eat well, travel often, dream big!

Ask a majority of American expats what food they miss from home and a good majority of the time the answer will be peanut butter. Somehow the rest of the world hasn’t caught on to how great peanut butter is. Like Nutella did, I have high hopes that someday the world will see peanut butter for how amazing it is. Speaking of Nutella, mixing peanut butter with chocolate? Well there are few things better than that combination.

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Chipotle Chickpea Trail Mix

I haven’t been posting many recipes lately. Blame it on the perpetual travel cycle that we’ve been going through coupled with a lack of creativity on my part. We’ve been back in Morocco for only a few days now and have less than a week until the kids will be going back to school. Last year I was barely treading water as we adjusted to a new system and way of life. This year I feel more prepared and better able to tackle the year.

I shared last year that we have to send two snacks a day with our kids. Last year I relied on quick purchases of croissants from the bakery, cookies, or sometimes fruit if I was really with it. This year, that won’t be happening. I know I won’t be able to send something fresh and homemade everyday but, I will do the best I can! This is a fun and simple trail mix that my kids really loved. I’d say it’s boy inspired though any kid will love it!

Easy Gluten Free Nut Free Trail Mix


I decided to make this gluten free and nut free. I think it would be a lot of fun to put out different ingredients like dried fruits, roasted chickpeas or roasted edamame, plus some sweet ingredients like chocolate nibs or coconut. Let your kids make their own mixes!

I’ve used in this mix;

Ingredients for Chipotle Trail Mix


Simply mix everything together and keep in an airtight container! It will last you at least a week if not more. You also can portion out the mix into individual containers so all you need to do in the morning is grab and go. I like this mix because it’s sweet and savory, it’s also has good protein in it without worrying about nut allergies.

Even if you don’t have kids heading off to school this is a good mix for adults and a great snack to carry on your next flight or road trip!

Have you tried any of the other Saffron Road Chickpea flavors? My favorite is Falafel but there’s also Bombay Spice, Wasabi, and Korean BBQ. They’re all delicious!

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Orange Oat Smoothie and 40 Bonus Orange Recipes

When we have visitors one of the very first things they often remark on is the abundance of oranges everywhere. It’s true there are a lot. In winter months, the small mandarins – that are my favorite- make an appearance. Then the more traditional, large oranges begin to appear. Right now there are huge oranges in the markets – they’re the size of a small melon! I’ve always thought that the bigger a fruit got, the less taste it has, but these oranges challenge that. Before we moved here I didn’t drink orange juice, and I might have eaten an orange a handful of times a year – maybe. But now, we eat about a kilo of oranges of a week (2+ pounds), and when the mandarins are in season even more.

There’s nothing better than a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice from the market – and while you can take home a bottle of juice, at some point I need something a little bit more. This orange smoothie incorporates the flavor and health benefits of oranges while introducing some other nutrients too. Feel free to add a scoop or two of your favorite protein powder for an added boost.

Orange Oat Smoothie

Ingredients ­

  •  1 C. orange juice
  • ½ C. skim milk (you can also substitute almond milk)
  • ½ banana
  • ½ C. rolled oats (blend in a food processor or blender – I like to do larger batches beforehand and have it ready to use)
  • 8 oz. plain Greek yogurt

Directions ­

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor and serve immediately.

Makes (2) 8oz. servings.


Need to get more of an orange fix? Here are 40 more ways to use oranges and orange juice!

40 Great Orange Recipes

What to Do with All That Citrus from Basil Momma




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Homemade Sea Salt Soft Pretzels

Last week K casually came to me and asked, “Mom, can you make some Lego marshmallows, please?”

Lego marshmallows? What are those? 

I promised him that I would look online to see if such a thing even exists. (A friend later told me that yes, they do exist and can be found on YouTube.) But we got busy with our trip to Fez and the marshmallows never happened. But, he didn’t forget. Monday he asked for soft pretzels with cheese sauce. You probably won’t be surprised to find out neither of these exist in Morocco so I had to make them from scratch. Yesterday at 4:30 I realized I’d better get in the kitchen and figure them out before he came home from school.

I didn’t know before I started looking for different ways to make these that pretzels have special significance this time of year. They were often made during Lent in the past because they contain simple ingredients that were permissible to eat during fasting times in the Christian calendar. I applaud this contribution to the world because there’s really not much better than a hot, buttery, salty pretzel. Plus I always find the history of food really interesting. I’m kind of nerdy that way.

My pretzel making verdict? They were a lot easier to make than I thought, and I will be making them many more times in the future. Try your hand at a batch and let me know what other types of toppings you add. Cinnamon and sugar is next on my list. I might try some grated parmesan and garlic too. Oh the possibilities!

Homemade Sea Salt Soft Pretzels

Homemade Sea Salt Soft Pretzels


  • 5 cups of all-purpose flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 cup warm water + 1 cup for yeast
  • 3 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2 liters water
  • sea salt for topping
  • melted butter


  • In a cereal bowl, add 1 cup warm water to yeast and sugar. Allow to bubble and activate the yeast for approximately 5 minutes.
  • In a very large bowl mix together flour and salt.
  • Slowly begin adding yeast water to the flour mixture. You can mix with your hands or with a stand mixer using dough hooks. Once the 1 cup of yeast water is incorporated begin to add the other cup of water. You may not need all of it and you may need a little bit more.
  • Mix and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. It should not stick to your hands. Rub with a little bit of butter or oil on top and cover.
  • Let the dough rise for 45 minutes.
  • Divide into equal pieces. You can make 12-15 large pretzels or 20+ smaller pretzels. Your call!
  • Roll each piece of dough into a long snake and twist. You can create a pretzel shape or just a twist. Use some water to secure the ends of the dough.
  • Preheat oven to 475F
  • Meanwhile heat 2 liters of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda on the stovetop.
  • When the water has started to boil add pretzels 1 at a time and let boil for 45 seconds.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the pretzels in a single layer.
  • Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until brown on top.
  • Immediately drizzle (or dunk) in melted butter and add more salt if desired.
  • Continue until all your pretzels are made!


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Cheddar Garlic Goat Cheese-Its

Cheddar Garlic Goat Cheese - its

Here’s the funny thing about recipe writing for me lately. I learned how to cook using American measurements. I had very little contact with the metric system before moving here. 50 grams of butter, what? What is that? I had absolutely no way to visualize what metric measurements equaled. I still couldn’t tell you when I’ve driven a kilometer but certainly know how far a mile is. It’s one of those things that you just don’t think a lot before you move to a new country. I take that back, I did think about it a little so I made sure to bring my food scale, my cup measures and measuring cups. As I sat down to review my recipe notes for these I realized I had started to transition. Half the measurements were in metric and the other half in American measures. I had somewhat subconsciously done this. I’ve learned that 500 grams is roughly a pound for many things (yes I know not all but it’s just generalized), and my brain is starting to just input this information and “know” instead of converting it over before understanding.

Basically I’m left scratching my head and wondering why the US didn’t adopt the metric system. It sure would have made my life easier!

But, on to the recipe. My kids miss American snacks. They have favorite things here to be sure but I think when you live somewhere other than the place you’ve grown up you have a fondness for certain things. Twice a day we have to send snacks to school with them (don’t forget they also come home for a 2 hour lunch in the middle of the day). I think it’s overkill honestly but alas. Most kids take junk. Really. Cookies, cakes, maybe bread with olive oil. I can occasionally get them to take a piece of fruit but no one wants to be the kid with the apple when your friends are eating cookies. So I got together with some other expat moms to have a snack swap. We each make several dozen snacks and then swap 1 dozen with each person. There was 4 of us so we each made 5 dozen of our snack. When we traded we ended up with 5 dozen snacks total – that were all different. My friend Nora of Life in Marrakesh made something like these crackers, and they never made it to school snacks. We ate them all. I changed her recipe a bit and added a few things. End result? This batch didn’t make it to school lunches either. They’re better than Cheez-Its, and you’ll know everything that goes into them. Make some today.

Cheddar Garlic Goat Cheese-Its


  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg white


  • Bring butter to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • In a bowl mix together dry ingredients; flour, garlic powder and salt.
  • Mix in cheddar cheese, goat cheese, and butter.
  • Mix until a dough begins to form.
  • Add in egg white to make a dough that has some elasticity.
  • Break into 2 or 3 smaller pieces.
  • Place between two pieces of parchment paper and roll to 1/8". The thinner you roll it the less time it will cook.
  • Use a pizza cutter or cookie cutters to create shapes. It doesn't matter what the shape is but they should all be roughly the same size to ensure even cooking times.
  • Place on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until the crackers are crisp and lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool before eating.
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Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Thin Mints. Grasshoppers. If it has mint and chocolate I’m in.

When I started making these muffins (and the strawberry hazelnut muffins from a little while ago), I got to thinking, what makes a muffin different from a cupcake? Should these have really been cupcakes? Are  they just cupcakes disguised as muffins?  I did an informal poll of my mom and sister and then consulted the Google oracle to see what answers I could come up with.

So what makes a muffin a muffin and a cupcake a cupcake? Eugenie’s Kitchen has a great post comparing the two. So I consulted the charts she drew up and decided that I’m still calling these muffins. If you decide to put frosting on them and call them cupcakes, I won’t tell anyone.

Let’s just pretend they’re healthy together, ok?

Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • palmful of fresh, finely chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (use any type of chocolate you like)


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and sugar.
  • Whisk, oil, Greek yogurt, milk, egg, and mint extract and combine with dry ingredients.
  • Chop fresh mint leaves as fine as possible and fold into batter.
  • Lastly, add chocolate chips and mix batter one final time.
  • Grease muffin tins or line with parchment paper and fill each ½ way with batter.
  • Bake for 25 minutes – 30 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
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Strawberry Hazelnut Muffins

Strawberry Hazelnut Muffins Horizontal

As a child, each Valentine’s Day my mom would make my sister and I something special for breakfast, like heart shaped pancakes or pink milik and had always put together a big Valentine gift. It wasn’t something fancy, not even a toy but usually some of our favorite candy and a card letting us know how much she and I my dad loved us. It was always my favorite Valentine. School parties were fun and writing out Valentine’s to friends was always a process I had to start weeks before; selecting just the right cards, picking the best candy to attach, perfect. I have to say as a mom I fail miserably in this category. I’m just not very good with details. I can make my kids delicious things to eat but the rest of it, not so much.

My kids love muffins and so I have been playing with different techniques, ingredients, and sizes. So far, I haven’t made a batch that they disliked – these are no different.

Time Flies in Love

Our family in 2005 (top) and 2014 (bottom)

Strawberry Hazelnut Muffins


  • • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • • 2 tsp baking soda
  • • ¼ cup oil
  • • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • • ½ cup sugar
  • • ¾ cup milk
  • • 1 egg
  • • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup strawberries, tops removed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and sugar.
  • Whisk, oil, greek yogurt, milk, egg, and vanilla extract and combine with dry ingredients.
  • In a pan add strawberries,1 Tbsp sugar, and 1/4 cup water.
  • Heat on low until the strawberries begin so soften and fall apart. You can leave them in pieces if you like chunks, or blend to a liquid.
  • Blend strawberries into batter.
  • Grease muffin tins or line with parchment paper and fill each ½ way with batter.
  • Roughly chop hazelnuts and sprinkle the nuts onto the tops of the muffin batter.
  • Bake for 25min – 30 minutes until a knife comes out clean.

Strawberry Hazelnut Muffins

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95 Egg-cellent Dishes!

95 Eggcellent Dishes

My kids have grown a new love for eggs. This is great because here, we can buy fresh egg every day for pennies – literally. Last week my youngest decided he didn’t want what we were having for dinner, so off he went to the hanut, a very small “corner store” found everywhere here. He came back minutes later with 2 eggs and a small loaf of bread. For 2 dirham (about 20 cents). I quickly made them for him and he was content. I’ve appreciated eggs even more since moving to Morocco. They’re cheap and filling and can be prepared so many ways.

In honor of my new found appreciation for the humble egg, here are 95 ways to prepare them!

The Egg Stands Alone

Eggs on Toast Fancified
Bite-Size Bacon, Mushroom, and Gruyere Quiche
Home Pickled Eggs
Deviled Eggs with Capers and Parsley
Baked Eggs in a Basket
Hilary’s Heavenly Eggs
Eggs in Chili Clouds
Siracha Deviled Eggs with Microwave Potato Chips
Bruschetta Baked Eggs
Avocado Bacon Deviled Eggs
Mushroom, Leek, and Goat Cheese Mini Quiche in Phyllo Cups
Spicy Deviled Eggs
Individual Veggie Quiche Cups
Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs
Baked Eggvocado
Southwest Deviled Eggs
Red Russian Kale, Tomato, and Eggs Baked in Ham Cups


Breakfast Eggs

Potato Latke Eggs Benedict
Hawaiian Scrambled Eggs
Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Pizza
Harissa Breakfast Scramble
Cilantro Crème Fraiche with Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled Qunioa Omelette with Veggies
Chard and Saffron Omelette by Ottolenghi
Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
Scrambled Egg Breakfast Crepes
Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs
Farmer’s Market Puffed Omelette
Crispy Hashbrowns, Eggs and a side of Bacon
Hashbrown Waffle with a Fried Egg
Queso Blanco Egg Sandwich
Omelet Breakfast Burritos
Pesto Spinach Omelette
7 Minute Breakfast Burrito
Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Pepper Jack Cheese
Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Waffle Eggs Benedict
Tex Mex Scrambled Eggs
Egg, Cheese, and Mixed Greens Breakfast Muffins
Eggs Jeanette

Lunch or Dinner Eggs

Shakshuka with Summer Squash and Goat Cheese
B.L.A.T. Omelette Wrap
Easy Curried Eggs
Shakshuka with Feta and Cilantro
Moroccan Kefta and Eggs Tagine {Guest Post}
Vanilla Bean Floating Island
Korean Ham and Eggs with Chile Maple Sauce
Eggs Toscana
Asparagus and Eggs
Quail Egg, Potato, and Merguez Tortilla
Healthy Huevos Rancheros
Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale, and Pancetta
Salad Lyonaisse
Tuna Lemon-Aioli Bruschetta
Ervilhas Guisadas (Portugese Braised Peas with Eggs and Chourico)
Eggs over Polenta
Shrimp and Veggie Egg Drop Soup
Curry Fried Rice with Hard Boiled Eggs
Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce)
Salsa Egg Tacos
Rustic Egg Salad

Frittata, Quiche, and Strata

Easy Vegetable Frittata
Turkey Club Quiche
Spinach Tomato and Feta Frittata
Cheesy Baked Egg Tart with Tarragon, Tomato and Zucchini
Roasted Vegetable Crustless Quiche with Basil and Pine Nuts
Mini Frittatas with Potatoes and Greens
Roasted Red Pepper and Egg Tarts
Apple Cheddar Frittata
Huevos Rancheros with Smoky Spicy Guacamole and Grain Free Tortillas
Potato, Ham, and Cheese Crescent Mini Quiches
Zucchini and Green Chile Quiche
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bars
French Fry Frittata with Chipotle Chorizo Sauce
Mini Quiches with Carmelized Pears and Gorgonzola
Crustless Vegetable Quiche
Elegant Individual Quiche
Sweet Onion, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Farm Fresh Vegetable Quiche
Individual Spinach Frittatas
Mexican Sausage and Cornbread Strata
Ham, Spinach, and Mushroom Quiche

Casseroles and Baked Dishes

Southwestern Breakfast Bake
Mexican Omelette Pie
Make Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas
Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Bake
Paleo Breakfast Casserole with Broccoli Rabe, Chicken Sausage, and Shallots
Healthy Omelette Crepe Style
Baked Eggs in Spicy Sauce
Duffy’s Delight
Bacon & Escarole Custard
Baked Eggs in Bread Bowls
Moroccan Skhina or Dafina
Kefta Mkawra (Egg and Ground Meat Tagine)

Whew! That’s a lot of eggs!!  Have a favorite way to prepare them or a link to a great recipe? Leave it in the comments.

P.S. MarocBaba and I are in Finland this week. We’re heading to Porvoo tonight – check out Finland’s second oldest town! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for pictures during our trip too!

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