It’s hard to believe that this year is almost over. It feels like it just started. I feel like my New Year’s resolution has been so… shortlived? I’m not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for, but I do know that time flies way too fast. So here is what I’ve been up to lately
I haven’t had Mentos in ages. Apparently, these Mentos are limited edition. I don’t think I’ve ever had candy with uplifting messages printed on them.
I really wanted to like these. They were hard and so so so dry. I could hardly finish the first bite I took. Oh well.
I love Butterfinger but this crispy wafer version can’t compare to the original.
This is the first time I’ve tried Ulker tea biscuits. I’ve tried their other products and have been satisfied but these were weak. The second I dipped it into the tea, it broke off. My tea ended up being more biscuit than tea.
This was the only soft and not stale bread the local supermarket was selling. I’m satisfied.
I tried to write a treatment. I’m still not too sure how I feel about the experience.
Tried a new recipe in the breadmaker. It was pretty doughy in the middle. Still tasty though.
I’ve heard good things about this butter. I actually liked it which says a lot because I’m not typically a butter fan.
Got an omelette at Wawa. I’m not sure what I was expecting. It tasted alright, but I’d hardly call it an omelette.
I actually wanted a smoothie but the sugar content was insane. So I got the drink with the least sugar. I love watermelon.
I really tried to like this but I just can’t accept sweet coffee into my life. I’m all about the bitter.
Speaking of sweet drinks… This is the first time I’ve had commercially prepared tarmhindi and I swear it tastes just like my grandmother would make it. It took me back to my childhood.
I finally found something that keeps my glasses clean. Thank God.
I gave Mister Roger a chance in black and white. I’m all about that soothing programming.
No matter how you make them, ginger snaps are amazing.
I’ve never seen this bread sold in stores. It really does taste like the kind they give you in the restaurant. Yay!
زيت الزيتون، زيت الشجرة المباركة ، هبة وهبنا الله بها لكي نقي بها أجسامنا ونحفظها من الأمراض. لقد استخدم زيت الزيتون منذ القدم لاحتوائه على الكثير من الفوائد، وما زال جزءاً لا يتجزأ من تراثنا الشرقي العريق، فنحن لا نستغني عنه في المطبخ وفي استخدامه للتداوي والعلاج. لعلّ هذا الفيديو يفيدك بالمعلومات لكي تبقي زيت الزيتون عادة في حياتك، لحياة افضل!
I’m still going with my Year of Firsts resolution. Every day I try and do something new, to keep me fresh and alive. Let’s dive back into it!
Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever had a Tropical flavoured Starburst.
First time seeing and buying Eid cards in a store. It felt nice to be included.
I’ve never had Guava tea before. I think the aroma was more guava-like than the flavour, but I’m not complaining.
This is the first time I’ve seen this ad. I’ve heard and read about CoolSculpting before and never really thought much of it. I did give a funny look at this poster when seeing the top lady and definitely laughed out loud by the “Don’t try this at home” disclaimer in small print.
This was my first time baking cinnamon rolls. Is there anything better than warm pastries? Because they were so warm out of the oven, the icing just melted and looks funny. Please disregard the old pan, it’s been through a lot, but it’s the best.
This is the first time I’ve used one of those apps to filter me into someone else, in this instance a pirate. The filter suggestions were… interesting.
This is my first lazy attempt at making energy/fat balls. Tastier than they look, I promise.
Many will try, but no one will ever make a peanut butter cup like Reese’s. Gave these Trader Joe’s version a try, they weren’t bad.
Usually, when we make Muhamar/Musakhan we go with a flatbread option, but this time we tried to make them into rolls to stay on the lighter side for Ramadan. Yummy.
First time having this variety of Icelandic water.
Found these at the Dollar Tree. They were tasty but oh so salty.
This is the first time I tried braiding my hair since my haircut. Having short hair is quite the adjustment.
I used to play around with copying Arabic calligraphy I found online all the time. I’ve been seriously out of practice. I tried giving this block type for the first time. It’s not quite what I want it to be. I should really practice more.
Don’t laugh at me. I took an old pic of my grandparents and followed this Photoshop tutorial. The photo actually looks a lot better than what it once was, but I’m not sure the techniques used in the tutorial were exactly what this photo needed. I’m trying to learn.
We were gifted a container of cookies and this was the only cookie with pistachios in it. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve had a cookie stuffed with pistachios, but it is the first time I’ve been gifted a cookie with pistachios. I wish there were more.
First time giving myself a flower crown. Everyone does it and it’s not really my thing, but I wanted to see what it looked like.
Usually, when making a salad I go for chicken, sometimes fish and occasionally steak. But this recipe for a ground beef based salad was pleasantly delightful even if it looks like a mess.
More sweets as gifts. This is a combination or twist of ma’amoul and harisa. So sweet.
This is the first time I’ve fasted all of Ramadan in the summer season. I had to stop a few years ago because I was having blackouts while summer fasting. It’s still a struggle but I’m getting better.
I have been away from my Year of Firsts updates for so long. Just because I haven’t been updating doesn’t mean that I broke my New Year’s Resolution. Recap for those of you who haven’t been here, I made a NYE Resolution to have one new experience a day for the entire of 2018. No matter how big or small the experience, it all still counts.
I’m going to jump right into it and hopefully catch you up to where I am now while explaining why I’ve been away.
As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with a sizeable yet benign myofibroma in the roof of my mouth. It was an active tumour and was growing. It was eating away at my bone and am told that I was close to developing a fistula, as it was growing into my nose. February 5th was my surgery date. I was so nervous. I’ve had surgery before, but nothing this extreme. Moments before the operation, I was in a room with medical staff running here and there. It was super busy and others were getting surgery and it’s hectic. So hectic that it contributed to my anxiety. My blood pressure was through the roof, so they opted to give me some Valium before the surgery to chill me out. It was weird. I felt that drug hit me within minutes, it was administered via IV so that’s not surprising. But still, I felt like a drunk person. It was so weird. I remember being wheeled into the operating room and there was an entire wall of shelves with what I imagine was supplies. After they put me on the bed, I don’t remember anything. I was out. Next thing I knew, the anaesthesia was wearing off and they were preparing to take me out of the operating room. They had these blood pressure sleeves on my calves and as they were taking them off, I told them, “No leave them on, It feels like a massage.” Everyone laughed. For next couple of hours, I felt in and out of consciousness, I guess. Strangely though, by the time it was for me to get home, I really felt good enough to drive myself home. I don’t know if it was the morphine or what, but I didn’t feel pain. I wasn’t dizzy. I just felt pretty normal. When I got home, I was normal. I was sitting around and talking as though nothing happened. The only thing that was really different was that I have a huge chunk of my head missing, mostly in the maxilla region and that meant I couldn’t eat.
Which brings me to the 6th. Sleeping was kind of tough and the pain was manageable at this point. But what was the most interesting as it was my first time being on a strictly liquid diet. Before surgery, I had prepped by buying a lot of meal replacement drinks, protein drinks, juices, Gatorade, Pedialyte, etc. They only foods I could have were yoghurt and ice cream. So I had tons of that around. I don’t want to jinx it, but I thought that I’d get really hungry not being able to eat, but I have to say these meal replacement drinks work. The weird thing was that my mouth was starting to miss the actual physical action of chewing.
Now, this First was not happy. This is the day where the pain and shock really set it. I don’t know if maybe the anaesthesia and morphine took a while to wear off and maybe the whole experience didn’t feel so real, so now is when it all became real. I can’t even explain to you the pain. Putting anything in my mouth, including water was so painful. So the 7th was the day that I got serious about keeping track of my meds to ensure I don’t miss a dose. But the sort of fun part of that was that I had ice cream all day. I’ve never done that before. A whole day of ice cream. So good!
The 8th was when the boredom really started to set in. I became really familiar with the app store and started downloading apps like crazy. Most of the apps I tried were pretty thumbs down. But it gave me something to do. It was the first time I tried a role-playing game. I didn’t really get too into it. The storyline I was given was bland, but I imagine there are better ones out there. I’m open to suggestions.
Because I’m still on the liquid diet lifestyle, I had someone make a trip to Arlee’s and pick me up some green juice. Up until now, most of my liquids have been on the sweeter side, so I needed something green to break up all that sugar. Good stuff. It burned a little, but what doesn’t burn my mouth at this point?
Our house has been kettleless, since the last relatively new kettle we bought, was forgotten on the lit stove and burnt to a crisp. So now we get to try and have tea from a ceramic kettle. I’ve never had a ceramic kettle before.
I was introduced to clove tea for the first time. I’ve had cloves in many other ways, in cooking and in my toothpaste, but never on its own as a tea. It was miraculous in my mouth. With a little honey, I drank the cup in no time. It had the power to numb my entire mouth. I felt no pain. It was beautiful!
Even though I’m supposed to be on a liquid diet, I started craving food. Not out of hunger, but out of the desire to chew something. I thought about it and decided maybe a frittata was a good way to eat something, but have it be soft enough. Let me tell you, it is tough to eat without the roof of your mouth. I have no hard palate, so the food falls into this grand canyon that exists in my mouth. And when that bite of food finally met the bottom of the canyon, man, it hurt. I figured it was worth a try though.
Since my tumour removal was in my hard palate and nose and that whole area in between, the tumour had also grown into my bones and around my teeth. That being said, after removing the tumour, the doctor warned me that my teeth were going to be super sensitive. Oh my God, was he right. I felt like my teeth were and still are pounding all the time. ALL THE TIME. That being said, brushing my teeth is super tough. Sometimes I have to put some Orajel on my teeth just so I could brush them. Even then, commercial toothpaste was way too harsh on my wounds. Because my surgery was done through my hard palate, there were no stitches because there was nothing to stitch it too, so my entire wound/incision was cauterized. That being, my entire mouth was burnt. Imagine putting your regular everyday toothpaste on a burn. You wouldn’t. So I did some research and found this natural toothpaste. It seems to clean my teeth well without irritating my wound.
Singles Awareness Day, one of my favourite days of the year. It’s the day I buy myself a gift and tell myself how incredibly amazing I am. LOL. Because I’m amazing, I thought I’d give another go at eating. Tried out these broccoli-cheese tots. Their gooey texture made it a bit easier for my mouth to handle. Everything still gets lost in there and I felt a bit icky eating the entire tray, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t so bad.
I went to a follow-up appointment with my surgeon. He said things were looking good. Knock on wood. Thank God. Don’t jinx me, please. At this point, I was in way too much pain. I hadn’t been able to drink water for over 12 hours. I thought maybe I had pushed my mouth too far the day before by trying to eat because my mouth was so irritated. to my dismay, when I asked the doctor when things will start to feel better, he said they really won’t. And by that, he continued to say that it will take 3-6 months to fully heal, but in the meantime, it is going to hurt and it is going to be very painful. What really got me upset was when I asked why the pain was getting worse and not better, he told me that there will be no consistency. Some days will be good, other days will be bad. It’s not like any other type of surgery where with time things get better. It’s very possible things could get progressively worse. And that my friends is a serious bummer. In the meantime, he gave me this thing called Magic Mouthwash. You read correctly. Magic Mouthwash. Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, my insurance doesn’t cover this mouthwash “because it’s a compound.” I don’t even know what that means or what that has to to with me. It costs $50, so I had to make some phone calls and ask for money for others, which I HATE to do. I’m unemployed and certainly didn’t plan on getting ill in this way. It’s absurd that insurance doesn’t cover it. Anyways, this Magic Mouthwash is supposed to be magic. It’s typically used for cancer patients that experience mouth sores due to radiation. It’s made up of Maalox, Benadryl, Lidocaine, antacid, antihistamine and anaesthetic. It really was like magic. I’d just swish it in my mouth and my entire mouth was numb. It was a miracle. The prescription says I can only use it four times a day, but I really wish I could use it every second of the day.
This day’s First was scary. Super scary. I was in bed after getting ready for bed. It must have been around 11 PM. I tasted something super salty in my mouth and had no idea what it was. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My mouth was full of dark blood. When I spit, I spit out nasty and huge blood clots. The clots I assume were responsible for my cauterised mouth. I rinsed my mouth with water and didn’t think much of it. The doctor said there would be blood, maybe this is what he meant. A couple of hours later, I felt that salty taste in my mouth again. I went to the bathroom and was bleeding from my mouth, much like a bloody nose, but from my mouth. Because of where the blood was coming from in my mouth, putting pressure on it with just my mouth wasn’t working. So I got an ice cold glass of water and kept the water in my mouth as long as I could and then would spit out. Put the water in my mouth again, spit out. Again and again and again until I got the blood to stop. I didn’t know what else to do or what I was supposed to do, so I went back to bed. A couple of hours later [again] I felt the salty taste in my mouth again. This time was different because, by the time I got to the bathroom, the blood was pouring out of me. I looked like a Carrie doomsday horror movie vampire fountain. Blood was shooting out of me as though I turned on a sink faucet on high. It was scary. I started to shake and felt so weak. I had some gauze and put it in my mouth, trying to put pressure on it with my tongue. In less than 10 minutes, I went through more than 10 pieces of gauze. The gauze wasn’t just soaked, it was swimming in a pool of blood. It was crazy. I went to the ER, it took more than a half hour to stop the blood. At the ER they applied some lidocaine and epinephrine to my mouth. Apparently, epinephrine acts as some sort of vascular restrictor? Or so the physician’s assistant told me. By the time I was discharged and got home, It was around 6 am. I got in bed and hoped that nothing like this will happen again. Positive vibes everyone. Positive vibes.
It’s been a crazy busy week or so, hence why I’m behind, but I’ve still kept true on my one new experience a day. So here it goes:
February 1st- I may or may not have mentioned that I live super close to a Pennsylvania Dutch Market. It’s a really cool market that has a number of kiosks for all your needs. So there’s meat, fish, baked goods, breakfast, lunch, dairy, fruit, smoothies and handmade furniture. But it’s the salted soft pretzels that have me addicted. They’re only open Thursday through Saturday and like clockwork, I’m there once a week in line for a salted pretzel. I swear, the salt they use on their pretzels has magical powers that clear up my post nasal drip in seconds.
But after I’m done devouring a soft pretzel, I move onto the bakery, where I am weak. Sometimes I go and get a half a dozen doughnuts for the family, but every time I go, there’s always one person in front of me in line that gets the last Boston Cream doughnut. It drives me nuts because they’re my brother’s favourite and I always miss out. However, after weeks and weeks of missing out, I finally got one for my brother! Finally! The only bummer is that because it’s so fresh and they don’t have tiny boxes, so some of the chocolate icing comes off in the bag. I have no doubt that this hindered the flavour though. Their doughnuts are to die for. God bless ’em.
In the same shopping mall at the PA Dutch Market is a place that rents tents and these tiny barns. I have to admit that I felt awkward taking some close up pictures. I’m still getting into this whole blogging thing. I have to learn to get over my fear of taking pictures while people are looking at funnily. These barns reminded me of those articles I’ve seen of tiny homes you can buy on Amazon. I imagine if you bought a couple or so of these that you could connect them to make a makeshift home about the same size of the ones on Amazon. That brown shed wasn’t the biggest or the smallest one on the lot and it cost around $3500. Something to think about
I picked up that Boston Cream doughnut for my brother, but I got the next best thing for me- an eclair. They’re pretty similar in taste, no? I honestly can’t remember the last time I had an eclair. This thing was huge. I really shouldn’t have eaten it all, but it’s not an experience I regret. It’s the first time I’ve had an eclair from them, in fact, it’s the first time I’ve seen it offered there. The PA Dutch Market has some staples like various pies and bread, but I think they change up their offerings to keep things fresh and new.
This month so far has been all about the baked goods. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s something. Last month, if you recall, I made some prepackaged cornbread that I rather enjoyed because it wasn’t the sweet version of it. I thought I’d give the PA Dutch Market’s cornbread a try because the ingredients didn’t indicate that it would be too sweet. I wasn’t disappointed. Honestly though, it wasn’t as good as the kind I made last month because there was a hint of sweetness to it, but nonetheless, it was a delicious experience. I also picked up this Touch of Strawberry cake. It was good but wasn’t the best. Again, this is one of those limited time offerings and maybe that’s why it wasn’t great. Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the freshness or the quality of it. But I was hoping for more of a strawberry shortcake vibe. Strawberry shortcake is light and fluffy and wonderful, whereas this Touch of Strawberry cake was heavy. It was more of a traditional cake and maybe a cream cheese frosting, which I’m unfortunately not into. If that’s what you’re into though, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Ya know, I don’t want to get too into the details of this show, because it’s literally amazing and I want you all to watch it without the fear of reading spoilers. It’s a French-language show that takes place in the town of Villefranche. I don’t even know how to explain the plot to you other than, it’s crazy. So many plots and twists I never saw coming. It starts off with finding a dead body in the forest and moves onto a missing person’s case. It’s then followed up by a struggling small town that closes down its sawmill and moves into the infidelity track. There’s something weird going on in the forests and thefts and murders and rapes and lots of what the hell is going on. I never thought I’d see a show that features a town more plagued by tragedy than Rosewood in Pretty Little Liars, but I was wrong. I can’t even understand why anyone stays in Villefranche. Even before the onset of the show, the district attorney gets sent to the town because the town has an abnormally high homicide rate in comparison to that of the national average. I watched this show on Amazon. Get your hands on it and watch the Black Spot/ Zone Blanche. You won’t be disappointed.