Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vaisu ta Moko

Tokelau is a tiny three island territory of New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean. All together, the three islands are less than 4 square miles. The 1,400 inhabitants came from Polynesians who arrived on the islands 1000 years ago. There are no ports, harbors, or airports on any of the islands. The only way to get to them is to anchor a boat offshore and row in on a raft.

With the smallest economy out of any country in the world, Tokelau relies on aid from New Zealand. Most goods have to be imported because of the small area of the islands. They cant very well be using all of their land for cattle or corn. (Not that any Polynesians traditionally eat corn or beef.) All the Tokeleuans have right to at least a little land. No foreigners can be given land, though. The people live in densely populated cities that have more of a rural environment. That sounds a little contradictory to me, but it's more rural in character. Each atoll has one village on it as well as one school.

Vaisu ta moko is a dish made of just plain coconut. According to my source, you sear/ roast each side until it begins to smell like toasting coconut. I didn't have any whole coconut, so I tried to sub coconut flakes that I blended and pound together. This is not advised. It didn't turn out so great. Anyway, putting my failure aside, I still learned something about the Tokelauan people. In the past, the men used to head out in the morning to gather coconuts and pandans. They came back to the women who cooked up their recent finds for breakfast. If you make it correctly, I hope that you enjoy this historic Tokelauan specialty. 

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Vaisu ta Moko
Cut the coconut into strips. Preheat a pan to medium high heat and cook both sides of the coconut until golden.

Breakfast in a Pinch

Need a quick fix for breakfast? Nothing is easier than throwing a few ingredients together, zapping them in the microwave, and enjoying a nice big bowl of yum! If you have a little more time, you can fix up warm and delicious mini muffins in less than 20 minutes. Whichever one you choose, these recipes are sure to bring everyone down for breakfast.

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Peanut Butter & Apple Pancakes in a Bowl
serves 2
1/2 cup oatmeal
4 egg whites
1/4 cup milk
1 apple
3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Core and cut your apple into chunks. You can peel it if you want, but I left the peel on mine. Blend together all the ingredients until smooth. Split the mixture between two bowls. Microwave one at a time for 2- 2 1/2 minutes.

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Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 3 dozen mini muffins or 18 large muffins
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried blueberries
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, mix together all the ingredients except for the blueberries and white chocolate chips. Once the batter is well mixed, stir in the blueberries and white chocolate chips. Spray a muffin pan and fill each hole 3/4 way full with batter. Bake mini muffins for 12 minutes and large muffins for 20. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are done.
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Here's a layered cake card. If only I could make a real cake that looked so pretty....

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Niuean Porridge

Niue is another Pacific island country. At 100 square miles, it is one of the largest coral islands. About 1,400 people live there, and most of them are Polynesian. The island is divided into 14 cities. They function as electoral districts, and each village sends a representative to vote for Parliament. The capital is actually made up of two villages, Alofi North and Alofi South.

The population of Niue is decreasing like many of the countries I have researched lately. They have emigrated mostly to New Zealand. Also similar to Pitcairn Island and Tuvalu, postage stamps bring in a lot of revenue. If the US could start selling as many stamps as these other nations, we could easily heal the postal system. Some other important features of the economy are the production of coconut cream and honey, tourism, and handicrafts. The Niuean women are famous for their weaving, especially their hats.

Like many Polynesian/ Pacific/ tropical countries, Niue relies heavily on cassava, fruits, and coconut milk for food. I read about today's porridge recipe from a visitor who had it while staying in Niue. It is tapioca pudding served cold with fresh fruit. It takes you to a warm Pacific island with every bite.
 Niue: Porridge
Niuean Porridge
serves 3-4
1/4 cup instant tapioca
4 cups coconut milk
1 cup cubed watermelon or papaya
sugar, to taste
Soak the tapioca in the coconut milk for 5 minutes. Put it in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 12 minutes, stirring every three minutes to ensure no lumps form. Stir in the sugar, and allow it to cool. Cube up the fruit, stir it into the porridge, and refrigerate until cold.

The Most Magical Card on Earth

Disney is definitely the most magical place on Earth. My family and I LOVE it. I'm pretty convinced my dad would move into the Contemporary if he could. I would too. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I have been to Disney World 14 times and Hong Kong Disneyland once. I was supposed to go again this year with band, but I had to drop out to be able to take post secondary classes. (Bummer....) Lately Harper has been begging to go visit Mickey Mouse. She is convinced my mom is going to take her if she practices her violin every day. I don't foresee it happening, but she can always dream.

With so much Disney on my mind, I thought a Disney card would be perfect. It was kind of nostalgic to make, actually, because it brought back happy memories of Disney trips. My friend just went to Disney last month for her sister's 16th birthday. She went to the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian resort and saw the huge chocolate sculpture of Lilo and Stitch. Sydney and I watched the master Disney craftsmen carve it back when we were really little. That's some old chocolate.

Anyway, here is the card and some pictures from Disney trips. I couldn't find any with Harper in them. She has only been twice. The pictures of her and the princesses when she was a baby are so cute.
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I made the mouse ears into balloons, and spent forever cutting out little stars for the confetti. It was worth it.


This picture is from 2005. I was about 9, and Syd had just turned 7. It was actually her birthday when we went.


Sydeny, Harper, and I all love the Runaway Mine Train ride. This picture was taken during a firework show, so no one was on the rides. We got to stay on two or three times without having to get off to stand in line. It was great, and I was pumped.


My favorite Disney trip was after 5th grade. My mom woke Syd, me, and our best friends, Melanie and Bethanie, up super early, loaded us up in the van, and drove us down to Florida. It was an eight hour drive, but it felt super short. We had no idea where we were going, and every single one of us was thrilled when we ended up in Disney. (My dad was already down there on a business trip.) It was the best vacation ever.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Uht Sukusuk

Tuvalu is a Pacific Island made up of three reef islands and six atolls. Funafuti is the largest and most populated of the atolls. The total area of the nation is only 10 square miles, and the population is around 10,000. Prior to independence in 1978, Tuvalu was a British colony. Today it is a Commonwealth realm. Most of the people are Polynesian with a Micronesian minority.

During WW2, a bunch of American troops were stationed in Tuvalu. This was so the allies had access to enemy bases on Kiribati.

The people of Tuvalu are about 97% Christian. They are very giving people. Instead of having a government welfare system, the people provide for each other. Volunteering and donating are important to the culture of the Tuvaluans. They think of it as their responsibility to care for their fellow islanders.
 Tuvalu: Uht Sukusuk

Uht Sukusuk
bananas (not too ripe, or they'll fall apart)
coconut milk

Chop up the desired amount of bananas into small chunks. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the bananas, and boil for 1-2 minutes, depending on how ripe the bananas are. (The riper, the less time you boil them.) Drain the bananas, put in a bowl, and top with coconut milk.

Dill Dip

Here's another get well soon card that's not as crazy as yesterday's. I think it actually may be a little too simple. It served it's purpose well. The real meaning from a card comes from what is written on the inside.
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Everyone loves this dill dip. It goes great with potato chips, tortilla chips, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli,... the list is endless. (Almost. I wouldn't be dunking my Nutella cookies in it, but who am I to say you can't try?)
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Dill Dip
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 tbsp Pampered Chef Dill Mix

Mix the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to blend. Serve with veggies or chips.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Plun Pilhi

The Pitcairn Islands are four Pacific islands that together make up a British Overseas territory. The islands only make up about 18 square miles of land, but they are spread over an area of hundreds of miles. Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno are uninhabited, but Pitcairn has a population of about 42 people. The population is decreasing. The original inhabitants were nine mutineers along with their 18 Polynesian captives.

The traditional language of the people is Pitkern. It's a mixture of English and Tahitian. It is taught to the seven children who attend the only school, so if the population manages to not go extinct, the language won't die out any time soon.

All of the people on Pitcairn are Seventh Day Adventists. Until recently, dancing, PDA, drinking, and smoking were illegal. Sadly there is now a bar on the island. All people between the ages of 16 and 65 must preform public works to keep up the capital city of Adamstown. It is the only city, and is the smallest capital in the world. The only named road is called the Hill of Difficulty. I feel bad for those 16 to 65 year olds who have to work to keep a road with that kind of name up.

Postage stamps sold to tourists are what is listed as the major industry on Pitcairn. Tourism accounts for 80% of all the income. Who knew stamps could provide for a country? It's not so easy to get to Pitcairn. There is one port with one boat. Children under 16 have to get a clearance to even visit the island. It must also be hard to obtain citizenship. Only one couple has managed to ever do it. You have to either be the dependent or spouse of an island inhabitant, or you have to prove that you will help their society out in some way to get a visa.

Pilhi is a type of baked pudding eaten on the islands. Pilhi first came to Pitcairn with the Polynesian wives of mutineers. It is made from a variety of fruits like pumpkin or bananas. I chose the banana version, or plun. To cut back on baking time, I made it into individual servings instead of one large loaf of pudding. It was incredibly hard to find a recipe for the Pitcairn Islands. It's getting harder and harder to find any as the nations become smaller and more remote. There is only one Pitcairn cookbook, and it cost $60 plus shipping overseas. (Yeah, not going to happen.) This pilhi might not be eaten for breakfast, but it is a Pitcairn dish. That's as good as it's going to get.

Pitcairn Islands: plun pilhi

Plun Pilhi
12 ripe bananas
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Stir together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mash up the bananas until there are no more chunks. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing well. Oil either a muffin pan (to make 12 muffins) or a large loaf pan (to make the traditional pilhi). Pour in the banana mixture and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are using the muffin pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. If you are using the loaf pan, bake for an hour. 

Band-Aids on a card?

Before showing you my card, I want to assure you all that I have not ran out of crafting materials, nor have I gone insane. I just thought that a Band- Aid would be a great accessory to a get well soon card. I know that Band- Aids always help me feel better (except when it comes time to rip one off), so what could be a better addition to your next get well soon card?

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It's not so bad, is it?

The following recipe is a spin off my vanilla chai chocolate oatmeal recipe. Instead of using vanilla chai tea and chocolate for flavor, I opted for a cinnamon tea and apple sauce. It's also baked instead of microwaved/ cooked on the stove. The crazy idea for using tea to cook oatmeal stays the same. It's almost as crazy as the Band-Aid card.

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Cinnamon Tea Baked Oatmeal
¼ cup applesauce
½ tsp cinnamon
¾  tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
cinnamon tea leaves/ packet
½ cup almond milk
¾ cup oatmeal

Microwave the almond milk until hot (almost boiling). Seep the tea in it for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together. Spray a ramekin with cooking oil and pour the mixture into it. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lempeng Kelapa

Christmas Island is a territory of Australia located in the Indian Ocean. It was named Christmas Island because Captain William Mynors of the British East India Company sailed past it on Christmas Day in 1643. It was uninhabited when William Dampier first set foot on it 1688. Today most of the 2,000 Christmas Islanders are Chinese, European, or Malaysian.

The island has great weather. The temperature stays in the 70s and 80s. I could never live there, though, as there is only one public library. I guess that isn’t so bad since the island is only 52 square miles. It would still be an issue after I read all the books in the one library. My reading needs would not be met.

When I told Harper that I was doing Christmas Island, she got really excited. A whole island devoted to Christmas? Do they celebrate the holiday all year? How awesome! I didn’t have the heart to tell her that most of the population does not even celebrate Christmas. Only 18% of the population is Christian.

Since Christmas Island is owned by Australia, is mostly Chinese, and also has Malaysian influence because of location and immigration, the cuisine is very diverse. You can have Malaysian for breakfast, Chinese for lunch, and some Australian dish for dinner. I went with lempeng kelapa, a Malaysian pancake, for breakfast this morning.  

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Lempeng Kelapa
makes 4
2 cups flour
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder

Whisk all the ingredients together. Preheat an oiled pan to medium heat. Pour about 1/4 of the batter onto the pan, making a large pancake. Cook both sides until golden brown.

Pillow Box Owl

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Isn't this owl pillow box so cute? It was simple to make too. I just printed off a template for a pillow box off of Google. I used cardstock paper to make the actual box, and then cut circles out of a coordinating blue piece of paper. The feet are an upside down yellow heart, the beak is a triangle, and the eyes are a little black circle inside a larger white circle. The wings are an oval cut in half. 

The following recipe is for peanut butter cookie dough dip. It is amazing, trust me. The cookie/ cracker things that I dipped into it are based off my vanilla pie crust recipe. (I altered it to make them chocolate.) Apple slices, graham crackers, or oreos would be great with it too. I actually made it into a peanut butter cookie sandwich.
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Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip
½ cup oatmeal
1 cup applesauce
2 bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup peanut butter
2 cups canned pinto beans
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. Enjoy with cookies, apple slices, graham crackers, or whatever you want.
pb cookie dough dip by Decorated11

Altered Pie Crust Cookies
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cold water
Mix the honey, milk, vanilla, water, and vinegar together in a large bowl. Combine the dry ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until all the ingredients are mixed into a fine flour. Mix the wet and dry ingredients well. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut them into circles, pricking the tops with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes.

 pb cookie dough dip (2) by Decorated11

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gâches à Vrai

Today's breakfast was from Jersey. Not the east coast, funny accent Jersey, but the island off the coast of Normandy, France. Although its proximity to France, the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency. It is not technically part of the UK, but is protected by it and calls Queen Elizabeth their duke. Along with Guernsey, Jersey is one of the Channel Islands. They are not a single nation, but two separate ones.

The main language of Jersey used to be Jerriais until the 1900s. It was then that English stepped in and began to become the most widely spoken language. Many people still speak Jerriais today, but it is not as common as it once was.

When I think of Jersey, I think of cows. You always hear of those Jersey cattle with the thick and creamy milk. Did you know that their meat is eaten too? They are small cows who give a lot of milk, have a lot of babies, and aren't too high maintenance. It's probably a good thing too. Jersey is only 46 square miles. Their isn't room for a bunch of spoiled cows to take up their own good space. The milk from these cows is mostly used to make butter. Unlike nearby Normandy, cheese is not traditionally made on the island. The gâches à vrai, or vraic buns, are a traditional sweet bread. Vraic actually means seaweed, but there is no seaweed in the buns. The reason that it has this name is because of the occasion that the Jerseymen ate it. Early in the morning they had to get up before the tide came in to collect seaweed for fuel. It was hard work, so they needed extra large buns to fill them up. Before going vraicing, they would have one of these huge raisin filled rolls.

Jersey: Gaches Vrai

Gâches à Vrai
makes 6
3 2/3 cups flour
4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp margarine, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix the sugar, warm water, and yeast together. Add the flour and allow the mixture to sit in a warm place for 20 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Knead to form a dough, and then divide it into 6 equal pieces. Form them into rolls and place on a greased baking pan, allowing them enough space to rise. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.


National Banana Bread Day!!

Today is National Banana Bread Day. I have a couple of banana bread recipes already on my blog (Aruban banana bread and chocolate chip banana bread), and I have a new one to share today. I do have a confession to make. Growing up, I always thought banana bread was nasty. My mom used to make these way too sweet, dense loaves with huge chunks of nuts. (Sorry Mom, but those were not my favorite.) Then I made banana bread for Aruba's breakfast. I fell in love. It was delicious, not too sweet or chunky. That recipe got my creative juices flowing. I wanted to experiment with making a nutty banana bread without the chunks. I came up with the idea to use almond flour in place of all purpose flour, and thus, my gluten free almond-banana mini loaves were born.

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Gluten Free Almond Banana Bread Mini Loaf
makes 1 mini loaf
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 rotten banana
1 egg
½ cup almonds
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup oatmeal
¼ cup sugar

Blend the oats and almonds into a flour. Stir in the salt, cinnamon, sugar, and baking powder. Mash the banana and egg together in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Bake in an oiled mini loaf pan for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Here's another card idea. It was a birthday card for my mom. She might not make the best banana bread, but she does a great job at being a mom. I only wish I could do more than give her cards or make her breakfast in bed to show her how much she is loved.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pine Nuts Galore

Okay, I've been using pine nuts a lot lately. Breakfast this morning was a pine nut coca. Now I have two more pine nut recipes for you. So grab some pine nuts and get ready to pig out on the nut that comes out of a pine cone. (Who knew those little things on pine cones could be cracked open and eaten?)

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Spinach & Basil Pesto Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms
serves 1
4-5 leaves of basil
1/2 cup spinach
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 ounces dry angel hair pasta
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
5 button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp oil
parmesan cheese

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. Meanwhile, heat a pan to medium heat with the olive oil. Add the mushrooms. Cook until they are golden. In a food processor or blender, blend the spinach, water, pine nuts, salt, garlic powder, and basil until a paste forms. Toss the pesto with the pasta and top with the mushrooms and grated cheese.

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Pine Nut and Chicken Salad
serves 2-3
1 bag butter lettuce
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cooked chicken breast
1 tsp Italian seasonings
vinaigrette dressing, if desired (I like my salads dry.)

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Toss all the ingredients together and serve.

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I'm always scared to combine two different pieces of patterned paper. I'm worried they won't match or coordinate. I think this combo worked well, and the ribbon is placed down the middle to tie the two sides together.


The Principality of the Valleys of Andorra is a microstate in between Spain and France. This means it is super small with a little population, but still maintains its status as a sovereign nation. I had heard about Andorra before, but until recently, I did not realize that it was crammed in between France and Spain. You would think one of them would have taken over it a long time ago. It's only 181 square miles, and has a population of 85,000. Living in the United States, I can't imagine a country that small. You could drive across it easily. You could walk across it. The capital city, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital in Europe at 3,356 ft above sea level.

Politics in Andorra are kind of strange. It is a unitary parliamentary constitutional diarchy. (What a mouthful!) The system is set up as a parliamentary co-principality. The co-princes are the President of France and Bishop of Urgell (from Spain). There is also a Prime Minister who is head of the government. I guess you could say that both Spain and France have a bit of a claim to Andorra. Only about 31,000 of the people living in Andorra are nationals, so the rest of the people can't vote or take the office of Prime Minister.

Catalan is the official language of Andorra. Today's recipe is actually a Catalan dish from Spain. The typical Catalan breakfast is bread smeared with tomato, but I'm allergic to tomatoes. Cocas are another common breakfast dish, so I went with that. They can be either savory or sweet, with many topping options. On Fat Tuesday, they are usually made with pig lard and topped with pine nuts. Since it's now Lent, and pork is not eaten by Roman Catholics during Lent, I opted to use olive oil instead.

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Pine Nut Coca
serves 1
2-3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1/8 tsp salt
pine nuts
Mix the yeast with the warm water. Stir in the flour, oil, and salt. Cover with a warm and damp towel. Allow the dough to rest in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, making the edges thicker than the center. Toss pine nuts over the top. Bake for 25 minutes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


The Falkland Islands is a British overseas territory located off the coast of Argentina. There are about 2,800 people on the 4,700 square mile group of islands. West Falkland and East Falkland are the two main islands. There are also 776 smaller islands that are part of the territory. 

In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, starting the Falkland War. Today both the UK and Argentina still claim to own the islands. There are still a bunch of landmines all over the islands. (That's kind of scary.)

Since the islands are so far south, they have a pretty chilly climate. It seems as bipolar as Ohio. The weather often can go from warm, to raining, to windy, and then to freezing cold in one day. It rains about 270 days a year.

Most of the Falkland Islanders, or Kelpers, came from British descent. Some are also French, Gibraltarian, or Scandinavian. 60% of the people are Native Falkland Islanders and about 30% are British. The Kelpers are all considered British citizens. The Kelpers are called Kelpers because of all the kelp found on the islands. The British people who immigrate to the islands are called Belongers.

Smoko is a time when the Islanders take a break for a smoke and a quick bite to eat in the morning. Cakes are often served along with a hot drink like tea or coffee. I didn't use my smoko break to take a smoke, but I did enjoy a nice cup of tea and a delicious cake.
Falkland Islands: Smoko Cake
Smoko Cake
makes 1 small cake
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp melted butter
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 egg
powdered sugar, for topping

Whisk all the ingredients together except for the powdered sugar. Pour into a greased ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool before dusting with powdered sugar.

Banana Cream Cheese Scones

Here's a simple scone recipe for a quick and healthy breakfast. They combines the taste of banana and the creamy texture of cream cheese along with a hint of cinnamon. The recipe makes 4 large scones, but you could easily devour them all by yourself. Yum!

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Banana Cream Cheese Scones
3 tbsp cream cheese
¼ cup milk
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat.)
1 banana
½ cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine the cream cheese, banana, and milk. Microwave for 20 seconds and stir well. Add in the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined. Pat out onto a sprayed pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

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This popsicle card makes me long for summer. Hearing the icecream truck come by always is so exciting. I remember long summer days spent in the pool back when we lived in Georgia. That was basically every day over summer break. We packed a lunch and spent the entire day swimming. Ohio never gets quite hot enough to do that, and we don't have a pool in our neighborhood. That makes the memories of those days even more special. Who knew a card could evoke such nostalgic thoughts? Alright, I'll stop rambling and show you the card.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pãozinho Egg Sandwiches and Cha

Mozambique is a Southeastern African country. It was a colony of Portugal until 1975, so Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in the country. That doesn't mean that it is the only language, though. Most of the Mozambicans' native language is Emakhuwa, Xichangana, Cisena, or some other African language. In fact, only 10% of the people claim Portuguese to be their first language. Most of the people are also Christians, and the cuisine has many Portuguese elements.  

The people of Mozambique have gone through a lot. After independence, Marxism was adopted. Then there was an incredibly long civil war. They've also been plagued by drought, economic corruption, and life expectancy is in the low 50s. 1.4 million out of the 23.5 million people have AIDS. That's the fifth highest prevelancy of AIDS in the world.

Pãozinho can be bought fresh and hot from street vendors in Mozambique. A typical breakfast is the yummy bun stuffed with an egg. Tea, or cha, is served at every meal.

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makes 1 dozen
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp yeast
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp margarine
1/2 tbsp salt
1 3/4 cup warm water

Mix the yeast, water, and sugar. Let it stand for five minutes and then add the flour. Stir it together well. Next add the rest of the ingredients. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover and allow the dough to rest for one hour.

Flour a clean surface and break the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls and let them rest for five minutes.

Flatten each ball and then fold them in half. This should create a seam along the top of the roll. Place the rolls seam side down on a stone. Cover and let them rest for 30 minutes.

Turn the rolls right side up. Brush the tops with milk and bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes.

To make the sandwiches, just cut the rolls in half and fill with a fried egg.

Mozambican Cha
serves 1
1 bag of black tea
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup milk
dash of ground ginger
sugar, to taste

Seep the tea in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove the tea bag, and stir in the milk, ginger, and sugar. Enjoy with your egg sandwich.

Strawberry Pie

What better way to say thank you than with a cute little puppy dog? I drew the dog myself. It's based off a picture of a stamp of a dog that I saw in a Stampin Up magazine. Who needs expensive stamps when you can draw the images yourself?

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This pie utilizes those yummy strawberries that are coming into season. I used frozen strawberries, but I'm sure fresh ones would work too. The pie crust was the best part. I just wanted to eat it plain. Enjoy!

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Three Grain Vanilla Pie Crust
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp cold water
Mix the honey, milk, vanilla, water, and vinegar together in a large bowl. Combine the dry ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until all the ingredients are mixed into a fine flour. Mix the wet and dry ingredients well. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a 12 inch wide circle. Carefully transfer to your pie pan, press it in place, and prick the bottom with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 22 minutes. Remove and allow it to cool before using.

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Strawberry Pie
three grain vanilla pie crust or any 9 inch pie crust
4 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp strawberry extract

 Allow the strawberries to thaw for about 20-30 minutes. They should still be firm, but not completely frozen solid. Blend the cornstarch and water together. Add the sugar and 1 ½ cup of strawberries to the blender. Blend until you have a puree. Pour this into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 4 minutes total, stirring every minute. Stir in the vanilla and strawberry extract. Set aside. Cut the remaining strawberries in half. Line them along the bottom of your pie crust. Pour the strawberry and cornstarch mixture over the top.  Freeze for at least 2 hours and allow to thaw slightly before cutting.

strawberry pie by Decorated11

This pie is simply delicious from any angle. Now I want some more after looking at all the pictures!

strawberry pie (2) by Decorated11

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Croissants et Chocolat Chaud

Saint Pierre and Miquelon is the only remaining claim that France has to its colonial empire of New France. It's off the coast of Newfoundland, so you can imagine that the weather is not always very pleasant. I feel bad for the 6,000 people that live in the 93 square miles making up the two islands. They have to live through summers that don't even reach 60 degrees.

Most of the people of Saint Pierre and Miquelon live on Saint Pierre. It is actually the smaller of the two islands. Miquelon-Langlade is the other island. It's made up of Miquelon and Langlade which are connected by an isthmus. Only one person is said to live in Langlade. The waters that separate Saint Pierre from Miquelon are said to be treacherous. Over 800 ships have wrecked in this area over the past two centuries.

Fishing is really important for the inhabitants of the islands. The soil is pretty infertile, and not much work can be done during the winter. This leads to the fishing industry holding a significant spot in their economy.

Saint Pierre and Miquelon are not only connected to France politically, but also culturally. It was the French fishermen who first permanently inhabited the area, and most of the people are French. French is also the official language. The guillotine was also brought to Saint Pierre in the 1800s. The only time a guillotine was used in North America was August 24, 1889 on Joseph Neel.

The cuisine of the islands is made up of French elements and fish. Today's breakfast took a good amount of time to make, but it was worth it. I don't typically like croissants, but that must be because I'd never had a homemade one before. It looks kind of like a crescent roll, but I promise you that it's 100% homemade. I hope you are able to enjoy it if you have the time. I served it along with a hot cup of chocolat chaud, or hot chocolate. Delicious.
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makes 14
1 1/2 tablespoons instant dried yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons oil1
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
Mix the yeast and water together. Allow it to sit for a few minutes until it begins to foam up. Add the flour, 1/2 cup milk, sugar, salt and oil. Stir well until everything is combined. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out 12" x 15" onto a cutting board. Cover it with the plastic wrap and allow it to rest another 40 minutes. Afterwards, brush the top of the dough with melted butter. Fold it into thirds and then roll back into the 12" x 15" rectangle. Fold it back into thirds. Cover again with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Repeat everything in the last paragraph.

Cut the dough diagonally into 14 triangles. Roll them up, starting at the wide end and ending with the point. Place them on a baking stone, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest 45 minutes.

Whisk together 2 tbsp of milk and an egg. Brush each croissant with the mixture. Bake for 12 minutes at 400 degrees.


Happy 15th Birthday Sydney!

As you can tell by the title of this post, today is my sister Sydney's 15th birthday. She would be so embarrassed to know I am blogging about her, but she will just have to get over it. Yesterday she had her party. My mom took Syd and some of her friends to the Cheesecake Factory. That place has over 400 dinners on the menu. I'm not even counting the cheesecake! How does that chef prepare all those different dishes? There must be ten or twelve of them back in the kitchen. Even then it would be hard to know how to prepare 40 different dishes.

Now on to the craft. I made this hanging organizer for Sydney. (What else do you give a teenager who has more clothes and jewelry then she knows what to do with?) It has a cork board on the top and three pockets to hold her treasures. I made it with the fabric I used for her bench pillows so that it would match her room. I hope she can use it.

To make the organizer, I hot glued fabric onto a large rectangle of cardboard. I also hot glued on the cork board and pockets. It is hung up by a ribbon glued to the back.

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This is not related to Sydney's birthday at all, but is perfect for a cold, rainy day. It certainly has been that king of day today. First it sleeted, then snowed, and then rained. Crazy weather.
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Mushroom and Barley Stew
serves 4-5
1 cup dry barley (I used the medium kind.)
6 cups water
1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
3 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, for garnish
Wash and blend the mushrooms together with the garlic, water, tahini, and onions until they make a thick paste. Pour this into a pot over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring often. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir in the barley and cover. Let the stew simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Once it's finished, add the salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with fresh parsley.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Koapnoair Koakihr

The Federated States of Micronesia are different from the region of Micronesia. They are a sovereign nation broken up into four states. These are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. Micronesia is a sub region of Oceania. It includes the Federated States of Micronesia, and is not a country at all. Anyway, back to the states. Pohnpei is the largest of the island states. Each state has its own capital, and the capital of the whole country is Palikir. Although it's located in Pohnpai, Palikir is not the capital of Pohnpai. Kolonia is. I guess that's only fair...
Most of the people are Micronesian, but there are a few Polynesians or people of other Asian descent. Each state has its own unique culture. For example, Yap has a very strong caste system, and Chuuk relies heavily on age-old clan relationships.
It was kind of hard to find a breakfast for today. I'm not sure if this is eaten for breakfast, or if I made it right. The only description I had said that the dish was made up of a mixture of chopped and ground yam boiled in coconut milk. This is what I came up with. Enjoy! 
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Koapnoair Koakihr
1 yam, peeled
1 cup coconut milk
Peel the yam, cutting off the ends and discarding them. Cut the yam in half. Blend one half with 1/2 cup coconut milk into a paste. Chop the other half up into small cubes. Bring The remaining coconut milk to a boil over medium heat. Add both types of yam. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Strawberry Shortcake Oatmeal

It's strawberry season, and I think we've gone through five or six containers of strawberries already at my house. Harper's obsessed with them. She will eat the whole carton if we don't get to them fast enough. Who can blame her? They are so delicious. You can't beat a fresh strawberry. The frozen ones don't even compare.

Anyway, on Valentine's Day I made this strawberry shortcake inspired oatmeal. It was delicious, and the color went along with the holiday. It was nice to have a normal breakfast for once, but it was sad to think of all the Congolese people who are impoverished and cannot afford breakfast. Click here to see why the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not have a recipe to go with it.

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Strawberry Shortcake Oatmeal
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped into small cubes
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

Bring the milk, water, and strawberries to a boil over medium high heat. Stir in the oatmeal, cover, and let simmer on medium for about 5 minutes. Stir every once in a while to make sure the oatmeal doesn't burn onto the bottom of your pot. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla and strawberry extracts. Top with the yogurt and extra strawberries.

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Here's a multi layered card with a pattern in the center. I think doubling up the layers gives a more modern look. Do you agree?