Monday, January 30, 2012

Top 10 of 2011

This post is funny considering my specialty recently has been grilled cheese sandwiches.  I’m still not feeling too great, nothing sounds appetizing and currently have no desire to be near food, which has led to me making a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches recently.  So rather than dwell on our lack of exciting meals in our home I thought I’d reminisce on some happier memories.  I have enjoyed several blogs who have posted their top 10 recipes of 2011 and thought I’d follow suit. 

Here’s my little happy eater.  He loves spaghetti.  With a passion.  Unfortunately spaghetti didn’t make the cut this year.

1.     Chicken Paprikish.  This was so good, oh so good.  I remember wanting to just eat the sauce with a spoon, it was that good.  I’m pretty sure I was already full by the time we sat down to dinner from all my “test bites”.

2.    Goof Proof Coconut Curry Chicken.  It’s a cinch to throw together. I’m so thankful we can get curry sauce here.  You’ll love this easy recipe.

3.    Thai Peanut Salad.  Amazing blend of sweet and salty.  The last time I made it we just added the sauce to our own salads and the salad portion of it stayed nice and crisp for leftovers the next day.  I had to make lots of substitutions to the dressing, but it was a winner.

4.    Cashew Chicken.  This one was amazing. This is where I learned a trick to toss your chicken with a little corn starch before cooking it and it really does give it the same texture as in Chinese restaurants and it keeps your chicken from drying out.

5.    Fresh Strawberry Limeade.  I know weird to include this one but it really made my year to find this recipe.  Since we live in a place without sonic drinks during the hot summer months, this recipe saved the day this summer when I was craving a limeade.  I was able to find all the ingredients for at the store just up the road.  I even got a little wild and crushed the ice for a nice strawberry limeade slushy.  Heavenly.

6.    Chicken Picatta.  We all gobbled this one up. I actually used this recipe minus the capers as my sauce and chicken for a dairy free version of chicken pot pie.

7.    Eggplant Dip.  I could live off of it in the summer time.  I’m counting down the days until eggplant reappears.

8.    Pumpkin Waffles.  Since my fabulous husband bought me a waffle maker it’s been a treat to have waffles for breakfast.  I tend to make a bunch and freeze them, and then just pop them in the toaster in the mornings.  It helps this non morning person make breakfast choices easier.  FYI this recipe makes a ton.

9.    Perfect Cupcake Frosting.  After my first attempt at this recipe was a complete flop but I decided to try it again, this time I bought the expensive imported butter and it worked like a charm.  I’m not a frosting gal, so intensely sweet butter cream frosting generally gets dumped to the side of my plate.  This was more of a whipped cream type of frosting.  It was worth the stomach ache I experienced after eating it.

10. Peanut Butter Granola.  It’s become a favorite at breakfast time in our house.  I love this on plain yogurt.  The sweet granola on tart yogurt is so good, and not to mention it’s a very filling breakfast.  I just love it and Calvin begs me to make this.

So I hope I get to enjoy a few of these sometime soon.  Did you all find some new recipes this past year that you’ll make for years to come?

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Our washing machine finally died.  For the past two years, every time we did a load of laundry it leaked, which meant if I forgot to throw a towel down before the final rinse chances were we’d step in water.  Never a pleasant experience, especially first thing in the morning.

So I’ve been dreaming of a new washing machine for two years now.  Finally ours started making some new, not so great sounds, and then it stopped and refused to empty the water, but unfortunately not at the best time, a day before a trip and I still needed to do a few more loads before we left.  Thanks to two friends I was able to get my laundry done in 2 hours and we decided to do our research and get a machine when we came back.

Once we returned from our trip, we decided it was time to make the big purchase and oh how I love this machine. 

My favorite features

  • If I want I am able to wash something in 20 minutes, verses the typical 2 hour cycle of European washing machines. 
  • I can add my laundry at night and set it to start before we wake up.  Beautiful. 
  • Not to mention it’s 1,000 times quieter than our old machine, which is helpful since our machine is in our kitchen, very common in our part of the world. 
  • It also holds 2 more kilos of clothing, which means less loads of laundry.

I’m still so very smitten.

Why is it that new appliances are so thrilling?  Micah also loves all the fancy new buttons that make noise when you press them.  Thankfully it came with a child lock feature, which is quite helpful in our house currently.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I usually pull out the art supplies for Calvin when Micah is sleeping but we had a dreary wet and rainy day recently and we needed something new, so I decided to give it a try.  Micah loved the brush and loved spreading the paint around.  I think this activity wins the prize at captivating his nonexistent attention span for the longest amount of time EVER, for 10 minutes this little guy sat in his high chair and painted.

This is a classic Micah look, I love his little expressions.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1 down 2 to go

Well this pregnancy is certainly different, having a little toddler to chase around has added to my energy level during my 1st trimester.  In short, I’ve been exhausted.  Occasionally I’ll muster up some energy and spend a day being very productive but then it takes me at least two days to recover from it.

I haven’t been as sick this time around, which is a blessing, although I feel nauseous all day long.  I’m not sure what to eat, nothing sounds appetizing but it’s best to keep something in my stomach. I’m ready for eating to not feel like a chore.  Thankfully I’ve been less gaggy this time around, so I’m celebrating these little things.

So far my middle feels like it’s growing, but things are still fitting, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I must pull out my maternity clothes.

This time around I’m going to work hard at exercising and eating smart.

Since there really isn’t much to show, here’s a fun 12 week photo we were able to get before we flew back home.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


After having Micah I developed a huge sensitivity to dairy products.  Thankfully I can still tolerate certain yogurts and kefir but cheese, butter, and milk are just pure torture to my stomach.  I tired some enzyme replacement pills to help and well they didn’t.  I tried the pills you take before you eat dairy and that ended very badly.  Like feeling like I was hit with the plague.  So I’ve basically been avoiding most dairy since May.

I’ve had to change how I cook a bit and adjust my taste buds a bit, but it was much easier than I thought it would be.  At first it was tough since we don’t have all the fabulous replacements you can find in America, but I’ve been thankful for a few things I’ve found here that have been key ingredients in many dishes, like coconut milk and avocados.  We’ve also enjoyed exploring several new Asian dishes this year.

Not only has dairy been an issue but recently beef has started producing some of the same problems.  I haven’t found much research or correlations between the two, so I’m curious if pregnancy or child birth caused any strange things for you?  Maybe after the birth of this next one things will reverse itself, until then it’s trying out new recipes for our family.

On a sort of related note, we watched Forks over Knives this past weekend, and it’s left us really thinking about what we eat, which is sort of ironic how the two things that cause me the most problems are things they recommend avoiding or consuming in very small quantities.

 The research is pretty amazing, both Marvin and I were shocked and this is coming from Kansas kids with families in the cattle industry.  It’s certainly controversial, and while we have not decided to embrace a vegan diet, we certainly have decided to make a few changes to our diet as a result of it.  I’d highly recommend it and would love to hear what you think of it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Still nauseous all day long, not so fun.  I’m ready for this stage to be over, but I’m thankful for these hormones that are helping our little one grow.

Still working at this language and man do I ever have a long way to go.  Today my teacher joked as we started to see if I left my brain in Turkey this time.  (After Micah was born it took a while for my brain to return to normal functioning in this language.)

Still trying to keep up with our crazy little Micah man.  Last week I was hanging up laundry, and heard a clink, clink, clink so I immediately came running to the kitchen.  I found Micah standing on the table, holding two of my Turkish plates and at the sight of me he dropped one.  Thankfully a little super glue helped mend my broken plate.  But some days it’s hard to keep up with that curious little one.

Still exhausted, I’m ready for that 2nd trimester boost of energy.  It’s welcome any day.

Still love Calvin’s zeal for super heroes.  We’ve spent many days recently where I was not known as Mommy but “Flash girl” and Daddy was “Aquaman”.  Let’s just say we’re pretty good at saving the world.

Still so blessed.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Fun Company

We had the opportunity to host our company’s Christmas party this year.  Our living room was filled with tables, but we made it work.  I continue to be surprised at how many people can fit comfortably in our small apartment.

Our amazing team helped create a great meal, I truly got the easy part a cheesecake and cooking the meat which involved next to no work, plus our nanny helped me with that one.  One of our fabulous teammates was able to make her portion of the meal without any running water all day long.  (She made mashed potatoes, which I’m still amazed she decided to make them with no running water.  Thankfully we’re all prepared for no water days with jugs filled with water tucked away, but still she’s AMAZING.)

I stumbled on a fun game and we engaged in some friendly competition, Minute to Win it style, (Confession:  I didn’t know it was a television show when I found the idea, seriously you all have to keep me to speed on these things.)

Balancing ornaments on a stick lying on a paper towel roll

Cup Stacking

Marshmallow building

And the classic opening of the present with ski gloves before the person beside you rolls doubles.
*our office manager barely pulled out that win!

Everyone had a good time.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of memories.

My least favorite part about hosting, the clean up.


But it goes much faster with several dish washers.

We’re so blessed to have such a fabulous team.

And yes the next day did require a long nap.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

Today as we head to a place with a little more sunshine than we typically experience, we wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year.

We hope that this coming year is filled with Christ’s sweet blessings on your family.  May your faith grow stonger and sweeter this coming year.  Thanks for being a part of our lives.

Much Love,
Marvin, Erica, Calvin Micah and Baby on the Way*

*Coming July 2012