Friday, July 25, 2008

Yummy Granola

I've been meaning to use this as a "Works for me Wednesday" post, but Wednesday's don't seem to be working for me right now.

Here in Brazil, the traditional breakfast is rolls from the closest bakery with meat and cheese, and of course cafezinha, which is REALLY sweet and strong coffee. I love the breakfasts! But I do miss my cereal. The sad thing is, that the cereal selection here is very bad. The only unsweetened cereal they have is Corn Flakes. And they are super expensive!

So to try to mix things up a bit besides corn flakes one day and bread the next, I've been making granola. It is super yummy with fresh fruit in the morning. We also like to mix it in with our corn flakes. I found a good recipe I use that you can use as a "master" recipe and then add your own favorites to it.

Master Granola Recipe Makes 1 quart

Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and Extra Ingredients --except dried fruit -- in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, water and any Flavoring indicated below to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool. (Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.)

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Extra Ingredients (see complete list below)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs. flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
1 Tb. water

Extra ingredients can include: nuts, dried fruit, coconut, cereal, etc.
Flavoring can include any of your favorites: cinnimon, vanilla, pumpkin spice, ginger, etc.

*I use honey instead of maple syrup because we don't have syrup here and it's wonderful.

Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do! It's definitely a nice change for us and hopefully you can save a few cents and make your own granola instead of buying it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet Brazilians

OK, so this post is way late. This happened the week of my birthday, but life just seems to get in the way sometimes.

We've been tutoring English for a couple months now. I've really enjoyed it because I get to use my teaching skills and I've always loved teaching 1 on 1. I've also loved getting to know our students. They are great people and make teaching easy. (Of course I'm used to 6 year olds, so teaching adults is much easier!) Well, Friday is one of my favorite days to teach because we've got 2 good friends that come together. These girls are so much fun and we have a good time together.

The Friday after my birthday, it was well past 7pm so we thought that they weren't coming. A few minutes later our doorbell rang. They were late because they went to buy me a birthday present! It was a huge basket full of all kinds of goodies. I was just blown away! Now remember, I've only known these girls for less then 2 months. How sweet is that? One of them actually called me on my birthday to wish me a happy birthday as well, in English, so I was pretty impressed. :) These girls were just so thoughtful and sweet.

As a teacher, I've always taught in low income schools so I've never gotten many gifts. And the communities that I taught in just weren't very big into "thanking" the teachers. So to get a really nice gift after only 2 months of knowing someone, like I said, really blew me away. I was totally blessed!

Yum! Thank you Viviane and Barbara! You are soooo sweet!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Crazy Prices!

The cost of living here in Brazil is pretty comparable to the U.S. in some things. Like the price of clothes is about the same, food here is a little cheaper, and rent/housing is a little cheaper. But anything you buy, like electronics, cars, books, tennis shoes, just to name a few, are extremely more expensive. I like to think I've gotten used to the crazy high prices here, but sometimes I'm still a little blown away.

Before I continue to tell you the outrageous price I saw yesterday, I must explain a little more about Brazil. Cooking here is much different then the U.S. They don't have "prepared" foods here. Like packages of meals put together, or cans of soups. So I usually can't use any "quick" cooking type recipe because it always calls for a can of this, or a package of that. Everything is from scratch here and fresh. So I'm adapting my cooking skills as I go. And I must say, I can cook up a pretty good "brazilian" meal of rice, beans, and meat, if I do say so myself. :)

Anyway, back to what I saw yesterday. Renato and I were in our local supermarket to do our weekly grocery shopping. I saw something at the end of the aisle that caught my attention, because it looked unbelievably familiar. As I walked closer, I could not believe my eyes! They had CANS of Cambell's soup!!! About 5 different kinds! I was so excited I almost grabbed a few to put in the cart because like I said before, they just don't have this here. Then, I happened to glance at the price.... and quickly put the can back on the shelf. Again, I couldn't quite believe my eyes. ONE can of tomato soup was priced R$7.98. This price is in Brazlian money, but still. Even with conversion to US dollars it's $5.00. Crazy! I know it's imported, and I may get to a point that I feel I MUST HAVE some tomato soup, I may just pay that much, but let's be realistic here. My budget for the whole week is
R$100. So there is no way I'm going to shell out R$7.98 for a can of soup.

Just thought I'd give you another little snapshot into my life here in brazil. I guess I will never cease to be amazed at things here. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Another Crazy Brazilian Party

This past Saturday, my in-laws had a huge party at their house. It was called a "Festa Junina", which is translated, June Party....although it was already July. It's a party that celebrates "old country living". They dress in country type clothes, have live music and certain dances they do, and decorate with colorful flags and bamboo. It was a fun party and everyone had a good time. I wanted to share a few pictures of it, because my words alone in description would never give the party justice.

Here we are, "a little bit" country. :) I had fun with my pig-tails, reminded me of my childhood days.

Here's a pic of a family that really went "all-out" in their costumes.


More Dancing!

Renato's grandma and grandpa. Grandpa was having the time of his life! He loved the music!!

Like I've said before, Brazilians love their parties!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

This morning in my quiet time, I was taking the opportunity to reflect upon my life and all that God has done. My life truly is a miracle. I want to share a little bit of what I wrote in my journal this morning:

Here I am, 31 years old, married to the best husband in the world, have the smartest and cutest little boy in the world, am pregnant with another beautiful and perfect baby, live in Brazil, and am serving the God I love. Wow, I am blessed! I'm so grateful today for You Lord. What an amazing wild ride my life has been. If anyone would have asked me 5 or 6 years ago where I'd be today and what I'd be doing, my answer would have been drastically different then what You've blessed me with so far. I'm so excited to serve You for my next 31 years. I can't even begin to imagine how You'll continue to move, change, challenge, love, and inspire me in the years to come. Hallelujah for the miracle of my life!