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

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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.

DSCN0132 DSCN0134
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

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