Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recipe: Braised Chicken

Braising in a highly spiced aromatic liquid yields an exceptionally flavorful and tender result. Serve this adaptation of an East African dish with a bowl of plain low-fat yogurt and flatbreads or couscous.
  • 2 chicken breast halves (about 3/4 pound), skinned
  • 2 chicken thighs (about 1/2 pound), skinned
  • 2 chicken drumsticks (about 1/2 pound), skinned
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove the chicken from pan. Add the onion to pan; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ginger and next 5 ingredients (ginger through garlic); cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, broth, and the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pic of the Week

Hands down one of the most breath-taking sights you will ever see: a beautiful sunset on the Maasai Mara.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recipe: Yam Stew

Make this stew with the following recipe:

  • 1 medium yam
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 cup cooked beans
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Wash peel and cube the yam. Scrape the carrots and cut into thin rounds. Peel and slice the onion and fry for a few minutes. Add curry powder and yams and fry gently then add carrots, beans and water and simmer until cooked.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pic of the Week

Team member Scott and a Maasai elder.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 Expedition: Updates from Kenya

Some of the team making PB&Js for today's lunch

Jambo marafiki! I have more updates from Kenya for you! Early yesterday morning Team Leader JD and I met a very sleepy but happy team at the airport and brought everyone back to the Amani Center to drop off their bags. To help everyone adjust to Kenya time we forced them to stay awake the whole day - just because we are nice and helpful like that :) We loaded everyone back into the van for a tour of Nairobi. Here in the city ALL of the roads are under construction as they are trying to modernize the transportation system and create freeways. This will be so awesome when they are done in the next few years. However. For now this means a LOT of traffic! As such we took the extreme long way around the city on our adventures yesterday. These included a trip to the giraffe center where the team got to feed giraffes right out of their hands. We traveled next to the crocodile farm located on a beautiful property with a lake and picnic area.

Feeding giraffes

By this time everyone was pretty well traveled out so we headed back to the Amani Center for the night. The Amani Center is a Catholic Church which has a hostel that we stay at every year. Before dinner we all played Frisbee and volleyball and chatted with some locals staying at the center. I was very excited to see that they were serving Ugali and sukuma wiki for dinner last night! These are traditional dishes to the area, and I was glad the team could taste them on their first night here. After dinner we had our first official team meeting where Team Leaders JD and Pauline briefed all of us on what to expect while we are here. By about 8:30 we had to let the team crash back in their rooms for the night - one more minute would have just been too cruel! Most of them could barely keep their eyes open!

The first night in the Amani Center can seem a bit rough for a first timer. They are definitely not fancy accommodations! A typical room is two cots with mosquito nets and a small bathroom, and the entire bathroom is the shower! However, after the team experiences the slums and sees the meager conditions of the people we work with, the Amani Center quickly transforms into luxury suites!

Each morning at breakfast our team leaders brief us on the days schedule, and one team member is invited to share "one good thing" from the day before, that is, a meaningful moment he or she experienced. Today Scott was asked to share his "good thing". This is Scott's third year here in Kenya with World of Difference and he told us that he had been asked by several Kenyans what it is that keeps bringing him back. His reply was that, among other things, it is his personal relationships with the people he has met here that brings him back year after year. He treasures the bonds he has formed with his friends here, and cannot wait to get back and see them and catch up. I definitely relate to what Scott has shared. I keep in touch through email with several of my Kenyan friends, and am so excited to spend time with them while I am here.

This afternoon, as per World of Difference tradition, the team will travel to Shangalia Orphanage. This will be a very powerful experience as the orphanage is the the center of one of the worst slums in the city. For many of the teams it will their first time traveling to a slum and experiencing the conditions there. Click here to read about my personal experience with traveling to a slum for the first time. I anticipate this afternoon's adventure will be a very emotional journey for a lot of the team, and I know that they would appreciate any strength you can send them. One of the greatest experiences about visiting Shangalia is seeing how happy and smiling the children are - despite the conditions that surround them. It is such a powerful lesson for us all.

Tomorrow we will start our first day on the project. In the past few years World of Difference has constructed two different schools for our friends headmistresses Grace and Eunice, and this year we are working on additions at each of their schools. We will begin at Grace's school tomorrow by building bathrooms and desks for the students. The team will rise early, eat a quick breakfast of oatmeal and eggs and then load into the vans for a hard day of work. We will come back each night dirty and exhausted but full of accomplishment and contentment, eat our ugali and sukuma wiki before crashing out for the night.

Before I sign off I have a message for Hopscotch and Crazy Legs: Daddy loves you!!

Good bye for now!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recipe: Dengu

Make this great Kenyan side dish with the following recipe:
  • cupful mung beans
  • cupfuls milk
  • medium sized onions
  • spoonfuls ghee or butter
  • 1/2 cupful cooking oil
  • salt and curry powder to taste

Clean and wash mung beans. Place in pot, cover with water and boil until very tender. If more water needed, add only boiling water. Remove from heat and beat until smooth. It will turn into a paste. Put mung bean paste into a bowl and heat cooking oil in same pot. Clean and dice onions. Add onion to oil and fry until cooked and nicely brown. Return the mung bean paste to the pot and mix with onion. Add curry powder, salt and milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter or ghee and simmer for another 5 minutes.

2011 Expedition: Updates from Kenya

Jambo! Team leader JD and I have arrived safely to Nairobi. It was a very long journey here, and we are so happy to have finally arrived.

Today we met up with our friends Grace and Eunice who each run a school outside the city, and we finalized the details of the projects World of Difference will complete at their schools this year. We still have a few more errands to run today in order to have everything ready for the team's arrival on Saturday morning...then we are going to drop because this jet lag is knocking us out!

Much love to everyone, and I/we will update next as soon as possible :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pic of the Week

This endangered baby was adopted by the elephant orphanage in Nairobi.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Expedition: Follow Us!

Jambo marafiki! The 2011 Expeditions is here! Team Leader JD and I are off today for Nairobi, Kenya, and the rest of the team will meet us there this weekend. I am so filled with excitement that I am a little ball of giggling energy at this keyboard right now :)

However the truly exciting thing to tell you all is that I will be blogging the expedition as much as possible on our journey, so check back for updates! Please feel free to ask any questions you may have for us, or relay any messages to the team members in the comments section, and I/we will address them as much as time (and Internet access) permits.

Wishing the rest of the team safe travels, and I will see you all very soon :) Upendo kiasi!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recipe: Coupe Mount Kenya

Make this tasty dessert with the following recipe:
  • 4 to 5 ripe mangos
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon peel, cut in tiny ribbons
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Peel, pit and mash the mangos. You should end up with about 2 cups. Whip the heavy cream with the Sugar until stiff. In a 2-quart bowl combine the 2 cups of mashed mangos, the lemon peel ribbons, condensed milk and salt. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour into freezer trays or a 6-cup mold and freeze.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pic of the Week

This picture is a cure for the blues!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recipe: Uji

Make this breakfast porridge with the following recipe:
  • ½ cup maize meal or corn meal flour
  • ¼ cup millet flour
  • ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • Water
  • Sugar to taste

Put all of the flour into a plastic container and mix well. Pour enough water into the mixture to make a paste. Mix well, cover and leave the mixture at room temperature for 2 days so it can ferment. Skim out the froth that has formed on top of the water, stir the mixture and pour it into a cooking pan. Cook at medium to high heat, stirring continuously until it thickens. You can add more water as needed until the uji cooks into a smooth, runny consistency. Add sugar to taste.