20 August 2011

Fruit and Flower Friday!

So I haven't exactly been doing a post ever Friday about a fruit and flower here. Whelp, that's just how I roll. Structure is not a must in my life. Which is a huge plus for living where we do and having the lifestyle we have. (although there are areas I must have it!) Any who, so today we were to go out and spend the day at Mattaw. Bud ended up taking longer on the vehicles he is repairing so that didn't happen (insert non-structured day!). As Betsy says "blessed are the flexible, for they will bend and not break". Amen! Instead I decided to focus on my children and plan out some snacks and meals for the week. And the weather is so beautiful today so we decided to play outside a lot.

Claire and I took a stroll around our yard and pointed out all the flowers. She is now saying flower instead of "afa". She is definitely speaking way more than Elisha did at this age. Difference in boys and girls. I decided to go with this flower today...

I'm really not sure what it is, but there are a lot of thorns on the bush and it kinda seems like a rose. It's a really cute little pink flower.

Almost as cute as this little girl...

While Claire slept, Elisha and I dug into a mango for a snack. We love them. I think I've posted a few other mangoes. This one is a red mango. (please ignore how BAD this little dude needs a haircut... yes, I am putting it off, as long as he can see)

I love to cook and bake. (in case you didn't already know) I really like the challenge here. And it is a guaranteed thing that I can take ingredients and have a finished product. (unlike most events in our life around here) I mean for the most part the ingredients here will do what they should. We do live in a third world country though. Who knew there is bad yeast you can buy? Or expired brown sugar. The list could go on. But I love to cook a meal every night. Plan out weekly menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the challenge of making things from scratch to be more frugal and healthy.

I generally try and plan our menu and snacks around nutritious foods. But I do happen to love my husband and his main food groups are meat, potatoes, peanut butter and chocolate. So you can imagine at times nutrition is not in the plan.

Your grandmother was right folks "a way to a man's heart is through his stomach".

I'd say I shoot for 3/4Th of the time eating solely healthy foods. I mean, we do like to enjoy life! Then there are times I'm able to sneak in a healthy meal and it not taste like it at all. With Elisha, I found a huge trick. Anything green is monster food. So now he will eat spinach, broccoli, and kale chips. Also known as monster food, monster trees, and monster chips.

Today for lunch we went for all veggies. I'm not trying to loose weight but I am aware of the fact that my metabolism is not like the athletic 16 year old it used to be. According to a Harvard study, vegetables is the #2 out of top 10 food items to help drive away the fat and cut calories with nutrition. Most importantly, I look for creative ways to get veggies in my kids tummies to promote good immune systems. Especially being in a place where sickness is a bit more common.

Today we had butternut squash and carrot fries. Super simple.

Preheat oven to 350 (or 180 Celsius in my case).
Coat a bit of Olive oil over all of the veggies.
Sprinkle some seasoning. (i used an organic vegetable grilling spice but you could also simply go with sea salt)
Make sure it's evenly coated (i spread it around with my fingers)
And bake for about 20 plus minutes
We like our carrots a bit toasty

Don't be fooled, like I said, we do enjoy life and live it on the edge. Meaning we had some tasty pancakes with buttery cinnamon syrup this morning. Divine.

I've tried so many pancake recipes with the ingredients here and lo and behold, I found one that almost taste as good as my dads. (i said almost) And it is easy. Which I need easy after staying up late on Fridays and wanting to do something fun for breakfast on the weekend.

Yummy Pancakes
-1 1/2 cups flour
-3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon sugar (or more, depending how far on the edge you are feeling)
-1 1/4 cup milk
-1 egg
-3 tablespoons butter, melted

Sift together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter. Stir until smooth but do not over mix. It is OK to be a little clumpy. And sometimes I add more milk if I think I need to stretch the pancakes to make more. But I don't highly recommend it, it'll make them not as thick and divine.

And in my case, I triple the recipe to feed the army living in my house. (three teenage boys, a grown man, an ever growing preschooler and toddler) Any that just might be left over, which is rare, I stick in a ziplock bag, put in the freezer, and can pull out and warm in the microwave for Elisha and Claire.

So we have tried many syrup recipes. I even have my mom send me maple flavoring to make our syrup. We can buy syrup here but it's a bit pricey and why buy it when homemade is better?! OK, so it's not homemade as in real Canadian maple syrup homemade. But it is from scratch and it is better than the high fructose crud in the store.

The BEST Buttery Cinnamon Syrup
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
-1/2 cup butter (reason why it is so good)
-1 cup sugar (oh and this too)
-1 cup buttermilk (yeah, lets go ahead and say this ingredient makes it "healthy" and darn good)
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract (i did 3 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 teaspoons of maple flavoring)
-1 tablespoon corn syrup (i used honey)
-1 teaspoon of cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT baking soda in a pot over the stove and mix together until boiling. Simmer and let it set for a few minutes. 10 seconds before taking it off the stove, add in the baking soda. It will get very bubbly, very fast, so watch out! Take it off and let it cool. Serve warm.

Every Saturday morning we try and have a fun breakfast, rather than the usual granola, yogurt, cereal, fruit, eggs or toast. What are some easy and fun breakfasts you do around your house? Please, do share!


the Schmidts said...

i found your blog a while ago through Kristen at We are THAT family (i think). I bookmarked it bc my family is moving to Kenya next summer to teach at RVA and I try to soak up all the blogs of folks living and serving the Lord in Kenya. I especially like when you post recipes. I'm quite intimidated by cooking/baking in Kenya (among other things) but I'm up to the challenge and I love to see what you come up with!

Spesh Ball said...

Great Post! We love doing egg bagel sandwiches. We sauté onions and peppers to add to the egg, and if we are feeling rich, we may slice an avocado to put on top. Avocados are very expensive around here so they are a treat to add. Oh, I have another one we like doing.

Egg McMuffins

5-10 Slices crispy cooked bacon (we use turkey bacon)

1   8oz. pkg. cream cheese softened

1/2 -1 cup Mayonnaise
 (we cut this out)
12 hard boined eggs

1 lb. grated cheddar cheese

parmesan cheese

2 1/2 pkg. English Muffins

salt, pepper, celery salt

 (we cut celery salt)

Crush eggs with fork.  Add softened cream cheese and crumbled bacon.  Add mayonnaise gradually to good spreading consistency.  Add salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste.
Spread on English Muffins (cut in half).  Add grated Cheddar cheese to cover tops of English Muffins.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake in 400 degree oven until all ingredients are meshed and brown (10 min. +)

Can be made ahead of time and frozen.  If making in advance, leave the cheeses off before freezing and add before baking.

Kimberly said...

ooo, that sounds good kendra! i like it that you can freeze them too, makes it way convenient for here. i'll have to give that a try. (no turkey bacon here :( and rarely cream cheese, still would be good)

thanks schimidts, i've always wanted to document my cooking experience here and post recipes... maybe i will now that time has slowed a bit for us. and maybe we'll meet one day! karibu kenya.

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