Friday, August 31, 2012

Chicken Salad with a Secret Ingredient

I love to eat chicken salad, but I am not a fan of mayo. I like the texture, though, and I have found a way to recreate it without having that mayo taste. The trick is to use Laughing Cow cheese. Do you know what I'm talking about?
 

This is my favorite flavor. It holds all the chicken pieces together without that overpowering flavor that mayo has. You can add celery or onions to this recipe, but I normally just stick to carrots. My mom even puts grapes and nuts in hers.
 
 

Chicken Salad

1 carrot

1 cooked chicken breast

2 Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedges (or cottage cheese)

salt and pepper

Peel and chop the carrot. Chop the chicken. Mix the chicken and carrot with the cheese. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (No one likes warm chicken salad.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bircher Muesli

Switzerland has been around since the 1300s. That's pretty impressive considering some countries have only been around for a few years. It has the only real democracy in the world. The people vote on everything. It's the closest place in the world to a direct democracy.
 
Swiss chocolate is known for around the world. I also heard that the Swiss are expert clock/ watch makers. Lastly, the Red Cross came from Switzerland. The next time someone saves your life by performing CPR, you can thank the Swiss.
 
When I think of muesli, I think of something like granola- oats with some dried fruit mixed in. This is not traditional muesli. The Swiss first made this delicious and healthy breakfast with only a small amount of oats compared to the amount of fruit.
 
 
 
BIRCHER MUESLI
serves one
1 tbsp  rolled oats
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp toasted almonds
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small apple
 
The night before, combine the oats and water. Let it sit until morning. Right before you are ready to eat, add the milk and lemon juice to the water and oat mixture. Grate the apple over top, and sprinkle on almonds.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flour Tortillas

Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language. (Hence the "flour tortillas" instead of "tortillas de harina".) Spanish and Kriol are more commonly spoken, though. Only four percent of the population speaks English as their primary language, but a lot of Belizeans know it. 46 percent of the people of Belize speak Spanish as their native language. 33% speak Kriol (an English based Creole language). There are also several variations of the Mayan language. I think that is cool since the Mayan society ended in about 900AD.

About a 300,000 people live in Belize. I would live there. Average highs in July are 80, and lows in January are 75. That is perfect weather, but I would miss it getting hot enough to swim. I need to find a place that never gets colder than 60, has days in the summer over 100, and the morning temperatures are around 65 every day. That would be perfect.


I prefer corn tortillas over flour. These tortillas were not easily foldable. They kind of broke apart when I stuffed them with the eggs. Maybe I didn't roll them out thin enough.




FLOUR TORTILLAS
2 cups flour
4 tsp Crisco
4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Add in water until a nice dough has formed; not too sticky, but not crumbly. Let it rest 20 minutes. Roll out VERY thin, and cook on a nonstick pan until brown spots start to form.

Serve with scrambled eggs.

Happy Bird Day Card

 
 

Corn and Edamame Succotash

My mom had succotash when we went to the Wave restaurant in Disney world. That was almost two years ago, and she still dreams of it. I tried to recreate it, and she said it came pretty close. Nothing can beat Mickey's cooking, though. Especially after you have been walking around the park all day and are exhausted and starving.
 
Succotash also can include tomatoes, onions, or red bell pepper. You can practically add any chopped vegetable (or vegetable tasting fruits) that you want. It just has to have corn and some type of bean to be considered succotash.
 

Corn and Edamame Succotash

1 1/2 cups corn kernels

1 cup shelled edamame

1 tbsp olive oil

1 slice of bacon

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon on a pan. Once the bacon is cooked, chop it up. Mix the corn, edamame, and bacon together. Pour the oil into a pan and preheat it on medium. Add all the vegetables to the pan and fry until well cooked.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pineapple No Bake Date Cookies

These no bakes will want you to take the next plane straight down to the tropics. They are fruity, chewy, and just plain good. I used sun- maid dried pineapple bites. You could add in some shredded coconut to give it an even more island feel.
 

 
 
 
Pineapple No Bake Date Cookie

2 c. dried pineapple

8 medjool dates

1 c. oatmeal
 
Blend the ingredients, form them into 32 small balls, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Cornmeal Omelet

I decided that enough Africa was enough. Today I went with Ecuador, and I'm glad that I did. I made a yummy cornmeal omelet. It was cheesy, and cooked to perfection. I hope you have the same results.
 
Here are some quick facts about Ecuador:
 
Population: a little over 15 million
Religion: 95% Roman Catholic
Life Expectancy: 74
Literacy: 91%
Unemployment: 14.1 %
Government: republic
 
There are 431 airports and two heliports in Ecuador. Just don't try to sail through Ecuador because most of the waterways aren't accessible. It is on the coast, though.
 
 
CORNMEAL OMELET
1/2 c. masa harina
2 eggs
2 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp oil
1/3 c. monterrey jack cheese
cilantro, to taste
salt, to taste

Mix the masa harina and one egg together with 2 tbsp cheese, onion, and seasonings. I also had to add a few tbsp of water to the mixture. Oil a pan and heat it to medium heat. Pour the batter into the pan. Beat the extra egg in a separate bowl. Pour the egg over the cooking cornmeal. Put the lid over the pan and cook until egg has set. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy warm.

Bandana Halter Top

 
This is my easiest sewing project yet. It only took about five stitches. I thought the results were cute, and it looks like something Harp might actually wear during the summer as a cover up or something.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Take a large bandana, and fold it in half diagonally. The top triangle is going to become the neck of the halter top.
  2. Fold the neck triangle part over three inches. Sew down the bottom.
  3. Thread a 24 inch long ribbon through the hole you just created by folding part of the triangle over. Sew the ribbon in place.
  4. Tie the ribbon around your neck, tie the other two tips of the traingle together in the back, and you have your shirt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cherry Bananacream

Cherries are  just plain fun. My favorite are the dark red (almost black) kind with pits. It's so fun to bite them off the stems. This recipe calls for pre pitted and stemless frozen cherries, but it's still just as much fun to make and eat.
 
 
 
 
 
Cherry Bananacream

1 c. frozen cherries

1 frozen banana

½ c. plain or vanilla yogurt

Churah Gerthe

The Gambia is another African country. Tomorrow is going to be Africa too. Sorry. I don't have that much time now that school has started. African countries are easy because they are primarily porridge.
 
The Gambia is named after the Gambia river that runs through it. About 1.7 million people live here. It's the tiny snake- like country that looks like it is being eaten by Senegal. Literacy rates are only 46%. I cannot imagine not being able to read. How sad!
 
Churah gerthe is a rice porridge with peanut butter mixed into it. It takes a long time for the water to be absorbed. I got impatient and had to microwave it. If you have enough time, it should work on the stove too.
 
 
 
CHURAH GERTHE
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/3 liters water
salt and sugar to taste
 
Bring the water, rice, and peanut butter to a boil. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Add the sugar to taste. Add a little milk to help it cool.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Canjeero

Somalia is yet another African country. It sticks out of the eastern part of the country, and looks kind of like a nose to me. There is no central government controlling all of Somalia. There has not been one since their civil war in 1991. That must be so chaotic to have a bunch of different declared governments/ no government in some areas in one country. They are planning on having an election some time this year. Let's see how it goes.
 
There are also modern day pirates off the coast of Somalia. They aren't the sword fighting, wooden legged pirates that say "aye" to everything. They are well armed. In 2011 they attacked 151 ships. I'd be terrified to get near one of these pirates.
 
 
I actually found a facebook group called Most People in Somalia Eat Canjeero for Breakfast. That must make it legitimate. At least let's hope it does. I think it turned out great, although I could not get the canjeero to get the swirly look. My second attempt looked more swirly, but I didn't get a picture of it.
 
 



CANJEERO
1/4 c. corn flour
1/4 c. sorghum flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp yeast
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water

Mix all the ingredients and soak overnight.
The next morning, heat a pan to medium heat. Ladle the batter in the pan. Use a swirling motion to spread the batter like a spiral on the pan. Cook covered until dry.


SOMALIAN TEA
1 cup boiling water
1 tea bag of black tea
ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves (pinch of each)
milk and sugar to taste

Soak the tea bag in the water for 5 minutes. Add seasonings, milk, and sugar. Enjoy!

Knitted Blanket

I made this blanket for the baby my family is adopting, but I have found a major flaw. Knitted blankets are full of holes. Little holes that little fingers would easily get stuck in. Oh well. It's still cute. I used the extra large loom to make it. I used all the pegs, but instead of finishing the circle like I would to make a hat, I doubled back around, leaving the tow sides unconnected. It used a whole ball of yarn, and it's super soft. I made it from special baby alpaca yarn that we got in Peru. It's the softest stuff on earth. Now all we need is the baby to go with it. Hopefully she's coming soon...
 

Walnut Milk

Walnut milk is like almond milk, but it tastes like walnuts. Who would have guessed? You can use it in breads, oatmeal, or anything you would use regular milk for. Maybe even cheese. I heard vegan cheese was made out of nuts. I wonder if you could make it out of walnut milk.
 
 

Walnut Milk

1 c. walnuts

7 c. water

Soak the walnuts overnight. Blend the soaked walnuts and water. Strain with a double cheesecloth to get the extra walnuts out. Keeps for 5 days in the fridge.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

La Bouillie

Chad is Sudan's western neighbor. 39% of the women in Sudan live in a polygamous household. (There are more males than females, but not that many more.) 47% of the population is 14 or under, and only 2.9% of the population is over 65. The median age is only 16. Life expectancy is 48. That means that my dad would almost be dead, and I would be older than most of the population.


Bouillie is french for porridge. Since both Senegal's and Chad's national language is French, it makes since that bouillie is what they call their breakfast recipes. Unlike Senegal's bouillie de farine, Chad includes peanut butter and cornmeal into its breakfast dish.

 
LA BOUILLIE
makes one bowl
4/3 c. water
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp corn flour
 
Boil one cup of water. Stir the peanut butter in with the other 1/3 cup of water, and set it aside.
Add the flour to the boiling water. Slowly stir in the peanut butter and water mixture.
Add the cornmeal. Stir until it's all boiled together, and most of the water has been absorbed. Add the lemon juice, and enjoy!

Easy Doll's Dress

After I made this dress for Harper, I had some extra fabric leftover. I thought it would be cute to make a matching dress for one of Harper's dolls.
 
 
Sorry for the bad pictures and the disheveled looking doll. I couldn't find a good angle to take a picture of the dress. As for the doll, it's one of Sydney's. She gave her dolls a lot of love when she was little. All that love does wonders to plastic hair and stuffed bodies.

 
I followed the same pattern that I did for Harper's dress, but made it smaller. Find out how to make it here.

Fried Edamame

This simple recipe was a big hit in my family. I made some for myself, and ended up sharing with everyone. I used frozen edamame that I steamed in the microwave before I fried it. Enjoy!
 

Fried Edamame

1 cup cooked edamame

1 tbsp oil

Heat a pan to medium heat. Peel the edamame, discarding the shells. Add the oil and edamame to the pan and fry until slightly browned.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tameya

Sudan is considered to be part of the middle east, and it's located in northern Africa. Just last July (2011) South Sudan split off from Sudan, and now it is its own country. Sudan lost almost 240,000 square miles of land and 8 million people. Despite this, it is still the 3rd largest country in Africa.

Tameya is a falafel-type bean patty common in Sudan. It is made out of fava beans instead of chickpeas. It's served with pita and tahini. (Tahini is kind of like peanut butter, but it is made out of sesame seeds. I thought it was kind of gross, but some people eat it on bread with jelly like a PB&J. I don't picture myself ever doing this.)




TAMEYA
3 cups of dry fava beans
2 tsp fenugreek seed (I subbed mustard seed. The Internet told me that was okay.)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup parsley
1 tbsp coriander
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 c. sesame seeds (We didn't have any, so I had to do without.)

Soak the beans and fenugreek overnight. In the morning, drain and peel them.
This is what the peeled beans look like. The brown skin comes off pretty easily, but it's very time consuming. I wonder if you can buy already peeled fava beans.

Blend all the ingredients together to a paste. Strain the excess moisture out of the paste, and form it into small patties. Coat each patty with sesame seeds, and fry them in oil for 2 minutes on each side. Serve with tahini and pita.

My mom bought some tahini the other day to make hummus. (She also bought pita for the tzatziki sauce she made. My mom has been in a Greek mood lately.) I was so excited that we actually had some tahini to try until I put the stuff in my mouth. It was like rancid peanut butter.
 
 
On a completely random note that has nothing to do with Sudan, today is national banana split day. I know it's a little late, but my banana split smoothie would be a great way to celebrate this awesome day.

Banana Microwave Muffin

A lot of things don't taste good when they are made in the microwave. I used to think that muffins were one of these things until I tried to microwave one. It came out well, and tasted great. You just have to watch out that you don't overcook it. It will dry out.
 

Banana Microwave Muffin

1/2 c. oatmeal

¼ c. whole wheat flour

1 banana

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 c. almond milk

½ tsp baking powder

 

Combine all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl or mug. Mix well. Microwave 3-4 minutes, or until done in the center.

Pointed Toe Stocking vs Round Toe


 
I don't know which I like better: pointed toe stockings or round toe stockings. The round toe is easier to stuff things into, but the pointed toe looks more traditional. The pointed toe looks better with felt, and the round toe looks good with patterned or cotton fabric. I love the snowman fabric my mom gave me for Christmas last year. I got the felt from an old Santa pillow that I murdered recycled.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bananacream

I told you I'd post a recipe about bananacream. This is filling dessert bananacream that can also become a yummy breakfast in a snap. All it is is peanut butter, a banana, and a little cocoa powder. It sounds like a good breakfast accompaniment to me. It sounds good for lunch too. And dinner. If only their weren't so many other bananacream recipes to try...
 
Sorry the picture looks gross. It really does taste good even though it looks questionable.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bananacream

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 frozen banana

2 tbsp cocoa powder

sugar, to taste

Blend all the ingredients until creamy. You might need to let the banana thaw out a bit before you try to blend it.

Maizena

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, but I'm going to consider it separate for the purpose of my project. They have their own culture, after all. They should get their own special breakfast. 3.7 million people live in the 3,500 square miles that make up Puerto Rico. There is one main island with a bunch of little islands surrounding it. Only a few of the smaller islands are inhabited year round.
 
Maizena is a Puerto Rican breakfast custard. You can actually buy maizena packets that are used kind of like grits packets. I just used cornstarch. Maizena does mean cornstarch.
 
 
MAIZENA
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups milk
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
 
Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk. Pour the mixture in a pan, and cook on medium-high heat. Stir the whole time it's cooking, or it will burn or get clumpy. This kills your arm, but it's worth it. Continue to stir for 25 minutes or until the mixture is thick.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Birthday Cake Gift Holder

This is a hot chocolate tin with a glue stick candle. Just wrap up the hot chocolate tin and glue stick with paper and decorate.

Ābolu pankūkas

Latvia is a European country that has been under both Soviet and German control in the last century. Even before this they were controlled by Russia (before it was the Soviet Union). Now they are free, and the Latvians make up about 60% of their 25,000 square mile country.
 
I was surprised to find that $1 USD only makes .55 Latvia Lati. The Latvian economy is one of the fastest growing in Eastern Europe. They make a lot of buses and vans. That is kind of random, but it was listed as one of their major industries.
 
No matter what state the Latvian economy is in or how many times they have lost their freedom, Latvians sure do love their ice hockey. It is the most popular sport. They held the Men's World Ice Hockey Championship in 2006. I don't know anything about ice hockey, but Latvia must be a good country for it. July temperatures only get up to 60 degrees. I wear a coat and jeans when it's 60 out.
 
My Latvian apple pancakes were okay. They were more like crepes with crunchy bites of apple. Sorry that my picture kind of stinks. My mom had my camera, so I had to take the picture with the webcam. (Harp started kindergarten today, and my mom took the camera to take pictures of her classroom.)
 
 

Ābolu pankūkas
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped apple
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp sugar

Mix the apple chunks with the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add in the flour, salt, and milk. Stir in the apples. The batter should be about the consistency of crepes. Cook on a skillet with a little oil until both sides are golden.
Serve with honey instead of syrup.

Bananacream

Pinned Image
It's smooth and creamy, but not too sweet. It has the texture of soft serve, but does not taste like milk. What could this amazing food be?

BANANACREAM!!

It's the best! All you have to do is blend up a slightly thawed frozen banana. It's as simple as that. Then your imagination can go crazy. You can add toppings, flavors, syrup, or whatever else comes to mind. I've experimented with a lot of different flavors. I promise to post recipes soon.

Here are some of my favorites:

Bananacream also has many other uses. It's a great topping for pies, pancakes, and it makes great bananacream sandwiches. You can do anything with this amazing stuff.

Now go enjoy a big bowl of bananacream and see how awesome it really is.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Arepa and Avena

Colombia's name came from Christopher Columbus. It's highest peak, Pico Cristobal Colon, is also named after Columbus. That is the Spanish version of his name. There are 15 volcanoes in Colombia. It must be on a fault line or something because there are earthquakes all the time.
 
Colombia has many festivals. In fact, there are thirteen in the month of August. These people must like to party.
 
Arepa are supposed to be made out of masarepa, but I could not find that ANYWHERE. I had to use masa harina instead, so I know they didn't turn out the way they were supposed to. They were delicious, though. I stuffed mine with mozzarella cheese. The oatmeal (avena) smoothie was okay. I don't really like milk, so that might have been why it wasn't my favorite. 
 
 
AREPA
 
 
 
1 cup masarepa
pinch of salt
1 cup boiling water
 1 tsp oil
 
Mix the water and masarepa. Let it rest covered for 10 minutes. Form the dough into 6 balls. Flatten the balls to form 1 inch thick disks that are 3 inches in diameter. Saute in the oil for 6 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Cut in half, and stuff with your desired fillings.

 
AVENA
2 cups milk
1/4 cup oatmeal
cinnamon and brown sugar, to taste

Boil the oatmeal in the milk. Let it cool off, add the cinnamon and sugar, and blend the mixture all together. Chill in the fridge for a few hours. Enjoy cold.

Buttoned Shut Card

 A friend of ours just graduated from college, so I made him a card. Just fold 4.5 inches of a 12 inch long card over. Fold the remaining 3 inches over the top of that. Glue on a button. It's as simple as that!

Avocado Grits

Avocado and grits. How could you go wrong? These thick, creamy grits are to die for. The avocado gives it a buttery texture, and the milk makes it even thicker. If you like thin, watery grits (like my dad), add more milk or sub the milk with water.
 
 

 

Avocado Grits

½ c. grits

1 c. water

1 c. milk

½ c. cheese

1 avocado

1 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
salt, to taste

Combine all the ingredients except for the avocado in a pot. Bring it to a boil, and then turn it down to med- low heat. Let it simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Peel, pit, and mash avocado. Stir it into grits. Cook on med-low until thick.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuwo Gero

With 250 different ethnic groups, over 556,000 square miles, and 36 states, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. One of every four people living in Africa is from Nigeria. That's pretty impressive. There are about 170 million people in the country which is smaller than Alaska. Only 700,000 people live in Alaska.

Tuwo Gero is millet porridge. I enjoyed it, but it was pretty bland. This recipe makes a lot of porridge. I halved it and could barely eat it all. This should probably serve 5 people. Enjoy!

By the way, sorry if my posts get a little short. School has started and that combined with babysitting takes up a lot of my time. Somewhere I need to add in some time for arts and crafts. I need to make some cards...


TUWO GERO
1/2 liter water
150 grams of millet

Bring the water to a boil and add the millet. Simmer on medium heat, stirring often until the millet thickens. You may have to add extra water a couple of times.

Cinnamon Soynut Squares and Soymilk

Have you ever tried soynuts before? They are roasted soybeans, but I do not think they taste like edamame at all. You can eat them plain as snacks, make soymilk, or make these delicious soynut squares.




Cinnamon and Soynut Square
½ banana
½ c. oatmeal
3 tbsp soy nuts
¼ c. pitted dates
1-2 tsp cinnamon
Blend all the ingredients. Press the dough into a 4X4” dish. Freeze for1 hour until solid. Makes 16 squares.



I've been experimenting with a lot of different types of milk. Why not try soy milk? It takes awhile if you want to peel the skins off the soybeans. (I did because it makes it taste better.) This is optional, though. Not doing this will cut the time significantly.

Soymilk
1 c. soy nuts
4 c. water
Soak the soy nuts overnight. In the morning, rinse the nuts, and peel them if you want to. Blend the soy nuts with 4 cups of water. Strain off the remnants with a double cheesecloth.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Adjaruli Khachapuri

Today my breakfast travels took me to Georgia. Not Georgia the state where I just so happened to be born, but the unitary semi- presidential republic country of Georgia located in the South Caucasus. Wow. That was a mouthful.

The Georgians are the primary ethnic group of Georgia, they speak the Georgian language, and they write with the 33 letter Georgian alphabet. Most of them belong to the Georgian Orthodox Church. Their national anthem is the Anthem of Georgia. The currency is the Georgian Iari. They must love their country to name everything after it.

Khachapuri is a yummy Georgian filled bread. It's one of the staple foods of Georgia, and their are many variations. The one I chose has a cheese mixture with a cracked egg on top. It's made with baking powder instead of yeast, but the recipe I used said it was traditional.







Adjaruli Khachapuri
250 ml milk
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups suluguni cheese (I subbed mozzarella.), grated
1 tbsp plain yogurt

Whisk together milk, 1 egg, baking powder, salt, and oil. Stir in the flour. Knead, and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the covered dough sit for 15 minutes. Beat one egg, yogurt, and 1 cup of cheese together.

Divide the dough into 3 balls and form them into a boat shape. Put 1/3 of the cheese mixture in each of the hollows of the boats. Add a few tablespoons of grated cheese over each boat. Crack an egg on top, making sure not to break the yolk.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let's Just Call it Fudge

I'm not really sure what this is or what to call it, but I really enjoyed it. It had the texture of fudge, so that's what I'm calling it. You can either eat it completely frozen or a little thawed. Both ways are great.




"Fudge" Recipe

banana
1 tbsp sugar
¼ c. pitted dates
2 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
½ c. oatmeal

Combine the peanut butter, banana, sugar, cocoa powder, dates, and 2 tbsp water. Microwave 30 seconds, stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds. Add in the oatmeal. Stir it all up really well, and spread it on a square surface. Freeze for 1 hour.




Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Garden Failures

I should really call this blog Chandler’s Gardening Failures. Today I found the mother of all okras still attached to the plant. Somehow I had missed it. It’s at least 10 times the size that it should be. I hope it’s still edible. Normally okra gets gross when it’s too big.
I also picked the first tomato today. After the constant war with the evil horned tomato worm things, I was surprised there were any tomatoes left. This particular tomato was at the bottom of the plant, surrounded by leaves and who knows what else. I could only see the corner of it, and I had to stick my hand down into the pit of unknown to get it out. I risked my life picking this tomato and guess what I found. A caterpillar had gotten to it. Ugh! My family better get over themselves and cut off the gross part. If they throw the tomato away, I don’t think I’ll be able to take it. The tomatoes were supposed to be Sydney’s to take care of. Why am I the one stuck massacring the horned beasts and braving spider webs and beetles? I’m allergic to tomatoes for goodness sake!
Alright, my rant is over. I have a new respect for organic farmers. I myself am about to pull out the poisons and pesticides. I’ve had enough.




It's the next horror film: Attack of the Giant Okra. Will the unsuspecting southerner choke to death on the nasty, way too hard okra, or will the gardener get some sense and check her garden better? Find out when Attack of the Giant Okra comes to a theater near you.

Panino Bread


Italy is known for its art, culture, cuisine, and beautiful landscape. Most of Italy is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. Tourism makes up the largest part of Italy’s economy, and it is easy to see why. Who would not want to visit such a beautiful and historic place? It’s ranked number 5 on the most visited nations in the world. 46 million tourists go there a year. This is well over 2/3 of the population.

Most Italians are Roman Catholic. Catholicism has deep roots in Italy that started with the Romans. Inside of Italy sits Vatican City, home of the pope. 821 people live in the 109 acres of Vatican City, and it is considered an independent nation.

Beside religion, art makes up a lot of the culture of Italy. From the Colosseum to Mona Lisa, Italy is rich in the arts. Many artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, and Michaelangelo come from Italy, and so does Dante, the famous poet. The Greeks and Romans also contributed a lot to the culture and art of Italy. They made buildings and statues that still stand today.

Most good cheeses (in my opinion) came from Italy. These include parmesan, asiago, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and Romano. There are over 400 Italian cheeses. These are just my favorite. Although pasta did not come from Italy, they certainly have improved it. Every region has different types of sauce. In Naples, it’s red sauce, northern Italy has white sauce, and Genoa has pesto.
Breakfast in Italy is simple- bread and coffee. Here is my attempt at a rustic Italian loaf. This bread has a super crunchy exterior, and a moist, chewy interior. It was really yummy, and worth the lengthy preparation.

PANINO BREAD
3/4 cup bread flour (I used 1/4 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat. If you do this, add a tsp of vital wheat gluten.)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp yeast
3 ounces cool water

Combine all the ingredients until a sticky dough is formed. Cover the dough, and let it sit at room temperature for 12 hours.  (Make it the evening before you plan to cook it.)
The next morning, form the dough into a ball. Dust a tea towel with cornmeal. Wrap up the dough in the towel, and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour.
After an hour, preheat the oven to 450. Bake the bread for 35 minutes.

Baked Cinnamon Oatmeal


You can do practically anything with oatmeal. One of my favorite midnight snacks are these baked oatmeal cake things. You can make practically any flavor imaginable. I've made chocolate, apple raisin, chocolate peanut butter, and a ton of others. I'll give you the recipes for those later. Today I'm sharing my baked cinnamon oatmeal recipe.

When I made baked oatmeal for the first time, I looked up a bunch of recipes to find the perfect balance of wet and dry ingredients. The simple formula is this: 1/4 cup liquid, 1/4 cup binder (banana, applesauce, ect.), and 1/2 cup oatmeal. Have fun experimenting with your own flavors.



Baked Cinnamon Oatmeal
¼ c. milk
½ c. oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
¼ c. apple sauce
Mix ingredients. Pour the dough into a greased ramekin. Bake 25 minutes at 360.