31 August 2013

Arab Breakfast 101: Grandma's Fried Eggs, Hummus + Ful

Breakfast is served!
For those of you that don't know me, I'm 1/2 Arab. Yep born in Jordan, raised over here since I was a kid although there were a few times we went back to the "old country" and lived for a couple years. I attended 1st & 2nd grade in Jordan at a private school where my mom was also a teacher. I knew Arabic when I was a kid living there, but as soon as we came back I unfortunately forgot almost all of it.

Although I was raised here I have always eaten Arabic food. My parents are divorced but my mom loved Arabic food so she would cook about 1-2 Arabic meals a week. Although she doesn't have an Arab bone in her body she learned how to cook when we lived over seas and her Arabic food tastes just as good as my dad's cooking (my dad is full Arab). One of my favorite Arabic meals my dad makes is his breakfast, which consists of fried eggs (he cooks them a special way), hummus and ful (pronounced fool) served with Pita bread and hot tea. You know we Arabs love our hot tea.

What makes my dad's cooking so special is that he never spices anything the same way each time he makes it. It's always about the same, but my dad loves to experiment in the kitchen and likes to add new things here and there, which keeps things interesting. Now these fried eggs of his are the same type his grandma would make for him when he was growing up. What makes them so special you ask?? Well here it is.

Grandma's Fried Eggs


*Frying Pan
* Eggs (Duh)
*Vegetable Oil 
*Salt & Pepper


1) Heat about 3 Tablespoons of oil in the pan, add about 4-5 Tablespoons of flour, stir.
You want the flour to get brown, but be sure not to let it burn.

2) Once the oil is warm add your eggs.
While the eggs are cooking, spoon the flour/oil on top of the eggs and add your S & P. Continue spooning the hot flour/oil mix on top the eggs while they are cooking until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Do not flip the eggs while they are cooking.

Serve with Pita bread and enjoy! :)

Of course these eggs are good on the own, but for that traditional Arab goodness pair with hummus & ful. There are plenty of recipes online for good hummus and ful so I won't go into detail about those. But my dad's typical hummus is made with canned hummus, which he adds plain yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and Tahini with Cumin sprinkled on top. His typical ful is made from warmed Fava beans which are mashed, and he adds olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. He also tops both his hummus and ful with a green spicy sauce which he makes out of jalapenos as well as other ingredients (sorry for the ambiguity but alas I can't give up the recipe for the green sauce) just know that it's good ;)  

My dad loves tomatoes so he occasionally serves some slice tomatoes at breakfast. Of course not just any ol' sliced tomatoes, sometimes he fries them, but he always tops them with feta cheese or blue cheese and serves them with olives. Pretty delish!! 

My dad's tomato concoction

I'm so very glad my dad has taught me how to make these delicious Arabic dishes that I love! I know he won't always be around, as are none of us, so it's nice to learn about these old family traditions while I'm still able to. 

Take advantage & seize the day! It's so important to learn your families traditions while you still can, because one day the few people who know them may not be around anymore + your family traditions will be gone with them.

Until next time...Cheers!

<3 Noonie

PSST: If you enjoyed this post check out my other favorite Arab dishes: 
Includes photos + my family recipes! <3


It was about one year ago, when I made the decision to stay in NYC. I had packed up all my belongings and been planning to move to Chicago for grad school, I wanted to be an architect, was accepted into a prestigious school, and was ready to start a new life. I was excited, to say the least! But something didn't feel right.
Two-weeks prior to moving day I began to freak out. I started questioning my choices, what was I doing?! After speaking to anyone who would listen to me, I wandered into Central Park and spent about an hour on the phone with my mother, I was 80% sure after that phone call, so I decided to call a friend. After 5 minutes on the phone with him, it was decided. I was staying!

That day changed my life forever, not only did I stay in NYC, but I also decided to finish up my masters degree in Urban Planning. I couldn't have been happier with my decision. 

I've gained so many new friends, new opportunities, and new experiences since then. I have two wonderful roommates, moved (and fell in love with) Astoria, got an internship with the city, improved my relationships with old friends, and made new friendships with some wonderful people. Not to mention I've been able to travel solo, which I had never done before. 

That day I made the single best decision in my life, or so I hope.

2012: The day my life forever changed
2013: One year later, still :)

30 August 2013

Gettin' Crafty with Driftwood + Twine..Art Project!

Stinson Beach
I'll be the first to admit I'm one of those "start a project, get it 1/2 way done and forget about it for a while" type person, which is yet another reason why I decided to contribute to this blog. I needed some accountability for my projects to be sure I started and finished them in a reasonable amount of time, and it has helped!! Otherwise this next project I'm about to show you would probably still be sitting on my desk 1/2 finished so cheers to this blog for it's accountability & motivation. :)

Anyways this project all began when I was shopping at Big Lots for a few little odds & ends to complete the dining room decor. I found the cutest piece made out of worn wood strung together to look like a fish. It was simple and I knew it would make a great statement to go along with my ocean themed dining room. Being that it was so simple looking I thought to myself, why spend money on something I could just make myself? I knew it would have more value to me if I did make it myself, and hell I do LOVE a good ol' art project! So this is where the fun really begins.

Driftwood Haven!
I knew I wanted authentic pieces of drift wood to create my little fish and so the last time I got a chance to go to Stinson beach I went driftwood huntin', and of course found plenty of good little pieces. Once I had my driftwood, I headed to Michael's to pick up some twine. Found a roll of twine for $6 bucks, which was the only expense needed for this entire project. I also have a ton of it left over..art projects waiting to happen! ;)
Roll o' Twine

Once I had all of my supplies gathered it was time for the fun part..assembling the fish! I learned the hard way as to where to do this project and started it on my living room table which of course was a huge mess waiting to happen. I would suggest working on this project outside as it does get messy, especially if you end up needing to cut some pieces of driftwood to make them fit better.

Playing with the form
I began by setting out the sticks in the order I wanted to, played with the placement a while to get that perfect fish shape I was looking for then started wrapping & tying the pieces of driftwood one at a time. I recommend cutting a long piece of twine rather than keeping it attached to the roll when working with it. At first I tried just wrapping the driftwood with the twine but course that didn't work so be sure to tie each piece before moving on to the next. I had some issues with the twine getting too tight and messing with the driftwood placement so be sure to pull on the end tight when tying the pieces together to ensure this doesn't happen and that your fish comes out straight.

As I mentioned above you may have to cut some pieces to get them to fit better, and this was the case for me. Luckily my boyfriend had a dremel tool around which I had never used before, but it was easy to use and got me that one last piece I needed to complete the fish.

Before Dremel
The tail was too long &
I  needed an extra piece of driftwood
After Dremel
A dremel tool, this sucker came in handy!
1/2 way complete mark
TA DA!! The final product!

I sure did have a good ol' time with this art project and definitely plan on making some more of these guys in the future for friends and maybe for myself hehe. I'm so happy with the turn out of this art project and it just goes to show you, you don't always have to buy home decor when you can just make it yourself.

Hangin' in the dining room.
I have a few updates about the Sun Printing as well as another new hobby but those will have to wait.                                                                                  
                                                                 Until next time! Cheers!

Southern California

The last leg of my weeklong adventure was spent in Southern California. I spent the majority of my time I'm San Diego, but also visited: La Jolla, Coronado, and Orange County.

Lucky for me, one of my best friends happens to live in San Diego and he was kind enough to give me the full tour! I had amazing food, wonderful weather, and fantastic views. It's exactly like they say "it's always sunny in San Diego" and it's always 75 degrees! 
If you scroll down you'll see a few photos from my lunch at Javier's Restaurant, it has got to be one of the finest Mexican Restaurants I have ever been to, not to mention the extravagant decorations!

Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
La Jolla, CA
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
Coronado, CA
Coronado, CA
Coronado, CA
Coronado, CA
Laguna Beach, CA
Javier's Newport Beach

Javier's Newport Beach
Laguna Beach
Now, now mister cactus...

29 August 2013

Harbin Hot Springs Adventure with the Cuz

Credit: harbin.org

Yes Nelli called it I've been "blog slacking". Shame shame know your name! ;) ha. Been keeping busy I've had one project 1/2 way done for the last week which I plan on blogging about as soon as I'm finished with it..so stay tuned for that one.

Yesterday my cousin and I took a little day trip to the Harbin Hot Springs which is located in Middleton, CA. Middleton is near Calistoga and depending on the route you take you can pass through Napa to get there, yet another beautiful little town. My cousin had been to Harbin a couples times prior and has been telling me about how awesome it is for months.

Alas we finally stopped talking and did a little walking, and by walking I mean a 2 1/2 hour drive. The drive was not bad at all, especially because I wasn't the one doing it. But it was quite the scenic drive the entire way there with little freeway time at all. We saw many beautiful sights on the way such as Lake Berryesa, (which I had no idea was so huge!) the forest, tons of vineyards and of course all those little towns on the way there.

We were starving by the time we reached the hot springs and decided to grab a bite to eat from the restaurant located on site before taking a dip. To begin with my cousin and I split an organic salad all the produce grown on site, and for our entree we shared a Moroccan Chicken dinner which was served with white rice, yogurt, and fresh veggies. My sweet tooth lit up when I saw the Mixed Berry Crumble so of course that is what we had for dessert. Dinner was over and it was time to get to the good part..the hot springs!

Now I didn't mention before but the Harbin Hot springs is a hippie type joint that people come to visit from all over the world. There are cabins you can rent, and camping on site. Being that it is a hippie type place most people were..wait for it..naked! That's right wearing their birthday suits while enjoying the hot springs, although I didn't opt to go nude it was kind of liberating to be around so many people who were just being one with nature and each other for that matter ;) My cousin and I were the ones who actually got kind of weird looks because we were wearing our swimsuits and there were few of us around who were, which was also kind of a fun/weird feeling. But because of the nudity and for the sake of serenity cell phone usage is not allowed any where except the parking lot which means no photos. So alas you all will have to go for yourselves just to see how beautiful and serene this place really is (or you can check out their website for photos but what fun is there in that?!) :)

Harbin offers many hot springs as well as cold springs, a sauna and steam room. The hottest hot spring was inside a little structure which had a sculpture and candles around it, it was like a sanctuary and because of this you're not supposed to talk while soaking in it. But alas I couldn't handle the heat and could barely put my foot into the scorching water, my cousin soaked for a bit while I sat on a bench inside the building and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere. I had never been into a sauna or steam room so we decided to check those out as well, and I loved it! Felt so relaxing and really helped put me further at ease. After dipping around in all of the warm springs we decided we better get home before it got any later. Next time I go I plan on spending the night as all of the hot springs are open 24 hours a day, which is really awesome. I really don't know how my cousin could drive after such a relaxing time but we made it home and of course passed out really well. I highly suggest everyone check out this serene get away as it will really relax you on a level I'm sure many have yet to experience.

Lake Berryesa

The hills & vineyards

Forest shot

Photos from the Sky

The sky is one of my favorite things about living on earth, it becomes the earths canvas each day, filling up with something different each day.

Here are a few shots I took from above, encompassing both earth and sky. 

Robot Wave

Flying over New Mexico

Off the Florida coast

Somewhere, above the clouds

25 August 2013

The Salk Institute

Since I had begun studying architecture Louis Kahn has been one of my favorite architects. As such, The Salk has been on my "must see" list for years, and I was finally able to view it!

While on my hiatus in San Diego, my friend and I took the drive up to La Jolla, CA and boy was it worth it! 
Our first stop that morning was Bird Rock Cafe, and the best coffee I'd had while on vacation. Our second stop was the Salk. Photos do a pretty good job of representing the space and character, but the emotions and emergence of space cannot be achieved through photograph. The space itself is breathtaking, even on a cloudy California day. The marriage of concrete and wood is one of my favorite, and the stream running through the space adds an element of peace, harmony, and intrigue (not to mention fun photo ops!)

If you're ever in San Diego I definitely recommend stopping by, you won't be disappointed, plus.... It's free!

Take the Leap!