Saturday, December 31, 2011

Persian Love Cake

Persian Love Cake

This is how it looks on

This is Mariah's was so pretty, and it was delicious. It has a very delicate taste, with crushed cardamom (which I had on hand, whole cardamom seeds, I'm happy to say) and rose water (which I also had on hand, direct from Kashan, Iran, the rose water capital of the world).

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Blog Ever!

Go there, quick!

Here's a sample, Mariah and I are making this for Birthday dinner for Mark and Manochehr tonight:

Slivered Almonds & Barberry Stew 

(Khoresh Khalal Badam & Zereshk

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pound meat (lamb, beef ), washed and cubed
1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1 cup dried barberries, picked over, rinsed, can be found in most Persian grocery stores
1 cup yellow split peas, picked over, rinsed (optional)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/3 teaspoon crushed saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
1-2 tablespoons rose water (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Lightly toast the almond slivers in a dry pan for 3-5 minutes over medium to low heat. Set aside
  2. In a small frying pan lightly saute the barberries in 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a small pan saute the tomato paste in a tablespoon of oil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Set aside. This step is optional but it improves the taste of the stew.
  4. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot, saute the sliced onion over medium heat until translucent, add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes then add the turmeric. Stir well to blend every bit of onion and garlic with turmeric powder.
  5. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste, blend well.  
  6. Make some room in the center of the pot by pushing the meat and onion mixture to the side of the pot and place the split peas in the center and fry them for a few minutes. This will harden the peas and gets rid of their raw smell. You may also cook the split peas separately with two cups of water and add them to the stew half way through cooking if you prefer. 
  7. Scoop in the tomato paste and pour in enough water to cover meat and to come about two inches above. 
  8. Cover and cook for 30 minutes on medium to low heat, add the almond slivers, mix well, cook and cover for another 20 minutes. Add water if needed.
  9. Add barberries and saffron, stir well, taste and adjust seasoning. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until meat is tender and the flavors are well blended. Pour rose water in the last 10 minutes of cooking. 
Serve warm with rice, pickles (torshi), fresh herbs and yogurt.

A Seperation

                              A House Divided by Exasperation

“A Separation,” a tightly structured, emotionally astute new film from Iran, begins with a couple, at odds and in distress, arguing in front of a judge. Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to leave the country with her daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), and Simin’s husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi), insists on staying at home in Tehran to care for his frail and elderly father, who suffers from dementia and needs constant attention. Quite possibly there is more at issue than practical domestic arrangements — there are hints of suppressed anger in Nader’s demeanor, of long-simmering exasperation in Simin’s — but an Iranian courtroom may not be the best place to discuss intimate marital matters.

More About This Movie

Habib Madjidi/Sony Pictures Classics
Kimia Hosseini, left, and Sareh Bayat in "A Separation."
Nor, given that country’s strict censorship codes, is an Iranian film. But “A Separation,”written and directed by Asghar Farhadi (and Iran’s official Oscar submission), does not feel especially constrained. It is a rigorously honest movie about the difficulties of being honest, a film that tries to be truthful about the slipperiness of truth. It also sketches a portrait — perhaps an unnervingly familiar picture for American audiences — of a society divided by sex, generation, religion and class.
The partial split between Nader and Simin is only one of the schisms revealed in the course of a story that quietly and shrewdly combines elements of family melodrama and legal thriller. Because Nader refuses to agree to a divorce or to give the legally required permission for his daughter to travel abroad, he and Simin find themselves at an impasse. She goes to live with her parents, and he hires a young woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to help look after his father.
Razieh, who arrives with her young daughter, has an anxious, plaintive manner, and her apparent unreliability brings minor irritation and then outright chaos into Nader’s life. Before long — and as a result of events I will leave for you to discover — Nader is back in court, embroiled in long arguments with Razieh and her husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), an unemployed shoemaker laden with debt and seething with resentment, humiliation and angry piety.
The conflict between the two families, which often turns on forensic details and uncertain recollections, is inflamed by social tension. In Hodjat’s eyes Nader and Simin are part of a corrupt and entitled elite, arrogant and irreligious and full of contempt for an ordinary working man like him. And their attempts to be reasonable, compassionate and polite betray an unmistakable condescension, which Mr. Farhadi tacitly endorses by making Hodjat such a brute.
There are moments when the humanism of “A Separation” feels a bit schematic, as if the characters were pulled from a box of available types rather than painted in the shades of life. But there are also scenes that draw power from the subtlety of the performances, in particular the quiet, watchful portrayal by Ms. Farhadi (the director’s daughter) of a girl who is at once central and peripheral to the drama unfolding around her. Termeh, shy and studious, is desperate to please her parents and terrified that her family will collapse. Her parents, and the audience, continually overlook the intensity of her feelings, which nonetheless pervade the film, along with her unspoken hope that everything will work out in the end.
The outcome is less important to Mr. Farhadi than what leads up to it, and the film is remarkably deft in capturing the petty, cumulative frustrations of modern city life. In addition to their weekly quota of quarrels and brooding silences, Simin and Nader must contend with work (she is a doctor, he has a job in a bank), their daughter’s schooling, Tehran traffic (a touchstone of recent Iranian cinema) and an officious and sometimes chaotic government bureaucracy. Daily life is a cycle of waiting, nagging, negotiating and looking for a place to park, much of it carried out with frayed and weary decorum. Even when everything seems to be falling apart, people try to mind their manners.
Because self-control seems to be, in this setting, both a deeply ingrained habit and a public virtue, eruptions of feeling — some of which come close to physical violence — arrive with special force in “A Separation.” And they leave a knot of ethical and philosophical questions that may make the walk home from the theater as argumentative as the film itself. Most of the characters’ behavior is viewed with sympathy and skepticism, and the frequent bouts of legal wrangling invite endless interpretation of every aspect of the story. Somehow it is all perfectly clear, and yet at the same time tantalizingly and heartbreakingly mysterious.
“A Separation” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). A lot of difficult grown-up stuff.
Opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Change Your Words

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Frothing Happiness

Wow, this gizmo really froths! It's wonderful! I microwaved the froth afterwards for 30 warm it up. Delicious! Mine is red; it also comes in orange. Tonight I made myself a wonderful herbal latte with warmed froth and Chai latte topping from Steeps. Available at The Bay.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

One of the Best Days of My Life Today!

If you were there, you know why:) We experienced a truly happy day at the temple with lots of loving family in attendance. Saturday will be equally wonderful as we go to the temple to witness the sealing of Eli, Jen, and Isabelle. Such happy times, and the whole time I was there I had thoughts of my husband attending the temple, and when we got together afterwards, so had Jen, Tim, and Eli!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Persepolis - Homeschool Day

You are welcome to visit - when you see 'Home School Day' the pics are actually for me to use for my homeschool day with my grandchildren - but you are welcome to have a look:) 


                                                                    Xerxes Tomb

The grand road leading to and from Persepolis, which is actually called Takhte Jamshid in Iran.

                                            Yummy drink that cools, and faloudeh ice cream.

The hole for a door hinge! It's huge! A hinge this size for a massive door.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pillow Talk

I just received this pretty, handmade pillow, as a GIFT, from Margaret, the sweet lady that made my quilt.. You don't see that everyday…an online transaction with a follow up gift mailed separately to your doorstep! Margaret said that she was going to make me a matching pillow, even though our transaction was was completed in full. A few weeks later (today) this lovely gift arrived, wrapped in pretty paper, with a brand new pillow insert included! You can't beat that kind of service. I hope that if you are ever in need of a beautiful, handmade chenille quilt that you contact Margaret for a quote. I posted about the quilt here:

Margaret's email is:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bean Stew

Another delicious recipe:

Easy in ready in no time:

Ground Pork Sausage (I  just bought the kind that looks like ground beef, in a meat package, you could substitute frozen meatballs, fresh ground turkey, beef, whatever - the sausage meat balls were REALLY good though and we don't even eat much pork).

Form the meatballs, and brown in the bottom of a large saucepan. While they are browning, peel and slice the carrots, and fennel (I watched a youTube video to see how in the world to cut up a fennel/anice bulb; it's easy as it turns out. Here: When the meatballs are browned on all sides, throw in the veggies, and kind fo toss them around with the meatballs to cook up a bit.

Add 2 cups of Broth (beef or chicken depending on your meatballs), diced tomatoes, and one-two cans of Beans (the recipe called for Canelonni [white] beans, but I used mixed beans). It depends on how much you like beans - we love them, so we used two. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, to heat through.

Add sliced fresh Basil, to garnish, and a sprig of the fennel tops. Serve with rustic bread.

Hope you likey:)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I didn't get a photo (dang), but we had some serious fun with Jordan yesterday - it was a real delight to catch up with him. Every once in a while we see either Jordan or Colton here in Edmonton, and we love it, truly! We all had fun, playing 'Apple' with our numerous apple devices - Jordan showed me a few tricks, and watching Top Gear as Mark's prisoner... you guys, we love you so much - and really enjoy your visits:)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Korean Beef & Rice

This was made in 29 minutes...and is from a Pampered Chef cookbook. I'm not usually a huge fan of these little P/C books, but this book is really terrific. The photo could have been better, but we decided to take a photo a little late...but you get the idea. Delicious. Here is the recipe:

Flank steak (this is important, and I learned something here...flank steak is not expensive and can be tough - the trick is to  cut it in strips against the grain - which is the goal with any steak - and it is wonderfully tender this way, It's quites striated, if that makes sense.

3 T soy sauce ( we like the sweet Korean style - especially for this recipe)
1 T sesame oil ( necessary -don't skip_
1 t sugar (or substitute)
2 cloves of garlic, minced.

• Make this sauce, and then pour over the beef strips in a bowl to marinate while you get the rice started.

• Make jasmine rice. Once it's on the go... chop the green onion, and peel the carrots (see below)

• Peel 2-3 medium carrots, then continue to peel, making long carrot curls. Place in bowl of ice water til you are ready to serve them.

• Cook the beef, by heating 1-2 T vegetable oil and adding the beef in a single layer. Leave undisturbed for 2 minutes on one side, then turn over and cook the other side another 2 minutes. While you are cooking beef, microwave 1/2 of frozen peas.

Serve in a pretty rice bowl; rice topped with beef, green onion, been sprouts, peas, and (drained) carrot curls.  Super easy, fresh, and really, really good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Siri Quotes

Siri, what is your favorite color?
"My favorite color is... well, I don't know how to say it in your language, it's sort of greenish, but with more dimensions."

Who makes the best cell phone?
"Your're kidding, right?"

Siri, I love you.
"You can't."

I don't know what you said.
"If you say so."

When is iPhone 5 coming out?
"Everything you need to know about Apple products you can find at the Apple website, and Apple stores are everywhere."

"I'm ok, if you're ok."

What do you look like?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ritzy Misfit - Customer Service Extraordinaire!

Ritzy Misfit

extraordinaire (epiceneplural extraordinaires)
  1. extraordinary, out of the ordinary

These guys (ok, I think they are all girls) mean business when it comes to customer service! I would almost say they will dog you til you are satisfied, till you are more than satisfied, til you are thrilled! But they are even cooler than is what you will get when you shop Ritzy Misfit:

• On trend, unique, handmade, high quality jewelry, at a reasonable price
• Possibly the best customer service I have ever had
• Customized designs
• Celebrity sitings wearing your new jewellrey:)

Here are some samples:

The original hand stamped wax seal pendants
As all of our pieces are made from scratch by hand, please allow 2 weeks from payment until shipment + adequate time for delivery.
No one is perfect, but we are all beautiful. These pendants give the feeling of being beautiful, unique and rough around the edges at the same time. My work reflects the wonderful, flawed idiosyncrasies in us all. And it makes us breath-taking.
Ritzy Misfit has recently been seen on:
Bachelor Pad, on ABC worn by Krisily (mini with pink crystal) 
The Bachelorette, worn by Ali herself! (see other listings for examples) 
Kendra Wilkinson from the girls Next Door, seen in this listing 
And Jillian Harris on 2009 Bachelorette. (turquoise J) 
There have also been many other unconfirmed sightings on amazing people!
This listing is for a stunningly original pendant; melted and stamped by hand. They are then rubbed, sanded and buffed until at the peak of imperfect perfection!
They are each one of a kind pieces of art. No pendant can be replicated.
The personalized initial pendant is my ultimate best seller. It can be made into any letter you choose.
The “flaws” or “blemishes” or “imperfections” that I adore turn out to have a few degrees of roughness. For me, the rougher the better. Like myself. Ü
There are approximately 3 categories of “character”.
PLEASE READ before purchasing:
The first level of character is almost perfect. These are almost completely round, and even around the edges. 
The second degree has more character, or flaws (which I personally love) and may be less perfectly round, and more rustic looking. 
The third degree has a lot of character, in the way of roughness, (not sharp), inconsistencies, and uneven overflow of metal. Many of these are my ultimate favorites.
I own the kelly green 'E' and a pretty lock in yellow. I love them both! I am wearing the green initial pendant right now:) Note in the samples, how they can be customized as to color and color intensity, and degree of character...more smooth, to more organic in shape. Please visit Ritzy Misfit at (cheaper prices at this site) or on Etsy (for a higher price) at