Thursday, December 30, 2010

We needed a little Christmas

You may think this update is late, but it's just been traveling on Saudi time. So in fact it's a little early.


This year, I was fully prepared for a Christmas filled with tears and homesickness, but for me that was not the case at all! (Moms, the Mister was longing for a tender Tennessee Christmas, so he missed ya'll enough for the both of us.)

I made an effort to incorporate some of our traditions from home so this holiday wouldn't feel so foreign, so--after a very late night run to the grocery store-- on Christmas Eve, I prepared the breakfast casserole. Technically, it was so late it was Christmas morning, but let's not split hairs.

No pork in the Kingdom = no pork sausage, so this is the lamb sausage I used for the breakfast casserole. I tried not to think of this image as I was eating the casserole on Christmas morning. It looked every bit like a skillet full of cat poop as this picture suggests.

I played the role of matriarch this year and got up before everyone else (all one of 'em) and put the breakfast in the oven. The breakfast casserole is a tradition my family started when we stopped going to my grandparents' house for Christmas morning. Other than the sausage, which was hard enough to locate, it's got some pretty easy-to-find ingredients. Eggs, bread, cheese and milk will pretty much be found in any grocery store anywhere in the world.

The hubbins had monkey bread every Christmas morning with his family, so I got to learn how to make monkey bread for the first time this year! In America, this wouldn't be such a difficult task...But we're not in America, now are we? I searched for the canned biscuits that are the actual bread of the monkey bread, but I couldn't find any. Thankfully, the Mister knows about the secret "American refrigerated stuff" aisle, and Christmas was saved! Other typically American items, not so easy to find.

Exhibit A:

This is not brown sugar. It's just sugar that is brown. Like the unrefined cane sugar. Shopping in the Kingdom is fun!

Exhibit B:

Couldn't find the cinnamon powder, so I had to make my own! This is remarkably easier than I ever thought it would be, but I certainly missed the convenience of just opening the cinnamon shaker. Especially while half awake in my pajamas on Christmas morning.

Exhibit C:

The monkey bread has to be cooked in a bundt pan or an angel food cake pan...both are foreign concepts here, apparently. So I had to get creative a make one of my own! We stuck a glass in the middle of our ikea saucepan and hoped for the best! (We wrapped it in aluminum foil in case the heat made it break. Can't have monkey bread with glass shrapnel, now can we?)

It all worked out in the end, and the hubs and I had a little familiarity on Christmas morning.

We invited the housemates over for Christmas breakfast and some games. We read the Christmas story, nommed on some faux sausage, and worked off the calories with a few rounds of Kinect.

It was a really great first Christmas abroad. We were surrounded by great people, and we got to Skype with our family several times. I look forward to making more Christmas traditions that are uniquely ours, as only living abroad can force you to do.

Vicariously yours,

P.S. We bought ourselves a little treat as a Christmas present:

Dr. Pepper is super expensive here, so we don't get to drink it very often!

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