29 December 2013

Petak shuka

We were looking to buy a treadmill and other exercise equipment for the apartment, and Jarred got in touch with a sporting goods store that advertised items on list.am (the Armenian version of Craigslist).  We went to order everything today, and it turns out the store is located in Petak, a warehouse-turned-marketplace similar to the indoor sections of Bangladesh (which you can see in this post).


It has been an unusually cold December in Yerevan this year, with a high temperature of -16 degrees Celsius each day lately, and without any heating, shopping at Petak requires some serious fortitude (I can imagine the place would be an oven in the summer).  Also, because it's almost New Year's/Christmas, the place was very crowded. So if you're interested in checking it out (which you absolutely should), my advice is to go in May or October.

The sun was visible through the grey skies above Petak, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

You can find everything at Petak, from electronics...

...to holiday and party decor...

...from clothes and shoes...

...to fishing and hunting gear...

...from kitchenware...

...to the sports equipment that was our reason for coming.

And as at any shuka, the prices are negotiable!  So we got a great deal on a treadmill (1-year warranty), workout bench, and free weights, including delivery to our place tomorrow.

Nate found a chair and entertained himself while we shopped.

17 December 2013

Angela's Holiday Spiced (not spiked!) Punch

We had a few friends and students over for Thanksgiving this year, and my homemade punch turned out to be so popular, everyone asked me for the recipe.  So I'll share it here, along with some photos from Thanksgiving, the school's winter concert, and Yerevan's first snow of the season -- all to get you in the holiday spirit!

I did not take this picture.  Isn't it pretty?

Angela's Holiday Spiced (not spiked!) Punch recipe

Because this recipe is alcohol-free, it's my favorite straight edge alternative to mulled wine. Perfect for kids, teens, pregnant moms, and anyone who loves a tasty hot beverage! (Toddlers love it, too, but you may decide to dilute it a bit if you think they'll find the flavor too strong.)

Yields 2 liters of punch.
  • 1 liter apple juice or cider
  • 1 liter cherry juice (blackcurrant or something else tart would also work well)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • about 15-20 whole cloves
  • other optional spices, to taste: cardamom pods, star anise, orange peel, diced apple, etc.
Put the small spices in a tea ball or something that will make them easy to remove from the pot afterwards.  Boil all ingredients in a covered pot on the stove for 15 minutes or longer.  Keep tasting it until you can just taste the spices.  Important -- if you leave the cinnamon sticks and cloves in for too long (more than 30 minutes or so), the punch might get too "spicy."  So when the taste is to your liking, remove and discard the spices.  Ladle into mugs.  You can enjoy the punch while it's hot or put it in the fridge for a cold refreshment later!