About Me

Some of you know me from my old blog "Moving to Morocco" where I wrote about meeting my husband and, you guessed it, moving to Morocco. Well, we're back now, and I want to write about other things (but yes, we're still happily married). There's no real subject to this blog. I just want to write. If you have a subject you'd like my opinion on, just let me know. I also plan on doing advice posts. If you have something you'd like an outside opinion on, e-mail me anonymously at nicegirlatl@hotmail.com! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kefta Mkawra (Moroccan Meatball Tagine)

I like to throw in a recipe now and then on the blog. Recipes you probably wouldn't have tried without someone telling you how good it is. One of my husbands favorite meals is Kefta. I don't make it often but it is really good, and fairly easy, so I thought I'd share it. I took pics, but only of the end product. I may take pics as I'm preparing it next time....

(This recipe is from About.com, with a few minor changes of my own)

Ingredients:

 For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb.  ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped VERY fine
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1//8 teaspoon ground hot pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer, about 2 lbs)
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika or 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ---------------------------------
  • 3 or 4 eggs

Preparation:

Start Cooking the Tomato Sauce

Put the two cans of tomatoes in the blender and give them a rough blend, if you're using fresh tomatoes
Peel, seed and chop them OR cut the tomatoes in half, seed them and grate them.
Mix the tomatoes, onions and the rest of the sauce ingredients in the base of a tagine or in a large, deep skillet. Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Note: If using a tagine, place a diffuser between the tagine and burner, and allow 10 to 15 minutes for the tomato sauce to reach a simmer.)
Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low, just enough heat to maintain the simmer but low enough to avoid scorching. Allow the tomatoes to cook for at least 15 to 20 minutes before adding the meatballs.

Make the Kefta Meatballs

Combine all of the kefta ingredients, using your hands to knead in the spices and herbs. Shape the kefta mixture into very small meatballs the size of large cherries – about 3/4 inch in diameter.
Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce, along with a little water – 1/4 cup is usually sufficient – and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.
Break the eggs over the top of the meatballs, and cover. Cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites are solid and the yolks are partially set. Serve immediately.

Kefta Mkaouara is traditionally served from the same dish in which it was prepared, with each person using crusty Moroccan bread for scooping up the meatballs from his own side of the dish.





Gotta give my husband credit for making his incredible fresh baked bread:





Sunday, May 29, 2011

Walking Around Naked

Sometimes in the afternoon while my son is napping, I have nothing better to do than watch Tyra. Usually, I can't stand to watch her show as she, in my opinion, is the absolute worse talk show host in history. Not that I don't like her, I watch America's Next Top Model and she is engaging, I just don't like her way of interviewing people. She has a tendency to turn every single subject into something about her. You could mention that you like to eat bugs and she'll have a story about when she was in Bangkok on one of her supermodel photo shoots she ate a grasshopper. You could be a one legged ninja, and she'd talk about this one time when she had a sleepover when she was seven and they tied her leg up and she had a sword fight with her girlfriends. Sometimes there is just stuff you can't relate to, and that's ok. A good interviewer doesn't try to put themselves in the place of the interviewee, they try to understand through a line of questioning. I don't think she gets that, but....I'm getting off track.

Last week a topic on her show was parents that walk around their houses naked in front of their children. To the right of Tyra was a line of women who thought it was completely normal, to the left a line of women who thought it was disgusting. They started with the women that thought it was fine and they cut to home video of one of the women. She was walking around her apartment completely naked. She was cooking naked (OH MY GOD) and she was sitting at the dinner table on the computer naked. Her daughter, who was around 7 or 8 was there. She and her daughter were walking down an imaginary catwalk naked. Her argument as to why she does it, "It gives my daughter self confidence. She will be comfortable with her body because I am comfortable with mine". Ummmm......I am all for teaching your daughter to be accepting of their bodies. To be aware of their bodies. But is it really necessary to be NAKED in order to teach these lessons?

I have a good friend who has no qualms about being naked in front of her kids. Do I think she's a bad mom? Nope. But I also don't think that she's a good mom simply because she's comfortable being naked. And she doesn't do it regularly or to make a stand against prudes or to teach her kids to love their bodies. She just doesn't mind if one of her kids sees her coming out of the shower. She doesn't freak out and grab a towel and run (like I would). This, I don't have a problem with. Intentionally being naked ALL THE TIME, sitting on your couch, cooking food and sitting where people eat, well that's just unsanitary!

I didn't grow up in a house where it was acceptable to be naked. You covered up. My mom locked the door when she went to the shower. I do the same. My kids have never seen me naked. Maybe its different because I have boys? I don't know, but I would never intentionally be naked in front of them. I don't want to scar them for life anyway!

I think that as parents we do lead by example, but there are some life lessons that don't need an example as detailed as the one this woman was giving to her child. You can be comfortable in your skin - with clothes on. You can teach your daughters to be confident - with clothes on. You can teach your kids to love themselves - with clothes on! I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must be for the kids subjected to their parents constant nakedness. Maybe not now since they're so young, but as they get older and see that this is not the "norm" in most households, it's going to get increasingly awkward for them.

By walking around in clothes you're teaching your kids modesty. And to me that is a trait you'd want your daughter (or son) to have. Just because you don't flaunt it doesn't mean you're not accepting of it. Just because you got it, doesn't mean everyone has to see it. That is a more important lesson in my opinion. You can teach your kids to be confident and love and respect themselves with words. And with actions such as wearing clothes and still being confident yourself.

Let me help you with saving money!!!

In an effort to save money due to the recent loss of my job, I've turned to couponing. Every week I scour the internet for deals. Not only on grocery store items, but other things myself and my family needs as well. Just because I'm not working doesn't mean my kids stop needing clothes, shoes, and toys. It doesn't mean I stop needing things from The Home Depot to fix small things around the house. I've written before about different ways to cut corners, but recently I've found a website that has helped me out with coupon codes for my online purchases, and so I thought I'd share! It's www.couponchief.com

Couponchief.com has a list of stores that offer shopping online, and they include a coupon code to enter during checkout. Whether it be 10% off, free shipping, or $20 off your full order, there are several to choose from for each store. And these aren't stores you'd never shop at. These are huge nationwide stores. Best Buy, Old Navy, Sears, Lane Bryant, Wal-mart, etc. Even better, they have discount codes for hotels, rental cars, and even cruises! If you're looking for something in particular, you can search the site for the store you want to shop at, and then it will list all of the coupons available and the success rate for each coupon. I would suggest considering purchasing something online that you've found in the store, just to get the discount. It could save you a good amount of money!

I've used this site a few times and it's definitely helped me to save money. I check back regularly, because new coupons are shared often. I recommend stopping by www.couponchief.com before your next online purchase!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Most Wanted Man in the World

There are a few days in my life that I will remember every detail to. Very few. One of those days occurred almost ten years ago. I was six and a half months pregnant and headed into work. Halfway there I started having contractions and turned around to head to the hospital. I was driving on back country roads and blew through a red light as the contractions were coming just a few minutes apart. I got pulled over and told the cop I thought I was in labor and was headed to the hospital. He told me he'd let me on my way in just a moment...after he wrote the ticket. I told him again I thought I was in labor and he told me to stop yelling at him and he'd be back with a ticket. I waited, got my ticket and sped off to the hospital.

Once in the hospital, my boss kept calling me to see when I'd be in. I told her I was at the hospital, in labor, and they were in the process of stopping it. Every 5 minutes she called to see when I'd be on my way. After turning my cell phone off, she started calling the hospital. I was on the phone with her when the nurse turned on the TV. The first plane had hit the World Trade Center and the second plane was heading toward the second building. I was 20 and wasn't very worldly. I remember questioning why there were planes hitting buildings. I'd never heard of Al Qaeda, I'd never heard of Osama Bin Laden. I was speechless. I was confused. I was in shock. I was scared for the people inside both of those buildings.

I, along with most of the country - world, even, was glued to the TV. As every detail and description of what was happening was revealed, another wave of despair for our country washed over me. Watching those buildings collapse...following the gasp of everyone in the room, was complete silence. You could hear a pin drop in that hospital room. The beeps of the machine, the dripping of the IV's - the silence drowned out the random sounds of a hospital room. September 11, 2001.

In the weeks following I remember people being so nice. Maybe people were extra nice to me because I was huge and pregnant, but I believe that it was due to what happened on that day. I think people felt a need to be nicer, to be more respectful, to kind of stand together as a country. I know that no matter where I went, chatter about 9/11 was, at the very least in the background, if not the main topic of conversation. That day changed a lot of people. That one day changed the world.

Although there was speculation that Osama Bin Laden was behind it, he didn't actually admit responsibility until a few years later. Being a young mom with a baby with a disability, I have to admit that I wasn't on top of things and how they unfolded. I wasn't a huge supporter of the war, but I wasn't completely against it either - at first. Over the years, I've learned things that have disappointed me about this war. It's ruined our economy, and its caused unnecessary loss of life to our soldiers who so bravely elected to go fight for us. But I think it's always been a  priority to bring justice to those that were responsible for 9/11. Specifically Osama Bin Laden.

I woke up on May 2 and the first news I was met with was "OSAMA BIN LADEN KILLED" on msn.com. I didn't jump for joy. I didn't scream, I didn't dance. I did feel relief. I felt that there would be some closure for the families of those who died in the twin towers. But I also felt assured that this was NOT the end of Al Qaeda. This is not the end of terrorism. This is not the end of anything. If anything, supporters of Bin Laden will be inclined to retaliate. Bombing innocent civilians will become a priority throughout the world. I was a bit ashamed of the way the news showed people across our country chanting and celebrating death. I felt like it made us look no better than the people who celebrated and chanted in the streets when those two buildings collapsed. We can be relieved. We can feel closure. But death is death. Good or bad people, it's still death and shouldn't be celebrated. I hope more than anything that his death will maybe make Al Qaeda weaker, but honestly I doubt it.

I am glad that he's no longer an issue for our country. I am glad that justice was served. Everyone who commits a crime should be punished. He, for many years, had been very vocal in his hate toward Americans. He encouraged people to kill Americans, even innocent civilians. He was an evil man. Whatever his intentions were, I am happy that he will no longer be a threat. We now have to be prepared for the next in line to take his place. Without a doubt there will always be people who hate America. And Americans. Just because. In a few weeks or months I won't remember the date of Bin Ladens death. It will go down as a memorable day, but not one that was so life changing for me that it reserves a spot in my "forever" memory.

And for the record, yes, I did have to pay that ticket I got for running a red light en route to the hospital while in labor.