Sep 112014
 

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it. This month we travel to Saudi Arabia!

We are behind in cooking our dish, but we have been having a lot of fun learning about Saudi Arabia in the meantime!

Learning About Culture Through Play

Monkey and I love to read together, but I’ve also found that he really enjoys (and ultimately retains information better) when we do hands-on activities.  For a Westerner, one of the most striking aspects about Saudi culture is dress.  And since kids love to play dress up, I realized this would be a great window into Saudi culture and a way for Monkey to really imagine what life there might be like.  Read about traditional Saudi dress.

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia | Alldonemonkey.com

I found an old long-sleeved work shirt of mine, which was so long on Monkey it mimicked the flowing thawb worn by Saudi men.  I used a white pillow case as the head covering and secured it with a black cloth headband.  He looked adorable!

Two important aspects of culture that emerged were 1) ideas about modesty and 2) practical ways to deal with the local environment.

Modesty was a new word for him, but we had talked about privacy for your body.  We talked about how people in different parts of the world have different ideas about modesty.  So just like we wouldn’t go outside in just our underwear, people in other cultures wouldn’t go outside with bare arms and legs.  So the dress in Saudi Arabia serves the purpose of helping people be modest.

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia | Alldonemonkey.com

But it is also a practical way to deal with the extremely hot environment.  We talked about how we are used to wearing less clothes in hot weather, but this is not the case in other places.  Why would this be so?  As it turned out, we did have some examples where we layered on clothes when it was hot: we wear hats when it’s really sunny out, and the Monkeys wear shirts in the pool.  Covering up can protect us from the sun!

It was also a great opportunity to introduce more science by talking about how light colors, especially white, reflect the sun’s light and so help keep us cool.  This came in handy soon after when I had to convince Monkey not to wear a black T-shirt outside on a very hot day!

Learning About Culture Through Play: Saudi Arabia | Alldonemonkey.com

A lot of learning packed into an afternoon of dress up!  And just as important, Monkey had so much fun!  This type of experiential learning is so important when learning about other cultures, as children really learn what it is like to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Saudi Arabia, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


 

Sep 022014
 

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine | Alldonemonkey.com

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.  This month we stay in Europe to learn more about Ukraine, the beautiful country currently going undergoing so many hardships.

We were getting ready for a trip, so I chose to make a simple cottage cheese cake, called zapikanka.  (Monkey and I had fun saying this!)  It is so yummy!  You can make it with any kind of fresh fruit.  I opted to use raisins (most of which seemed to disappear into the mouths of my little helpers).

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine | Alldonemonkey.comDon’t be fooled!  They are just stealing the raisins.

It is just as light as described but quite sweet – for my taste it is more of a dessert than a breakfast dish, as suggested in the recipe I found.  Ultimately, whether you like this dish or not hinges on whether you like cottage cheese.  Though it does bake up like a cake, this doesn’t change the texture so much that someone who doesn’t like cottage cheese would become a fan.  But if you do like cottage cheese (even just a bit), this will be a big success!  I really loved it and was only a little sad that the boys didn’t – more for me!

This time I tried to do more extension activities to teach Monkey about Ukraine.  We did a weather around the world activity, comparing the temperature in Ukraine to that of other places around the world.  While it does get much colder there during the winter, at this time of year the weather is quite similar to ours.

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine | Alldonemonkey.com

I also asked Monkey to make a Ukrainian flag out of Legos.  Two seconds later he showed me the flag on the right.  When I asked him to make one, you know, bigger, promptly took another two seconds to make the one on the left.  Smarty pants.  I took the hint and moved on to another activity…

I didn’t find many contemporary stories from Ukraine, but we read some wonderful folk tales.  I was interested to see that most of them (like many folk tales) had some kind of violence in them, a testament to how life was (and perhaps, how it still is).


Sirko and the Wolf: A Ukrainian Tale is a beautiful book that tells of the friendship between a wolf and a dog.


The Cat & the Rooster was definitely Monkey’s favorite.  It is the story of a clever cat who saves his friend Rooster from the sneaky Fox.  I was skeptical that it might be a little s-c-a-r-y for Monkey, but if he was psychologically traumatized, he didn’t show it!  In fact, he asked for it again and again.

The Rumor of Pavel And Paali. A Ukranian Folk Tale.  This tale of two brothers was an interesting read for me but one that I didn’t share with Monkey.  It was just too violent, as the kind brother takes out his eyes to trade for food from the greedy brother.  Ultimately a tell of the triumph of good over wickedness, good to discuss with older children.

 Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Ukraine, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


 

Jul 242014
 

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.  Thank you for your support!

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

This month we travel to Hungary, with a dish that reflects a point often lost to those of us across the pond: The histories and cultures of European countries are closely intertwined, and the boundaries we have today are ever fluid and changing, especially when you look back at the region’s long history of empires and conquests.

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Strudel is the perfect lens into this long, tangled history.  Most strudel is made with phyllo dough, also used in, you guessed it, Turkish and Greek cooking.  It is believed that we have the Ottomans to thank for introducing phyllo dough (and thus strudel) into Europe.  Many European countries were previously under Ottoman rule, and even those that weren’t were heavily influenced by this sprawling empire.  Vienna, where strudel is thought to have originated, was the last elusive European prize, nearly conquered by the Ottomans in what would have been their furthest incursion into the continent.

While they did not succeed in their military conquest, their culture influence was long felt.  One remnant of this is strudel, now Austria’s national dish.  With the new phyllo dough in hand, and influenced by Turkish cooking, Viennese cooks invented the strudel, whose name is German for whirlpool, a fairly accurate description of what the cross-section of a strudel looks like.

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

But wait!  I hear you saying.  Aren’t we supposed to be learning about Hungary?  Why are you so focused on Austria?

Some of you may remember from history class a little something called the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Oh yeah!  So even though Hungary and Austria are now separate countries, the culture connections have a very long history.

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.comFor the first two I used butter; for the bottom one I used coconut oil.  Although they looked different before going into the oven, we couldn’t see or taste a difference once they were cooked.

And so we circle back to the strudel.  While the Austrian version may be better known, strudel is also a popular traditional dish in Hungary.  We found a recipe in this wonderful children’s book, A Song For Lena.  At the center of the story is strudel, a dish Lena loves to watch her grandmother make.

One day Lena asks her grandmother why she always sings the same haunting melody whenever she makes strudel, and so the grandmother shares a story of her childhood in the old country, Hungary.  Times were hard, and strudel was the poor family’s only treat after a long, difficult harvest on their apple orchard.  It also become a gift they shared with an old beggar who came to their home; the beggar, in return, shared his beautiful music.  This exchange became the basis for a long friendship between the family and the beggar, until one fall he did not return, and only the song remained.

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

This is such a sweet book, all about family, traditions, and helping others.  I love the lesson of how everyone has something to share, no matter how miserable their state may appear.

At the back of the book is a recipe for strudel.  I cannot attest to how authentic is it; I suspect that it has been simplified quite a bit since it is intended for children to make.  For example, in the book Lena’s grandmother makes the dough herself, while the recipe uses store bought phyllo dough – not that I mind!

Strudel: Hungarian Treat {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Either way, we really enjoyed making – and eating! – this delicious strudel, and learning a bit more about Hungary and its long history.

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Hungary, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



May 222014
 

Croatian Crescent Rolls {Around the World in 12 Disshes} - Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

Bolstered by my success at making Portuguese Milk Rolls, I decided to try making crescent rolls (klipici) from Croatia.  While they weren’t quite the roaring success of the milk rolls (partly because of my own distracted cooking), they still were delicious and fun to make.

I won’t repeat the recipe here, because I really want you to visit my friend’s lovely blog to read the original recipe.  But I’ll just note for those of you converting from metric that the 1 kg of flour she calls for is 8 cups!  I opted to do a half batch instead, which was plenty for our little family, even with Monkey and I downing several as soon as they came out of the oven.

Croatian Crescent Rolls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

As usual, the dough didn’t rise for me like I’m sure it would for anyone else, but it rose enough to make the dough workable.  It was so fun rolling the little triangles into crescents!

My main mistake was that I forgot about the egg wash.  Completely.  It would have added wonderful flavor plus given them that golden glow.  Without it they did look a bit lackluster, but luckily they still tasted great (though I did keep wondering, What if?  Wouldn’t they taste even better…?)

Croatian Crescent Rolls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

Ready for the Oven

My second (lesser) mistake was to forget to buy any cool toppings.  So again, the principal taste of the rolls wasn’t affected, but it did take away from the overall presentation.

In any case, we have been enjoying them for breakfast, and even with my oversights, I like them well enough to give them another try sometime – this time with the egg wash!

Croatian Crescent Rolls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

It has been a busy month (when is it not?), so we didn’t do a craft this time, but I did find out about a couple of famous Croatians I thought would be of interest to my little scientist:

Nikola Tesla  (remember the band?) is well known for his work with electricity and developed the Tesla coil, which became widely used in radio and television sets.  He even has a scientific unit (the “tesla”) named after him!

Andrija Mohorovicic is less well known but significant to my Monkey for his work on the behavior of seismic waves and a method for locating earthquake epicenters.

Source: Cultures of the World: Croatia, Robert Cooper, 2000, New York.

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Croatia, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
May 092014
 

Easy Portuguse Milk Rolls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

I have a confession to make: I have a thing for bad boys.

You know the type.  The ones that promise you the stars and the moon only to leave you with nothing.

Each time it is the same, yet each time I tell myself this time will be different.

Even though I know it won’t be.

And so, when I saw this Portuguese beauty on Pinterest, I know I would fall for him, but I also knew it would end in disaster.  Yet, this time…

I was wrong.

Yes, I am talking about bread – or more specifically, any bread product that is supposed to rise.  I love baking, yet making a good loaf of regular ol’ bread has always eluded me.  I can make quick breads from here to the Iberian Peninsula, but whenever I try anything with yeast in it, it is a miserable, misshapen failure.

Still, I keep trying new recipes and have pinned dozens more.  So I had little hope that this time would be any different.  And yet…

this time it was different.

As part of our virtual visit to Portugal this month, I decided to try to make Portuguese milk rolls (paezinhos de leite).  They just looked so good!  And I loved the author’s description of having them as a young girl in Portugal.

But as Monkey and I shaped the dough into balls (he decided to make his into “eggs”), I tried not to get my hopes up.  The recipe had been too easy!  Surely with so little kneading these rolls would be a disaster…

Easy Portuguese Milk Rolls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

But when I pulled them out of the oven, there they were in all of their golden glory.  Sure, they probably would have puffed up more for someone else, but they tasted great and looked good, too!

Now, I must admit that to my American taste buds they were a bit plain, but perhaps it is because – as noted in the original article – they are often enjoyed as a mini-sandwich of sorts, with butter, ham, and cheese.

Easy Portuguese Milk Rolls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey ate his with jam, while I enjoyed mine with both butter and honey, and with cheese.  Yum!  I will definitely make these again and perhaps next time play around with some variations, like adding raisins and cinnamon.

So for once, things worked out!  Even from this great distance, Portugal has been good to me.  Be sure to also take a look at our Portuguese-inspired artwork!
Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Portugal, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Apr 232014
 

Yarn Art Three Ways: Portuguese Azulejos {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my (this time only a bit late) monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

While soon I will be sharing a Portuguese dish we made, we had so much fun with our craft project that I wanted to share that first.  While doing research on Portugal, I ran across image after image of the beautiful glazed tile artwork called azulejos.  You can see for yourself these beautiful tiles in this photo essay of azulejos in LibsonAzulejos show the Moorish influence in the Iberian peninsula, and this can still be seen in the geometric designs of many of the tiles.

Well, we recently returned from our extended trip abroad, so I wasn’t ready to do any tile work with the boys.  Instead, I decided we would do some simplified versions with yarn, taking inspiration from the beautiful azulejos designs.

I came up with two methods, while Monkey invented a third.  All were fun!

Method 1:

Make a pattern on the paper with glue then press the yarn into it.  Resist the temptation to rub the glue all over your fingers (or not!)

Yarn Art Three Ways: Portuguese Azulejos {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

Yarn Art Three Ways: Portuguese Azulejos {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

Method 2:

Pour paint onto the paper and make a design using the yarn as a sort of brush.  Tip: Since the yarn is relatively thin, it won’t hold much paint.  Instead, either make a little bundle of the yarn and/or pour a generous amount of paint on the paper.

Yarn Art Three Ways: Portuguese Azulejos {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.comThis was the method I used with Baby:

Yarn Art Three Ways: Portuguese Azulejos {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

Method 3 (Monkey’s method):

Pour paint on the paper and use it as a glue for the yarn.  (Do not expect this to dry anytime soon!)

Yarn Art Three Ways: Portuguese Azulejos {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Portugal, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Mar 312014
 

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

It’s time again for my (this time only a bit late) monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

This month we visited Iceland.  When we pulled out our children’s atlas, of course my budding geologist spotted the volcano and geysers right away.  He has studied quite a bit about volcanoes, so I thought it would be fun to explore about geysers.  We talked some about how they are related to volcanoes then I found some videos online showing actual geysers.  Here is one of the Strokkur Geyser.

Monkey and I got a big kick out of Little Monkey’s reaction to the video.  His eyes got huge, and he cried out “Agua!  Agua!  Aguaaaaaa!”

I showed Monkey some of the recipes I found for Iceland, and no surprise he opted for pancakes and “chocolate soup” rather than fish stew 🙂

Both were big hits.  Icelandic pancakes are quite a bit like crepes.  I did not alter the recipe I found, so I won’t repeat it here.  They should be very thin and are often enjoyed stacked, sometimes with a filling.  If you are used to cooking the thicker pancakes we make in the US, be careful not to burn them, as these cook much more quickly.  (Not that I speak from experience, ahem).  They would go great with maple syrup!

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

The chocolate soup was also delicious.  The spices smelled just heavenly.

 

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

I have to admit doubling the amount of sugar for Monkey, who really wanted hot chocolate.  I was curious that the website said that this is often served as a main course, but it made more sense once I realized that it isn’t very sweet.  I remember when I was in Bolivia that a cup of chocolate would often be served as dinner in many poor households.

Iceland: Pancakes, Chocolate Soup, and Geysers {Around the World in 12 Dishes}

Well, ours was served as a delicious afternoon snack with perhaps a few marshmallows, but we still learned about geysers, didn’t we?

What have you been cooking with your children lately?

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Iceland, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Mar 242014
 

Maple Syrup Fudge from Canada {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click through and make a purchase on Amazon, I receive a small commission.  We appreciate your support!

It’s time again for my (once again, very late) monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

I was so excited to see Canada on our schedule.  Not only is Monkey’s perennial favorite Caillou from Canada but so is maple syrup, a recent fascination of his thanks to another virtual friend – Curious George!  Yes, I like to think my husband and I are major influences on Monkey, but the truth is that all he really seems to absorb is what comes from a favorite character (or his preschool teacher).

Ever since Curious George visited a sugar shack (where the sap from a maple tree is turned into syrup), my Monkey has been very curious as well to try maple syrup!  (Btw if you don’t want to invest in a big bottle of maple syrup, our local Target sells small 100 mL bottles that are perfect for quenching your child’s curiosity without breaking your bank).

To get us in the mood, we found some great books about maple syrup.  The first, Maple Moon, is a really beautiful book based on common native legends about the origins of maple syrup.  In this story, a young boy who often feels left out because of a handicap ends up saving his village from a difficult winter when he discovers the golden syrup.

 

 

 

A much lighter book is Pancakes for Supper.  It is all about a quick-thinking pioneer girl’s adventures in the woods amongst the wild animals when she is accidentally bounced out of her parents’ wagon.  I was worried it would be a bit too S-C-A-R-Y for Monkey, but he had fun seeing her convince the animals to put on her brightly colored winter clothes (in exchange for not eating her!)  What does this all have to do with maple syrup?  Well, not too much, except that in the end her parents are so happy to see her again that they all eat pancakes (with syrup!) for supper.

 

 

When the time came to choose a recipe with maple syrup, my problem was narrowing down all the options!  Since we were busy getting ready for a family trip, I decided to go with something easy, this delicious maple syrup fudge, a traditional treat from Quebec.  (Many thanks to Valerie of Glittering Muffins for sharing the link!)

But before we got started, Monkey and I first did a taste test.  I lined up bottles of honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup then had him close his eyes (quite a task for a curious 4 year old!)

Maple Syrup Fudge from Canada {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

As it turned out, to the untrained little tongue it can be difficult to tell the difference among these!  In particular he kept mixing up the agave nectar and the maple syrup, perhaps because of the similar consistency and because he is less familiar with them than he is with honey.  But the funniest part was when he gave his opinions about how they could be improved: “Needs more salt!”  “Add a little milk.”  (I think he thought he was Anatole the mouse, leaving notes on wedges of cheese!)

Once we determined that he loved all of them, it was time to make our maple syrup fudge.  I have to confess here that this was made while packing for vacation, while trying to keep my toddler from dismantling the kitchen, so it didn’t quite turn out as beautifully as in the original.  But let me tell you, the taste was still wonderful!  I mean, let’s be honest: any recipe whose principal ingredients are maple syrup, butter, and cream just can’t turn out wrong.  (I apologize for the quality of the picture – as I said, we were packing for vacation!)

Maple Syrup Fudge from Canada {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

The original recipe is in French, so I am including below an English version (courtesy of Google Translate) with my notes about substitutions.  Enjoy!

Maple Syrup Fudge (Quebec)

Ingredients

500 ml (2 cups) maple syrup
45 ml (3 tbsp.) Unsalted butter
250 ml (1 cup) 35% cream (For the cream you can also substitute 3/4 c of milk and 1/3 c butter – a bit more butter if you are using low fat milk)
5 ml (1 tsp) Vanilla

Preparation

  1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  (I just greased a loaf pan).
  2. In a saucepan, pour maple syrup and butter.  (If you are substituting milk and butter for the cream, add that butter at this time)
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.
  4. Stir in cream (or milk) and cook until the temperature reaches 118 º C (245 º F) on a candy thermometer.
  5. Let stand five to eight minutes.
  6. Stir the mixture with an electric mixer ten minutes at high speed.  (I skipped this step because my littlest was tired and ready for bed, but it really does make a different in blending the ingredients together to make creamy fudge).
  7. Pour into mold and refrigerate before cutting.

 

What have you been cooking with your children lately?

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Canada, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Feb 172014
 

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

It’s funny how the things that should be the easiest to write are sometimes the most difficult.  I am woefully late in writing my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.  While this past month has been quite busy — with the MLK Day of Service Blog Hop, the Black History Blog Hop, and the Showing Kids Love Series — I can’t help but wonder if I was dragging my feet because I was just so nervous about writing about Perú.

Why nervous?  Because this is a part of the world very dear to my heart.  As much as I love my husband’s homeland of Costa Rica, South America was where, in a way, I started my journey to become the person I am today.  Of course, technically this journey started in Bolivia, not Perú, but the two countries have much in common, plus I did make an extended trip to Perú during the time I lived in Bolivia.  (Forgive the poor quality of my photos, taken nearly twenty years ago).

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

So you can see my hesitation at writing a post on this beautiful country.  My space here is limited, and my time to prepare this post even more so, so I already know from the start that what I write here will be inadequate to express the feeling of being in the Andes; the rush I felt the first time I saw those incredibly majestic mountains through the window of my bus; how when we finally reached the altiplano (highlands) the view reminded me of the surface of the moon; the way the beauty of that haunting music can hook into your soul; the poverty, yes, the desperate living conditions, yes, but also the warmth of the smiles, the richness of the culture and traditions, and the surprising diversity of the people.  (Side note for those of you who also grew up in the US – we are not the only diverse country in the world, no matter what we were taught in grade school!)

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Performance by Baha’i youth from Sucre, Bolivia

My main memory of the food in Perú was actually of how different it was from what I had experienced in Bolivia.  To understand this, you must keep in mind that I was living at the time in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia, which is strikingly different from the highlands we typically think of.  In fact, culturally eastern Bolivia has more in common with neighboring Paraguay or even parts of Brazil.  The people are largely (and proudly) mestizo (mixed), though at the time I was there (mid-1990s) more and more of the indigenous from the highlands were migrating to the lowlands for economic reasons.

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

At a rest stop in the altiplano

Still, the food in eastern Bolivia was very different from the cuisine in the highlands of both Bolivia and Perú, which was again very different from what we sampled once we traveled over the Peruvian Andes and visited coastal Lima, known for its seafood and African influence.  Also keep in mind that at the time eastern Bolivia was just beginning to turn into the economic powerhouse it would soon become, thanks to the discovery of natural gas in the region.  The first McDonald’s was built there soon after I left, taken by everyone as a sign of things wonderful and modern to come.  (Another side note: Rumor had it that McDonald’s imported potatoes into Bolivia to make French fries – even though potatoes originated in this region!  Apparently these native crops were considered not uniform enough to make good French fries).

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

So when we arrived in Lima, fresh from our months in the less developed regions of Bolivia, it was hard not to be starry-eyed.  McDonald’s!  Pizza!  Tall buildings!  (I should add that we felt much the same way when we arrived in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, which, for the record, had had McDonald’s for quite a long time).  Needless to say we (being young) were more interested in eating pizza and hamburgers than we were in eating traditional dishes, though I should say we did try these, too.  (I seem to recall olive sandwiches…)

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Group of Baha’i youth from Bolivia, on our way to a conference in Lima, Peru. Who is that tall white girl in the back?

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Eating pizza in Lima, Peru

So when I needed to pick a dish to make, I called on a good friend from Perú and asked for her advice.  She told me that most traditional dishes are not quick or easy to make.  They are flavorful dishes that require a lot of time and work – not easy to do with a preschooler!  Instead, she recommended making quinoa, that versatile, quintessential Andean grain.  She often makes a simple but delicious meal of this with her young daughter, adding in vegetables or meat as they choose.

Not having cooked much with quinoa before, I went in search of a recipe, and stumbled on a delightful website for Peruvian recipes: Perú Delights.  And the blog truly is a delight to look at – beautiful photos of mouth-watering dishes, some traditional and some with a modern twist.  I have several pinned to try another time, but what caught my eye was her recipe for sprouted quinoa milk.  I was skeptical that Monkey would try a quinoa dish, but he loves milk and alternative milks, so I thought this would be worth a try.  I love milk alternatives but had never heard of quinoa milk, so my curiosity was piqued!

I followed the original recipe closely, so I won’t repeat it here.  Monkey was most interested in sprouting the quinoa.  This is what it looks like after soaking overnight.

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

The sprouted quinoa

I definitely recommend using the spiced water – it really does add incredible flavor to the dish!

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

Getting ready to blend the quinoa with the spiced water

And if you are just starting to incorporate quinoa into your diet, I suggest straining the milk before drinking, though you quinoa lovers out there certainly don’t have to 😉

I really enjoyed this drink, though I couldn’t convince anyone else to try it.  I think, as so often is the case with quinoa, it is one of those things that you either love or you won’t even try.  But if you like quinoa or just are feeling adventurous, I would definitely try this.  It is a delicious alternative to milk, plus it’s super healthy!

Sprouted Quinoa Milk and Resources to Study about Peru - Alldonemonkey.com

cancioncitas-book-cover-smallest-imageFor our cultural exploration this month, I revisited materials sent to me by my amazing friend Daria.  She is a wonderful musician and an incredible resource on this part of the world (among others!).

She recently produced a album for children with music from this part of the world, also with an e-book (pictured at left).  The music, as always, is wonderful, and the book is full of information, but given in a colorful, fun format that is very accessible for children.  There are crafts and activities included as well – I’d like to try making the pan flute out of straws!

For more on quinoa, don’t miss this fascinating interview with the Quinoa Ambassador (did you know there was one??)  If you prefer, you can also read the original Spanish version.

What have you been exploring with your children lately?

 

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Jamaica, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



Dec 172013
 

Sweet and Sour Treat from Jamaica: Tamarind Balls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for a trip around the world from the comfort of our kitchen! As part of the series “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

This month I was excited to see that we would be “traveling” to Jamaica.  Winter weather has finally arrived to Northern California, so the thought of making a dish from someplace warm was very appealing!

Since we are big fans of tamarind, I decided to make a treat using tamarind paste, which is readily available in most Indian grocery stores in our area (actually imported from East Asia).  Tamarind is also very common in many parts of Latin America, and we saw it at the feria (farmer’s market) during our last trip to Costa Rica.

Tamarind paste (also labeled “wet tamarind”) is typically sold in 1 pound (or perhaps 14 oz) packets, wrapped in plastic.  If you really feel like getting hands on with it, you could go to a Mexican grocery store and find the fruit still in its pod, seeds and all.  I have done that before, and it is quite labor intensive to peel tamarind fruit, since it is so sticky.  Instead, it is much easier to buy the paste, especially since, even when labeled as seedless, you will still have to keep an eye out for the seeds.

Sweet and Sour Treat from Jamaica: Tamarind Balls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey’s task was to remove the paste from the packets and help pull out any stray seeds or strings.  He had fun with it for a while before declaring that it was “Sticky! Gooey!” and deciding it was time to go play with his dinosaur robots (after a good hand-washing!)

Sweet and Sour Treat from Jamaica: Tamarind Balls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

I followed the recipe for tamarind balls quite closely, though I had not intended to.  I am the type of person that almost always uses less sugar than is called for in a recipe, but here I ended up adding the full amount.  It may seem like a lot, but trust me – tamarind is so sour that it needs all of that sweetening!  And even after adding the sugar, it is still a dish for those that like sour treats.

Luckily, Monkey and I both do.  We loved this treat, though it was a bit sour for other members of our household 🙂  If you do plan on making it, I recommend only making a half batch.  Although I really loved it, you can only eat a few of at a time, so if you make a full batch, chances are some of it will go to waste.  On the plus side, if you have extras, you can always use them to make tamarind juice!

Sweet and Sour Treat from Jamaica: Tamarind Balls {Around the World in 12 Dishes} - Alldonemonkey.com

 

We also enjoyed getting to know more about Jamaica.  I had trouble finding a storybook about Jamaica from our library, so instead we watched these wonderful videos, in which a speaker of Jamaican patois reads children’s books.  I could listen to this accent all day, and I could tell that Monkey was also charmed by it.  It lead to a discussion about how people from different places speak English differently, as opposed to people like my husband, who have an accent because they grew up speaking a different language.

Since the videos show the actual books, which are written in standard English, it was fun for me to read along and see how they were translated into patois.  My favorite was when “Oh dear me!” was translated to “Kiss my neck!”  That is a phrase I am going to have to start using! 🙂

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share,Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Kid World Citizen, Maroc Mama, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It

If you try a dish from Jamaica, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport!  You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:



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