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We all spend half of the week planning the weekend, from where to eat to which group of friends to hang out with. On Friday, a feeling of happiness envelops us and we feel on top of the world. Saturday is the best day of our lives, but then, like a bullet in the head, Sunday night hits us. This feeling of having to go back to school on Monday morning never leaves us, even as we grow older. After brainstorming ideas to overcome the Sunday blues with Jean and Fadsfood, we came up with a list of things you can do.

How to overcome the Sunday Blues

1) It all starts on Friday. Do not get blinded by your TGIF  joy and write your Monday to-do list on Friday. That way, you can have fun and disconnect all weekend knowing that everything is written down and tucked away.

2) Do not schedule any meetings for Monday, leave them for Tuesday thus giving yourself a day to collect your thoughts after the weekend.

3) On Sunday night, organize sunset drinks with fun friends. You’ll see that everyone has to work the next day and that you’re not alone in this world.

4) Avoid going to the movies on Sunday afternoon or evening. It will immediately trigger the Sunday blues feeling.

5) Do not leave the beach early. Instead, enjoy the sunset and plan a nice dinner by the sea. That will also allow you to also avoid the traffic jam and all the negative thinking you might end up doing in the car.

6) Prepare your outfit and work kit on Sunday night instead of running around on Monday morning. Knowing you’re all set for the next day will make you feel a lot better.

7) Plan to jog on Monday early morning and focus on it as the first thing you’ll be doing on that new week.

8) Move your Sunday family lunch to Saturday and spend Sunday with friends somewhere far from the city.

9) Plan a gathering at home on Sunday night and cook for some friends while sipping drinks on the terrace (or balcony)

10) De-clutter. It’s the principle of removing unnecessary and unused items from an overcrowded place of work/living/etc. If you remove one or several items that you have not used for a long time but that you were still attached to, trust us, you WILL feel relieved (as small an action as it sounds).

There will be more tips on the subject as time goes by and as we discover new ways to fight this feeling. Meanwhile, please do share with us how you do it!  We’d love to hear!

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A few days ago, Alisha Haridasani, writer at CNN, published this amazing article about our beloved city Beirut. Through tours guided by pure Lebanese food and art activists, a wonderful video was made (you can watch it on this link).

Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb and Tawlet Souk el Tayeb, is the first guest shown in the video. Since I’ve already met Kamal and had conversations with him, I enjoyed his tours around Souk el Tayeb (the only Saturday market in Beirut), Bourj Hammoud and Le Professeur for a nice foul breakfast. His message is clear:

Make Food, Not War.

The next guest is Rosalyn Ghubril from Zawarib, who I also met a few years ago as part of my job at the time. Rosalyn takes us at Platform 39 with Cyrille Najjar (learn more about what he does on this link) and at Brut L’Atelier, Mar Mikhael, where contemporary artists work on their creations.

A great part of the video is where we follow Mashrou’ Leila, Lebanon’s favorite indie-pop band, around the AUB campus – one of the fewest green spots left in Beirut. I love the portrait they made of the city: surrounded by water, Beirut is full of micro-communities with different identities and codes, pushing you to be a bit more tolerant and willing to negotiate. They also say that it is the most interesting time for music.

To sum up, Beirut is very small but also very diverse. There is incredible room for improvement in Food and Art, so let’s take advantage of this and put our ideas into life.

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Our generation is always complaining about the lack of things to do in our country. We claim it’s always the same things and that there aren’t enough choices out there. So in an effort to innovate your outings, we, Breadonbutter and Playing with Fashion collaborated to bring you a complete guide to having the perfect, most charming and fashionable picnic there is.

On a sunny and hot Monday morning a few weeks ago, we packed our things and went up to the Bekaa to have some fun, eat some food and take nice photographs. We then hurried to compile the best way we can inspire you to go have a fun picnic yourself.

Breadonbutter was of course responsible for the food and Playing with Fashion was obviously responsible for showing you the best way to dress.

So if you’re planning on having a picnic out in nature anytime soon, this is what I think is a good checklist to follow.

picnic | breadonbutter

Food

picnic | breadonbutter

The best way to go when it comes to picnics is to make sandwiches. You can be as creative as you’d like when it comes to the toppings. Here’s the list I suggest:

  • Parma ham
  • Chorizo or Turkey slices
  • Gruyère cheese
  • A small-sized camembert cheese
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Bread of your choice

Drinks and Beverages

picnic | breadonbutter

Here, I would suggest you take only 3 kinds and get a cooler. Water is the basic thing you should think of, followed by a nice bottle of white or rosé wine and a bottle of juice that you can substitute with a soft drink if you’re a true addict.

Fruits

picnic | breadonbutter

Fruits will provide something fresh to munch on while you’re sipping your drink and having a conversation with your picnic pals. Here’s a list of fruits that can last the trip:

  • Dried:kiwi and apricots
  • Fresh: Apples, Strawberries and Sour plums

Snacks

picnic | breadonbutter

If you don’t feel like having fruits, or if you feel like biting on a variety of flavors as snacks, you can get some of these:

  • Kaak or grissinis
  • Crisps (my favorite brand is Kettle)
  • Raw nuts: walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts

Sweets

picnic | breadonbutter

Last but not least, how can a picnic end without a sweet bite? I chose:

  • Cookies
  • Dry raisin cake
  • Amaretti biscuits I had from Italy (which I highly recommend!)

Gear

picnic | breadonbutter

You’ll need a practical and useful gear to put all this food in and be comfortable throughout the picnic. What I took with me:

  • Plastic wine glasses
  • Plastic cups
  • 3 glass jars
  • Straws
  • Cutlery (I prefer wooden or plastic for such outings)
  • 1 regular knife, to cut the cheese and bread
  • A cooler
  • Tiny fun bags for the nuts
  • A board for the sandwich toppings and the bread
  • Small containers for fruits
  • A basket to carry it all up there
  • And a tablecloth to sit on of course 🙂

Now girls, to get outfits ideas, head to www.playingwithfashion.com for the picnic lookbook!

picnic | breadonbutter

Photography by: BetKet Photography (you can view her website here).

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On Monday, in the 11 perfect food lovers Christmas gift list, the very first item was a nice and efficient foodie book. I promised a list of great foodie books to offer this Christmas. So here are 10 of them I’d thought I’d classify according to every cook’s personality. There you go:

BreadOnButter’s List of 10 foodie books to offer this Christmas:

To: The classic cook who loves to make things from scratch:

Julia Child – Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes I & II

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The modern woman who loves hosting parties:

Des Recettes Pour Recevoir – Hachette Cuisine

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The one who likes to cook unusual but easy things:

Donna Hay – Seasons

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The healthy cooks who love adding flavor to their dishes:

Jamie Oliver – Cook With Jamie

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The oriental fusion fan:

Orient Express – Silvena Rowe

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The lovely baker with a fun edge:

Lily Vanilli – Sweet Tooth

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The inspiration-seeker:

Beirut Cooks – Pascale Habis

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The Entrepreneur:

A Delicious Life – New Food Entrepreneurs

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The amateur Chef:

Joel Robuchon – The Complete Robuchon

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

To: The ambitious on-the-way-to-culinary-school Chef:

The Professional Chef – The Culinary Institue of America

Great Foodie Books To Offer This Christmas | breadonbutter

 

I’m actually searching for a new cookbook. Any other recommendation?

Party after party, open house after open house, Christmas time turns you into one stuffed ball of food. It’s almost impossible not to accept the treats and dishes being offered. You eat and eat. You taste one’s turkey and one’s chestnuts, you have hot chocolate by the Christmas tree, you go out for fondue, and you have yet another square of parmesan cheese. Next thing you know, those beautiful clothes you had planned on wearing don’t fit and you’re asked what happened to you. So here’s how you can at least avoid gaining weight and stay healthy during this Holiday season. These are 9 healthy holiday tips I learned over the years as I’m prone to weakness when it comes to good food.

BreadOnbutter 9 healthy holiday tips:

1) Friends and Family – Yes your friends and family are all here, they’re visiting and what you mostly do is eat. But why not catch up over a fun hiking or snowshoeing trip? Or even go somewhere where there’s snow, build a snowman and then snow fight?

2) Transport – Leave your car at home. Run your errands in the same specific region and walk from place to place.

3) Dessert – When I know I have say, 4 important annual Christmas parties to attend, I choose the one who makes the best dessert and eat only dessert there. My favorite Mont Blanc is my mom’s so I reserve myself for that specific one and no other!

4) Appetizers – Right before the party meal, swap the crackers on the table for raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes as dippers with the dips. Save the carbs for the main meal! And choose baked nuts over checkers mix.

5) Drinks – When it comes to drinks: choose lemon sparkle water instead of sodas. For alcohol, choose vodka, gin, wine etc. instead of cocktails and punch .

6) Activity levels – Keep yourself really busy. If you know you’re going to a Christmas dinner, don’t spend your afternoon munching things around the kitchen. Go out for a walk, work out or meet a friend for coffee or tea (no cakes or desserts!) or volunteer to help the host wherever and whenever you can.

7) Socializing – When you’re socializing at a party, don’t do it next to any appetizer table. It will only make you unconsciously eat more.

8 ) Meals – Never go to the party hungry! We all know you’ll splurge on crisps and pistachios as soon as you get there, skipping all the good stuff and packing more calories than you should.

9) Schedule – Modify your eating times according to the estimated dinnertime. If you know you’ll be having dinner at around 9:30 pm, have a late lunch full of proteins and vegetables and two late and healthy snacks before the party.

Any tip to add? I’d love to know your tricks! 🙂

P.S. You can also check out these 7 healthy habits

 I wish you awesome Holidays!

Berbara is our Halloween. It happens on the night of December 4th and it’s when the kids in different neighborhoods wear costumes (or more typically, simple masks) and walk around, knocking on doors singing a song for St. Barbara – the origin of this amazing tradition.

St. Barbara’s story is a mesmerizing one that haunts me every year (even though I’m all grown up, masks still scare me a little 😉 ).

There are different versions of St. Barbara’s story depending on where it is told. Basically, Barbara was the daughter of a very rich pagan man. She decided to convert to Christianism after hearing the preaching of Jesus Christ and was punished for it by the King, who imprisoned her and ordered her dead. But before she was killed, she miraculously managed to run away, and kept on going using different masks to disguise herself and fool the soldiers. For food and shelter, she relied on her faith in humanity and the kindness of stangers. One day, she reached a blocking mountain in Syria, and long story short, the mountain was hit by lightning and she made her way to a safe, free and peaceful life.

The best thing about Berbara is that both Christians and Muslims unite to celebrate since Berbara comes right before the beginning of Islam.

In all countries that celebrate this holiday, the traditions are all the same. Children gather with costumes (typically clothes borrowed from their parents) and different masks – so as to commemorate the way Barbara ran away with disguises – knocking on neighborhood doors asking for treats.

Getting to the good stuff, the best thing about Berbara is the sweets that are handmade and sold around the villages and cities. The main ones are: ‘ameh, ‘atayef, mshabak, oouwaymet, maakroun. We’re making ‘ameh tonight, and I promise the recipe tomorrow, along with the atayef recipe!

For those of you who are close to Ashrafieh, the best places to go and buy these sweets are: Wardy and Hanna Mitri. Ask around for directions, everybody knows them.

st. barbara | breadonbutter

st. barbara | breadonbutter

st. barbara | breadonbutter

 

Meanwhile, you can memorize these lyrics to sing along this Thursday night 😀

 Heshleh Berbara

Maa banet el harra,

Aariftah min aaynayha,
W min lafet edayha,
W min haki el 2iswara,
Heshleh Berbara

In Lebanon, whether you’re 8 or 28, you are ordered to attend the occasional (if not weekly) Sunday lunch. While most of the Generation Y people only show their love for it, we all know that deep down, we have come to dread it. That day that was all about good food and time with family has become this interrogatory nightmare you prepare for during the week before, and spend the week after recovering from. I was at one of those lunches not long ago as a member of Generation Y – also called, the Peter Pan Generation.

Mostly the children of  the “baby-boomer” – whose behavior we can explore some other time, when we have a few hours to kill – Gen Y kids were born just before internet and right at the end of Walkmans, Game Boys and Super Mario Bros on a giant computer screen. Their life is now shaped by technology and they are never quite satisfied with what they have. I’m sure most of you read last year’s Huffington Post article on how Generation Y Yuppies are always unhappy (here).  It mainly shows that everything derives from one simple formula:

Happiness = Reality – Expectations.

Generation Y’s expectations are indeed very much higher than their reality. Simply put, we are delusional because of our parents and grandparents – or should I say thanks to them – as they built us this happy childhood, making us think we can be whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want. But little did we all know that this seemingly perfect cycle has major flaws.

Generation Y | Breadonbutter

It all starts (and ends) in the controversy that derives from our baby-boomer parents’ (God bless them) behavior. They really want the best for us but they project their own unfinished business on us. Off the top of my head, they want us to leave our country, travel, go experience things of this world, but only for a limited time period whereby they expect us to come back and “settle”.

The Sunday lunch is where all this controversy can happen. It is the place where blaming, emotional blackmailing and threats materialize. I can imagine you get the picture. All kinds of proteins (meat, chicken, snails, kafta, etc.) and all kinds of herbs and carbs are set on the table. Everyone is passing everything around. Everyone insists on everyone eating. And that’s where it happens. Your lifestyle is questioned, and then praised. Your decisions are criticized, and then praised. Your health is questioned but then never praised. Girls who haven’t had the time to put on their make-up are considered “dying” (really funny cartoon by Ink on the Side on this link). Boys who have lost weight are considered to be mis-fed. Because God forbid the boys be criticized. In a nutshell, Sunday lunch has become a way for all baby-boomers to let go of their demons and unleash them on us, Generation Y – discontented and uncontrollable Generation Y.

But from time to time, when parents have a little more to drink, you discover they went through the same and made the same decisions when they were younger; and you start looking at them as people, who were young once and who only want what’s best for you.

It’s at the end of Sunday that you can finally let go and stop holding your breath. This blessed day is over and we can all go back to our “normal”, unsatisfied, ambitious, grumpy, rebellious and happy selves!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, listen to their advice, nod along, and then go off and make your own gut-felt choices. AND do your stomach a favor and stick to one meat type. It will help the digestion process and spare you all the bloating 😉

generation Y | Breadonbutter

 

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If you’re a fan of entertaining, you must spend a big part of your winter planning cheese and wine parties. You have a checklist with the different wines you want to get, the different cheeses you want to try out and that bread from the best bakery in town (you can check out the best wine and food pairings here). You think you have everything but when your guests arrive you realize something is missing: good music that suits this warm and welcoming party!

A big part of entertaining is the atmosphere and general mood you set to your living and dining rooms. Along with many other elements like candles, lighting and overall décor, nice music is a must when you’re looking to create a fun and engaging atmosphere in which everyone is happy and at ease. The season of Cheese and Wine parties has officially started and I thought it was time for me to compile this Cheese and Wine playlist for those wonderfully warm evenings. I’ve put in a little bit of everything to please all tastes. You can also listen to this while you’re setting up the food.

To listen to the Cheese and Wine Playlist, click on this link. Below are all the songs’ titles and singers! I hope you enjoy it and Happy hosting 🙂

  • Belle & Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
  • Césario Evora – Tchintchirote
  • Césario Evora – Amor di Mundo
  • Vampire Weekend – Horchata
  • Vampire Weekend – Diplomat’s son
  • Cat Empire – Two Shoes
  • Cat Empire – Sol y Sombra
  • Ben (L’Oncle Soul) – I kissed a girl
  • Ben (L’Oncle Soul) – Sympathique
  • Cake – Strangers in the Night
  • Cake – Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
  • Cake – I will survive
  • Michael Kiwanuka – I’ll get along
  • Wayne Wade – Lady
  • Indila – Dernière danse
  • Vance Joy – Riptide
  • Gotan Project – Tango Square
  • Sam Smith – Stay with me
  • Afreen – The 100 Foot Journey
  • Herbie Mann – Dance of the semites
  • Parov Stelar – Libella Swing
  • The Real Tuesday Weld – Heaven can’t wait
  • Alex de Campi – Evelyn, Evelyn

Also, stay tuned for more tips on Food and Drinks pairings for this Holiday season!

What do you think? Any cool song you might want to add to this playlist?

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People who know me well know that sushi is a big part of my life. I sometimes even wonder what it is that I truly love about it: the soy sauce, the rice, or what it’s really about – the fish? If the latter’s the case for me and for sushi lovers out there, well I got news! Fish population is changing and a lot is happening to it!

Jiro Ono, star of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“, a documentary portraying the 85 year-old world class sushi chef, and owner of the three-michelin star renowned sushi restaurant, has recently warned people about the changes in sushi ingredients that will be happening in the near future. In fact, not only will there be changes, but some fish species might most likely disappear. Ono, host of the top world celebrities like Obama and Joel Robuchon said in a press conference on Tuesday:

I told my young men three years ago sushi materials will totally change in five years. And now, such a trend is becoming a reality little by little. […]

The traditional spread of fatty tuna, eel and shellfish may soon be forced to give way to the bane of any fishmonger — farmed seafood

Jiro Ono

“Many of the ocean’s fisheries are on the brink of collapse as populations of some of the most well-known fish species plummet. Earlier this year, the body that monitors bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean recommended drastic cuts to catch limits as populations plunged to just 8 percent of their original levels. 80 percent of the world’s bluefin is consumed by the Japanese and demand elsewhere is only growing.”

Source: Huffington Post

In some countries, actions are being taken to address the issue of overfishing and there are even plans to create fish sanctuaries to protect the endangered species. This makes you wonder about countries by the sea, like ours. Will the people in charge of this matter, deal with it properly?

What do you think of this? Would you continue having your weekly sushi meal if you knew the fish was raised in a farm?

P.S. Below is the “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” trailer for you to watch!

Happiness is your main ingredient, always.

Yesterday evening was Beirut Cooks’ first book signing event. It took place at The Food Dealer, a very very cool new deli in Mar Mikhael. Apart from the wonderful interior we noticed when we entered the place – despite the crowd of people – we saw a long table where the author of the book, Pascale Habis, as well as some of the cooks featured in it, were seated and signing the books of eager food lovers.

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Beirut Cooks is really something unique as it brings together the recipes of amateur cooks from various backgrounds. They are entrepreneurs, they are artists and business people. They are everyone and everything, and that’s what makes their recipes beautiful. Each recipe is the product of a different realm of life itself. The first thing that hits you when you open the book is the images. They are exceptionally vivid, colorful and clear, it makes you want to read it all right away. And when you do read it, you are far from being disappointed. Get ready to be enchanted by real people!

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Foodie-book-Beirut-Cooks-Breadonbutter

The book starts with a charming preface written by Nicolas Audi, a gastronomer himself (www.nicolasaudi.com), and goes on to introduce the cooks. To name a few: Bernard Khoury (Architect), Joanna Debbas (Restaurant Owner), Monique Rizkallah Chebli (Artist and Yoga Intructor), Karim Chaya (Industrial Designer), Barbara Massaad (Food Writer and Photographer), Johnny Farah (Artisan Créateur and Restaurant Owner), Karen Chekerdjian Fattal (Product and Furniture Designer), Karine Zablit (Cake Designer), Michael Zammar (Consultant and Businessman), and Carine Bejjani (Event Planner). Recipes from around the world, with a personal twist, can be found in the book. Some of my favorites until now are: Carine’s Lemon Meringue Pie, Bernard’s Pancakes, Joanna’s Three-Melon Salad, and Karim’s Corn on the Cob with Lime Chilli Butter.

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Go out and get it, you won’t regret a page of it! You can check their website and facebook page here and here!

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