Pine cones on Pinterest

I found a couple of fun Pinterest ideas for fall/Thanksgiving. First off, this bleached pine cone idea caught my eye. I thought they’d be a great way to add a little seasonal decor to the beach house, ocean-style. Basically you plunk a bunch of pine cones into a half and half mix of water and bleach. The pine cones will close up and some will look like they’re not even changing color at all.

After 24 hours in the bleach solution, you take them out, rinse them off, and let them dry in the sun. They will take awhile to open up and look normal again, but once they’re dry, lo and behold, you’ve got these pale weathered-looking pine cones.

 

Here’s a photo of my pine cones after they were bleached.  Aren’t they pretty?  The little ceramic pumpkin that they are sitting with came from the Family Dollar and cost just a dollar.

 

 

Another idea I’m thinking about trying — again with the pine cones– is a fall/winter wreath.  You paint the pine cones a variety of different shades in the same color family, then attach them to a wreath.  I have a few grape vine wreaths that need a new look, so I will be experimenting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, doesn’t this dessert look absolutely yummy?  They’re Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.  Honestly, how could you go wrong?  These are definitely on my list to try, maybe even today.  We are having our big kids over for dinner this evening, and I am thinking they would happily be my recipe testers.

I hope your fall is going well and that you are enjoying the season thoroughly!

 

 

Fall fun

Hi everyone!  Can you believe we’re more than half way through September?

We are back into homeschool full swing, which was a mite painful to the girls this year because we never completely quit school over the summer.  For good reason– last school year we took a week off almost every month, to go to the beach house as it was being built.  So we really needed to keep going with school over the summer to get things accomplished.

After the very first full day of fall school, Julianna declared that we needed donuts as a reward.  I told her we needed to survive at least a week of school before we deserved donuts.  And so that Friday morning on the way home from work,  I stopped at WinCo and grabbed a dozen, much to their delight.  We might survive.

Last week I got a dab of canning done– just some peaches and tomatoes.  I will probably do more tomatoes in the next week too, as our tomatoes are producing really well.

In years past, I canned SO much that I got really burned out.  But doing half a dozen jars at a time is pretty painless.  And I like the idea that when Emily and Julianna help me, they are learning the same skills that our other kids did in our mega-garden days.
Another project I had fun doing was painting and stenciling a little old dresser that we have had ever since Amanda, our oldest, was a baby. Here’s a photo of it a few years back in a different color.

Now with so many kids moved out, the dresser didn’t have a purpose at our house. But we were in need of one more dresser at the beach house,  So once again I pulled out my favorite color of teal paint, which I’ve used as a signature touch of color at the beach house on several other pieces of furniture.

This time, I also incorporated a bit of stenciling, along with some new black pulls on the drawers. Here’s the stencil I chose for the drawers.

The dresser is a very simple one, and I like the way the little black embellishments jazz it up and play off the new pulls.  I hadn’t really stenciled before, but once I figured out that it only takes a TINY bit of pain on the dabber, it all went well.

A final fun touch was a roll of black and white contact paper added to the outsides of the drawers:  just cut, peel, and stick.  Easy and adorable!

(Oh, and the owl stencil down near the floor!  I almost forgot about that.)

 

 

I ended up really pleased with the makeover, and I love the idea of more life for this sweet little dresser that spent years in so many of my kids’ bedrooms.

This week we are at the beach, and my daughter Erika and I have been talking about her possibly doing a bit of blogging her.   She is just embarking on the homeschooling adventure with her three little ones ages 2-5, and is interested in an ‘unschooling’ approach.  I am hoping she might find time to write here every now and then, to share more about this twist on homeschooling.  More on this later as we get the details figured out.

I am hoping to write here a bit more myself, as I have missed writing, and would like to do it a little more regularly.  I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing lately also.  Fall projects?  Crafts?  Activities?

 

 

 

A Week of Easy Food for Entertaining

As you have probably noticed, I am obsessed with all things beach house lately.  Sorry–  I’m probably boring some of you!! But in preparing for our next beach trip where we will be entertaining our biggest crowd yet. I thought it might be interesting (and of more general interest) to share a typical menu plan for times when I’m feeding a bunch of people with various eating styles for several days in a row.

I’ve found that the best meals are the flexible ones– ones that people can fine tune for themselves as they serve up. And often these types of menus tend to be the easiest for me to pull together as well. So here, for anyone entertaining this summer, or the next holiday, or maybe on a camping trip, is a week of easy meals for easy entertaining.

 

BREAKFAST

We make most breakfasts DIY.  I make sure we have fixings for cereal, eggs and toast, yogurt, and instant oatmeal, and leave the type and timing of breakfast up to everyone else.  Usually every few days I will supply something sweet, like muffins or cinnamon rolls, to supplement the DIY morning offerings, and usually at least once on a trip John or I will serve pancakes and bacon.  But mostly breakfast is on your own.

LUNCH

Lunches are a mix.  Sometimes I will do soup, salad and bread.  Other times I will set sandwich fixings alongside whatever leftovers are around from other days of meals.  This will again give folks flexibility to choose what sounds good to them, and also is economical by offering extras from other days for folks to finish up.

DINNER

Dinners are where I tend to spend the most time, though many meals still have a DIY element so that people can customize their dinner for what they most enjoy.  Here’s a typical week of dinners for a crowd.

#1– Taco bar.  Cook up some hamburger with an onion, a generous mash of garlic and some taco seasoning.  (I usually do this before the trip to decrease vacation kitchen time.  Then I freeze it to add a cold item for the cooler on the drive over.)  When serving, add tortillas and taco chips and all sorts of other fillings  (homemade guacamole if I have avocados on hand) and let folks make their tacos as they like them.

#2- Clam chowder and fresh biscuits.  I like to have at least one meal at the beach feel like proper beach fare, and clam chowder is a great affordable thing to make for a crowd.  I don’t have my exact recipe written out  (and sometimes I even buy canned) but you can use this recipe and substitute canned or fresh clams instead of chicken. You can even do it in the crock pot ahead of time if you know you’ll be busy all afternoon.   And then biscuits–who doesn’t love biscuits?

#3– Chili and cornbread.  I plan this strategically AFTER taco night, so I can toss the leftover taco meat into the chili pot along with a bunch of cans of beans and tomatoes.  Here’s one recipe that I like, but I sometimes make it with fewer ingredients and it still turns out fine.  This is wonderful with cornbread (or perhaps leftover biscuits) served with honey or jam.  Yum.

#4- Baked potato bar.  This meal comes strategically after chili night, because lots of folks like chili with their baked potatoes.  Add in ham and cheese, butter, sour cream, and a nice salad, and you havve a whole meal for just a few minutes of prep.  And again, it’s a meal people can customize as they see fit.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser.

#5– Pizza night. I make homemade crust right after lunch and let it rise all afternoon.  At dinner time people gather in the kitchen with an assortment of pie pans or throw-away tins.  They spread crust onto pans and top pizzas as they wish.  Our favorites are pepperoni, sausage, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, and cream cheese (this last one spread in little dabs across the top.).  Again, because folks are choosing toppings for themselves, they get what they want, and most people really enjoy doing pizzas for themselves, especially once they see how easy it can be!

 

#6- Chicken enchiladas.  Here’s my favorite recipe.  I usually make a couple casseroles before a trip and pack it over frozen in the cooler.  I’ve listed this one out of order, but it is likely to be served one of the very first nights, since it will be half thawed by the time we arrive.  I usually serve these with salad, sour cream, chips and salsa on the side.

#7- Molly’s 10 Minute ChickenThis is a great easy chicken recipe that tends to please a crowd.  You can make it with just legs, or a mix of legs and thighs to suit different appetites.  I will serve it with bread and salad, or maybe even homemade mac and cheese if I’m feeling ambitious.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite meals to serve when you’re entertaining?  I would love to hear your best ideas!

 

 

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Seven Great Ways to Use Eggs

I went grocery shopping yesterday and was amazed to discover that (in our area anyway) a carton of five dozen eggs is only $2.69. I can’t remember the last time eggs were that cheap.  That’s a LOT of protein for less than $3.  In honor of that smoking hot deal (at Winco for local folks) I thought I’d share seven great ways to use eggs.  (The eggs in this first photo are from our chickens a few years ago.)

Eggs, wonderful eggs

  1. This one is simple as they come.  Boil a dozen or so and stash them in the fridge for an easy protein addition to any meal.  Almost all of my teens will grab an egg to take with them on the way to work, especially if I take a few minutes and peel them.  Since most of them tend to be breakfast-skippers, I call this a victory and try to have a few cooked eggs ready in the fridge as often as I can.  Here’s a recipe if you need the details of making a good boiled egg.Eggs
  2. Here’s a Cobb Salad recipe that I tweaked by adding spiced lentils. Feel free to tweak as you wish.Cobb-Salad-sm
  3. Poached eggs on toast…..yummy! And check out this recipe if you’d like to add a hollandaise sauce to make this even more wonderful.j
  4.  Mexican-Style Migas is hearty enough to be served for breakfast or dinner, and is great in the late summer when (if) you have tomatoes and peppers in the garden.migas
  5. If your family’s interests tend to center more on the dessert end of life, try this super-easy recipe for “Impossible” Coconut Custard Pie.7 Great Ways to Use Eggs (Owlhaven)
  6. Stuffed French Toast Strata-– Here’s another sweet one. We make this on Christmas Eve for breakfast, but there’s really no reason to confine this yumminess to only one day a year.French Toast Strata
  7. And finally, here’s a great back-to-school idea.  Who wouldn’t love a few freezer bags full of ready-made Freezer Breakfast Burritos? 7 Great Ways to Use Eggs

PS– With all of these recipes, you should be able to click on the photo to get to the website featuring that recipe.  And if you’re in the mood for more affordable and family friendly recipes, head on over to Amazon and check out my cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week.

‘Impossible’ Coconut Custard Pie

Here’s a recipe that my mom made when I was a child. She said that it was called ‘Impossible Pie’ because it makes its own crust, which is an impossibly easy way to make a pie. You make it by simply mixing all the ingredients in the blender, and somehow the floury part of the batter settles to the bottom of the pie pan and the coconut floats to the top, and you end up with a really yummy coconut egg custard.

We always loved it as kids and I’m sure she loved how easy it was to make, as well as the amount of protein she sneaked into our bellies thanks to the generous use of milk and eggs in this recipe.

Ingredients

Impossible Coconut Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Impossible Coconut Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Place milk, coconut, eggs, vanilla, flour, butter, and sugar in blender. Mix well.
  2. Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch pie plate. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.

I've had good luck making this pie gluten free simply by substituting any gluten-free flour mix instead of regular wheat flour.

http://owlhaven.net/2016/08/26/impossible-coconut-custard-pie/

 

Summer goodies

sandwich

We’re savoring the tail end of summer, including all the yummy things that come with the season.  There’s no better time of year for a good BLT.  At this time of year I’m usually awash in cucumbers, so I love to slice those cucumbers thin and add them in instead of the typical lettuce. Good bread, toasted, is the way to make these sandwiches really shine.  Since mayo is not my thing, I like a dab of mustard or some nice spicy hummus on my sandwich.   Yum!  I want one right now!

peachjam

Peach Jam is another goodie from last week.  I honestly wasn’t planning on canning a .thing. this year– I’ve had such a LONG running of August canning craziness that I’d decided to take a year entirely off.  But then my sister’s neighbor was giving away peaches off their loaded tree.  How could I resist?

I brought home nearly a bushel of lovely peaches, some of which I gave away.  But I ended up with a dozen nice jars of jam also.  With the help of my youngest two daughters, it didn’t take us more than an hour, counting the time it took to process the jars.  Easy peasy.

SO easy, in fact, that I’m finding myself hunting down other canning recipes.  (Once a canner, always a canner?)  Here’s a recipe for peach mint salsa that has me intrigued, since my mint is going absolutely nuts and desperately needs taming.  Of course I’d have to buy peaches.  Hmmm… or maybe this one for tomato mint salsa???  I have LOTS of tomatoes, along with some incredibly fiery jalapenos.  Maybe that will be my next project!

tacolicious-tomato-mint-salsa

 

Check out Owlhaven Vacation for the latest beach house updates if you’re interested in such things.  And by all means, weigh in and help me choose a backsplash for the kitchen!

 

Quick summer cooking: Chicken Tikka Masala

The yard in July
Tomatoes are taking over the yard! Cucumbers aren’t doing too shabby either. Hard to believe it is halfway through summer already.

I bought big old heap of bargain notebooks on sale the other day. John looked at them, reminded me of another heap I still had in the pantry and said, “You might need to slow down your notebook buying now that most of the kids are graduated.”

Oh.

True.

One thing about summertime is I tend not to spend a whole lotta time cooking. OK, being honest, that’s actually been me in the last year or so!  First it was the new job, then fixing up our house to sell.  Then moving.  Then landscaping at the new house.  Oh, and planning the beach house. <3

(No wonder I haven’t been cooking! We’ve been having adventures!)

Another factor has been than there are fewer of us home during the day.  With the 18-20 year old set gone at work most days, usually it’s just Em and Julianna and sometimes John and me.  We are happy to forage breakfast and lunch on our own, leaving only dinner for me to handle.

One thing that has been a good tool for me in the past few months is my Smart Pot. I can’t remember if I’ve told you about this.  But it can do all sorts of cooking tasks, including boiling eggs, cooking rice, making stew, and cooking chicken, all very quickly.  One of my favorite ways to use it is to make Indian food.
Chicken Tikka Masala

Here’s a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala that’s super quick in an instant pot. And bonus– it uses tomatoes, something I have in abundance right now. I’ll see if I can get a good picture up later today, but for now, here’s the recipe.

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced (or 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces (thighs or breasts)
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Instructions

  1. In the instant pot, press the 'saute' button and add butter and oil. Add minced onion and saute 5 minutes. Add the spices and stir, cooking about 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add garlic, ginger, and tomatoes.
  2. Place chicken pieces into the instant pot, submerging under tomato-spice mixture. I like to cut the breasts in halves before adding them. I usually leave thighs in one piece.
  3. Lock the lid, make sure the vent is sealed, and press the 'manual' button. Adjust time to 15 minutes.
  4. When the pot beeps, release the pressure and allow the steam to escape before removing the lid. Remove chicken from pot to a bowl and depending on your serving preference, leave it in large pieces or shred the meat using two forks.
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend the tomato-spice sauce until smooth and creamy.
  6. Stir in peanut butter and yogurt. Add the chicken back to the pot, and serve over rice. Yum!
http://owlhaven.net/2016/07/27/quick-summer-cooking-chicken-tikka-masala/

If you’re in the mood for even more Indian recipes in the instant pot, here are a couple I have pinned lately. And if you don’t have an instant pot, I am sure than any of these can be cooking in a pot on the stove. It’s just a matter of adjusting cooking times to allow things to cook thoroughly.

How to make kimbap (Korean-style sushi)

(First posted here in 2010)

Korean Sushi

Preparation Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6-8

This recipe is a little more time consuming than my average recipe, but it is a fun treat every now and then.  Once you have the various ingredients prepped, the actual rolling goes quickly.  Be sure to check out my how-to video here. You can find nori (dried seaweed sheets) in the Asian food section of most grocery stores, or on amazon.

Typically, these rolls will include julienne strips of daikon, a yellow pickled radish.   You can customize your rolls to suit your family’s likes and dislikes.  Cucumber and avocado are excellent additions.   Some people like a bit of mayo spread on the rice before adding the other filling ingredients.

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 1/2 pound pork (pork roast works well)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the rice:

  • 2 cups short-grain rice
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or substitute regular vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Other ingredients:

  • 1 package of nori (dried seaweed) about 10 sheets
  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne strips
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Start by rinsing 2 cups of short grain rice, and then cook it in 2-1/4 cups of water.  When the rice is done, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.  Warm it in microwave for a few seconds and stir again until salt and sugar dissolve.   Drizzle vinegar mixture over the rice,  lifting  and folding rice gently with a spoon so that the vinegar mixture coats all the rice.  Cover rice and set aside.

Next, peel and slice carrots into julienne strips.  Cut pork in a similar way, trimming away fat as needed. Toss pork with garlic, soy sauce and sugar.  Heat sesame oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Add pork to hot skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, until browned and cooked through.  Remove from skillet. Now add the carrots and a bit of black pepper to the same hot skillet and cook 3-5 minutes, until carrots soften and get some browned bits.  Remove them from the skillet. Turn skillet down to medium low.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl.  Add just a little bit of oil or cooking spray to the skillet.  Cook egg mixture over medium low heat without stirring, until egg is nearly set.  Carefully flip the egg ‘pancake’ over and cook another minute.  Remove egg to a plate, salt lightly, and cut egg into long thin strips.

Rinse the spinach, pat dry, and place in a bowl.  Now gather together all your ingredients and get ready to roll!  For a video demonstration, check out the sushi-rolling video on my blog!

Kimbap-

Kimbap- (1)Begin by laying a sheet of seaweed on the counter in front of you.  Take about half a cup of rice and spread it over the 2/3 of the seaweed that is closest to you.  Leave about a 2-inch wide strip of seaweed uncovered at the farthest edge of the piece of seaweed.

Now put a line of baby spinach horizontally across the center 1/3 of the rice layer.  Top the spinach with a long strip of egg, a couple strips of carrot, and a couple strips of meat.  Try to arrange the ingredients so that the ingredients span the whole width of the  seaweed, and hang off the edge of the seaweed on both sides just a little.

Next comes the tricky part. Gently but firmly roll the seaweed up, starting with the edge closest to you and rolling away from your body. Try to keep the filling in the center of the roll.  To do this you will probably have to tuck bits back in as you roll. The last bit of seaweed that you roll up should be the bit that doesn’t have any rice on it.  Press roll firmly together and set the roll on a plate with the seam side down.

Kimbap- (2) Don’t
stress if your first couple rolls look ugly. Remember, this is an
adventure, and nobody is an instant expert!  If your seaweed splits in
spots, you may have used a bit too much rice.  Your next roll, or the one after that, will
probably be better.

Let the sushi rolls sit for 5 minutes or so before you try to cut them.  This allows the seaweed and rice to meld together and makes the rolls more stable.  Cut the rolls crosswise into 1 inch slices, using the thinnest, sharpest knife you have, rinsing the knife off every now and then if it gets sticky.

The first cut on the end of each roll won’t be as pretty as the center cuts, but they’re still delicious.   My kids love to snitch them as I’m cutting.  Serve warm or cold, with wasabi or soy sauce.

Yum!!

 

How to make kimbap (Korean style sushi) from Mary Ostyn on Vimeo.

This recipe was also featured at MyRecipes.com

Filed Under: Featured Recipe, Recipes

Part 10: More from Harar

September 5, 2015

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

Oh, what a trip we’ve had! We are back home now, so I want to tell you the rest of our story.

In Harar, we saw many ladies in dresses that they called pyjamas (pee-JAH-mahs). Women and girls of all ages wore these very lightweight dresses, often with a head covering as well. One day we wandered through the market in Harar, picking fabric we liked. About $4 per person bought the fabric, and then for another dollar, seamstresses sewed the fabric into dresses in 15 minutes or so while you waited.

Fabric options were many, making it very hard to decide. The fabrics and patterns we chose were (believe it or not) smaller-patterned and more muted than many we saw. Here we are modeling our pyjamas. They are exceedingly comfortable, and– funny factoid– you get the tucking-in at the hip by tucking the sides of the fabric into your underwear.
Our pyjamas

We all wore our pyjamas around town one day. I couldn’t help but feel like the Ethiopians in our group wore them with more authority and panache than Sophie and I could muster up, but it was really fun. And the outfits are so comfy that I could totally picture wearing them as actual PJ’s in America.  Harar

Here’s a Harar lady wearing hers.  She has a lovely slip underneath hers, as well as, of course, a head covering.  Very elegant. And it’s completely normal to own a cell phone these days, while also still needing to tote water to your house.  Such interesting contrasts.

Also in Harar, Lidya helped me go shopping in the market, though her ability to bargain well was severely hampered by the white lady (me) following her around. Everybody knows all white people are rich, after all. 🙂

One of the hardest things for me the entire trip was to ignore the beggars walking around.  If you gave them money, even more would follow you, which would eventually feel very uncomfortable and intrusive. We experienced the most begging in Addis.  Harar people were actually very respectful, however.

At one point we were sitting in a neighborhood in our van waiting for Lidya and Zeytuna to get back from a quick visit with some family.  The day was warm and so we opened our side van door.  A couple little neighborhood girls watched us with interest, and when Julianna waved at them, one came to the door to shake hands with her.  But then they beat a hasty retreat and went back to watching from a distance.  Sophie said if we’d been in the same situation in Soddo, we’d have had 50 kids clamoring around the car door within minutes, and was amazed at how circumspect even the children were in Harar.

We also visited a very old church in Old Town Harar. On the front of the church is Isaiah 50:4-7. Reading the verse on Sophie’s phone, I had to smile, thinking of all the times this trip we’d been awakened by voices chanting over loudspeakers from Mosques and orthodox churches early in the morning in every city we stayed.  (Interestingly enough, after about a week in-country, however, the chanting from various churches no longer awakened us.)
Harar Church

 

 

 

We had no trouble filling three days in Harar with visiting and shopping and touristing around.  But by the end of our 3rd day we were more than ready to head back to Addis.  Our hotel there in Harar was almost perpetually out of water, which meant we could only do wet-wipe ‘baths’ and did lots of bucket-flushing of toilets.  Fortunately Sophie had had the foresight to bring a whole big pack of wet wipes, which along with the small packs I had, lasted just long enough.

Sophie (in a room of her own down the hall from us) was being bitten in the night by unknown creatures.  We are fervently hoping it was fleas, not bed bugs, and have a heap of laundry on the back porch that we are gradually HOT water washing as I speak just in case we brought any creatures back with us.  We’re baking the suitcases in Hefty bags in the sunshine, too, just in case.  On the bright side I only saw one spider and two cockroaches, so they must be doing some kind of critter control there.

Hotel Belayneh offers free pedicures  (if you're lucky enough to be traveling with Julianna!)

Hotel Belayneh offers free pedicures (if you’re lucky enough to be traveling with Julianna!)

The hotel’s proximity to the market, though absolutely delightful fun during the day, meant that the evenings were very noisy until 11PM or so, ramping up to a dull roar again by 6:30 or so in the morning.  One morning we had a very loud man singing at the top of his lungs, Ethiopian-church-style, right under our windows at 6 AM.

On the bright side, the Belayneh hotel has a very nice hot breakfast complete with fresh-squeezed orange juice, scrambled eggs, fresh bread, and the very best coffee we had in all of Ethiopia.  Breakfast for 6 of us was a total of $10USD– crazy affordable.  Always, Julianna scarfed down her eggs like lightening, as they tended to be the most familiar food we had all day.

Sambusas (Photocredit: My Somali Food)

In Harar there are many sambusa sellers.  Sambusas are little fried bread packets with lentils or potatoes inside, and cost only 1 birr each. 20 birr is $1USD, so they were a very affordable quick meal. Many that we bought were mildly seasoned, but one batch ended up being insanely spicy, leaving everyone but Lidya carefully picking everything green out before each bite.  Here’s a recipe for beef sambusas and another for lentil sambusas if you want to try making some yourself.  And here’s a fun video in Amharic showing how to make zilzil alecha, another Ethiopian dish.

One other fun food factoid about Harar:  the Teodros Hotel had been recommended as a good place to eat.  Once there, we found it to be only moderate.  But the very kind owner stopped at our table to chat with us, and when he heard Julianna wanted french fries, he sent one of his workers out on a fry hunt.  He ended up with potato chips (‘crisps’), not fries.  But we were very touched that he tried so hard to please us.

Goodness, this is getting long!  I will quit now and try to finish out our story in one more post.  Thanks for following along.  I’ve so much enjoyed hearing from all of you as I’ve shared this story.

Filed Under: Adoption, Recipes

Hazel’s Gluten-Free Bread

July 27, 2015

As promised many days ago, herHazel's Yummy Gluten Free Breade’s my momma’s wonderful gluten-free bread recipe. Her gluten-free flour recipe is included at the bottom. If you like, you can mix it in a bread machine or with a Kitchen-Aid. This bread is especially fabulous toasted.

Hazel’s Gluten Free Bread

Makes one loaf

Ingredients

Directions

For bread machine:

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the sweet dough cycle. Five minutes into the cycle, check the consistency of the dough. Add additional rice flour or liquid if necessary. When bread is finished, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.

For oven baking:

I use Artisan blend flour (see below) and have mixed it with either my electric mixer or the dough cycle of my bread machine. As indicated in the recipe, I added 1 extra teaspoon of xanthan gum, over and above what is in the flour blend. After thoroughly mixing, I put the dough into a greased bread pan and smooth out the top with a greased rubber spatula.

I let it rise in a warm place for an hour or so (barely warm oven works fine), until it is nearly double in size and is about even with the top of the bread pan. With bread on middle rack of oven, turn the oven on to 375. (The bread will complete rising and begin baking as the oven heats up.)

I bake it at 375 for about 40 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave it in for 10 more minutes. Cool it in the pan for 10 additional minutes, outside the oven. It slices and tastes great, and has a nice consistency. After experimenting, this is my favorite way to manage the baking (a single rising and then having the bread in the oven as it heats up). It is less likely to fall in the middle.


This is my current flour blend, taken from the cookbook Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking: 275 Great-Tasting, From-Scratch Recipes from Around the World

 

 

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