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Anniversaries and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

  Seven years ago today, MarocBaba and I were married. It caught me a little off guard when I put together these pictures, and it was fun listening to our boys comment on how mom and dad look.  In my mind there are so many days when I feel like we’re just “playing grown-ups.”  That I still feel somehow like I’m just pretending to be a mom, a wife, an adult. Of course, I know there’s no pretending going on. I wonder sometimes if that’s a by-product of the early growing up I (we) did. I was just 21 when we were married, and only a month past 19 when we met. We were crazy, two 21 year-olds overcoming the hurdles of immigration, barely having any money between us, but ready and willing to take on the world – together.  Today, I know we were crazy.  But, I’m so glad we took the chance. It was so unlikely for us to …

Amanda MouttakiAnniversaries and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
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Chana Saag Bechamel Enchilada

I really love taking ethnic dishes and mixing the flavors and styles with other types of foods. MarocBaba finds the thought preposterous and I pondered this difference of opinion for a long time.  To me, there’s no hard and fast rule about types of foods or styles that go together but for him it’s very clear. I think this is another cultural difference. Growing up in the United States, food (and a lot of other things) are a mixture of traditions, countries, and cultures but for him this is just not the case. Traditional Moroccan food adheres to a pretty strict set of protocols. In February I introduced you to Saffron Road’s chapatti wraps and this month I’m working with these delicious items again. They are really great on their own, taking only a few minutes to heat up and enjoy.  But, I knew I could kick them up just a little bit and take them from a grab-and-go lunch …

Amanda MouttakiChana Saag Bechamel Enchilada
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Real Food on a Budget: Buying in Bulk

  I can’t believe we’re already over half-way finished with this post series! I have really been enjoying sharing my tips and tricks to purchase whole, real foods while still maintaining a budget.  This week’s post may seem counter-intuitive to the budget concept but I think you’ll find that it does save money in the long run. I do a lot of baking because ½ of our family is gluten-free by necessity and the other ½ tend to be by default.  I do have some things in our home with gluten for those that can eat it but when I’m baking it’s always gluten-free. Have you ever looked at the price of these flours in the grocery store?  They’re expensive! Instead of buying the small, one pound bags of flours I invested in several large storage containers and go to a local bulk store to buy our flours. You might be wondering how this works out to be cheaper.  Let …

Amanda MouttakiReal Food on a Budget: Buying in Bulk
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Moroccan Potato Salad

My favorite part of a Moroccan meal isn’t the main dish. I have never really loved meat and, at least with my mother-in-law, most of the meals are pretty heavy in that department. No, my favorite part of the meal is the salad assortment that comes out first. I think my love of tapas in Spain and cicchetti in Italy inspire my love of the salad offerings. Truthfully, I’d be happy to just eat these and nothing else. I used to think that there was a specific salad served with each main dish, and while this can be true, often times salads are prepared based on what is on hand. I once made an orange and salty black olive salad, and while it was delicious, I learned that simply wasn’t done.  So let’s just say traditionally speaking there are a lot of unspoken “rules” about what can go together and what doesn’t. This salad is super simple and it’s a good break …

Amanda MouttakiMoroccan Potato Salad
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الدار البيضاء Fish Tajine for #SundaySupper

This week’s Sunday Supper theme is awesome.  I’m so excited!  Everyone is sharing a movie inspired recipe. Even though I loathe it, I wonder if you can guess which movie I’ve chosen? Want to know a little insider secret? There’s no such place as Rick’s Cafe – never was.  Flocks of tourists visit Casablanca every year to find it, and they do find a Rick’s Cafe but it’s just a tourist trap. It’s interesting to watch this movie, knowing a bit of history surrounding the area during that time.  Casablanca was certainly an international city though it’s safe to say English wasn’t the language d’jour. The first time I went to Casablanca it wasn’t at all what I expected.  It looks like every other large city in the developing world. While I am sure there are some very nice parts of town, the places I’ve been have not been anywhere I would want to live long term. Because Casablanca is …

Amanda Mouttakiالدار البيضاء Fish Tajine for #SundaySupper
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Eating Real Food on a Budget: Eat Seasonally

Welcome to week six of my 10 ways to eat real food on a budget series.  This weeks’ topic may seem like a no-brainer.  Eating food when it’s in season is cheaper.  Period. But, you and I both know it’s not that simple. If you live in the northern part of the United States or somewhere that is “blessed” with many, many long months of winter your choices are really slim. I know, I live there.  If I were to eat local, in season foods from October – April, I’d be eating potatoes, squash, and maybe some lettuces – maybe. My first choice is always to eat what’s in season, the closest geographical distance from me.  Meaning I’ll buy tomatoes from Florida before those from Central America.  Why? There’s a few reasons.  First, let’s talk about a few reasons why seasonal eating is best. Seasonal Food Tastes Better No matter how cheap something is, or how good it is for …

Amanda MouttakiEating Real Food on a Budget: Eat Seasonally