June 27, 2008

Making The Most Of It

Posted in Journal, Purls of Wisdom tagged , , , , at 6:16 pm by Jenn

It is expensive living in Baku.  The prices are unbelievable.  So I’ve decided that I’m going to make the most of it and cook with the inexpensive vegetables that are plentiful.  With a little help from Allrecipes.com I’ve discovered some wonderful new recipes. 

Last night we had Chicken Dilly Sandwiches and tonight we are having Mediterranean Chicken with Eggplant.  Some of the ingredients that are plentiful right now include:

Eggplant

Tomato

Cucumber

Dill

Cilantro

Onion

Potato

I just did a simple search for “Dill and Chicken” and another for “Eggplant” and came up with some wonderful ideas.

A few tips about using the website:

1.  Always read the comments.  People make the recipes, modify them slightly and then comment.  Some people are just ridiculous with their rating for example the recipe calls for chicken, pasta and tomato….the person decides to use beef, rice and tomato instead, then rates it one star….UMMM, maybe try it with the suggested ingredients and then make MAJOR modifications next time.

An example of how to use the comments.  Tonights dinner calls for eggplant.  In the recipe it says to soak the eggplant in a salt water bath.  I read the comments and several people suggested putting the eggplant in a collander, sprinkling with salt and letting stand for 20 minutes.  I chose to use this method instead of what the recipe called for.

2.  Recipes that have 4-5 stars and lots of comments are usually winners.  I had Thanksgiving dinner last year with a majority of the recipes from Allrecipes and it was a huge success.

So that’s it.  I’m not getting paid by Allrecipes, though if they have an opening I’d gladly take it (I have this yarn habit I need to support).

Speaking yarn next in my que the Baby Surprise Jacket.  I hope to be able to begin that as soon I finish the Hoodie Baby Blanket that I’m making for Kriszti.  Also in line are the Clapotis (I know, I hate the name too, but it’s really beautiful), and after visiting my friend Christine’s blog today and ogling over her Nutkins I’ve decided that I MUST make them afterall!  I have the perfect yarn. 

Oh, and I got my partner for the Summer Yarn Swap….shhh, it’s a secret!  Did I mention lately that I love swaps?  I mailed my package for the HSKS5 this week!  I hope it arrives much faster than the last….stay tuned.

 

June 24, 2008

Out Brown Grout, Out I Say!

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 10:30 pm by Jenn

  Ok, so I didn’t rotate the picture!  Sorry, just hang in there…

I spent the better part of Sunday on my hands and knees with a bucket of bleach and water scrubbing other peoples filth out of the tile floors in my house.  Not exactly how I would have liked to spend my Sunday, but it needed to be done and I couldn’t stand looking at the brown grout anymore.  It would be one thing if the tile were brown, brown grout might be kind of cool, but with white tile, the grout should be white, not brown!

I started in my bathroom and well it’s just too stained to really come clean, but it is cleaner and the fact that I know there has been bleach all over the floor just makes me feel better.  Scott’s bathroom was next and surprisingly it came pretty clean, but there were a few areas that had no grout at all and other areas where the grout was coming out and needed to be replaced.  The laundry room is good and the kitchen…well the kitchen just simple isn’t cool.

Most of the tiles are cracked, most of the grout is missing or just simply was never there to begin with.  I asked Scott to say something to the Facilities people and today there were tile people in my house regrouting Scott’s bathroom and discussing the plan for the kitchen.  The decision, rip it out and do it right!  Amen! 

The leader says to me, “Now you know that this is a messy job, and you will be with out your kitchen for a few days”.  Yes, I know it’s messy and I say…”How many days?  Two or three?  His reply “7 or 8″.  LOL, 7 or 8 days to tear up and replace the tile in a not even 12×12 space.  Yet again confirmation that I’m “not in Kansas anymore”. 

Here’s proof:

I’m fascinated by this.  I’ve posted this picture before but today it was clear and I zoomed in and you can really see the trash!  It’s like they collect it or something.  Again, those things on top of the blue tarp are rocks to hold the blue tarp down.  I wonder if they got rid of satellite tv how long it would take to save up to repair the roof?

On a brighter note, my HSKS5 package is ready to send off to it’s lucky owner, now I just need to figure out how to use the mail system…

And the best news…my HSKS4 partner Daniellesent me the most awesome goody package from Louisiana.  Here’s a pic of the goodies:

 

Jambalaya, Gumbo, Beignet’s, spoonbread, coffee and seasoning.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.  I have a ton of chicken in the freezer and I’m going to try to find some good sausage and then dinner is served!  Scott is really looking forward to the beignets (I am too).  Thanks so much Danielle, you ROCK, and you made my day!

Time for LOST!

June 22, 2008

Don’t Blame it on the Dog

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

Friday when I came home from running errands with the mafia I was greeted by a not so pleasant aroma when I opened the front door.  Immediately, I started looking for the mess.  The dog mess that is.  Then I realized, wait a minute, if Max did that he wouldn’t have greeted me a the door wagging his tail and showing off his prized boney!  He would be in hiding!  Now I’m confused.  Is Scott home?  Nope.  WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!

I walk in to the laudry room…nothing.  I walk in to the hall bathroom, faint odor…not the source.  I walk in to the master bathroom….EUREKA!  The smell was awful.  Like gag reflex triggering horrid!  Who could have done this?  I called Scott at work to tell him that our house smells like shit.  He says, “I’m in the middle of my language lesson”.  My response, “Well ask her how to say, my house smells like shit”.  His reply….laughter.  This is NOT FUNNY!  He tells me to call the head of maintenance.  I do.

This man answers, I tell him who I am and say just matter of factly because there is no polite way to put it…”I came home from shopping and my house smells like crap”.  He says, Yeah, that’s normal…..um, NO it isn’t normal for my house to smell like crap….maybe his house, but not mine!  He then tells me that what I am smelling is the sewer (really?) and that I need to keep the drains in my bathrooms filled with bleach water so that the vapors from the sewer don’t enter the room!  Hmm, why didn’t anyone tell me this before?  This little bit of information would have saved me just a little bit of stress.

The good thing.  I now know how to say “My house smells like shit” in Russian!  LOL  Good Grief.

 

June 21, 2008

LOST with Webkinz in Baku

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 7:09 pm by Jenn

Ok, I’m not really lost (obviously) but I just finished watching season 3 of LOST and it was so good.  I can’t wait to start season 4.  This has got to be one of the best shows on television hands down.  I couldn’t figure the Jack thing out until the last few seconds….I’m not going to give it away, but WOW!  Good stuff.

As for the Webkinz.  Scott will be the proud owner of the Grey Horse in a few days and I have been on Ebay bidding like a maniac of course.  I won one auction already and my new Black and White Cheeky Dog and Cocker Spaniel should be arriving soon.  I think I’m going to start a farm!  LOL.  I have other auctions that I’m bidding on, we’ll see if I win.  I have a set price that I refuse to bid over so I’m not expecting much!  I’m CHEAP!  I would love to get the Whimsical Dragon, Love Frog, Turtle and Siamese Cat still though!  I told you I was addicted.  It really is a sickness.  I also think there needs to be a crab.  I mean come on.

Now, as promised I have a few pictures of Baku for you.

 

  This is the old style housing, from a distance.

 The city is full of high rise apartment buildings and high rise apartment buildings that are being constructed.

  This is the the old style of housing (closer view), much of which is still around, but a lot of it is being destroyed (thankfully).  Notice the clothes lines and satellite dishes…people live in these structures.  Oh, take note of the rocks all over the blue tarp…that’s someones roof…yep.

  This is a view from our apartment building.  We can see the Caspian see and also hear the prayer chants from the mosque.  See it there on the left with the dome.

I realize that these aren’t the greatest pictures.  I am getting there!  I hope to get a few pictures of the old city this coming week.  It really is beautiful.

June 20, 2008

I Need a Name

Posted in Journal tagged , at 5:55 pm by Jenn

Well, not exactly me personally I already have several but I do need a name for my new business venture.  Here’s a little more info…

I haven’t really been working since Scott and I moved overseas.  I did work for a short time at the Embassy in Minsk, and well I don’t think Embassy work is really my thing so I’m looking to get back in to my area of expertise…nutrition.  I want to start a nutrition consulting/counseling business here in Baku.  I would see clients in my home.  I’m thinking most of my clients will be moms who are concerned about their children’s diet or who want to lose weight or patients who are diabetic.  Of course I’d be thrilled if a head and neck cancer patient who needed to learn to use a feeding tube walked through the door or a dialysis patient needed binder or diet recommendations but I’m thinking those patients won’t be knocking on my door…at least here in Baku (maybe when I get back to the States).

So that’s it, now I need a name.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I’ve already gotten a few really good ones, but keep them coming.

June 17, 2008

Asparagus

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 11:00 pm by Jenn

Tonight I had asparagus for dinner and well it did what it always does, it made my pee stink.  I know, I know, TMI but just hang in there.  I remembered recently having a conversation with my friend Christine about green vs white asparagus and the varying amount of stinkiness.  Being the geek that I am, I set off on a quest to find out if this is indeed true.  I still haven’t found the answer, but I did find this interesting fact and can’t believe that I didn’t learn this in my genetics class, maybe I did but just forgot (I doubt that though).

Oh yeah, interesting fact.  Some people can smell asparagus pee and some can’t.  It’s genetic.  Only about 40% of us have the lucky gene that is required to smell that oh so pleasant smell.  So Christine, maybe that’s the answer….maybe Germans don’t have the “asparagus stinky pee gene.

The stink comes from the breaking down of mercaptan (aparently genetically we may or may not produce the enzyme to break this down – no breakdown = no stinky pee).

Now I’d like to conduct a survey.  To participate you will need to eat asparagus, pee and report back to me whether or not it stinks.  Now if you can’t smell it, maybe you’d be willing to recruit a friend to take a whiff (in the name of science of course).  Seriously, I’m fascinated.  Oh and please be sure to say whether the asparagus was white or green. 

And just in case you are wondering Scott can’t smell it and isn’t willing to smell mine!  LOL  His exact words, “Are you crazy!”  LOL.

 

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