Middle East

February 27, 2018

The Real Deal Hummus Recipe

I pretty much ALWAYS make my own hummus.  You might think I do this because I’m trying to be a health freak & prefer eating my own, homemade badass delight – but you’re wrong.  I make hummus at home because the containers of hummus at the store are either too much money, too small, or yes – full of crap.  Also, I always have the ingredients at home so I make it when I want it.   I don’t typically crave hummus while grocery shopping

I pretty much ALWAYS make my own hummus.  You might think I do this because I’m trying to be a health freak & prefer eating my own, homemade badass delight – but you’re wrong.  I make hummus at home because the containers of hummus at the store are either too much money, too small, or yes – full of crap.  Also, I always have the ingredients at home so I make it when I want it.   I don’t typically crave hummus while grocery shopping.

When we were in Dubai, we stalked up on the largest jar of Tahini we could find.  The Middle East has Tahini everywhere & it’s affordable, so Wafiq’s mom made sure we brought a HUGE jar home with us.   While we were on the subject of Tahini she asked me what I use it for & I explained hummus.  She casually said “ooOOo yes, easy. very easy hummus.  A little beans, oil, yogurt…”  Excuse me… what?  Yogurt?

The secret ingredient: yogurt!

What the hell was I thinking before with my regular, rookie hummus?  This is the real deal right here, hummus w/yogurt.  The difference – besides the slightly added flavor, the hummus turns out smoother w/a little added fluff.

I’ve been making a batch at home once a week since I’ve been back… (am I going to get fat?)  Because hummus goes with everything!  Sandwiches, veggies, chips, crackers, pita, salad.

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February 22, 2018

Allow Me To Introduce: The Kingdom of Bahrain

Wafiq is from Bahrain. His family moved to Dubai while he was going to college, but he was born & raised in the tiny little island, Bahrain. That’s how I wound up learning about the country & ultimately visiting.  I rarely write about Bahrain for a lot of reasons, the shiny things are in Dubai – all the glitz, glam & tall buildings, which is where I spent most of my time. Also, because Wafiq grew up in Bahrain, we don’t tend to do very much when we visit. We stick close to his house & his friends houses and… there’s a lot of people that don’t want to share anything online so I can’t write or photo with them unless it’s curated. ha!  More on that another time.

Bahrain is still my favorite.  Each time we go I notch something new off my belt.  It’s a small island country in the middle of the Middle East, with approx 1.2M people.  The vibe is very much island.   One of the reasons Wafiq knows English so well is because he went to an English speaking school with the same exact curriculum that I had when I went to school, in America.  There’s an American Military Base on Bahrain, so Wafiq went to school with a lot of little Katie’s.  {aka: American’s.}  Which is also why Wafiq tends to get along with American’s that served in the Military – they know where Bahrain is & they know what type of dude Wafiq is.

Besides the history & political parts of this country, I love the feeling I get from being there.  Every time I would visit from Dubai I instantly felt relaxed stepping off the plane.  Bahrain is very CHILL.  Like an Arabic island vibey country, intriguing right?

I will admit, I don’t think all Bahraini’s feel the same way – because it’s a small country, almost like a small town, locals feel like they know everyone & people depend on gossip.

BUT for visitors, I can tell you, this place is the shit!  And more affordable than the shiny neighbor Dubai.  If you want to get culture, laid back, easy living, personal feeling – Bahrain is the place.  For example, we went to the Al Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain our last time visiting, because it’s the #1 thing to do on trip advisor.  We happened to go on Christmas Eve which I found pretty interesting – my entire life Christmas Eve has been the coordination of a Church Service & this year it was a tour of a Mosque.  Silly how things work out.  Anyway, the tour guide could not have been more informative & RELATABLE.   He was our age. & as soon as Wafiq & I realized he was incredibly easy to talk to we started grilling him on every single religious question we could think of.  I mean everything, even if I sounded dumb, I went for it.  I love exploring religions & learning what other people believe.  It’s crazy how much you can learn when you’re not afraid, and you ask questions.  Rather than preach or intimidate, our tour guide answered questions honestly & fearlessly.

So far on my visits to Bahrain this is the vibe I get.  Easy, relaxed, people.  When you go to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, you don’t feel the exact same way you do in the Grand Mosque of Bahrain.  As glamorous as the Abu Dhabi one is – there’s tons of people, large tour groups, and a formal education.  I’m not trying to knock the Abu Dhabi Mosque as it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I’ve ever seen, rather show the perks of both 🙂

Unlike Dubai, you’ll see Bahraini locals everywhere when you visit.  They’re available to be seen!  Emirati’s are so few, that you don’t interact with them very often or even see them everywhere.

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January 23, 2018

6 Must-See Places in Dubai (& they’re free!)

I would argue one of the best things about Dubai, if not the best, is how much you can explore & simply see.  Without having to pay anything or work very hard.  Not without effort, Dubai sets records & created a visual piece of artwork.  You can fill your entire trip just driving around exploring the different landscapes – for FREE.  Sometimes paying for the view, isn’t as good as actually searching for it yourself.

I wanted to show you how to make a trip adventurous without spending a ton of money!  I feel like I’m a master at going on budget friendly trips, including Dubai.  Food & drink is expensive, but there’s SO much to do for free, or nearly free – if you can just get yourself there.  You wouldn’t even be able to finish this list in one trip!  And if you do, I can add to it 🙂

This is MY checklist when I go back – things to go stare at.  And they never get old.  Even when I lived there, going to stare at the items on this list was one of my favorite things to do.  And a way to ensure I won’t waste my precious money.

1-  Burj Khalifa
This twinkly building still takes my breathe away.  Because it’s right outside the Dubai Mall there’s plenty of space to go walk around the building & look at it yourself – without paying a dime.  Get yourself to the Dubai Mall & walk outside.  You can eat near it, shop near it, walk near it, or just sit down & stare at it.  The fountain show that plays outside the building at night will also take your breathe away.  Go check it out during the day & at night for completely different views.  Until Dubai builds their next world record setting building, this is the top spot for me.  And you absolutely need a GoPro to fit the whole damn thing in a photo, OR spend $$$$ to have a tourey sales man take one measly photo for you…

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April 13, 2017

5 Uncommon Ingredients For Your Kitchen: Middle East Inspired

I used to be afraid of recipes that had ingredients I didn’t use or have in my kitchen.  I thought it took too much energy to find them & the unknown price & flavors… But over time & the use of bravery, I’ve stalked my kitchen with all kinds of interesting ingredients & end up using them more than I expected.

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February 6, 2017

Dating a Muslim Immigrant, During the Muslim Ban

Let’s start with figuring out exactly who & where Muslims are.  Muslims come in all shapes, forms, colors, backgrounds, beliefs, families, countries, parents, and lifestyles.


June 1, 2016

What To Wear – In Dubai

I’ve previously written about women in the Middle East, and what it was like to live there as a woman… But this post is more for your vacation plans.  No need to get down in the nitty gritty of women’s clothing in the Middle East when you’re there on vacation.


May 25, 2016

Dubai – 10 Tips To Pull Off A Perfect Trip

Here are your 10 Vacation Notes to get through a trip to Dubai in the best way possible!  Enjoy!


May 18, 2016

Your PERFECT Dubai Vacation Itinerary!

I realized I never made a useful list of what to do when you decide to vacation in Dubai, which is really stupid considering I lived there for a year and a half.  The very LEAST I can do is help recommend what to do!


April 12, 2015

My Top Ten – WORST of Dubai

It’s only fair – If I tell you what I LOVED doing in Dubai for the year and a half I lived here, I also tell you what I should have AVOIDED.


April 11, 2015

My Top Ten – BEST of Dubai

I tried to keep this list to activities rather than accomplishments


April 1, 2015

The Dubai Mall Tour

This is a QUICK tour of The Dubai Mall. I wanted this video because I think it’s important to show how “regular” Dubai and this part of the Middle East is.


March 30, 2015

Yas Waterwold in Abu Dhabi

I HATE roller coasters, water slides, and anything with heights. For many reasons -> the long lines, the risk of death, I don’t understand why people voluntarily enjoy fear