Uganda

Bicycles (next to walking) are probably the most popular method of transportation in all of Africa and you see pictures of several people sharing a ride.This was a recent get together when lots of people came to study the scriptures and have a great meal of Ugali, greens, potatoes and goat meat stew.

I wonder how they know which bicycle is theirs.

I wonder how they know which bicycle is theirs.

Someone sent me pictures and here are a couple more  that I especially liked.

Some deep thinking~

Some deep thinking~

Four children with their ta ta.

Four children with their ta ta.

I am pretty well running out of new stuff for my blog so I have decided to just post something ever so often when things happen to write about. I appreciate all those of you who enjoy it and even check it out on a daily basis. Special thank you to my friends Al and Pat, Dan, Austin, Linda, Ann and Sharon. I even get a phone call early in the morning if I fail to get one up ((to be sure I am OK). You are welcome to go back to the older ones you haven’t seen. I started this over five years ago. Everyone should keep a journal of some kind. It makes you realize you have been living a busy life. That is good!  Check back often~

Buttermilk Pound Cake (Revised Version)

September 20, 1953, a big day

September 20, 1953, a big day

Yesterday would have been my 64th wedding anniversary.  Here is a picture from that day. I had planned to run a picture of my Lemon Pound Cake but couldn’t find it so found this instead. Dan and I were married at 9:00 that morning in my Grandmother Christians’ beautiful front room, with 50 guests celebrating with us. Everyone was alive back then and now there are just a hand full left. Happy day, in just a little while we were off to a honeymoon in New Orleans. These were fun and exciting times. I loved that sweet boy~

Now for the recipe, I wish I had made this cake yesterday, then I could have been enjoying a slice with my coffee right now. Maybe I will have it ready tomorrow morning.

I like a pound cake because you can slice it, pick it up and eat it, or you can have it with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. It isn’t sticky, you don’t need a napkin or a fork. But of course you can sit down and eat it quite properly if you like. The slices can be wrapped and frozen and ready for drop in company. Real pound cake is made with real butter. I like the little bit of lemon icing on it too.  Pound Cake must be good, it is in every recipe book, and has been handed down for generations from good cooks~   Note! Since I first placed this on my blog, I had a failure on one cake so this recipe has been changed slightly. After testing, it turned out very nice~

   Buttermilk Pound Cake

1 c ~soft butter (2 sticks)
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp soda
Cream butter and sugar together
Add eggs, one at at time, beating well
Add vanilla
Stir soda into the cup of buttermilk
Add flour alternately with buttermilk,
batter should be smooth.
Grease bottom of tube pan, (not sides)
Bake one hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees, test with toothpick,
it sould come out clean when pushed into center of cake
Cool for 10 minutes, then run knife around the
sides to turn cake loose, Shake pan to loosen
cake, then remove to plate.
Lemon Icing
Mix grated lemon rind, juice from one lemon and
1 1/2 c powdered sugar. If icing is too stiff, add a
few drops of water. Drizzle over warm cake~, use only
this amount of icing, don’t overdo it~

                                                                                                               

 

Far Far Away

I get new pictures almost every day and it makes me happy. This is one of my favorites, a picture from Soroti Uganda. These two sweet girls are actually sitting in a mud hut with no running water or electricity. They and their family were visiting a young friend who built it and lives there on his $30 monthly income.

Two of my special  somebodies~

Two of my special somebodies~

I ran this picture through Adobe Photoshop and will use for my screen saver. Good morning to my sweet ones~ ZZ, John and the lovely Miss Gavriella.

Pasta Dumplings Lasagna

this is a 20 minute meal, you only use two pans and a big spoon. I like lasagna but it takes a lot of time, this one is every bit as delicious. It is enough for six people and left overs~

I have a little secret about taking pictures of food for the blog. One recipe doesn’t always make a table full, it might seem a little skimpy so like on the lasagna, I turned a cereal bowl upside down in the bottom of the pot and poured the dumplings on top of that, then it makes it look like it is a heaping pot full. If the bread basket doesn’t look full, I put a wad of paper towels under the napkins and pile the bread on top. If I am going to show pictures of the food, I want it to look as generous as it really is.

This is a recipe ZZ sent me from Kenya. This morning I am going to make a batch of it for the freezer, it is absolutely wonderful. (one plate for me and 7 plates for the freezer). It makes a lot. It is easy to make and takes about 20 minutes.

Pasta Dumplings Lasagna
12. oz. package of pasta dumplings or bowtie pasta
1 lb very lean ground meat
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 T olive oil
1 large carton cottage cheese, put in strainer and run water
over it to get milky stuff off, drain
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 can med. black olives drained
Put the pasta in 10 cups of boiling water and 1 tsp salt, cook just until tender~ drain.
Brown meat, seasoning, garlic powder, salt and olive oil in wok or big
pan until done, about 10 minutes.
Pour spaghetti sauce on meat, get it hot then add cottage cheese,
mozzarella cheese, cooked pasta, and olives. Stir carefully with
big spoon until mixed and heated through.
Serve with sliced cucumbers or a vegetable salad.

Shish-K-Bobs

this is a picture of the meat and vegetables strung on a skewer, ready for the broiler. If you crowd them a little, they will stay put when your turn them and not roll over, don’t over cook, you want them tender~

A few days ago, I put Pinto Beans on my blog and for less that $10, there were enough beans and tortillas, cantaloupe and iced tea for 6 people. (some left for the freezer too) Today I want to show you my Shish-K-Bobs. This is a great company dinner. I served them with Armenian rice, cantaloupe, homemade French bread, and for dessert, I made a cherry cobbler with ice cream. My kids come for church and dinner on Sundays, so there were five of us~My grocery bill for  this meal  was $66. (gulp) It takes sirloin steak, lamb, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and a few other things. Give yourself plenty of time, it takes some preparation. You can cut up the meat, vegetables, and the cantaloupe the day before, and have all of this in the refrigerator.

I got the skewers 50 years ago, If you don’t have any, go buy them. You will want at least 10. This recipe makes enough for dinner and left overs, I always cook enough so that everyone takes a plate home for supper

 It makes a wonderful meal and is something everyone looks forward to. I call this my Greek Dinner. Anyway, I hope you will try it some time if you have an unexpected windfall~

The nutty flavor of the wine , the curry and the grated onion,makes this something you will remember. The vegetables stay crisp and the lamb and steak are tender from having been marinaded for hours..

Shish-K-Bobs

 2 to 3 lbs sirloin steak
1 lb lamb chops
6 slices thick sliced bacon
2 pkg mushrooms
3 green bell peppers
2 red pimento peppers
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered (or 20 cherry tomatoes)
2 onions, cut in quarters and separated
cut loin and lamb into 1 1/2 inch  cubes
cut vegetables  in nice size chunks
Marinade
1 large grated onion
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup Canola oil
Place meat in large bowl, cover with marinade and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight, stirring several times. String meat, mushrooms and vegetables on skewers, in the same order on each one until everything is used. Drizzle any marinade left in the bowl over the shish-k-bobs. Broil in oven, 4 inches from burner. Turn after 5 minutes, then turn twice more until all sides are cooked, watch carefully and don’t over cook then. Place skewers on platter, scrape up juices left in pan,  heat and serve it in a small pitcher.
Armenian Rice
 4 cups rice
1 stick real butter
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 cups hot chicken broth with about 1/4 cup of white wine. 
In 4 qt pan, brown rice in butter with salt and celery seeds, stir constantly until rice starts to brown,  add heated chicken broth, (careful, it will spatter when you put it in the hot rice) put tight lid on and leave for 20 to 25 minutes on med heat.

Fried Okra Salad

Here is my blog from over a year ago. I just wonder how many have actually tried this recipe for Fried Okra Salad. I am giving you another chance. It is absolutely one of the best dishes in the world. Easy too, it is OK to get frozen Okra that has been already breaded and ready to fry. It cooks up in a few minutes so cut up the onions and tomatoes first so they will be ready when the okra is done. I still go for the pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy for a wonderful meal. I like thin cut pork chops with the ‘bone in’, they are done in a few minutes and tender and crisp.

something special about the crunchy okra, fresh tomatoes and onions. All time favorite!

This may be your favorite once you try it. My mother got this recipe at least 75 years ago from Beulah Kerr. It has been a family favorite for four generations. Simply delicious! It is especially good with summer time meals~pork chops, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and  pickled beets~

Crunchy Fried Okra Salad  

1 pkg. sliced frozen okra   ( Or buy frozen cut okra that has been breaded, then you can put it right  in the skillet still frozen and eliminate the next two steps. Just as good either way.)
1 ½ c. flour (more if needed)
½ tsp salt
1 large tomato, chopped
½ c. chopped onion

Thaw sliced okra in warm water,
pour water off, then toss in plastic bag with
flour and salt mixture. Coat well. (okra should
be stuck together in clumps) You DON’T need to do this step if you use the cut and breaded frozen okra! I am making it really easy for you.
Heat about two inches of oil in skillet, med. hot
Fry half the okra at a time. (add more oil if
necessary on second batch). Use large slotted spoon to turn okra and cook on all sides until light golden and crisp, watch carefully so it won’t burn.
Drain on lots of paper towels, get that grease out! When ready to serve, toss okra with the chopped tomatoes and onions. Salt to taste.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

coffee and cookies or milk and cookies, either way, chocolate chip cookies are one of the all time favorites, easy to make and pure pleasure to eat~

Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy to make and most people love them. I borrowed this recipe from Elizabeth’s cooking site   ‘My Home Cooking’  check it out, some great recipes, and lots of detailed instructions. She built it as a school project 10 years ago when she was fifteen and it has been running ever since. This is a simpler version of her cookies but the results are the same. Homemade cookies are great to take on a trip,  then all you need is to find a Starbucks~)

                                       Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c Crisco shortening
1 stick real butter
1 1/4 c white sugar
1 14 c brown sugar
1 T vanilla
2 eggs
4 c flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz.pkg semisweet chocolate chips 
1 c toasted pecans, chopped coarsely*
Cream Crisco, butter and sugars together, beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs and beat again until completely mixed. In another bowl, combine flour, soda and salt until well mixed. Mixing at low speed, add the flour a few tablespoons at a time to the cookie dough, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl. Now you can add the chocolate chips and toasted pecans and stir well. (if you freeze the chocolate chips first, they will hold together in the cookies and won’t turn the cookie a brown color)
Using an ice cream scoop or table spoon, place dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet with room between  and bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove with spatula onto a wire rack and cool completely. *to toast pecans, place on paper plate, microwave one minute, stir and microwave another 30 seconds, watch that they don’t scorch~

Deck Chair Finished

I was able to save the name I painted on it when it was new.

I was able to save the name I painted on it when it was new.

One month ago I showed a project I was working on and have completed the job. It seems like it was a lot longer than a month but that was 30 blogs ago so that is a long time. This chair was one that Dan & Debbie called the Schatzie Kay chair because their little dog claimed it for her own. The legs finally rotted from sitting outside for  25 years and it either had to be restored or thrown away. old leg

Bad legs, ready to be sent to Dan's Shop Smith

Bad legs, ready to be sent to Dan’s Shop Smith for copying duplicates in new wood

All striped and sanded, waiting for the new legs~

All striped and sanded, waiting for the new legs~

All finished and smooth as silk.  Deck chairs have solid brass screws and hinges so those have stayed like new.

Finished and smooth as silk. The  chair  has solid brass screws and fittings so those have stayed like new. To find if fittings are brass plated or solid brass, try a magnet test, if it sticks to the piece it is solid brass.

This was the second time I restored it. The bottoms of the legs get wet and the water wicks up into the wood, the rest of the wood is fine but wet legs rot. Dan copied the old legs perfectly, cutting and matching everything down to the last screw hole. Now it is like a new chair. This time I bought some epoxy after reading about it on the internet. It is like putty, two parts mixed together and put on the bottom of the legs. It dried in two days and should take care of the water problem. I also put gliders on the bottom to hold the leg up off the patio. This was a good project, I like working with wood and I like to save things.

 

Cast aluminum chairs were nice ones but the finish developed a problem.

Cast aluminum chairs were nice ones but the factory  finish developed a problem.

The patio chairs were good ones and comfortable. However the finish on them had started cracking and chipping off.. Debbie sanded them down to the bare cast aluminum, ready for primer and then deep hunter green paint. These pieces  all sat in my garage for a couple of weeks after I finished them and I was growing attached. They came and got them today and sent the pictures. I am going to be looking for another project that is fun to do. This was one of those.

Sunflower Afghan

the panels are crocheted in the afghan stitch, then the flowers are embroidered in a cross stitch. It feels good to be working with yarn~

If I can wake up with a project every morning, I am happy. I hope it will be the same all of my life.  When my first baby boy was born, one of the greatest things was to realize I would be totally committed to taking care of  him for years. Having two babies was the best of all projects~ Today is about a sunflower afghan, it took longer than most things, in fact I made two of them, each taking about 3 months. It was so much fun working with all the beautiful colors. I made them in 1969. My friend Billy had showed me how to do the afghan stitch, using a long crochete needle, it was easy to do and made a good background for the embroidery work on the flowers. Once when we were at a school picnic, a teacher saw the one I was working on and wanted to know where to get the thread and pattern. Billy wanted to show her the simple afghan stitch but she was not interested, she said she “already knew how to do it”. So Billy didn’t insist, even though there was a trick to doing it right. Later at the end of school, we saw her handiwork, it looked like a big loosely made fish net and was about 10 feet long.  She told us she realized it was not right but she liked it anyway. It was sure something different~ The two I made were for my boys and  stayed on their beds while they were growing up, I liked the bright colors, it was a decorated place in our house. Much later I showed each of my two little left handed granddaughters, (Stacy Mae and ZZ) how to crochet.  I showed them the  ball of yarn that was no more than a colored string, then had them hold an afghan and see how that string could turn into something beautiful and warm and wonderful. They learned quickly. 

Hydroponic Greenhouse

European cucumbers  are also called burpless cucumbers, they grow 18 or more inches long and are still tender and sweet.

There are several kinds of lettuce   like romaine and butter head, you can pull them out of the trays and put the roots in a glass of water and keep them fresh on the  counter for several days.

Tomatoes and cucumbers grow well in buckets of perlite, there is no dirt or soil involved

Here are a some pictures from the green house at Christoval. Anna and I had been left in charge of it last year (with lots of instructions) when her husband was out of the country for a few weeks. We were growing tomatoes, European cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli and all kinds of greens. She called me one Monday afternoon and said the pump had gone out on the big floor tank and she had called the plumber~ but he couldn’t get there until the next morning. So I loaded the dogs up and went up there and we installed a new pump ourselves and it was working in a matter of minutes. Women can do things, we always read the directions. (canceled the plumber) I will be in charge of the green house for a while this summer, big job. I will also be taking care of chickie town and the peacocks and one sweet little dog. I think I will set up a roadside stand and sell fruit from the orchard, eggs from the chickens and all those fresh vegetables. Or maybe I won’t~

Chicken Shun Gai

Sunday dinner today was an easy one to put together because most of it was ready to go last night. The only thing this morning was stir frying the vegetables, making rice and frying the little chunks of chicken. It all went on the table in about 15 minutes when we got home from church. Easy recipe and a delicious meal with plenty left to take home to enjoy again on Labor Day~

I found a wonderful Chinese cook book (with pictures!) years ago and have tried almost all the recipes in it. This is one of my favorites, in fact all of them are my favorites~

I found a wonderful Chinese cook book (with pictures!) years ago and have tried almost all the recipes in it. This is one of my favorites, in fact all of them are my favorites~

Chicken Shun Gai

Cut up about 3 chicken breasts into small pieces, dip them in a mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1/2 cup of water and then dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry without crowding in a skillet with just enough canola oil to half cover them. You stir to keep them turning over in the oil. Drain on paper towels.

At the same time you can make a simple sauce with 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce.1 T sugar 1 1/2 T corn starch. Just mix this up and have it ready.

Chop the following vegetable is nice size pieces:  2 green and  2  red bell peppers, 3 ribs of celery sliced, 1 medium size onion, quartered  and broken apart, then 1 can of pineapple chunks, a can of water chestnuts and 1 cup of cashew nuts. 4 roma tomatoes quartered. (You don’t stir fry tomatoes, just add at the end to warm them). To stir fry put into a wop or large skillet with 3 T canola oil and cook while you stir until the vegetables are tender but crunchy. They need to be crisp~ Now add the chicken, tomatoes and sauce which you have given a big stir with a spoon before adding it. It will thicken in just a minute or two and your are done.

I cook about 3 cups of rice and use chicken broth for half of the liquid.

 

Shopping in Kenya

Please excuse the mistakes on this blog, I couldn’t get the strange letters between pictures to disappear. Maybe it didn’t like the toilet pictures~

As you can see, there are a few chickens in the cages. I saw several people carrying chickens in town, they just held their legs and they stayed calm.

There are shops all over Kitale, if you want  produce you will need to find a different store for each item. The egg place sells eggs, it is usually right beside several other egg places. The eggs we bought were always fresh and the shells were hard, no cracked eggs~then the meat market might be by the tattoo parlor, barber shop, or even beside the choo (public toilet).

The men’s toilet was  more simple than the lady’s. Two things that desperately  need fixing in Kenya are lack of sewer systems and the roads. I feel for them~

 

I

here is a typical ladies toilet. The blocks are  to stand on, not  sit, you figure it out. Only once did I need to use such a facility and that was a disaster.

few if any refri

Si

Since there are no refrigerators or ice boxes food must be bought daily. and in small quantities. There was a place that sold dry beans, seeds and maize. They had big sacks with the tops rolled open to scoop the grain out and weigh it. That day there was a roaming street chicken in one of the sacks, scratching and eating, she had found the meal of a lifetime. The store owner didn’t even shoo her away, he just kept sweeping the sidewalk. I shivered and kept walking.

This next little shop was on the street near Mili Mani, the man carried a variety of things  from eggs, to batteries, phone minutes, sugar cane, jars of nuts and soda pops. (I wondered about tobacco, I never saw anyone smoking the whole time we were there).

This man’s little shed was a going business. He always had customers. I noticed people adding minutes to their cell phone. Nearly every store in town sold phone minutes.

 

these girls were all fixed up. I saw a woman in the clothing market sitting on the floor behind a bench and she was not happy at all. I passed by later in the afternoon and she was still there, and still very upset. Then I noticed that she was having her hair braided in tiny dreadlocks and I am sure it was very painful.

Here is a beauty parlor, there were a lot of these. In the slums, most people have their head shaved, it is hard to tell if the children are boys or girls, except the girls wear dresses. The more affluent women have longer beautiful hair or wear a wig, whether or not they have hair they are all pretty, tall and slender, and have beautiful smiles. A surprise was the car dealerships, mostly Toyota and Nissan, their lots were filled with a big inventory of vehicles. There were a lot of motor bikes for sale. I liked them, they were whisper quite.  I thought the people were quiet too, they spoke softly and were friendly and pleasant. I am just about to the end of my adventure in Kenya , thank you for staying with me. I will have to find something else to write about now.