Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A photo album!

Or if that doesn't work, go to this link:

I'll be ordering a hard copy so that I can still talk with you all about my trip, but here are my photos and there are small descriptions with each photo, so I think you will be to
a) grasp the beauty of the Andes mountains
b) see the love in the kids' faces
c) understand what's going on in each photo. Except the photo of the alpaca. He (she?) just wanted to hang out on the soccer field with some friends, so we took some photos. And then he/she spit at a team member who got too close, kind of like our old Aladdin game for Sega.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Teaser!

Hey, so that's kind of cool, Shutterfly! That's not what I was picturing the 4 pictures doing... endlessly rotating through a 4 second slideshow... but I sorted a few out for you.

Yes, Bakes, I am lifting very heavy rocks. Truth be told... they didn't trust me with any heavy construction work. Most of the time, they had me lifting pebbles or cleaning up broken bricks or something demeaning. (Just kidding, it wasn't demeaning.) I am a bit awful at shoveling, it turns out. We had a system of 5 of us rotating through positions to hoist buckets of sand to the top of/ other side of a wall, and when it was supposed to be my turn to shovel... the rotation changed so that I did another position twice. And then later, they let me shovel because "It's good to have different tempos because then we get some rest." (Although, if I am being honest, not only was I slow but I kept injuring those around me. So the slow tempo- shoveler (myself) was only used when the person holding the buckets was very patient, forgiving, and had strong finger bones.)

Picture 2: The roads on a normal day. There were much worse days than this. 

Picture 3: Playing juegos (games, not the Spanish word for Legos) with the children. You can see the top of my head in the bottom left. I'm intensely focused on the UNO game.

Picture 4: What trip would be complete without the required OHIO photos? 
This is going to turn into a long post because I have a post waiting from a few months ago when I baked some chocolate chip cookies using a new recipe. Verdict? No better or worse than other recipes.

I promised a friend a surprise package - and I don't know what to put in surprise packages other than cookies. So I thought I'd make chocolate chip, because, let's be honest - what other options are there? I decided to test a new recipe from my grandmother. The handwriting down the side of the recipe is the recipe - doubled. That's a great sign. And, to give these cookies a fair test, I wanted to do it without substitutions. Guess how long that lasted?
If you guessed not long, you... are right.

Adapted from: Kitchen to Kitchen, Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. Sift dry ingredients in a bowl.
3/4 c rolled oats (Recipe says to grind in a food processor, but that was a dish I didn't want to wash.)
1 c whole-wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

In an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup softened butter until fluffy. (I used 5 t instead of 4 because that was the amount left on the stick. But feel that this substitution equals out the over-measured whole wheat flour.)
Add to the butter:
1/4 canola oil
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c brown sugar (Not quite there. I'll just add a little more vanilla. And vanilla syrup. And they will be sweet.)
1 large egg
1 "heaping" teaspoon vanilla (plus 1 T vanilla syrup)

While the mixer is running, add dry ingredients until mixed well.
Stir in 1 c chocolate chips. (Not even sure how to measure what I did.)
My chocolate chips spent too long in the car. And I don't want to run to the store. I tried peeling them apart - messy. But I washed my hands!

Or was that after?

And then I gave up and wanted to melt the chocolate chips and just stir them in to get what I think was about a cup. But I ran into a problem. See, unlike my unnatural fear of dried beans, I have a completely natural fear of melting chocolate. I have almost never done it correctly, regardless of melting method and how closely I actually follow instructions. Julie is trying to melt chocolate? Then it's almost guaranteed it will go from solid to burned. In 15 seconds.

Yep, curse: still on. Bye-bye, chocolate chips. The batter looks okay enough, I guess.

Bake the cookies at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are firm and golden on top. If you can make 2 1/2 dozen out of this, apparently it hovers around 100 calories. Good luck with that - it's like cooking dessert from Cooking Light: one serving size = approximately one bite. I made about 16 cookies out of this; could've made 20, maybe.
They had a little heartier flavor than the typical chocolate chips. Nothing I'd rave about more than I rave about my other chocolate chip cookie recipes. Got any good ones you would share?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

kutima naykama, andahuaylas!

That means "see you in a long time, Andahuaylas!"

I am back from the mission trip to Peru - and I loved it there. I want to go back! The culture, the kids, the languages (Spanish and Quechua) were all easy for me to slip into for the 9 days we were there. Please be patient as our internet is not working, so it is hard to update this to tell you all about it.

While you're waiting on the edge of your seat for my typewritten report, you can look at It's a site where all team members were invited to share their pictures. There are/ will be many, but I hope to pull some favorites out of there for blog posts. Soon. I hope.

I can give you a quote to keep you entertained?

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
- Vladimir Nabokov

Or we can just wait in silent expectation.