Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bread, Fruit, and Tapioca Hot Chocolate

French Guiana is an overseas region of France located in South America. Less than 240,000 people live in the 32,253 square miles that make up the country. Half of these people live in or around the capital city of Cayenne. The French Guianese people share a lot of cultural similarities with the people of the Caribbean, but they are technically part of South America. A lot of immigrants come in from Haiti, bringing their Caribbean influence. There is also a lot of influence from France since they are owned by France.

There are a lot of Native American minorities living in French Guiana. Most of the population is of a mixture of African and European descent, but the native Arawak, Carib, Emerillon, Kalina, Palikur, Wayana, and Wayampi still live in the country. There is actually a group of Wayampis who are still an uncontacted people group. They live in the Eastern part of the country and refuse all contact with outsiders. It's amazing to think that there are people groups out there that have never been seen before.
 
 
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Bread with Spreads
French bread cut in half lengthwise and spread with fruit jelly or a chocolate nut spread is the usual breakfast. I mixed some cocoa powder into peanut butter to make the chocolate spread. I suppose you could use Nutella, but hazelnuts aren't really grown in South America.
 
 
 
Fruit
papaya or mango
 
 
 
Tapioca Hot Chocolate
8 ounces water
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp instant tapioca pearls
 
Whisk the cocoa powder, sugar, and water together. Microwave in a mug for 1 minute, stir, and then microwave another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tapioca and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes.

National Popcorn Day!

Today's national popcorn day, so I have two popcorn recipes to share with you. I accidentally deleted the picture of the caramel pecan popcorn, but I will still share the recipe. You'll just have to make it yourself to see what it looks like. :)

Someone makes popcorn at my house at least once a day. We make the popcorn ourselves, not the bag kind. It tastes better, fresher, and the smell of popcorn can be smelled anywhere in the house. If you haven't tried popping your own popcorn, I definitely recommend it.

The first recipe is for chocolate pretzel popcorn. This is the recipe that the picture shows.

Chocolate Pretzel Popcorn
10 cups popped popcorn
½ tsp salt
2 cups pretzel sticks
½ cup chocolate chips
1 tsp oil

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl along with the oil until melted. Microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in between each one, until it’s melted. Dip 1 cup of the pretzels into the chocolate, and put them on a sheet of tin foil or wax paper until they are cooled. Mix the plain pretzels, chocolate pretzels, and popcorn together. Drizzle with the rest of the chocolate.

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Caramel Pecan Popcorn
½ c. butter
½ c. corn syrup
½ tsp baking soda
1 c. brown sugar
¾ tsp salt
20 cups popcorn
1 cup pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract

 Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and spread the popcorn out on a large baking stone along with the pecans. Keep this in the oven until you have your caramel made. Bring the butter, brown sugar, salt, and corn syrup to a boil in a saucepan. Stir constantly until it’s boiling, but once it’s boiling do not stir for 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and mix in the caramel until all the popcorn is well coated. Cook for 45 minutes. Pour out onto parchment paper, breaking up any clumps. Allow the popcorn to cool.
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Here's a butterfly card with a layered bottom.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fri

Seychelles is an independent island country in the Indian Ocean. It's north of Madagascar and east of the mainland part of Africa. The 175 square miles that make up the 115 islands are called home to 90,000 people. Here are some facts about the islands:
  • On average, the people have 14 years of education.
  • Traditionally kitchens are built outside.
  • The president is elected for 5 year terms.
  • There are 14 airports, but only 7 of them have paved runways.
  • There is $160 million worth of treasure buried by Pirate Olivier le Vasseur somewhere in the islands.
  • The Jellyfish tree is a tree grown on the islands that is extremely rare.
  • The only flightless bird in the Indian Ocean lives in Seychelles. It is called the White-Throated Rail.
  • Victoria, the capital, is the smallest capital in the world.
  • The Coco de Mer is the world's heaviest nut, and it grows in Seychelles.

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The Seychellois people eat fruit for breakfast. (Fri means fruit in Seychellois Creole. I chose a banana, papaya, and watermelon. Other options include starfruit, those baby bananas, mango, and breadfruit.

Let's hope spring is on its way...

The weather has been oddly warm these last few days. It's supposed to drop 40 degrees tonight, and I am not looking forward to freezing in the morning. I don't know what's worse: having the snot freeze inside your nose because it's so cold or facing a slightly warmer torrential downpour. I think I'll take the rain if it means warmer weather.

Anyway, while we are on the subject of warmer weather I want to share with you the dress I made for Harper. I used an old tank top of mine and some fabric to make it. The tank top was a little long, so I cut off the bottom. Then I adjusted the straps so they would fit. (Before the tank top didn't start until almost her belly button.) To make the bottom, I traced one of her other dresses onto some purple fabric. I sewed it up to resemble a skirt and then sewed it to the tank.

This was my final result. Hopefully it will still fit by summer. I made it a bit big, so she can grow in to it. The problem, will be rather or not she will wear it. I've never met a child so picky about her clothes.
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Cinnamon Apple Granola
3 cups oatmeal
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 ounces apple juice concentrate, thawed
optional add-ins #1: slivered almonds, soynuts, wheat germ
optional add-ins #2: raisins, dried currants, Rice Crispies

Spread out the oatmeal and any #1 add-ins on a large baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 380 degrees until golden. Meanwhile, stir together the apple juice and cinnamon. Once the oats are toasted, mix them with the juice and spread this back out onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then add and #2 add-ins.


Click to see bigger pictures of the granola and dress.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Akara

The Central African Republic is an African country right in the middle of the continent. It really is central. And it's a republic located in Africa. The name suits it well. It gained its independence from France in 1960, and the population has almost quadrupled since then. The 240,534 square mile country is home to over 5 million people. There are over 80 ethnic groups. The major ones are the Baya, Banda, Mandjia, and Sara. Sangho and French are the official languages, but each ethnic group has their own traditional language. That's one of the things that makes Africa so diverse. Each little community has its own language, traditions, and culture. Most of the population is now Christian thanks to missionaries from all over the globe. Some people still practice traditional religions or are Islamic.

Health is a main issue in the Central African Republic. Infant mortality rate is about 10%, and the life expectancy is only 50. This is the 4th highest infant mortality rate in the world. There are only 8 doctors per 100,000 people. That means there are only 400 doctors in the whole country. Sanitation is low. One thing that is high is the prevalence of AIDS. About 1 out of every 20 adults has it. Infectious diseases caused by anything from bad water to infected animals are a major risk. This scary sounding situation is actually an improvement from years past. 11% of the population used to have AIDS, and there used to only be 3 doctors per 100,000 people. The life expectancy has also gone up by about 7 years. Hopefully this means the nation is on the mend.



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Akara
makes 3 dozen
2 cups cowpeas (blackeyed peas), dry
1 onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 red bell pepper
oil, for frying

Soak the peas in water overnight. The next morning, drain the peas and put them in a food processor or blender. Add about 1/4 cup water, the seasonings, and vegetables. Process or blend until a paste forms. Heat a pot of oil to medium high heat. Test it by dropping some of the batter into it. If it sizzles, it's ready to use. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of the batter into the oil and fry until both sides are browned, turning to ensure every part is cooked and doesn't burn. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
 

Brownie Drops and a Card

These brownie drops are perfect to make when you want bite-sized and portable brownies. The recipe only makes 4 or 5, so they are great for a quick snack, or even a chocolaty breakfast. They're like brownie breakfast cookies. Yum!
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Brownie Drops
makes 4- 5
¼ cup sugar
1 banana, mashed
¼ cup sorghum flour
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp oatmeal
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp chia seed
¼ tsp baking powder
1 ounce milk

Blend the chia seeds and mix with the milk. Let it sit 10 minutes. Stir in the other ingredients. Scoop out and drop onto a greased pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350, or until done in the center.
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Here's another Valentine's Day card. This one is more elegant than fun. The sentiment is stamped out on a pop-out paper ribbon, and it separates two different pieces of paper. Click to see the card larger.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Coconut Dumplings

Saint Kitts and Nevis a nation in the West Indies. Other names for the two island state are the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis and the Mother Colony of the West Indies. The latter name comes from the fact that Saint Kitts held the first French and English colonies in the Caribbean. Today it's a sovereign country, but they are still under the Queen of England. As I have said a million times, I don't understand how a country can be sovereign, but still ran by the Queen. I never will understand it. I get the concept, but it bothers me for some reason.

The population of the two islands is 51,000. It is a combined 104 square miles. Saint Kitts is the larger island with 68 square miles, and Nevis is smaller with 36 square feet. Most of the people are of African descent. There is also a small population of Indians.

The national dish of Saint Kitts and Nevis is stewed saltfish served with spicy plantains, coconut dumplings and seasoned breadfruit. For breakfast this morning I just made the dumplings, but if you have time, making a huge breakfast spread would be really cool. Another popular dish is goat water stew. I don't think it is served for breakfast, but I think I would like to try it. It sounds interesting. The ingredients include breadfruit, goat, pawpaw, and dumplings.


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Coconut Dumplings
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coconut flakes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water

Mix the flour, salt, and coconut together. Stir in the oil, butter, and water. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead. Divide into 12 balls and drop them into a big pot of boiling water. Stir to make sure they don't stick to the bottom. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and remove. Serve with saltfish stew to make the national dish of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Overflowing Stuffed Mushrooms

This is totally random, but I've always wanted to fill a bathtub up with so much water that it overflows. You always see the shows where the whole house fills up with water, and it's like one big swimming pool. I know that wouldn't actually happen, but I do wonder how deep the water would get. (Don't worry mom and dad if you're reading this. I won't experiment. I'm just curious.)

Anyway, on the subjetct of overflowing, I made a mushroom the other day that had cheesy filling basically exploding out of the poor mushroom. It was good. I broiled the mushroom to reduce cooking time, and found that it kept it tender, but not too soggy. Yum!

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Broiled Stuffed Mushrooms
serves 2
2 large portabella mushroom
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 baby bella mushrooms
1/4 cup oatmeal (You could sub breadcrumbs.)
garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Chop up the baby bella mushrooms. Stir the cheese, seasonings, oatmeal, and chopped mushrooms together. Set aside. Preheat the broiler to high and put the mushrooms face down on a baking pan covered with tin foil. Broil for 5-7 minutes and remove. Flip the mushrooms over and stuff with the filling. Broil another 5 minutes with the filling faced up.

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Here's a cupcake card. It's simple and sweet.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bermuda Breakfast

Bermuda breaks our chain of French colonies. It happens to be a British territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It's made up of 181 islands, and the main one's name is Bermuda. That' probably why you normally refer to it as one place instead of tons of different islands. The first time I ever heard of Bermuda was while watching Jimmy Neutron. I learned that it was part of the Bermuda triangle where many ships and planes mysteriously tend to go missing. This is a bunch of hoopla, and proves that watching TV rots your brain.

Anyway, Bermuda is about 20 square miles with 64,000 people. It has more golf courses per square mile than any other place on Earth. The island does get a good portion of its income from tourists, and it's not really all that big. Having the most golf courses per square mile probably wasn't very hard for them to achieve. I personally don't know why you would want to go golfing on vacation, but what do I know?

The 64 miles of coast that all of Bermuda put together has is lined with sand. This sand is not yellow or white like normally sand, but has a pink hue. This is caused by single celled organisms called Forminifera that live in the coral reefs. When they die, their red skeletons get washes to shore. This gives the sand its color.

Typical Sunday mornings begin in Bermuda with this huge breakfast spread. It's pretty simple to make, and really fills you up. Harper asked me this morning if I was really going to eat all this. My mom questioned why I made fish for breakfast. My dad asked me in horror if he'd just heard me say I was making a cod fish and banana smoothie. I'm not that far yet, but we still have quite a few countries. Just think, at the beginning of this project, I wouldn't even think about having fish for breakfast. Now I'm just glad I got Bermuda over with.


 
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Bermuda Breakfast
serves one (but should serve about 15)
4 ounces saltfish, soaked overnight
1 egg
1 banana
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes (I had to leave this out since I'm allergic.)
salt and pepper, to taste
 
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the fish, egg, and potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes and then remove from the heat. Take out the potatoes and fish, but leave the egg in the cooling water. While the fish, potatoes, and egg are cooking, saute the onion and garlic until golden. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Flake the cooked fish and add to the tomato sauce. Slice the banana and arrange it on the plate with the potatoes. Peel the egg and split it in half. Finish the platter off with the fish and sauce mixture. Season to taste.

A Winter Tea Party

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 Yesterday I showed you this invitation as a teaser for today's post. If you can't guess by the picture, I had a winter tea party at my house yesterday evening. It was a dinner tea because that was the best time for everyone, and it went really well. I'd never been to a tea party before, but I did my research. I hope you find everything inspirational for your own tea party event. Click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

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Here's the table all set up for dinner.



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We had to squeeze in an extra table because there was one too many people. Thankfully my friend had the same tea set as my mom, so she brought the extra cup and saucer. I didn't realize my tea set only served 6 until the night before the party.

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The place settings that I made were of a teapot pouring out tea. I thought it was a good idea. I got my friend Washika to write every one's names on them because her handwriting is amazing.


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Here are the menus.

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 I served chocolate chip and blueberry scones, Scottish oatcakes, Southern tea cakes, Russian tea cookies, cucumber cream cheese sandwiches, open faced apple and cheese sandwiches, fudge, baby carrots, and fruit skewers. We also made about 7 different types of tea, and my friend Donalope had hot chocolate. She's not a fan of tea, but did try some. She and Augustine tasted the chocolate yerba mate tea. I forgot to mention that mate tea has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Yeah, that wasn't so good...

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Open Face Apple- Cheese Tea Sandwiches
makes 20
5 wedges of original Laughing Cow cheese
10 slices cinnamon- raisin bread
2 apples, peeled
juice of 1 lemon

Slice the apples as thinly as possible. Spread them out onto a plate and pour the lemon juice over them. Let them soak for one minute. Spread each slice of bread with the cheese and top with the apple slices. Cover the whole piece of bread so that it looks nice. Cut off the edges and cut in half diagonally. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. I wouldn't leave them in their more than 6 hours.

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Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
8 ounces cream cheese
1 loaf white bread
1 cucumber, peeled
1 tsp dill mix (or dried dill mixed with garlic powder)
3 tbsp mayo

Slice the cucumber as thinly as possible and spread out onto paper towels. Let the moisture drain out of them for 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, mayo, and dill mix. Spread this mixture onto half of the slices of bread. Top with the cucumbers and then another slice of bread. Cut of the edges and slice in half diagonally. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
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My friends hit the desserts before the tea party even started. Who wouldn't with sweets like fudge, Russian tea cookies, and Southern tea cakes there to tempt you?

 
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Southern Tea Cakes
makes 2 dozen
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder in an electric mixer. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix until combined. Roll the dough out 1/4 inch thick onto a floured surface and cut into biscuit sized circles. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

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Overall, it was a great party. I know I had a lot of fun. Here's all my friends dressed up and ready for some tea. My parents took my sisters out so we'd have the house to ourselves. The only downside was that I had to take all the pictures, and couldn't be in them. It's just a good excuse to have another party. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

More to come...

A very excited event took place at my house tonight. That's why this post is so late. You're invited to join in on all the excitement that went on. You'll just have to wait until tomorrow. Here's a hint on what's to come:

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And here's a completely unrelated recipe. Enjoy!

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Avocado Mug Brownie

1 tbsp chocolate chips

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp avocado

3 tbsp milk

3 tbsp cocoa powder

4 tbsp all purpose flour

1/3 tsp baking powder

a few drops of vanilla

a pinch of salt

Microwave the chocolate chips for about 20 seconds until melted. Stir in the avocado and milk. Combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and sugar into a mug. Add in the wet ingredients. Microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Let cool in the fridge before eating.

 

Pani Popo

Wallis and Futuna is a French island collectivity in the Pacific Ocean. I think I'm starting to see a trend in the countries I've done lately. Either France owns the whole world, or I'm just in a French mood this week. Anyway, Wallis and Futuna are actually tow island groups that make up one collectivity. They are the Wallis Islands and the Hoorn Islands. The largest Hoorn island is Futuna. The other large Hoorn Island, Alofi, is uninhabited because of the lack of fresh water.

The people are mostly Polynesian, and they speak either Wallisian, Futuan, or French. Wallisian, or 'Uvean, is the most common with 60% of the people of Wallis and Futuna speaking it at home. Most of the people in the Wallis Islands speak Wallisian, and most of the people on Futuna speak Futuan. Most people know French too, but it is not their native language. It's used mostly for official purposes.



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Pani Popo
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
400 ml coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Mix the flour, yeast, water, salt, and oil together. Slowly stir in 200ml of the coconut milk. Knead until a soft dough forms. Make it into a ball, cover, and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour. Divide the dough into 10 balls. Place them side by side in a baking dish, cover, and allow them to rest for one hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the sugar and remaining 200 ml coconut milk. Pour this over the dough balls and bake for 35-40 minutes.

 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Foufou

The Republic of the Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville, is a Central African country. Like yesterday's country, Martinique, the Republic of the Congo has had a past of French rule. Unlike Martinique, it is now a free and independent country.

Schooling in the Republic of the Congo is supposedly free and mandatory for children under 16. This must not be heavily enforced as only 44% of kids go to school. There isn't much funding for the school system, and most schools lack things like chairs, desks, and books. You'd think that the literacy rate would be much lower than its 84%.

85% of the Congolese people live in cities. They are mostly located in the southwest portion of the country. The northern jungles are sparsely populated. This fact makes the Republic of the Congo one of the most urbanized African countries.  The capital city of  Brazzaville itself has 1.3 million people. Only 4.4 million people live in the whole country.

Foufou is one of those dishes that almost every country in Africa makes with a few differences in name and ingredients. It's like ugali in that it has so many variations. Usually it's made of dried out cassava pounded into a flour, but I had to substitute tapioca.




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Foufou
1 cup tapioca pearls
boiling water

Blend the tapioca until it is fine. Place the tapioca in a large bowl. Slowly stir in some boiling water until you can form a ball. Allow it to cool and serve.

Thanks a Bunch!

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Here's a very 'punny' card. It says 'thanks a bunch'. There is a picture of a monkey holding a bunch of bananas on it. So stop monkeying around, and go make a card.

beany, cheesy broccoli bake
Beany, Cheesy Broccoli Bake
4 cups frozen broccoli
¾ cup canned pinto beans
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup milk


Heat your oven to 500 degrees and line a baking pan with tinfoil. Spread out your broccoli on top and bake until lightly browned and crispy. Meanwhile, blend the seasonings, beans, and milk together. Heat on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the broccoli, and then pour into a baking dish.  Sprinkle the cheese over the top and broil on high for about 2 minutes.

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Coconut Bananacream

1 frozen banana

½ cup full fat canned coconut milk

Cube up the banana and let it thaw for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, stir the coconut milk so that it’s all mixed up. Blend the banana and coconut milk together.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pain au Beurre Martiniquais

Martinique is a Caribbean island that's an overseas region of France. They use the Euro, speak French (or Antillean Creole which is based off of French, and they follow a lot of traditional French customs. Oddly enough, it was Christopher Columbus who was sailing for the Spanish that first found the island. The Spanish didn't want it, so it fell into French hands in 1635. The French governor of Saint Kitts came over to the island and claimed it for France. This was a long time after Columbus first discovered it. At the time of Columbus' arrival, he believed himself to be in India. All he wanted was a quick and easy trade route. (He was a merchant after all.) I guess the Carib and Arawak natives weren't who he wanted to trade with.
 
Here are some interesting modern day facts about Martinique:
  • About 260,000 people of Martiniquan descent live in France.
  • Only 404,000 people live in Martinique.
  • In the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Angela tells Jack that the last time he left her was in Martinique.
  • 95% of the population is Roman Catholic.



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Pain au Beurre Martiniquais
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
150 ml milk
50 ml warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
2 eggs
egg yolk (for the glaze)
 
Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water together. n a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Mix together. Whisk the two whole eggs, and add the eggs, yeast mixture, milk, vanilla and butter to the dry ingredients. Knead until a smooth dough forms. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a dish on the lowest rack filled with water to create steam. Separate your dough into 3 pieces. Roll each out into a long, narrow snake. Now let your imagination go wild, braiding the dough into whatever shape you want. (I did a crown looking braid, but it puffed up while baking. Now it looks like a bagel.) Brush the egg yolk over the top to glaze. Bake for 30 minutes sitting on top of parchment paper covering a baking sheet. After half an hour, turn the oven off and open the door. Allow the bread to sit inside the warm oven for another 10 minutes. Let the bread cool before eating. It's commonly served with Creole hot chocolate.

National Peanut Butter Day!!

Today I'll start off with the card just to make everyone crazy. I know the title of this post got you all thinking about one thing, but you'll just have to wait. (Or skip all this and scroll down. Whichever you prefer.) Here is a birthday card with some funky sticker that I got for Christmas. I'm not really sure what the sticker is, but it has a cool design. I thought it fit with the card nicely.

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And now what you've all been waiting for.... Happy National Peanut Butter Day!!! After Christmas, this is probably the best day all year. What other day do you have an excuse for eating peanut butter breakfast, lunch, and dinner? And now you can have it for dessert too!
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That's right- peanut butter and banana Greek yogurt cheesecake. Isn't it beautiful?
 
The cheesecake has a peanuty flavor with a hint of banana, a rich and creamy texture, and a chocolate graham cracker crust. I even made the graham crackers myself. Here are the recipes:
 
 
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Chocolate Graham Crackers
makes about 4
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp oil
½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup sugar
4 tbsp milk

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add in the oil and milk. Stir well until a ball forms. Roll the ball out onto parchment paper as thin as you can. Cut it into rectangles and prick each a few times with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow the crackers to cool so they’ll get crispy.

 
Peanut Butter Banana Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with a Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust (4)
 

Peanut Butter Banana Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with a Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

½ a ripe banana

2 tbsp peanut butter

¾ cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 egg

½ a batch of chocolate graham crackers (recipe above)

2 tbsp milk

 

Blend together the banana, peanut butter, yogurt, sugar, cornstarch, and egg. Make sure there are no lumps or anything. Set this aside while you make the crust. Taking the chocolate graham crackers, chop them up with a food chopper or processor. Make sure they are really crumbly. Combine the crumbs with the milk and mix them together well. Spray a ramekin with a lot of Pam. Press the graham crackers into the bottom to form a crust. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and refrigerate for 3 hours.

 
 
 
 
Happy National Peanut Butter Day!!!
 
 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Toast, Cheese, and Tea

Palau is a country made up of over 250 islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is a part of Micronesia. People first came to the islands 3,000 years ago from the Philippines. Europeans didn't come until the 1700s. They've gone from Spanish to German to Japanese and then to the United States' control. Now they are a free country with their own president and government.

The 250 islands make up a total of 177 square miles. The population is around 21,000. Most of them (70%) are native Palauans. They are a mix of many ethnicities because of the many different nations who have ran or migrated to the islands over the centuries.

The two most common religions are Christianity and Modekngei. The latter is a mixture between Christianity and the traditional Palauan religion. It involves fortune telling

The Palauans hold tight to their traditions. This can be seen in their language, religion, government, and matrilineal society. The fedral government actually is threatened by the traditional government. It's made up of villages that make up chiefdoms that make up alliances of chiefdoms. One cool thing is that their king and queens are brother and sister or cousins. They have their own spouses, but rule together. I don't understand why their are queens and kings when there is a president. There was no written Palauan language until the 1800s, so they passed down history orally. This is still practiced widely today.

 
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This breakfast is very simple, and pretty westernized. (It may be one of the only westernized aspects of Palauan society.) It's just two slices of soft white bread spread with white cheese and some very sweet hot tea. It was definitely one of my easiest breakfasts to put together.

Strawberry Crepe Cups

Strawberry Crepe Cups (4)

Mmmm. Strawberry crepe cups. How could it get any better? The crunchy crepe paired with the creamy strawberry filling is delicious. They don't take all that long to make, but you have to be careful to get the crepes thin enough. If you don't, they won't crunch up when you bake them, and they won't hold their shape. (Who ever knew baking crepes would make them crunchy?)



Strawberry Crepe Cups (2)
Strawberry Crepe Cups
makes 12
For the crepes:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
12 ounces Greek yogurt

For the filling:
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups strawberries
12 ounces Greek yogurt


Mix all the crepe ingredients together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat a nonstick pan to medium heat. Scoop out some of the batter and spread it thin. Flip once the top looks dry and cook the other side. Spray a muffin tin and place the cooled crepe in it, molding it to form into the shape of the hole. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the filling ingredients. Let the shells cool and stuff with filling.

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I made this ring holder for my mom to use when she makes biscuits or other messy things in the kitchen. I got the idea off of Pinterest, and thought it was something interesting that you'd never really think about making. It reminded me of the book Too Many Tamales when the little girl thought she lost her mom's wedding ring while making tamales. Who wants to bite into a big hunk of diamond? This ring holder is the solution. All you have to do is take the glass out of a picture frame, decorate it with some nice paper or something, and use very strong glue to stick a wooden dowel onto it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Saltfish Salad

The British Virgin Islands are  the British owned part of the Virgin Islands. (No, duh.) It's really just called the Virgin Islands, but they put the 'British' part in front of it to keep it separate from the US Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands contains 59 square miles when you combine the 60 islands that make it up. The largest island is named Tortola which is 12 miles long. The smaller islands are not inhabited. The population is about 28,000. Most of the people are Afro-Caribbean, with a small percentage of East Indians and Caucasians.

The traditional music the Virgin Islanders listen to is called fungi. It's actually named after the dish that I made for breakfast in Antigua and Barbuda. It's a mixture of African and European music that shares history and folklore. Typical instruments used to play this kind of music are the calabash, bongo, washboard, ukulele, guitar, banjo, keyboard, and a lot of other random instruments. People can dance to the music or just listen to the oral history.  

Today's breakfast was another fishy one. It seemed more like a lunch dish to me, but I read several places that this is a typical breakfast/ brunch meal in the BVI. The recipe calls for tomatoes, but I had to omit them since I'm allergic. This recipe should come with a warning label. It gives you killer fishy/ onion breath for the rest of the day. Be warned!

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Saltfish Salad
8 ounces saltfish
1 onion
1 tomato
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp chili powder
juice of one lemon
2 hard boiled eggs
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 green bell pepper
salt and pepper, to taste

Soak the fish 12 hours in a bowl of water. Change out the water every few hours. Once it is ready to cook, rinse it off and put it in a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, drain the water, and let the fish cool. Meanwhile, chop up the onions, tomato, eggs, and green bell pepper. Flake the fish into a bowl, stir in the chopped ingredients, and add the seasonings. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the top. Refrigerate overnight and serve with crackers or coconut bakes.
 

It's time to PIG OUT!

Today's the time to pig out! At least that's what the card says. You won't have trouble obeying with this yummy German chocolate baked oatmeal. Man, this stuff is good. How could you go wrong with oatmeal, pecans, and chocolate? So embrace your inner piggy, and go for it. Then you can make a similar card to encourage all your friends to do the same.


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German Chocolate Cake Baked Oatmeal
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup apple sauce
½ cup pecans
¼ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 cup pitted dates

Toast the pecans in the oven at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Blend the nuts, coconut flakes, and dates until it sticks to the sides of the blender. In a bowl, combine the milk, apple sauce, and oil. Add in the dry oatmeal, salt, and baking powder. Stir well, finally adding in the pecan mixture. Pour into a sprayed ramekin and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Broil on high heat for 3 minutes after this to get a crunchy texture. Top with coconut flakes and pecans.

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