Thursday, December 13, 2018

Merry Christmas from Bolivia

Rumi Rancho Reindeer

"There really are reindeer in Bolivia,"
said Abby to her sisters, Ellie and Olivia.

"They seem to me just a little bit strange.
Aunt Peggy says it’s because they’re open range.

I’ve seen them and they are strange indeed
Because their funny antlers are red and green."

Many kids walk far to go to Rumi Rancho to play
They hear stories of Jesus and always want to stay.

They heard that Jesus was born a long time ago
  His birthday is on Christmas day and He loves us so.

Missionaries travel the whole world wide
To tell the Good News that Jesus is alive.

He was born in a manger on Christmas day
So that we might learn of all God’s ways.

The way to heaven is still the same
Believe in Jesus, He knows us by name.

We know we celebrate because you are the reason
So Happy Birthday, Jesus, this Christmas Season.

From Rumi Rancho you can hear the kids cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
  
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
     who is Christ the Lord.”

And before you go, check out this recipe all the way from Bolivia!

BOLIVIAN BUÑUELOS RECIPE:

Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot
chocolate.

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are
made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served
drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air
pockets on the inside.



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

Preparation:
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes,
then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a
watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot butter or
oil.

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and
stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When
about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put in the frying pan with a stick or the back
of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides
before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil; then put all in a bowl to
serve.

Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar.



Monday, December 3, 2018

Buñuelos with Jesus




This week, I am participating in a fun holiday recipes blog hop with friends. Every day, one of us shares holiday recipes with our readers. Today is my turn with this post. I'll include some links at the end for my friends' posts, and will update the list later this week to add all the others.

Almost 20 years ago, our mission started Christmas trips to remote villages high in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia where we are missionaries. My husband and Juan, a Quechua young man who was born in the Andes Mountains, began going to villages high above the tree line. These trips had to be made on quads because the roads ended before arriving to these villages. Then by foot, they reached the final destination––small
communities where life is hard, and the people are precious. Twenty years later, we still continue doing this ministry each Christmas, but now with the help of our Bolivian church.

Bread is a delicacy in the mountains. The highest regions don’t have firewood, but a little further down the mountain where there is firewood, flour is scarce. When the kids see bread their eyes light up––just like they do when they see toys. But, just as they readily accept the bread, they also accept the Bread of Life. They are hungry for both––bread to satisfy their tummies, and Bread to satisfy their souls. Every year we share the Christmas story in places where many hear it for the first time. Many now know the Lord.

In the valley and cities below the mountains live the more fortunate––although many still wait to hear of the Savior. But, bread is available and other delicacies as well. Here in the valley where I live, many wake up on Christmas morning to the aroma of Buñuelos frying I hot oil.

What’s a buñuelo, you ask? The sweet aroma in your kitchen of the finished product of this recipe will transport your thoughts to Christmas in the Andes Mountains. Can you imagine presenting a Bolivian donut (buñuelo) to a mountain child deprived of even bread? But, better yet, presenting the gospel to that child for the first time. Buñeulos with Jesus on Christmas morning!


BOLIVIAN BUÑUELOS RECIPE:

Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot chocolate.

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air pockets on the inside.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

Preparation:
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes, then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot oil.

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put it in the frying pan with a stick (when in the mountains) or the back of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil.

Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey (or maple syrup) for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar. Enjoy!


Recent Posts:



Come join the fun in our Holiday Recipes blog hop!

Holiday Appetizers – Tracy Ruckman
Holiday Beverages – Rachel Hartsfield
International Holiday Foods – Peggy Cunningham
Holiday Breakfasts & Brunches – Betty Thomason Owens
Holiday Main Courses – Sheryl Holmes
Holiday Sweets – Rachel Hartsfield
Holiday Recipes Master List – Tracy Ruckman






Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Memorable Scenes

Thanksgiving was a traditional family gathering at my in-laws. The siblings came from near and far with their families. Entering the snowy driveway, we'd see the house with seven gables high on the hill. The roar of snowmobiles could be heard coming from the fields nearby––nieces and nephews enjoying Grandpa's toys. Beautiful horses galloped in the fields near the red barn. Approaching the house, we'd be engulfed by a whiff of the turkey; then Grandma opened the door and lavished us with hugs. As we'd sit down at the beautifully set table with its china and crystal, the golden turkey was the centerpiece, and the pumpkin pie was a sweet ending to the feast. It was truly a Norman Rockwell scene.


I miss those gatherings. They are but treasured memories now that many family members have entered eternity. The memories cause me to be thankful for the times past, and they make me conscious this Thanksgiving of how short my time is on earth. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1 NIV).

This Thanksgiving Day, I'll give thanks to the Lord for providing a way for me to have eternal life and for good health, family, and friends, and so many other blessings. And yes, good memories too. God is so good––enjoy His goodness––Happy Thanksgiving!


Recent Posts:


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Memories of Military Moments


"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; 
his love endures forever." 
Psalm 107:1 (NIV)



I live with a veteran––50 years and counting. But, I married an Air Force airman. Veterans Day brings back memories, both good and sad. Good memories and funny ones of our first year of marriage at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas––yes, theLas Vegas. And, the sad memory of standing with a three-month-old baby cradled in my arms while watching my young husband ascend the skies in an Air Force plane headed for Thailand during the Vietnam Conflict.

Reflecting, there are many things to thank God for: his safe return a year later, traveling the country as a military wife, and the good and sometimes funny memories during those years.

This week we thank God for our veterans. Personally, I am thankful my soldier returned home and lived to become a veteran. But, that first year living on an Air Force base brings back one standout memory etched in my mind and heart forever.

The turkey tale I have to tell holds a special spot in my heart. It was a special turkey because it was the first turkey I tried to cook––two months after my wedding day. I have many precious memories to be thankful for this Veterans Day and Thanksgiving season. As the years pass, I realize that it is a blessing to be able to remember. This turkey tale wasn't funny at the time, but I can't help but chuckle each time I remember it now––decades after the event.

After many years of married life, I gained experience cooking turkeys, but as a new bride, I didn't have a clue. Nevertheless, I looked forward to cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner that year. Far away from our hometown in Pennsylvania, we celebrated alone but not as we planned. We lived on an airman's salary, so buying a turkey was a big expense for the special day. We got up early, and together we made the stuffing, packed it in the bird and shoved it in the oven. After a few hours, we checked the bird. We thought it strange that there was no wonderful aroma coming from the oven, and looking at it––well, it was still raw. Two hours more should do it––we reasoned. We closed the oven door and waited.

The table looked lovely with my wedding gifts of silver, crystal, and candlesticks placed on the perfectly pressed tablecloth. The potatoes were cooking, and the red cranberry sauce contrasted the green linen tablecloth––my decorating skills were developing. If only that turkey would cooperate. It didn't. After nine hours in the oven, it was tough and still raw. We were so disappointed that we took that bird for a long drive in the Nevada desert and threw it out of the convertible we were driving. Good riddance!

Did we ever know what happened? Never! But, I can tell you that story has been told over and over, and usually it sounds as though the cook messed up. I will never agree––it must have been the oven! My first turkey--tough and uncooked! That bird still haunts me today––every time its story is told. FYI, every turkey I’ve baked since exited my oven thoroughly cooked and delicious!

Remembering must be important to God. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible where God tells us to remember, or He remembers us and His promises. “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done” (Psalm 145:5). Memories!

I hope your turkey isn't a repeat of my turkey tale this Thanksgiving. It wasn't funny at the time, but what a good, funny memory now. We have so much to be thankful for this Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. I hope you make some good turkey tales on this Thanksgiving Day––funny ones too.

And, be sure to remember to thank the veterans you know this Veterans Day. Without them, we would not have the blessing of the freedom we enjoy––or the turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.




The Hooray for Holidays Series is now available on Amazon.




A Veterans Day Story




Book 4 of my new children's series released just in time for the holidays. Start the book this week with a Veterans Day story to teach children why we celebrate this special holiday.

Three Stories in one book.

Hooray for Holidays Book 4: Veteran’s Day Special-needs Cat, Thanksgiving Blue Mouse, and Christmas Llama Ride

Celebrate Veteran’s Day with Gypsy, a special-needs cat. She can’t hear, but she knows sign language. Gypsy’s best buddy, Quasi, is also a special needs cat. Because of an injury from a fall, Quasi can’t jump, climb to high places or run. But, he can help Gypsy when she’s in danger. When a threat arises, Quasi risks his life to keep Gypsy safe––just like our veterans did for us.

Next, enjoy the first Thanksgiving Day with the McBlew family. They are a family of blue mice, but they also have another strange family uniqueness. On a long voyage in a big boat, the Mayflower, they meet their new friend, Sarah, who keeps them hidden and safe in the belly of the ship. Arriving in the New World, they face many dangers, but their new friend, Squanto, helps them.

Finally, experience Christmas Day with Paco, a little Quechua boy. When Paco treks up the mountain with his sheep, thunder suddenly roars and raindrops splash. He runs for cover and almost falls down a slippery cliff. Bolting to a nearby cave, Paco stops abruptly before entering. It’s dark inside, but that’s not what scares Paco. It’s the two bright eyes peering through the darkness that makes him shiver. Who’s there?

The Hooray for Holidays Series is now available on Amazon.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

God's Perfume


God’s Perfume

How’s the year going for you? For me, it brought a novelty to our city down under the equator––Cochabamba, Bolivia. This modernity is huge. And, it’s the first of its kind where I live. What is it? 

It’s a mall! Could it be a real mall?We have a few shopping centers that pretend to be a mall. I had to see it for myselfDriving up to the entrance, I gasped, much impressed. It’s real. It towers above buildings nearby, and clean and shiny is an understatement. Quite the contrast from our marketplace where bathrooms are few, dust and dirt cover the streets, and aromas aren’t pleasant.

I ventured up the clean, shiny escalators––all five of them. After I’d visited four floors, I arrived at the top floor––wow, a food court. Finally, fifteen minutes into the tour, I returned to the front entrance. Done. No shopping. Many baby stores, but I have no babies, and sports stores galore, but I’m not athletic. And, I don’t need furniture. So I found a comfortable chair (unique also) and waited for my husband’s arrival.

Glancing through a store window to a street outside returned me to reality. Seated in that humungous modern building, I mentally bolted back in time. The picturesque view out the window captured Bolivia’s charm––a typical, tiny store, horns honking, and the simple life. I welcome change, but nostalgia comforts me. Just then, a familiar aroma engulfed me. I identified it immediately and followed the aroma––donuts, another novelty. Now those were worth buying. And, I did!

In my book, Dancing Like Bees, I write about change. We should constantly be changing to become more Christ–like. How? The Honeybee gives us a clue. Each Honeybee has a distinct odor for each member’s identification. How do we identify as Christians and change our world? 

“For we are the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

A mall provides a pleasant change to my routine, and a whiff of donuts entices my appetite, but reaching the odorant receptors of those around me with a distinct godly aroma is the change I hope for. How about you? Will you be God’s perfume?


Available on Amazon.com at: https://amzn.to/2CTfIIj