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Marking International Women’s Day in Morocco

Today is International Women’s Day, a holiday that has been celebrated since the early 1900′s when women began demanding fair pay and better working conditions. While it’s true women still are at an uneven par with men in the workplace the situation in Western nations is much better than that in the developing world. It’s easy to look through a cultural lens and judge other nations short comings, when we have so many of our own and so I hope that this post doesn’t reinforce that stereotypical view. I want to share today about some of the issues that I, and other women living in Morocco have to face. I have to first make it clear, my situation is different than many Moroccan women. I have an advanced degree, economic options, and am largely excluded from following cultural norms and behaviors. However, I live in a residential area of Marrakech, dress, work, shop, and largely behave as any other woman …

Amanda MouttakiMarking International Women’s Day in Morocco
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The Finnish Food Revival

I didn’t have high hopes for Finnish food. Frankly, what I remembered about it growing up was that there was fish, and fish, and potatoes, and dill. That’s about it. I don’t like dill, I’m 50/50 on fish, and potatoes well I guess you can’t really go wrong there. When it was time to sign up for tours on our Finland trip I wavered on whether I should stick to only food events. My logical thinking was if we’re eating, we’re inside, and that means it won’t be as cold. Really. Did I mention MarocBaba is pretty picky? So this was going to go one of two ways. We were either going to be stuffed to the gills and happy as clams, or we were going to really hungry and crabby. Lucky for us, the first option came true. For a full week we ate meal after delicious meal of Finnish inspired food. I had lots of comments on social …

Amanda MouttakiThe Finnish Food Revival
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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? Print Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins Ingredients2 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp baking soda ¼ cup oil ¼ …

Amanda MouttakiMint Chocolate Chip Muffins

Live Like a Jazz Star at Riad Star: Marrakech

“These streets weren’t made for cars,” my son said as we wound our car through the narrow streets of the medina. “It’s ok, dad has this, remember he grew up here? It might be a maze to us, but it all makes sense to him,” I replied silently hoping I was right on this one. One of the biggest challenge visitors (and locals) face in Marrakech is that the streets are largely unmarked (though they are marking them more and more), and GPS systems are most of the time wrong. I’ll attribute the second problem to the first. No one uses street names, they use locations and landmarks. When you want to go somewhere you’ve never been there’s an unspoken assumption the first person you ask will get you to a certain point, where you’ll need to ask someone else how to get to the next point. In my western mind it sounds convoluted but it makes sense here and …

Amanda MouttakiLive Like a Jazz Star at Riad Star: Marrakech
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#WeekdaySupper Chicken Tajine with Tomato and Onion Jam

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged a tajine recipe. You see it’s not intentional but you may be surprised to know I don’t do a lot of our main meal cooking – especially when it comes to Moroccan food. My sister-in-law who happens to be an amazing cook handles the lunch time meal. So unless we want something that’s not Moroccan, I let her take care of things. But, you see, we had a little “issue” a few weeks ago. Most of my days I spend working. But, I work from home so it’s not always apparent that I’m “working” – because I’m always here and I might do other things when I take breaks. So, the other day my mother in law commented on my not cooking (not in a bad way). Truth be told I feel like my tajines don’t hold a candle to theirs. I know that I can hold my own but it’s just …

Amanda Mouttaki#WeekdaySupper Chicken Tajine with Tomato and Onion Jam
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Our Life in Marrakech: 6 Month Update

It’s been six months now since we moved to Morocco full-time. Some days it feels a lot longer. Some days it seems like no time has passed. So many things are different but as the weeks pass I see less and less of those differences. It takes the eyes of someone whose never been here to bring them up. I think that means that I’ve made the switch from tourist to resident.   Some Observations: The other night we had dinner with some work colleagues and two clients. They were two older ladies who were spending time (their second trip) in Morocco. The conversation was simply wonderful and I laughed more that night than I think I have in the time we’ve been here. Life can be frustrating and tedious when you’re absorbed in the daily grind of work, raising a family, and trying to adjust to a new culture and language. There were so many insightful comments made but …

Amanda MouttakiOur Life in Marrakech: 6 Month Update