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.