Saturday, December 26, 2009

And the tree comes down in 3-2-1...

Oh, so everything is now a kitten toy...
Chunkers has other priorities.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Alien in the Kitchen - Leeks

Leek and Potato Soup From Cooking with Gil (Green Box)
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 leeks, white part only, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 200 grams potatoes, roughly cut into 2cm cubes
  • 750mls chicken stock
  • 220ml cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

•Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, leek, celery and garlic, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft, but not browned

•Add the stock and potatoes and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes

•Allow the soup to cool, and puree in a blender or food processor, or use a handheld blender

•If freezing, freeze at this stage, otherwise bring the pan of soup gently back to the boil, and stir in the cream.

•Season with salt and pepper and reheat without boiling, serve garnished with the chives

Produce Inspecktor LittleBit sez veggies is ok.

Alien in the Kitchen - Savoy Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Saint-Marcellin From All About Braising by Molly Stevens 3 T. butter 1 head savoy cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs), quartered, cored, and sliced into 1/2 inch wide shreds 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced into 1/2 inch-wide pieces salt and pepper 1 1/4 c. chicken stock 1 ripe Saint-Marcellin cheese (about 3 oz) (substitute a good triple-cream cheese such as Brillat-Savarin, Saint Andre, Explorateur, etc) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large gratin dish. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and scallions, season with salt and pepper, and saute, stirring ofen until the cabbage is just beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a steady simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan, and cook for about 2 mintues. Scrape the cabbage mixture and all its juices into the gratin dish. Cover tightly with foil then place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and contine to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, another 20 minutes or so. Cut or tear the cheese into small lumps and scatter across the gratin. Increase oven temperature to 375 and cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm as a first course, side dish, or on its own as a light supper. Enjoy!


Green Box delivery usually has at least one surprise item. This week it's Romanesco. Looks like a broccoli from outer space, but is actually related to cauliflower. I admired it for a while; then what the heck, nuked it with mayo, mustard and cheese. Delicioso.

Frosted Cauliflower

  • 1 med. cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lb. trimmed)
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheese (I like Elemental, but even Velveeta will do.)
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise (scant)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Paprika or seasoned salt to sprinkle on

Cut off stem, leaving cauliflower whole. Put water and cauliflower in 1 1/2 quart casserole. Cover and microwave on high about 9 minutes, turning bowl 1/4 turn once. (Should be just tender). Meanwhile, mix other ingredients. Drain cauliflower then spread with topping. Cover and let stand 5 minutes until topping melts. Makes 6 servings.

What was more disturbing was the other alien in the box...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I can always count on my kitchen helper.
"Is it done yet?"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yeah, Green Box!

New produce delivery service in Doha, promising fresh, healthy, delicious fruits 'n vegies. And the first delivery did not disappoint.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

struggling with a heavy case of blues. made it thru the day with required and expected social appearance, but emotions crashed on the drive home after work. forced myself to take a walk at Aspire with NextFit cranked to drown out everything else, but it was only temporary fix. i'm here as usual, by myself except for cats. alone by choice, but sometimes it would help if i weren't so alone. or at least felt less alone. then again, selective of company i keep. the ones i want to be with are furthest away and haven't a clue to how i'm feeling or what i need. and the local who use me for time and talent are the least i want to spend time with. sucks to be me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who Me?

No, Hoopoe!

Spotted two -- maybe three -- on our postage stamp back yard. We were hoping they'd stay, but apparently they were on migration for another more interesting location.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dis'd or dismissed? Or wrong place; wrong time?

Conversation was started about the Pentagon and 9/11. Who, where, when. SD was gathering background information for an article and I added my two cents. Sometimes I need to talk about it; sometimes I don't, but this time what he was getting was info from someone who was distant from the event. And I was *there*. Right place, wrong time; or wrong place, right time. And so I started to add my observations...I was there...right there...I heard the impact...I saw it, heard it, smelt it ... I was *THERE*. It was a beautiful day...and then it wasn't. and I was there...

And I was part of the conversation... and then suddenly I wasn't. SD dismissed me as much as if he closed a door and I wasn't there.

I thought I was there; and then I wasn't.

At lunch Tuesday BBC news ran footage of the World Trade Center with the North Tower on fire as the second plane flew into the South Tower. But they ran it as originally broadcast with "BREAKING NEWS" headline. not 'file footage', but BREAKING NEWS. I caught it at a glance and then choked not again, not again. And then realized it was file footage. And I still can't get it out of my mind. panic stands at my peripherals waiting for an opportunity to grab hold. Even thinking about it now I have a grip in my chest. A catch of anxiety making it hard to swallow or even to breathe.

Sometimes I feel guilty that I wasn't where I should/could have been. If I hadn't done PT that morning; if I had caught an earlier metro; if if if...I could (should?) have been there at the window ready to catch an incoming jet.

Wrong place, wrong time; and then I wasn't.

not then; not now. dismissed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ramadan Rush

Can you say "Fromage"? (épisode deux)

Dear Miss Grace,





It wasn't in a pair of socks. It was in a brand new package of 400-thread count pillowcases I got from the Jock Pen-A outlet that I was not gonna leave for Mr Brilliant because he wouldn't know a good sheet if he slept on it.

I distinctly remember putting the camera in a pair of rolled up socks.... I guess at some point I rethought and decided the pillow cases would be better. Oh wow.

Now I can recharge the battery and review my year in Georgia...




Maybe the camera shoulda stayed misplaced....

Luv, Saladsnail

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Dear Saladsnail:



I've been looking for my mailbox key for at least a month, and I finally found it in the Limo yesterday. So this morning, I took an empty copier paper box to the mailbox to pickup my mail. I had 12 weekly adds, 2 AAFES flyers (one for you, one for me), 9 magazines, several TriCare notices, a box of vitamins, a box of diabetes bars, a box of something I bought on eBay, and a beat-up box with bunches of APO Kuwait postal stamps with your camera in it.

It is still pink, it is still ugly.

Luv, Grace

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stomach Calendar

Weekend Chores

Be forewarned: Boring entry, but at least I didn't spend all day sitting on my butt.

Furniture in the Bev Hills flat is functional but craptacular. Draw pulls are designed for aesthetics and break with minor use. The concept is fill the drawers and forget ever using the contents.

One trip stateside + one visit to Home Depot = 13 new drawer pulls.

Before & After:

Before & After:

And the bits n pieces left over? Suitable for oh-so-fashionable doorknocker earrings!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


LittleBit is pure EVIL. Oh, she appears innocent enough, but looks are deceiving ... and she's been working her wicked wiles on poor dumb Chunkers. That cutsie, feminine, purring façade hides the darkest of souls. Her evilness must be revealed! .... so I took her in for a full body shave.... and now the horror that is her true self is exposed!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mr Disappointment

a series of days -- one right after the other
frustrating & disappointing
looking forward to next month and annual stateside holiday.
just biding time until then....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can you say "Fromage"?

Sometimes I'm absolutely brilliant. Sometimes I surprise myself. Sometimes I'm disappointed in others. Sometimes I get depressed. But never all at the same time. Thank god for that.

When I packed up to move back to Qatar, I had a brilliant idea. Luggage goes thru hell -- the old Samsonite luggage and gorilla commercial comes to mind -- especially on international flights. I was packing up and spied my camera as I was packing my socks. LIGHTBULB MOMENT! What better padding for my camera than safely nestled inside a rolled up pair of socks. And so ... now even 8 months later... I still have yet to find that pair of socks and the camera safely tucked inside. Brilliant, yes I am.

In February I came across an opportunity to be a contributor to a photo journal. An online journal of daily photos from a commuity of 40 or so women. I'm not much of a grand communicator, but a picture is worth a thousand words and I thought my contribution especially from this quasi-exotic location could add flavor to this experience. So -- again I searched all my goods for the MIA camera without success. And I convinced myself that maybe this would be a good time to shop for a new one. Shopping! Does any woman really ever need a 'reason' to shop? It just comes naturally. And just like the rainshower that comes right after I wash the car, I know that the missing CyberShot would reappear magically just as soon as the new camera arrived.

So I did some research and window shopping and found the Sony Outlet website with a near top-of-the-line newer -- a refurbish, but newer to me -- next generation CyberShot. And I even made the conscious decision to break away from only purchasing 'neutral' colored items and wincing as I hit the confirm button on checkout, purchased a pink -- PINK -- Sony CyberShot. Ain't it purdy?

On checkout I was notified that Sony couldn't ship to APO addresses, so I contacted my Best Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless (BFWSRN?) and she agreed that if I sent it to her she'd relabel and send it on to me. And I still would receive it in time for the March 1st start date for that Photo Journal. Woo hoo! I love when a plan comes together!!

My BFWSRN got the parcel and sent me an email offering to pad the package with other stuff. Oh, I'm always open to care packages! Of course! And the camera and goodies would be on their way with a short delay. But still, on the way.

Ok, so a month passes. Um. No package; no camera. I go to mailcall religiously knowing that any day...ANY DAY... I would get a parcel. No, not today. No, not the next day. Nor the week after that. So now I have a quandry. Knowing my BFWSRN as I do, how do I tactfully inquire status? I had expected Priority Mail -- which takes about 10-12 days. Maybe it was sent parcel post? That can take anywhere from 30-45 days. But surely she wouldn't have sent a moderately high-priced item thru parcel post. It's hard to rationalize getting pissed as I was increasingly day-after-day at a friend who was doing me a favor. But still... no camera.

So in a routine chatty email I dropped a line about maybe the package was put in Fleet mail and was out somewhere in the Pacific. Ha ha. ...... Only to get BFWSRN's reply that she still hasn't mailed it!! STILL. HAVE. NOT. MAILED. IT! But now, promise, promise, promise(?) it will definitely be in the mail next week. Uh, yeah, I'm holding my breath. Pfft!

Disappointed much? Humph!

So, a full TWO MONTHS after I purchased a lovely pink camera, a full ONE MONTH AFTER THE LIMITED WARRANTY is EXPIRED... I still have no camera.

And the old one hasn't shown either.


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Poor little boy. Went to the vet to get some hairball remedy and came back -- after being prodded and poked -- with DIET FOOD! What an insult. Obesity Formula! I should be shot for animal cruelty.