The BIG LEAP: Anniversaries and Adventures

by Beth Shepherd
( January 9th, 2016 )

Beth and Joel by Lake Union for the Leap Year

On January 9, 2005, I took a huge leap. I drove over to the house of a guy I’d never met. Together we boarded a ferry and headed to Bainbridge Island. Wine tasting, several hours of getting to know each other and one dinner later, I was hooked! Thus began our grand adventure.

Here we are—eleven years, many journeys and one adopted daughter—on the anniversary of our first date, the beginning of a new year and a LEAP YEAR at that. Perfect timing for a BIG announcement.

I’m getting my OWN WEBSITE!

You’ll (soon) be able to find Pampers and Paklava at:

Yep. I’m hitting the virtual road with a new blog and website. How cool is that? Official announcement once my site is up and running. Stay tuned!

Beth and Joel by Lake UnionHappy Anniversary to me and the Mr.

Here’s to a year of leaps and adventures!

Take the road less traveled, Beth

If you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

And a shout out to Wee One Photography for the great photos!

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My oh my, it’s Shepherd’s Pie

by Beth Shepherd
( January 5th, 2016 )

No lightweights here in the Shepherd household. In one corner we have our 4-1/2-year-old daughter, who weighed in at 47 pounds.

Girl and pie

In another our kitten Wallingford who, at only 9-months old, weighed in at 15 pounds.


The star—Shepherd’s Pie 2016—weighing in at a hefty 11 pounds of deliciousness.

11 pound Shepherd's Pie

And let’s not forget Winslow, who might have ended up in the Shepherd’s Pie but, thankfully did not.

Winslow in dish

Take the road less traveled, Beth

And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

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Anoush Abour Recipe: Armenian Christmas Pudding

by Beth Shepherd
( December 31st, 2015 )

Anoush Abour means “sweet soup” in Armenian. This dish has graced New Year’s and Christmas tables in Armenia for centuries and most likely predates Christmas itself.

Anoush Abour Armenian Christmas Pudding

But wait, you say. Christmas was last week, December 25. Not so if you are Armenian. December 31 kicks off the holiday festivities with Father Christmas visiting on New Year’s Eve and Christmas itself taking place on January 6.

While most Armenians are in agreement on the date when Christmas is celebrated, if you ask ten people how to make Anoush Abour, you’ll get ten different answers. Usually, when I make a new dish, I do a bit of online research to compare recipes—which, I confess, can take up hours of time! I am always amazed at the myriad ways people make “the same thing.”

Almost all the recipes I saw for Anoush Abour use apricots and golden raisins and almonds were the most frequently mentioned nuts. Sometimes honey was used and other times sugar…or no sweetener at all. Pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts (filberts) and pecans were all game. Almonds might be slivered or whole and blanched. Pomegranate seeds? Some say yes; others say no. The same goes for rosewater, orange flower water and cinnamon.

Many of the Anoush Abour recipes call for “skinless whole wheat” or gorgos or korkot. I’ve been told you can find it in Middle Eastern grocery stores, but I have not looked for it. I have also seen this grain referred to as “pelted wheat or pearled wheat.” From what I’ve gathered, the most likely grains to use for this recipe—broadly available in the U.S.—are  white wheat berries or pearled barley.

Instructions for how to make Anoush Abour also vary from how to cook the dried fruit to whether the top of the dish should be decorated with nuts in a recognizable pattern. One recipe mentioned setting whole blanched almonds on top, in the shape of a star. Another said that, traditionally, women would use almonds to write the number of the new year.

barley cooking

However you make it, Anoush Abour is a delicious way to ring in the New Year. Here’s my take on the recipe:

Anoush Abour


  • 1 cup white wheat berries or pearled barley (I chose barley because my husband can’t eat wheat. Barley does have gluten, which isn’t an issue for him, but wheat is a no-no.)

  • 8 cups water

  • 2/3 cup honey or 1 cup sugar (I like honey myself)

  • 1 cup apricots, finely chopped, or other dried fruit such as peaches

  • 1 cup golden raisins

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (filberts)

  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds

  • Pomegranate seeds

Note: You can use any combination of nuts you prefer.


  • Ground cinnamon to taste

  • A few tablespoons of rosewater or orange flower water

dried fruit cookingHow to

  1. In a large pot, combine wheat (or barley) and water. Bring to a boil for five minutes, and then cover and simmer on very low heat for an hour. When the hour is up, set the pot aside for 5-6 hours, or overnight for the grains to soften and the “soup” to thicken. Note: Anoush Abour is more like a pudding or porridge than a soup in terms of its consistency.

  2. On low heat, in a small saucepan, add dried fruit, honey (or sugar) and one cup water. Stir occasionally until nearly all the water is absorbed. Add pistachios and pine nuts. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Thoroughly drain and cool.

  3. The next morning (or six hours later), mix the sweetened fruit and nuts into the (now room temperature) barley.

  4. Add two tablespoons rosewater.

  5. Cook the combined ingredients over low heat for 10 minutes. Your Anoush Abour should be thick but not dry.

  6. Pour into a serving dish or bowl.

  7. Garnish with hazelnuts, slivered almonds and pomegranate seeds (You want to garnish when the dish is warm and a bit sticky).

  8. Serve slightly warm or cooled to room temperature (and you can store it in the refrigerator for up to one week).

Anoush Abour 2016 Armenian Christmas Pudding

My 2016 be filled with sweetness.

Shnorhavor Nor TariHappy New Year from Pampers and Pakhlava

Take the road less traveled, Beth

And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

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