Thankful Thursday 21 February 2019

It’s that time of week again! Between off on President’s Day and a snow day yesterday, this week has flown by. I have a lot to be thankful for.

On Sunday when I was deleting old e-mails, I came across e-mails from 2015 that were from different members of the senior center, from when I worked there. I e-mailed three members, but I didn’t get a chance to e-mail one of the members. Wouldn’t you know that the person I didn’t get a chance to e-mail was in the library on Tuesday! He said hello and I said hello, and I told him I was thinking about him the other day but didn’t get a chance to e-mail him. He said, “well, you still can.” We’ve been catching up over e-mail and it is so nice. 🙂

I’m also thankful for dad; he’s been taking me to the train three days per week and a Starbucks run on the way. I’m always grateful for dad, my family and friends.

What are you thankful for today?

Healthy Winter Cooking

As a foodie, I believe the foods we put into our bodies impact not only our happiness and joy, but our well being too. Sometimes living in the Northeast (or any cold climate) is difficult in the winter because we don’t always have access to healthy foods. However, in this day and age, it is easier, though freshness is still an issue.

Over the weekend I made dinner. On Sunday, I made Persian Saffron chicken for my parents and I, along with homemade GF rice pilaf. Both were easy to make AND the dish was enjoyed by all.

Saffron & Rosemary Chicken Filet

2 good pinches of saffron powder
2 good pinches of saffron threads
1 1/3 lbs chicken tenders
2 Tbsp. garlic oil
1 1/2 oz rosemary
2 heaped tsp. of crushed sea salt flakes
Freshly ground pepper

Grind the saffron threads with mortar and pestle (I used a spoon), then put with the other powder. Pour over the boiling water and leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes or until the water has cooled and turned a deep red colour.

Place the chicken strips in a bowl and add the garlic oil, rosemary, sea salt, a generous seasoning of black pepper, and then saffron water. Mix well so that the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for an hour to marinate.

Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, drizzle a little oil into the pan, and without overcrowding the pan, fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until a nice golden brown crust forms and they are cooked through.

Gluten Free Rice Pilaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
for pilaf
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup gluten free spaghetti broken into small pieces
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Combine seasoning ingredients
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter and saute rice and pasta until pasta is lightly toasted (2 or 3 minutes)
  3. Add broth and seasoning mix
  4. Bring to a boil
  5. Cover and reduce heat
  6. Simmer 20 minutes until water is absorbed
  7. Fluff with fork
Recipe Notes

Feel free to double or triple the seasoning recipe. You can keep in in a small jar so it is available any time you want delicious and gluten free rice pilaf. Simply use 2 and 1/2 teaspoons per 2 cups of rice

Monday my parents had pork and since I have religious restrictions and can’t eat pork, I made cod. I sauteed shallot in 2 tbsp. butter and added the cod with some lemon, salt, pepper, and paprika.

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Snow day today! I had the opportunity to make a beef stew and GF cornbread muffins with lactose free milk and cheese.

I am thinking of making recipe posts a regular thing on this blog. If anything interests you, feel free to use and if you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate in reaching out!

A Joyful Day Out (A Picture Entry)

I took off from my full-time job today for the President’s Day holiday. I decided to go ice skating, eat lunch at Red Hook for a GF tuna fish sandwich, and walk through Rittenhouse Square to get to Barnes and Noble and Trader Joe’s.

 

As I was walking through Rittenhouse Square, I was so happy that Billy Goat was back! As I was taking the selfie, I heard Bach’s Cello Suite being played nearby. I walked over and a young man was playing to raise money to go to a camp. Over the past two years, I’ve taken a real love to classical music and I can’t get enough of it. I stood there for a good ten minutes just relaxing. I gave him $2 and after he finished, I clapped and he thanked me. His name is Lyle and he agreed to a selfie.

 

I’m exhausted! My joyful day tired me out and I can’t wait to put a few of these photos into my Happiness Box. I’m going to spend the rest of the evening writing and relaxing to Antiques Roadshow. Back to both jobs tomorrow!

The Year of the Boar | A Celebration Fit for an Emperor | Philadelphia Chinatown | 10 February 2019

Last Sunday I ventured into Philadelphia for the Sun’s yearly Chinese New Year Celebration. However, before I could celebrate and partake in festivities, I had to take a breakfast stop. A little cafe I discovered on South Street in 2011 came in handy again. I hadn’t visited from March 2017 until going in by chance before a dinner reservation at the Hungry Pigeon on 28 December 2018. The owner told me they have gluten-free options and I decided to stop there for breakfast. Red Hook was my favourite place in college and it’s becoming my favourite place again – their GF bagels and baked goods are delicious, without breaking the bank.

After filling up on gluten-free goods from Red Hook Cafe, I took Lyft to Chinatown. The driver couldn’t take me to the Friendship Arch since the roads were closed for the parade, however, the spot he dropped me off at was prime for action. It was the beginning of the parade route and I could see the Suns set up. I also saw the shops set up.

 

A few times I felt like I was in the Suns because I was walking in the parade route snapping away. I ended up taking 451 photos!  I ended up dancing with a few of the Lions as I gave them my prosperity envelopes. I’m thankful that the head of the Suns allowed such a moment and snapped a picture of the experience for me.

To end the day, I walked back down to South Street and had a delicious New Years dinner at Banh Mi and Bottles. I had a gluten-free Banh Mi sandwich and pho. Banh Mi and Bottles is one of my favourite places; I also love Pho 20, but they do not carry GF Banh Mi like Banh Mi and Bottles does. Both places are good and Bahn Mi and Bottles helped end a memorable day.

 

I hope your New Year is filled with many blessings and joy. Happy Year of the Boar!

An Evening with Michelle Lordi at the Philadelphia Museum of Art | 15 February 2019

Last night I ventured to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Michelle Lordi perform. She is a local jazz artist and I first heard her in August 2017 when she performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Unfortunately, I missed her the time she performed last year, and I wasn’t going to miss her this time!

I arrived at 5:30, after running some errands, and I found a spot on the staircase. A gentleman was sitting on the step behind me and he had a gift bag right beside him. The staircase has limited room and after a few times of bumping into the bag, I asked him if I was taking someone’s seat. He said, “No, she hasn’t shown up yet. If you want to get more comfortable, I have a blanket spread out and you’re welcome to sit here.”

I was surprised and I said, “when she gets here, I’ll move.” He frowned and said, “I’m not quite sure if she will be showing up. I texted her a few times and heard nothing.” He was a middle aged man, probably a few years younger than my dad, and I was shocked that people of a certain age still stand people up! I felt for him because he had a bag filled with pretty pink roses.

She never did show up and we enjoyed Michelle Lordi together. His name was Nick, he is also a member of the art museum, and we hope to see each other again for a Friday After 5 performance. I empathized with him about being stood up, and he simply said, “it’s okay. Thank you for enjoying the show with me. It was nice meeting you.”

Who would have thought? I enjoyed my evening too.

Thankful Thursday 14 February 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This morning when I woke up, dad handed me a Valentine’s Day card and it had me feeling so verklempt. The card’s inside was beautiful and I added it to my Happiness Box. I gave him a big hug and thanked him. He’s hoping to retire in October 2020, has five years worth of vacation, and is taking three days per week off. He took me to Starbucks and the train this morning. I gave him a big hug before I left the passenger seat, then sent him a text message that I appreciate all that he does for me and I love him.

 

I gave people at both jobs something for Valentine’s Day. The library recipients weren’t in today, so hopefully I’ll see them next week. My library manager is undergoing chemo and she’s been tired – I’m hoping it’ll cheer her up. I’ve thought about sending her a little smile box or something to her house. Everyone at my full-time job was grateful and I made the morning of two women in the collection’s department. One was having a really cruddy week and my Valentine/candy put a smile on her face. The other one was surprised and expressed the same gratitude as well. 🙂

One of my library co-workers gave me this cute children’s book they were discarding. I love snowmen and said, “that book looks cute!” She handed it to me and said it was mine. I felt grateful too.

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What are you thankful for today?

An Afternoon Stroll and Evening Tea

Yesterday started out as rainy and gray; I even bought a train ticket because I felt that I wouldn’t be able to walk anywhere. Last month when I walked the three miles from my full-time job in Miquon to Manayunk, I picked up a free local magazine that was featuring a Persian tea house. Safa sounded neat and a must try place – it’s easier to get Middle Eastern food gluten-free than some British tearooms here (who would have thought since Celiac disease affects the British and Irish more than any other population) – for a Friday evening. I was planning on going straight into Philadelphia, having dinner at Simply Banh Mi and checking out the Art Museum.

WELL, to my surprise, the sun popped out from behind the clouds at around noon and I decided to take the 3.8 mile, hour and a half walk to Safa Teahouse in Manayunk. I’m glad I did because the walk, although blustery and cold, was beautiful. The sky was a clear blue and the clouds really illustrated the sky. The leaves were blowing around and the sun glittered on the Schuylkill River. The Canadian geese were enjoying the water too. I love walking the trail and I’m glad the sun decided to come out.

I’m also glad the sun came out because it gave me an opportunity to go to my new favourite tea house. Safa Persian Tea House was amazing and that’s an understatement. Amin and his mother were friendly, helpful, and hospitable. I had an eggplant dish with carrots and celery instead of the pita and it was to die for. I also ordered fig tea, which was sweetened by saffron rock candy, then Garden of Eden tea. I also sampled a saffron ice cream with rose buds. Yum! I have a little crush on Amin, he was so friendly and I liked chatting with him. His mother took a photo of us, which I added to my Happiness Box. *InLove2*

I can’t wait to go back to Safa Persian Teahouse! I might have to write a few pieces for my portfolio.