Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ahjus küpsetatud kohupiimasaiad

Estonia has been occupied by Russia off and on for the last century. Germany even took control of it during World War Two for a time. Estonia has been officially free since 1991, and they have established a parliamentary republic. They were actually the first country to use online political voting.
The capital of Estonia is Tallinn. It's the oldest capital in norther Europe, and it was put on a map by an Arab cartographer in 1154. He called it Kaleweny. It still has the same streets as it did in medieval times. It is also home of the Christmas tree. People would dance around the tree and then burn it as a Christmas tradition. This practice dates back to 1441, beating the French tradition by 80 years.  (In Germany people did decorate trees prior to this time during the winter, but they were not specifically in celebration of Christmas.)
Estonia has more spas per capita than any other country. They have over 40 spas and 1.3 million people. They also love their saunas. They have mobile saunas you can take with you on vacation, floating saunas, and saunas in buses. That's a lot of steaming.
Ahjus küpsetatud kohupiimasaiad literally means oven baked cheese bread. The type of bread called for in the recipe is called sai, or white bread. The Estonian word for bread refers to rye bread, not all types of bread. My cheese covered sai was delicious. You can also make it with cottage cheese instead of ricotta.

Ahjus küpsetatud kohupiimasaiad
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1 tsp sour cream
a few drops vanilla extract
2 tsp sugar
2 slices of bread

Whisk together the cheese, egg, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Spread it onto the bread. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Thanks a Bunch!

I copied this saying off a thank you card that I got at a birthday party. I thought it was cute, and worthy of recycling.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Baked Oatmeal

 Chocolate, cream cheese, and oatmeal? Yep. It makes a good combo. You can't taste the cream cheese, but it gives it a certain texture and saltiness. You could even try throwing in some chocolate chips for a more chocolaty flavor. It makes a super rich breakfast or a yummy dessert.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Baked Oatmeal
1 cup oatmeal (I used ½ cup quick and ½ cup old fashioned.)
¼ cup milk
3 tbsp cocoa powder
¼ cup pitted dates
2 tbsp sugar
2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp baking powder
salt (I don’t add any, but you may want to. The cream cheese makes it pretty salty.)
Mix the baking powder, sugar, oats, and cocoa powder together in a bowl. Blend all the other ingredients together until it looks like milk. Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Bake in a 3 cup baking dish at 350 for 20 minutes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kitty Cat Mask

One of the families I babysit for is obsessed with playing this game called kitty. We crawl around on the floor and either eat cat food, save the world, or run from evil witches. It depends on their mood. (Last time I was an evil kitty who lived with the bad queen kitty.)
Anyway, I thought the kids would enjoy making their own kitty mask so they could dress their part. Harper made one too since she came with me. (My parents went out on their once a year date.)
It was so easy to put together. I found a cat mask cutout online, printed it out on cardstock, and attached strings to keep it on their heads. Then I let them color.

 This is Harper's masks. She decided to go for the wild kitty look.

The mask completes her Hello Kitty pj look. She is ready to play.


The Greeks have been leaders in education and politics. They were the first people group to have democracy, and they invented a form of writing that later developed into our alphabet. They also were the inventors of the Olympics. They also invented the yo-yo. This is the second oldest toy in the world beat only by dolls.

Most Greeks now identify themselves as Orthodox Christians. The constitution recognizes Greece as an Orthodox country, but they give people religious freedom. Greece is one of the most religious countries in all of Europe. Before Christianity was introduced and the Greeks (the New Testament is written in Greek) learned about the one true God, they were polytheistic. Greek mythology is really interesting to me. (Except for the boring epics we have to read in school.) The way the people viewed their 'gods' and all their stories of heroes like Hercules and Achilles are so cool. I don't see how anyone could believe (or want to believe) in the selfish and prideful gods like Hermes and Zeus, but they sure do make good legends.

Greece is one of the only places where their traditional dance is still a part of every day life. It's not just some ancient form of art, but something that the people actually take part in. My sister has a Greek friend, and she takes dance lessons. It's really cool to watch.

I like Greek food. Gyros (pronounced yeero, not guy-ro or ji-ro) are amazing. So is lamb and couscous and pita. My mom and sisters love tzatziki sauce. My dad does not like the flaming cheese. I think it's amazing. Unfortunately, Greeks don't eat gyros for breakfast. I found that breakfasts are usually bread or pastries. I chose spanakopita. My spanakopita doesn't look right because my phyllo dough didn't turn out right. You should just buy yours and not try to make it. It's a hassle. Or you may be a better cook than me. (Which is probably 95% of the world. The other 5% are completely clueless in the kitchen.) In that case your phyllo dough will come out perfectly. Another problem may have been that I tried to reduce the recipe. I'll give you the whole recipe.

I think it looks like a chicken. A spinach and cheese stuffed chicken. At least my filling turned out right.
4 cups chopped spinach
1 chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil plus 2 tbsp
2 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough

Preheat the oven to 350. Saute the onions and garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the spinach and parsley.
Mix the eggs and cheese together in a small bowl. Stir in the spinach and onion mixture.
Lay down one sheet of phyllo dough on your baking pan. Spread oil over the top and lay another sheet down on top of it. Spread this sheet with oil too. Repeat the process twice more so that you have 4 layers of dough.
Spread the cheese mixture over the oiled dough. Fold up the sides of the dough on top of the cheese. Place another sheet of dough on top of the mixture, spread it with oil, and do this with three more sheets of dough. You know have a total of eight layers of dough and one layer of cheese mixture. Tuck the dough hanging off the sides under to seal. Bake for 40 minutes.

Fake Happy Meal

I remember going to McDonald's as a child. Both times that I went I was freaked out at how nasty the play set was and how gross the food tasted, but it was still fun. I guess I was a weird child.
I thought it would be fun to recreate a happy meal, but make it with strange ingredients. The "chicken" nuggets are cauliflower, the fries are baked polenta, and the apple slices are apple slices. (What else looks like an apple?) I thought it was cute. The cauliflower actually was crunchy like a chicken nugget, and the polenta tasted way better than any McDonald's fries I've ever had.

Polenta Fries

1/3 cup cornmeal

1 cup water

pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients together and pour onto a square plate. Microwave 2 minutes. Let the plate and the polenta cool off. Cover and put in the microwave for at least an hour. (I like to freeze it a little, so that it’s easier to cut. Just don’t freeze it too much, or you won’t be able to get a knife through it.) Once cooled, cut out into rectangles. Broil for 10 min.



Cauliflower Nuggets

1 cup cauliflower florets


Wash the cauliflower and dry completely. Sprinkle with salt and bake 25 min at 400 degrees.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Soupy Oatmeal

Oman's traditional clothing have cool names. The dishdasha is the long gown worn by men. It's usually white, has long sleeves, and is often accompanied by a turban. Women wear a dress over a pair of sirwals (trousers) and a lihaf (headdress). These items are normally colorful and worn with jewelery.

Some areas of Oman experience no rain all year. Others can get up to 20 inches. Temperatures peak at 122 degrees, and don't drop below 65. It's no wonder that there is a shortage of water with such a hot climate and so little rainfall. This poses a big threat to farmers who need 94% of the water used for their crops to survive.

I don't know what they call this dish in Oman, but my research pointed to soupy oatmeal as being a common breakfast dish. With way more milk than oatmeal, it certainly was soupy. I wonder if they really do eat this in Oman. When I think of the Middle East, I don't normally think of oats. They do grow them there, though. Long ago ancestral forms of the oat grew in the Near East.

Soupy Oatmeal
serves 2
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup oatmeal
sugar and cardamom to taste

Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes with the lid on. Serve warm.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


There are over 1,000 castles in the 7,827 square miles of Slovenia. That's about one castle every 7 square miles. I'd pass by 4 castles just driving to school in the morning. Some other interesting facts are that the Slovenians decorate their beehives. They paint beautiful scenes on them. It makes me want to become a bee just so I could live in a cool house like that. In all of Slovenia, there are over 9,500 beekeepers and 165,000 beehives.
Slovenia is a relatively young country. They gained their independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. (That's just four years and three days before I was born.) They have a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. There is a president and prime minister.
One last thing I found interesting about Slovenia (almost as cool as the beehives) are the dormice in Slovenia. Who cares about doormice you may ask? What is a doormouse? They are rodents. According to the Slovenians, they are tasty rodents. The Slovenians hunt for doormice like people in the US hunt for deer. There are even four dormice associations. I can't really picture someone chasing after a mouse with a shotgun.
Visit Slovenia where there are castles on every corner, beautiful homes for beehives, and people shooting up rodents.

1 cup cornmeal
2 cups water

Bring the water to a boil with some salt. Add the cornmeal so that it makes a lump in the middle of the pot. Turn the heat down. Make a 1 inch hole in the center of the lump. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain off the excess water and crumble with a fork.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Black Pumpkin Card

Gallo Pinto and Pinolillo

Nicaragua has a very strange postal addressing system. (For all of you who don't care about the postal system and are perfectly content letting it go to waste while you text away on your cell phones, get off my blog. I'm just teasing, but I am a strong advocate for mailing letters the old fashioned way.) Nicaragua's address system has no street names. How in the world are you supposed to find places? They have directions based off of landmarks. An address may be one block upstairs (Upstairs is east. The sun rises up from the east, so they say upstairs instead of east in Nicaragua.) from the place where the church was supposed to be built. It sounds interesting, doesn't it? The only problem would be if you're trying to find a place and are not familiar with the area. I would get so lost in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua's lake, Lake Nicaragua, is the second largest lake in Latin America. (The largest is Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. My friend Alison lives near there. ) Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake with sharks. The earlier explorers first thought it was a sea until they tasted the water and found that it wasn't salty. At the deepest part, Lake Nicaragua is almost 84 feet.

Gallo pinto is the national dish of Nicaragua, and is often served for breakfast. It's also very popular in Costa Rica where they call it pinto. Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans argue over who first came up with the dish. It is most likely that it was the Nicaraguans. Gallo pinto means spotted rooster. (Hispanics like naming their food after roosters. Pico de gallo means rooster beak.)

Gallo Pinto
1 cup long grain cooked rice
2/3 cup canned black beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp oil
dash of coriander seed
dash of garlic powder
dash of salt

Heat the oil on a pan set to medium heat. Add the onions and cook until sauteed. Add the beans and bean juice. Stir for one minute. Add the rice and simmer for 5 minutes. Toss in the seasonings and serve.

1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tbsp masa harina
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Whisk all the ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight. Stir well before drinking.

Oatmeal Oven Pancake

Oven pancakes are lighter and fluffier than pancakes cooked on the stove. I have always liked oven pancakes better, and this one was very delicious. I think oat flour would work better than oatmeal, but I couldn't make oat flour since our blender was out of commission. We just got the new one in the mail this afternoon. I already used it, and I'm so happy to have it back.

According to my list of national holidays, today is national pancake day. If you'd rather stick to a traditional pancake for the occasion, I have recipes for all my other pancakes here.
Oatmeal Oven Pancake

½ c. oatmeal

2 egg whites

¼ tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

3 tbsp sugar

¼ c. flour

½ c. milk

Whisk all ingredients together. Pour into a greased ramekin. Bake for 20 minutes at 400, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Christmas Tea Bag Package

My friend is in love with tea pots and china. For Christmas, I though it would be cute to make a tea themed stocking for her. I made this little package as a stocking stuffer and stuck a pepermint tea bag inside. I was so excited that I had the tea pot paper and it worked out well.

  1. A is the top flap it should be less than half as long as your tea bag. C and D should be the same size. Make all four sides of them 1/4 an inch than your tea bag.
  2. Fold b and b along line. Rub glue on them, flip d over to cover c completely, and press down. The 2 b sides should be glued to d.
  3. Make 2 slits 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch down from the top of a. Fold a over.
  4. Loop ribbon through the 2 slits in a and tie the ends together to form a bow.
Sorry for my confusing instructions. I hope you can figure it out. I'm not too great with describing how to make things.


Guyana is one of the four countries in South America that isn't completely Hispanic. The official language is English, and it shares a lot of cultural elements with Caribbean countries. It's culture contains a lot of Indian and African influences. (Hence the roti, a flat bread similar to flat breads in India.) 28% of Guyana is Hindu. 44% of the population is of East Indian ancestry.
The biggest city in Guyana is Georgetown. It's also the capital, and holds almost 1/4 of the population. Guyana is also home to Kaieteur Falls. The falls are 741 feet high. Niagara Falls is only 167 feet high to give you some perspective.
My  roti turned out a little thick, but it didn't crack. (Cracking roti is something to be embarrassed of.) I thought it was really good. It does taste a lot like Middle Eastern and East Asian breads that I have made before.
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Cover with a damp towel for 10 minutes. Roll up the dough into a fat log and break off into two or three pieces. Roll the pieces into balls, and flatten them. Cover the circles with a damp towel for 10 minutes. Roll out as thin as you can and cook on a skillet until brown spots begin to form.

Almond Date Cookie

Here's a recipe for my favorite cookie ever. My mom said it was amazing when I gave her some to try. They are chewy and delicious when you eat them straight out of the oven. I've never had one cold before (They don't make it for more than five minutes once out of the oven.), but I'm sure they are just as delicious.

Almond Date Cookie

makes 1 dozen cookies

12 (about a cup) Medjool dates
1 ½ cups oatmeal

¾ cup toasted almonds
1 ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 large banana
3 tbsp olive oil


Soak the dates in water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the almonds and oatmeal until they form a powder. Drain the dates and blend them as well. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Smash onto a stone and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  


Monday, September 24, 2012

Green Checkered Pumpkin Card

It's fall already, and I'm beginning to feel it in the sudden drop in temperature. I was in a particularly fall-ish mood today, and threw together this pumpkin card. I hope you can be inspired to create better fall card. Looking at other people's cards always puts me in the card making mood, and I hope to do the same for you.


Finland is a cold place. A third of its land is located above the Arctic Circle, and it's covered in snow from December until April. Completely covered. Here it snows from December to April, but it doesn't always stick, and there are days in between, often weeks, with no snow. Finland's winter temperatures are on average between 16 and 27 degrees. In Lapland, it can get down to -58. (I don't even think that's legal.) The summer can be 50 degrees, and never gets above the high 70s. One consolation, though, is that the sun is visible through the day and night during the summer.
It's no surprise that reindeer racing is a common sport. With all that snow, what else could you do? Almost everyone has a sauna in Finland. These are traditional Finnish steam baths. I've seen a sauna before, but I was too young to go in it. One day I'll visit Finland just to use a sauna.
There are some other cool things that come along with living in Finland. The people are free to ski, camp, pick wild fruits, fish, and swim anywhere they want as long as they don't harm anything. They can skate on any pond they wish to. How nice is that? Mothers get two years of maternity leave, and families get cash or a maternity pack when they have a baby. (They are paid to have kids.) Every Thursday everyone in the whole country eats pea soup for lunch. I thought that was interesting. They also take take the entire month of July off of work to spend time in the country in summer houses. Lastly, crime is low in Finland, the standard of living is very high, and they drink more coffee than any other people in the world.
Are you ready to move to Finland now? The cold weather doesn't seem too bad after all. The only downside to all these awesome things is that taxes in Finland are extremely high. That's why both parents generally work, and that summer vacation is really needed.
Breakfast in Finland includes coffee (duh) and porridge or bread. I chose to make uunipuuro, a porridge made of barley. It takes a long time to cook, but I thought it was pretty cool how such a small amount of barley expanded during its five hours spent in the oven.

serves 2
1/4 cup pearled barley
1 cup water
2 cups milk
pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a baking dish that holds 4 cups. Bake at 250 degrees for 5 hours. (I woke up at 1:15 am to put it in the oven so that it'd be done in time for school. You could just make it for lunch.)

Fresh Corn Bread

How do you make your corn bread.
Some people make it with sugar (Yankees).
Some people make it with cornmeal and oil.
Now you can make it with real corn. Straight fresh off the cob. Yummy! I'm not a corn fan, but I like corn bread. Putting corn kernels into the recipe made it light, fluffy, and moist. Putting it into the ramekin made it thick.

Fresh Corn Bread
1 corn on the cob
½ cup cornmeal
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
¼ c. buttermilk
1 tbsp melted butter
¼ tsp salt
Cut the kernels off the corn cob. Process half of them in a food processor until creamy. Mix together all the ingredients. Bake in a sprayed ramekin at 350 for 30 minutes.

Look how thick it is!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Overnight Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal

Overnight Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal

2/3 c. milk

1 banana

1 tbsp carob powder

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1/3 c. water

1/3 + ¼ c. oatmeal

1 tbsp chia seed

Mash up the banana. Whisk 1/3 c. oatmeal, milk, water, chia seeds, banana, carob powder, and cocoa powder  together well. Refrigerate overnight. Add ¼ c. oatmeal the next morning and microwave 1-2 minutes.

Orange Bird Card

I don't know what kind of bird looks like this, but I thought it was cute. It was all made using circle and oval cutters. I love those things.

Aijet Beythat

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. The ruling family is called the House of Saud. More than 15,000 people belong to this family, but only a couple of thousand actually have any power. Still, that's one big family and a lot of people with high positions. The head of this house is the king of Saudi Arabia, and he is extremely powerful. The only thing that limits his power are the laws set up by the Islamic religion.

Women in Saudi Arabia have little to no power. They have to wear an abaya in public and sit in separate areas than men. They are often forced to marry as young as ten. I'm so glad that I can live in a country where I can make my own decisions. And wear pants.

Breakfast this morning was surprisingly good. I didn't think the combinations of seasonings would go together well, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Aijet Beythat
2 hard boiled eggs*
1 tbsp butter
Peel the boiled eggs. Prick them. Put the butter in a pan and heat it to low heat. Brown the eggs in the oil, and dust them with the spices.
How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs
 Put your eggs into a pot and fill it with water so that it covers the eggs by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, remove it from the heat. Cover and let the eggs sit for 18 minutes. Drain the water out of the pot and fill it with cold water. Toss some ice cubes in, and let it sit until the eggs are cooled.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paper Elf Decoration

What you need:
a skin- tone piece of cardstock paper
green card stock paper
white cardstock paper
black card stock paper
circle cutter
hole punch
Cut out a large circle from your skin colored paper. Draw a mouth and nose. Punch out two pieces of white paper with the hole punch. Draw dots on to each of them and glue them in place to be the eyes.
Cut out two tear dropped shaped pieces from the skin toned paper. These are your ears. Glue them to the back of the circle so that the point faces up.
Cut out a strip of white paper about one inch wide so that it is longer than the width of the head. Round off the ends. Cut out a bent looking triangle from the green paper. Glue the white strip on the bottom, and glue a circle of white paper to the end. Stick your hat on top of the elf's head and you're finished.
This elf would make a great item for cards, scrapbooks, or glue string onto it to make an ornament.


South Africa is home to 9,600 different plant species. 70% of these plants are only found in South Africa. Table Mountain (one of the oldest mountains in the world) holds over 1,500 species of plants. That's more than all of the United Kingdom! With all these plants, it's no wonder that South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.

Electricity in South Africa is really cheap. They produce 2/3 of the electricity in Africa. That's not all they produce. The world's deepest diamond mine is in South Africa too. it's 11,749 feet deep. It's the world's leader in mining and minerals.

South Africa also has the world's hardest cookie. Beskuits, or rusks, just about crack your teeth off. They smelt good baking all night while I was trying to sleep. I was a bit disappointed by the taste, though.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400. Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix like you would biscuits.
Pat the dough into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 4" X 2" inch rectangles. Bake 25 min at 400 degrees. Pile on a baking sheet and keep in a 200 degree oven for 6-10 hours to dry. Serve with tea or coffee to dip them into. (Especially if you don't want to break your teeth.)


Polenta is something that I've wanted to try to make for a long time. It's basically cornmeal that has been boiled, cooled, and fried or baked. I just never get around to making it because whenever I made cornmeal porridge, I want to eat it hot. I found that it's worth the wait to let it cool, though. Polenta is yummy. Try it, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Even if you don't like it, just rolling it out and cutting it into shapes is fun. I don't have a picture, but I made stars too.


½ c. yellow cornmeal

1 c. water

¼  tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic

1 tsp olive oil


Bring the water to a boil and whisk in the cornmeal. Add the salt and garlic. Bring the heat down to a simmer until all the water has been absorbed and it’s thick. Spread out about ½ an inch thick on a cutting board and put it in the fridge until it’s cool. Once cooled, take out the polenta and cut it into shapes with a cookie cutter. Preheat a pan on medium heat and add the oil. Fry the polenta until browned on both sides.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mali is an Western African country. Temperatures can get up to 140 degrees, and almost 65% of the land is desert. Mali's National Independence Day is tomorrow. They gained their freedom from France in 1960, and tomorrow is the day they officially became Mali.

Timbuktu is a city in Mali. When I was younger, I remember hearing about Timbuktu in The Aristocats. Later on, I learned that it used to be the center of education. There were lots of scholars, and trade was important. I don't know about you, but I love to say Timbuktu.

Right now I'm reading The Epic of Sundiata. It is a story about a king of Mali. The story has been kept up by a Malian griot. Griots play a large role in Mali culture. They used to be the men who kept record of the history and traditions of Mali. Now they're mostly just musicians. At one time, though, they were even more important than the king.

4 cups sorghum flour
3 cups water
Mix one cup of water and 2 cups of flour together. Bring the other 2 cups water to a boil. Stir the flour mixture into the boiling water. Stir well, and gradually add the other 2 cups of flour. Stir constantly until thick and then take off the heat.

Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Guess what today is. National Pecan Cookie Day. Who knew there was such a thing? Here one of my favorite pecan cookie recipes. My other favorites are the no bake pecan date cookies. Either way, pecans are about the most awesome thing on the planet. After my sewing machine, of course. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Pecan Cookies

makes a dozen

1.5 tbsp oil

½ cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup pecans

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup sugar

½ cup oatmeal

4 tsp chia seed

8 ounces milk

½ cup carob powder

1/3 cup cocoa powder

½ cup apple sauce

Blend the chia seeds. Mix the blended seeds with the milk and let sit 5 minutes. Blend the oats and pecans to form a flour. Mix in all the ingredients. Smash 2 tbsp at a time onto a stone in a cookie shape.  Bake 8- 10 min at 375.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Microwaved Peanut Butter Granola Bar

Granola bars are about the easiest snack to grab when you're on the go. They can get expensive though, so why not just make your own? This way you can use any additional ingredients that you want, and take out the things you don't like. Feel free to take out the flax seeds, add dried fruit, use almond butter instead of peanut butter, or spice it up with cinnamon. Let your imagination go wild. And if you don't like it, no big deal. You didn't just pay $10 a box for nasty granola bars. Wash out your dish and try again.

Microwaved Peanut Butter Granola Bar

1 1/2 cup oatmeal

½ cup honey

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup rice crispies

3 tbsp mini chocolate chips

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 tbsp flax seed

¼ cup pecans, chopped

Microwave the peanut butter and honey for 40 seconds in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in all the other ingredients. While still hot, press into a small pan. Let it sit until cooled, and then cut it into rectangles.

Polka Dot Origami Gift Basket

A cute and cheap replacement for a gift bag. It only requires two pieces of paper and five minutes.

I even coordinated it to match my card.


Turkey is in Asia and Europe. At the same time. How cool is that? The European part of Turkey
only makes up 3% of the country. Temperatures in Turkey can get down to -40F. There may be snow on the ground for 120 days out of the year.
My dad went to Turkey recently. He said that it had beautiful architecture. He also said that it was a lot different from the other European countries he had been to. Turkey contains the extremes of western and eastern culture. The people are mostly Muslim like their Asian neighbors, but they have embraced a lot of elements of European culture. I think it would be interesting to visit Turkey and see where East meets West.
Gozleme is a specialty of Turkey. My gozleme really didn't turn out right. It doesn't look right, and its texture was gummy. Not something I will make again.

1 cup flour
4 ounces water
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt

Make a hole in the flour and add the oil and half the water. Mix, adding more water to make a dough. Roll into 4 balls and cover with a wet towel for 20 minutes. Roll out into disks, and cook on a skillet until brown spots start to appear. Stuff with spinach, cheese, or eggs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cardboard Postcards

I needed a craft to do with another set of kids I babysit about once or twice a month. I was watching five of them, so I needed something easy that a variety of ages could work with (1 1/2- almost 8). I settled on cutting squares of cardboard, gluing on construction paper to on side, and drawing on the address lines and stamp square. They loved coloring the fronts and filling in "addresses" for their stuffed animals. Overall, it was a success. It distracted them for quite a while, and gave me a break between getting pelted with plastic balls and assorted blocks and Barbie sing-along time.


Yemen has a rich history. I was reading a book on Yemen, and I discovered that is was formerly Sheba. The Shaba with the queen and all. Have you ever heard the story of the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon? She heard of his immense wisdom, and had to see what it was all about.

1 Kings 10

New International Version (NIV)

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon(A)

10 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
10 And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
How cool is that? The queen from the area that is now Yemen is talked about in the Bible. She also recognizes that God gave Solomon his wisdom. She praised God for it. Now most of Yemen praises Allah, not God. Islam entered the country through the son of Abraham, Ishmael and the son of Noah, Shem. The northern Arabs trace their roots to Ishmael, and the southern Arabs trace back to Shem. The capital, Sana'a, was founded by Shem. It is called Azel in the Bible. Half of the Sana'a in Yemen used to be Jewish, but almost all of the Jews have moved to Israel. Only 3,000 Christians live in Yemen. It's a hard mission field since the government prevents the conversion of Muslims. Freedom of religion is not protected, so there is persecution. I admire the missionaries who are at work in Yemen, trying to show these lost people Jesus' love.
Fatut is amazing. It sounds so simple, but it tastes far from that. I made it in less than ten minutes, so I had time to pack every one's lunch, go for a bike ride, read my Bible, and make it to my 8 am post secondary college class with enough time to study before our quiz. Yeah, it was a pretty busy morning.
serves 2
1 pita bread
3 eggs
2 tbsp oil
salt, to taste
Cut up the pita into little chunks. Heat the oil on a pan set to medium heat. Add the pita and brown. Once brown, turn down the heat to medium low heat and add the eggs. Scramble until done. Sprinkle with salt if you like salty eggs.