Food and Recipes Overseas Life

Cooking Overseas

March 24, 2015

A forced blessing of moving overseas has been cooking more from scratch. I need to cook from scratch in order to eat familiar American and Asian meals. I often cooked in America too, but I definitely enjoyed getting some pre-made products at Costco and Trader Joe’s to make easier dinners. I know many of you cook from scratch all the time, but I really do not enjoy cooking that much. However, despite my lack of meal inspiration, I cook for my family most of the time for our finances and health.

Some of the new things that I learned to make from scratch here are tomato sauce for pasta, taco seasoning, kimchi, bibimbop, chicken lo mein, cream of broccoli soup, garlic bread, croutons, salsa, and buttered popcorn.

Occasionally, my husband has even been cooking because he craves certain foods. He has been making some amazing dishes like Chicken Parmesan (he makes the bread crumbs from scratch), Caesar Salad, Lemon Butter Chicken, and Buffalo Wings. Excitement fills the house when my husband decides to cook because although it takes several hours, it is always a huge crowd pleaser!

For birthdays, I now make my own cakes and brownies because it is so much easier to bake them from scratch than try to translate the back of the local box mixes;) I have even learned to make my own icing WITHOUT a hand mixer.

My newest culinary accomplishment has been making Italian Salad Dressing. Locals eat a lot of salad, but they don’t use salad dressing beyond olive oil, lemon, and pomegranate sauce (it is quite tart). Since fresh fruits and vegetables are so bountiful and inexpensive, we eat a lot more salad than we did in America. I brought some dry dressing packets when we moved and when that ran out, I had my sisters mail me some. Since we enjoy eating salad, my sister encouraged me to try to make my own dressing. Initially this seemed impossible because I couldn’t find the necessary dry ingredients, but thankfully after some exploration, I have found most of them. Last week, I finally made my own Italian Dressing and it got the family’s enthusiastic approval! 🙂

I am mainly excited about this not because of a healthier dressing, but because it makes more room in our suitcases for when we replenish our American supply this summer! This is a huge deal to me since I keep a running list of everything that I want to bring back upon our return (much to my husband’s dismay!). So move over taco seasoning and salad dressing because I am making space to bring some bacon back with us! Ha!

Here is a pic of some of the amazing produce here:


And my son with the monstrous cabbages:


I usually take one child and these carts with me when I go grocery shopping, who needs a minivan?;):



  • Reply
    April 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    That is amazing! As I was reading this, I was thinking of my family when we lived in Europe and how we had to cook from scratch. Actually, since a lot of us kids were small when we left, we learned to cook from scratch and didn’t know people in America used premaid tomato sauce or other types of boxed mixes. One time my sister was explaining how she made barbecue sauce to someone in the states – adding liquid smoke to the sauce – and she was surprised that the lady was surprised. Because that’s all she knew – we didn’t go buy barbecue sauce ready made. Now I live in the states I don’t often make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch. But whether it’s tomato sauce or brownies or whatever, it’s only when I do it from scratch and it turns out well that I feel like I actually made something. Pouring a box of something into a bowl and adding an egg doesn’t count in my book. Lol. All that to say, you’re doing great and you’re actually teaching your kids a valuable life skills that will help them later on! Love you guys so much!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks Joanie! Hope all is well:)

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