Labnah Lemon Lime Pie

If you like lemon, you will love this. The whipped topping and sugary crust is a beautiful contrast to the tang of the citrus. Since I may not have access to the things I am looking for while at the markets, it’s a bit fun to experiment with things and find out if it will work. Enjoy!

lemonthing

For the pie crust:
I had planned on making a Graham Cracker crust and wasn’t able to locate the crackers, so I chose teabiscuits and it worked really well. I also didn’t have Brown sugar, but many times as a kid we made our own, mixing molasses and white sugar together. No measurements for that. just mix the two together with a fork until you have the color and consistency of brown sugar you desire.

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2 C crushed Teabiscuits
8 T Butter melted
1/3 C Brown sugar (lightly packed)
1 1/4 t Cinnamon

Mix together and flatten into a pie pan. I used the bottom of a cup to get a flat crust. Chill the crust for one to two hours.

Filling:
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Flour
1/2 t Salt
2 C Milk

mix together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove it from the heat.

3 Egg yokes

Slowly add some of the milk mixture to the yolks while whisking. You want to avoid the eggs from scrambling. Once mixed together, add it to the saucepan with the rest and bring it to a boil. Cook for another two minutes while stirring to thicken it up. Remove from heat.

1/4 C Butter
1 1/2 t Lemon zest
1/2 t Lime zest
1/3 Lemon juice
3/4 Labnah (Sour Cream)

Mix the rest of the ingredients in with the milk mixture and pour into the crust. Chill the pie for few hours and top with whipped cream.

I may have to try other flavors of this pie with different fresh fruit juices. The fun part is experimenting.  -wifeabroad

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“…mind if we just hang out?”

11/24/14

It’s been a month and two days here in Saudi. I have to admit that each day is getting better. I had a rough one month anniversary and really just didn’t want to be here that day. I didn’t want to leave for good. It was just a day of overwhelming reflection I guess, mixed with the unknown of what my future holds for me while here. I am so grateful for the support from my husband in this journey. He doesn’t always know what to do in those moments while I struggle, but he is trying his best and that’s all that matters.

Our social life is expanding as of late. It’s so interesting to meet new people and share stories, and time together. Having people over for dinner and spending time with others on the weekends really has been such a boost for my mood and outlook here. It’s so important to have the contact with others in the desert. Without it, I think I would go mad. I actually have a legitimate smart phone for the first time in my life, so now I can chat with others! What?!!?!

Meet a couple who have been here for five years. He is from Michigan, she from New Zealand. She wore a head scarf when we met up and I asked her if she wore it all the time. She told me that in the five years, she has not worn it twice and both times got reprimanded by the Mutawa (religious police). It’s so strange that not once have I been called out in the time I have been here, yet another woman can have such a different experience with it. I have only covered my head twice now since I’ve been here, and both times has been out of the convenience of not wanting the wind whipping my hair around my face. We meet another couple also, she was born in Russia and her husband is from Oklahoma. She has yet another opinion about it. She wears it loosely just in case and yet she also does not go out without her husband in public. I have been told a few times that I shouldn’t but opinions range, and I will continue to go out without my husband as long as I am here and able. It’s not my style to stay indoors ALL the time. She has only been here a few days longer than me, so meeting her and talking about our lives here up to this point was such a breath of fresh air for me. I haven’t yet met an American woman and had the same conversation about it (covering hair). I have met a few American women recently, but they live on compounds and don’t have to cover while inside the gates. While I was on the compound myself, it felt strange but also nice to not have my abaya on for a period of time. Guess I have been getting used to wearing it. 🙂

I went on a road trip out to the middle of more sand this past weekend with my husband. We just got it the truck and drove west. We saw thousands of camels along the way and one large group was close enough to the road for me to get a few nice shots of them just hanging out. It’s exciting to me every time to see them out. We ended up in this small town that I can’t remember the name of. It seemed to be a town that catered to the camel herders as there were many trucks full of hay and there was even a trailer factory that made mobile trailers for the herders to live in while in the desert. My husband’s advice that day was to tell me that if I ever get lost in the desert and spot a camel, I need to follow it, because it will always go back to its home. I had the mental image of tapping one on its hind leg and asking “hey mister….mind if we just hang out?”

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I was able to finish the baby quilt that I had mentioned in my previous post. This is my first ever hand pieced,and quilted blanket. I plan to give this away to an expat here that is expecting. I had the orange fabric that I had brought with me and then the other fabrics I found at a store that was selling everything at low prices because they wanted to start a grocery store instead. Shirt fabric works just fine for quilts, and since I haven’t found batting, I used a fleece throw for a substitute.

babyquilt

We are having more dinner guests over tonight so that meant a trip to the store for two more plates to make the serving set 6. I’ve already prepared a dessert and my husband and I are cooking spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner. In a couple days we are having a Thanksgiving get together at another couples home. Really looking forward to Thursday and whatever it may bring us! I miss my family back in the States. And to my friends back home…I miss you all too. Happy Thanksgiving week!

beer

Much love, and cheers (in a non-alcoholic way of course) – wifeabroad

Things happen around food

11/16/2014
A week ago, we got the truck back up and running. My husband had recorded some translations on a small voice recorder so that the mechanic who spoke no English would know what might be the problem. I told him that the guy would probably laugh at him for the recorded Arabic clips. He in fact did laugh at it. And then was able to diagnose a blown fuse right away. So, now we make sure that we have spares fuses for a quick change while cars behind us honk because the light has now changed and if you aren’t moving when the light changes that means, you are already late to get a move on it. We had fun that weekend driving around, getting lost a few times and seeing areas of town that really make you feel like you are in yet another country entirely. This one area was just twisting and turning roads with cars parked on both sides, but enough room for one to drive through. There were so many people out on the streets too. The small children were dressed just like the adults in that particular area. The little girls were covered from head to toe like the grown women. Even their faces were covered. The little boys all had on their thobes. It was really strange to see. I think because it was night time, it made it seem even more strange to me. It’s hard to describe how some of the things I see can make me feel one way or another. I can be bothered by a look or the mass of people on the streets on a Friday night, or take things in stride and not be bothered. Sometimes I see things that amaze me, but I don’t capture it with my camera. I don’t think you really want me to take a photo of the camel heads (and tails) that hang in the butcher shop window. It made me sad. I still get childlike in way when I see them out in the desert. I want to get close and maybe get a small one as a pet.  It’s just the way I’m wired.

A few photos taken from the car…DSCN3007 DSCN3003 DSCN3006 DSCN3000
There was a Facebook post from NPR on my newsfeed regarding women drivers in Saudi and how the Shura had recommended that the King allow it. I went into the other room and explained that I had breaking news to my husband. After I had told him what I had read, he said while smiling, “great, I moved here cause it was a man’s world.”
This past week I surprised myself by starting a baby quilt for another expat here and finished the top in three days time. First attempt at hand piecing went pretty well!
The past couple of weeks, I have felt like I am getting a bit more adjusted to life here. I still have my moments of frustration, but I think I am learning a little bit more how to handle even those moments. Also, we now have our stove hooked up to the gas canister! Yay! I can cook for real now! I tested the oven by making brownies from a box. I burned ‘em a little as the temp never did reach what I thought was 350 F and they didn’t even cook for the full time as instructed. I’ll be watching the baking items like a hawk ! My husband and I have had company over for dinner a few times, and that’s been really nice. It’s amazing how an evening of conversation can improve the morale in the desert. And this is what I can come up with on a comfort food night.

DSCN0100 Mashed potato and chicken eggrolls with ranch dip.
Yesterday I walked up to the carts at the market and this woman was struggling with carts that were stuck together. I laughed because it has happened to me as well. She grabbed my arm and asked me if I was American. I had to ask her to repeat herself a few times before I understood what she was asking. I felt embarrassed at that point but she seemed excited and said come inside. So I grab a cart and head into the store where she takes off her sunglasses (I can now at least see her smiling eyes) and she motions to me and her own head so I know she is mentioning my lack of head covering with her gestures. I tell her I don’t have one because I am not sure if she is offended by it or not. She then smiles, looked around and gives me a thumbs up. I think I got her approval! 🙂 Yes, this is now week four and this was pretty much my first conversation with another woman here!
Finding items at the grocery store can bring us great joy or sadness. My husband really wanted tater tots a few weeks back and the store didn’t have any. A few days ago…Ta Da! They had Ore Ida Tater tots! If we had had a chest freezer, he probably would have bought every package. I found caramel syrup that I wanted and this morning I tasted it and was so disappointed in the chemical flavor. My husband tasted it and then put it in the trash! That’s how bad it was! So now, here is my PSA for the day.

DSCN3010Do NOT buy this product ever. It is truly terrible.

This afternoon while looking for a few baking items at the market, I was attacked by children three who should have known better, and another two who were just riders in the cart. They had no manners and had no issues shoving themselves and the oldest girl had her phone in my face and was video taping me while saying “snapchat” over and over. Grabbing her hands and phone and repeatedly telling her no didn’t do a bit of good. A store employee even came up to me and apologized for their behavior. I think it was the first time I have ever wanted to break a childs phone. And because I don’t want to end this post on a sad note, I want to mention that Saudia brand vanilla ice cream is Awesome! Yes, many a good day, or strange experience happens around great food or the hunt for it! Hope everyone has a great day! Love from KSA -wife abroad

CS 101

11/5/2014
I was reading another woman’s blog today about being an expatriate in Saudi. I want to add that I look at them in a different light because I have yet to find a woman blogger who lives in the desert in general population. I’m sure there must be some, right? I mean not all live on compounds, with neighbors who share the same common ground. The search is still on. Anyway… her husband had come home from work and asked her what she had done that day. Nothing, she said. (I’m paraphrasing the conversation she had, and thoughts that she wrote) Nothing can literally mean, nothing, which is nearly impossible for a man to understand. Then he asks if she went out. No, she didn’t have a driver. Did she hang out with friends? No, they had all moved away. Oh, well the house looks clean, he said. He then told her they could change and go out to dinner, to which she replied, “I don’t have to change. I just put on my black thing, and go out.”
I had to smile a bit, as it already feels a bit like home for me. Do I really have to spend time each day writing personal ads on expatriate sites looking for friends in this place??
Maybe I should go put my “black thing” on and go for a walk. I’ll get some sunlight on my face and fingers, and I’ll walk against the traffic when there is no sidewalk, so that I can see what’s headed my way.
Later: I just got back from an hour walk, and not once did I see a woman out. The residential areas of town can be pretty to look at, when there is money behind it. The doors to the homes are so beautiful. You can see the houses better if they are two stories or taller, as the homes are surrounded by cement walls on all sides. While the homes may be pretty to look at, the streets are uncomfortably empty of humans. So I would rather stick to the streets that have shops. This means that walking on busy streets, I will get honked at constantly. Two short honks means (from what I’m told) “do you need a ride?” No, I don’t. I’m not lost, I just look lost. I’m just a white girl wandering the streets and getting exercise. I’m not sure I burned off the donut and Doritos that I ate for breakfast, so my lunch will just be a bowl of fruit and some hadju cheese.
I can’t get my husband to understand what it’s like for me to be here. He is outgoing, and easily communicates with strangers of all kinds. And he is not a woman living in a Muslim Saudi society. I’m quite the opposite. I can be outgoing, but the atmosphere here is the exact opposite of what I call normal. And if anyone were to tell me it’s like living anywhere else in the world, I would laugh at them. That is so far from the truth! I can think of many other places where I could live, and feel like I could adapt and make friends because there is an environment for it. There isn’t an environment here for making friends as an outsider (that I have found). I’m sure that the women who work, or live on compounds, or are a part of some organization that automatically puts them in a social background of sorts, can and do meet others like themselves, much easier than a woman who just lands in a city not having any of those benefits. I don’t know how to approach women here. The whole blackness of the coverings feels like a brick wall that should not be messed with. Men and women don’t mix here, so that’s out too.
It’s only been two weeks…trying to be optimistic here, but yeah, I’m struggling a little bit with culture shock.

What is normal?

11/2/14
I had told my husband a few days ago that I have to find normality in my life here. Like it’s something that will keep me sane. I find certain tasks to be normal and I enjoy them, so it helps my day go by. Cleaning the house, washing the dishes, cooking, and laundry. All these things are normal to me.
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I just got done washing my clothes in the sink today. It’s my normal at the moment. And I really don’t mind it. It’s just time consuming. And I have lots of time!
The dust is crazy here. It’s not normal. I sort of wish the box of Swiffer products would show up at my front door like they happen in the commercials back in the States. Hey, I would totally endorse them if they came here to help me keep this marble clean and dust free! 
Played around with some water colors, because creating is normal to me and it is a constant form of therapy for me. It calms me and helps me focus my thoughts.
The simplest of things can be so enjoyable.
And I ended it all by re-painting my nails with black polish. If you know me, that’s very normal.