Veggie Cooking Cheat Sheet


I came across the following chart which features a number of common veggies and herbs with the proper cooking time, whether it was boiling, steaming or microwaving them.


It might be a no brainer to most, but I am sure many people tend to overcook some of their veggies, such as broccoli, zucchini and, surprisingly, potatoes (over-boiled potatoes turn into a mush).

On the other hand, the cooking time for cut potatoes and carrots varies in my opinion. It depends on the thickness of the cut, and as far as potatoes are concerned, it also depends on the type of potato. For example, sweet potatoes, which I do not recommend boiling, barely take 10 minutes to bake in the oven.

All in all, this chart can come in quite handy if you’re a beginner in the kitchen 🙂

Power Up! Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl

Choc Smoothie Bowl

It looks like I’ve been living under a rock, because I’ve only discovered smoothie bowls lately. I usually have smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast, but when I heard about smoothie bowls, I was hooked! Basically, a smoothie bowl has the same ingredients as a smoothie, only it is more concentrated and you get to devour it out of a bowl, with a spoon. The liquid content is less than that in a regular, drinkable smoothie, which makes the consistency thicker, richer and creamier.

Usual smoothie bowls consist of dry ingredients (fruits such as banana, peach and red berries, veggies such as cucumber and kale, and herbs such as spinach – frozen or not frozen) and wet ingredients (milk – dairy or non dairy, yogurt, water, coconut water, etc.). The thickening agent can be oats, frozen fruit, peanut butter or any other nut butter (almond, cashew, etc.), or chia seeds for a protein boost.

Eating the smoothie out of a bowl also means getting creative with the endless topping options: fruits, nuts, seeds, chopped chocolate, granola, shredded coconut, etc. This is exactly what makes a smoothie bowl such a fun breakfast!

If the above hasn’t convinced you yet, smoothie bowls can be prepared in under five minutes, to be devoured immediately. How convenient is that?

Some people add protein powder to their smoothie bowls for an even more nutrient dense meal. I keep mine all natural.

I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients and toppings for the past couple of weeks. I am proud to say that I got the consistency wrong for the first time only, and then it was nothing but rich, creamy goodness from there.

I made banana and peach bowls, banana and berry bowls, green smoothie bowls, and the best of them all were obviously the peanut butter and chocolate smoothie bowls, which tasted just like a decadent dessert! I am absolutely in love!

Today I will share with you the chocolate smoothie bowl recipe. I figured it would be a good start for someone who has a sweet tooth as I do.


The recipe yields 2 bowls.

1 cup nonfat milk (you can use non dairy milk like soy or almond milk)

1/5 cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats

3 tbsps peanut butter

1 large banana, frozen (it has to be frozen to get the consistency right. Otherwise use less milk)

1.5 to 2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder

Dash of good quality vanilla extract (optional)



In a blender, blend together all ingredients. You might need to turn your blender off to scrape down the sides and then blend again until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Divide the smoothie equally into 2 bowls. Now comes the fun part: the toppings!

You can top your chocolate smoothie bowl with chia seeds, sliced banana, granola, regular oats, chopped dark chocolate (in moderation!), chopped peanuts, anything! Unleash your imagination!

Below are a few serving suggestions and topping options.

Chocolate PB smoothie bowl topped with sliced banana, chopped Reese's nut bar, oats and chia seeds.
Chocolate PB smoothie bowl topped with sliced banana, chopped Reese’s nut bar, oats and chia seeds.


Toppings: sliced banana, chopped dark chocolate (72%), homemade granola (oats, raisins, chopped almonds), and chia seeds.


Toppings: sliced banana, chopped dark chocolate, homemade granola, oats and chia seeds
Toppings: sliced banana, chopped dark chocolate, homemade granola, oats and chia seeds

Happy blending!

BIAF Red Carpet: Who is the “Genius” behind Mag Lebanon’s Epic Typo?


The BIAF red carpet which has been trending for the past day (for all the wrong reasons, obviously) seems to have really broken the Guinness World Record for longest red carpet.

My concern is the genius social media employee behind Mag Lebanon‘s epic typo, spelling “Genius” instead of Guinness. I mean, how could they get it wrong? The only explanation is that this person maybe never really saw how the word is actually written!


Not only does Mag Lebanon have almost 50,000 followers on Instagram, the photo has been reposted by several other accounts, one of them being StyleInBeirut which has over 380,000 followers!

This Guinness record breaking is already ridiculous enough, some people (calling themselves “influencers”) should at least get the name correct!


Leading Late Lebanese Poet and Translator Ounsi el-Hajj Honored with Google Doodle


Ounsi el-Hajj (July 27, 1937 – February 18, 2014) was honored and celebrated today with an artistic doodle from Google.

el-Hajj was a Lebanese poet, journalist, and translator. His father is journalist and translator Louis El Hage, and his mother is Marie Akl, from Kaitouli, Jezzine.


He studied at Lycée Francais and La Sagesse High School. His career in journalism kicked off in 1956 at Al Hayat newspaper, later moving to An Nahar newspaper where he edited nonpolitical content. In 1964, he founded the poetry magazine Al-Mulhaq as a supplementary cultural publication to An Nahar.

Apart from his permanent position at An Nahar, Ounsi was the editor-in-chief of several magazines including Al Hasna magazine in 1966 and Arab and International Nahar between 1977 and 1989.

In 1975, el-Hajj contributed to the foundation of  the poetry magazine Majallat Shi’r. 1960 marked the release of his first book of poetry entitled Lan, the first compilation of Arabic prose poetry. Beginning in 1963, Ounsi translated into Arabic several plays by Shakespeare, Ionesco, Camus and Brecht. These translated works were staged by the Beirut School of Modern Theater during the Baalbeck Festival and under the direction of Nidal Al Ashkar, Roger Assaf, and Berge Vaslian.


Ounsi published several books and works of poetry between 1960 and 1994, including Lan (1960), The Chopped Head (1963), The Past of Forthcoming Days (1965), What Have You Made with the Gold What Have You Done with the Rose (1970), The Messenger with Her Hair Long Until the Sources (1975), and The Banquet (1994). He also published a book of three volumes of essays entitled Words, Words, Words as well as a book of two volumes of philosophical musings and aphorisms entitled Khawatem خواتم. The third volume of the latter is pending publication along with other unpublished works.

Many of Ounsi el-Hajj’s works have been translated into different languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish, and Armenian.

In 1994, Lebanese soprano Majida El Roumi released an album entitled “Ibhath Anni” (Look For Me) which featured a title song in classical form with lyrics by Ounsi with operatic string themed music composed by Abdo Mounzer.

In 1992, Ounsi followed in the footsteps of his father Louis El-Hage, becoming Editor-in-chief of An Nahar. He held this position until September 2003 after which he acted as a consultant to the Board of Editors.

Ounsi contributed to founding Al Akhbar newspaper in 2006, where he became the leading columnist and editorial consultant, writing a weekly prose column and weekly commentary that ran in the Saturday edition.

Ounsi el-Hajj would have been 79 today.


The Word “Beyrouthin” (French for Beiruti) Finally Added to the French Dictionary

Larousse 2017

Tamyras invested in two years of hard work and finally succeeded in getting Larousse to add the word “Beyrouthin” to the French Dictionary. Several articles were published, and many other letters were written to the French Academy and Larousse, with the main effort being the signing of a petition by 876 people.

The word “Beyrouthin” (French for “Beiruti” – pertaining to Beirut), which first usage dates back to 1844 according to Tania Hadjithomas Mehanna but which was never found in any French dictionary, will finally be included in the Larousse in its 2017 edition, rightfully between the two entries “Beylisme” and “Bézef”.

Tania Hadjithomas Mehanna announced the great news in a video posed on Tamyras’ Facebook Page.


Story first reported by Blog Baladi.




The Longest Word in English

chalkboard (1)

The longest word in the English language is ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’. It has 45 letters and it is a type of lung disease caused by inhaling ash and sand dust.

According to Wikipedia, ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’ refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano; medically, it is the same as silicosis.


How Good are you? English Pronunciation Challenge with “The Chaos”


This is one of my favorite English poems! I am an English grammar/pronunciation enthusiast (in the crazy case you didn’t know that before :P), and The Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité a.k.a. “Charivarius” (Netherlands, 1870 – 1946) is a classic English poem which contains around 800 of the worst irregularities in English spelling and pronunciation.

I encourage you to test your pronunciation aptitude by reading the entire below poem!

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye your dress you’ll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
Exiles, similes, reviles.
Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
Thames, examining, combining
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.
From “desire”: desirable–admirable from “admire.”
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.
Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,
One, anemone. Balmoral.
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,
Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with “darky.”
Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s O.K.,
When you say correctly: croquet.
Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive, and live,
Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police, and lice.
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label,
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.
Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
Rime with “shirk it” and “beyond it.”
But it is not hard to tell,
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,
Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
And enamour rime with hammer.
Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rime with anger.
Neither does devour with clangour.
Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
Font, front, won’t, want, grand, and grant.
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
And then: singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.
Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.
Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite, and unite.
Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific,
Tour, but our and succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.
Say aver, but ever, fever.
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess–it is not safe:
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.
Heron, granary, canary,
Crevice and device, and eyrie,
Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,
Ear but earn, and wear and bear
Do not rime with here, but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation–think of psyche–!
Is a paling, stout and spikey,
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing “groats” and saying “grits”?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict, and indict!
Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally: which rimes with “enough”
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?
Hiccough has the sound of “cup.”
My advice is–give it up!

After you have tried to read the entire poem, test how well you did with pronunciation by watching the below YouTube video:


I did great and got over 95% of them right! 😀 Share with me in the comments section how well you did and what new words you learned! 🙂

English is one crazy language! This is why I love it :)
English is one crazy language! This is why I love it 🙂