Sunday, September 30, 2012

Number Randomness, and Homemade Hot Pockets

33 DAYS in Kuwait. Really? Already? ONE month plus?? Wow.


94 DAYS since we packed out of Amman. I really miss our stuff. And our truck. So…


NOT ENOUGH – Things. In our house. We have things, but are still ‘camping’. Ninja is concerned as she notes the lack of stuff.



TWO weeks – is the time it took for Ninja to forgive her siblings for this move. I’ll have to blog more about that later!


TWO kids in school and settling in well. They really seem to like their new schedules, teachers, and routine.


5’6” – the height of one 11 year old boy. He also broke 100lbs this summer. I don’t think he’s going to wait until his teens to be taller than me.

4’7” – the height of one 9 year old girl. She’s working hard to catch up with her brother.

At least 4 – the number of brand new, previously well fitting, purchased in July, school uniform pieces already out grown. (Not counting the Hanes plain white tees for PE shirts… they shrank… about 6 inches!! *shakes fist*)


114/74 – This momma’s blood pressure. After a walk to the clinic in 100+ heat and getting a vaccine shot. (Hey, it may be a silly stat, but I’m happy with it… at my age and on no meds, I like to see these numbers, hanging in there at a very good level, consistently too!)


99F at 12 noon – and me thinking that it’s cool out there. Summer temps do NOT mess around here and we will no doubt be over 100F soon. This is ‘normal’. Honestly, there’s also a touch of humidity in the air, and often a breeze too. I don’t find it to be all that bad out there. (note: 30 minutes later, and it’s 102F)

ZERO – the number of our plugs and adapters that would fit in the *%#&*$-ing electrical outlets in this house. You’d think, with all of our time overseas and buying basic electronics overseas, we’d have ALL of the needed adapters. Right? No. Our house has US 220V outlets… which, of course, I have NEVER seen in the US. These aren’t the massive appliance plugs, they are completely different and totally useless to everything we own.


Now, obviously, once we obtained adapters, (thankfully the warehouse has them) we could use all of our appliances because most of the items we own our dual voltage, but still… how inconvenient! 


2-3 LAPS – that I walk around the embassy every morning. A great way to start the day with a new friend.

1 YOGA class – just started last week. We’ll see how my creaky knees agree with this. So far, really well except one move, the full boat pose. It didn’t hurt. My muscles did not feel too weak, it just seems to be a move which my knees are simply not constructed to make. I cannot straighten/lift my legs straight out in front of me while sitting in a chair either… I can bring them up, but my kneecaps do not track properly and I sort of have to do a sideways motion to make it happen. This one move is not looking possible! (The issue with the knees is not the unknown, I’ve been to orthopedic specialists, but what I can or cannot do with yoga will be a learning experience!)


TWO Karate classes a week, for the kids, starting today. We’ll see how that goes.

MULTIPLE – Outings. We’ve been out and about a bit in Kuwait. To a restaurant. A couple of friend’s homes. Shopping. We really have been focused on getting settled into our new routines and have not been interested in exploring much. One thing at a time!

ONE – New online radio channel. ExoSphere radio! Check them out (I’ve added a link in my sidebar) as they really have a great selection of music. From their “About” on Facebook – “A collaboration of friends from all over the planet wishing to share their unique cultural melodies that bring us together in the human symphony of life...”

TWO – at least – new pets. We have geckos that run around our house. They use the air ducts. I wanted to name the big guy ‘Newt’ as from the movie Aliens “We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly.” … but the kids named it “Greg”. There’s also a very tiny baby we call Gregito.


I think that’s enough numbers, maybe, for now… and so on to a handy school lunch recipe, which is something I need more of because we have to have lunches packed FIVE days a week… I like to have things that are portable, not too messy, and can be eaten without having to be warmed up.

I had made a pot roast with potatoes, onions and carrots cooked with. There was not much left over, it was a small roast, and when I chopped up the remainder (diced it) I had maybe 2 cups of ‘filling’. I added grated cheese and some minced spinach (from frozen) and some spice to make it more tasty, and ended up with about 3 cups of fill. It doesn’t look all that yummy here, but it really has lots of goodness here, all chopped up and mixed together...


Then I made a simple dough recipe, as follows:

1/4 oz yeast (1 packet, 1 tbsp, approx… this is flexible)

1 cup warm water

– Add the yeast to the water and allow to sit for about 10 minutes to proof.

3 cups flour

2 tbsp oil ( I use olive oil)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in yeast mixture. Knead until smooth and elastic.

For this ‘hot pocket’ recipe, I actually used a batch and a half of the dough.

This is a great dough. You can add herbs, like rosemary or whatever you like, form it into a ball, and let it rise and bake it as a bread. You can roll it out and use it like pizza dough. Whatever. This thing is a working dough. I rolled it out, not too thin, and hacked it into squares of approximately equal size – measuring is for wimps:


Each square got a pile of filling…


and then it was rolled into a ball…

DSC03705 Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet, at 350F, for about 10-14 minutes. You have to watch because cooking time may vary depending on the size of the balls and thickness of the dough… the filling was cooked, so that wasn’t an issue.

Remember to turn them about half way through to brown them more evenly… oops!…

Hand them over to your test subjects for final approval… silly testers will do…



Last step for school lunches …. HIDE the ones you want saved for actual school lunches or they will be eaten!! I had made a pot of chili on the side while prepping these and they (my tasters and their dad) quickly discovered that these filled breads taste great dipped in chili, which is good, but this grabbing and absconding cuts into the original purpose of my making the durn things! They warmed up well and withstood the abuse of transport in a lunch box. I managed to get two lunches (plus two unauthorized dinner sides) out of this batch.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tortillas with Ghee, and Where have you been anyway??

Ok. We are at our new post! Surprise! Hello from Kuwait! I know, I have not been keeping anyone up-to-date, but apparently my blogging brain took the summer off. It showed up at the door this morning, jet lagged, sunburned, and with half its luggage missing. I swear, I’m gonna take back its credit cards. No telling what its been up to. I’ve been thinking in blog form, at times, but those mental blogs simply haven’t made it onto the computer. Anyway… I’m here now and shall simply jump back into things. Maybe, at random, I might catch up a little, but in the meantime. Here’s a recipe for tortillas made with ghee, because, as you know, in this family we don’t move anywhere unless we can have tortillas…

This recipe is adapted from two that I usually use. One is a fast-to-make recipe, but the tortillas are a bit flakey. The other is good, and makes better rolling tortillas, but you actually have to be PATIENT when you make them. You have to let the dough rest for minutes and minutes! Sometimes, I just can’t handle that. Last night, looking at both, I made tortillas in the following manner:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

between 1/2 and 3/4 cup ghee

slightly more than a cup of warmed milk

I mixed the dry ingredients together, and then using a sturdy whisk, blended in the ghee until I had a good crumble. Next, I added the warm milk, a little at a time, until it formed a loose, not too sticky ball. I continued to stir/knead the dough in the bowl until it was smooth and could be rolled into largish smooth balls by hand. On a floured surface, I rolled each ball out to the desired size, very thin, and cooked each on a hot, ungreased, skillet. When it poofs up, flip and cook a half minute or so on the other side. They cook fast.

Not sure if it was the ghee, or the warm milk, or what, but the dough was very easy to roll very thin and was still flexible and easy to handle. They did not taste greasy, and the finished tortillas were very flexible and rolled into burritos nicely. Yum!!

Other, not so traditional things about last night’s burritos was the meat was made of a beef kofta mix from the butcher, because that’s what was available, and I had no refried beans, so we took Egyptian ful beans (fava), and smushed them up. I let Honor loose with salt, pepper and garlic powder to spice them up. It made for a nice, spreadable, refried bean substitute. 

Our Tex-Arab-Mex was quite good! The only problem… it was too good. I have no leftovers for tonight…