Sunday, December 25, 2016

December Happenings: Wrapping up 2016

2016 is drawing to a close and, though we are on "winter" break, it doesn't really feel like winter here, though it is cooler. The rainy season is mostly over, with only an occasional outburst and the weather is low 80s and high 90s each day.

We tried a traditional Khmer restaurant because of their excellent prices the other day. It reminded us a lot of Abu Dhabi's traditional way of eating: dense cushions on the floor with really low tables. Of course, I doubt these cushions were filled with camel hair, like in the Middle East. (I'm not sure how Cambodians in their third trimester comfortably sit that low!) The drink was jasmine flower tea and we had a chicken curry with rice and a beef soup with a dominant kafir lime flavor in the broth. The menu included things like frog, snake head fish and other things.
The kids have been playing with a neighborhood cat since it was a tiny kitten. I think Talia especially has it almost tamed. It belongs to a neighborhood store, so we don't care for it, but it's the perfect pet for expat children: you get to love it but not worry about it if you have to leave or pay for the medical/food and other expenses.
The kids were really excited to open presents from their teachers at school. We hardly ever buy candy, so finding chocolate was very exciting.
We've been chopping it up a little at a time and using it in recipes to make it last longer. Talia made chocolate chunk, oatmeal cookies with part of it.

I'm at almost 35 weeks with our little girl on the way. We are all getting really excited to meet her next month. Looking back at all of the changes that have come from moving from Mexico to Cambodia and the new cultures and challenges associated with that, we are content to close this year feeling it is stuffed as full as it could be. And, as 2016 comes to a close, we already have a lot to look forward to in the New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cambodian Market Food

So I have this friend who is persuaded that it is her job to make sure I experience Cambodian cuisine. It seems like every time she goes to the market, she brings home something new to try. Here are a few things that were new to me:

Persimmons: these were bright orange with a smooth, firm peel on the outside and the inside, tasted to me, a lot like a peach. I've been wanting to try these for a while, so I was glad she brought one.

This seems to be a typical breakfast food: Tapioca with sweetened milk of some sort, toasted sesame seeds and plantain.

These grilled bananas on a stick were brushed with something like soy sauce, because the outside was crispy and salty. It also came with a potato that had been boiled, mixed with vanilla and sugar and then formed into a patty and grilled like the bananas... it was interesting. The kids preferred the potato and I preferred the bananas.
This was another version of tapioca; this time with sweetened sweet potato, not quite mashed, but giving body to the soup. It also had egg, like in the version you would find in egg drop soup. I was starving, and it was a filling, if un-thought of combination for me.
On the top of the plate you will see a banana that has been battered and fried. The batter includes sesame seeds and I think vanilla and sugar from the flavor. As a bonus, when you get these, the little batter pieces that fall off into the hot grease and cook are put in the bottom of your bag so that in addition to the bananas, you get a bunch of crunchies. These are my children's favorite thing to eat here, so far... they get it every once in a while.

I'm sure there are a lot more things to discover when it comes to market food. I'm not interested in the bug/snake options, but when it comes to vegetables combined in interesting ways, I'm a lot more open to trying it. Would you?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Elias Turns 5!

Elias has been looking forward to being 5 for several months now. Play places are scarce here, as public parks don't really exist, especially around where we live. For his birthday, we went to a mall that had a fun play place inside and the kids ran and played for a long time.

Another fun thing at this mall was the stuffed animal-like child version of motorcycles they could ride around a non-developed floor of the mall.

Instead of cake, he asked for doughnuts from the bakery. The kids enjoyed theirs on the way home in the Tuk Tuk. Elias and Ezra crashed as soon as we got home. That is birthday success, right there!

Something Elias has been wanting for a while was this exact book of a collection of Curious George stories. My grandmother had given that exact thing for us to bring in our luggage before we even knew that's what he wanted. It was hard not to laugh, then, when he mentioned wanting it while I knew we had it hidden. He was very happy and has been reading it constantly since he received it.

Happy Birthday, Elias! We love you!