Saturday, January 31, 2015

Go Baris!

This is what we were doing last night

This is what Alex was doing last night.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Not a typo.  The other important delivery last week was non-dairy cheese (Mozzarella flavor), called Teese, that proclaims itself to be shelf stable. Yup, shelf stable!  I am not going to think about the processing that goes into that, because what it means is this:  We. Can. Make. Pizza.  Because of course, only a jerk makes pizza for dinner when one member of the family can't eat it yet wants to eat it.  We tasted it straight from the package and I thought it was disgusting, but kept my opinion to myself because really only Alex needs to like it and I was not interested in influencing that decision. After shredding it and putting it on top of homemade pizza dough and sauce, it was actually tasty and I was happy to share the non-dairy pizza with her.

We will be ordering it again. And the Cheddar flavor, to try it out.  Next up, when we have a chance to try it, will be a report back on the nondairy box mac n cheese we got.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I have lived overseas many times, even prior to the foreign service. Some of those times, I lived in places without access to cheeses normally found in the USA. Somehow, at those times, it never bothered me (perhaps because I was never in charge of cooking during those times, i.e. student days when my meals came from a canteen and I didn't have to worry about figuring recipes that strayed from what I knew and were comprised only of local ingredients?)  In any case, the lack of cheddar cheese has been affecting my family more strongly than we ever would have guessed.

And then we learned that cheddar can actually be shipped safely. It does not need to maintain refrigerated temperature (if you don't believe me, check out this scholarly tome from the University of Wisconsin. These are people who know cheese)!

After five months without a decent cheese, we learned that some ship cheddar through regular pouch. When it arrives, it is normally 100% fine.  We tried it with a 2lb block purchased off Amazon.  It arrived this week. Those of us who could have cheese gorged.  The next morning Zoltan asked for cheese and crackers for breakfast.  Oh, how did we manage before now?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cashew Milk

The foreign service provides an amazing benefit to people posted in countries where many American products are not available - the Consumables shipment - that allows us to ship bulk quantities of items that get consumed (so of course food, but also paper products like tissue paper, napkins and the American glory, soft toilet paper!). The downside is we must make our last Consumables shipment before our last year at post begins. Many food items have a shorter shelf life than a year, so you're just out of luck those last months. Rice milk, specifically, starts to taste funky within a month of its expiration date, and that date is never a full year out.

In my infinite quest to ensure that Alex and I can continue to find dairy substitutes I have started testing out homemade recipes.  First up was rice milk.  The milk smelled funny but tasted fine, and I will probably play with it in the future.  However, at post nuts are plentiful, so we decided to try this cashew milk recipe.

Oh. My world is transformed.

The Ninja ground the nuts so fine even a mesh sieve didn't catch all the bits.  However, the milk settles nicely in the fridge and when I pour off from the top it is smooth, creamy, and just waiting for a chocolate chip cookie for dunking.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Good and Cheap


Leanne Brown is a food-studies scholar who wrote a book, Good and Cheap, that enables people on very tight budgets (think food stamps) to eat healthfully and deliciously for approximately $4 per day. It is a free .pdf available on her web site, and a second run of paper books will happen some day - soon, we hope.  Terry somehow found out about this book and we downloaded the .pdf to try it out.

Here's the thing.  The very basic, staple food items that are affordable to those on a tight budget are also staple items that can either be found overseas or ship well.  Also, the recipes use basic spices and simple pots, pans and casserole dishes - this should appeal to an audience who must carefully weigh (literally and figuratively) every kitchen appliance they want to have on hand.  People like us.  We have made three of the recipes so far - two have been completely delicious and one we plan to tinker with. Highly recommended.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Resolutions

I don't usually do resolutions. Sometimes I plan guidelines, the last two years I have participated in the "One Little Word" phenomenon. Like the rest of the world, my good January intentions usually fall apart well before the spring thaw.

This year I am getting a little slower, creakier, and stiffer. Starting my foreign service career did not remove the mental-logistical responsibilities for my other full time job of taking care of the house and family although of course most of the physical responsibilities have fallen to others. In shorthand, my concentration and focus aren't what they were. I need to change something about my life, but something that is relatively quick to do, easy to remember, and benefits my body and mind.

Experts say we're more likely to follow through on goals we make public.  My goal for this year is to do one Sun Salutation every single day.  If I'm still doing it, I'll report back on the progress (if any) on the first of each month. I have some high hopes but for now I'm just going to keep it real.


(note, this photo is NOT ME.  But I hope to down dog like this by the end of the year)