Category Archives: Living Overseas

Chips & Salsa!

It’s been almost eight months since I’ve lived in America, and there are a few things I miss. If you’ve ever traveled overseas (even for a short time), you know what I mean. There is this hankering (Truly, did I just sound like a redneck?) that arises for those certain delicacies– a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, sweet tea, southern fried chicken– can you guess where my roots are?

I am blessed to live in a modern city, and a lot of “comfort” items are findable– I can buy Dove Shampoo and Neutrogena face wash at my grocery store. I have been lucky enough to happen upon M&Ms and my hubby has been overjoyed to find Dr Pepper on more than one occasion.

However most “convenient foods” that are available in the US, are not to be found here. I don’t generally mind, because cooking with fresh ingredients and making things from scratch means my family is eating better, and we will benefit in the long run from not having those things at hand. It’s more work and more time invested. But I guarantee I’ll enjoy these homemade chips and homemade salsa more than I’ve ever enjoyed them at my local Mexican restaurant in the States!

Seriously, don’t you wish you were invited to dinner?

Homemade Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes (or 1 can tomatoes), whirred in a blender or food processor (I don’t process mine long since I like chunky salsa!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro
  • dash of black pepper
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons jalapeno peppers, chopped

Mix everything together.  Refrigerate for a few hours to let all the flavors blend.  Enjoy!

Tortilla Chips (from Food Network Kitchens)

  • twelve small tortillas
  • olive oil
  • fine salt

Preheat oven to 350*F, or 180*C.  Brush both sides of tortillas with oil.  Stack tortillas and cut the pile into sixths with a pizza cutter.  Spread the chips in a single layer on a baking sheet (they won’t all fit the first go ’round!), and sprinkle with salt.  Bake until golden brown and crisp (12-15 minutes), rotating the baking sheet halfway through the time.

Enjoy!

Highlights & Lowlights

I got a new lens for my birthday.  I am in love with my 35mm f/1.8.

Hubby brought me flowers last week for no reason.  I really like that guy.

We are mastering the art of making our own popsicles.  Summer is magical.

I have also perfected the at-home-Cook-Out-milkshake.  These happen when the kids are asleep.  Bliss in a cup.

Life is good.

But sometimes it’s hard too.  We had friends come and visit, and it was sad to put them back on an airplane to the States.  Language learning can be tough for a momma with young’uns, I have had some discouraging days with our new language lately.  I constantly crave foods from America and am not able to satisfy my cravings this pregnancy like I have before (although my barely growing numbers on the scale are quite pleasant to look at…)

Overall I’d say the good outweighs the bad.  And the glass is certainly half full.  (Of sweet tea.)

Highlights & Lowlights

I got a new lens for my birthday.  I am in love with my 35mm f/1.8.

Hubby brought me flowers last week for no reason.  I really like that guy.

We are mastering the art of making our own popsicles.  Summer is magical.

I have also perfected the at-home-Cook-Out-milkshake.  These happen when the kids are asleep.  Bliss in a cup.

Life is good.

But sometimes it’s hard too.  We had friends come and visit, and it was sad to put them back on an airplane to the States.  Language learning can be tough for a momma with young’uns, I have had some discouraging days with our new language lately.  I constantly crave foods from America and am not able to satisfy my cravings this pregnancy like I have before (although my barely growing numbers on the scale are quite pleasant to look at…)

Overall I’d say the good outweighs the bad.  And the glass is certainly half full.  (Of sweet tea.)

I miss Wal-mart!

It was not quite a year ago when I recounted for you what it was like to get my two under two to Wal-mart for groceries.  Now that we live 1/2 a world away from Wal-mart, I thought I would let you know what it’s like to go to the “big” grocery store these days.

{deep breath}

1. Get the kids’ bag ready with diapers wipes, sippys, snacks, extra underwear, Germ-X, etc.

2. Make sure I have my keys, wallet, cell phone.

3. Get everyone’s shoes and jackets on.

4. Carry the stroller downstairs.

5. Strap Stinkbug into the Ergo.

6. a. Call a Taxi (explain in a foreign language where I want the Taxi to pick me up)

or

b. Walk about seven minutes up to the main road and wait on a bus or mini-bus. (Note: I haven’t actually taken both kids on a bus by myself yet– I’m just not that brave.)

6. Get all our belongings out of taxi and pay taxi driver.

7. Head straight to Starbucks and buy a drink.

8. Get kids situated in cart.  (Not always easy.)

9. Maneuver cart.  (Much harder than you would think– the wheels are able to head in any direction.  They don’t just go straight like in the States.)

10. Get cart full of groceries while checking list, feeding kids snack, and hurrying.

11.  Endure a fit from Ladybug.  Or three.

12. Check out and bag my own groceries.

13. Pay.  (Not always easy if they ask me a question– why can’t the whole world speak English?)

14. Head to the elevator to get to the third floor with the cart and the kids to eat lunch.

15. Ask Ladybug if she needs to use the potty.  (She says no.)

16. Proceed to food court.

17. Ladybug announces she has to potty.  Backtrack to the potty by the elevator.

18.  Push the entire cart into the handicapped restroom so Ladybug can pee.

19. Wipe, flush, wash.

20. Back to the food court.  Get food.  Get kids, food, and groceries to a table.

21. Eat.  Feed kids.  Try to keep everyone’s clothes clean.

22.  Go back to the first floor.

23. Ask “Taxi Man” to hail a cab for me.

24. Get everyone and everything in.

25. Give directions. (Easier said than done!)

26. At our building, get both kids out.  Get all the groceries to the door of the building.

27. Unlock outside door, and get both kids up one flight of stairs and into the apartment.

28.  Run back down and get  groceries.

29. Fall into an exhausted heap on the couch.  Wish my kids were old enough to put the groceries away.

* Lest you feel sorry for me, there are small shops close where I get things a lot of times.  I don’t do very many “big” grocery trips lately! Also, there is delivery from a large grocery here once I obtain residency and can order what I want from the store life will be good again.  Definitely looking forward to that!

I miss Wal-mart!

It was not quite a year ago when I recounted for you what it was like to get my two under two to Wal-mart for groceries.  Now that we live 1/2 a world away from Wal-mart, I thought I would let you know what it’s like to go to the “big” grocery store these days.

{deep breath}

1. Get the kids’ bag ready with diapers wipes, sippys, snacks, extra underwear, Germ-X, etc.

2. Make sure I have my keys, wallet, cell phone.

3. Get everyone’s shoes and jackets on.

4. Carry the stroller downstairs.

5. Strap Stinkbug into the Ergo.

6. a. Call a Taxi (explain in a foreign language where I want the Taxi to pick me up)

or

b. Walk about seven minutes up to the main road and wait on a bus or mini-bus. (Note: I haven’t actually taken both kids on a bus by myself yet– I’m just not that brave.)

6. Get all our belongings out of taxi and pay taxi driver.

7. Head straight to Starbucks and buy a drink.

8. Get kids situated in cart.  (Not always easy.)

9. Maneuver cart.  (Much harder than you would think– the wheels are able to head in any direction.  They don’t just go straight like in the States.)

10. Get cart full of groceries while checking list, feeding kids snack, and hurrying.

11.  Endure a fit from Ladybug.  Or three.

12. Check out and bag my own groceries.

13. Pay.  (Not always easy if they ask me a question– why can’t the whole world speak English?)

14. Head to the elevator to get to the third floor with the cart and the kids to eat lunch.

15. Ask Ladybug if she needs to use the potty.  (She says no.)

16. Proceed to food court.

17. Ladybug announces she has to potty.  Backtrack to the potty by the elevator.

18.  Push the entire cart into the handicapped restroom so Ladybug can pee.

19. Wipe, flush, wash.

20. Back to the food court.  Get food.  Get kids, food, and groceries to a table.

21. Eat.  Feed kids.  Try to keep everyone’s clothes clean.

22.  Go back to the first floor.

23. Ask “Taxi Man” to hail a cab for me.

24. Get everyone and everything in.

25. Give directions. (Easier said than done!)

26. At our building, get both kids out.  Get all the groceries to the door of the building.

27. Unlock outside door, and get both kids up one flight of stairs and into the apartment.

28.  Run back down and get  groceries.

29. Fall into an exhausted heap on the couch.  Wish my kids were old enough to put the groceries away.

* Lest you feel sorry for me, there are small shops close where I get things a lot of times.  I don’t do very many “big” grocery trips lately! Also, there is delivery from a large grocery here once I obtain residency and can order what I want from the store life will be good again.  Definitely looking forward to that!