Saturday, September 23, 2006

This one's for you, Polly!

Evidently my most faithful reader, that I don’t "share blood" with, is wondering what we’re doing since I haven’t posted in a while. (Although with both of us being from the rural south, I probably do share blood with Polly!)

We have been back to life as usual, by Bucharest terms. Maria is going to gymnastics in the morning since there are fewer girls and she’s only there for two hours. Then we get our schoolwork finished before Daddy gets home from work. We both like the schedule except that the public transportation is crowded in the morning.

I brought back muffin tins, baking paper cups, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, pecans, gravy mixes, and marinades from our visit in the US this summer. The cupcake size baked goods bake evenly in my oven here. I brought the baking powder and soda because I never could get anything here to turn out right. I had lots of input from the Romanian friends we have about what replaces what in Romania, but I think you just have to stick with what you know! So far I have made banana nut muffins, peanut butter chip pecan cookies, carrot cake muffins, and homemade biscuits.

Steve has taken along a sample of these to Mimi, the co-worker who rides with him, and she sent us back a jar of natural honey. This would be the reason for the biscuits! The honey was great. Breakfast this morning was country ham (excellent here, thin sliced and salty), eggs, biscuits, and honey. Man I love breakfast!

We also took over some muffins to our next door neighbor as a "reason" to get to see her new puppies! Fun, fun. Hopefully, Maria will post about that soon.

Since we arrived in February, the variety of food has increased quite a bit. Here is an interesting list of things that we use here and not in the states, things that are here now and were not in February, and things we still miss:

Things we use here and not in the states:
Red pepper paste (excellent on sandwiches)
Garlic Sauce (Good on burgers, fries, and shaormas)
Pomegranate Juice

Things that are new to Bucharest:
Bar-be-que sauce
Uncle Ben’s sauces
Peanut Butter (widely available now)
Gatorade (in the sports bottles not the economy powder that Steve uses)

Things we still miss:
Brown Sugar (I brought back 4 lbs.)
Chocolate Chips
Peanut butter chips
Baking mixes (bisquick and pancake mix – although I am becoming quite skilled at home-made)
Gravy Mixes
Powdered Gatorade (This is a big chunk of our return weight in the suitcases)

Next week things should pick up again. Steve’s company is shutting down for three days while some foreign diplomats are in town. We have rescheduled our Venice, Italy trip to next week to take advantage of the three days off.

Then we’ll be home for a week before heading to Timişoara for Steve’s half-marathon. We’re taking a train there; I’m so excited. My Romanian friends think I’m crazy for taking a train when we have a car. But I’ve had a car and a license since age 15; I’ve never traveled on a train before!