highly recommend one. I mean, what’s better than fresh Orange Juice or Apple juice that you make yourself so you know EXACTLY what is going into it?) just get something that basically liquifies the fruits and veggies.

Now, here are some easy Juice mixes I highly recommend. They’re healthy, and boy do they taste good!

My husband and I experiment together, so a lot of these may appear to have a lot of the same things. Mix things up and see what you like. Remember, do fruits AND veggies!

Our all time favorite is:

Kale
Cucumber (1)
Apple (2)
Broccoli (1 steam full or just do a bunch of the actual little things)
Carrots (4)

It gives enough to give us BOTH a full glass!

Now, the reason I didn’t list the amount of Kale is because it is at your discretion. A lot of people do not like the taste, but it is one of the HEALTHIEST things out there for you. Me and my husband, our juice tastes weird if we DON’T taste it.

That’s right, we LIKE Kale. Crazy huh?

Another juice to try:

Kale (Again, use a little, use a lot. Up to you. I recommend adding a little at first, to see how it affects it and adjust)
Apple (1)
Broccoli(1)
Celery (this has  a stronger taste than you’d think. Again, try one stalk, taste, then add more if you’d like)
Pineapple (1/4)
Cucumber (Cucumber adds a bit of juice)

Now, for  a fun juice I call a dessert juice!

Apples
Strawberries
Pineapple
Orange
Carrot

This juice helps curb your sweat tooth and tastes FANTASTIC.

Hope this all helps you like it has me. Just try it. Taste it. Fix it to your own liking. ANOTHER TIP: Apples are your friends. If you don’t like the taste of something, add apples. They tend to cover a lot of tastes that you may not enjoy and make it easier to drink.

Now go on, try it.

Trust the Monkey.

Time For A Spring Mix!

Due to the fact I am feeling inspired by the GORGEOUS weather outside, I thought I’d write about SPRING DECOR! What is funner than the light and bright colors finally making their way back into our lives? But not only decor, but in everything we do? We tend to add light colors to our wardrobe, and even our food. (Winter Steak VS. Spring Salad? I rest my case)

Back to what I am inspired to do, here are some fun suggestions and ideas.

To add Spring to a room is actually a little easier than you may think. You don’t have to repaint your walls, or doing anything too drastic! There are easier ideas to bring COLOR back into your life!

Easiest thing: Rugs, blankets, and little “accessories” for your room will do it! No matter what color your furniture or walls are!  And they do not have to be extreme! For example, here is a rug that I love that I think adds a good amount of “spring” without hurting your eyes with bright colors:

It has those subtle hues of green and blue without being too extreme. It’s a beautiful rug that can go in just about any room! (Loving eSaleRugs.com, so many choices!)

Or a nice light blanket to drape on the side of the sofa or have spread out on the back of it. (Walmart carries this.)

It will do wonders to a room. Even just ad some plants (fake or real works).

And finally, even a bit if DIY items can be fun. This is a neat idea I found on the web while surfing through things to find more inspiration. Click the picture to get a link to the site that has the step by step instructions, or click on the link below the picture to find out how to make the Paint Chip Art Photo shown in the picture! It is easy to make, doesn’t have to cost you a thing, and what’s best, you can chose the COLORS you want in it! You can do it for ANY season!

It’s a unique and beautiful idea that can be found partway down this blog:
http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/08/nine-dolla-pillows-more-free-art/

And as always, I would recommend a spring snack to celebrate the new feeling you have given a room without having to completely redo it! And with this, I leave you to create your new Spring room. (Here’s a recipe inspired by St. Patrick’s Day!)

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag yogurt or chocolate covered pretzels
  • 1 Cube white Almond Bark
  • colored sugar, icing, sprinkles for decoration (optional)

Instructions

  1. First you need you melt the white chocolate. This is going to be like the glue that holds it together. I used almond bark. I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring and checking each time. It should take about 60 seconds.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Each shamrock will need 3 whole pretzels and a piece for the stem.
  3. You can either dip the pretzel or use something to dab with chocolate on. First take the bottom part of 2 pretzels and dip them chocolate. Lay them on the wax paper with the bottoms touching each other, so it looks like a butterfly. Then take another pretzel and dip the bottom of it in chocolate. Place it on top of the other two, so that all the bottoms are in the center and the looped part of the pretzels are facing out. Now it should look like a shamrock. If you want to add a stem just take a broken piece of pretzel and dip on end in chocolate and attached it.
  4. Let cool.
  5. You can leave them this way or you can keep decorating! Get creative! If it was up to my kids they would be covered in sprinkles! I took some icing that I dyed green, put it in a sandwich bag with one of the corners snipped off and iced around the outline of the shamrock. I think that it helped it stand out a little.
  6. Now all that’s left is to enjoy!