Friday, July 19, 2013

On Peculiarities of Vegas

During my 2 years living in Vegas, I have stumbled upon a couple of amusing, peculiar and sometimes disturbing sights

Friday, early morning. A sofa in the middle of a parking lot. Trust me, it was NOT there last night! 

OK, you might not see very clearly, but THAT black thing in the center is a BOOT on a metal stick. It's been there for 4 days. And it does not seem to be going anywhere 

Send me some of peculiarities YOU have noticed!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Cookie MASTER, not a Cookie Monster

I have decide that this specific post deserves to be in 2 languages, English and Russian due to the effort I had put into making the actual reason for the post and the tastiness of the outcome. 

Ramadan is at the door (actually, it has already started in most countries) and I could not help cooking the most traditional Moroccan cookie - Shebakia. It's a sesame cookie, coated in honey, crunchy, chewy and very exotic! In two words - it's quite one of a kind. Here I must warn you in case you are rushing Google for the recipe (which by the way are ample out there) - it's NOT an easy and quick thing to make. Above all, it requires crafty hands and patience. 

Honestly, I have NO idea how I had managed the task successfully, given my natural lack of both mentioned virtues. But this is the good news for you - you CAN do it, too!

I will not bore you with a very detailed  step-by-step cooking process, so, I skip the dough mixing stage and jump straight to the fun part. 

This is what I started with (well, almost):
This is the minimum requirement, easily achievable: 

This is how you begin shaping the Shebakia:

Don't ask me to explain how exactly the cookie gains its lovely flower shape, but this is the result you are striving for:

And then again, and again, and many more times over again: 
A close-up: 

Then you fry the to-be cookies in oil: 

When they become lovely deep golden color - dip them in hot honey (yes, I know, A LOT of honey and A LOT of oil - but trust me - TOTALLY worth it!): 

Taram! Please welcome - Shebakia, 
the ultimate Moroccan sesame cookie! 

P.S. Recipes: the wonderful and WORKING (I tried) recipes are here: 
(yields about 35 cookies)
and here: - please mind the amounts as this recipe yield about 4 pounds of cookies!   

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On Palm Trees in Vegas (a promise to a dear friend)

It might sound surprising, but there are people who have never seen palm trees. I mean real, naturally growing or man-planted and carefully looked after. Personally I  don't even consider palm trees as real trees. But I have promised my old friend to share the wander I was given to observe day after day, without giving proper credit.
So here I am, sharing Las Vegas palm trees and cacti with the World.

This is my favorite park. Actually, it is the ONLY place I can call park here: )

Those stings seem to be its flowers or fruit. As you see, I am not much a flora knower 

I like these pineapple looking palm trees!  

These appear during the vegetation, attractive but hardly eatable.

Now, don't ask, just enjoy the looks!  

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Inspirational Quote

For the past week I have been fighting - quite unsuccessfully, needless to say - my own laziness and the "block". With a lot on my mind, plans and projects buzzing in my head, I created and re-created day plans and weekly time sheets to pursue to help me become the me that I would be satisfied with and that I could be proud of.   
Now, here are pieces of mind that gave me that final push to stop dreaming and start doing:    

and this one: 

"Success is peace of mind 

which is a direct result of self-satisfaction 

in knowing you did your best 

to become the best you are capable of becoming."

John R. Wooden

Keeping my fingers crossed for all of us starting something - it will inevitably work out just perfectly if we do not stop going for it!