Category Archives: Recipes

Saturday School

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Apparently, I took way too much time off school for Christmas and packing…I finally looked ahead and figured that Noah and I wouldn’t been done with his first grade curriculum until the middle of July! In an effort to have a longer summer break, I am trying to double up on the easy science days during the week and do an abbreviated school day on the Saturdays Aaron is home. Today was one of those Saturdays.
We read the story of Isaac giving the blessing to Jacob instead of Esau. My Jacob loves this story so he and Levi listened as well. The activity the curriculum (My Father’s World) recommended was to make lentil soup, so that’s what we did today. I got up early to start the challah (Jewish bread that it sooo yummy but takes 3-4 hours to make) and get everything ready for our lentil soup and challah lunch.
The best part of making challah is that the boys love to help knead the dough!

kneading

Then, they each get their own loaf to braid and decide what toppings (sesame seeds, poppy seeds or sunflower seeds) to add. Each time we make it, it turns out great. Jacob’s is the one with the poppy seeds. Noah shaped his into a circle and topped it with sunflower seeds. It was half-eaten by the time I got a picture, so you can tell it was good!

challah

If anyone could recommend a good lentil soup recipe, I’d appreciate it…Why didn’t the one given in the curriculum, or any I can find online, include meat?? Isn’t that what Esau was out hunting when Jacob stole his birthright?

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1.) Praise God that Jacob’s toe is healing nicely. He completed his round of antibiotics (the first time he ever needed any prescription!), but then he was hit in the eye with a stick thrown by one of his brothers and now has antibiotic eye drops. The scrape on his eye isn’t serious, but it sure scared me…and him……and his unnamed brother!

2.) Praise God for rain! The river was getting super low which resulted in increased power outages and decreased water pressure. It would take me hours to do one load of laundry because the water was so slow coming into the washing machine. The rainy season has began!

3.) Praise God for protecting my children this week. It has been a tough one. Levi wrecked his ‘car’ and has a huge bump on his forehead and scrapes everywhere. He fell out of a tree and hit his head. Each time he was fine after a little crying. Noah stepped on a thorn and hurt his heel scaling the hallway like spiderman. He’s been limping a little but overall is fine. Hannah is acting normal part of the time. She is fighting constipation the last couple of days (it’s a side effect of the medication that is preventing the puking), is still throwing up almost  daily and  is starting  a new medication today.  I already mentioned Jacob’s injuries. I praise God that I can call and/or visit Aaron anytime I need to…And it seems like I’ll be bugging him quite regularly!

4.) Pray for continued protection over us, from illness, injury and such.

5.) Pray for Hannah…and for me, that I wouldn’t be too worried, that I would have wisdom in how to handle her, that I would get adequate rest so that I can care for all 4 children. Praise God for househelp!! Otherwise, nothing would be done. Hannah wants to be held almost every minute she’s awake. She’s super picky about what to eat, and her preferences change daily. While I typically don’t baby her this much, I feel so bad for her. 😦

6.) Baby Ruth who I mentioned in my last post is now with her Father. She did not survive the multiple surgeries. Please pray for all those mourning her death.

7.) Pray for Aaron and his colleagues. It is a joy to serve, but some of the cases weigh heavy on their hearts. It’s hard to explain…

8.) Pray for the lost. May the love of Christ overwhelm their hearts that they would receive salvation.

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Avocado Bread

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With this second blog post about our bountiful fruit supplies, I apologize for rubbing it in that our weather here is sunny and gorgeous EVERY DAY and that we have great fruit all year round…but I had several people request that I post this recipe…

We have several huge avocado trees in the yards surrounding our apartment. While those avocados won’t be ripe until July-August, we can purchase the delicious fruit at the market stands surrounding the hospital. My househelper found me one gigantic, very ripe avocado that was perfect for this bread recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Avocado Bread Recipe

2 2/3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground allspice (I didn’t have this…The bread is delicious if you omit it.)

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed avocado (I’m guessing 2-3 normal-sized avocados)

3/4 cups milk

1.) Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice. Set aside

2.) In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the mashed avocado. Stir in the dry ingredients alternatively with the milk until mixed.

3.) Divide batter between two greased loaf pans. Bake about 1 hour.

 

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1.) Praise God for a full 24-hour day without Hannah puking! She is acting much better today, even getting into trouble. It’s SO good to see her smile, laugh and be goofy!!

2.) Praise God that Jacob is running around after his little trip to the Tenwek Emergency Department. (Check out Aaron’s blog if you haven’t already. www.aaroninkenya.com ) And pray that his toe will heal completely.

3.) Praise God for happy children! They just love it here! Noah keeps telling us how much fun he’s having, how much he likes it here, and how happy he is to be a missionary.

4.) Pray that I can figure out a workable nap schedule for the kids. We almost figured it out, but then the kids got sicks…Now that they’re all healthy, I need structure! 🙂

5.) Pray for the patients at the hospital, that they will find both physical and spiritual healing. A one-year old girl, Ruth, is heavy on my heart tonight. Please pray for her. She is an orphan and is struggling to remain stable.

Mango Muffins

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In an effort to stay within a reasonable grocery budget, we are limiting our cereal intake to one box a week. (American brands can cost up to $10/box!) That means I need to make breakfast 5-6 times a week. Because I’m not a morning person (in other words, I don’t like to think before I have my cup of tea), I decided to put us on a little weekly breakfast schedule. Here it is:

Sunday: something baked (back-up: cereal)

Monday: bacon and eggs (no sliced bread means no toast)

Tuesday: pancakes

Wednesday: bacon and eggs (scrambled this time!)

Thursday: baked oatmeal

Friday: cereal

Saturday: breakfast casserole, omelets or something to make eggs taste a little different (back-up: yogurt)

This morning, we had Mango Muffins. They were so yummy that I had to share the recipe. Mangoes are local and super cheap, so I could make these anytime. For you all in the States, it might be a treat to have once in a while…I can’t remember what the price per pound is in PA. Enjoy!

Mango Muffins

Puree mangoes to make 2 cups (about 4 mangoes)

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Stir ingredients then add mango, 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 tsp vanilla (or lemon) extract. Bake @ 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Brownies, Beer Bread…and Snails!?!

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For those of you who liked the pancake mix recipe, here is the brownie mix recipe. I finally tried it, and I really like it. Note to self: Grease the pan so that the brownies don’t stick!

8 cups sugar + 6 cups flour + 2 cups cocoa powder + 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder + 1 Tbsp salt = Mix and store in an airtight container

To make brownies, mix 2 1/4 c mix, 2 eggs, 1/3 c oil, 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 c chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 in pan and bake 30-35 minutes at 350.

I think I can make Texas Sheet Cake with this mix too, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

On to the second topic: Beer Bread. Yum!

I made three loaves yesterday because I was providing meals to two friends who just had babies (and one loaf for my family). I decided these beautiful blocks of sinful goodness were worthy of a picture. Let me explain…

You see, at the training session for Samaritan’s Purse, we learned that as soon as we sign our contract we can no longer consume alcohol. Not a huge deal. I’ve been either pregnant or nursing for so long that alcohol has not been part of my regular diet. However, I am a little disappointed that beer bread, or anything cooked/baked with alcohol, will no longer be part of the menu.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain further (and maybe even challenge you a little).We American Christians enjoy being ‘free in Christ,’ which indeed we are. Aaron and I aren’t prudes. We do consume alcoholic beverages on occasion, and we do not consider it sin. However, most other Christian cultures are much more concerned about living above reproach than they are about their supposed freedom from the Law. As missionaries (which all true Christians are), we need to be more focused on living as a representatives of Christ, on saving the lost and dying world, on NOT becoming a stumbling block. Most people see us American Christians as hypocrites. Do you realize that?? When we move to Kenya, people will know by our actions that we are Christians. They will see our clothes (I have to wear long skirts/dresses all the time), notice our respect for all mankind, and pay attention to what we abstain from, i.e. alcohol. Kenyan Christians take Christian living seriously. They truly are the salt and light of the world, and I’m honored to become one of them. My intention for the remainder of my time in the U.S. is to become saltier and brighter, to die to self instead of hold tightly to all the ‘freedoms’ I have been given.

(By the way, I’m totally not good at being salt or light or at dying to self. It’s just what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me lately. I have a looooong way to go, but I’m confident that the Holy Spirit is a good Teacher.)

Ok. Now that my sermon is over, let’s address the snail portion of the title.

Aren’t they cute?? This is what the boys made and ate for lunch today. Noah found it in his magazine, and he was super excited to eat snails! We spread mayo and mustard on a tortilla. Then, we added meat, cheese and spinach. After rolling them up, we cut them into 1-inch rolls. I cut ‘feet’ out of another tortilla to tuck under the ‘shell.’ We put a mound of peanut butter on the ‘foot’ for the heat and then added pretzel sticks. They turned out really cute and quite tasty. After lunch, we read the magazine and learned that snails’ shells grow with them just like a turtle’s shell. Hermit crabs, however, have to find bigger shells as they grow. And then, Noah asked, “Mama, can we get a hermit crab? My cousin Alex has one.” The whole moving to Kenya in a couple of months gets me out of buying a lot of stuff! 🙂

Pancake Mix, etc.

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When Aaron was in residency and we had a very limited grocery budget, I began making my own baking mix (a.k.a. Bisquick). It made my mornings a little easier when pancakes or waffles were on the menu. Well, I wanted to expand my uses for my pancake mix. If I mix of a huge batch of baking mix, what all can I make with it?

I’m assuming that I can find these simple ingredients in Kenya. (I’ll be really sad if I can’t.) And I’m hoping that this mix will save me a little bit of time as I make all the recipes I’ve been finding. I’ll share a couple here. But, first, here is my recipe for baking mix.

Baking Mix (from Healthy Meals for Less by Jonni McCoy)

8 cups flour (I use at least 2 cups of whole wheat.)

1 1/4 cups powdered milk

1/4 cup baking powder

1 Tbsp salt

2 cups shortening (This is NOT low fat!!)

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a very large bowl and mix well. Cut in the shortening until it looks like coarse cornmeal. (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to do all the mixing and cutting. The large bowl is barely large enough, but it works.)

Store in an airtight container. It does not need to be refrigerated. (I posted the waffle and pancake recipes right on the container.)

To make Waffles, mix 2 cups of the mix, 1 1/3 cup milk, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and 1 egg.

To make Pancakes, mix 2 cups of the mix, 1 cup milk and 2 eggs.

 

Shortcake Recipe

2 1/3 cup baking mix

1/2 cup milk

3 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425. Mix ingredients. Drop 6 spoonfulls onto baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.

I had raspberries and blueberries, so I sprinkled them with sugar and had a wonderfully delicious Berry Shortcake dessert. Of course, you could use strawberries or a variety of fruit. The boys loved it, especially because we topped it with Rediwhip!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 3/4 cups baking mix

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in baking mix and chocolate chips. Drop onto baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack.

These were really good! I can’t wait to try more cookie recipes from the Bisquick website.

 

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (also from Healthy Meals for Less)

2 cups baking mix

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop golf-ball-sized spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake 450 for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

These are great with soup, or just about anything. The garlic wasn’t strong enough, so I think I’d add more (and maybe a variety of spices) next time.

 

Hope you enjoy these recipes! Next cooking adventure: Brownie Mix. 🙂

10 lbs of blueberries

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About a year ago, Aaron brought home 5 pounds of blueberries from work. I made blueberry ice cream, a blueberry pie, and several other things. I had to do some recipe searches, but I was able to use the entire 5 pounds before they spoiled.

When the blueberry purchasing time rolled around this year, Aaron decided (without my consent) that we needed 10 pounds of blueberries…Needless to say, I did a little more searching for blueberry recipes. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures along the way. I’ll share some of the recipes here. (If you follow pinterest, you can see some of the recipes with pictures there.)

Double Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

(adapted a little from cookeatdelicious.com They are amazing!!)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 Tbsp sugar

6 Tbsp cold butter

1 cup milk

2 cups fresh blueberris

Glaze:

1/4 cup lemon juice

zest of one lemon

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400. Combine first 4 ingredients. Cut in the cold butter. Fold in the blueberries and milk. On a floured surface, shape dough into a 12x3x1 rectangle. Cut into 4 equal squares. Then, cut each square into 2 triangles. Place on baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool on baking rack.

To make glaze, heat lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in zest and butter until smooth. Drizzle over scones just before serving.

Blueberry Pops

(This is a marthastewart.com recipe. These are so easy and so yummy!)

5 cups blueberries

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Strain. Discard solids. Add water, if needed, to make 3 cups liquid. Divide into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid. Enjoy!

Blueberry Ice Cream

(This is a tasteofhome.com recipe. It is so good that we made it both years.)

4 cups blueberries

2 cups sugar

2 Tbsp water

4 cups half-and-half cream

In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolves and berries are soft. Strain; discard solids. Stir in cream. Refrigerate overnight.

Freeze according to ice cream maker’s manufacturer directions. Allow to ripen in freezer 2-4 hours before serving.

 

I also made blueberry pancakes, froze some berries for later use, froze some berries in white cranberry juice for ‘fancy’ ice cubes (as my boys call them) and baked a blueberry orange loaf of bread. Tomorrow I will bake a blueberry pie, and all of the 10 lbs of blueberries will be accounted for…So, the next time you find yourself with a surplus of blueberries just try one of these tried-and-true recipes. Yum!

A lesson in Culture

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About a month ago our church held a missions conference luncheon. Everyone was asked to bring an ethnic dish to share, and I naturally wanted to make something Kenyan. (I think people expected that I would do that too, because many people asked what I made.) After a little Google search, I found Curry of Beef Kenya at http://www.cdkitchen.com. It was perfect because I had all the ingredients already and it was cooked in a slow cooker.

That Sunday, I placed the slow cooker on the Africa table with all the other stuff that looked less-than-appealing to me. (I thought the Central American table looked the best with all the Mexican dishes…I guess it’s too bad God isn’t calling us to Mexico.) I got the boys and Aaron their plates, and then I finally got myself some food. My slow cooker was empty. Nobody in the family got to try it, but we heard that it was good. Aaron requested that I make it for dinner sometime. I wasn’t too eager since curry isn’t one of our favorite spices.

Well, tonight was the night. I put everything in the slow cooker this morning. The smell of curry beef filled the house all day. I must admit that it smelled delicious and I was anxious to try it. The timer went off 6 and a half hours later. I added apple chunks, raisins, and pineapple chunks and set the timer for another 30 minutes. Then, I cooked up some rice and steamed some sugar snap peas. (The peas were a back up plan. I knew the boys would eat that if nothing else.) As I was spooning the rice and curry of beef into our bowls, I commented to Aaron, “I wonder how many complaints we’re gonna get about this.”

To my surprise, they loved it. And so did I! The curry isn’t overpowering, and the beef is super tender. I will definitely make this again, and maybe try a different variety of fruits. I loved the combination that I used this time, but I’m curious how pears and dried cranberries would taste. When Noah found out that it was a Kenyan recipe, he got excited and asked for seconds. Maybe Kenyan food won’t be so bad. I’m super glad I have adventurous eaters, and I highly recommend the following recipe.

Curry of Beef Kenya

1 large onion, sliced

1 tsp curry powder

2 Tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 lbs beef stew meat (1/2″ cubes)

2 cups beef broth

2 cups fruit

hot cooked rice

Saute onion and curry powder in oil over medium heat until onion is soft. Remove onions from pan. Increase heat to medium-high and brown beef. To crockpot, add onions, beef, salt, pepper and broth. Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours.

About 1/2 hour before serving, add fruit. Serve over rice. You can add condiments (like chutney, chopped peanuts, green onions) if you’d like.

Serves 6.