Light at the End

So, this week the majority of my time has been spent cramming for my upcoming board exam (I take it next Wednesday at 8 AM-prayers appreciated). It's hard to believe that all of my years in grad school and countless hours of studying are all coming down to this one exam. While I usually prefer to sit in the comfort of my own home to study my life away, I have found that the Emmet O'Neal Library is quite the gem. It's pretty swanky compared to other libraries that I have frequented and has lots of space.

On Wednesday, my dad came into town to say his goodbyes before he cruises around the world for the next few months. Along with treating me to gourmet chocolates and encouraging words, he took John and I to dinner at one of my favorite Birmingham restaurants- Nabeel's. Since my dad was born and raised in Cairo, he is pretty critical of Middle Eastern fare. However, he approves of Nabeel's. So, that says a lot! John and I split two entrees, the gyro plate and the falafel burger. Both were out of this world, as usual. My dad tried their Moussaka which was included in the list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.I found a nifty YouTube video of one of their chefs making the dish. Check it out here.

After we filled our bellies with delish mediterranean goodies, we decided that no meal with my dad would be complete without ice cream. It worked out perfectly too since one of the best ice cream shops in town, Edgewood Creamery, was located less than a mile down the road. John and I decided to split (once again) and shared a cup of their spectacular coffee which included pieces of decadent chocolate. Yum! My dad chose their rocky road which led to quite the laugh since my he kept referring to the marshmallows as mushrooms. His English is quite good, but every now and then he slips up and it's usually pretty hysterical when that happens.

On Thursday afternoon, I decided to bake some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for our small group. All was going well until I realized half way through the baking process that our small group has sworn off sugar (among other things) due to their participation in the Whole Life Challenge. Oops. I was a little distraught about it...until I tasted one of those warm, gooey cookies. I don't think John minded having to keep them all either. The recipe was so easy and they were done in a flash with little clean up since everything was mixed in the same bowl.

One Bowl Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/4 cup cup flour
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar, peanut butter and egg together. Add flour and mix well. Add chocolate chips. The batter will be a little "crumbly", but trust me that it will all mix together well! Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet or one lined w/parchment paper.Use a fork to slightly fatten and make criss-cross designs on top of each cookie. Bake for 15 minutes.
After the cookies had cooled, we left the house to meet up with our small group at the new Seeds Coffee Company. It's located off Oxmoor Road in West Homewood in what looks to be an old gas station. The inside was really cozy with tons of seating and industrial-chic decor. As John was placing our order for hot tea (which come in the cutest little personal tea pots), he noticed that a lot of the proceeds from their sales go straight to missions geared towards international adoptions.

Friday night, I had a much needed girls night out celebrating my friend Katie's birthday. We ate dinner at one of my favorite multi-regional Mexican cuisine restaurants- El Barrio. The place was packed and the wait was a little long, but it was well worth it. I had been numerous times before, but Friday night was my first time trying their chorizo meatloaf. I know, I know...meatloaf at a Mexican restaurant sounds a bit out there, but let me tell you- it was some of the best I have ever had! The spinach cojita mashed potatoes with ranchera sauce that it was served with sent it over the top. I will most definitely be going back soon for another taste of that magnificent dish.

I had make cake pops and intended on bringing them into the restaurant to surprise Katie. However, on the way to get them out of the car, Jenny and I had the brilliant idea to move our little party to Urban Standard. I mean, cake pops and cappuccinos are made to go together, right? Too bad the health department doesn't think so and isn't into the idea of bringing outside food into a restaurant. Oops. That didn't get us down though because after we divulged in tea and coffee, we scurried outside to eat them on the way to our cars.


Girls night was so much fun and just what the doctor ordered after spending the past week buried in books.I have to say, I was not looking forward to getting back into the swing of things yesterday morning, but John made my morning so much better by making me breakfast in bed (again- second time this week. Go John!). John has me so spoiled, I know. Even though I am so bogged down with charts, textbooks, practice tests and the sort, I am so happy to know that come Wednesday there's a light at the end!


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