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Archive for April, 2011

Spiced Coffee

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
2 cups brewed coffee or
1-2 cup brewed espresso with 1-2 cup boiling water added
1 cup cream
2 TB powdered sugar or
light whipped cream

In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Add the allspice, cinnamon, and ginger to the simple syrup and simmer for 5 minutes. Take pan off heat, add the brewed coffee or espresso, and add 1 cup of boiling water if using.  Make sure you strain the coffee to reduce the particles.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until stiff. Top each cup of espresso with a dollop of whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon and serve.  Of course you can experiment with different spices!  I would probably make a double batch (even triple).

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are perfect and healthy!

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
your choice how much- dark chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bar cut up
3/4 cup chopped nuts, optional
you could even add a banana or two, optional

375 degrees
You can food process oats if you want or leave whole (me personally I like them whole)
In one bowl cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar
Beat in egg and vanilla
In another bowl whisk oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt
Gradually beat in dry to wet
Stir in chocolate and optionals
Form to however big or small you want cookies (they won’t spread out too much) on cookie sheet
12 min cook time
Cook before handling (or not- the chocolate goo is splendid when biting into!)

Freezing dough also is a great plan!  For those late night cravings!
Add 1-2 min bake time for frozen dough

Adding banana to dough does make the cookies a little sweeter so to balance you could always cut back on the sugar
You could even turn these into “Kitchen Sink” cookies: throw anything in- choc chips, white chips, butterscotch, dried fruit, nuts, almond extract

Tuesday 3/23

For breakfast we had rice pudding, french toast with peanut butter, banana juice, and bananas.  We went to an Adventist school this time to teach.  It wasn’t a special needs school so it was much easier and more fun.  It was a nice change for our last day.  We actually got a souvenir gift from them that said Iquitos, Peru!  It was like a plate of some sort.  For lunch, we had a rice dish with a yummy sauce topping.  Then, since it’s Tammie’s birthday, her friends got her a cake from the market.  I don’t know what kind it was but it was very very good!  It had a cream frosting with yellow sticky stuff covering it, so it was a yellow colored cake.  Yum!

I found a new song I like “Tainted Love”, no it’s not Peruvian.  Today there was a strike of all the workers for higher wages all day on the main streets.  Interesting.  We went to the zoo today, it’s an outdoor zoo with different monkeys, jaguars, alligators, etc.  It was hot but very fun.  You could even hold an anaconda for 1 sol.  I got a strawberry (fresa) popsicle.  I man goes around and sells them.  At the end of walking around at the zoo, it leads you to a beach.  The water was warm with a dead fish in it.  We took a group cabin photo:  Holly, me, Lauren, Jessie, and Ciara.

We came back to headquarters and got ready for our last VBS.  I got the guitar and off we went.  I actually recorded tonight:  songs, game, story, craft, and another story.

For dinner we had tamales which I didn’t like, bread, lots of bread, and purple corn juice (chicha), the juice of the purple corn with sweetner.  My favorite!  We had worship, a run down of tomorrow, and then pack pack pack, and a shower.

3/22 Monday

We got to sleep in this morning and didn’t have to be to breakfast at 7am like normal.  Because Gem State Academy was heading to the jungle and they had to get all together.  When they left, we went over and had our breakfast:  hard toast (still good) with peanut butter.

Immediately we had to go to a special needs school to teach.  This one didn’t go so well.  They weren’t interactive, people in our group were sick, it was so bright and very hot, unusually hot.  It was the hottest day!  So we were going slow; they did give us water though.  We thought we were talking to a wall.  Turns out we were talking to a wall because there were 2 kids peeking over the wall from outside the school that were listening to us!

We came home and had lunch:  rice, fries, and juice.  Then just lazed around, talked to mom on Facebook IM!!!  This is when I actually added mom to my Facebook friends.  So happy!  That’s when I told her I swam in the Amazon River!  She didn’t believe me at first.  She told dad and he said, “She’s not serious, she’s just kidding.”  But I wasn’t.

Then we went to a pool to swim because it was ridiculously hot!  91 degrees Fahrenheit.  Felt like 107 degrees F.  It was 85% humidity, golly!  We were there for an hour or so.  We even got the whole pool to ourselves.  Greg lost his money in the pool (paper money), 250 sols!  So we went on a search to find it.  We did eventually.  Mr. Irland tried to teach me to juggle, didn’t go so well.  Then the pool guy brought us a fruit I’d been really wanting to try.  It was the long green one with white fruit in it.  Inside the white fruit are big black seeds that are poisonous, so of course just be careful when you eat it.  It was so so good, very sweet!  I only tried a little because we were told not to eat the fruit in Peru except the ones at our facility.  It reminded me of cotton candy but it’s fruit.

We had to rush rush rush to get to VBS.  It was the story of Noah’s Ark so all of our group members were an animal.  Lauren and I were elefantes!  We also played Pato Pato Ganzo (duck duck goose).

For dinner we had this yummy potato dish, fruit, then cake because it was Paul’s mom’s birthday.  There was a caramel topping cake (like the caramel sauce we’ve been having called manjar blanco) then a second cake that was a cream cake with the caramel in the middle.  I tried the cream cake, really good!

Lauren had our worship talk tonight.  After we just talked as a group about Sunday night feeding the kids.  Tonight I started packing to go home!  I have to say that I was pretty happy to go home.

Earlier in the day we saw a man running for representative of a district, with a crowd behind him promoting.  We aren’t allowed to take any pictures of crowds like that otherwise those people will come after you wanting your camera to destroy the evidence.

Little kids listening over the wall

Sunday 3/21

This morning we leave the jungle!  I gotta say, I’m happy.  For breakfast we had corn flakes with mango yogurt.  They don’t use milk I guess; they use yogurt.  Then off on the boat we went.  We played games and stopped off at a watering hole to swim.  No it wasn’t the Amazon.  When we walked up, people were actually doing there laundry there.  Yup, we still went swimming.  The water was cool and fun.  Holly and I did sitting 2 highs with Natalie and Jessie in the water.  We walked back to the boat, got on, then got told we can shop for a few minutes at a little market set up on the side of the community where we went swimming.  Just people all spread out in a circle.  I grabbed some shirts I brought to the jungle to trade and traded them for a small purse and a maraca.  It is smooth sailing home now, only 5 hours.  For lunch we had rice with vegetables and gluten in it.  It was ok.

We finally arrived and headed to our hotel, not the facility.  This hotel was so nice and colorful!  We got a room with air conditioning even.  The name of it is Hospedaje Fantasia.  We swam in the pool first then took our first showers from being in the jungle and that Amazon water.  Yay!  We then raced over to a market near the facility.  I bought a hammock!!!  For the family, well mom and I mainly.  And I repeat, not just mom!  It’s orange with blue stripes.  It’s exactly like the one we had in the boat along the Amazon.  Then I bought an Iquitos souvenir canoe and a wooden cup/saucer.  When I bought the hammock I messed up my spanish with the lady when I was buying it so we were laughing and she gave me a bracelet free!

We came back and sat outside the restaurant they had there in the hotel.  I ordered a Coca Cola soda.  They make their Coca Cola with raw sugar instead of the high fructose syrup like the US uses, so it is better for you.  Natalie got an Inca Cola drink;  it almost tastes like bubble gum, it’s sweet and yellow colored.  It is a lemon verbena flavored soda  It’s so good!  We sat their with Greg and Lauren and took pictures.  The hammock I bought was 37 sols which was only $12.98 in the US.

At 6:30pm our bus picked us up and we went to dinner at a pizza place.  Last Thursday night we went to the plaza and Paul told us we were going to feed street kids Sunday night (tonight).  Just before going into the restaurant on the bus, he told us that we each get 1 ticket so we only get to feed 1 child.  There are only 25 of us in the group so we only get to feed 25 kids.  Well we all had the impression that we were feeding all the kids.  So that was like a bomb dropped on us.  We were not expecting that.  We couldn’t feed everyone so that was hard.  When we walked into the restaurant, kids on the street followed us and peered through the windows.  My table was Mr. Perrin, me, Lauren, Ciara, Jessie, and Greg.  We all could not eat with the kids watching us.  So we fasted that night.  We did drink the juice though.  There was Purple Corn juice called Chicha Morada.  It tasted like apple cider plus something else.  It is a clove flavored drink; the base is of boiled purple maiz.  Then there was grapefruit/fruit punch juice.  Very very good!  We saved all our 2 pizzas and appetizer at our table and put them in to-go boxes and after dinner, we took them and handed them out.  The pizza didn’t even smell good to me because of the kids and the guilt.  There were around 30 pieces of pizza plus bread!  Come to find out, we were the first group in all the years that Paul has been doing this program to ever fast.  I felt proud!!!

We went to the plaza next to find our child to feed.  I found a little boy then we walked the 3 blocks to where the food was being handed out.  His food was chicken, fries, and rice.  I paid for one extra child and took lots of pictures with them.  It was fun and rewarding.

We came back to the hotel and I gave my worship thought about patience (everybody had to give one over the trip).  Then off to bed and showers.  The room was very nice and a nice bed.  It was Jessie, me and Natalie in a room.  They even had a TV!  We were staying in the hotel because Gem State Academy was still at the regular facility.

About the Amazon River, we swam in it Saturday night as you may recall.  If we were to have gotten sick because we swam in it, we would have gotten sick today.  And I didn’t get sick, so that’s stupendous!!

Friday 3/19

We got up at 6am to go to THE JUNGLE!  Yup, that’s today.  We had to empty out our room because Gemstate Academy was arriving that day.  For breakfast we had rice oatmeal, peanut butter, and a banana.  Before heading on Kevin, we took a WWVA group photo in front of the People of Peru Project sign.  As Paul would say, “Proof of who and how many went to the jungle.”  We rode down to the dock and hopped onto the People of Peru Project boat on the Itaya River.  There were 2 levels on the boat, upper and lower.  The upper was kind of open.  In order to stay up there guess what we had to be in, hammocks!!!!  It was awesome.  Just simple hammocks tied to the posts above.  Leo came along for the trip, Poppy’s House didn’t want him anymore so we’re going to let him out free in the jungle.  He was in a cage on the way over.  So we laid in those for most of the trip, taking naps and writing.  So peaceful.  We stayed on the Itaya River for a short time and then you see this line in the water (this is where we had to put life jackets on).  The Itaya River was clear while the Amazon River was murky and muddy.  It was gross and dirty.  For the beginning of the trip Lauren, Jessie, Ciara, Greg, and I stayed up top.  You can tell where the rivers are by the 2 colors.

We then stopped at the Bora tribe.  We had to walk a little ways in some muddy areas.  On the way you come along this flat stone that you hit with sticks that are there to let the tribe know somebody is coming.  We stepped into this area where they had us sit.  Their chief banged his drums to let all his people know to come.  Some people came and did 5 dances for us.  The last dance we got to dance with them.  I danced!  Oh and the women are topless, it’s so hot there that’s it’s smart.  We were able to also buy stuff, so I bought a 4 sol colorful necklace and a homemade big bag for 25 sols.  The people were very nice!  I got to take some pictures too.  When we got back to the boat, the cage was empty.  Leo let himself out of the cage!

We then drifted to an outdoor zoo along the Amazon.  It’s all open, above the ground, with a few cages.  This is a zoo where we get to hold all the animals.  We first held a sloth which I held.  They almost have like a human face so it’s kind of weird.  They have sort of soft skin, not coarse.  When you hold them, they slowly wrap themselves to you.  They have long nails but not really sharp.  They like to hold on to you and things.  Next came the anaconda which I did not hold or touch.  I can live my life without touching a snake thank you.  It was disgusting and huge.  People actually held it!  There was a baby crocodile but we didn’t hold that.  On the roof of the place there was a little monkey too.  He wasn’t for holding though.  We hustled back onto the boat to finish off the trip.  It was about 5-6 more hours left.  I hung out with Natalie for the rest of the trip.  We laid at the tip of the boat, played games, and told blonde jokes.  It was awesome.  Then we looked at an Amazon book in Spanish that one of our translators had.

We arrived at our destination.  Our new home was a round open hut 50 feet off the ground.  We took everything out of the boat (water jugs, food, luggage) and set up our tents.  Yes tents!  I was surprised too.  We live civilized!  We just hung out that night and relaxed.  It was Jessie, Lauren, Ciara and I in a tent.  The bugs, spiders, mosquitoes are atrocious.  Cockroaches also fly down at you, fun stuff.  While waiting for dinner, our wwva people played a soccer game.  For dinner we had peanut butter and fruit.  We had worship and Jessie gave the worship talk about letting God guide your path.  Then time for crocodile hunting!  Only 10 people could go.  We went in a smaller boat, it was dark dark out.  We were also really close to the water.  We creeped along with some flashlights.  Oh and then, a fish flopped in on Danae.  Then we went right next to greenery so we scooted closer to each other (Holly, Lauren, and I).  We were afraid something would jump in.  We were out there about an hour.  Some people saw eyes but I didn’t see anything.  I really wanted to!  I tried to take my contacts out but all of a sudden a cockroach comes down at me and I lose one of my contacts.  So I said forget it so now I have to wear my glasses for the jungle trip!  Not happy.

Thursday 3/18

This morning for breakfast we had rice oatmeal and juice.  We went to our second Special Needs school for 4 hours.  I played the guitar this time by myself.  I didn’t realize but you get really sweaty and tired because you’re always moving, in a small space with kids hanging on you, and it’s ghastly outside.  It went good today.  Oh and we also taught them how to brush their teeth and gave them all a toothbrush.  For lunch there was yummy yummy Peruvian rice.  I don’t know what spices were in there but it was good.

After lunch today we went to a Free Medical Clinic that the People of Peru is working on.  It’s for poor people that can’t afford medical help.  It’s letting them know that they can still get good service in a nice place even though they’re poor.  We sanded all the walls and outside.  It took what seemed like forever and it was so hot!  We got to wear doctors masks so we weren’t breathing in the sawdust.

We came home, took showers from all the sand on us, and then had free time.  We then went to our VBS program.  The bus got stuck in the mud, twice!  So we had to totally do the VBS by ourselves.  It still went great.  I played the guitar and Natalie Johnson did the story of Ester.  It was so funny, she did a great job.  What she did was she took a few of the WWVA girls and one Peruvian girl in a line for the king to choose a queen.  Well she chose the Peruvian girl and made her queen.  There was face painting and a butterfly craft.  Again as we left the same 2 girls came up and gave me a hug and kiss, I love it.  The kids and people actually want to see and talk to you.

We had to eat dinner fast because we’re going to the market after.  The menu is apple pastry dessert, peruvian egg flower soup, and juice.  Good, good!  Man I miss cooking.

Now to the market!  Well it’s the plaza actually, the nice part of Iquitos.  Officially called The Plaza de Armas (Main Square).  There are venders just crawling all over the place and booths set up along the street.  Ciara had to go get regular tennis shoes so we walked 5 blocks with Leovina (she works at People of Peru) to get cheap shoes.  They have name brand shoes with the same symbol, it’s just not called the same thing.  Like there were Rebok shoes with the symbol but called Rehab.  We took a mototaxi back.  It was so fun!  There was 6 of us so we raced back to the Plaza.  It was Ciara, Holly, and I in one and Holly was freaking out because when you’re in them, it looks like you’re going to hit something!  It was only 2 sols to ride.

In the plaza, a famous soccer team was in town so there were a lot of people around.  A group was yelling and singing.  Then all of a sudden, we hear “Bang bang!”  Holly thought we were getting shot at but it was just really loud firecrackers.  Lots of them!  We then walked around a bit and shopped at the market stands people set up.  I bought a 3 sol bracelet!  We then went and had these really good slushies at this outdoor restaurant called Ari’s Burger (kind of like a burger joint style).  Holly, Lauren, Ciara, Jessie, and I.  I had a passion fruit one, 3.50 sols!  They were pretty big too.  Paul is the one who told us about it so that’s where we went.  We sit down and about a minute passes then we look over and there is Paul and Leovina sitting there.  It was funny.  When we went to pay, we each gave 100 sol bill to make change.  The server looked at us funny.  Back to the bus we went.  We got home and what did we have to do, pack for the jungle!

Lots of music and tons of people in the plaza.  Oh and Paul and us told the little kids that we are going to come back Sunday and feed them.  The kids just come up to you asking for food and stuff.