Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 5:Canada Meat Pie (tourtière)

Day 5:Canada

 In case you haven't been following, I thought it would be fun to give my kids some culture during the Olympics. I am preparing traditional meals for different countries every night until the Olympics are over. We also share some fun facts about the country and look at each flag. We have been having a fun time learning about these other counties.

Be prepared to spend 2 1/2 to 3  hours making this bad boy. I have to say that this looked and sounded rather interesting. I was surprised to find out that it wasn't bad. It took some time before my kids would finally eat it but in the end 2 of the 3 ate it and liked it. Or at least they pretended to.

Meat Pie (tourtière)


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 large baking potato
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 dash ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust deep dish pie
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


1.     Bake the potato until done, 30 - 45 minutes in a preheated 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) oven. Peel and mash the potato.

2.     Place the potato, ground pork, onion, spices and water in a large frying pan and simmer until very thick, for about one hour.

3.     Meanwhile, prepare your pastry.

4.     Line a deep-dish pie plate with pastry. Spoon in filling, spreading evenly. Cover with top crust.

5.     Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Cut steam vent. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). If edges brown too fast, cover with a strip of foil. Serve warm.

Fun Canadian facts:

The belief that the North Pole is owned by Canada is false. No country owns the North Pole.

It's the world's second largest country according to total area.

Half of the country is covered with forests, which should not be surprising, considering one-tenth of the world's forests are here.

Day 4 of the Olympics China General Tso's Chicken

Day 4 of the Olympics

Today I made a traditional meal from China. My family and I always enjoy Asian food.  We served this with some vegetable stir fry and rice noodles. As I was preparing dinner I realized I forgot to get chop sticks. Total fail. :( The meal would have been complete with chopsticks, but it was still tasty.

General Tso's Chicken


  • 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (substitute use 1/8c apple cider vinegar and 1/8c water)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 dried whole red chilies, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, or to taste


1.      Heat the frying oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2.      Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until smooth. Mix in the 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch until no lumps remain. Mix in the chicken until evenly coated in the batter.

3.      In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until the chicken turns golden brown and begins to float, about 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

4.      Meanwhile, combine the sugar, white vinegar, rice vinegar, sherry or apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce thickens to the consistency of light pancake syrup, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

5.      Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the dried chiles and ginger; cook and stir until the ginger begins to brown, about 30 seconds. Remove the chiles and ginger from the wok and stir them into the sauce. Place the fried chicken cubes into the wok and cook until very crispy and dark golden brown. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Fun facts

Our neighbors from China taught us how to say Hi and Bye in Chinese.

Hi = ni hao

Bye= zai jian

The kids have a little friend from China and they have been exposed to the language. "Teo" one of our 2 year twins can say these words with no problem. We think he speaks better in Chinese than English. ;)

China is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, and the U.S.). It has an area of 3,719,275 square miles (slightly smaller than the U.S.) and its borders with other countries total more than 117,445 miles. Approximately 5,000 islands lie off the Chinese coast.

Toilet paper was invented in China in the late 1300s. It was for emperors only.(THANK YOU CHINA!!!) :)

Cricket fighting is a popular amusement in China. Many Chinese children keep crickets as pets

Despite its size, all of China is in one time zone.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 3: POLAND Golabki "Polish Cabbage Rolls"


Since Joe is half Polish we decided to make tonight Poland night. Joe's Granny and Grandpa are 100% Polish. All of their parents immigrated here from Poland. Making his dad also a 100% Polish American, Making him 50% Polish and 50% Dominican. Yes.... weird mixture I know, but it actually made a very handsome offspring. ;) I can thank Joe's Polish side of the family for his very chiseled, strong jaw. Rawr!! ;)

I talked with Granny and she told me Kocham Cie means I love you in Polish. You can bet your cookies I was telling my kids and hubby this all day. :) Granny speaks polish and often speak Polish/English to us. When she speaks Polish to us we have no idea what she is saying. Thankfully most of the time she translates, unless it's a swear word. ;) She told me Golabki "stuffed cabbage" is traditional meal there so thats what we had tonight. I paired it with kielbasa and pierogis. Also very common dishes in Poland. I thought about making the pierogis from scratch but then I decided one dish I was unfamiliar making was ambitious  enough for me. :) So I had Joe pick some up in the frozen section from the store. You can just saute the kielabasa on the stove with some sliced white onions.

Here is the recipe. We loved it and hope you do too. I recommend cutting this in half.

Makes about 18 Golabki "Polish Cabbage Rolls"
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


·         1 whole head cabbage, about 4 pounds

·         1 large onion, chopped

·         2 tablespoons butter

·         1 pound ground beef

·         1/2 pound ground pork

·         1 1/2 cups cooked rice

·         1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1/4 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 cup beef stock

·         1 12 oz can of tomato sauce

·         Sour cream for garnish (optional)


1.    Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.

3.    When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.

4.    Chop the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a casserole dish or Dutch oven.
5.    Sauté the chopped onion in butter in a large frying pan until tender, and let it cool.
6.    Mix cooled onions with beef, pork, rice, garlic, salt and black pepper until well combined. Don't over mix or the meat will become tough.

7.    Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little roll. These directions were hard for me to follow. I had to let my Mexican roots kick in and just pretend I was rolling a burrito.

8.    Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish or Dutch oven, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper.  Mix beef stock and tomato sauce together and over rolls, cover and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked.

9.    Serve with pan juices and a drizzle of sour cream, or mix the pan juices with sour cream and ladle it over the cabbage rolls.

10.  Cabbage rolls freeze well before or after cooking, and can be made in a slow cooker (see your manufacturer's instructions).

Note: Since they can be eaten hot or at room temperature, mini cabbage rolls make great appetizers. Just spear them with a frilled toothpick and you're good to go!

Fun Poland Facts

At dinner Joe shared these fun Polish facts.

1. Poland is the the 9th largest country in Europe.

2. The most popular name for a dog in Poland is Burek which translates to: “brownish-grey color”.

 3. Polish born astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was the first person to propose that the earth was not the center of the universe.

4. Another Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) published the earliest exact maps of the moon. (Now whoever said Pollock's where dumb better take that back!) ;)

5. Pizza in Poland does not contain tomato sauce. The waiters bring sauce to the table in a pitcher, and you pour it on top. Sometimes the sauce is just ketchup.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 2 of Olympic Dinners-Great Britain MUMMY BOOMES

Day-2: Since the Olympics is being held in Great Britain and since my brother lives there I thought I would be fun to have a traditional meal from England and let me tell you.... It was a huge hit in our house! I have never seen "Sweet Girl" and "Migs" eat so good! It is super DELISH and super easy! The name of the dish is also fun to say: Mummy Boomes!!!  :)  Its basically shepherds pie, but with a funner name. :)



  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or lamb
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups garden peas
  • Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows


Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.

Add butter and oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, celery and garlic until tender for about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables have softened and start to brown a little add the tomato paste and mix evenly. Add the ground beef and cook until beef is no longer pink about 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook and simmer for another 10 minutes. Mix in peas. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and spread evenly. Place potato on top of ground beef mixture and spread out evenly, once the top surface has been covered, rake through with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook until browned about 20 minutes. Spoon out the shepherd's pie and serve.

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • 4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated mature white Cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large saucepan with cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Add potatoes to the water and bring to a boil. Let potatoes cook until soft about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are at a desired density, drain the potatoes and place them back into the saucepan for mashing. Add butter and cream and begin to mash potatoes into a semi smooth consistency. Once at desired texture add cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

I was also able to speak to my brother  in London today. He told me opening ceremony was held 2 blocks from his house and the torch ran past it on the way to the ceremony! I asked him for a fun word or phrase I could teach my family that they use there. He told me "cheers" They use this in place of thank you. So during dinner time when we passed something we said cheers to each other. They kids also told me cheers as they place their dish in the sink. :)

Another fun phrase I we have been saying today is "Tickety boo" meaning: 1. Going smoothly, doing all right.

2. Proceeding quickly.

As I was about to put dinner on the table I yelled from the kitchen "Everything is tickety boo!" It makes me and my family laugh. I guess you can say we are easily entertained. :) 

During dinner I shared these facts

  • Capital ~ London
  • Anthem ~ God Save the Queen
  • Official Language ~ English
  • Currency ~ Pound Sterling
  • Type of Government ~ Constitutional Monarchy
  • Monarch ~ Queen Elizabeth II
  • Prime Minister ~ David Cameron
  • National Day ~ 23rd April
  • Major Religion ~ Christianity
  • Flag ~ The Union Flag (Union Jack)
  •  London is also one of the most populous cities in the Europe with its population over 10 million.
  • The Windsor Castle, one of the three official residences of the Queen, is the largest residential castle in the world. It is also the oldest one that is in continuous occupation for over 900 years.
  • The highest temperature recorded in this country, was in Faversham in Kent with 38.5ºC (101.3ºF) in August 2003.

After dinner we played London Bridges falling down. I am looking forward to tomorrows dinner and activities! Stay tuned!

Day 1 of Olympic dinners USA-

The Olympics are here and my family and I are so excited about it. I find it so amazing how Countries at war with each other can still come together in peace and complete athletically against each other. In honor of the Olympics I thought it would be a fun time to learn and teach about the other Countries and cultures to my children. During the next few weeks of the Olympics I will be making tradition meals from various Countries . I plan to post pictures and recipes during this fun time.

Day 1- We kicked off with a traditional meal from the USA!!! The greatest Country in my opinion. What is more American than Hamburgers and French fries???!!! I have had a bad cold and did not feel up to cooking. I was seriously thinking about giving my kids a "true" American meal from McDonalds. My kids are so deprived, they all had their first Happy Meal this year while road tripping to AZ for my Great Grandmas 90th Birthday party. Back to the point..... I decided to make the burgers and just buy frozen fries since I was not feeling well.  During dinner I taught the kids these fun little facts:

Washington, D.C.
Independence Day:
July 4, 1776
In God We Trust
National Bird:
Bald Eagle
National Flower:
National Anthem:
Area (50 states and District of Columbia only):
9,631,418 sq km
Area of China: 9,596,960 sq km
Area of HK: 1,092 sq km
Comparative Size:
About one-half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about one-half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; about two and one-half times the size of Western Europe.
Largest State:
Smallest State:
Rhode Island

I also told them how very blessed we are to live in the Country and told how in some countries kids can't go to school or even eat every day, or decided what church they want to go to.

After dinner our little "Teo" held the flag as we said The Pledge Of Allegiance.  Hearing my kids say the Pledge brought tears to my eyes.  Especially hearing my 2 year old twin boys say it. I was amazed they knew parts of it. It must have been listening when I taught  "Sweet girl"  and a few other kids pre-school in our home.  It reminded me that kids listen and watch us more than we think. 

Black Angus beef Burgers

Ingredients :

2 pounds Ground Angus beef
3 Grilled poblano peppers; seeded, and sliced into thirds
6 slices Yellow cheddar cheese
6 hamburger buns
Baby red-oak lettuce
Pickled red onions
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Prepare a wood or charcoal fire and let it burn down to embers.

In a large mixing bowl season Angus beef with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to use, form into 1-inch thick disks. Grill for five minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last five minutes top with cheddar cheese.

When finished grilling, on one half of the roll place the burger and top with baby red-oak lettuce, poblano peppers, vinaigrette and pickled red onions. Serve immediately.

GO USA!!!!