Monday, April 13, 2020

Global Cuisine - Easter from around the world

Easter dinner was very different this year.  Although we weren't able to follow the traditions that we normally celebrate, we still made the best of our situation and enjoyed our time at home as a family.  Although it was very tough to not be able to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist.  
We couldn't find much in the likes of international food dishes for Easter.  The majority was either dessert or bread.  So, we asked the kids what they wanted and we had a smorgasbord.  I took pictures of the truly global dishes.  Some of the other dishes we had was roasted carrots, sweet potato casserole, green salad, and Kenyan cabbage (that counts as normal)!

Almond Cinnamon Babka Star Bread
Babka bread is traditionally a Polish Jewish bread.  The word "babka" comes from the Slavic word babcia, which means grandmother.  It is believed that it was named after grandmothers because they are known for making lots of goodies and desserts.  This bread actually turned out beautifully!  It was quite the challenge to figure out how to make the shape, but it was fun to make.  It tastes like a cinnamon roll.  

Jamaican Meat Pies and Caribbean Coleslaw
This was a request from the kids.  We gave up meat for Lent so they were very excited to have an empanada filled with delicious meat.  The coleslaw goes great with it and has a nice fresh flavor with the mango that is added.

Jamaican Lamb
Apparently we have a Jamaican theme going on!  This was actually given to us from a parishioner from our church who happens to be Jamaican.  She blessed our kids with this huge hunk of meat.  We surprised them with it.  Actually, Belle, our youngest, probably crushed the most out of all the kids.  She loved it!

Swedish Semla Bubs and I made these on Saturday.  They looked fancy on the recipe and I was hopeful that they would be delicious, but apparently cardamom is extremely potent.  We used our mortal and pestle to crush up the cardamom pods and then used our spice grinder to make them into a powder.  Cardamom went into the dough and also into the almond paste for the filling.  The dough wasn't quite right either so they proved to be a bit challenging during the assembly process.

Here is a picture of the semla cut in half.  You can sort of see the almond paste filling.  The whipped cream got smooshed, but the kids still enjoyed them.  I have to say that I tried a small piece and the cardamom was a bit powerful.  However, Bubs said that its a dessert and how can a dessert be bad!!

Stay tuned for our next country.  Belle gets to choose this one, so you never know!  The good thing is that we can have meat now.  

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter season!  We are anxiously awaiting baby #7 to arrive in the next week or so.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Global Cuisine - China I truly hope not to offend anyone, but I attempted to write "Chinese Menu" in Chinese.  I think it looks pretty good, but I also think my Swahili is pretty good when we go to Kenya and my husband's relatives either laugh or just smile (knowing that I sound like a redneck from Oklahoma)!  DJ stayed busy today and didn't get all of his dishes done.  He had an eggplant and sesame noodle dish that we will probably just have later in the week.  I keep telling him to whittle down his menu, but I guess all of the food looks so good he can't choose wisely!  That being said, this is our last Sunday meal without meat!!!  Hooray, next week is Easter and Lent is over. 

Bubs wanted to get in on the action of the "fun to operate" kitchen gadgets before Mass.  I have to admit that I secretly didn't want him to help because I love turning that crank and watching those beautiful zucchini noodles come out of the other end too! Ha  We helped DJ out while he was away in the morning.

Momos with spinach and ricotta
This picture is a bit hard to tell, but this is essentially a wonton wrapper stuffed with goodness and drizzled with Kung Pao sauce.  There was a lot of kung pao going on in the kitchen today!  Mumbs, who is usually pretty picky, ate about 5 of these.

Chinese Fried Rice
Ooohhhh a man after my own heart.  Mama's favorite.  This was Belle's favorite too.  I think she ate three bowls worth.  What is a Chinese meal without it?!

Zucchini noodle lo mein
Many, or shall I dare to say all, of the kids highly dislike mushrooms.  This dish had quite a bit, but the kids were told they had to eat three each.  The backstory of this is that since everyone has been quarantined and DJ has been working from home, there has been a daily basketball game.  DJ vs. the kids.  There is a daily bet and today the kids bet on mushrooms (because they saw them in the fridge).  Unfortunately, DJ crushed them today 15-0.  They have actually never lost so bad since they started playing!  To top it off, they only have to make 5 shots to win and he has to make 15, solo.

Kung Pao Lentils, White Rice, and Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
These lentils definitely had a kick to them, but were quite tasty.  He added roasted, salted cashews which brought an unexpected crunch element.  The cauliflower was sticky, but sweet and combined nicely with the lentils.

Chinese Banana Fritters and Chinese New Year's Cake
So, for anyone who has any culinary skills whatsoever, you are probably cracking up right now.  We tried so hard for this presentation it ended up looking like we just threw a bunch of chocolate on the plate.  We couldn't get it to drizzle any way we tried so this is what you get.  Globs of chocolate!  On the bright side, the banana fritters were good.  I wasn't sure how they would taste, but the crunchy outside went well with the soft sweet inside.  As for the New Year's Cake, let's just say it was keto friendly.  He used rice flour and added almonds to give it a bit more flavor.  Overall, they both paired nicely with our tea tonight.

Stay tuned for our next Global Cuisine dinner: EASTER from around the world.  Our traditional Easter plans have been changed due to the quarantine, so we are doing our own spin on an Easter menu this year.  

Saturday, April 4, 2020

School days

Let's just say that school has been quite interesting these days with the recent quarantine over the coronavirus.  DJ has been working from home (or shall I say the kitchen table) and it is a bit distracting at times.  He takes calls there and also has his zoom video calls.  It wouldn't be so bad if we were in the classroom, but this teacher is 9 months pregnant and over climbing up down those stairs for school.  I park it in my chair at the table and we have been making do.  It's that time of year when the weather is warming up and we all want to be outside anyway!  Here are a few things we've been up to lately.

Mumbs was shown the spindle rods today (even though she doesn't know all of her numbers.)  I just couldn't resist her when she brought it up from the classroom.  She did really well and is actually capable of working with it.  Ideally, the child has mastered the red rods, number rods and cards, and the number sandpaper letters.  However, following the child usually takes priority!

Bubs worked with fractions.  He was struggling with the concept of adding fractions with unlike denominators.  He persevered though and ended up doing 10 equations by himself.

Ok, I'm not sure if this painting is Mumbs or Belle's or actually a combination.  All I know is that I was on a phone call and then I got word from an older child that they were painting in the classroom by themselves and there was paint on the floor, all over the easel, and on themselves!  #wherewastheteacher

Nito worked on the sensorial decanomial.

T-Man working on the small bead frame.  He was shown dynamic subtraction and has taken off with it.  I tend to underestimate his capability.  He is still little T-Man to me.

Mumbs has been very interested in the sandpaper letters so I am trying to not lose this sensitive period without taking full advantage of it.  I neglected T-Man during this phase and he is not quite where I would like him to be with his reading.  Hopefully, I can keep it up after the baby comes and with summer approaching. 

Nito and T-Man love the new clock I got.  Ok, it's a bit huge and obnoxious, but it has some cool features.  The dial can be turned and the small circles will change to roman numerals, a 24 hr clock, or it will have words like "half past".  

Ok so then this happened!  Our daily walk while we prayed the rosary.  Although I give DJ a hard time sometimes, it has been such a blessing to have him at home during his busy season as a tax accountant.  He is home for all of our meals and we sneak in extra daddy time when he isn't on a call.  Mumbs loves pushing Belle in the stroller.  

The kids are on a home school cross country team through our church, but practice has been cancelled for the spring season.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to recreate some of the things they do in their spring conditioning practices.  We happened to have two random tires from the van and some logs from when we lost branches from our tree.  I created different obstacle courses with cones, balls, a soccer goal, wheelbarrow, etc and then timed each of them to make it competitive.  You would be surprised how hard it is to push a tire!

Kui working hard to not let her younger brothers beat her.  She beat Bubs by 6 seconds!

Nito jumping through tires and over logs.  He then had to go kick a ball in the soccer goal and push the wheelbarrow around the blue spruce tree.

In the end, all of the children, even Belle, were doing the obstacle course in their own way.  It was a lot of fun to watch and those boys really need to get their daily dose of jumping and climbing out of their system.  

We will probably take Holy Week off or we may persevere since school will essentially be over for the year once the baby comes in a few weeks.  I will continue to post about our weekly Sunday dinners as I can. China is tomorrow.  Very fitting for our current lockdown situation.  Mumbs picked the country this week.  Stay tuned!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Global Cuisine - Ecuador

So, Ecuador ended up being a family affair.  A few kiddos helped out in the prep and I was in the kitchen with DJ most of the day.  It was actually nice to be in there with him, but I told him that if the weather was warmer, I would have bailed on him!  I also secretly wanted to eat at a decent time and get ahead of the mountain of dishes that are always staring at me at the end of the night.
Here is Belle rolling out the dough to make the sweet rolls.  However, when I wasn't looking, half of the dough was missing and she was eating it!  #whereweretheparents

Kui and Belle helped shuck the corn.

Kui was in charge of flipping the corn on the grill.

So, I had to take a picture of this because I was laughing so hard when I turned around and saw this!  Now, I have seen it all.  He was trying to melt the sugar for the suspiros.  
Here is the menu.  Wow, my handwriting looks a bit terrible and slanted.  I decided to use the markerboard side of the easel this time.  We also found the flag downstairs.  The kids ended up spending too much time outside and didn't dress up or prepare any song/play.

Arvejas con guineo
This is traditionally supposed to be split pea and green banana soup, but DJ couldn't find split peas.  He used black eyed peas instead with the green bananas.  I have to admit that this soup doesn't look very appetizing, but it is a very hearty soup, especially good for our meatless Lenten dinners.

Pan dulce de Ecuador
I ended up helping my boo with these sweet rolls.  Don't mind the crazy distorted shapes.  They went a little crazy in the oven.  These were scrumptious.  After they came out of the oven, I slathered them in melted butter and sprinkled them with sugar!  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to double the recipe.  It made 30 rolls!  Enough to feed our large family.

Llapingachos con ensalada de tomate y cebolla con aquacate
This Ecuadorian salad was a little iffy for me at first.  It called for avocados.  I wasn't sure how those would do with the tomato and onions.  I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was and it paired great with the potato cakes (Llapingachos) that are seen in the picture below.

Maiz a la parrilla con cilantro queso fresco salsa
This picture has a few things, but I spoke about the top two above.  The grilled corn was absolutely delicious.  It was a special treat to have grilled corn so early in the year.  DJ made this delicious sauce for it that had garlic, cilantro, and sour cream I think.  Either way, I could have eaten 3 ears of corn, pregnant or not!

Empanadas de verde con queso
Ok.  So these are empanadas made out of green plantain dough stuffed with cheese.  OMG!  I'm not sure what this man of mine was thinking, but these were an absolute disaster.  He was putting raw hunks of plantain into the food processor mixed with grated plantains.  The food processor didn't know what the heck was going on and just started making this horrible noise, stinking up the joint, and I'm sure if you looked hard enough, you could have seen smoke coming from the motor!  Disaster, disaster, disaster!  He added water and oil I think to make it into a mush he called dough.  Then he bailed on it and gave it over to me to try and salvage it.  I added almost 3 cups of flour to make it into something I could work with and then spent another 30 minutes picking out hunks of raw plantains.  I mean how can you roll out your dough with huge hunks.  Anyway....I was polite about the matter and just did my best.  I managed to be able to roll them out a bit, stuff them with beans, cheese, and green onions, and fry them.  We had to improvise and pour some of the sauce from the corn on them because they had an indescribable flavor.  Yikes!

Ahhh.....dessert.  DJ decided to make two for this country.  He said that's how much he loves me.  Ha! I made the cake below and he made these.  P. U. R. E. sugar is all I have to say.  These were delicious straight from the oven.  They tasted like cotton candy.  They hardened a bit and became a little less chewy the next day, but equally delicious.

Tres Leche Cake
So, don't laugh at this picture.  DJ said that we need to spiffy up our pictures so he told me to take it next to the flowers (as if I'm going to become some professional food blogger or something!)  Anyway, at least you can see the cake.  It was very interesting to make.  I wasn't sure what to think when I poured my milk mixture over the cake and it started to float in the casserole dish!  After quite a few hours, I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of the milk had soaked into the cake leaving it very spongy.  I toasted some coconut to go on top of the delicious whipped icing.

Mumbs has the next choice of country and guess what she chose?!?!  CHINA!  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Global Cuisine - Portugal

The kids were excited that we were doing Portugal because the Fatima children are from there.  This picture has Our Lady of Fatima and the three children: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta.  Hopefully one day, we will be able to visit the city of Fatima.  Until then, let us experience Portugal through the hands of DJ!

Ok, so I apologize for the pretty lame pictures since I don't show my kids faces.  The girls ended up looking more Jamaican than Portuguese, so I just included a few boys!   Nito has really been playing his guitar more and wanted to include it.  Since we had dinner guests, their song, "Palma, palma, palma" was forgotten!  It was a repeat from when we did Brazil anyway.  Perhaps, if they ever end up doing a song, I will record it and post it to the blog.

Here is our menu for this week.  I have to say that my hubby is quite ambitious every week.  I wouldn't dream of cooking so many things, but I cook almost everyday so that could be why.  However, it is smart in the sense that I never have to cook on Mondays since we usually have leftovers, even after feeding our army of children. 

Massa Sovada
My husband knows that I'm a carboholic and always makes a point to get some sort of bread into the menu.  This is a Portuguese sweet bread.  They came out nicely, but I found them a bit dry.  Although, that can easily be resolved with a little butter!  

Bacalhau com Natas
I believe this was the most popular dish and there were very little leftovers.  This is salted cod that is baked and mixed with fried onions, potatoes, and other goodness.  We had some friends over for dinner and one of them gave it away that this was fish.  I actually would have tried it on my own thinking it was gooey potatoes.  Now, I have to admit, I was eventually FORCED to try this.  I fell into the peer pressure of the whole table telling me that I had to try it.  Gag!  I am not a fan by any means of fish and I mixed it with every carb on my plate!  I was still traumatized from the weekend before when DJ and I went out for our anniversary. He told me that if I tried a fried oyster that he would get me an order of mozzarella sticks!  If anyone knows me, they know how much I absolutely love mozzarella sticks.  So......I agreed.  Well, when the order came, he cut me off a piece of the fried oyster and black stuff started to ooze out of it!  I said, "What the heck is that?!"  He said just eat it!!!!  I literally almost threw up on my plate.  So, needless to say that I was a bit skeptical to eat this fish.

Batatas a Murro
These were a huge hit.  Portuguese smashed potatoes.  They were covered with fried onions and blue cheese.  Now, the moldy cheese could have been switched for a better one, but they were still good nonetheless.

Salada de feijao garbanzo com alino assade
I was very thankful for this fresh element of the dinner.  It is a fresh salad with tomatoes, chickpeas, and fresh herbs.  It was definitely different, but very tasty.

Caldo Verde
Portuguese kale soup.  This soup had great flavor, but I am not a fan of kale, collard greens, or spinach in soup.  It's just weird!  And our darling baby, Belle, calls everything like that a leaf!  She screams and says "Weaf, weaf, weaf" and refuses to eat it.  However, the other children enjoyed it. 

Mistura Vegetariana
Ok.....I just have to say what everyone else is thinking for this picture.  It looks like cat throw up!  DJ said that I need to get better at taking pictures and I agree!  I'm clearly an amateur.  Even though this would not pass the presentation part on Chopped, his flavor was still there.  It is a vegetable hash with cabbage, potatoes, herbs, and olives.  T-Man devoured almost all of the olives before DJ could add them to the dish!

Arroz de Tomate
Portuguese Tomato Rice.  This was a simple nice side dish to compliment the meal.  It is essentially rice and beans with tomatoes.

Bolo de Amendoa
OMG!  This was I think one of my favorite desserts.  I think it might actually trump the Italian Pear Cake he made for Italy.  Portugueses Almond Torte.  I recently got him some new spring form pans and he was excited to use them.  I made the syrup for this cake and it smelled so delicious.  Plus, we had it on Sunday so I was able to enjoy this with tea.  Soo good.