Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shutter Card

I learned how to make this card on this blog: http://www.card-making-magic.com/shuttercard.html

Johnny Cakes

The people of the Bahamas are laid back, accepting, and fun loving. It is not uncommon to see a purple house or big, colorful hats on a Sunday morning. Most Bahamians are of African decent. Conchy Joes are Caucasians who have lived in the Bahamas for more generations than anyone can count. More and more Haitians are also migrating to the Bahamas. Unlike in the rest of the world, there is virtually no racism in the Bahamas. They are a strong Christian people who get along well together.

Today's breakfast was pretty normal. Many southerners moved to the Bahamas during the Civil War. I guess they brought their culinary expertise with them as the normal breakfast fare includes johnny cakes and grits. Johnny cakes in the Bahamas are a little different than the ones I'm used to. They have sugar in them, but no cornmeal. They are also baked instead of cooked in a frying pan. I thought this was a little weird, but they turned out great.

I only made a fraction of the original recipe because I was the only one eating it. That's why it looks so small.


JOHNNY CAKE

1 cup of milk plus 1 tbsp for basting
1/4 c. butter
4.5 cups flour
3 tbsp white sugar
5 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the milk. Knead and let it rest for ten minutes. Put the dough in a pan, and prick it with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove, baste with the remaining milk, and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm with grits.

Maple- Cinnamon Stovetop Granola

I really like homemade granola, but normal granola recipes call for it to be baked in the oven. This takes a long time and heats up the house. You also end up with 15+ servings. When I want a fast, simple, and summer friendly snack, I cook my granola on top of the stove. It takes less than ten minutes, and tastes just as good as baking it.



Maple-Cinnamon Stovetop Granola

1 cup oatmeal

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ cup sliced almonds

Heat a large pan to medium heat. Mix oats, almonds, and oil together. Toast the mixture on the pan until it’s lightly browned. Be careful not to let it burn. Add maple syrup, stir, and turn off the heat. Stir in the cinnamon and serve warm or cooled.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chechebsa

Eritrea is a small country just north of Ethiopia. It has a history of having been controlled by many different countries including Italy, the UK, and Ethiopia. It has only been free from Ethiopia for the past two decades. Along with Ethiopia, Eritrea was the first African country to accept Christianity.

If you were to visit an Eritrean household, you would definitely be served tea. You may be asked to eat dinner with them. It is custom to refuse to stay for dinner three times after being asked before accepting.

Chechebsa, or kitcha fitfit, is one of the only Eritrean dishes that is eaten with a utensil. It is a type of flat bread that is torn up, coated in clarified butter, and tossed with a special Ethiopian spice called berbere.


CHECHEBSA
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. barley flour
1 tbsp clarified butter
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp berbere*
2/3 c. water

Mix flours, baking powder, and water to form a thick dough. Knead, roll out, and cook on a medium heated skillet until golden on both sides. Meanwhile, melt the butter and combine it with the berbere.
Once the bread is done cooking, cut it up into small pieces, toss it with the spiced oil, and serve warm.


*Berbere is a mixture of cinnamon, paprika, garlic, coriander, ginger, allspice, cloves, chili peppers, fenugreek, and rue all dried and ground.

Cardboard Ship


I found this super easy tutorial to make a cardboard pirate ship. I made it, and took it to the kids I babysit to decorate. I think it's really cute, and you can use it to play Narnia or pirates. The kids I babysit still have it, and they play with it.

Avocado Pasta


Avocado Pasta

1 avocado

1 1/2 cups penne pasta

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper powder
Put a pot of water on to boil. Process, blend, or mash the avocado up. Add  the seasonings and mix well. Cook the pasta in the boiling water, following the instructions on the box. Mix the pasta with the avocado sauce.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recycled Jean Wallet

 Cut out a strip of jeans this size. (12X7)
 (Orange means the backside of the fabric.)
Fold a little over 1/3 of the fabric backwards. Fold the top 1/4 inch down, and hem it. Sew the folded backside to the front side to form a pocket. It is now inside out.
Turn the wallet right side outwards. Hem the sides of the top flap up.  You now have your wallet. Make a button and button hole. Add any other designs that you want.


Crempog

Wales is a country part of the United Kingdom. In the past, Britain has forced its culture on Wales. Now almost everyone in Wales speaks English. Only 20% of the population speaks Welsh. I think this is sad, but it happens a lot. Languages die out every day.

A crempog is an eggy Welsh pancake. It is light and airy. I really liked them. Crempog are commonly served on birthdays. In Welsh they are called ffroes or grempog.

I found this song on Wikipedia. It mentions crempog.
 
Modryb Elin Enog
Os gwelwch chi'n dda ga i grempog?
Cew chithau de a siwgr brown
A phwdin lond eich ffedog
Modryb Elin Enog
Mae 'ngheg i'n grimp am grempog
Mae Mam rhy dlawd i brynu blawd
A Sian yn rhy ddiog i nol y triog
A 'nhad yn rhu wael i weithio
Os gwelwch chi'n dda ga i grempog
Auntie Elin Enog
Please may I have a pancake?
You can have tea and brown sugar
And your apron full of pudding
Auntie Elin Enog
My mouth is parched for pancakes
My mum is too poor to buy flour
And Sian is too lazy to get the treacle
And my father's too sick to work
Please may I have a pancake?
RECIPE:
makes 10 small pancakes
1 tbsp oil or butter
7 fl oz of warm buttermilk
1/2 c. flour1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 egg, beaten

Stir warm buttermilk, flour, and oil together. Let the mixture sit for 30 min.
In a separate bowl, stir the remaining ingredients together. Add this to the flour mixture and whisk it all together.
Cook the batter 1 heaping tbsp at a time on a griddle. Fry over medium heat until golden.

 Crempog while they are cooking.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Humitas



Today's breakfast was a form of tamale called humita. They are served in Peru, and you can get them salty, savory, or sweet. I made the salty cheese kind because no one can beat anything made with cheese.

The computer said humitas were a typical Peruvian breakfast, but I did not see this while I was in Peru. I took a mission trip down there this past February. They served eggs and pan de frances every day. One day they just served the bread. That was all we got. Nothing was as elaborate as these delicious humitas. I think that's because I was in the southern coastal part of Peru. Their cuisine varies in the northern region bordering Ecuador. (They also serve humitas in Ecuador.)

Going to Peru was a very cool experience. We went in February, so it was summer there. We did a VBS type program with kids from two very poor villages. It was so awesome to be with those kids who had so very little, but were completely content to just praise the LORD.

We got to see two different cities in Peru. We were supposed to fly into Lima, but our engine broke. We landed in Chiclayu without a translator or any idea what to do. God took care of us, though, and we got to minister to some people there. The difference from Lima and Chiclayu was amazing. In Chiclayu, everything was kind of run down looking. The people were very nice, but most of them only spoke Spanish. In Lima, there was a large Asian population. I thought that was kind of weird. In the city, a lot of people were bilingual, but when we went out to the villages with the kids, they only spoke Spanish. It was eyeopening to see how those people lived. A lot of them had one room houses made out of woven grasses, sheets of metal, or other stuff we would see as trash. They got water out of a muddy stream. Those people were so sweet. I had an hour long conversation with one lady in Spanish about how in the world Michael Jackson had white kids.  It was great. :)
Freshly wrapped
After steaming
inside

The process of making these was kind of complicated. I used this website for the recipe, and this website to cook them. Good luck and enjoy!

In front of the church in Peru.

Vanilla Chai Chocolate Oatmeal

I know this may sound weird, but I love to cook my oatmeal in tea. It gives it a nice flavor, and it's so easy. I made vanilla chai chocolate oatmeal for a late night snack, and it was delicious. I've also tried out other tea flavors. Vanilla honey chamomile and apples and cinnamon teas worked well too.


Vanilla Chai Chocolate Oatmeal

½ c. old fashioned or quick oatmeal

1 vanilla chai tea packet

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup milk

chopped dark chocolate

Boil the water. Add tea and let seep 30 min. Take out the tea packet. Add the milk and oatmeal. Microwave for 2 minutes. (Make sure it doesn't boil over.) Wait a minute for it to cool a little, and stir in  the chocolate. Yummy!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Cut- Out Cards

These are so simple to make. Just trace a shape onto patterned paper or a magazine. Cut out, and glue onto your card.

First batch of green beans!

Harper snapping the ends off beans fresh from the garden.

Bajan Bakes

Barbados is an itty bitty island country. It gained its independence in the 60s, but it still recognizes the Queen of England as its monarch. Instead of winter, summer, spring, and fall, it has the wet season and the dry season. The temperature is always in the 70s and 80s. It's out of the way from most countries. It doesn't get massive earthquakes. This sounds like the perfect place to live to me. Oh wait, Barbados is rated the second most corrupt nation in the Americas. No country is perfect.

The national specialty of Barbados is flying fish. I'm not that in to deep fried fish for breakfast, and we don't live near a beach. The fish at the store are old and expensive.  I chose to make Bajan bakes instead. They were good, and reminded me of pancakes.


BAJAN BAKES
makes 6
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
6 ounces of water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup oil

Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the water until it forms a consistency similar to thick pancakes. Heat a frying pan to medium with the oil (about 350 degrees). Drop scoops of the dough onto the pan, and fry until golden.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fruity Smoothie


1/2 cup yogurt
1 peach
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries

Blend all the ingredients and enjoy!

Batbout and Amlou

Morocco has always fascinated me. I would love to visit their one day. I like Moroccan food, and I think their architecture is beautiful. The closest I've ever gotten to Morocco is Epcot in Disney world, but that is so neat. I cannot even imagine what the real Morocco looks like. One day when I'm extremely rich and have time to travel the world, I'll make sure I go to Morocco. I don't really ever s that happening, though. My two career options right now are dairy farmer and missionary/ English teacher in a foreign country. These really aren't luxury jobs. I would get to travel in the second one. Maybe I could be a missionary in Morocco. Only one percent of the population is Christian.
Female literacy in Morocco is 39%. This doesn't really surprise me. I heard that Arabic is a very hard language to learn. This number should soon go up, though. Primary school is now mandatory.
When you think about Morocco (at least when I think about it), it feels like it doesn't really fit into Africa. Maybe it has to do with all the European influence Morocco has had, but I picture it more as a Middle Eastern country. Maybe even European. It's a Mediterranean country. Maybe this has something to do with it. Or maybe I'm just crazy. Yeah, that's probably it...
Anyway, today’s breakfast was one of my favorites. It was also one of my complete failures. The batbout didn’t puff up like it was supposed to. Traditional batbout are perfectly round and puffy like a pita. Mine were flat and ugly. The amlou is supposed to be made out of a special oil called argan oil. That’s what makes it amlou. We don’t have that type of oil at our local grocery, so I stuck with vegetable oil. Traditionally, amlou is made using a mortar and pestle. You can make it using a blender, but this alters the appearance. Since my amlou was already going to taste different because I was using the wrong oil, I wanted it to at least look right. My mom and I went on a hunt for my dad’s mortar and pestle. He bought it to grind up spices not long after he and my mom got married. He only used it twice. Maybe. Now after 21 years, three kids, and six moves, it is nowhere to be found. Oh well. At least it tasted good. (That’s all that matters.)
Even though my meal looked and tasted wrong, I was okay with it. Harp said she hated the dip, but loved the bread. My mom hated the bread, but loved the dip. Me (the supposedly picky one) loved both of them. If I ever go to Morocco, I will introduce them to my new and improved version of batbout and amlou.

BATBOUT (makes 8-10)
2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 TBSP vegetable oil
2 tsp yeast
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp sugar
 Add yeast to the water and stir. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Knead and divide into balls. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll the balls into 1/8 inch thick circles. Let them rise for 1 hour. Cook on a medium heated skillet.

AMLOU
1 cup almonds
½ cup argan oil
3 tbsp warm honey
pinch of salt

Toast the almonds. Once they are cooled, put them in a blender, and blend until they start to form a paste. Stir in the oil, salt, and honey.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dress/ Shirt

I sewed up this super simple dress as a Christmas present for Harper. I'm hoping that it will fit her next summer. It was really easy. I took two rectangles of fabric, making them each 2/3 as wide as Harper is around. I folded the top 5 inches of each rectangle, and sewed them down. (This is where you loop the ribbon through.) Then I sewed up the two sides, leaving five inches on the top unsewn. Finally, I looped the ribbon through and tied a bow.
I was bored, so I decided to try it on for myself. I was almost tempted to keep it for myself as a shirt. Too bad I'm a little too old to pull off the flower pattern. The bow doesn't look too good on a 17 year old either. Growing up is so frustrating...

Boxty Pancake

Boxty literally means poor house bread. It's not too hard to see why. Originating in Ireland, they were an easy and nutritious meal for the poor Irish farmers.  They are made simply out of potatoes, flour, and milk.

Introduced to Ireland in the 16th century, potatoes were a very important crop for Irish farmers. They rented small plots of land from landowners who grew grain or raised cattle. Potatoes were good crops to grow since they provided enough food to feed an Irish family. Combined with cow milk and possibly pig meat, potatoes formed most of the diet of these farmers. I think eating potatoes every day would be incredibly boring. (Especially since I don't like potatoes.)

Boxty pancakes are no longer only cooked by the poor, but they still hold the same old recipe that they have for years and years.





BOXTY PANCAKES
makes 5
2 cups potatoes (cubed)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flour
dash of salt
oil for pan

Peel, cube, and put the potatoes in the blender. Pour in the buttermilk. Add the flour and pulse.
Coat a pan with oil. Preheat it to medium heat. Pour in the batter. Cook about 5 minutes per side.
Serve the boxty pancakes with fried eggs and sauteed mushrooms.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ginger Millet Porridge

Equatorial Guinea is the wealthiest per capita country in Africa. It's the only country in Africa with Spanish as its official language. 93% of the population is Christian. All of these things being said, I was surprised to find that Equatorial Guinea has hardly any human rights. For such a small country, its people are not treated very well at all.

My millet porridge this morning had a great texture. I have an awful sinus infection, so I didn't get to taste one bite of it. It kind of felt like grits in my mouth. (That sounds weird, but it's true.) I didn't have millet flour, so I just ground up whole millet in out Ninja blender. It worked perfectly.


GINGER MILLET PORRIDGE

1/2 c. millet flour
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. milk

Combine the ginger, millet flour, and water in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together. Pour the mixture into a pot and heat. Add the milk. Stir until it becomes thick. (It looks like grits.) Top with cinnamon or cinnamon sugar.

Barn Card Tutorial

1. Cut a red 12" X 12" piece of card stock paper into a 12" X 6 3/4" piece.

2. Fold the paper in half hamburger style.

3.Tuck in the top corners.

4. You now have your basic shape.

5. Unfold the card. 2 3/4" from the bottom, mark 2" from each side. Connect the marks into a straight line. Draw a parallel line down the center.

6. Cut out along the lines with an X-acto knife. This is the barn door.

7. 5" from the bottom, mark 2 1/2" from each side. Connect the marks to form a straight line. From the right mark, draw a parallel line 1 1/4" down. Finish drawing the rectangle, and cut out 3 of the sides. This is your window.

8. Paint on details.

9. Print barn animal pictures out to fit inside the window and door.

10. Glue the animals onto the half of the card without the door and window, so that they can be seen through the openings. Glue the card together. Be careful not to glue the door and window shut.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stockings with the Sewing Machine

Okay, I am officially in love with my sewing machine. Now I get how most teenagers feel about their cell phones or x-box things. I used to sew everything by hand. I had a sewing machine, but I had no clue how to use it. Harp's friend's mom showed me how the other day (after my sewing machine sat in the basement for 7 years). Today I went crazy with it and made all sorts of stuff. These stockings were my first two attempts using it. I finished everything I started in a fraction of the time it would normally take, and everything looked way better. I think I'm in love... :)

Asida

Tucked between Algeria and Libya, Tunisia is the farthest north country in Africa. It is also the smallest country in north Africa. It just recently had a revolution, and a new president was elected this past December. Although the new constitution requires the president to be Muslim, the people have religious freedom. Recently women have been given new freedoms too.
Asida is a popular dish in North African countries. It is often eaten during festivals or after the birth of a child. The recipe I found for it added a sweet syrup to the top of the porridge. This is common in Libya, but, since Tunisia is so close, I'm assuming they share some similarities in cooking methods. Anyway, I enjoyed the asida. I did find the syrup a bit much, so don't overdo it.

RECIPE FOR ASIDA
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup wheat flour
1 cup boiling water

Bring the salt, 1 tsp oil, and 1/2 cup of the water to a boil in a pot. Pour the flour into the pot, and remove it from the heat. Stir the mixture until the flour and water are combined into one lump.
Put the pot back on the heat, and add another half cup of boiling water. Let the dough cook uncovered until all the water is  absorbed. Flip the dough over once during this process.
Remove from heat. Stir and knead until it's in one big, smooth ball. Put it on a plate, and form a hole in the middle. It should kind of look like a bowl. Pour the rest of the oil on top, and fill the hole with date syrup.

DATE SYRUP RECIPE
1/3 c. pitted dates
1/4-1/2 c. hot water

Blend the dates and water together until it resembles a thick syrup.

We're Back

I'm back from our two week long vacation. We visited a bunch of colleges, met up with Harp's China sisters, and got to see family and friends. My favorite part was our time in Charleston. I want to learn how to make the baskets that they sell for $400. I'd be rich.




I was surprised to find that my garden tripled in size. My awesome neighbor looked after it while I was gone.
Tomato
Okra and beans
cherry tomatoes

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dan Bing

Taiwan, or The Republic of China, is a small country in East Asia. The Taiwanese people are fluent in Taiwanese and Mandarin. They are increasingly fluent in English too. This makes them trilingual. That's crazy!
Taiwan has the highest ration of convenience stores to people with 9,200 convenience stores on the island. It's insane. There aren't even 23 million people living in Taiwan.

I made dan bing for breakfast. It is similar to the Chinese, Jian Bing. It's a breakfast crepe with egg cooked on top.


RECIPE
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. water
scallions (I used onions because we didn't have scallions.)

Mix one egg, the flour, and the water. Put 4 tbsp  into an oiled pan heated to medium. Swirl it around to fill the pan. Pour some of the other egg on top and add scallions.
 Once the egg has set, flip it over and cook the other side. Serve. Yummy. :)


Since we are leaving for vacation this afternoon, I may not be able to post anything for a while. I have to postpone my breakfasts around the world. I'll be sure to start up again when I get back.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Rice Porridge

Bhutan was isolated from modern society until the 1960s, so they have a unique culture that is still deeply etched into the lives of the people. The protection of their culture is also kept intact because they charge $250 a day for visiting foreigners. A week in Bhutan would cost you close to $2000 without the cost of a hotel, food, and souvenirs. The air you'd breathe there would be clean there because tobacco is illegal. Also, unlike many countries, inheritance is passed down the female line. That is so opposite from nearby India or any other Asian country.

I made red rice porridge this morning. The recipe I found said to boil the rice for 5 whistles. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. The people of Bhutan must be very long- winded because their whistles last 45 minutes.
Also, cheese and chilies are very popular in Bhutan. It sounds weird, but I thought it was decent.

RECIPE:

1/3 cup red rice
2.5 tbsp millet
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup cheese (I used farmer's cheese, but I think feta would be more appropriate.)
1/4 tsp chili powder

Cover rice and millet with 2 inches of water. Let it soak overnight.
The next morning, bring the rice and millet to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until it has the consistency of thick oatmeal. (I had to add more water. It took about 45 minutes.)
Top with cheese and seasonings.

Garden Update: First Berries!

The first blueberries were ready for harvest today. Looks can be deceiving. Everyone thought they were super bitter.
All the other plants will be ready to harvest in the next couple of weeks. We're going to be gone for the next two weeks. It stinks! I hope I don't come home to a dead garden after all this work. Farmers with huge fields of crops must never get to leave home.

 Okra- If you look closely, the little okras are starting to grow.
 Beans- Little bean sprouts are popping out too.
 Broccoli- No signs of broccoli heads yet. I'm afraid they're going to bolt when they grow in. It has been WAY too hot for broccoli lately.
 Lettuce- It's doing well. I've harvested twice already, and will again tomorrow.
 Carrots- They're getting tall, but I don't know how big the carrots are yet. (They're kind of hidden. :) )
 Cherry tomato- The little tomatoes are still green, but getting bigger.
 Tomato- It'll be ready to pick while we're gone. :( Oh well, tomatoes are the only veggie/ fruit my neighbors like. They can have it.
The whole garden. I forgot to mention my spinach. It's doing well. I've harvested it once.