November 27, 2009

A Toast to Being Thankful!

I hope you all had such a happy Thanksgiving, and wish you Eid Mubarak. May God bless you with happiness and good health always xx

November 24, 2009

Introducing my Gluten-Free Banana Nut & Date Muffins

So I've been experimenting with different ingredients to make muffins. I was so excited to make them without butter and have them just as moist. These ones specifically are gluten-free and egg free, which I made specially for a friend with allergies.

You're probably thinking wth is Quinoa Flour, it's basically flour from the Quinoa grain, I was only able to find it in an Organic store. I hope you can find it! There's something about it that's magic, I took these muffins out of the oven so many times and they did not deflate at all. Since I use a lot of liquid ingredients, I bake it at a lower temperature for a longer time, you want to make sure they are the right moistness but not doughy.

Make them for such a scrumptious tea time treat or great for breakfast as they are high in fiber and filled with nutritious ingredients. Note: be prepared for feelings of greed and possession. 


Music: I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
Mood: you've got the time to bake

2 Cups Quinoa Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Tbs Ground Flaxseed
2 tsp Cinnamon
½ cup chopped Walnuts
2 chopped Dates

3 mashed Bananas
¼ cup Yogurt
½ cup Unsweetened Applesauce
¼ cup Honey or ¼ cup Agave
2 tsp Vanilla

For Crumb Topping (optional):
2 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Rolled Oats
2 tsp Canola Oil

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Using your own muscles to mix, fold the dry mixture in batches into the wet ingredients. I’ve been told avoiding an electrical mixer for muffins is a better choice because they come out fluffier… you can be the judge of that. I just think it’s one less thing to clean up really. Cover and put aside to make the crumb topping which really gives it that extra umff but it’s just as delish without. Oil your tray (I use a cupcake tray because I prefer the smaller size). I use a spray Pam, but you can oil it by using Canola Oil and wiping the tray with a paper towel. Sprinkle some flour evenly in the cups so that the muffins don’t stick. Pour the mixture into the cups, around halfway full and sprinkle the crumb topping on top. Bake for around 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center. Servings: 16 

November 21, 2009

Want to Fly? Try Acro Yoga

When I heard of Acro yoga, I had no idea what to expect, all I was told I would need would be a partner and an open mind. That still didn’t help much.

With around 12 of us at the workshop, we started with a circle ceremony, sitting with our knees to knees. We did a couple stretches and poses on our own and used the person on either side of us for other balance poses, which was beautiful. I’ve never experienced yoga with someone else, but this practice teaches you to trust and use each other’s bodies to balance and move gracefully while synchronizing your breath. Trusting takes practice  as well, now a day we have so many guards up constantly  to protect ourselves, so it was so liberating to find that trust in your partner and be able to balance or lose balance without feeling the need to open your eyes.  After the flow we went through some flying poses that I never even imagined I’d be able to do, and ended it with a wonderful savasana that involved giving your partner a chance to relax from the practice using elements of Thai massage.

All in all it was a great blend of the spirituality of yoga, the dynamics of acrobatics, and the kindness of Thai massage. While everyone in class worked together, you realize that no pose is impossible; it just takes balance and concentration. It’s genuinely a beautiful practice that you should try, working together with others in yoga brings you together as one, providing feelings of tranquility and union that are not always easy to find on a daily basis.

November 19, 2009

You have not showered yet if you haven't experienced this....

I just got treated to a very special bath, a Moroccan Bath to be specific. I’m kind of embarrassed it took me this long to discover the greatness of this experience. I feel like a new person…. I might actually be one. For those of you who have had one you know exactly what I’m talking about, for those of you who haven’t, let me tell you.

First off, remember the slightly “full” (lets be pc) woman in a yellow dress in the beginning of Aladdin who still thinks he’s rather tasty? If she was inspired by a real person, it would be this lady who escorted me to the changing room, and who to my lovely surprise would be giving me my bath. So I’m ordered to undress except for my undies and wait for the actual bath room to steam up. She’s just that kind of person you don’t question, if she says undress, you undress.

Of course, knowing my luck the steam decides not to work so she steams it up using the shower. The room steams up perfectly and I’m told to sit on the massage bed inside. She disappears and comes back wearing pretty much nothing but some silk lingerie-esque black mini dress.  We soon find out that the shower hose melted, so there we are in this small room, her trying to fix the shower, me sitting alone on the bed…. Awkward would be an understatement.

We start, despite the lack of steam, with her rubbing some olive soap on me. It was very smooth. I honestly just let go at that point and felt like I was three years old all over again. I mean it was hard not to with some big mamma holding on to and pretty much bathing me. To rinse me off I sat on a block and she used a bucket that she kept filling with water. Even though I was in a pretty fancy spa, I didn’t mind the steam being broken or the shower hose melting because I felt like I was getting the treatment the proper old-fashioned way.

I couldn’t help but have some mini internal panic attack during the next step. She started scrubbing me with some glove-like sponge. I seriously thought that she was trying to rip my body to shreds at that point. It’s a good thing she was friendly, she made it a comfortable experience… as comfortable as being scrubbed down vigorously by some stranger can be. This step is probably the most important slash most disgusting of them all. The amount of dead skin that gets rubbed off your body is disgusting. I’m pretty sure I lost 2 pounds of dead skin after that experience. The worst part is she KEPT telling me to look at the dead skin rolling off, as if having someone else see all that nastiness wasn’t bad enough. Through all the scrubbing, rinsing, having her huge chest stuffed in my face, I did feel a little violated… not gonna lie. 

The best part, yes surprisingly there was a best part, was the cucumber-mint cream she put all over me at the end. The smell was so fresh and so smooth and for once she was treating me with a bit more delicacy, which was a nice change after being virtually beaten up.

After my final rinse I was able to relax in the changing room and admire my new layer of skin, which fyi is as smooth as a babies butt. I know my experience was pretty dramatic, but I think it was as such because I had no clue what to expect. If you can afford it, I would definitely recommend getting a Moroccan bath at least once a month. Kind of feels like I waited 23 years to have a proper bath. Yeah, I know that sounds gross, but don’t even think about judging me if you haven’t experienced it :p

November 9, 2009

Crackberry Users Check this out!

Unfortunately this is what it has come to.... Yeah I know, you wouldn't be caught dead with it, but you can't say it wouldn't be prettty convenient!

November 8, 2009

Acting Workshops Coming to Dubai from LA!

For all you acting thesps in the Arab world there will be a workshop that shouldn’t be missed! Michelle Danner who is the artistic director of Edgemar Center for the Arts and Larry Moss studio in LA is coming to Dubai to do 4 days of classes. These are the same classes she teaches in LA and around the world. She also coaches stars such as Chris Rock, Christain Slater, Selma Hayak etc...

The first class is called "The Golden Box" it is a 2 day 6 hours a day technique break down class. She explains how to break down a script and personalize your role and bring it to life. The second course is the On-Camera intensive. you will be given sides from various scripts to go over and you will perform them in front of Michelle and a camera and then be critiqued on how to interact better in auditions and behind the camera. 

There really aren’t enough acting classes here and considering these classes are taught by professionals from Hollywood where they have experience in all aspects of the industry, it is well worth the money! Even though I majored in acting, I’m always looking for more classes to take, there are so many techniques and styles of acting to learn and each experience gives you the food to grow more and more as an actor. These classes are for people of all experience levels; even if you’ve never acted before what better way than to start off with a strong foundation. Ultimately, it'll be a great experience, so why not?

Click here for more details. 

Local Playwriting Competition Update

A while ago I blogged about a local playwriting competition in Dubai held by the Dubai Drama Group. I decided to give it a shot and submitted a monologue about survival tips to living in the UAE. Surprisingly it got chosen to be performed- of course AFTER I told everyone about it, I received an email from them letting us know that they chose all eight entries... I’ve convinced myself it’s still exciting and will be funny to watch something I wrote be performed. The performances will be during the Dubai Film Festival on the 10th & 11th, if any of you are around town come watch!

October '09 Playlist

Flashback - Fat Freddy's Drop
Mississippi Freestylin' - Slow Train Soul
Come as You Are - Caetano Veloso
Morena Mia - Miguel Bose y Julieta Venegas
Sofrito - Mongo Santamaria
Mi Swing Es Tropical - Nickodemus
Maria Jose - Federico Aubele
Oh Boy - Montana & Rossini
Till There was You - Rachael Starr
The Mambo Craze - De Phazz
They - Jem
Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby - Dinah Washington
My Baby Just Cares for Me - Nina Simone
New York - Paloma Faith
The Richest Man in Babylon - Thievery Corporation
Fleur Blanche - Orsten
Union Square - Stephane Pompougnac