Doing some thinking

4/27/15

My husband and I plan to head back to the States this summer for our vacation. Our families are all there, so we will be doing a lot of visiting, and sharing in moments that are missed so much with us being overseas. I’m really looking forward to it because I need the big break from the desert, and the summer weather in the States is usually wonderful. I’m also looking forward to time away from my husband. Don’t get the wrong idea with that…It’s just that since I got here, we spend EVERY day together. It’s not a bad thing, I just feel like a little time apart will do us good. He can do his thing, and I can do mine. I’m looking forward to taking walks when I want, getting my freedoms back. Going and doing things without covering up in my abaya.

In the next week or so I need to make a decision regarding the trip. Do we get flights together, there and back, or do I stay in the States a bit longer and join back up with him at a later date. He feels this is an easy decision. It’s pretty much together or not, to him. Easy peasy. For me it’s a huge decision! One, I don’t like to be apart from him for long periods of time. I already did all that before and after we got married. We don’t have a home in the States, so it would mean that I would have to crash on a relatives couch. At this point I also don’t want to even think of doing that flight alone again. On the other hand, if I were to stay in the States longer, I get more time with family and friends. I would be avoiding some of the summer heat here. And maybe once again, the time apart would be good for us. I don’t know what to do.

Just thinking… -wifeabroad

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That’s all I have to say about shrimp

4/26/15

It’s been a little while since my last post. Sometimes I just feel like I don’t have anything to share. Sometimes, I don’t want to sound like a broken record…

But I do have news of Al Hasa today. And it’s all about food! I did a food challenge that my sister in law organized, or invited people to join. It involved posting photos of what we were eating on a private Facebook page, and exercising every day for seven days. Clean eating was the focus, and while it was a little bit of a challenge, it was also easy, if that makes sense. My husband and I eat pretty well here. Food is generally inexpensive aside from some high dollar import stuff. The main thing we did was try to eat very little processed food. So we had lots of salads, and or dishes with a lot of veggies. I didn’t use ranch dressing for a whole week, and I was okay with that. In fact, I might just continue to just use a little EVOO from now on. It still tastes good. And flavor is a huge factor. I also was able to experiment with cooking some new foods. It was fun and I only had one fail, not because of my cooking, but because buying frozen shrimp is just a mistake in general. It’s gross. Don’t try it. That’s all I have to say about shrimp.

CAM00338 Here is one of the salads I made. it has some delicious goat cheese on top. That is one thing that is not on short supply here. Cheese! Love it.

The salmon here isn’t really cheap, but I really wanted to try my hand at baking some fish. Not eating it out of a can. The salmon dinner was really good. No bread crumbs in the topping, and instead of using Mayonaise, I used yogurt. Lots of lemon juice, and lots of garlic, gave this just the right amount of kick. And the roasted broccoli was great with it. http://www.cookingclassy.com/2015/04/one-sheet-pan-parmesan-crusted-salmon-with-roasted-broccoli/ The nice thing is that it looked just like this recipe, only I pretty much doubled and tripled the lemon and garlic measurements. I just wish I had taken a photo of my own plate that night.

Green peppers are cheap here. I baked these, stuffed with chicken, onions, a little brown rice, beans, tomato, and topped with a very hard cheddar cheese. It was easy and very tasty. I loaded the stuffing with cayenne pepper, hot paprika, and jalapeno sauce. This will also be a repeat.

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Eating less bread can be challenging for me sometimes, I made it though the week with only a couple small bread like eats, both being Arabic flatbread of some sort. One was a flat bread that was sugar free and loaded with all these good things. But it tasted like cardboard, so I won’t buy that again. The other was a small bread with some sort of melted cheese fresh from the bakery. Tasty, but remembering to do this in moderation, not daily.

This week, Al Hasa has opened a Carrefour grocery story. This is a big deal, because once again, we get more food options here. Yay! Previously, the closest one was two hours away. And while I am cutting back on breads, Carrefour has some darn good bread! I will stay away from the works of art in the display cases there (it’s actually cake).

Also, while I wouldn’t really decide on Applebees for dinner in the States, we now have an Applebees in Al Hasa. It’s just one of those things that we have to go try out.

And lastly, in Al Hasa we now have at least three or four open or getting ready to open Dunkin Donuts. This has me the most happy, as I have always loved their coffee. Just wish I could drive over and get one during my normal drinking coffee hours. Guess that will have to be a weekend thing when my husband is off work. I think maybe a donut will be had as well.

Did you see how that just went from “I’m eating pretty well, to hey babe, can you go get me a donut?”

All kidding aside, just because the week’s challenge is over with the clean eating and exercise, I plan to still try to focus a lot more on healthy and reserve the rich stuff to every now and then…

I want to try this recipe (It’s not bread, but it acts like bread) from Marie @ https://aseatatmytable.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/cloud-bread-nailed-it/ but first I need to go practice my belly dancing.

Happy day to you, wifeabroad

April arrived with a bang!

4/4/15

My husband and I went to Bahrain for the weekend. When we got there it was a bit chilly to me, so I didn’t take off my abaya right away. Was sort of wearing it like a jacket. It was actually raining and in the 80’s (F), but that made it feel a bit colder. We went to the liquor store to get some beers, and as we were walking up to the door we both were commenting on the fact that I still had the abaya on. As soon as we got inside I was confronted by security. Abayas are not allowed. We had a good laugh over that as I got kicked out for wearing it. The weekend was very chill and nothing over the top, as we stayed at a friend’s house and ate good food, and just relaxed. Here are some photos of pottery that I think are just lovely.

CAM00267 CAM00268 CAM00269These were taken at a roadside pottery market in Bahrain.

And a random photo of fabric with circles, because I’m a bit obsessed with circles. CAM00265

Sunday, was back to work for my husband. I woke up and realized that I had caught a cold over the weekend. The second hottest country in the world, and I had a cold. Yes, I am aware that it has nothing to do with weather, but I just wanted to throw that out there. On Monday, the temps got up to 104 (F).

On Tuesday a friend of mine invited me to go to the beach, so despite my runny nose and fatigue, I joined her. It was nice to get out for the day and enjoy a change of scenery . It is important for me to point out that this was my first time since moving here to do something without my husband for a day. In the States it would be taken for granted. My ability to just go and do something without him could happen at any time back at home. Here, not so easy or often does that happen. We got to enjoy the afternoon sitting in the sun, eating sandwiches and chips, or “crisps” as my friend calls them.

That evening we met up with my husband at the market. Him and I had a few things we needed for dinner the next night as we were going to have guests over for dinner. He mentioned that a roast sounded good. After a brief conversation about my ability to cook a roast, it was settled. At the meat counter I spotted the cut that looked good and told him what I wanted. My husband started laughing and explaining quite loudly in the store… “yeah, baby…way to be decisive!” Turns out, the cut of meat was quite pricey. 269 Saudi Riyals! Divide that by 3.75 and you get the US dollar amount. It was only the next day that I realized I had a bit of pressure on me to make that turn out well. I was a bit nervous that I might ruin it. I stuck the meat full of garlic cloves. I also mixed together a dry rub with a healthy amount of cyan pepper, salt, pepper, dry peppers, garlic powder, and cinnamon, and then I hoped for the best as it cooked for three hours in the oven.

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I must say, that I would do that again. It came out of the oven with this lovely crust that had a tasty kick to it.

Backing up just a little bit…I had done a bit of cleaning before the guests had arrived. This included washing the floors. I don’t wash the floors that often, since the dust is never ending here. Our guests had actually laughed because a sand storm was headed our way. They had told us that the following day it was due to hit. I heard a strange noise outside that evening (I don’t know how to describe it), and by the time the guests were about to leave, I looked outside the kitchen window to see nothing. All the lights and buildings in the distance were no longer visible. The Storm had already arrived, and it was by far the worst one I had ever seen in my life. The howling winds lasted all night and by morning, the inside of our apartment was covered in a layer of sand and dust. Everything was covered. All the cleaning I had done the day before had been laughed at by Mother Nature, and desert winds. I felt inspired to create this illustration for a little bit of cheer and positive thinking…

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Also, I can’t really describe the smell that permeated my nose. Even with the cold and stuffed up head, all I could smell was sand. It was a burning smell to me. And to be honest I don’t enjoy that at all. I also felt like the elements had won the next morning, as I sat down for coffee and decided that I really wasn’t going to clean at all that day. Luckily my husband came home early from work and tackled the majority of the filth on his own. I just didn’t have the energy.

Photos from the sandstorm.

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Yesterday the sky was blue again and the weather, lovely. We got out of the house for a bit and wandered around the mall. I have always been a bit surprised by some of the shoes here. I think I will take more photos as I find them, but here a few to show you. I guess it surprises me that the impractical and gaudy shoes are so readily available in the land o’ sand. These are just a tiny portion of some of the crazy ones that I see.

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I’m very thankful that my frugal husband goes to certain gas stations when the car needs a fill up. He usually brings home 3-4 boxes of free tissue with each fill up. That my friends…comes in handy when you have a cold!

This pretty much sums up my past week here in Saudi. April has arrived with a bang -wifeabroad