Friday, December 2, 2016

November Clicks

I haven't done justice to Fall this year. There should have been more pictures of leaves changing colors. There are a few that I am proud of though. 

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Abbie's Radio TV Is Finally Here (Introduction)


I cannot believe this! Jumpity jump jump! Abbie's Radio'TV has finally aired! I say that like it went up on national radio or tv or something but my excitement is the same. I have been at it since forever and there were several moments (mostly during heartbroken mood swings) when I swear I was THIS close to canceling the idea of launching the Radio'TV. Big big big thanks to Sara (the awesomesauce sister) who kept kicking me to 'don't be stupid' and contributed to the making of this incredibly impossible feat. So there you go, enjoy! I am already working on the next one inshaAllah

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#Almost30 Still Weird

Here comes November and I am all set to blow the thirtieth candle on a majestic birthday cake (because it'll be from Sara's Baked Creations, o'course). A quick Desi Expectations Checklist At 30:

In my case, I am living the inverted pyramid of needs - diagram below. I have my business, my car, my place, an MBA degree, and I have also accomplished the annual religious pilgrimage (Hajj - that most people do when they are ages old), and yet I am rolling single! I don't have children but I am a parental figure to a gorgeous niece, a fantastic homemaker to a family of 4, and a miracle-worker landlady to a diverse bunch of tenants (students, medical care facility, and single parents). I am very, very grateful for everything.

Found this off the Internet, edited it.

So you're supposed to work your way upwards. I've been going up and down the pyramid in no particular order - supreme chaos and confusion for King Tutenkhamen. 

"Somebody Explain The Pyramid To This Woman!"

I have always begged to differ, and even though I was 'requested' (by a very pessimistic and discouraging academic figure) not to create waves - I keep stirring up a storm in every water I sail.

30 Weird Things At 30

  1. I talk to myself - entire conversations, sometimes enactments of two characters from my imagination.
  2. I hate chic-flicks, rom-coms, and anything non-action, non-thriller.
  3. Often, I look at my reflection in the mirror and get a feeling as if I am a third person looking at myself. As if I don't know who I am.
  4. I wear a bite plate to sleep.
  5. My hands and feet (nails and skin) turn bluish in the cold.
  6. I practice my RJ voice when I am alone in my car.
  7. I have named my car ARROW - it is a SHE - and the name's inspired by Arrow, the TV show.
  8. I dance in my bathroom
  9. I have transitional vertebrae.
  10. I eat powdered milk.
  11. I never eat full portions of any dessert. Always bite size.
  12. I never eat from a dish that has very little left of something - or something that's lesser in quantity than the number of people.
  13. Brush my teeth after every meal and snack.
  14. I want to adopt a child and raise her/him well.
  15. I comb my hair once or twice a week.
  16. When I wash dishes and set them at the side on the dish rack, I pretend I'm a cashier checking out customers!
  17. I sleep with a pillow between my knees, or with my legs propped up on a pillow mountain.
  18. I have quit sodas.
  19. I used to be 87 kilograms.
  20. I don't believe in soulmates / true love, or anything along those lines.
  21. I am obsessed with masquerade masks, feathers, journals, notepads, crafty bits!
  22. I have webbed toes.
  23. I forgive, but I NEVER forget.
  24. My desk/room is always messy.
  25. I am single and I intend to stay that way.
  26. When a movie theater is almost empty - it creeps me out!
  27. I cannot go to the bathroom - or anywhere in the house - after watching a horror movie.
  28. My first crush was Kenny Morrison (Atreyu) from the Neverending Story.
  29. My all time favorite vacation spot is the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida.
  30. I am a writer - I write!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

We Should Talk

--- FALL ---

It has got to be one of God's most beautiful gifts. I was relishing the sights and sounds of the season as I munched on my Starbucks Sugar Skull and Pumpkin cookies. Besides the good food and the beautiful colors, there is so much festivity to Fall. It is the celebration of life itself it seems. And, there is so much to show and tell. 

Hannah Spannah

I have been putting off free-writing for a very, very long time. And by putting it off I mean I have been avoiding looking at my computer, clicking on 'New Post' and typing something - anything but recipes and fixed-format posts -, and I have been keeping myself over-occupied in the kitchen to avoid the subject. 2016 has been my #Almost30 year and one of my biggest personal goal is to restart my vlogs. Each one of us should be able to get our voice out and heard - in some way or the other. Often, there is no good listening ear at the other end, in person, so you need to find your medium. In 2010 I started my Radio-TV - as I called them - weekly vlogs. Now, I am not the cyberspace's camera-friendly video blogger, so I used to do voice overs. My friends loved the entire deal, and I loved the energy I used to get from recording them. And then - gradually - life happened and I stopped doing those!

Basically, the number one reason was not being able to find the privacy (or the time to retire to a private place) to record a voice over. I was home alone for 3 months (during the days, o'course) in 2010 and that is when the Radio-TV happened. Now, I do not have a soundproof studio room like the fancy shmancy vloggers. My bedroom in the condo that we used to live in was almost sound proof because nobody used to be around during the day. My study room / home office now in the mansion of a house we live in now is as public as a fish market (minus the stink) and there is no way I can pull off my RJ voice there! And no, there are no soundproof spots in this villa. I mean, when Gubbster (my niece) is not around the place has an ambiance of a cemetery (minus the cawing ravens), but I cannot really sit down anywhere and go "This is Abbie's Radio-TV!". 

In a month's time - almost - I am turning 30 and that is a big deal for me on my planet. I figured it is the perfect milestone to get my voice out again. It is now or never! - Bon Jovi serious! - And I have found the perfect recording studio which would have zero noise. The ARROW! --- No, not the Stephen Amell Green Hood Arrow, but my super hot SUV --- her name is ARROW and she is a she! I am going to sit in the driving seat in my garage and record the voice over. O'course during Fall and Winter this would be smooth. But it would be "Houston we have a problem!" in the summers when the temperatures shoot up crazy. I would have to sit in there and sweat it out then.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

XOXO Skyline Birthday Decor & Coffee Rose Cake

I have been wanting to put together an XOXO/Skyline theme for a very long time. The idea triggered when Sara got an XOXO mug. She is a big Gossip Girl fan and XOXO and New York skyline elements go together. There was no better way to pay tribute to my awesome sister on her 25th birthday than to make an elegant gold cake and display it against a skyline of a metropolis! 

The skyline background has a black display board base with gold/silver/white glittery gift wrap paper pasted on top. I cut out the skyline shape from the glittery gift wrap. Next, I used the glue gun to paste gold, white, and silver squares for lit up windows on the buildings. 

The rose piping technique has got to be my favorite. It is super safe, does not need the cake to be smoothed with a coat of frosting underneath (only dirty icing is enough), and the finish is something super beautiful. I decided to use the coffee flavored frosting that Sara had made for my Graduation Day cupcakes. It was super delicious and good shade of pastel brown. I added some Golden Yellow gel color to bring the golden hue. White dragees (edible pearls) went in to give the cake some elegant accents, and the numbers were simple construction paper with stick-on blings. 

The top of the cake was not rose piping for a change. I decided to add golden-dyed sugar sprinkles and chocolate chips to it. The topper was the number 25 cut out of red construction paper. Red stick on bling rhinestones went on them to add the glitz and glam. 

Additional decorative props were:
  • Stiletto ornament
  • XO glittery letters
  • XOXO mug
  • Artificial rose flowers
  • Betsy Johnson handbag (that's a gift!)

Have you ever prepped such a themed decor birthday party? Or tried to make a cake?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Butter Parmesan Green Beans & Mushroom Salad


  • Butter, 2 sticks, softened at room temperature
  • Parmesan cheese (powder form), 3 tablespoons
  • Green beans, chopped, 6 cups
  • Mushrooms, canned (Walmart), 1 (1 1/2 cups)
  • Tabasco peppers, 2

  1. Boil 6 cups chopped green beans in very little water (barely submerged) with 2 Tabasco peppers.

    Note: Be very careful, Tabasco peppers are extremely hot and should not be eaten. Remove them once the green beans are dry and water had evaporated.

  2. In a glass bowl, add 2 sticks of butter and 1 teaspoon garlic powder and heat in the microwave until the butter has melted to clear liquid. Give it a little mix.

  3. Add 1 can of mushrooms (washed) and strained to the boiled green beans in the skillet.

  4. Add the melted garlic and butter and set on high heat to saute.

  5. After a minute of frying, add parmesan cheese and keep mixing.

  6. As the liquid butter dries, remove the skillet from the stove.

  7. Serve hot. 

    Note: Always microwave after refrigerating because the cheese solidifies. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Aloo Matar


  • Potatoes, small chopped, 5 medium potatoes
  • Peas, 2 cups, (frozen used in recipe)
  • Ginger-garlic paste, 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon
  • Fried onions, 3/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a cooking pan, add ginger-garlic paste, and cumin seeds, and fry until it changes color to slight brown.
  2. Add potatoes and fried onions, and keep frying them.
  3. As onions begin to melt to a paste, add turmeric powder and continue frying.
  4. Add peas.
  5. To avoid burning, add tiny volumes of water and continue cooking until potatoes and peas are both soft.
  6. Check for taste and add salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Om Ali

The first time that I ate Om Ali, I was on board the Dhow Cruise (named Majlis), in Dubai. The dessert was part of a delicious Middle Eastern dinner buffet on board the scenic skyline cruise of the city by night. It is a bread pudding basically, but has more Middle-Eastern flavors of cardamom and dried fruits and raisins. 

My second time was this year in September when I went for Hajj to Saudi Arabia with family and Om Ali was part of all dinner buffets! If made from scratch, this dish is made by baking the Phyllo pastry dough sheets. But a good hack is to use croissants. Since the technique requires soaking in milk, they do not have to be fresh. A Pakistani snack called Bakarkhaani can also be used but it is very, very sweet so you would have to cancel out the sugar quantity in the recipe - unless you have a serious sweet tooth!

Why is it called Om Ali?
"Om Ali is a traditional Egyptian dessert, 100% Egyptian. This dish, Om Ali (Mother of Ali) has some unsavory history. Om Ali was the wife of a ruler from the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt called Ezz El-Din Aybek. Her rival Shagaret El Dorr was the second wife of that ruler. After his death, Shagaret El Dorr arranged for Om Ali to be murdered, and to celebrate, she requested from her cooks to come up with the most delicious dessert they can think of to distribute to throughout Egypt. The successful recipe was a special pastry with milk and honey, that was named Om Ali. A gold coin was added to each plate & distributed in the streets of Egypt. Shagaret El Dorr ruled Egypt for some time in the name of her husband, and later died in a conspiracy too. This dish to date is still known as Om Ali." - Source: Eat Like An Egyptian

  • Croissants, 12 medium-sized, at least (I got the Safeway box)
  • Milk, 5 cups
  • Pistachios, fine chopped, as much as you like
  • Almonds, fine chopped, as much as you like
  • Coconut powder, as much as you like (sweetened can be used)
  • Raisins or Sultanas, if you like
  • Sugar 3/4 cup (Sugar-Free Version: 20-25 sachets Equal, according to taste)
  • Cardamom powder, 1/2 teaspoon

  1. In a deep baking dish (at least 2 1/2") and 9 x 13" dimensions spread a layer of croissant pieces.
  2. Generously scatter chopped pistachios, chopped almonds, raisins or sultanas, and coconut powder (or desiccated coconut) over the layer of croissants.
  3. To prepare sweetened milk: Add 5 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder and bring to a gentle boil.
    Sugar-Free Version: Add 20-25 sachets of Equal sweetener to the milk, after it boils, and stir well.
  4. Pour the milk over the layer of croissants and with the back of a spoon soak the croissants in gently.
  5. Add a second layer of croissant pieces (comparatively thinner than the previous one) and do not press down.
    Note: This top layer is to add a crunchy top. If you prefer the softer, soaked and fully soggy version of bread puddings, you may skip this top layer or add more sweetened milk.
  6. Garnish with chopped nuts


A video posted by The Abbie (@abbiesadventures) on

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Baisan Halwa


  • Baisan (fine ground chickpea flour), 2 cups
  • Oil (preferably vegetable), 1 cup (or more)
  • Milk, 2 cups
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Ilaichi (cardamom) powder, 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 2 cups
  • Golden raisins, 1 cup (or more if you like)


  1. In a large cooking pot add Baisan and oil and mix well.
    Note: Baisan soaks all the oil, you may need more to fry the flour well. Make sure oil is enough to wet the quantity of flour.
  2. Set on high heat and keep tossing baisan around to avoid burning. There should be a slight sizzle sound of baisan frying. If not add a few more tablespoons of oil.
  3. Keep frying until baisan changes color from yellow to brown. Brown color should be like golden raisins brown. Once well-fried, set the cooking pot aside.
  4. In another pot add 2 cups milk, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon cardamom (ilaichi powder), 2 cups sugar, 1 cup kishmish, and mix well. Set on high heat and bring close to boil.
  5. Very carefully and off the stove, add milk solution to the pot containing the fried baisan. It will start to sizzle and splutter immediately. Set it on the stove on low heat.
  6. Carefully taste a little bit of the mixture and if you want it more sweet add more sugar with half cup water. Use a tough spoon because this halwa is very very hard to stir because it turns super thick and tight when milk is added. It also fluffs up in volume. Mix well and set on medium heat and continue stirring and fighting with the halwa.
  7. It will leave the pan and become one solid dough like piece and stick to the spoon as you stir. Keep cooking until all liquid is gone, and beyond. Keep tossing it, cutting through it with the cooking spoon, mashing it, churning it.
  8. When it is perfectly dry- still dough-like - take it off the stove. Garnish with more raisins (even sliced almonds and pistachios if you like).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

October Photography Month (OctoPhoMo) 2016

"The October Photography Month was started in 2012 by Stitch & Cat Mommy on The Open Diary website (RIP OD 1998-2014). In 2013 the event was held on both OD and Prosebox. In 2014 it ran solely here on PB with a single host; Cat Mommy. Unless otherwise announced the event will always take place every single year. The guidelines are simple; one photo, every day, for a month." [Prosebox]
Entries will post and update here daily.

Oct 01 Joy OR Sorrow
Chai is my simplest form of joy - a peaceful cup, sipped alone - and that quotes clipping is from O, The Oprah Magazine.
Oct 02 Light OR Dark
A model of the solar system at the "99 Names Of Allah" exhibition in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Allah (God in Arabic) has 99 names - each one representing one of His attributes - and this model represented the names that show His status as the Master of the Universe, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the Knower of Everything.
Oct 03 Colour OR Black & White
Black and white - for me - is more colorful than the 7 colors of the rainbow.
Oct 04 Sweet OR Savory
This continues to be my favorite photograph. It's from a confectionary called Lolli and Pops. There's so much candy in there. And the indoor theme reminds me of Honeydukes/Zonko's at the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Oct 05 Water OR Land
There can be no better 'land' photos than the ones taken from an airplane's window. This is the mountainous terrain of Saudi Arabia - outside the city of Madinah.
Oct 06 Pride OR Shame
Hogwarts pride - this is how Sara and I live when we visit the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.
Oct 07 Patriotic OR Passionate

After 25+ years of being a Permanent Resident Alien of the US, I am no more an alien! Proud citizen since 2015!
Oct 08 Devious OR Delightful

Oct 09 Birth OR Death

A dinosaur is born!

Oct 10 Horror OR Comedy
Oct 11 Wood OR Metal

Oct 12 Smooth OR Rough

Oct 13 Lucky OR Unlucky

Oct 14 Love OR Hate

Oct 15 Left OR Right

Oct 16 Numbers OR Letters

Oct 17 First OR Last

Oct 18 Paper OR Plastic

Oct 19 Peaceful OR Chaotic

Oct 20 Nature OR Nurture
Haha! The only way I can be a nature person for a short while is at Jurassic Park.

Oct 21 Haunted OR Empty

Oct 22 Rodents OR Birds
Oct 23 Hot OR Cold

Oct 24 Waking OR Dreaming
Oct 25 Book OR Movie

Oct 26 Matte OR Shiny

Oct 27 Sharp OR Dull

Oct 28 Masculine/Male OR Feminine/Female

Oct 29 Bravery OR Cowardice

Oct 30 Capture OR Freedom
Oct 31 Demons OR Saints