I spy with my little eye...the 30 things I know for sure.

Ramadan is a time to reflect on yourself and the way you live your life. Being an expat in the Middle East, this usually rubs off on me. The work days are reduced, the city is silent, families leave the country, it is 40 degrees Celsius outside, there isn't much to do until sundown, so I end up reading, cooking and enjoying some quiet time. A couple of months ago I came across Sandra Bienkowski's list of 48 things she knows for sure on the Huffington Post, that made me think of the 30 lessons I have learned so far, which is a good way to start this Holy month of Ramadan:
1- Find something everyday that makes you smile.
2- Know yourself and learn to handle your fears/shortcomings. No one should have to manage them for you.
3- Spend time with people who make you smile.
4- Life isn't that serious.
5- Be curious, never say never.
6- Hair will grow back. Don't be scared to experiment.
7- Always wonder if things that make you sad or stress you out will matter in 5 years time.
8- Challenge yourself, but do it on your own terms. What matters is how you feel.
9- Listen. A lot.
10- The only way to know is to go for it.
11- Take time to reflect. Don't forget to breathe.
12- Never think that you are done growing up or learning.
13- Don't give advice unless you were asked. You don't necessarily know better and have no right to judge.
14- Learn when to walk away or go for a run before you say things you might regret.
15- It's ok not to know where you are going in life. Trust that you are doing the best you can with whatever you have and know at the time.
16- Embrace the decisions you took. However it turns out, you did the best you could.
17- You have a right to say no.
18- Immediate emotional reactions are rarely a good idea.
19- Remember that everything isn't about you.
20- Indecision is a decision.
21- Brains are sexy.
22- Everything doesn't have to be perfect. Starting somewhere and perfecting along the way is better than doing nothing.
23- Being consistent will take you far.
24- Don't underestimate details: they can make or ruin someone's day.
25- Listen to your body: you only have one.
26- Allow people to come and go in your life, you never know what the future holds.
27- Learn a lesson from every experience, good or bad.
28- Be polite and mean it.
29- Try. At least once.
30- Don't take life changing decisions when you are feeling really high or really low.

Ramadan Kareem ya'all!

I spy with my little eye... the case of the banana bread.

I love to bake and I usually go for simple hearty recipes, I can't really be bothered with rose petals and frosting, so knowing that, banana bread should have been a hit. But being a bit lazy at times (and maybe a bit over-confident), I figured I didn't need a recipe, I could just alter one into a banana bread, so I started by adding mashed bananas in a yogurt cake... epic fail. The consistency did not blend properly, and I ended up with a stone, literally. Then I tried to add bananas to a sponge cake, there again, big fail: for some unknown reason, it refused to cook. For my third attempt, I actually picked a recipe on the internet: this one wouldn't raise despite the baking powder. To be honest, I would have given up after this third attempt if my friend M. didn't keep on presenting me with her perfect banana breads, which kept tickling my stubbornness. Eventually I declared defeat and asked her for her recipe, that has since, never failed. Funny how sometimes the simple things are the hardest thing to achieve.

M. was traveling recently and she was emptying her fridge, so she turned to me with a smile: "Here Flo, would you take these 2 ripe bananas? Maybe time for a banana bread?". We both laughed at my baking experiences and disasters, so now that I have it all figured out, I thought I would share the love and recipe:
- 1 cup of melted unsalted butter
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2-3 ripe bananas
- vanilla
- cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Basically just blend everything together and bake for 45min at 180 degrees celsius. 
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