Cookies | In A Village

One of the first things that I noticed about children in poverty-stricken villages…

— despite the hunger which was so evident in most of them,

Was how fun… how delightful, it is…

Click Here To Learn How To Make Coconut-Lime Shortbread Cookies | Gimme Some Oven

to feed them.

The children always want to know what you are eating — and to look at the brightly colored wrappers of  your supply of protein bars you knew would run out soon enough.  

Notably, something that they really like – is something that they don’t have often.

Sugar.

A family member had bought a cookie decorating kit, which I somehow managed to bring all the way across the world, due to the fact that it had all dry ingredients – no liquids.

I woke early one morning, and headed to the living room, just as the sun was rising. I took full advantage of the few moments of holy silence, while the children were still sleeping and made my way around the table and desk, setting out the ingredients for the kids to decorate cookies as they awoke.

Rainbow-Glitter-on-Pan
Easy Homemade Rainbow Glitter Sprinkles With Cane Sugar | Pinteresting Against Poverty – Project Coming Soon

The first little girl woke up. An eight –year-old. She heard me moving around quietly and her sleepy, tousled head silently found my stomach and she wrapped her arms around me.

“Can I show you something?” I asked, taking her by the hand.

I showed her the bright yellow icing, and the sprinkles, and the rainbow-colored sprinkles.

“What is it, Aunty?” She asked, looking at the stack of packaged butter cookies, in the shape of butterflies and flowers.

“It’s an art project.” I whispered.

She sat down and I showed her how to ice a cookie.

She thought it was paint. She took to the decoration of her piece — thoughtfully — in her little pink nightgown.

The next little boy wandered in. He was only six-years-old. He had been living on the street with his brothers until just about six months before. Now he was in kindergarten. He took his new school responsibilities very seriously and always wore a solemn, worried expression.  He knew that school  and church — were the factors which made his life comfortable, and separated him from the way that he lived on the street.

I sat him down, and put in front of him a cookie.

Click Here For A Beautiful Rose Cake Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

I watched him begin to decorate his cookie.

More children filed in, but graciously and quietly it happened almost one-by-one.

And so it was each in a quiet moment that I was able to show them their task.

They loved the sprinkles. They loved the bright color of the icing.

But none of them – knew – what a cookie was.

“Don’t eat it.” I had told them. And they had listened.

As Made By The Children Of The Village | Click Here For Their Favorite 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

I suppose Crayola markers and tempera paints, and glue also appear edible — to someone who doesn’t know what they are.  

The kids had gotten used to this command not to eat the educational supplies they created with.

Finally – near the end of their quiet decorating, one of the girls – a very bright child – asked – “What is this, Aunty?”

I grinned.

“Everybody,” I announced. “Stick your finger in this… just a little bit.”

We passed around the icing bowl – and everyone placed a bit of the “yellow paint” on their fingers.

“Now,” I smiled… “Taste it.”

As they all began licking their fingers and their eyes went joyful and wide.

“What is THAT, Aunty!?”  One child demanded.

“It’s a cookie.”

I took the children out to the porch and they had their beautiful treats carefully on trays, and we took some of the best pictures.

The kids began to nibble on their treats, but not one child ate the whole thing. For nearly a week, I watched them sneak into the kitchen and take out their cookie and have just a few more bites.

They knew of scones, they had heard of cakes, they were learning — how cooking on a stove was different than cooking over am open fire.

– but until that day… they didn’t know cookies. And icing.

They loved these things called “cookies” and wanted them to last forever.

A Cookie Day Spent With My Son & Our Keyboard | Our Goal Was To Make ‘New’ Cookie Recipes

We’ve tried many different cookie recipes, with many different ingredients we can access in the village.  Hopefully we can post more about those — including ingredient substitutions for commonly missing supplies, soon.

We’ve been baking cookies ever since, and are sharing some of our favorite cookie recipes with you today. Click on the pictures on the left side of your screen for the recipes and ideas by Gimme Some Oven.  (See video at the end of the post.)

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From Previous Post: Rainbow Cake | In A Village

This may surprise you —

— but children in villages — with an internet connection —

— love to check out beautiful foods and cakes online.

Food photography and blogs, as well as cooking shows —

–have taken over the media in the past few years.

Children watch through window displays, glassed in televisions, or phone screens —

hunger makes them look a little bit dreamy — when they view beautiful foods on empty stomachs.

Ideas hug and comfort them with an inspirational touch — that maybe someday they will also be able to eat something like this.

For a recent holiday, the children chose to make a Rainbow Cake.

They didn’t have enough funding for several layers, but instead decided to paint it beautiful with food coloring and icing.

This was their result.

This is a great cake idea for birthdays — especially if children are helping to make the celebration special.

Bright colors — and extra sugar — bring hope to the children in the village.

Here is a link to our color wheel experiments which make Rainbow Icing possible even if a whole spectrum of food dyes are not availalble:  Color Theory

Click on the pictures on the left side of your screen for the recipes and ideas by Gimme Some Oven.

Check out the gallery on the right side of your screen to learn more about Rainbow Gardening and Village Nutrition.

Cookie Stories?  What’s your favorite cookie?

Carving Pumpkins (& Squash) | Pinteresting Against Poverty

I happen to have – one of the coolest sons in the world.

Read How Pumpkin Leaves Help Fight Malnutrition & Poverty In A Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty

This little one spent his first five years in a village – where he learned how to use knives and fire and do all kinds of practical tasks with me and the village children before we re-located.

This necklace-wearing, crafty little indian son of mine then braved London before settling into the Midwest for a few years.

This multi-lingual, beach-dwelling, vernacular-and-English speaking little gentleman who is also a Bear Grylls survivor fan –

-also loved to carve pumpkins.

My son’s awesome first solo-carved pumpkin – a brave six-year-old. So cute! | Pinteresting Against Poverty

He carved his first by himself at six-years-old.

I could only manage to give him a few instructions and laughed as he took off seriously with his task and knife.

Other children watched enviously as their dad’s worked to prepare their pumpkin-fruits,

-but my little son hurried ahead improvising new chiseling skills of his own,

-and the little ninja stood proudly next to his,

Read About Our Rainbow Garden In A Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty

-candy bag in tow,

-when he was all done.

By the next year?  He was only months away from getting ready to learn how to play the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack on the keyboard.

Such a cool kid.

The gallery on the left shows the visual steps to carving a pumpkin, squash, or watermelon.

Why do we carve pumpkins? Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

“It is believed that the custom of making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween began in Ireland.[5][6][7] In the 19th century, “turnips or mangel wurzels, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces,” were used at Halloween in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.[8] In these Celtic-speaking regions, Halloween was also the festival of Samhain and was seen as a time when supernatural beings (the Aos Sí), and the souls of the dead, roamed the earth. The belief that the souls of the dead roamed the earth at Halloween was also found in other parts of Europe. Jack-o’-lanterns were also made at Halloween in Somerset (see Punkie Night) during the 19th century.[8]”

Click here to learn more about carving pumpkins and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

It is thought that the light within the hollow pumpkin is meant to be  a spirit, and for the night of Halloween, and for all soul’s day, it is important to remember the souls and spirits that have gone before us in history.  The carving of vegetables and decoration of food is a practice that spans many cultures worldwide, and gourds have great properties which make them a fun medium to work with.

The candlelight in the pumpkins is believed to ward off evil spirits.  One might react to the symbolism and meaning behind any culture or practices – as pirates do…

“Will Turner: This is either brilliance, or insanity!
Jack Sparrow: It’s amazing how often those two traits coincide.”

But one thing is true, it is important to remember that you have a soul, and that there is a spirit that can lead you to the ends of the earth to guide you on the mission and journey and purpose you were born to fill.

Not only can pumpkins be carved, but they are also fun to eat.  Join in the traditions and try out these delicious pumpkin recipes from Gimme Some Oven:

Love Pumpkin? Try These Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting | Gimme Some Oven

Click Here For 15 MORE Pumpkin Recipes from Gimme Some Oven.

Getting Ready For Fall Parties? Try This Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Questions?  Comments?  Carving along?  Feel free to share with us below:

 

Red Potatoes | In A Village

I grew up with a lot of potatoes.

Preparing for dinner-time, I can remember standing in the kitchen and peeling nearly whole ten-pound bags of Idaho potatoes, to make enough soup to feed the many that came to our dinner table.

We made several comforting soups, and – of course – mashed potatoes, too.

cutting potatoes | pinteresting against poverty
Village Children Peeling Potatoes For Meals | Practicing Photography In A Village

And fried potatoes.

Getting to know your potato varieties? Try out this new, savory Three Potato Soup Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

My mom would tell stories of how her mother also did the same, as a struggling single, to feed all seven of her children.  It was my mother’s job as the youngest to peel the potatoes.

I knew of yellow, butter potatoes because my other grandmother like to make potato-pancakes for breakfast in the morning before school.

But it wasn’t until I was a student in Mexico, that I was introduced to red potatoes – which of course, I referred to as purple or violeta.

In my childhood kitchen, no potato skins were allowed – the skins and debris from the gritty Idaho/Russian potatoes were not pleasurable consumption, but the center was creamy, caloric and comforting.

One of my grandmother’s insisted on the skins of the butter potatoes, which could be scrubbed clean without peeling, although as children we were not fond of the extra texture, as we were used to our mother’s creamy and flawless potatoes.

Mexican Butternut-Potato Picadillo with Lime, Cilantro & Chipotle | Pinteresting Against Poverty – No Recipe Yet

I wasn’t introduced to the red variety of this root vegetable until I lived in Latin America.  It turned out that the red potatoes were just like the golden potatoes, and diced nicely into hash-browns before becoming additions to wonderful soups like picadillo – or this butternut-potato picadillo that I accidently made a few nights ago.

Mashed potatoes were one of the first joys that I brought to the children in the village.  The first packages were dehydrated from my suitcase for travel until I was able to find the right ones in the market – which were harder to peel than others produced on different continents.  Imagine mossy rocks, and you might be close.

potato wedges | pinteresting against poverty
Potato Wedges Prepared By Children In The Village | In A Village

Potato soup recipes are easy to make, and can differ by number of ingredients that you happen to have access to – and the type of potatoes that you have access to in different regions of the world, but – like apples – you never seem to have to look too far for a potato – or a candolo – a sweet potato – which provides a different kind of flavor, texture, and vitamins for the children in the village.

Potato soup can be flavored with meat – chicken broth, beef broth, or even vegetable.  We like to add celery to ours, which provides extra vitamins – and lots of black pepper – which is our Indian addition.

My son and I love to cook up some beefy potato soup and stay up late watching good movies together, curled up on the couch in our pajamas, pillows and pets.

If you don’t know the difference between the potatoes, and don’t have a lot of time for peeling – this would be a great recipe for starters –

The children in the village love to fill their hungry bellies with potato recipes – and some of our favorites are listed on the left side of this post for you to also enjoy! Try out your potato-recipe-making talents today!

Triple-Potato-Soup-Recipe-2
Three Potato Soup Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Like potatoes? Like potato gardens – or buckets? Have potato stories? Share with us here:

 

Why Do We Need Shoes? | In A Village

The mud…

mudbrucks
Shoes are needed to protect the feet of the children from the viruses and parasites found in the soil. | Pinteresting Against Poverty

is not only… dirty.

The mud, is not only inescapable and slippery —

— to those who can’t afford to pay for proper shoes.

The mud is a pathway to parasites,

…which crawl in through painful sores in the feet,

and climb the legs to lay eggs in the lungs of it’s victims.

The mud isn’t only dirty…

it’s plagued with a herpes virus —

— that causes cancer.

The mud, and an absence of proper shoes…

— is one of the reasons why there are so many orphans

— in the village.

Sometimes barefoot isn’t an option.

Did you know that there are viruses in the soil, which damage children’s health?

Help us to raise awareness by sharing this post on your social media.  Also, you are welcome to contact any of the companies below on behalf of PinterestingAgainstPoverty to restore any or all of these functions.

Note: Our  link our online donation center is disabled and we are struggling to find a company to process our donations online. We also struggle with affiliate marketing, while many companies have agreed and approved us, we don’t get our earnings, they seem to disappear after we have earned them. We created an volunteer affiliate marketing link with buttons and images that others could add to their sites, but that also failed to work properly. We used to have a button where people could and make a general donation to support children’s rights – including shoes for their feet, and we are disappointed with several companies for not keeping their promises to our NGO. CJ, Content Ad and ShareaSale and Abebooks.UK (not US, which explains a shortage of sales – yet our website has been offered a trustworthy certificate from the UK, and I am not sure if that applies to the USA.) and Ratuken.  All required w-4’s and approved some of our posts for affiliate marketing income but that never worked. We were set to recieve a commission from sales at Better World Books, which would also provide reading materials to the United Nations in exchange for the referrals. As many of you know, building libraries in villages has been a long-time passion of mine. Intermedia phone lines had trouble for weeks connecting us with international calling but eventually did so, but when we were unable to keep up the phone bill because of the failure of the online processing.  Sprint and Verizon could not connect us to international calling- to be fair. T-Mobile couldn’t give us our phone number back, and several other pay-as-you-go services were not able to meet our needs. Evalon services by Costco failed, although there was great efforts put forth by the customer service team at Costco to encourage stable services.  Evalon approved our financial application and insisted that 3DCart Store or another online plugin must be added to process online, but then the plugin service claimed Evalon’s services were not needed after we chose a company. When we were not able to processs donations, we lost our contract.  3d Cart representatives were interested in discounting our donation services and noted that extra code was added to our item processing which stopped donations from going through.  We also purchased identity theft protection and also struggled to keep the contract when we were not able to protect my son’s identity, which was a part of the package and benefit offered by the company, but did mysteriously manage to regain access to a lost email account after also making police reports for the safety of children’s information associated with the account.  We lost the identity protection when we could not collect online support. We lost our bank cards after a hacking and security incident, which made it difficult to pay for the online services, but fortunately another service was offered to accomodate the loss of that. We have a discounted Photoshop subscription, but are mysteriously charged about $2 extra per month.  Photoshop is necessary to protect the images and identity of the people we serve.  We do not have social media pages at this time associated with this blog, because of the difficulty in monitoring false accounts and due to the overpricing and underserving of advertising charged to our company bank accounts by Facebook, as well as disturbing messages on profiles and comments. We do not use Amazon because pinging made our important expenses bounce. To be fair, several people clicked on the links to donate, and complained when they couldn’t. On the first day that we accepted subscribers we had databases full but then subscriptions somehow seemed to become disabled and never received a subscription again to our knowledge. Our paid gallery services by Supsystic seem to work mysteriously every other time they are opened. We were informed by others about legal threats and dissolving of assets letter that we were never able to read as soon as it looked like we might have gotten this human rights project off the ground after receiving a generous product grant by Google. We are aware that our posts are screened for medical advice and drug-information as well and have agreed not to share medical advice as professionals on our blog, as advised by Google. One of our trusted volunteer developers was offered a huge deal by another company at the same time as we were getting ready to start this blog and did the work ahead, and then could not collect from the company, causing him great financial distress and leaving less time for volunteer projects like ours. We entered a grant contest for a web-development grant opportunity, but did not get approved or chosen. Sometimes the cursor goes crazy on the edits and the writing of posts, and we lost about three weeks of content when we upgraded our hosting account, that the children put a lot of effort into. Media on WordPress takes a generous amount of time to load, and sometimes there are grammatical mistakes that might take an hour to fix just because of the revolving gears on end for no good reason. We have been unable to fund any developers, and struggled to sort through several mixed messages as soon as we referred to online sites for web development, so please bear with us as we are learning and doing the best we can to share projects and ideas that will benefit human rights in third world nations, and are struggling to present content that will hopefully be able to somehow support us eventually.

We are grateful for all of the services that are available for use, and just don’t know how to explain how sometimes those services don’t work for us the way they do for other people and pray to have the same respected rights someday, soon.

Welcome to Pinteresting Against Poverty. :

mudbrucks

How To Get A Global Identity | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Derechos Humanos Por Ninos | Pinteresting Against Poverty

 “Who are you?” and“Where do you live?”

-are questions that many people in the world are able to answer quickly.

They are also questions that many cannot – which is a human right’s violation.

Life is made difficult for people who are denied citizenship, and that can be all the more frustrating if they are legal citizens.

For example, children may be denied the right to play on sport’s teams, to travel, to receive regular medical care, work a job, have a savings or bank account, or be treated equally by court authorities or police – even in the United States of America.

Your name and your home are sacred places and spaces.

It is against the law to deny citizenship in the United States of America.  If

Human Rights In English For Kids | Pinteresting Against Poverty

a citizen has a child, and the child holds a birth certificate in the parent’s name – the child IS an American Citizen.

The child has a right to a passport, and also to a passport card, and through those proper forms of identity, along with their birth certificate, a passport.

Is it easy to get a passport?

A passport cannot be denied if two forms of proper identity are present.

If two forms of identity are not present, you can have a witness sign as an affidavit of identity-authentification.  Note: Sometimes this can be denied by a passport office, especially if someone claims to ‘disbelieve’ the witness, so make sure your witnesses are trustworthy.

It’s easier to get a passport when you have two forms of identity and the signature of a federal witness – for example, a birth certificate and driver’s license, for an adult – or a birth certificate, and a passport card for a child.

Job Interview Questions | United Nations

A child can receive a driver’s license in the state of Kansas at the age of 14 if they are working for their parent’s business, can present a need for medical reasons, and have a completed application and is one acceptable form of identity.

To get a passport card, the state requires the mother to be present with the child at a Post Office.  The child must present passport photos and both the child and the parent must present original copies of their birth certificates.

Proof of citizenship is one of the first steps of getting a United States Passport.  A passport card is $15, for an adult, it is $30.  (Note: A passport card only approves one for travel in the USA, a full passport is needed for an international identity) an adult’s first passport is $80, and for a child’s it is $80.

To get a passport, and a global identity, visit a Post Office, as soon as you can.  You will be issued a Passport Number, and your own Passport and/or card can be available by express services within 24 hours.

Any who can show efforts at bettering their own life conditions is legally-approved work, and must pay US taxes, and also have the right to work for change, without fear.

The post office is closed on Sundays, but any day of the week most appointments are walk-in if you have your paperwork previously-prepared.

To learn more about human rights, visit here.

I hope you get your global identity soon!

Questions?  Comments?  Did you know you have the right to work forchange, without fear?  Tell us your passport – or what’s hot in the investigative world today – the denial of the right to vote stories – below:

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (In Child-Friendly Language) | Pinteresting Against Poverty – Illustration from a Google Image Search

Chili Peppers | Pinteresting Against Poverty

On a hard day, peppers in soup can be like powdered candles, putting warmth within warmth that burn like hope in your heart, with prayers of days that are
better to come.

Many of my favorite soups just happen to have peppers in them, which is why I thought it would be nice to bring them to the ends of the earth – although many have shown that they cannot handle or appreciate the combination or the heat.

Love Peppers? Click Here For This Spicy (Lighter!) Jalapeno Peppers Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

What?  Peppers? 

You mean like spicy peppers -in soup?  Are you kidding?

No.  Maybe some people don’t need peppers in their life – but if the soup calls for them, you will always note the absence of the flavor if you’ve learned to appreciate it.

What kind of peppers taste good together in soup?  Sometimes the answer is unexpected – because not all peppers taste alike.  Each brightly-colored pepper has a distinct taste and flavor of it’s own, as if they each have their own story to tell.  That’s why you need a variety of them.   

Especially for the ones who sleep on the floor at night, who feel a little bit more discouraged when the storms leak in through the windows, as they try to breathe in the dark – waiting for the morning.  What’s keeping you from sharing your story with your loved ones over a steaming cup of peppery soup?

To the ends of the earth, that kind of love and those kinds of ‘peppersations’ is what our leaders are needing on their tables these days.  A heated tongue can also be a happy one.

My soul felt a little bit cold when I had a dream about a river this weekend.

It made me miss home and my children so much that I could only go to church and light two candles for them in the sanctuary – because one just wasn’t enough.

I craved soup after church, and for the first time ever steamed my own rice – and sprinkled a few deep red drops of chipotle powder in the steamy soup – and remembered better days with great sadness.  I missed the smell of rotisserie chicken and the sound of the boy practicing his gifts behind me as I worked.

Growing Peppers In A Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Do we grow peppers in the village?  Isn’t this little eggshell cute.  We’re baby-stepping too much for leap-ers, but the people of the village are learning to love their peppers, too.  May warm bowls of chili peppers reach the far corners of the earth tonight to warm the heal the souls of the frozen.Praying for an end to all of the obstacles that keep our tables lonely, and keep these ‘peppersations’ from happening.  Go ahead, reach back into the ruthless darkness of that cellar – and get those peppers into your soup and your life today – and get those ‘peppersations’ on the table, too.

Maybe not all need peppers on their plates, but for some – they matter, are best when shared sooner rather than later. A life without peppers – is like a like without spirit.  Peppers don’t last long in the dark, and they need the light just as much as your soup needs flavor.

 I think about the song by Aurora – Winter Bird – and wish I could bring them all a warm bowl of soup would crack the ice that brings the tears.

Until you are comforted, you can sing this “Soldier” song by Fleurie.

How do you stay warm during the winter season? Do you enjoy warm bowls of nourishing soup, too?  Feel free to share about your experiences here:

 

 

 

 

Homemade Apple Cider | In A Village

Homemade Apple Cider | Gimme Some Oven
Homemade Apple Cider | Gimme Some Oven

Apples —

— are a strange phenomenon in international mission.

They seem to pop up — everywhere.

You could be in Asia, at a business meeting, and someone may offer you an apple.

You could be in Latin America — or even South Africa, and be offered an apple-flavored drink.

In Europe?  …in France, Germany and England alike — you

wouldn’t have to walk too far — to find an apple on a shelf.

So — how did this relation to the rose — (Yep — did you know that?)  Apples are actually the cultivated fruit from the rose family tree — come to stretch to all corners of the world?

The love of apples has stretched so far — that even in a far off village, someone can be found off the side of any major highway selling apples — in places where they can’t even be cultivated.

Part of the answer — is spiritual.  Apples are symbolic in many religions.  The spread of religion, and missionaries, brings the fruits that help them to explain their beliefs.

Homemade Apple Cider | Gimme Some Oven
Homemade Apple Cider | Gimme Some Oven

Part of the answer, is nutrition.  Apples offer great nutrition.  (That is a future post in it’s own right.)

Wherever you find yourself — an apple is usually not that far away.

For that reason, sometimes we cook with them. 

Apples are a good-feeling, peace-keeping opportunity.  Apple Pie, Apple Cider, Apple Sauce, Apple Cake, Apple Bread, Apple Cookies — are all wonderful ways to celebrate distribution networks that make something so simple as an apple — possible — in all corners of the world.

Common foods help different cultures to unite.  

Click here or on the pictures above for our favorite village Homemade Apple Cider Recipe:

Carving Apple Cider Cups | Recipe From Gimme Some Oven

Stay tuned for international apple recipes and projects to come, like this Apple Cider Cups Recipe that the children of the village enjoyed: 

Help us to do more projects in the village by donating, click here.

Can’t donate?  Volunteer.   Share this post on your social media – look for the share buttons below.  We are trying to build our followings on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter especially.  Thank you!  (Want to volunteer consistently?  Bookmark our home page, and share a post a day – it helps.)

 

Welcome to Pinteresting Against Poverty

Nature On A Prayer Walk | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Bored?

Need something economical to do outside this Stand Up [holiday] weekend?

Try This Homemade Caramel Apple Recipe | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Why not go for a walk?

A prayer walk…

-and while you are learning about your faith… re-tracing the footsteps of Jesus,

– look around you for all of the signs of life  that also enjoy sharing the sunlight on your path.

Take a screenshot of this page if you’d like, and go for a ‘treasure hunt’.

Caramel Apple Cups | In A Village

See if you can find any-or-all of these creatures.

There are caterpillars, cocoons, praying mantis’, butterflies, grasshoppers, autumn flowers of yellow and purple, clover, and sunflowers.

If you can find these, try practicing your creative photography.

Or learn a new song on your favorite instrument.  If you don’t have one, make one.  Click here to read our post about a banjo made out of a gourd.

Whatever you are doing, I hope you are not doing it alone.

Enjoy a warm cup of apple cider, or a new butternut squash recipe.

 

Learn About Pumpkins Around The World | Pinteresting Against Poverty

You could make up a big batch of homemade caramel for apples, plant some winter kale, or go to a pumpkin patch or market, or – practice your pumpkin carving, or pumpkin-pie making.

Or – you could carve a watermelon.   [Read the post about Watermelon | Around the World] 

Homemade Apple Cider | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Read a Harry Potter novel, or the next post about monasteries, or watch ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ or ‘Peter Pan’. if you are an adult – read Edge of Eternity, by Ken Follett.

If you are distressed, light a candle and say a prayer.

Whatever it is, we hope you find something good to do this weekend.

As always, you can volunteer by sharing these posts and projects with your friends – the more readers, the better.

For my son: A kiss on the cheek from all of those who love and miss you.  I pray we can all do these projects together, soon.

“And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.” 
― Dr. SeussYertle the Turtle and Other Stories

What did you do this weekend?

Let us know!

The Wonderful Cross | Pinteresting Against Povertynature

Mystery Squash & Monasterios | Pinteresting Against Poverty

“Are you brave enough to go to a monastary after school?”  Asked my new friend.

I lifted my glance to look him in the eye.

“What makes you think I wouldn’t be?”

“…because there’s a crypt below the monastery.” He said, watching my reaction carefully.

“If you go by a certain hour, they might let you crawl through it.” He finished.

“Are there monks?”  I must have asked.  “Do they sing?”

Tal vez.  It’s kind of a museum now.  It was built by the Franciscans trying to evangelize los indigenes.”

“How much is this going to cost?”  I asked.

“Your student id…” I glared at him, as our guide he often got free admission from our tuition, waiting “y la gasolina.”

I thought I had enough change to pay for the mileage split with a Norwegian and Mexican passenger.

We arrived to warm, melty quesadillas which were often filled with un-identifiable vegetables like this mystery squash I picked up in a refugee market a few weeks ago – and we were greeted by rainy stones on the mountainside.

“Are you afraid?”  Asked my friend.

“No.  I am not.”  The stillness of the air was somber, as we walked through the stagnate arches.

Ese monasterio” began our real guide, “fue construyido en el Siglo 16, en el principio del tiempo de evangelizacion que vino inmediatamente despues de la conquista.”

I looked at las plantas that were were crawling up the stone-based atrium as if spirits that wanted to ring your soul to their attention themselves, and one could hear the echos of the bells that had not rang for probably centuries from the towers.  It smelled like mold, and the murals on the walls were at times indecipherable and needed restoration – but were by no means uninteresting.

“Don’t touch the paint!” I jumped away from the wall, not realizing that I had gotten too close, and breathing in the alabaster and plaster-esque materials that mixed with the moss on the walls.

I had a tendency of getting too close, and rolled my eyes at the allusion to the curator at the art musuem last week, who was insanely paranoid about the painted works, when I was trying to get nearer to see the mixture of the colors that made up the strokes.

“Joven,” asked my friend, “do you have any objection to my guiding these two young women through the crypt below.”

The guide did not.

We were each handed a small candle and we went down underneath the earth and stone.

The guide decided to follow us through the dark.

We had to lower our heads in the dark, because the stone above us was low to the ground.  Rainwater dripped, and moist earth and soft concrete surrounded our feet.  The historical monks were to our right and our left.  I could smell mold, but not bodies.

I felt as if we had invaded a sacred space, looking for an opportunity to be brave – and I wondered what kind of prayers and spirits protected the soul that caused this spiritual fortress to last centuries –

– just as our candles saturated out.

The air was too moist to support them.

It wasn’t as if we were being judged by ghosts of the peace-seeking monks – but that the place was empty and the light was gone – that caused my fear.

I wasn’t claustrophobic, but I wasn’t unafraid either, and I reached for the people who brought me there, and slowly the guide helped us to make our way back to the door and to the open air.

It seemed wrong that churches were allowed to die.

The art on the walls was meant to last for centuries.  They were expressions of the holy one.  A call for justice – and peace.

Soldiers broke into some of the monasteries, and put graffiti on the walls and desecrated the murals-

-but it was the moss that outlived the strongest of them, and the vines that wrapped themselves around the stone and the bell towers – intent on keeping the holy spirit alive even when the cathedral was falling down all around them.

Sanctuary – was meant to be sanctuary.

Sometimes today when I see stories on the news, and hear about unrest and political battles – and other injustices, I get that same, cold, dark, muerto-s feeling that I got in the bottom of a crypt of a rotting Franciscan  cathedral, and my nose fills with memory of the mold, my skin the cold humidity of the rain, and I know that someone has to stop the soldiers from entering until they can understand and respect the sanctuary of holy places.

Spirit cannot be contained within walls, but I believe it can take up a home and rest between them.  There is much need for resources in this world to sponsor the restoration of such historical spiritual sites that have valuable historical lessons to generation-after-generation.

There is so much hurt and growing division in our world today, that even the black and white of a newspaper article is like the cold grey of falling stones, dangerous to the head and the thoughts, and the hearts that seek refuge through the pages.

In many ways, just like this video – the world has gone too far, and it is time for the people of spirit to find and develop the holy places and spaces that arise between nations, until our hearts are healed again.

Otherwise the spiritual mold of stagnation is just as bad as the moss of a cathedral, or the barnacles on a ship.    If only the voice of the oppressed could innocently sing out – and rise above the control of the spiritless law.

From the Asian jungles, to the hunger and disease of subsaharan Africa, to the wars of ignorance and pride in the Sahara, to the labor exploitations of Latin America – the laws of the lands have gone too far – and have forgotten to recognize the children of God – as innocent children of God.

We’ve come too far in ways of communication to fall back into greedy colonialsim. It’s disappointing to see how quickly a vibrant colorful fabric can be washed into a dull monochromatic rag worthy of only the dust.

Find a cause that is near to your heart – find the oppressed – and defend them in one way today.

The message given to historians on the subject of the evangelization of the indians, along with the conquistadores?

An indigenous leader, Moctezuma had a dream that a stranger was going to come and teach him about the one, true God.  So when the conquistador arrived?   Moctezuma invited Cortez into his quarters, treated him like a King and gave him influence over his kingdom.  “You have graciously arrived, you have known pain, you have known weariness, now come on earth, take your rest, enter into your palace, rest your limbs; may our lords come on earth.” which ended up in a fall of the Aztec civilization and a foot inside for the ruthless conquistadores who took over the lands, and the spiritual leaders, who followed them.   As a result, the people turned against him, and he was killed – however the cathedrals and spirits persisted.  There is a God that is merciful, that seeks justice, and kindness – and offers rest for the weary, and sanctuary for the broken, and the set-aside.

For those who don’t think dreams change history – they do.  So be careful to follow the prompts and warnings of your unconsciousness as you seek social justice for the people, and sanctuary for yourself.

Questions?  Comments?  Feel free to share your thoughts with us, below:

Fresh Watermelon | Around The World

Click Here For 15 Delicious Watermelon Ideas & Recipes – Fun Projects To Work On With Kids | Pinteresting Against Poverty

I was a silly little mid-western girl, living in Latin America.

Our housemother was an adorable, hard-working economics professor.   She had an eye for what was real and balanced – and as a single mother, she was the champion of her four children.

One studied in London, one became a pediatric specialist, one a business woman and the last a social entrepreneur.

And I – was sad about pumpkins. 

I totally got the whole college and cultural skinny about el día de los muertos –

– but I had a little brother that loved to carve pumpkins, – and I missed him, and another little one that I could have taken cute little pumpkin fotos with.

My financially savvy Spanish and French-speaking, chili-pepper loving, financial professor of a single mother looked at me as if I were the nuttiest  creature she’d ever seen.

“You want to carve a pumpkin? What for?”

I blushed.  “It’s tradition.”  [In Spanish]

“Hija.”  She said, looking at me meaningfully in the eye, “I am convinced that when you die – and you open that gate – that one of the saints is going to show you a pile of all of the good things of the earth that you’ve wasted in your lifetime.  Now – tell me, what good is it to carve a pumpkin and how do you do it?”

“Well, first – you have to cut a handle into the top – like a lid.   And then you use a spoon and you scoop out the seeds.”

Pumpkins Carved By My Son & His Friends | This Time We Cooked The Seeds

“Do you eat the seeds?”

“Not all of the time.” I squeaked.

“Do you know that there are hungry children right outside of our door who don’t get fed on your holidays because the parents hope that some estadounidense will feed them?”

It was true, the poor were walkable distance and I rode the bus with them almost every day.

Her comment gave me an idea, but I stayed quiet.

“Now, it takes forever to prepare our pumpkin soup -”  she continued on,  “and you don’t know how to make it – and I don’t have time today – but I can’t open that fridge and watch you waste a whole good fruit.”

I was going to be obstinate. I was going to have to find a way around these obstacles to keep holidays holidays.

I nodded as she cleared out the kitchen satisfied with her reasoning – and headed off to a meeting – I grabbed my sneakers and ran down the steep mountainside to the store.  I purchased a great big sandia and about $200 worth of candy.  Poor children in make-shift costumes came out of nowhere and began to follow me up the street.

A Watermelon Carved With My Son – Years Later | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Trying to make spiritual amends, I carved the holy figure of La Virgin de Guadalupe into the watermelon – and the colors of rosa mexicana y verde were vibrant against the dinner table.  I carefully cut up the inner fruit and placed it in a bowl in the fridge.  Nothing wasted.

“What’s this?”  (maybe with a diablos mixed in there) when my housemother tried to return from work.  What was this commocion in the streets?

Poor children jumping up and down, painted with candy bars. They kept coming back to the gate all night long.

“Que hiciste!”  (What have I done?)

I grinned.  La Virgen de Guadalupe shined from the face of the watermelon on the table.

“I have a reputation to uphold,” I explained.  “but you can’t say I didn’t listen.  Nothing’s wasted.

“Even I would waste the money for paint on you.”  She said, shaking her head and laughing and shooing.

“Now, have you eaten dinner? Come, let me teach you how to make this calabaza (squash) dessert soup.”

What can you carve – if you can’t find a pumpkin in the right season?  Butternut squash, apples, and acorn squash are other options.

Sometimes, it’s important to share your culture with the people around the world.  Click here to read a watermelon story from a different continent.

Try This Delicious Chai Butternut Squash Soup Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Mushrooms – In A Village | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Mushrooms are another wonderful – non-sacrificial – protein source that can easily be found around the world.

Look For These Mushroom Growing Kits At Natural Grocers & Whole Foods Stores | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Mushrooms can be sauteéd into tacos, breaded-and-fried, or chopped into beautiful salads, or cooked into soups, and taste well with most grains – and pastas – and range in price according to variety.

You can’t go wrong with mushrooms on your plate.

As a child, my family would look for wild mushrooms – called morels – which were difficult to grow – but pop up during certain seasons in the midwest.  Morel mushrooms can also be found in France and Germany, are considered a delicacy, and can be sold for twenty-or-more dollars per pound.  Fortunately, some varieties of mushrooms are much more conveniently-priced.

Try These Yummy Roasted Portobello Mushroom Tacos | Recipe From Gimme Some Oven

When I worked in a Mexican restaurant as a teenager, I was introduced to portobello mushrooms, which were the main-ingredients of one of our specialty street tacos.

Portobello mushrooms provide slices of protein comparable to chicken breasts in size, but these cute little baby bella mushrooms such as the ones featured on this post are a little bit more economical – and just as taste-friendly.  😉

If you are going into a meeting with inter-faith groups or international organizations that have food-specific or plant-based food requirements – mushrooms are a great option.

Try These Steak, Poblano & Mushroom Tacos | Recipe By Gimme Some Oven

When I started to work with HIV+ children around the world, I was introduced to shittake mushrooms – which are good for those who suffer from different forms of immuno-deficiency, and are a fresh option for a protein source – especially when refrigeration is not an option.

The widows in a village would gather, just as I did with my family as a child, and go to the hills with their long skirts to gather the mushrooms that appeared like amaranth to feed them, with a flavor so rich they smack their lips in memory of it while they tell of the blessings of the season.

Almost any meal that you could make with beef or chicken, can also be made with mushrooms – in a food shortage, or as a protein-source for vegans – or just because you enjoy the savory flavor and nutrition these delicious little fairy-like veggies have to offer.

About a year ago, I learned how to grow a specific variety of white mushrooms – from the concept of the Mushroom Mini-Farm product you can pick up at both Whole Foods – and Natural Grocers.

The children of the village were surprised to learn how the mushrooms grew, and were pleased with the subsequent results on their dinner plates.  Growing mushrooms is a great learning activity for children – even for young children, as mushrooms produce food rather quickly, there fore making them a great nutritional resource for hungry nations.

In the right conditions, many – but not all -mushrooms can be grown at any time – and offer inspiring nourishment -especially for the children around the world who suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

Here are a few great mushroom recipes – for mushroom lovers around-the-world.

Pasta-with-Chicken-Asparagus-Goat-Cheese-4-1
Try This Delicious, Hearty Pasta With Goat Cheese, Chicken, Asparagus & Mushrooms Recipe | Gimme Some Oven
30-Minute-Beef-Stroganoff-Recipe-5-320x480
Try This Yummy Beef Stroganoff Recipe – With Mushrooms (Which can also be served vegan!) | Gimme Some Oven

Love Mushrooms? Share your favorite mushroom stories and recipes with us here:

A Succulent Fairy Ring Dream | Pinteresting Against Poverty

Last week, I had a dream.

In my dream, I was miserable in a church built of stone and I went outside the doors.  Someone pleaded with me not to leave, but that person couldn’t console me because they didn’t know me.

I walked up to a clearing near a bridge and sat down near a river and prayed for my friends and loved ones.

To my surprise, the ground began to shake, and succulents began to pop out of the earth – like mushrooms – making a fairy ring all around me.  The little desert flowers were red and green and gold in color.

I watched them rise slowly out of the ground and my heart was filled with prayers for the blessings and company of my loved ones.

***

My grandmother taught me how to plant succulents about four years ago – when a friend asked me to take charge of birthday party favors for a close friend.

“What am I supposed to do with them?”  I asked my grandmother.

“Oh, just get the right dirt and throw them in there.  They’ll be fine.”

“And I  – don’t have to water them?  Because they are desert plants – right?”

“What makes you think that?!”  My grandmother turned sharply.  “They need water just like every other plant does.”

“Oh.”  I said feeling stupid.

“The water will help them to form the roots.”  She said.

That year, I planted about seventy little succulents – a variety of them.  I watched them take root and grow in the light that came in my window – and have kept them, ever since.  Few of my winter plants are ever as beautiful as these little fairy-esque desert flowers that cheer whatever space we happen to be in, as a reminder of better days.

There are a lot of fun projects that people can do with these little plants.  I found a bunch of new succulents on discount earlier this year – and planted them into a windowframe, for the memory of my grandmother.

All plants need water, even these little ones.

Here is a quick, yes – photoshopped – image compilation of the fairy ring scene of my dream.

A Quick Image Compilation To Illustrate The Vision Of The Fairy Ring In My Dream | Pinteresting Against Poverty – Click Here For A Dream Dictionary To Interpret Your Own Dreams

There are 39 verses in the bible that reference dreams.  It is possible that dreams are just a relaxed image of your subconscious – or – to the faithful, they might actually mean something.  Click on the picture above to interpret your own dreams.

Dreams are the most curious asides and soliloquies of the soul. When a man recollects his dream, it is like meeting the ghost of himself. Dreams often surprise us into the strangest self-knowledge…. Dreaming is the truest confessional, and often the sharpest penance. ~Alexander Smith (1829–1867), “On Dreams and Dreaming”

Some people are convinced that dreams mean nothing.  Some people, like me, are convinced that they do have spiritual meaning.

Do YOU Dream?  Tell us about your dreams, here: