Holiday break, School to date, and Everything in between

Season’s Greetings all! 🙂

With the end of the semester comes SO MUCH TO DO as many students know far too well.  Alhamdulillah, there is one and a half weeks left of classes!  For my husband and I, that’s one and a half weeks left of classes…FOREVER inshallah!  We should both be done with our course work, as long as our grades are sufficient.  I can’t speak for him, but I have two exams and two papers left as assignments before the term is over.  I have actually finished those papers already, so all that I have left are finals in three weeks (Yes, we only have half a week of classes the second week of december, and then the third week of December is finals week, no classes and only exams.)

Additionally, my research is going in the right direction, mashallah!  I have sampling to do in two days, then another set next week.  If I am lucky (and inshallah I am), the sampling next week may complete my third set of trials (I have four trials total, two are completed and two are still running), with the last one not far behind!  If I stay on this path and hammer out my thesis in a few months, I could graduate in the Spring if my advisor and committee agree! THIS IS SO EXCITING!  And no, I’m not sure what I am going to do after I graduate. It all depends on what the hubby is doing.  There is potential that we could leave for Turkey permanently this summer, but that situation is always in a state of flux, so I can’t be sure.  I am planning on applying to jobs in the area so that I could get some work experience and a paycheck until we leave the country.

Thanksgiving break was VERY well deserved, and today is the last day.  We had off school Wednesday through Sunday, but unfortunately I had to be in the lab for experiments every day except today.  However, I only had to spend a short amount of time (less than an hour) there daily, so it wasn’t too terribly bad.  Besides that, I haven’t done much of anything school related these last five days!  I should probably run my current data sets through JMP and obtain some statistical results to show my advisor before leaving for the Christmas break, to further encourage him to give me the green light for Spring graduation… but vegging out on the couch while playing video games is so great ;).

After finals we plan on returning to the home state for a week, inshallah.  I can’t wait to see some old friends and enjoy a bonfire in the backyard!  We both wait all year for this trip to see my family, it has been a whole year since we have been home! I miss my family! Most of the Christmas shopping is done before we go this time, alhamdulillah.  Last year we tried to purchase Christmas presents in the three days before Christmas, and I have no idea why we thought we could manage that. It was a mad dash, for sure.  We purchased a leather jacket (as requested) for my brother, I’m drawing a portrait of my grandparents in their 30s for them, I’m thinking a spa-treatment style hand cream for my mother (she works at a dog grooming salon and spends her whole day with her hands in dog bath water), cologne for the hubby (Dolce and Gabbana The One for men…go, smell it now if you haven’t had the pleasure) and possibly a dressy watch or new wallet, and I bought boots and a new scarf for myself 😉 Can’t forget my Christmas gift to me  ;D.  I still have to determine what to buy my friend(s) for Christmas, but some of them read this blog so even if I did know what I was getting them… IM NOT TELLING!

Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking.  Why would muslims celebrate Christmas? Isn’t that haram?  Well, technically, celebrating the birth of a prophet is not allowed.  Mohammad SAW explicitly told the muslims not to celebrate his birth as the Christians do for Jesus.  Well, Christians believe Jesus is God, but the concept of birthdays is the same.  So why do we do it?  Well, it’s a family and cultural tradition.  Do I believe Jesus is God? no.  Am I spending time with my family and buying them gifts to commemorate his birth? No.  Christmas break is the only time I can see my family, and I love them and miss them so I am buying them gifts. So am I buying gifts for Christmas? I guess not really, I’m buying “I missed you guys so much, here is a token of my love” gifts, but since it is Christmas time and I have been celebrating Christmas my entire life, I guess the term just stuck. I feel completely ok with doing this, and if you don’t then you don’t have to 🙂

Turkish BBQ/ Mangal

Highs in the 70’s, clear blue skies, and the beginning of spring break…This calls for only one thing.

MANGAL!

Mangal (also known as turkish style bbq) is a right of passage for anyone involved in turkish culture. It is the highlight of the spring/summer season and is, definitely, a must. My day has become a little more bright (if that is possible on this sunny day) just knowing mangal will happen! And the best part is that it is SO easy!

Without further ado, the recipe:

  • Deboned chicken (thighs or flattened or butterflied breasts)
  • Olive oil
  • cumin
  • salt
  • paprika
  • chili powder (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Cut the fat from the chicken and save it for greasing the grill
  2. Dredge the chicken (now flattened/ thin) in olive oil until it is all coated
  3. Mix the salt and spices together on a plate (use chili powder if you like your chicken spicy). Make a lovely pile, don’t be stingy! (Usually my ratio is about 1:3:2:1alt:cumin:paprika:chili but I eye ball it)
  4. Place the chicken in the spices so they stick to it. Rub the spices all over the chicken with your hands (the chicken will now be tinted red)

Now it is ready for the grill!

Even the act of grilling mangal is a little different than the traditional american style. For instance, you don’t use charcoal at all when you grill mangal, simply wood. However, we usually put a few briquets to get the fire started with the wood bundle. You should wait until the wood begins to ash before you throw on the mangal.

As the fire is burning, use the fat from the trimmed chicken to grease the grill. This will keep your chicken from sticking and pulling apart.

Cook the mangal on both sides until it is done.

Typically when we cook mangal, we will also throw some onion slices, cubanelle peppers (mild), and sometimes mushrooms on the grill as well.

Mangal is more than a meal, it is an EVENT!   Have a turkish-styled BBQ on your porch, at your friends house, or even the lake!

Afiyet olsun 🙂