Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sweet Potato Cheese Cake Bars

My husband is not much of a cheesecake fan so I came up with this recipe in the hopes of making one that he would enjoy.  Most of the recipes I found during my search have 24 oz. of cream cheese. What Tom doesn't like is the richness of all of the cheese.  It just doesn't agree with him.   Most likely due to the fact that both of us have had our gallbladders removed and therefore neither one of us can process fats very well. 

These bars were perfect for our Thanksgiving treat after the spicy mango wings we enjoyed.  If you decide to give them a try let me know how it turns out for you.  We sure loved these bars... they only lasted for two days!!

Cheesecake Bars for Tom
1 15 oz can of sweet potatoes/yams, well drained and mashed
1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream yams, cream cheese and sugar together until sugar is dissolved.    Add eggs, milk, cornstarch and spices mix until combined.

1 cup almond flour
3 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix together until blended well.

Place in bottom of 10x 10 square inch pan.
Pour filling on top of crust and bake for 35-40 min at 350 degrees. 

I am sure that it would work just as well to use a graham cracker crust instead of the crust that I made.  But the almond flour sure was a tasty part of the dessert!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

raindrops keep falling...

If you come to Belize from June to November don't forget your umbrella!

Caught this view right outside our door as water drained from the roof. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

First Thanksgiving in Belize

Our celebration of Thanksgiving yesterday was simple just like we wanted. After we both chatted with our families back in the states we took a walk over to get our dinner.

The Wing Stop... Best Wings in Belize

Reasonable Prices... it is 2BZD to 1USD

There is a comfortable eating area in the courtyard.

We decided to split a 12 piece order of Spicy Mango Chicken wings and a double order of fries.  The sauce on the wings and the spices on the french fries are just divine.  Our total bill with soft drinks included was just $24BZD ($12USD)  and there were no dishes for me to wash after dinner!

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With our bellies satisfied we went to the supermarket to pick up a few things to make my sweet potato cheesecake and then over to a place across the street for ice cream.  It was a relaxing day for the both of us.  I finished off the day watching one of my favorite holiday movies, White Christmas, while Tom enjoyed Clippers and Sacramento Kings basketball game. 

Enjoy your weekend!

So Followed Saturday

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be Thankful for this year.  We began the year in Russia with no clue that we would be moving.  We have traveled from Russia, to Turkey to the US and then finally to Belize.  We are grateful that God kept us safe during all of that travel.  We are grateful that all of our parents and my grandmother are all alive and doing well.  We are grateful for the time we got to spend with our siblings while we were in the sates. We are grateful that our sons are incredible young men who are both out on their own finding their places in the world.  We are grateful that we have each other and for all that we are experiencing and learning together here in Belize.

We decided that for our first Thanksgiving here in Belize to keep our celebration simple.  We are going out for dinner.  Not a turkey dinner although those are available here. We heard that the meals sold here in Belmopan are turkey, rice and beans, and a piece of dessert.  We don't eat out very often since we are on a tight budget.   So for our holiday treat we are planning a trip to The Wing Stop; a chicken wing place not far from here.   For dessert I am going to make a sweet potato cheesecake, we plan to watch White Christmas and of course there will be football on TV.  

No matter what you have for dinner or who you plan to celebrate with may it truly be a blessed day!!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thought for Today

Betta belly bust befo gud fud waste.  ~ Creole saying

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's cookin?

I purchased a round metal plate to make tortillas on and just had to try it out. These plates are sold here in Belize in various sizes.  Mine is a 12 inch.

Alida's Tortillas
2 cups flour 
3 tsbp. shortening or lard
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm milk (approximately)

Stir the salt into flour, add the fat and work in with the fingers as for making biscuits. Stir in just enough milk to make a dough that can be formed into balls. Knead well on a floured surface. Shape the dough into 8 balls the size of an egg. Roll out very thin on floured surface until the size of a plate or larger if you prefer. Fry on an ungreased griddle or skillet.

As you can see my tortillas still are not round so I obviously need more practice.  Which I am willing to do of course.  I used our fresh tortillas to make quesadillas... we both had very happy tummies and I am lovin' my new toy!  

Monday, November 22, 2010

something new...

Tom and I usually enjoy trying something new.  While at the supermarket I found these Cream-Os.  Yep, fake Oreos.  The first bite almost fools you.  But after the that the brain takes over to remind you that something is not quite right.  While the price of the Cream-Os made it tempting to buy them the taste will keep me from making that mistake again. 

In the battle of Oreo versus Cream-O our old friend Oreo is the clear winner!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Garifuna Settlement Day!

Today is the most important day of the year for the Garifuna people here in Belize.  It marks the anniversary of their arrival to the shores of Belize.

 Who are the Garifuna people?

This people group originated in the Caribbean.   They are descended from African slaves who intermarried with native Carib and Arawak Indians to prevent themselves from being recaptured and sold again into slavery.

Re-enactments of their landing on the shores of Belize began at 6:30 am and the celebrating will continue on throughout the day.

If you want to learn more about the Garifuna you can click here

and here is a video I found:

Not having a car yet has kept us from going to one of the Garifuna communities to actually witness the celebration for ourselves. But I am planning to make a few of the dishes using recipes I found online. I am thinking of starting with Bimina Kurutu (Green Banana Fritters). Yum!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Haven

Change is always hard.... last week not only did the service change it's night from Thursday to Wednesday it also changed the time from 7:30 to 7.  This week we kept the meeting on Wednesday evening but went back to meeting at 7:30.  Many of the adults who come to our church work in various cities around Belize and even a half hour change in time can totally disrupt a schedule. 

We grew in the number of adults from 9 last week to 17 this week.  We were excited to welcome all the newcomers!  After a time of worship Tom's lesson was 'We Heal Best in Loving Grace-filled Relationships', following the teaching time was the group sharing. 

We continue to trust that God will bring out the people who need to be at The Haven. And our prayer is that as a group we will grow closer to Him and closer to one another as we work on healing the hurts of the past together, and that it will continue to be a safe loving atmosphere for all who attend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

thought for today

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.  ~Claude Monet

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Tika is another one of the animals on the grounds of  Banana Bank Lodge.  He was fascinating to look at...

Tika didn't stand around much... there was a dog standing near the cage and that had Tika pacing trying to figure out a way to get that poor puppy.

His eyes are so intense

Watching him roll around like a cat was fascinating... his belly is white with black spots... despite him acting like a common house cat at times I was grateful for the layer of fencing that separated him from us.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

monkeys in Banana Bank

We took a field trip out to Banana Bank Lodge with Tom and June they wanted to show us all the animals and the grounds of the lodge.  Here are a few of the photos from our time out there:

Please pay attention to this sign if you visit John and Carolyn's place out in Banana Bank. We were out there a few weeks ago and just this Saturday we had a taxi driver tell us about a time when he went out there and got a little too close and yes, the monkeys do bite!

There are two spider monkeys on the property...this little guy was hard to photograph... he kept swinging around and around. It took about 15 shots to get one that was not completely blurry!

This second monkey was just chillin'. He was not really into paparazzi and would not face me no matter how long I waited for the shot.

But who could blame him when there were views like this one to take in...

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Haven

Last night was our first meeting on the new night.  We were not sure how people were going to respond.  The regular Wednesday service started at 7:30 and we were scheduled to start at 7.   Many of the people who attend the church are children.  They seemed to be the only ones not affected by the time change.  They were ready to go when the church van honked in front of their houses.

But, as it always happens the people who needed to be there were there.  We ended up with 9 adults in our meeting.   We had a great worship time as a large group, then the kids were dismissed to Children's church, while Tom taught the adults about how our emotional maturity affects our spiritual maturity, and then we had our small group time.  The sharing went well... it was great to witness people opening up and truly being vulnerable with their sharing.

We are not in this for the numbers.  Our desire is to see people get healthy and whole so they can grow in their relationships with God.

Keep us in your prayers... we truly appreciate them and need them!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

thought for today

Is not the sky enough for the bird and the ocean enough for the fish?  The All-Sufficient is sufficient for my largest want. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

it's all about perspective

This Guanacaste tree is just one of the many in this area.  There is a  Guanacaste National Park here just outside the city of Belmopan not far from Roaring Creek village.  We have not made it over to the park yet but we have seen from the street that there are a number of trees down from Hurricane Richard.   

This particular tree is near Pastor Jose and Carla's house out in Ontario.  We enjoyed spending the day with them last Sunday.  The exact age of this tree is not known but they think it is over a 100 years old.

Sunday evening at church we watched the Indescribable video of a teaching by Louie Giglio.  He uses photos from the Hubble telescope to give glimpses of the greatness of God and vastness of the universe that He holds in His hand.

Watching that video reminded me of this photo.  Standing in front of that Guanacaste tree gave me perspective on my place in the universe.  It is hard to feel full of one's self when faced with such a majestic piece of God's creation. 

And yet as small as we are He cares for us.  For that I am truly grateful.

Monday, November 08, 2010

put on a happy face

So far this is my favorite piece of graffiti here in town.

 The hardcore message "Thug Life" accented with a Happy Face symbol tagged on the side of this truck makes me smile each time I see it.  Who would have thought that a vandal with a sense of humor could brighten my walk to the market!

Friday, November 05, 2010

say what?

After we crossed the river on the ferry we went into San Ignacio. Our friends wanted us to see the sights on Bullet Tree Road. This sign got me to ask Tom W. to stop  the car in the middle of the street to snag a photo:

  It is not the Hyatt we are accustomed to in the states!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

over the river...

One way to get across the river is this hand cranked ferry.  When we were out the other day with Tom and June they took us to experience the ride from Spanish Lookout over to San Ignacio.  The wait and the ride across were an adventure I am so grateful  we were able to have!

our first traffic jam in Belize... we had to wait in line for our turn across the river

 there was a bar and grill there in case the wait gets to be overwhelming

looking across to the other side you can see that there is a wait on both sides

 the hand crank

 only the driver is allowed to stay in the car...

 passengers chatting with one another

This passenger decided that the guy cranking was going to slow... so he took over


view from the ferry

fellow passengers...


 the passengers get off before the vehicles are allowed to drive off.  
We stood out of the way of the other cars and waited for Tom... 

We were fortunate in the timing of our little trip.  The guy who cranks the ferry will not go from one side to the without taking a load of people across.  According to Tom & June the same guy has been working on the ferry for 12 years.  And though it is supposed to be available for people to cross 24 hours a day... the guy goes home to sleep and will take the crank with him.  So unless you have your own crank you are out of luck!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

thought for today

...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Matthew 23:37b

During our ferry ride the other day we saw a young man with a bag of chicks... he carried them gingerly until he put them in the back of the truck.  When we leaned in to check them out we discovered they were huddled in little groups inside a tire.  These chicks will only be cared for until they are ready for sale.

I am grateful that we have a  Heavenly Father who is willing to care for us for all eternity.  What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Crossing the hammock bridge

Yesterday Tom and June showed us around a few of the cities and villages outside of Belmopan. Our first stop was this bridge:

as we approached the bridge I was not sure I wanted to walk across it...
all I wanted was a photo and then I would have been happy to get back into the car.

June and I walked slower than the guys.
This was a mistake because the bridge was already swaying from their movements as we lagged behind.

we were on the lookout for iguanas but couldn't see any along the riverbank.

the bridge leads to YWAM property... they were the ones to put in the bridge many years ago.

Just to be honest with you all, I didn't go all the way across the bridge to photograph the sign... I stopped halfway. 
That was far enough for me.

My tummy and knees were ready for solid ground!

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