Thursday, August 25, 2016


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Thank you for visiting and I look forward to your comments on the new site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Recipe: Crab Sambosa

This is one of my favorite foods to serve for guests as a snack or appetizer. Just about everyone loves it, and other than the wrapping, it is super simple.

Sambosa is an Arabic word meaning the same as the Indian word Samosa. It is also known as Sambusak.

I prefer egg roll wraps (or spring roll wraps) over filo dough because it is much easier to work with. The downside is egg roll wraps do better with frying than baking. I use coconut oil for frying so I feel good about it.

Crab Sambosa

1 12-oz package imitation crab, cut into pieces (or fresh crab meat, flaked)
1 8-oz package cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 small onion (white, yellow, or purple), finely chopped
2 1-lb egg roll wraps
oil for frying (coconut or grape seed oil are my favorite choices)

Sealing liquid: flour paste (touch of flour mixed with water), egg whites, melted butter, or even just water.

Add finely chopped onions to 1 tbsp oil. Cook onions about 1 minute until started to turn transparent. Add green onions, saute for 1 minute. Add cut crab meat. Crab meat basically melts, so the smaller the crab meat is when added to the pan, the faster it all mixes together. Add cream cheese. Again, the smaller the cream cheese is, the faster it all mixes together. Stir until everything melted and mixed with cream cheese. 

Remove from heat.

The egg roll wraps come in squares. Cut them down the middle to make rectangles. 

Place a small spoon of mixture in bottom left corner, fold left corner up, forming a small triangle. Fold right corner up and left, forming another small triangle. Use a small spoon back to spread sealing liquid on top end. Fold over again toward top end, then fold wet end over to seal sambosa triangle.

Heat oil until 350 degrees, or high heat, 

Fry them in oil until golden-brown.  About 1 minute.

Drain on a paper towel.

  • Makes about 60 sambosas, 1 & 1/2 egg roll packages.
  • You can fry immediately (after you have made several), refrigerate for later, or freeze for much later. 
  • Refrigerating does help keep them sealed once you start frying them. 
  • Thaw slightly before frying if you freeze them. About 5 or 10 minutes is enough.
  • They are best served hot. They are also good once they cool, but placing them in a container for travel may result in being less crispy - but still excellent!
  • Garlic can be added with onion.
  • Adding Garam Masala spice will give them a Middle Eastern flavor.
  • Adding Curry, Cumin, Tumeric, Ginger Paste, and/or Cilantro will give them an Asian flavor.
  • Adding Ginger and/or Green Chilies will make them spicier.
  • Can make 1 egg roll package and mix left over mixture in pasta for a great meal too.

Any filling can be used. I often use whatever left-overs I have that are soft enough. I mashed a baked chicken and vegetable left-over and made sambosas from that. The Bolognese Sauce would have been really good too. As long as the food is soft and tasty starting out, it will be excellent in sambosas. 

Deedra Abboud is the founder of the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership, a "rising tide raising all boats" resource on the art and science of finding solutions, not fault - at work, at home, and in the community. She is an author, keynote speaker, lawyer, and frequent media resource. When she's not helping clients or speaking at organization events, she's traveling the world.  At last count, she's been to over 15 countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Vegetable Soup with Pasta

Chicken soup is such a versatile food. It is good when you're sick, but just as good when you're well - and unlike many kinds of soup and stews, it is not just cold weather food.

One of my favorite restaurant chicken soups is Carrabba's Spicy Sicilian Chicken Soup. After much experimentation, I have created my own version. Sometimes I like to mix it up, so I have added variation ideas in the "Tips" section.

Spicy Chicken Vegetable Soup with Pasta


3 celery ribs
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 large)
1 medium potato, peeled
1 (14 oz) can stewed & peeled tomatoes
1 chicken breast
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped (or 1 tsp minced)
4 qts chicken broth
1 tbsp creole seasoning
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh rosemary, removed from stem
1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, remove from stem

2 cups pasta cooked separately (any pasta - I prefer elbow or shells)


Dice celery, carrots, onion, potato into 1/4 inch pieces (or smaller). Chop canned tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces (or smaller), reserving juice.  (Can also be done when shredding chicken later)

Place vegetables, tomatoes with their juice, herbs, and vinegar, garlic into crockpot.

Add whole chicken breast.

Add chicken stock, creole seasoning, and pepper.

Cook on high for at least 3 hours, can be left on low all day or all night.

Remove chicken to cool. Use forks to shred chicken. Place shredded chicken back into the crockpot. Stir.

Boil pasta separately.

Spoon a small portion of pasta into individual bowls, top with chicken soup.



  • Serves 2 as a meal. Serves 4 as an appetizer.
  • Best served on the day after making.
  • Can be cooked in a stock pot instead of crockpot - Bring to boil over low heat, partially cover pot and simmer 2 hours (may need to skim foam).
  • Mash some of the vegetables before serving (or before refrigerating) to make soup thicker.
  • Adding pasta directly to soup pan will cause the pasta to become too soft when storing overnight. It is better to add pasta to individual bowls. But on the second day, you can cook pasta in soup being warmed, or separately.
  • Bell pepper can be added to soup, but it will slightly change the flavor. I prefer red, orange, or yellow peppers. Green changes the flavor too much.
  • Other vegetables can also be added: zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc (smaller chopped the better).
  • Creole seasoning substitution: salt, red pepper (crushed), black pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder.
  • Poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) can be omitted.

Deedra Abboud is the founder of the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership, a "rising tide raising all boats" resource on the art and science of finding solutions, not fault - at work, at home, and in the community. She is an author, keynote speaker, lawyer, and frequent media resource. When she's not helping clients or speaking at organization events, she's traveling the world.  At last count, she's been to over 15 countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Questioning the Little Things

My husband and I were at the grocery store picking up supplies for my slow cooker spaghetti sauce. As I reached for the ground beef, my husband told me he wanted some of the meat for breakfast. I said okay and continued shopping.

On the way home my husband told me he wanted to cook breakfast - well, the meat and eggs anyway.

I said okay.

After we got up, he said he needed a pan, a bowl, oil, and a wooden spoon.

I got the supplies out for him.

We have been married almost two decades and he has never cooked.

He took the meat and eggs from the refrigerator, cracked the eggs into a bowl, then added a splash of lemon juice and coconut-almond milk.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Recipe: Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

I love spaghetti with bolognese sauce. My mom would simmer it for hours and it was so good you just wanted to eat it with bread.

I never order spaghetti from restaurants because it is just not as good.

First, it is usually sweet. What's up with that? Spaghetti sauce should not be sweet.

Second, it is usually either bland or just okay, not tasty like my mom's.

I have experimented over the years with different ways of cooking it, and I finally found the one my husband and I just can't get enough of.

Once you taste bolognese sauce cooked in a slow cooker, (or at least simmered on the stove for hours) you will never be satisfied with canned, bottled, restaurant, or quick sauces.

No joke.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Tormented Characters of Boardwalk Empire

When I watch television or read a book, I really get into the characters. Like I know them personally. I can feel their anger and their joy, but I also analyze how I feel about their feelings and reactions - whether I agree with them or would do things differently.

The downside is that I have a difficult time being entertained 'with my brain off.'

For example, I have never been able to watch the show, Friends. From the beginning, I was constantly frustrated with the episodes - the situations and the characters. I have always said, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"

My sister, on the other hand, loved the show. She always said it was a show she could just watch without having to think about anything.

Still, even with the constant brain engagement, one benefit is that I learn about myself and the world - as in what kind of person I want to be in the world - without having to directly experience all situations myself.

Just like observing real people, I use every opportunity to explore life through fictional characters.

Seeing different perspectives. Thinking about what logical reason a person would act a certain way. Wondering what drives people, or holds them back. All of these thoughts also increase my empathy and sympathy for those facing problems I have never faced.

Last year I watched the series Boardwalk Empire. While watching it, I was really into the story and characters.

This year I have been watching it again with my husband. Watching it a second time has been very interesting. This time, because I already know how things will happen, I am spending more time focusing on why the characters are doing things. What makes them tick. What life experiences formed their decision-making process.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Does Art Imitate Life or Does Life Imitate Art?

A common question that I have heard all my life is, "Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?" This question usually comes up when people are discussing whether television creates society's behavior or if television is a reflection of society's behavior.

After years of contemplation about this question, I have decided it is both.

Beverly Hillbillies
Leave It To Beaver was not a reflection of life in the 1950's - though it was likely a reflection of what many in society wished life was like, the idea of 'perfection.' It was also both entertainment and educational because it included lessons and discussions of those lessons.

Beverly Hillbillies was not a reflection of life in the 1960's and 1970's, but among the craziness, lessons were everywhere - and Jed Clampett was the voice of reason that often summed up the lesson at the end.

Nor were Eight is Enough and The Brady Bunch a reflection of life in the 1970s and 1980s - though they were a reflection of both an idea of 'perfection' and the changing family dynamics. Single parents were becoming more common, as were blended families. Again, they were entertainment as well as educational due to lessons and discussions of the lessons.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Art of Motivation - Know Thyself

I made a plan that I would learn something new at least three times per year.

Just to recap, in addition to my current goal of publishing my book, I have added kickboxing, motorcycle license, and for the third one ... I was not quite sure.

As I considered various things I could learn (musical instruments, how to read music, singing lessons, dance lessons, etc), I remembered Arabic.

My husband is originally from Iraq. His native language is Arabic though he is fluent in English. His family's native language is Arabic, and though most of them can also speak English, his father cannot. 

After seventeen years of marriage, I can understand some Arabic. I know a lot of words, and if I pay really close attention, I can usually understand the subject and maybe what is being said about the subject. However, I cannot translate fast enough to really communicate - not enough vocabulary to understand everything and I cannot remember words fast enough to respond in Arabic. 

I have taken Arabic classes twice.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Fifth Agreement During Sixth & Seventh Grade

Most people are familiar with the four agreements within the book The Four Agreements, even if they have never read the book.  I heard about the book and concept for years before I actually read the book. Once I read the book, I realized I had been mistaken in thinking I understood the four agreements. I clearly didn't.

There is also a fifth agreement, described in the book The Fifth Agreement. Though the fifth agreement itself has a lot of pieces, two powerful pieces are the power of doubt and learning to listen. The idea that we should question everything, be skeptical of everything, realize almost everything is an opinion.

Then learn to listen and wonder about the 'truth' of everything before accepting it as your 'truth.' 

Beliefs and 'Truth,'' in the context of both books, is not just about belief in a higher power, but more about what we believe about ourselves, others, and how the world works. 

I thought about the fifth agreement when I reflected on my sixth and seventh-grade years.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Recipe: Sunnyside Salad Dip

While I was preparing dinner, my husband came to me with his iPad, showed me a picture of a kitchen appliance, and asked if I had it. It was a food processor. I told him I did.

He told me he wanted to use it, so I got it out of the cabinet.

My husband, whose culinary skills have only ever extended to boiling eggs and making loose leaf tea, had been inspired by a cooking video on Facebook and wanted to prepare a dip as our salad.

Our dinner always includes a salad, a meat, and a vegetable. Sometimes we exchange the salad for a soup, or just add a soup.

He named it Sunnyside Salad Dip. The name came out of nowhere, but here is what he created.

Sunnyside Salad Dip

1 can chickpea/Garbanzo beans, drained
1 avocado
1 lemon, just the juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Pour can of chickpeas in food processor. Add peeled avocado. Add juice of a lemon. Add salt & pepper. Turn on food processor until ingredients  are smooth.

Serve with crispy pita bread.

I added paprika for presentation.

It appears we have a chef in the making.

Deedra Abboud is the founder of the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership, a "rising tide raising all boats" resource on the art and science of finding solutions, not fault - at work, at home, and in the community. She is an author, keynote speaker, lawyer, and frequent media resource. When she's not helping clients or speaking at organization events, she's traveling the world.  At last count, she's been to over 15 countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Getting Out of the Routine Funk

Lately, I have been feeling somewhat bored - like my life has become routine. I fully admit my life is anything but routine by the standards of others, but for me, it has felt that way.

After I get up in the morning, I have breakfast and coffee with my husband. Then I spend the day working on legal cases for clients, talking to clients (legal and non-legal), researching, blogging,  writing my book, tweeting, and checking out Facebook.

By 4pm I am cooking dinner because we like to eat around 5pm. 

In the evenings, after cleaning up after dinner, I pay bills, and usually go back to computer work - cases, research, writing, etc. - or read a book.

Occasionally we go out to eat or to the movies, maybe even visit friends together or separately. Sometimes I break things up by reorganizing something in my house - I have an obsession with small baskets and everything having its place, everything separated by type and located for convenience. Absolutely no junk drawers in my house. 

Still, I have felt the excitement waning. I get up with slightly less "pep in my step" than usual and don't have to convince myself to put what I'm doing aside to go to bed at night. 

Initially, I thought maybe I needed a trip or new experience. My husband and I love to travel and I often think of new experiences for us to do together - like skydiving a few years ago.

But I realized I neither wanted a small spark nor to become dependent on "getting away" for my re-energizing. 

Then I began focusing on books and videos about "becoming unstuck." Mostly they talk about finding your passion and setting life goals. 

They are always great topics, always with some new tidbit to consider - but I know my passions, have set my life goals, and regularly take the steps toward those goals. 

So I started thinking of the small goals or projects I could create to bring back my excitement. Projects always get me excited - even smalls ones. 

At first, I could not really think of anything I wanted to do beyond what I am currently doing.  

So I decided to make a list of unique skills I already have.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Recipe: Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

My husband decided he wanted to eat at least three radishes every day, so I needed to figure out more ways to use radishes than just in a salad. This is the result of a successful experiment:

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

3 baby red potatoes, sliced thin
3 radishes, sliced thin
1 zucchini, sliced thin
3 baby bell peppers, sliced thin (strips, or rounds)
1 baby red onion, halved, sliced thin (strips)
3-5 baby tomatoes, whole
1 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp grape seed oil (or avocado oil)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp fresh or dried mint
1 cup orzo, rice shaped pasta
Feta cheese (optional, only if serving at room temperature or chilled)

1 lemon, squeezed for juice
1/4 cup grape seed oil (or avocado oil)
1-2  tbsp yogurt (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Toss the zucchini, radish, bell peppers, onion, potatoes, and tomatoes with the oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread vegetables with oil onto large sheet pan (I prefer to cover pan with Reynold's wrap for easy cleanup.) Pour chicken broth over vegetables to cover the bottom of the pan.

Roast 20 minutes. Turn vegetables with a spatula. Roast an additional 10 to 15 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Mix dressing with pasta and vegetables.

Serving Options:
Serve immediately, hot
Let cool to room temperature, add feta cheese.
Refrigerate and serve cold, add feta cheese

The additional roasting time will depend on how thin the potatoes and radish are sliced (very thin, shorter time; thickness increases time)
Extra virgin olive oil can be substituted for grape seed/avocado oil
Orzo cooked in chicken broth has more flavor than cooked in water
Yogurt can be omitted - 2 tbsp yogurt adds more flavor than 1 tbsp