Category Archives: Food

A Weekend of Cooking

So the last half of this past year, after having a wonderful time with the boyfriend, we both managed to slack off a little with our diet and exercise.  What’s the saying, fat and happy?  Well, we’ve both managed to slide back a little in our progress.  So, as with many people, the new year starts off with resolutions.  Resolutions to have a healthier year this year.  And so, this weekend was our time to motivate.  We’ve been having a great time with our new Christmas presents – I got some awesome kitchen knives from my man and he got an awesome Bosch kitchen machine from me.  It’s a mixer and much, much more.  He loves it.

This weekend we started with a run to Costco for our supplies for the weekend.  Back to my place, he made some delicious rye/pumpernickel bread using THE machine – YUM.  Taking a break, we watched some football which was VERY exciting.  Another great meal of salmon and asparagus for dinner finished off our Saturday night.

Sunday morning came, and we decided to make breakfast.  We went with omelets and toast with the homemade bread.  And then he wanted to make butter for our toast…yes, MAKE butter.  So he made butter with the same Bosch machine while I was whipping up our omelet.  He’s quite handy in the kitchen, that is for sure!  We did some more shopping in preparation for the evening’s project and then went down to the gym and worked out.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the gym, but it felt good to be back.  Now that we’ve found our initial gym motivation, I think it’ll be easier.  We have about two months until Cancun, so I’m trying to get back into shape for swimsuits!

After another football game, we started on meals for the week.

  I made some mini frittatas in muffin cups and now have some easy, quick, protein-rich breakfast for when I push snooze too many times.  I had one this morning (when I pushed snooze too many times and had to bring it to work) – these were a winner in my book!

After some more football, we started on our lunch for the week project.  I kept seeing these recipes and Pinterest board ideas for Mason jar salads.  I was really liking the idea, but had not as of yet bought any jars to make the salads in.  This weekend we finally bought some and with our Costco supplies, we started in on our Mason jar lunch salads.  We cooked up some chicken and chopped up our veggies (using the wonderful knives, and on a few occasions, the food processor) and had a little salad assembly line going on.  One would be filling while the other was chopping and trying to clean up in between.  It worked well, even with our many ingredients.  Capped the jars and put them in the refrigerator and they were good to go for the week!

Today I brought my salad to work –  the before (in the jar) and after (dumped out) are below.  As I was putting it on the plate, someone walked in and started asking me about it.  I’ve inspired a few people in the office to think about making their own!  🙂  And just for the record – YUM!


Here’s to a great new year of healthy, happy resolutions!  Looking forward to the rest of the year, full of friends, family, love and good times! All the best to you and yours!

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! This is the first July Fourth I’ve been in the USA in many years. It’s starting off as a beautiful day. I’ve gotten a little festive this year, with jello molds.

20130704-080200.jpg Because what else says America like jello in all its festiveness? Today we are having that American creation called the taco too. 🙂

I’ve been enjoying my home leave with family and seeing some old friends. We’ve gone out on the lake (it’s Minnesota, “the lake” means whichever one you’re closest to) a few times on the pontoon and I’ve had more than a couple Bloody Marys – because nobody makes them like Minnesota does, and it’s also the only place I’ve been where you get a beer chaser with it!


I got a message from WordPress yesterday telling me I’ve been writing this blog for two years now! Looking back on the adventures in Iraq, it was a truly unique experience and I think I learned a lot about myself in that time. Not only that, I also turned forty! I thank you, my dear readers, for all your support these last two years. It’s amazing for me to think that people all over the world are reading my blog, and it reminds me how big and small the world is in the very same moment.

America is an amazing mixture of people and I am proud to be home on this Fourth of July. I hope everyone has (and had) a wonderful day!

Merry Christmas!







I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  My holidays this year were some of the best in recent memory.  In Baghdad, no less!!  While I was unable to make it back to the U.S. to see family this year, I ended up having so many laughs over the past week that I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.  I am so fortunate to have such awesome people in my life.  Between game nights, dinners, karaoke, movies, and calls from my family, it was FABULOUS.



We (boyfriend and I) made sushi and egg drop soup for Christmas Eve dinner – I had brought back some cold smoked salmon with me from Greece to use in the sushi – and it was delicious!  I made my first attempt at a rainbow roll – it was so pretty I had to take a picture.






We ate,  then my mom called, wondering if we had opened presents yet.  I had received one, but it didn’t end up being the one from her.  I had her on speakerphone, and so the boyfriend and mom got to say hello to each other.  We opened presents, then friends came over and we played games – and talked to my family some more while we were playing (EVERYONE got to say hello and LOVE YOU MOM) – it was a perfect night.  Christmas Day we watched one of my all time favorite non-traditional Christmas movies – The Ref.  It was his first time seeing in and he was not disappointed.  We made it out of the apartment and to the DFAC for Christmas dinner.  It was a wonderful way to spend the holidays – with the one I love.






Adventures in DFAC Land: White Pizza

     Life in Baghdad is always an adventure, even when it comes to food.  Since we’ve been having convoy delays on a few things, the DFAC crew is trying to get creative.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it makes you say – I need to cook tonight because nothing there sounds like anything I want to eat.  This is what I did last night. 

  When the DFAC gets creative, you sometimes get ingredients to use that you wouldn’t normally get otherwise – like shredded cheese.  Thinking about what I had at home, I made a list of hopeful ingredients and headed to the DFAC.  Cheese, mushrooms, olives, green peppers and onions…I was set and headed back.

     At home, I had some leftover alfredo sauce, chicken, and some pizza crust.  I normally don’t make white pizza, preferring to stick to the traditional, so this was a new adventure.  I had bought some new baking stones – small square tiles that you can push together to make whatever size you need.  Due to the small ovens here, this works out perfectly. 

I prepared the pizza crust, letting it sit while I cooked the chicken and preheated my baking stones.  Since I don’t have my pizza peel, I had to get creative and decided to use my cutting board to prepare the pizza before sliding it into the hot oven.  Crust, sauce, chicken, veggies, a little fennel seed (pizza just isn’t complete without a little fennel seed, IMHO) and cheese.  15 minutes later, my pizza was looking tasty and smelling delicious. 

     A little cool down and it was ready to eat.  It tasted WONDERFUL, and I tried to decide if I’m just that good of a cook or if it just seems that way compared to the DFAC.  I’ve been assured it’s me. 😉  We devoured the whole pizza – good thing I’ll be back to the states soon to stock up on supplies!

Musings of a Scattered Brain

I’m very happy to report that I’ve had over 1,000 views on my blog!  Thank you to everyone for staying with me.  While I realize sometimes my blog is a bit scattered, with a mélange of thoughts, pictures, and musings, it’s just who I am.  I’ve been roving in the front office this week, and I think I’ve brought a few smiles up here, and a little entertainment.  I hope I’ve brought that to my blogosphere too. 🙂

We’ve been having a few difficulties getting fresh fruit and vegetables in lately, so our salad bar is sorely lacking.  I’ve been missing salad a lot.  It was usually my fall back plan when nothing else looked good to eat in the DFAC.  Is a little lettuce, tomato and cucumber too much to ask?  I may have to start cooking a bit more at home with my PX purchases, but with long hours in the front office, I just don’t feel like it when I get home. 

Now I’m getting ready to take another trip – this one back to the states for R&R.  Family and friends await me, and I’m looking forward to getting back.  Not only to see them, but to be amazed at the produce section of the grocery store, as I usually am when I return home.  It is sensory overload, with all the different colors, scents, varieties, and just the pure volume of all those fresh fruits and veggies.  It’s a sight to behold that most people in the U.S. take for granted, but it gets me every time I come back from extended periods overseas. 

Wishing you a wonderful day, and hoping to see you around the globe!

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I was once on an island and eight parakeets landed on me. I had positioned myself to welcome them. Hope has that effect. I want to see all of creation awaken with hope~ especially the Middle East. Anything is possible for those who believe. ☆☆☆☆ Come believe with me. ☆☆☆☆


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