wherever you go

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How I Cook

I made a really good dinner last. And I will never make it again.


This is how cooking normally goes for me:

I find a recipe. “Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. That looks yummy! Do I have the ingredients?”

I stop following the recipe. “Hmm..I don’t have three of the ingredients. How important is using chicken stock instead of water? And I think I’ll just throw it in a pot; I don’t have time for a slow cooker.”

I start just doing random things. “I have no idea how much chicken is in this bag. Oh well. I forget what spices are in this seasoning mix I made. Oh well. In it goes!”

I worry I have just wasted a bunch of food because this could taste awful. “I have no idea what I’m doing! I hope this is edible.”

Finally, it is finished and I taste it and find out how I did. Last night it worked and tasted really good! Other times it doesn’t work out so well. What bugs me is that I can’t make anything twice! I will never made the exact dish I made last night, because I don’t really know what I put in that pot. Haha! So we’ll have to enjoy it while it lasts, and then see what I come up with next time.


Here is the recipe I ‘used’ if you would like to try it:




Soft pretzels

Man may not live on bread alone, but I think I could try it.  Based on the amount of baking I’ve been doing in the last week, it looks like I’m trying to do exactly that.  These turned out quite tasty.




This was a relatively easy recipe – not that much more than making bread.  I will note that my dough kept rising throughout the process, and I needed to half the portions to get them thin enough to have the usual pretzel shape. Otherwise they just fluffed up and became a big, soft roll of pretzel.  This isn’t a problem at all, actually, they just didn’t really look like pretzels.  I think I’ll try pretzel rolls or bite sized pieces and see what I think about that.

Yum.  Bread…..

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Roasted red peppers!

I tried roasting red peppers for the first time the other night. Stephen and I found a recipe for roasted red pepper sauce that we put over pasta and chicken. Roasting the peppers was pretty darn easy, but I was very thankful to have Stephen as a co-chef that evening. We also cooked some fresh broccoli and cauliflower and baked some sweet potato fries. When I started pealing the sweet potatoes I was surprised that the inside was quite white. The outside looked normally orange-ish. I did some googling and found out that is perfectly normal. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a little brown sugar and they were wonderful! Some friends came over to enjoy it all with us. Dinner success! I love when that happens.


Today I made some tortillas again. It’s been a long time. I put off doing things like that because it seems like so much work sometimes, but it’s worth it! I should remember that. They taste so much better than store bought tortillas and are made from the simplest of ingredients. Mexican lasagna is on the menu! Yum.





muffins and animal crackers

Baked goods don’t last long around here. Two days is the average life span of any batch of cookies, muffins, or cake. I made a cinnamon coffee cake on Saturday. It was gone by lunch on Sunday. I made muffins yesterday and animal crackers today. We’ll see how long they last…



I did get some cooking done today. Stephen requested some beef and broccoli, and we saw a recipe for it on Pinterest. I made some changes, as I always end up doing, but it turned out fantastic! I didn’t have any beef consumme so I only had water with the brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. It’s supposed to cook in a crock pot, but mine just wasn’t getting hot enough (a problem here with the power converters and everything..). I had to move the beef and sauce to a pot then steamed the broccoli on top of that.



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now I have time

EDIT: After I posted this I accidentally deleted all the photos on my blog.  I’m not sure if I can find the ones that are in this post; they aren’t in my photo folders.  I’m still working on it, but until then….


And now that I have some extra time I can catch up on posting some photos.  Let the randomness begin!

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Myka has some letter stickers and I made a page for her to use them on one day.  She did a great job finding the correct letter sticker and putting it very neatly on the page.

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Myka and I made a tent for her out of a sheet over the coffee table and couch.  The cats thought it was for them.


Lola is still shy, but she is getting more and more friendly and will let you pet her.  Sometimes.

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I love when my children eat food.  Crackers with peanut butter and raisins (frogs on lily pads) was a big hit.  And oranges. They love oranges.  “These have orange juice inside!” is Myka’s comment every time we eat them.

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Myka, Emery, and I went on a bus trip from our compound to a beach in Jubail.  The trip was organized for the Bechtel wives here in Jubail, and most of the people who went were from the other, larger compound here.  A bus came to Al Jude (the compound we live in) and pick up three other women and the three of us.  I didn’t know what to expect or what to pack.  I wondered if we were going to be on the beach or just see the beach, if there were going to be other children, if Stephen was going to have to come rescue me half an hour after we arrived…  But it was great and we didn’t need to be rescued.  There was a play ground and lots of other kids.  Myka and Emery dug in the sand while the adults sat in chairs and chatted on the beach.  Lunch was delicious; I had shawarma for the first time and loved it.  There lots of little sandwiches and bite sized desserts.  Most of the time I was chasing Emery, trying to keep him near by, or explaining to Myka why she couldn’t get into the water, so I only ended up with these two photos.  Disappointing but typical.  He loved peeking through those slats though!  This was on one of our walking loops during lunch.  No high chair meant I was either trying to hold a squirmy boy or we were walking.  We walked a lot.  I am so thankful for friends who help me keep an eye on Myka and Emery!  They are the only way I can make it through these kind of events.

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I don’t like I ever told you about the soup Stephen and I made.  Chicken vegetable soup made with real broth which Stephen cooked down himself.  He is such a good cook.  I love when he makes me broth.  It’s a labor of love, and I’m thankful he takes the time and makes the effort to do things like that.  This wasn’t as good as the broth he made from our deep fried, flavor infused turkey last year, but come on…they were deep fried.

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There was a recipe for apple cinnamon scones that I wanted to try, but it called for cinnamon chips.  I didn’t know if I could find any around here, so I looked up a recipe for making your own cinnamon chips.  These. Are. Amazing.  I can’t wait to try this with cinnamon bread.  And you can use a different seasoning instead of cinnamon to make pumpkin pie spice chips or ginger chips or whatever else you want in little bursts of flavor.  Yay!  The scones turned out quite yummy, by the way.




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I made some animal crackers from weelicious.com.  They were easy, yummy, and the kids gobbled them up.  I don’t think they lasted three days, maybe only two.  The first tray burned.  The oven got too hot.   This is a continual problem for me, but I’m learning and checking on whatever I’m baking more often.  Myka helped me cut out the cookies and loved picking out the cookie cutters.  I loved that these cookies are made from basic ingredients and I know what my children are eating.  We’ll make these again!


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Sleepy girl! Sometimes if she sits still long enough and she is tired enough she will fall asleep during quiet time.  So cute..

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After going out for lunch in Jubail with some friends, we stopped at Cafe Lewan for some cheesecake.  Stephen mentions this cafe and their delicious cheesecake just about every time we drive past it, and I was tired of hearing about it but not eating it.  It was so good!  The coffee shops here have very good pastries and desserts and hot chocolate.  Because I don’t get out much, they probably seem all that much more exciting. Haha!

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We’ll end with some of our fun, everyday photos. Emery desperately wants the phone.  Only, he likes to put it in his mouth, so I he doesn’t get to hold it very often which makes him a little upset.  Myka likes to take pictures with my phone.  Pictures of me, herself, the cats, the rug, a doorknob, the counter….the world from the viewpoint of a three year old.

The. End.

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I make breakfast for lunch all the time.  At least once a week.  Pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs, something like that.  For one thing, Myka will usually eat these things, but also, they’re really easy to make.  I like that it’s basic ingredients: bread, milk, eggs.  I either have them in the house or we can pick them up at the store here during our walk in the morning.  The kids usually just get them plain, but I’m trying to get Myka to try something on her pancakes.  Peanut butter? Bananas? Honey?  So far she hasn’t wanted any of these things.  I think I’m going to look for some frozen berries, maybe strawberries.  Ooh!  maybe I’ll chop up some apples into tiny pieces and add more cinnamon.  Maybe she’ll like that. I know I will…

What do you put on pancakes?  Anything your kids really like?