Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Liberian Family Receives Rice

Not a day goes by (since my trips to Africa) that I don't think about how to better help and serve the people in Liberia. I am thinking about ways to improve what we are doing @ Global Orphan Outreach
and ways I can contribute to other organizations who are working on other areas. The need is so great and I wish that I could contribute more. So, when other families jump in and say they want to help...well, it is encouraging! It is so awesome to be able to bring food (or other help) to another family. We also do a school sponsorship program and working with the people in Liberia with this program I realized how important it is to see that kids are fed FIRST! It becomes very hard for a student to learn when their bellies are constantly thinking of hunger. It is hard for them to stay in school when hungry because they know if they could just sell something during the day, they might be able to eat. This is such a basic need that goes unmet everyday for many people. Many people are helping to feed people and we are happy to be able to contribute along with them!

This is a picture of a family that recently received a bag of rice by a sponsor. Her name is Minnie. Minnie has 3 children to provide for but no education, no other family (it is believed all her other relatives died in the war), can't really speak much English and has not had a source of income for more than 10 years! Recently she began selling charcoal which has provided some income. One of her daughters has been to school and is done, the other is currently walking FOUR HOURS each day for her education. I believe this daughter's journey will be better on a full stomach!

This is where Minnie and her children are living. The above picture shows their room. It is dark, humid and the roof leaks. So many needs...but this month she will not have to worry about food.

I want to direct you to the family's blog that has blessed our Liberian family. Please visit Mama B and get to know this awesome family! Thank you B family for your support!

Hot Beef Sandwiches

3-5 pounds mock tenderloin (or cubed beef)
1 package onion soup mix
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 beef bouillion cubes
small amount of water (until creamy)

Cut up meat into cubes. Bake in dutch oven for 5 or 6 hours at 300 degrees. Mash up cubes with potato masher. Serve on buns.

Can also put meat into crockpot and mix soups, bouillion and water and pour over meat. Cook on high until meat can be shredded, about 5 hours.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rice Pudding

In Teddy's second grade class they are studying the way Christmas is celebrated in other countries around the world. Each child is asked to bring a certain food that comes from the country your child picked. Today was Teddy's turn to bring something. His country was Sweden and he was asked to bring rice pudding. Luckily, we make rice pudding pretty regularily and in bulk so it was not something we had to work real hard at. With just a few ingredients and about 30 minutes we made an ice cream pail full.

I dropped it off at school this morning.....BUT I forgot to bring along cinnamon for sprinkling on the top. Oh well......

Here is the recipe for the whole pail: (divide by 4 to make one batch)


1 gallon of milk (would be about 4 cups for single recipe)
3 cups long-grain rice
2 cups raisins
2-1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
cinnamon for sprinkling on top.

Bring milk, rice and sugar to a boil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes or until thickens and rice is soft. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving. Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Purple Mango

The kids are always asking for smoothies so we experiment with different flavors. This was a new one we tried. We ended up adding a couple of teaspoons sugar to it in the end but all-in-all it was a good, quick drink. we buy a case of peeled and sliced frozen mangoes to keep in the freezer to have on hand for smoothies. They pack alot of vitamin C which helps the immune system during cold and flu season!

Purple Mango Smoothie

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup cubed,(or sliced) frozen mango
sugar to taste, optional

Friday, December 4, 2009

Savory Spaghetti Sauce

I like to teach the older kids how to make a meal so when I am sick or gone away from home they can still have a decent meal. I like this recipe because it is soo easy and kids love spaghetti. I believe it is from a Taste of Home magazine.
For some reason, all my kids have liked to brown hamburger so this step is usually always their job whether I cook dinner or they do.

Add a few seasonings (see recipe). Another great way for kids to learn their measurements.

And serve over noodles. The kids use a pizza cutter to slice through the noodles before adding sauce. Even though slurping all your noodles is fun, this mom likes the clean chins at dinner. :0)

Spaghetti Sauce:

2 pounds hamburger, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped (can substitute 4 tablespoons minced onion if kids are making)
2-30 ounce cans tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons basil
1-1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

cooked spaghetti noodles

In a dutch oven, cook beef and onion. Drain and add next 8 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour; stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rice for Liberia

What is so awesome about this 50 lb bag of rice? Well, I suppose to us not much, but to the families in Liberia that are receiving this bag it means a whole lot! A bag like this for a Liberian is extremely difficult to afford. You see, most Liberians live on a dollar or less/day. 30 dollars per month is their earnings! This bag of rice will cost ALL of that money! And, if they want the better rice that does not contain small stones in it, it would be DOUBLE! It's crazy and sometimes overwhelming to think we can change what will always be with us. We can't change the world, but we CAN change the world for just one person!

We had 2 families that will be helped with a month worth of food from my last post!! That is totally awesome! I share this with Teddy every time another family is fed because he knows what hunger pains are and he gets excited when he hears that a child is fed.

Here is a picture of a page out of Teddy's school journal when he first came home. He asked for rice everyday...

Another one from his journal: He was overwhelmed to have 3 meals a day. :)

And here is his Thanksgiving turkey he made this year:

I just want to say thanks to you who have given of your resources to help these families! We appreciate your heart for the people who truly need your assistance. Your information about your families will be on its way soon.

Anyone interested in helping a's NEVER to late to give food to someone. And no amount is too small!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let Me Take a Minute....

to share what's on my heart today. With Thanksgiving right around the corner and food abundance for most Americans, I have been thinking about my friends in Liberia, West Africa.

For those who know us personally, you know we have adopted Teddy from Liberia. For those who just stumbled upon this blog, our journey with Liberia began a couple years ago. Our adoption took longer than expected but during that time many unexpected things took place that we had no idea were coming. One being the extent we would become involved.

I had always wanted to go to Africa. Since my earliest memory, I believe I was 9 years old, I had told my mom that I wanted to be a missionary there. I think for me it started with the National Geographic magazines that talked about this place very far away and television shows that grew my curiosity. 29 years later that dream became a reality for me. I was flying to Africa for my little boy.

Back up a year....While waiting for adoption paperwork to be finalized, I made my first trip to Liberia to visit our son. Then there was another trip. A month long trip to be exact. This was the trip I needed to become a "sold-out" advocate for Africa. For orphans, widows, child soldiers, special needs and the hungry. And before the adoption went through, there was yet another trip to this war-torn country.

So, what does 3 trips to Africa have to do with a cooking blog? Nothing really. But cooking is about serving food to those we love because it is a gesture to let them know how much we care about their well-being. One of the best parts of my day(in Africa) was when we ate. I saw Teddy devour his food like there was no tomorrow. It felt good to provide that for him. I love it when my kids are fed dinner and bathed and tucked into a comfy bed. These are 3 things that children in Liberia, and most of Africa, live without every day.

I have made so many friends with people from Liberia. They are no longer a face in a magazine or someone on a public education channel. They are my friends. I care about what happens to them. I want to see hungry children eat. This Thanksgiving will you help me feed them? We have started a project called the Rice Bowl. This project will feed hungry families in Liberia. It will enable people to eat at least one meal of rice a day. In fact, if you donate just one dollar, 2 people will eat for one day! And the best part is 100% of ALL MONEY goes directly to feeding people! Please help us feed them!

If you wish to donate (any amount) please click here

This is a picture of one of our meals at a cookshop in Liberia. Eating in the picture is Mark (on left) he is our sponsored grown-up son. Teddy, our adopted son and Alfred (on right) my taxi driver/friend.

A family we gave rice to. If you would like to sponsor a family like this with a full bag of rice and receive their picture please email me.

a typical cookshop meal, rice and fish

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spiced Pineapple Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup salad oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 2 medium)
1 can (8 1/4 ounce) well-drained, crushed pineapple
3 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted (half of which can be whole wheat)
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (finely)

In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add oil, sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until mixture is thick and foamy.
Stir in zucchini and pineapple (gently).
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts.
Stir gently into zucchini mixture until just blended.
Spoon batter into 2 greased and flour-dusted loaf pans.
Bake in a 350ยบ oven for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers come out clean.
Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Zucchini Bars

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup coconut
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cup walnuts
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

Cream margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla, flour and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. Stir in coconut, zucchini and walnuts. Spread batter evenly in well-greased 9x13 pan. Bake 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Frost while still warm.

Cinnamon Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients together and spread on bars.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Carrot Cupcakes

I finally had some free time to make a recipe with my pureed carrots that I was experimenting with. A few posts ago I experimented with pureeing my carrot peelings from canning carrots. I came up with a dozen or so bags in the freezer and set out to find out if I could use this in exchange for shredded carrots. I found this recipe at Week of Menus. This recipe called for one cup carrot puree, exactly what I had frozen. I made them today and I am glad I did. The cupcakes are tasty! I think I found a good way to use up my puree. The kids will be glad to see that I tried a new recipe today!

Carrot Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cups corn oil (or canola or some other vegetable oil)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup shelled walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup pureed cooked carrots
3/4 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with liners.
2. Sift dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger) into a bowl. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
3. Fold in walnuts (optional), coconut, carrots, pineapple, and raisins.
4. Scoop batter into prepared liners. Set on middle rack of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Cool on a cake rack. When fully cooled, ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(enough for 18 cupcakes) (this frosted over 2 dozen for me)
6 ounces of cream cheese frosting, room temperature (3/4 of your standard 8 oz block)
6 tablespoons of sweet butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you have vanilla bean, you can substitute a whole scraped vanilla bean in lieu of the vanilla extract - then also add a teaspoon of whole milk.)

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter with a mixer. Slowly mix in confectioners sugar. Continue to beat on low speed, slowly until all the ingredients have come together. Do not be tempted to beat on high speed -this adds too much air; rather beat on low speed for a longer time for a truly creamy frosting.

*On the Week of Menus blog she has great pics of how she made her cupcakes. I just scooped the frosting into a ziploc bag and squeezed it out on top, after all, five hungry kids and one starving husband will be home in about 2 hours and they will disappear! :) No fancy frosting needed here! Be sure to check out her site though!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Making Applesauce

Making applesauce has been a long time favorite for our kids. Not because it tastes so good,(which it does) but because they have an all-day free pass to hang out with our good friends until the job is done. The kids usually help with picking apples and taking turns at cranking out the fresh sauce. Here's the kids gathering apples for us.

And Darla, smiling at the basket of apples they brought in. I think she was still smiling at the end of the day! :) Make sure to wash your apples before cooking. They are actually more dirty than they appear. Just toss them into a sink of cold water and rinse.

After washing, cut apples into quarters. Put into boiling water until skins and pulp are soft and start to look like they are seperating, Remove from water. We use a big spoon with many small holes in it. Darla is using it in this picture.

We put the apples through a Sauce Master. (Not too sure if it is REALLY called this but it sounds good so we'll go with it.) This little piece seperates the pulp from the seeds and peelings. Great tool and makes less work. I also have this tool that I can add onto my KitchenAid Mixer and that really goes fast because their is no handle to crank. Here's one of the kids starting our first batch of sauce.

We added sugar to taste. It is alittle messy and sticky but well worth it at the end of the day! We make a few 5 gallon pails and can them later at home. I guess the "how-to can applesauce" can be another post.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Healthy Eating for Kids

Check this out! PBS Go, November 16

Slow 'n' Easy Barbecued Chicken

I have been going through an old box of recipes that have been just sitting in my cupboard. I found this one from an old Taste of Home magazine. I love using my crock pot and my MIL gave me 10 broiler chickens this year so I thought I would give this recipe a try. I changed it up a little bit and made adjustments to feed our larger family. It was a hit with the kids and so we will make it again.

This is a picture of when it was placed in the cooker, not when it was actually done. I'll have to post a finished picture to this recipe when my card is not full. :0)

1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons white vinegar
6 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 stick butter
4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (would be good with more)
6 pound broiler chicken, cut up and skin removed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Rice for serving alongside

In a small saucepan, combine the first 11 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Fry chicken in pan with small amount (maybe 2 tablespoons) of vegetable oil until lightly browned. (You can skip this frying step and just put chicken in crockpot if you wish) Place chicken in crockpot and pour sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until juices run clear.

Remove chicken to a serving platter and keep warm. Transfer juices to small saucepan. (you can strain juice and skim fat if you wish) Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Spoon some of the sauce over chicken and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

*Note* For the smaller kids I shredded a piece of meat over their rice and poured sauce over all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Making Pear Sauce

It seems as though all my recent posts have to do with canning. That is because most of our food from the garden this year all came ready at the same time. I thought I was almost done with canning and then our neighbor said we are welcome to his pear tree because he does not use the fruit. We went and picked one box and let them ripen. We then made this pear sauce, which is so good, we went and shook the rest of the tree and now we have one more full box and one 5 gallon pail. They take a couple weeks to ripen so I will have a small canning break now. :0) This is our first box of pears. You can see they are still very green.

Once they turned yellow I cut them up into quarters...

and boiled them until soft.

I have this handy attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer that peels, cores and seeds the fruit. One bucket collects the pear sauce and one catches the "garbage".

I added about 1 1/2 cups sugar per pail of sauce. You could make it without sugar and that is good too. It is delicious! Here are our first few jars of sauce..

Pressure can the sauce for 10 minutes at 5 pounds of pressure.

*Note: You can substitute pear sauce for pumpkin, applesauce or zucchini in your recipes. You can also add it to jello or put it on muffins/breads. Or just enjoy it as sauce right from the jar!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs beaten
1 cup salad oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 chopped nuts (optional)
Mix together, pour into greased cookie sheet with sides, bake 30 minutes.


3 ounce cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 lb. powder sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk (or more if needed)
Mix well, spread on bars.

trying something new..freezing carrot puree

I had this sink full of carrots to can and started wondering what to do with all the peelings that were left over. I thought about juicing them with my steam juicer and then pureeing the peelings and saving the juice for smoothies or to put into Gracies baby rice cereal. I tried doing some research about canning carrot juice or making carrot puree..not too much about either one came up so I tried to wing it to see what happens. One thing I did find was a couple recipes that use a baby food puree in the ingredients instead of the usual shredded carrots. I will be trying those tomorrow.

The carrot peelings were just about a full 5 gallon bucket full. I put half into my water bath and covered with water.

Then I boiled the peelings for about 5 or so minutes.

I drained them and put them into the food processor. They needed about a half a cup of water to get them fully pureed.

When done, the puree quantity was about 1/3 of what the peelings were. You can see here how much more empty the processor looks.

After processing in batches, I drained the carrots. I let them sit for about 10-15 minutes.

This is the amount of juice that drained out.

I packed the carrot puree into freezer bags. Tip: I folded the bags over a cup so that the zipper part did not get food into it. I put one cup in each bag.

I ended up with 13 bags of puree and some left over. Now to find some recipes that use the puree. Any ideas?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pepper Soup

2 pounds hamburger
2-3 green peppers, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
29 ounce (or 2 pints home canned) diced tomatoes
1 quart tomato soup
2 teaspoons sugar
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
2-3 cups hot water
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked rice

Cook beef, onion and pepper in fry pan until meat is browned. Drain grease. Put into crockpot. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on low for a couple hours until hot and then set on 'keep warm' until dinner.

*hint* I freeze my peppers and onions to have on hand for recipes. When recipe calls for them, take a few out and break into pieces. Great time saver!

*hint* I have a small (and large) rice cooker. When recipes like this call for cooked rice I add 4 scoops water (scoop comes with cooker)and 2 scoops rice. It is done quickly and the rice is perfect.

Crock-Pot Maple Country Ribs

6 pounds boneless pork ribs
2 cups pure maple syrup
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup ketchup
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon each:
garlic powder

Mix all ingredients and pour over ribs. Cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over rice.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making Pumpkin Puree

Making pumpkin puree for pie, desserts, bread and soups is so easy. There is really only a few steps and freezing it is alot easier than canning it. Actually, they now recommend that people do not can the puree for safety reasons. We love pumpkin treats around here so we freeze alot of pumpkins. We also freeze the small ones grown specifically for canning. They are sweeter and have less juice so the puree is thicker.
You will want to start by rinsing your pumpkin and drying it. Cut it in half. Make sure you get all these stringy things out along with all the seeds. (We saved some seeds for the garden next year.)A regular old spoon should work great for this.

It should look like this when ready for cooking.

There are a couple different ways people cook their pumpkin at this point. Some cut into chunks and cook. Others cut and put in pan with small amount of water and cook until soft. Either of these methods seem to be to labor intensive and takes an extra long time to cook. What we have done is to take your clean, cut in 1/2 pumpkin and put them in the canner. It looks like this...

Pressure cook your pumpkins for about 7 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure. This year our pumpkins were small and dense and 7 minutes seemed to be perfect. After cooking, immediately reduce pressure in canner under running water in sink. This is what they will look like when done.

At this point, I let the pumpkin cool for just about 3 minutes. It is very hot after pressure cooking so be careful not to get burned by your pumpkins. Again, your empty shell will look something like this.

Set your pumpkin on a plate and scoop out the pulp into your food processor. Blend until smooth. This is what 10 small pumpkins and one medium pumpkin looks like all done. You really can't tell how big this bowl is by the picture but it is a really big stainless steel bowl.

As your processing all the pumpkins the puree cools down enough to freeze in ziploc bags or freezer containers. When storing in the freezer I only stack 2 high until frozen and then stack them all together when they are all frozen. I freeze 2 cups per bag as alot of recipes call for 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Don't forget to save out a little for some fresh pumpkin bars!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sour Cream Raisin Bars

I got this recipe out of an Amish style cookbook. It looked interesting and I had a whole bunch of raisins that needed somewhere to go so I gave it a whirl. Everyone liked it and we have been making it ever since. My daughter made this pan of them and they were yummy as usual.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt


4 egg yolks
1-1/2 cups raisins
2 cups (16 ounces)sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat in flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.(Mixture should be crumbly).

Set aside 2 cups; pat remaining crumbs into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Meanwhile combine filling ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir constantly for 5-8 minutes.

Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Return to oven for 15 minutes.

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