Recipes & Blogs
1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with
3 tbsp of water
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp coconut oil
1 + 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of vegan chocolate chips
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp large flake sea salt
Medium bowl & spoon
Cookie sheet pan & parchment paper
WHAT TO DO:
Mix the flaxseed & water, sugars, oils, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix the flour and baking soda in another.
Add both mixes together and fold in the chocolate chips. Chill for 30 minutes.
Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon out balls of cookie dough across the pan. Sprinkle the salt flakes on the balls.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until the edges are slightly brown. let them cool on a tray for 15 minutes before serving. That way, the cookies harden while the inside stays gooey.
Carrington Farms coconut oil, King Arthur flour, chopped Taza Chocolate bars.
½ cup melted butter
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
Medium bowl & spoon
Cookie sheet pan
WHAT TO DO:
Mix the butter, syrup, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in another.
Add both mixes together and fold in the walnuts.
Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon out balls of cookie dough across the pan.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the edges are slightly brown.
Let them cool on a tray for 15 minutes before serving. That way, the cookies harden while the inside stays gooey.
Crown’s dark maple syrup, McCormick vanilla extract, Kerry gold pure Irish butter
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
2/3 cup nut butter
2/3 cup chopped oats
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 tbsp of coconut oil
Medium Saucepan & spoon
Small square pan
Spatula to cut bars
WHAT TO DO:
Pour the honey, Maple syrup, nut butter, and oats in saucepan. Stir together on medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Grease pan with coconut oil. Spread the nut-oats mixture onto the pan.
Melt the chocolate chips and pour over the nut-oats layer.
Cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Cut into squares and serve!
Nature’s Nate raw honey, Coombs Family Farms maple syrup, Artisana almond butter.
December is here, promising good cheer, which means we are officially in holiday mode! That translates to lavish tables of good food, chilly weather, Christmas soundtracks on playback, and of course, loving, smothering family. Whether you deem the foregoing in a positive or not so positive light, the great news is I have just the party favor – or antidote – to make it all magical. And wine not!
Indeed, there’s nothing like that bittersweet grape elixir to render the holidays – or any occasion, for that matter – a shade more festive, forgiving, and frolicky. Rich white wines, big spicy reds, fruity finishes, oaky flavors, vanilla bouquets: The vast world of wine may not be particularly easy to fathom, but it washes down without a hitch. And a bottle makes a perfect dinner party gift, or an invitation to cozy up on the couch while consuming corny Christmas romances on Netflix.
Which labels, you inquire? Let’s make this a pocket-friendly roundup, because most of us find ourselves strapped for cash around the holidays. Here’s a list of ten wines, both imported and Lebanese, priced under $20 at Wesley’s Wholesale in Hazmieh, on the gourmet floor Orange Label. Don’t forget to ask for your free reusable wine pourer to prevent those irksome drips down the side of the bottle. Because we all deserve to pull off “connoisseur,” right?
Kirkland Signature Rioja 2012, Spain (18,000 LBP). If you want a totally drinkable everyday red, this is it, and for $12, there’s little to criticize. The wine pours dark with light aromas of earth, oak and spice. In the mouth, it is medium in body, softening tannins from three years in the barrel. Flavors are mostly red fruits, cherry, plum, some raisin, and a touch of anise. The finish is super dry. It would be wise to decant this wine for about an hour, because a little air really allows it to shine through.
Baron de Ley 2013 Rioja Reserva, Spain (27,000 LBP). Here’s a second wine hailing from Rioja, Spain’s flagship wine region, home to more than 600 wineries. Rioja’s unique geographic location along the banks of the river Ebro makes it conducive to wine production, with the surrounding mountains moderating both the cooling effects of the Atlantic and the intense heat of the Mediterranean. Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva is made in an assertive style, with soft strawberry fruit flavors and nuances of spice from 20 months of ageing. It fetched the Best Value Red in the Wines from Spain Awards in 2014.
Barefoot White Zinfandel, United States (15,000 LBP). White Zinfandel is a slightly sweet wine made from the red-skinned Zinfandel grape. Discovered in 1972 by Napa Valley’s Sutter Home, it owes its rosy pink color to the grape skins after they are crushed and quickly removed from the juice. The remaining process is the same as for white wine. Packed with the refreshing, fruity flavors of sun-kissed strawberries, juicy pears, sugar-sweet pineapple, and Georgia peaches, Barefoot White Zinfandel will leave you begging for another sip. More enjoyable over ice, the White Zinfandel is the perfect pairing for fresh fruits, smooth cheeses, and seafood feasts you encounter this holiday.
Wolf Blass 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia (29,000 LBP). A crash course on Cabernet Sauvignon: it partners well with red meats, hearty pasta dishes, Cheddar cheese, broccoli, fennel, rosemary and mint. Savor it with chargrilled steak or a heart-warming beef Stroganoff. Wolf Blass’ Cab is a smooth red wine evocative of dark plum, blackberry and cassis, with a hint of leafy character adding freshness to the palate. A subtle savory oak lends a long, structured finish.
Daou 2015 Chardonnay, United States (38,000 LBP 28,500 LBP at that time was on sale). Daou vineyards in Paso Robles, California, are the brainchild of Lebanese-American brothers Georges and Daniel. But don’t let a fellow Lebanese like me bias you. Here’s what the experts have to say: “A fragrant nose displays scintillating aromas of pineapple, Asian pear, vanilla crème, and toasted almonds, with notes of allspice and honeysuckle. The palate delivers flavors of white peach, casaba melon, and lemon zest, along with underlying tropical notes of banana, papaya, and pineapple. The finish is long and very clean, leaving lovely sensations of citrus and vanilla with just a hint of star jasmine” (Wine.com). Daou Reserves (Chardonnay and Cab) are also on sale throughout December.
Domaine de Chlifa 2012 Red Blend, Deir el Ahmar (14,500 LBP). The vineyards of Chlifa are located on an exceptional soil 1,000 meters above sea level on the eastern slope of Mount Lebanon. Domaine de Chlifa reflects a typical terroir of the Bekaa Valley, blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah to produce well-rounded tannins. On the nose it is fruity with hints of raspberry and ripe fruit.
Batroun Mountains 2016 Riesling, Batroun (25,000 LBP). Batroun Mountains is a family-owned and operated winery with vineyards located in the mountainous Batroun region of North Lebanon. Boasting an annual yield of 50,000 bottles from its 11-hectare fields, the winery spans six villages on altitudes from 400 to 1,500 meters above sea level. 2016 Riesling exhibits a combination of floral, white and yellow fruits like peach and pear and promises great ageing potential. Pair it with strong cheeses, seafood and sushi.
Sendiana 2013 Red Blend, Khenchara (24,000 LBP). A vibrant red wine with perfumed aromas of ripe blackberries and a hint of spice, Sendiana 2013 is fashioned from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvèdre, and Syrah grapes. The palate is wonderfully fresh and opulent, with flavors of cherry, cedar, rose and hints of vanilla. Its elegant structure balanced with a subtle mineral note landed it the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) Silver Medal in 2014.
Chateau Nabise Reserve 2009, Bhamdoun (24,000 LBP). You’ll be enraptured with Chateau Nabise Reserve’s ruby color and soft entry. This fully mature wine emanates from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah grapes. It combines sweet cassis and earthy flavors to deliver a powerful, long, pure and clean finish layered with chocolate and black cherries. How indulgent!
Chateau Heritage 2017 Blanc de Blancs, Qab Elias (12,000 LBP). In 1888, the Touma family established one of the first wineries and distilleries in Lebanon in the small town of Qab Elias of the Bekaa Valley. If you’re familiar with the famous Arak Touma, it was the first product of the family’s endeavors. Building upon the success, tradition, and experience reaped with their Arak Touma, the Heritage Winery was established and released its first modern wines in 1997. Blanc de Blancs 2017 captures a pale yellow color with silver reflections. A nose of lemon, pineapple and exotic fruits complements a fresh mouth both elegant and full. Serve between 8° and 12°C.
Chateau Nakad 2014 Cuvée d'Alouette, Jdita – Bekaa (11,500 LBP). Chateau Nakad are acclaimed for producing wine, Arak, and artisanal liquor. Perhaps you’ve sampled their Afandello, crafted in the spirit of Limoncello but with afandi, or mandarin fruit. Back to the wine. The 2014 Cuvée d'Alouette is smooth and tight, chockfull of red fruit. Pleasant with a supple texture and soft tannins, it suits charcuterie, grilled Mediterranean fish and even fresh cheeses. And ringing in shy of $8, this is one wine bottle you definitely want to stock up on.
There you have it – 11 wines under 20 bucks worth toasting to this holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Hazmieh (Orange Label)
A few weeks ago, I confessed to thoroughly enjoying housecleaning. Well, “thoroughly” might be a bit of a hyperbole, but let’s just say the act of scrubbing, mopping, ironing, and polishing instills in me a fair measure of satisfaction. Not only is the process therapeutic, requiring me to work with my hands whilst granting me time to daydream, but I in turn feel renewed and cleanly.
And I was impressed to find many of you aligned with me! A poll featured on my Instagram stories revealed that 5 out of every 8 surveyed readers insist on cleaning their own homes rather than hiring outside help. Even in this part of the world, where housemaids charge minimal fees for a few hours of elbow grease, a considerable chunk of us prefer getting our hands dirty in the endless effort to achieve “cleanliness is next to godliness” status.
I promised you I would proffer a list of my favorite household cleaning products, but why preach to the choir when I can perhaps enlighten you and in so doing lighten your task load? How about a Top 10 roster of frequently overlooked products whose use will no doubt make your life easier? Isn’t that something we could all benefit from?
Before I send you into a manic shopping frenzy, rest assured every single one of these items can be found on the shelves of Wesley’s Wholesale. Surprised? Because another of my insightful Instagram polls uncovered lack of awareness that the American imports emporium sells nonfood items. Maybe it’s because you’ve never made it past all the edible goodness housed on the ground floor – can’t blame you! In fact, the entire -1 level of the Hazmieh outlet is dedicated to home care, and there are aisles upon aisles lined with cleaning agents. After this blog post, I guarantee you’ll become intimately acquainted with them.
So without further ado, here’s your next shopping list.
CLR Bath & Kitchen: Hung up on the calcium, lime and hard water deposits tarnishing your shower and bathtub? How about water stains on your stainless steel pots and dish rack? CLR Bath & Kitchen instantly removes all that evil with just a spray and a swipe of a rag. You’ll even hear the product fizzing during contact with kitchen and bath surfaces, including ceramic tile, shower doors, sinks, bathtubs, white grout, toilet bowls, fiberglass and kitchen countertops. But take care to avoid using on vinyl, marble, mirrors, wood, and fabrics.(11,500 LBP)
- Lime-A-Way: Here’s another water stain remover godsend. Lime-A-Way eliminates lime scale, rust and calcium stains and is suited to small surfaces like basins, sinks, faucets, taps and fixtures. An easy to use liquid trigger bottle facilitates access to every nook and cranny, and the formula is 4x more effective at removing lime scale than the leading bathroom cleaner in the US. How’s that for excellent track record? (11,000 LBP)
3. ScotchgardOxy Spot & Stain Remover: This product works on carpet and fabric to expunge tough stains like red wine, oil, dirt, mud, cosmetics, pet mishaps, ketchup, ink and more. Not only does it reduce resurfacing, it helps block future stains for easier cleanup.
ScotchgardAuto Fabric & Carpet Protector: Some of us spend more time in our vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, RVs, and boats) than in our homes. Scotchgard’s Auto Fabric & Carpet Protector releases stains and repels spills on fabric seats, floor mats, carpets, trunks, carpeted cargo spaces, seat covers, boat seat cushions, and more. There's a similar product that cleans and protects furniture fabric, too. (Auto: 18,000 LBP; Furniture fabric: 15,000 LBP)
- Murphy's Oil Soap:The authoritative cleaning product for wood surfaces. Thanks to its potassium vegetable oil base and absence of phosphates, this formula was purchased by the Murphy family from a German immigrant in 1910. 80 years later, Murphy’s Oil Soap was sold to Colgate-Palmolive. Today, it is available in concentrated liquid form as well as diluted, trigger spray bottle. (5,750 LBP)
6. Dettol Multi Action Cleaner: Nearly everyone in Lebanon swears by Dettol, and for good reason. Dettol 4-in-1 Disinfectant Multi Action Cleaner can be applied to all hard, washable surfaces. The powerful cleaning agent kills 99.9% of bacteria such as E. Coli and Influenza (H1N1) virus. With 3x the cleaning power of an ordinary cleaner, Dettol leaves a visible shine and a lemony-fresh scent.
7. Dettol Laundry Cleanser: I admit I only recently became acquainted with this liquid detergent. When you wash laundry at temperatures below 60°C, bacteria can survive in your washing machine and on your clothes. Add Dettol antibacterial laundry cleanser to exterminate 99.9% of bacteria, so that you can be confident your laundry is hygienic every time (even in a rinse cycle as low as 15°C!).
8. Claire Disinfectant Cleaner: Here’s a product whose CV is far more impressive than most competitors in its category. For a name as delicate and feminine as Claire, this spray destroys most germs; annihilates the pandemic 2009 H1N1 Influenza A virus (swine flu); and disinfects HIV-1 (AIDS virus), Polio Virus Types 1 and 2, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (TB), Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2, and a host of other contagious strains. Add to that its ability to control mold and mildew and eliminate odors. I’m utterly smitten, Claire.
Mr.Clean Magic Eraser sponges: If you have children, surely you’ve met Mr. Clean, whose sponge-like contraption erases permanent market and crayon stains in addition to scuff marks around the house. Made with Durafoam, it has twice the cleaning performance strength of the leading all-purpose bleach spray. Use on walls, bathtubs, oven doors, light switches, and doors. (27,000 LBP)
- Holy Cow Heavy Duty Degreaser: Its formulation is free from harmful solvents yet still manages to effectively penetrate stains on countertops, sealed stone, floors, stainless steel appliances, carpet, metal, chrome, plastic, and painted surfaces. It also functions as a laundry pre-spotter. Holy Cow, indeed! (9,500 LBP)
BONUS SECTION: Entire brand lineups
Seventh Generation: For a brand that designs environmentally-friendly diapers and wipes for babies, you can bet their detergents and dishwashing liquids are nontoxic and gentle on the skin. In fact, Seventh Gen’s hashtag slogan is #ComeClean, meaning all ingredients are noted right on the packages in an endeavor to advocate greater transparency across the industry. What’s in their product suite? They’ve got all the bases covered, from laundry care and dishwashing to household cleaners and trash bags.(Prices vary from 5,500 to 12,000 LBP)
12. Sprayway, Inc.: They may be world-renowned for their Glass Cleaner, but Sprayway has been manufacturing a complete line of industrial, automotive, screen print and janitorial products since 1947. Here’s just a glimpse of what they boast: Crazy Clean All-Purpose, Good Night Bed Bug and Dust Mite Spray, Grill & Oven, Stainless Steel, Leather Cleaner, and Spot Lifter. Heck, if you own a plane, they have a cleaning product for that, too! (Prices vary from 5,500 to 12,000 LBP)
Feeling inspired and energetic? Armed with these products, you will be ready to take on the holiday season and endless parade of dinner-hosting that comes with it. You might even start to enjoy housecleaning, I dare say.
Consider this an early Christmas present. You’re welcome.