Friday, July 31, 2015

Looking for ways to ride out the heat wave?

What to drink
  • Drink plenty of lukewarm or cool water (not ice-cold). I carry a large enough handbag to fit my water bottle and never leave home without water bottles for my kids. Go Sport has a variety of trendy water bottles. 

  • Known for its nutritious value and refreshing properties, watermelon juice is the best way to beat the summer heat. Check out Family Flavours magazine (August 2015) for a super easy Fresh ‘n Sweet recipe! 
What to eat
  • Homemade fruit pops are so simple to make and contain way less sugar and calories than store-bought popsicles. Mix unsweetened fruit juice with fruit chunks. Pour into ice cube trays, add wooden sticks and freeze!
  • Cucumber’s especially high water content makes it a perfect summer veggie. We mix sliced cucumber with yoghurt, lemon and mint. 
What to wear
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing of a light colour. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics. Always check the labels, especially on kids’ clothing, including underwear and socks, to make sure they’re 100% cotton. 
  • Avène Thermal Spring Water hydrates, soothes, softens and calms skin. You’ll find it at Pharmacy One and other pharmacies. Simply spray onto your skin in a fine mist!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hind-Lara Mango, Publisher & Managing Director of Al Marji' Publications
Celebrating a Leader, a Colleague, a Friend

When I first met Hind back in 2011, I was immediately impressed by her professionalism, well-articulated vision and commitment to high standards of excellence. But, frankly, I wasn’t so sure that what I heard that day would be what I would see in action. We’ve all seen it before – grand ideas, impressive talk but all falling short of implementation. 

Not only did Hind meet expectations, she surpassed them – but that wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s worked with her, including past colleagues from her days at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Baccalaureate School, The Jordan Times and Radio Jordan. 

After joining the team as Editor of Family Flavours, I quickly discovered that Hind has an uncanny ability to convert mistakes into lessons and pressure into productivity. Despite the juggling act involved in owning a business and parenting four children, she keeps focused on the big picture (vision and strategy) while overseeing the details required to keep the team moving forward. She stays late with her team, washes her own mug in the office kitchen and acknowledges the creative outputs of others. And when we disagree, we do so with respect and move on.

Hind is also about breaking the mould and embracing diversity. She meets with heads of companies and dines with ambassadors but directs the same energy to ensuring public sector representation in articles, that subscribers in Hashmi Shamali and Abdoun are given the same priority and that the fashion editor looks for bargains. Hind supported the cancer survivor who graced the cover bald and the father of three who opened up about his depression after being diagnosed with diabetes. 

While magazines typically Photoshop images to erase wrinkles, bulges and scars, Hind portrays families as they really are. When one fashion label expressed discontent over having their clothes worn by children with disabilities in a photo shoot, Hind remained true to her conviction of inclusiveness. 

As I celebrate Hind’s birthday today, I am also reminded of Family Flavours' upcoming 9th anniversary (and Nakahat ‘Ailiyeh’s 8th). It was nine years ago that Hind had a vision to start the first (and currently only) parenting magazine in Jordan, where family remains the backbone of society. We’re savouring every moment of this journey and have Hind – and our devoted readers, clients and partners – to thank for it!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

There’s something special and grand about having a professional chef cook in your home for an intimate gathering. And how about two butlers at your service too? 

Thanks to Grand Hyatt Amman, entertaining at home has reached a new level in Jordan through its Hyatt at Your House service. Instead of spending most of your time in the kitchen while you host your party of eight to 15 people, you now have the opportunity to actually enjoy a good time with your guests! 

Grand Hyatt Amman is the first Hyatt in the world to launch this service. “We identified a gap in the market where people want to have the hotel restaurant experience, but don’t necessarily want to go to a hotel,” explains Alli Abdurahman, Director of Sales and Marketing at Grand Hyatt Amman.

What Do People Want? 
“Hyatt service, Hyatt food,” sums up Abdurahman. But how is it that Grand Hyatt Amman can deliver the service to match its reputation? With a wealth of international experience (Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and France, to name a few), the diverse team at the hotel has a deep understanding of its customers’ needs. “This is what our international experience brings to us,” confirms Abdurahman. 

In Jordan, particularly, the team is proving quite adept in flexibility. “Give a chef two weeks’ notice in other countries and he will tell you straight up that he can’t do it,”Abdurahman points out, giving credit to a team in Jordan that has the “ability to adapt quickly to changes and can do anything last minute.” Just this past April, Executive Chef Thomas Brosnan and his team were given just seven days to plan and execute a plated dinner for 1,300 people at the Dead Sea.

Sous Chef Anas Abu Douleh recalls a recent Hyatt at Your House experience at a diplomat’s residence. “The host changed his mind about the plates right when we were about to serve the food,” Abu Douleh explains. “This meant we had to change the style of how the meat was served – rib eye steak in two halves on top of each other,” Abu Hamida continues.

The Secret Ingredient
There’s one ingredient you can’t buy: passion. “When a Hyatt chef delivers his food, you know it’s cooked with love,” says Abdurahman. “Our industry is about making people happy.” When asking Fu’ad Faris, Manager of 32º North, what motivates him day in and day out, his response is instant: “To see the smile on someone’s face and know that I put it there.” What does work ethic and passion have to do with your future dinner parties?

The freshest, finest ingredients in the world alone won’t deliver an unforgettable experience. But passion will. This is what you can expect from Hyatt at Your House and this is what is guaranteed.

Sous Chef Bilal Abu Hamida, Junior Sous Chef Anas Abu Douleh and Chef de Partie Haitham Musa enquiring about guest satisfaction and feedback on the rocket salad, mushroom risotto, roasted whole fish and Black Forest dessert

Pastry Chef Norbert Stanni’s signature dessert, this Black Forest cake is the grand finale to an elegant dinner 

1. Is Hyatt at Your House for me? 
Who wouldn’t want to leave it to the experts to take all the stress away? Whatever your circumstances, preferences and dining habits, Hyatt at Your House is a practical, easy and attractive option. If you’re looking for a sophisticated sit-down dinner, you’ve got it. But even the most casual setting, like a BBQ, can be made truly memorable by Hyatt chefs. Your only job? Enjoying a stress-free exclusive dining experience with your guests while being a gracious host or hostess! 

2. What can I expect? 
The first step is an initial consultation. 
Grand Hyatt Amman will: 

*Work with you as much (or as little) as you want to create a custom menu

* Take into account personal tastes and allergies; chefs are happy to accommodate individual needs and preferences 

* Coordinate the event service for you (casual, formal, family style) 

* Handle everything required for getting and preparing menu items. Grand Hyatt Amman only brings the freshest produce, the finest quality meats and the freshest fish available 

*Take an inventory of your kitchen and dining areas to advise you on what you need to pull off the dining experience you want (while the hotel’s tableware is at your disposal, you are free to use your own) 

*Arrive at your home several hours before the event to begin prep 

*Be flexible – the Hyatt team is fully aware that the unexpected can spring up last minute!

*Clean up afterwards, leaving your kitchen spotless

3. Can I afford this luxury? 
If you can take eight to 15 people out to a fine dining establishment, you can most certainly enjoy Hyatt at Your House with its added perks. The cost truly depends on your budget and the amount of experience and service your event requires. 

Preview Hyatt at Your House!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shake Up Your Mornings (or Evenings!) With Pancakes

Apple & cinnamon pancakes 
Nutella stuffed pancakes 
Strawberry and/or banana pancakes
Banana oat pancakes
Lemon poppy seed pancakes 
Pancakes with caramelized peaches
Mint chocolate chip pancakes

Shareef devouring his share of apple & cinnamon pancake

Easy Apple & Cinnamon Pancake

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp white sugar

1. In a large bowl, combine butter, egg, milk and apples
2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar
3. Stir flour mixture into apple mixture, just until combined
4. Pour the batter into a heated lightly oiled frying pan, using about 1/4 cup for each pancake
5. Brown on both sides and serve warm

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Perhaps you’ve heard this famous quote: “You can easily judge the character of a [person] by how he or she treats those who can do nothing for him/her.” 

Similarly, the moral character of society can be defined by the way it treats the most vulnerable. 

I know that when I teach my boys to have compassion and empathy for their furry, feathered and finned friends, I’m raising them to treat everyone, including those who are different from them, with kindness. 

Modelling compassion is the most effective way to teach and promote it in our children. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Avocado & Tomatoes 

A healthy irresistible salad for any occasion!

Recipe by Sonia Salfity - thank you sis!

8 cups water 
5 avocados, diced 
4 cups quinoa 
10 medium tomatoes, diced 
6 green onions, diced 
6 lemons, juiced 
Salt to taste 
¼ cup olive oil 
2 magi cubes 

1. Boil the quinoa in water and magi cubes for five minutes 
2. Simmer on low heat until all the water is absorbed 
3. Cool quinoa 
4. Add avocado, tomato and green onion to cooled quinoa 
5. Add salt to taste 
6. Add olive oil and lemon juice and mix thoroughly 
7. Adjust salt as needed and enjoy! 

Sonia's Avocado Tips 

Choose avocados that are soft to the touch but not too ripe. If they are too hard and need ripening, place them in a paper bag with a slice of apple and set aside overnight with the bag closed 

The best way to cut the avocado is to slice it down the middle and wiggle it so the two halves are separated, then remove the large pit and gently peal the skin off. Cut lengthwise, then dice 

Don’t cut the avocado until you’re ready to use it! Otherwise, squeeze some lemon juice on it to prevent it from discolouring