Thursday, December 27, 2012

Flour Tortillas

I have a tortilla method more than a recipe. I basically mashed two recipes together and came up with something that works best for me. I had to adjust it a bit when we moved here from Jordan, but the ghee that I've been using here, instead of shortening, works so amazingly well! You can use shortening though as that is what the recipe originally called for.

Flour Tortillas

Two cups all-purpose flour. (sometimes I substitute a bit of wheat flour for a portion of this)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup ghee

3/4 cup warm milk

up to 1/4 cup water

Mix all dry ingredients. Blend in the ghee. Add milk, a bit at a time, then use water as needed, until the dough becomes soft and smooth. Sometimes I will turn the dough out onto a floured surface to knead it, but often I just work it in the bowl.

Some recipes call for allowing it to rest, covered, for 20 minutes - I'm usually in a hurry! Resting will probably help it be less elastic, easier to roll out and stay in shape, but I generally forget this part and this tends to be a forgiving recipe.

This will make about 8-10 tortillas. You can break up the dough into balls first, then roll them all out, separating each by a paper towel in a stack until ready to cook, but I tend to just grab a hunk of dough, roll it out, throw it on the hot skillet, roll the next, flip the first, etc.

Anyway, start with a ball slightly larger than a ping pong ball, and roll it as thin as it goes and can still be picked up. I work directly on my counter, and when rolled out, can see the granite pattern through the dough. Thicker still tastes good, but is harder to roll into burritos... although thicker tortillas make for good dipping bread or quesadillas.

Heat a dry skillet, iron if you have it but I use a regular non-stick pan. Cook about 30 secs on each side. It will likely poof up quite a bit, but will unpoof when cooled! Remove to a plate and cover with a paper towel or napkin until ready to eat.

These will last a couple of days in the fridge.

(Thanks to my friend here for reminding me about this recipe! I have it scribbled down on a piece of paper in the kitchen, but sharing it with her was a good excuse to type it up and put it on the blog.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Fun 2012

We hope that all of our friends and family had a lovely and love filled Christmas day, and that you are all continuing to enjoy your winter break with friends and loved ones.

Our Christmas morning started with a wild slo-mo run to the tree… because slo-mo is more dramatic…


and the first prezzie was discovered. A poor orphaned fox cub who needed a new home.


And Ninja got to open the giant box of goodies that Aunt Nancy, Uncle Jim, and cousins Kira and Nick, sent to her.


She was very generous and shared some of the boxes inside with the kids. Thanks to you all :D !!

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We haven’t tried the game you sent yet, it’s been raining!, but it looks like fun. <3 !! Although they did get the trucks out for a test drive.

And what about us? What do we get a kid who wants to know everything? Why, books, of course, including one that is supposed to be a Short History of Everything. (Looks interesting… I may read it too!)


Both kids got a ton of books, and Kindles too… books and more books! (ebooks are lighter to pack!) and we really are that desperate to keep Brian, in particular, in reading material! Honor still has Brian’s stash to go through…


Ninja liked the wrapping paper.


There was Minecraft loot. The favorite new tee? The Minecraft periodic table. Yea, this boy likes science!

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Girls play Minecraft too!

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(Sad Creeper just wants a hug)

New software for our little artist. Kid Pix is a program Honor learned about at school and she really has fun with it.


And speaking of being creative, we got a new Wii game that looked like a lot of fun – CREATE. Well, we’re hoping it is fun. It had good and bad reviews, so we’ll just have to see for ourselves.


Grandma and Grandpa sent a very interesting Lego set for Brian (which he is setting up right this very moment) Thank you!! :) !! We love and miss you very much!!
Oh, and what you can’t tell by this photo, is Honor is making off with the yummy homemade cinnamon popcorn that Aunt Christine and Uncle John sent. (she eventually let us have some too) We very much enjoyed reading all of the nice letters too!!


Brad and I got ourselves more practical things, like needed clothes and cookware, but one indulgence was a pair of fleece rugs for our room (this tile gets chilly!). Fleece is so warm soft!


How soft? The cats loved the rugs. LOVED them. Ninja loved them so much that she wanted to have both of them all to herself. It was really tough for one small cat to try and hog two large rugs, but she tried.


There was a whole bunch of goofing off too.

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Honor had an argument with a parrot. I think she won, but I’m not sure.


And the kitties were not left out. I got them a toilet training set (not kidding, these guys are smart, I figure I’ll give it a try… ) Pixie did not seem impressed.

But they really loved the gift that Honor made for them. A box with holes in it and a treat hidden inside.


We spent our day goofing off, being lazy, playing games, and staying inside… it was wet all day! I made a slow roasted lamb shoulder that turned out perfectly! The meat was so tender that it just fell apart, and it was wonderfully tasty. Not a hint of gaminess. I served it with mint yogurt sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, bread and green bean casserole. Pineapple upside-down cake for dessert. With plenty leftover too, so I don’t have to cook tonight – whoop! :) ! Speaking of which, I better go get stuff warmed up. Honor is putting another holiday movie in and we’re going to picnic around the tv.

Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays to everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve

I hope that everyone is having a lovely time with friends and family today. We are relaxing at home, enjoying a lovely sunny day, and thinking about prepping for Christmas tomorrow. Santa has told me that the elves are a bit behind on wrapping our gifts and will need a lot of help tonight. Also, as we have no turkey or ham, I’ll be slow roasting a huge hunk of lamb tomorrow, so I am mulling over my menu plan… haven’t made lamb like this in a year or two, but slow roasted anything tends to be mind-boggling-ly good so I’m not worried. (but does stuffing go with lamb, or shall I just stick with root veggies?? We’ll see… some things are traditional, whether they match or not.) Or major game plan for the holidays? Goof off and be a family. Oh… and try to keep the ornaments and decorations in one piece for a few days more…



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Karate Orange Belt

The kids have really been enjoying their new karate classes with Master Husein Suleiman and his sons as their teachers. They have been really motivated and working hard. They tested for their orange belts and judging by the smiles, I think they are very proud of their accomplishment!!




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Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Fun

The embassy hosted a little party for the kids today and we all had a very nice time! Pizza and cookies. We watched the Polar Express movie and went caroling too.

So glad that the kids are still open to getting a photo with Santa :)  (although they didn’t want to sit on his lap!)

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But we were gone for hours(!), which is like days and days and days in cat time. Ninja missed Honor terribly.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Magic Cookie Bar (Sorta) Surprise

To give credit where credit is due, I started off with this Magic Cookie Bar recipe (LINK) from Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen when the first ingredient was 1 1/2 cup graham crackers. I don’t have any. When we first arrived in Kuwait, I saw graham crackers here, but it’s the holidays, so they’ve obviously been bought up. I need to make a new order.

Now, ordering online is all and good for future recipes, but I wanted to make this recipe … NOW. So I just winged it using what I had. As the kids declared the result to be AWESOME!!!, I guess I’ll share what I did. 

Magic Cookie Bar (Sorta) Surprise

Preheat oven to 350

3 regular wheatabix cereal bricks (Nope. Not kidding. Plain ol’ whole grain wheat chunks, broken up, about 1 and 1/2 cup. You could probably substitute plain whole wheat flakes of some brand?)

1/2 cup oatmeal, uncooked

100g butter

2 tsp cinnamon

some nutmeg, anis powder and vanilla (I didn’t measure)

3-4 tsp honey

1/4 cup hazelnut spread

Mix all of the above in a bowl and then spread very flat into a 9x13 rectangular pan.

Pour one 14oz can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed milk over the top.

Combine 2 cups (total) of chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and/or raisins. Spread this mix as the next layer.

Spread 1 to 1 1/2 cup flaked coconut as the next layer.

Chop 1 cup nuts very finely (I used pecans) and spread on top.

Press flat with a spoon, and then bake for about 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

The original recipe suggested allowing it to cool. We didn’t wait and ate the first gooey helping while it was still hot! Amazingly good. We’ll let the rest cool off and try it cut into proper ‘cookie bars’ tomorrow! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

A 2012 Holiday Poem (apologies to Mr. Moore)

Twas the day before this one,
with holidays approaching
Not a box had been unpacked,

‘tho we did move the cat thing.
The kids went to school with festivities planned,

With hopes that us parents would find our way, and….

The 4th graders sang,

and tootled recorders quite loud. 


We could barely see Honor, 
lost in the crowd.

But we listened and clapped,
and felt very proud.
Then we made our way home,
through honking and braking,
and changed into uniforms,
for punching and kicking.
An hour long class, and then finally
Mom got out a box, to make all smile happily.

No. Not the chocolates, or toys or (for mom) the red wine,
But the big pre-lit tree, all wrapped up in twine.

The cats sprang inside,
to see what was what,
No waiting to play,
for the tree to be up.
With a ‘No’, and a ‘Get out!’ 

and many ‘Let me be’s’
Many cats were removed,
I’m sure more than three.
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Across the carpet, the parts were arranged

Mom’s mind about ‘help’, was sure to be changed
With an advisor, 
and spectator,
and supervisor too
Mom was repeatedly told 

just what to do.
From a favored position, 

up on the gold seat
A view of the lights 

were a hoped for treat
But what was this? 

Not again, mom murmured from below,
Some lights, they were still, refusing to glow.
Some branches were dark,
stubborn, unlit.
So we started the hunt, 

like Raiders’ lost Ark,
for that naughty culprit.
And Honor she found it,
with eyes brown and bright
that ornery ol’ lamp,
that refused to act right.
With a yank and a tug,
and bulb tossed in the waste,
the tree was all finished, 
and ready to taste.
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I mean decorate!
The tree, 

not the kids
altho’ that happened too
and not just with hats,
but glitter and stars,
and a favorite green rat
and many things more
The kids wrapped the tinsel, round the tree front and back,
Ninja made sure to straighten the slack.
Dad helped with hooks,
for his little pink elf

Pixie helped too.
Her own fuzzy self.
Finally ‘twas done.
The stuff was attached.
Bells, balls and pretties,
randomness unmatched.
Brian placed the angel,
way on the top,
Needing our help?
Not him, not a lot!
The stockings were hung
on the daggers with care
And we’re constantly asking,
who put this there?
There was a slight incident
on the nativity table,
but we keep things upright,
as much as we’re able
One donkey will never stand quite the same
Because it is Christmas, we’ll not mention any names.

Thanks to Miss Honor
and big brother Brian
Our house looks quite festive,
on that I’m not lyin’
We still have a ton 
of work we must do.
Cleaning and cooking
and wrapping and school
yet I feel we’re quite ready now,
to celebrate Yule.
And so from all of us here,
to all of you there,
Best Wishes for the Holidays,
and lots of love too.

(btw - most of the photos were taken by Honor!)