Last week, the news that Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had won the first round of Europe’s Endurance Race (held in Verona, Italy) reminded me of some photos that I had forgotten to post.
Thanks to Mumcierge, Wee Scotch and I visited the Zabeel Racing Stables where some of Sheikh Mohammed’s race horses are trained and stabled. We were told by our guide that 85% of the horses in the stable are owned by the Maktoum family. All proceeds for the stable tour went towards the Riding for the Disabled Association of Dubai (RDAD).
Driving into the stables’ parking lot, I almost ran over a peacock with its beautiful tail fully expanded. I wasn’t driving very fast at all and I certainly wasn’t expecting a peacock to be guarding the gate. Good thing that peacock lived to see another day, otherwise I’d for sure have ended up in Dubai jail for killing a royal peacock. Whew.
As this tour was organized by Mumcierge, our group consisted of moms and babes with a few dads. It was a hot May day but low in humidity so not too bad for the kiddies to be out of doors. The stable grounds were so serene, so green, and so immaculately maintained. I felt like I was in some English countryside and it almost seemed surreal to see the backdrop, though stunning, of Jumeirah Emirates Towers and other Sheikh Zayed Road buildings.
We were taken through a few of the stables (air conditioned, might I add) and the children were instantly excited. Wee Scotch had never seen a real horse before so he kept calling them “woo woo!” which is baby babble for puppy as he thought they were larger incarnations of his furry friends. I taught him the Chinese word for horse and by the end of the tour, he was already calling them by their proper names, “mah mah.” What a smart cookie he is. Makes a mom proud .
Next we watched some of the horses swim the length of the 100-meter equine pool. Wee Scotch experienced a sensitive moment and started to cry when he saw the first horse jump in because he thought it was drowning. Using sign language (hand wiggling up and down), I explained to him that the horsey was just swimming. My son knows two signs: food, and swimming. They apparently come in very handy for us in times like this.
Besides the stables and the pool, we also saw the horse treadmill and the state-of-the-art horse spa. Yep, these horses get the royal treatment alright.
Finally we arrived at a stable where there were a few horses suitable for petting. The children very much enjoyed stroking the horseys and even Wee Scotch got to pet one called “Winniest Doc,” a Chestnut gelding from the USA. Then our guide showed us that these horses prefer Pepsi over Coke (something I can very much relate to).
It was certainly a nice outing for Wee Scotch to see his first horseys. Many thanks to Mumcierge for organizing this.
Mumcierge is a “one stop shop” for mother and baby services in Dubai. Mumcierge pulls together all the wonderful and exciting things Dubai has to offer its mothers and children and makes them easily available to their members. There are different membership options including pay-as-you-go. Please visit their website for more information.
* * * * *
When Wee Scotch and I go out, I usually pack him a snack box full of cheerios, raisins, and rice cakes. I always feel guilty because, although organic, they are still processed food. He abhors raw vegetables but loves fruit. So lately, I’ve been making baked apple crisps for him to snack on.
* * * * *
- 2 red apples (Gala and Pink Lady apples are great for making crisps as they are low in moisture to begin with)
- cinnamon for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 120 C (250 F) and use the fan element if your oven has it. The circulating air will facilitate the drying of the apple slices.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I just lined my oven racks as I didn’t have baking sheets large enough).
- Using a mandolin or food processor, slice apples to ⅛-inch thickness (3 mm). If slicing by hand, core the apples to facilitate slicing and slice the apples as thin as you can.
- Arrange the apple slices on the parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake on the lower part of your oven (away from the heating elements) for 20 minutes, then gently turn the apple slices over and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the last 10 minutes or so to make sure they don’t burn.
- Remove baking sheet or rack from oven and allow the apple to cool. The apples will come out a bit soft but will crisp up as they cool.
- Store in an airtight container or bag.
* * * * *
* * * * *