Summer 2016

Our 8 weeks of summer break in the United States, France, and Spain are coming to an end – and while we feel ready more than ever to get back to our life in Morocco, we had a pretty awesome summer. 🙂

Spent a week on the New York University campus in NYC for a work conference…

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Found Carrie Bradshaw’s Greenwich Village apartment from Sex & The City!!!

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And crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on June 23rd to celebrate 4 years since our wedding in Spain.  Wrote our names on the Bridge to mark the occasion – we’ll see if we can find them again if/when we ever go back!

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Then headed to Ohio where we spent lots of fun time with our nieces and nephew…

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And Bailey, of course!

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Saw fireworks…

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Went to Gervasi Vineyards, where we were married on December 23rd almost 5 years ago…

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Look familiar???

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And rode Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point, a roller coaster that shoots you from 0 to 120 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds 420 feet into the sky.  It was wild, crazy, and FUN!!!

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By the end of July Marc and I parted ways – he went to Paris and Barcelona to be with his family and I to Portland, Oregon to visit my cousin (another blog post on that trip to come!), and our time together in Ohio ended.  We started the summer needing a break from year 1 of Morocco,  a year that rewarded us, but oh most definitely challenged us at the same time.  We needed the peace, calm, and quiet of Ohio.  We needed to be reunited with our people (including Bailey) and meet the new babies in the Miller family.  We came, we saw, and inevitably it was time to leave again.

And in those last few days before packing things up and moving life again, slowly but surely familiar feelings of sadness started to surface when I realized that in a few days I would be saying goodbyes.  While from the outside it looks fun and adventurous (and often times it is), deep down the expatriate lifestyle is hard, at least for us.  But for the first time, maybe ever, Marc and I have accepted the circumstances of our life and choose to embrace them.  We accept the challenge, and with that reap the benefits of the reward.

The quote below has never been more true for us, being the Franco-Spanish-American couple living in Morocco that we are:

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” ― Miriam Adeney

Where is home?  I think we can both truly say now that home is where the heart is.  This summer, Ohio was our home, today we are in Barcelona, so Spain is our home, next week, Morocco will be our home.  No matter where we are, home is in each other, home is with our people, home is where we make it.

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Lots of recipes to share from this summer!

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust – Very rich, but very good!  Would be great as a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert. 🙂

Cashew Corn Chowder with Cilantro Cream – This soup is delicious!  Especially in summertime with fresh Ohio summer corn.  It’s very rich and filling using the cashew cream.  For a lighter version, I substituted coconut milk for the cashew cream and it turned out really well.  Same tastes and flavors, just a little less heavy.

Sweet Corn Frittata with Burst Cherry Compote – Made this with sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, and didn’t make the burst cherry compote (Marc has trouble digesting night shade vegetables, tomatoes being one of them), but it was delicious even so!  Definitely another great recipe for summer.

Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Almond Pesto – I used this basic pesto recipe and substituted the arugula for spinach (since that’s what I had available) and added caramelized onions and shrimp to the dish as well.  I also substituted zucchini noodles for the spaghetti.  I use a vegetable spiralizer to make zucchini noodles.  Here’s a tutorial on how to make zucchini noodles (except I don’t sweat my noodles in the oven – I prefer a crisper texture and find this makes them too soft, so I just lightly salt them and let them sit in a cotton dish towel for an hour or so before assembling them for dinner).

Carrot & Cardamom Soup – I love soups!  And this is an easy, go-to for any time of year.

Apple Spice Sorbet – While this was not one of my favorite recipes of the summer, it was definitely not a failure, and with fall just around the corner would be a great recipe to try in the coming months.  Maybe after a day of picking apples?  It definitely has more of a sorbet consistency as opposed to ice cream, and for me was a bit too hard coming out of the freezer (I had to let it sit for at least 15 minutes to soften up, and even then it was quite hard).  I’d best describe the flavors of the sorbet as similar to eating an ice cream/sorbet version of apple sauce – not bad, not bad at all…

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes – Speaking of fall, these were delish…I can’t get pumpkin in Morocco, so experimented with this pumpkin recipe while in Ohio.  Totally a hit!  I didn’t make the maple-sage butter, but imagine it would pair really well.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Pops – Made these with my niece, Micah, as part of the menu of the Miller family “restaurant” we opened together called Spaghetti’s Potato. Yes, that would be the restaurant name of choice of a 3-year-old. 🙂  It was super fun and a highly recommended activity for kids.  Anyway, while the popsicles were good, they did not come out of the popsicle molds easily and sort of melted into big globs when they did eventually release from the molds.  Anyway, taste was good, presentation not so much.  In hindsight, maybe not the best choice for the grand opening of a restaurant…

Almond Crusted Chicken – Really loved this recipe for breaded chicken, without the bread.  Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 – 10 oz chicken breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • In a food processor or blender, process almonds until you have a powder/crumbs.  Using a food processor, pulse about 30 seconds until almonds are broken down.  Then process on high for another 60 seconds.  Using the blender, you can probably process about 2 minutes until almonds are completely broken down.
  • Add almonds to a plate.  Break the egg onto a second plate, and scramble.
  • Place a skillet over medium heat.
  • Cut the chicken breast in half by slicing it down the length of it.  Using a tenderizer, pound out both sides of each half.
  • Take one chicken breast and coat completely in egg.  Then, coat each side of the chicken in almonds.  Repeat with the other chicken breast.
  • Add olive oil to the skillet and coat the bottom.  Then add both chicken breasts.  Cook for 5 minutes on one side, then flip.

Dry Brushing – Lifestyle practice I’ve incorporated lately.  Read the article to find out the benefits – for me I really have found that my skin is softer and smoother after daily dry brushing.  I brush all over just before I get into the shower.

Morocco: Life, Light, & Spice – Last, but not least, I loved this post about traveling, indulging, and enjoying food, this time in Morocco!  While I love, love living a holistic lifestyle, I also love, love traveling and experiencing culture and life through food.  So while in my everyday life the food I enjoy most is the food that nourishes and fuels my body, when I travel the food I enjoy most is the local flavors and traditions.  Find what works for you, don’t get stuck in the “rules” of what you should/should not eat, and enjoy!

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