Foodie Friday | Oman

Dates, Glorious Dates

Until I started traveling in the Middle East and North Africa,  I had no appreciation for dates (the fruit, that is). The lone boxes purchased to make Christmas cookies often languished well beyond their “sell by” date. Better late than never: I am now a convert.

dsc_8960
These merchants invited my friend and I to share a cup of Omani Coffee and dates

Omanis consume dates from sun up to sunrise with the average person eating almost 1/2 pound a day. Dates are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and mineral and their high sugar content (40–80 percent) protects them against bacterial contamination and means they can be stored for years.
Continue reading “Foodie Friday | Oman”

Galápagos Close-Up: Santa Cruz Island

Charles Darwin and the Galápagos are inextricably linked in many people’s mind. After all, this archipelago and its inhabitants gave birth to his theory of evolution. Darwin only spent five weeks on the islands, but what he observed resulted in his masterpiece On the Origin of SpeciesSanta Cruz Island is the most populated island in the Galápagos and home to the Charles Darwin Research Center. Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Santa Cruz Island”

Galápagos Close-Up: Santiago Island

Only a few miles away as the pelican flies, Santiago Island is as different from its neighbor Rábida as night from day. Its stark cratered surface reminded me of the moon.  Sea lions, marine iguanas and American Oyster Catchers were abundant, and we saw fur seals (which are actually sea lions – a fact that caused great confusion) for the first time. yellowwarbler_santiago

This bright Yellow Warbler with its colorful plumage was a standout, especially on Santiago’s moon-like surface. Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Santiago Island”

Galápagos Close-Up: Rábida Island

rabidaredbeach

Rábida Island is relatively small, with steep rocky cliffs and only one beach where it is possible to land. The distinctive deep red color of its sand is due to the high iron content in the lava. The island is known for these maroon beaches and its abundance of birds. (The small black bird mid-photo above is a penguin!) Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Rábida Island”

Galápagos Close-Up: Isabela

While many people associate the Galápagos with Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution, what they may not realize is that the islands themselves evolve over time as well.   The tectonic plates that caused the volcanic eruptions that became islands continue to move eastward at the rate of a few inches a year.  Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Isabela”

Easy Holiday Sugar Cookie Recipe and Tips

Originally posted on Mostess:
Happy holidays, Mostess readers! I’m excited to share the results of my three-year obsession with perfecting the sugar cookie. It’s a long post, because I wanted to share all my tips and techniques for success. If you are well-versed in Sugarcookiedom and “just want the recipe already!” then skip on down to the bottom of the post. For novices and baking nerds… Continue reading Easy Holiday Sugar Cookie Recipe and Tips