Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back from Baja

From June 25th to July 1st our family was in Ensenada, Mexico (Baja California) working with a team on an orphanage there.  When this trip was first planned I really wanted to go (I have been on mission trips to Mexico about 6 or so times & speak a little Spanish), but because our goal is getting to Rwanda, I didn't think we could afford for both my son and I to go (my daughter, age 11, raised her own money to go).  However, it ended up that they needed a cook for the team- so guess who my husband asked?  I was quite intimidated (never have cooked for a group of 15 people before), but really so thankful to be able to go.  It was also great that our family was able to be together, since my husband had just been gone for 3+ weeks in Rwanda not a few weeks prior to this trip.

Being the planner that I am I mapped out all our meals, typed out the recipes (tripling amounts for most), and had a rotating kitchen crew from the team to help me.  Thankfully the kitchen there sports three large ovens, two large gas stove tops, and a griddle.  There was one challenge in my planning: one of our teammates had a wheat sensitivity.  With a little digging around the internet for info and recipes (and some spelt flour brought from home) we were able to feed everyone comfortably.  Can you believe Ensenada has a Costco, Wal Mart, and lots of other American stores?  I wasn't expecting to do most of my shopping at Costco and Wal Mart, but that's what we did!

We ate things like: Honey Baked Chicken, with Creamy Potatoes, and Sweet Potato Corn Bread (I made muffins and they were so moist & yummy)!  I baked extra chicken to use the next night in our easy Chicken Enchiladas  (batches made with both corn & wheat tortillas).

I also cooked extra black beans that night so I could make Black Bean Brownies for our group.  Most of them tried it- but not everyone came back for more!  However, I did make the person who can't have wheat very happy!
There are 30 children in the orphanage we were working at (the team was doing some minor repair projects, putting in window screens, curtains, dry wall fixes, etc.)  I was told that as economic times are tough in the US it has an effect on these ministries as well, because Americans are going less and giving less. They asked if we could cook some meals for the kids to help out their food budget.  Now, I'm not just cooking for 15, but 45!  I put on my "big girl pants" and said OK.  We ended up cooking 4 meals for them during the week, breakfast twice and dinner twice.  The first group dinner was Shephard's Pie (here's me trying to decided correct portions so everyone gets some)
served alongside Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos (a team favorite)
I still did soaking of grains/flours during my trip.  This included our breakfast meals of pancakes, baked oatmeal, and  German pancakes (again using spelt flour).  I didn't get to soak the flour when we made pizza- boy did we make a lot of pizza that night!  Those kids love pizza.
We made 5 huge pizzas. The crust had to be spread pretty thin because I just made enough dough for the amount of yeast I had- but we managed.  Our pizzas had pineapple, bell peppers, sausage, chopped pepperoni, and ham.  Oh, and the grated cheese from a $25 wheel of local cheese!
I am so thankful for a great team who never complained about the mountains of dishes that had to be done after every meal too. Another group meal that we made for everyone was Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole.  Seemed like a great idea, until I realized that Mexico does not have frozen hashbrowns: they must not eat them. So, I bought bags of french fries instead & chopped them small.  Here's our bowl of 48 eggs, 3 cups milk, 12 cups cheese, chopped french fries, among other goodies!
I cooked part of them in muffin tins (for easy serving & portions) and what didn't fit in the muffin tins went into a large pan.  No matter what we made, God always made sure we had enough.  I'd have to say that probably no one lost any weight on this trip- whether they wanted to or not!
A few other items we enjoyed were Rice Porridge another morning (well, one or two people may not have been so sure about sweet rice for breakfast), and Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies for a treat another night (if you're following the links you'll notice I got a lot of recipes from the Easy To Be Gluten Free blog and they all were great).

Another plus for me being in the kitchen that week: it was cold in Ensenada!  Well, 68 and breezy cold.  Too cold for me to feel comfortable in my tank tops, shorts, and no coat- thankfully the kitchen was warm so I was happy to be in there a lot!

The team had a great week of working & loving on kids and I am thankful to have been a part of it.
That's my mom who lives in California loving on one of the babies.  It was a blessing that we got to share this week with her too!


This post is a part of Tuesday Twister  and Gratituesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, I love comments so please share your feedback & let me know what you think!