Our First Family Restaurant Experience

Hookah bar

Hookah bar

While traveling a nearby city, we found a good restaurant to try.

The kids had walked a good bit and so we opted to try a well-received local restaurant.

Instead of an alcohol bar, the restaurant had a hookah bar.

Above entryway mirror

Above entryway mirror

Peek-a-boo!

Sitting at the table

Sitting at the table

They had benches for us to sit around a low table

which of course the kids thought meant it was their inside playground….

Joyfull loving the food!

Joyfull loving the food!

We had a great time with our friends and enjoyed several appetizer dishes together.

As you can see from Joyfull’s hands and plate, it was good!!!

Young Kids Entertainment at Restaurants

When traveling and eating in restaurants for most of your meals, it’s useful to pull out a few tricks to keep the troops entertained.



Bring back the elementary years tricks of finger twister like the above trick.





Another game we’ve played is “what would you look like if…” And then took a picture of some expression. Whether it’s you got to meet the real Frozen characters or watched Darth Vader fight for real.

Though we have yet to attempt it for the kids, they love the cup-clapping rhythm game.



My sister recommended Cat’s Cradle but that involves string and we don’t have any with us right now.





All else fails, make the kids walk miles (ours walked over 6 kilometers yesterday) and then stumble upon this playground and restaurant combo which is perfect for the adult foodies and energy filled kids.

The Food Scene

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So I am going to break this post down into snacks we eat on a regular basis

and “cultural” food that we’ve found to work for our family.

For after school snacks, it’s easy and cheap to make popcorn. And so we did.

And as you can see below, one of our favorites to add with it is smoothies.

I can’t vouch that the frozen fruit here is super clean and some may have issues with

making smoothies with “non-washed” fruit, but we just let it go.

We also like vegetable sticks and hummus.

We’ll also use hummus as a condiment on sandwiches when I think the kids need more nutrition.

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Good, plain, classic corn/wheat chips for dipping into salsa or hummus are hard to come by.

My friend mentioned that she makes her own and since then I’ve always got this paper thin bread in my freezer.

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I’ll whip it out and chop it into triangles.

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Toss it in olive oil and salt, and bake.

Walah! The kids love it!

Easy, no-preservative crunch!

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Enter Halloumi Cheese.

It’s relatively cheap, you can find it anywhere and it reminds me of queso fresco.

(The mexican cheese that doesn’t melt).

We like to eat vegetarian sometimes and this is an easy addition with our fajitas.

I chop it up and fry it for a few minutes, sometimes in spices and it gets a nice crisp and browned outside.

I always have a block of this cheese in my fridge. It’s an easy food for us.

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Vegetables.

There’s grocery stores, produce stands, little mini-marts, produce abounds.

But it’s less plentiful in variety.

I have found heaps of eggplants, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers.

Herbs like mint, parsley and cilantro are almost always available.

(Please note, we’ve only been here 2 months).

Our salads are now cleaned, fresh, sliced peppers, cucumbers, carrots & tomatoes.

If we are going all out, we’ve got olives we’ll set out as well and maybe even sprinkle olive oil and vinegar on top.

For fruit (and especially for the kids’ lunches), I feel a bit limited.

There’s imported apples, imported bananas (almost always bruised),

expensive strawberries, tons of lemons (not seeing any limes though).

Oranges are plentiful but seeded.

IMG_6768So bakeries…

They are tons of them and they aren’t created equal.

Non-crumbly sandwich bread is harder to find.

But specialty breads (especially the flatbread types)

are available for great prices.

Enter in pitas, whole grain, white, sesame seed, mediterranean loaves (loaves with olive oil & herbs on top),

you name it, there’s a lot of more Mediterranean-type breads here.

We will splurge and go to a bakery now and then and pick up flatbreads and bread sticks for a treat.

Inevitably my babies will be noticed and given extra treats which make their day.

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What’s caught me off guard at the grocery store:

I was surprised at the expense for coconut oil, but olive oil and ghee are reasonably priced.

If you go to a good fish market shop, fish is reasonably priced.

Lamb is more expensive than chicken and nearly as expensive as beef.

Cereals are costly and peanut butter doesn’t taste like American pb and it costs a good bit.

Beans and grains (Middle-eastern ones like Israeli couscous, etc)

 are an easy cheap staple for us. Brown rice is more expensive.

There are huge tons of plain yogurt for very cheap.

You can find fresh mozzarella cheaper here than in the States.

There are a lot of “fake” cheeses here.

That’s the quick rundown.

Another time  i’ll likely post about breakfasts, lunches and dinners so you all have an idea what we’re consuming.

Faux Sloppy Joes

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A week or two ago I made these faux sloppy joes and it actually was really tasty!

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I didn’t do anything radically different than the original recipe.

My oldest found some freshly baked bread at a local produce shop so we grabbed that and made it like a sub sandwich.

I added chopped up mushrooms and looking back I wish I had added some shredded veggies like zucchini and carrots.

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Also to entice the kids a bit more, I melted cheese over the bread.

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For the hubs & I, the sandwich included avocado and tomato slices.

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I served it with a side of roasted potatoes.

A couple thoughts here…if you didn’t want the bread, eat the sloppy sauce over potatoes…I did!

I have a fault of never reading the recipe thoroughly and as we are eating up our pantry staples before the big move, I accidentally made a double recipe.

So we had a lot of sloppy left! Enter football Saturday and vegetarian nachos!

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I never pretended for these to be a great meat-lovers alternative so it was never a fight for that title. Still it was healthy, tasty and had lots of variables that could be changed out (a love of mine is adding different toppings!).

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Do you ever make typical meat dishes vegetarian?

Homemade Butter in a Jiffy

Our family is reading through the Little House on the Prairie series. It’s been fun to read the descriptions of how they made various foods (like butchering meat, maple desserts & churned butter of course).

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When I noticed a friend pinning how to make homemade butter, I knew the kids and I would have to try it!

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I used this link as a resource to whip up butter. (Pun intended)

The kids loved watching and it went very quickly and smoothly.

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I didn’t salt it but probably would next time.

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I used our Bosch mixer and it turned out fabulous!

I was also amazed at how yellow it was after pouring out the buttermilk.

Have you ever made butter?

Do you ever wish you could be on Little House on the Prairie farm for a couple days?

Ok, maybe that’s just me.