resources & recipes

Help for Mornings

I love Kat Lee's blog, Inspired to Action.  She offers great practical resources for moms, and her ideas are always easy to put into action right away.  

My favorite resources from Kat's blog are:

Portable Exercise Options...

Exercising is NOT my favorite past-time, but I'm learning how to enjoy it!  And as I'm getting a little more consistent (now that my youngest is a year old!), I'm seeing the benefits for stress-relief, gaining perspective and my overall sense of well-being.

Here are two options I use, both of which you can do anywhere, even if you're on the road:
  • This summer I started a C25K (Couch to 5K) running program my sister recommended.  It's gradual, doable, and only takes 30 min or less.  Great if you haven't done anything in a while (like me)!  (I started it while we were on one of our visa runs this summer, and just did loops around our city block… super easy.)
  • When the weather gets colder, I switch to my favorite (don't laugh) Kathy Smith fitness DVD... I know she's a little dated, but she's fun to watch and easy to follow, and her routines are interesting and not too complicated.  My favorite workout takes 40 min (I almost never have time for the whole thing though) and alternates 2-min bursts of high-energy aerobics with 2-min strength training intervals.  I take this DVD with me when we travel (with the best intentions)!

Favorite Family Recipes 

I thought I'd share these recipes with you fellow sojourners because you can hopefully find the ingredients wherever you're living.  Most of these recipes are from the Wycliffe International Cookbook, which is well-worth finding a copy if you haven't already.  It's packed with easy, yummy recipes from around the world, and it has helpful appendices with lists of substitutions, conversions and info about everything from food safety to food preservation.

For those of you who might be new overseas, and feeling overwhelmed about making stuff "from scratch", let me reassure you - it's not hard.  Just gather your ingredients, and follow the directions!  You'll be amazed at how easy it is.

Easy Pancakes

We make these at least once a week at our house!

Makes about 12 medium pancakes.

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Add, and stir quickly until blended:
3 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 cup oil

Fry in hot, ungreased pan until small bubbles form in batter.  Flip.
  • To make New Zealand "pikelets" (baby pancakes), cook batter by tablespoonfuls, and top with jam and whipped cream.
Source: Wycliffe Cookbook

Easy Muffins

Great for a quick and yummy afternoon baking project and snack combined.  

Makes 12 muffins.

1-2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk or yogurt (250 ml)
2-4 tablespoons oil or melted shortening (30-60 ml)

Combine separately and add, stirring just until flour is moistened:
3/4 teaspoon salt (4 ml)
1 tablespoon baking powder (15 ml)
2-4 tablespoons sugar (30-60 ml)
2 cups flour (500 ml)

Be careful not to overmix.  Batter will be a little lumpy.  Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 F (205 C) for 20 min.  Remove pan from oven and loosen muffins.

Add any of the following or a combination: 
  • 1/2-1 cup raisins, nuts or sunflower seeds (120-150 ml) 
  • 1 cup finely chopped apples, blueberries, dates, crushed pineapple, cooked prunes or other fruit (250 ml) 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (5 ml)
  • 2-4 tablespoons more sugar (30-60 ml)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated cheese (120-180 ml) with a pinch of paprika
  • 1/4 cup crisp bacon chips (60 ml) - substitute bacon fat for oil
  • 3/4 cup candied orange peel, or finely cut lemon (180 ml)
Source: Wycliffe Cookbook

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

We make this every Friday for family night, and eat the leftovers for Saturday lunch.  A single batch would make two round thin-crust pizzas or one large rectangular pizza; a double batch fills two large rectangular oven trays.  

Dissolve 1 packet dry yeast (20 ml) into 1 cup (250 ml) warm water.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon honey or sugar, 2 tablespoons of oil.  Mix well.

Add 2 cups (500 ml) flour, mix.  (I use a whisk to this point.)

Gradually add 3rd cup of flour until the dough reaches kneading consistency.  (I use a wooden spoon until dough gets too thick and then use my hands.)

Knead 5 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball, set to rise in a greased bowl for 30 minutes.

Punch air out of dough, divide into two balls if using two round pans.  

Bake at 200 © for 15-20 min.  

Jungle Camp's Favorite Chocolate Cake

This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, requested for every birthday.

1/2 cup cocoa (120 ml)
2 cups sugar (500 ml)
1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
2 cups flour (500 ml)
1 1/2 teaspoons soda (7 ml)

Combine separately, add, and beat until smooth:
1/2 cup sour milk or yogurt (120 ml)
1/2 cup oil or melted shortening (120 ml)
2 eggs unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
1 cup water (250 ml)
-->You can substitute 1 cup mayonnaise + 1 cup water for the milk, oil and eggs.

Pour into greased 9x13 pan (23x32cm)*.  Bake at 325 F (165 C) for 1 hour.

*I use 1 large round cake pan, or two smaller round pans for a layer cake.  1/2 recipe also makes 12 cupcakes, baked at 200 C for 20 min.  

Source: Wycliffe Cookbook

Powdered Sugar Frosting

If you can find powdered sugar where you live, this is an easy basic frosting.  

Makes enough for one sheet cake.

2 cups powdered sugar (500 ml)
1/3 soft margarine or butter (80 ml)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring (5 ml)

Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until icing is the right consistency:
2-4 tablespoons milk
  • Chocolate Frosting: Add 1/4 cup cocoa (60 ml) or more to taste.
  • Coconut Frosting: Use coconut milk for liquid and sprinkle with coconut.
  • Coffee Frosting: Substitute liquid black coffee for milk and vanilla.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: Add 1/3-1/2 cup cream cheese (80-120 ml).
  • Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting: Add 1/2 cup cream cheese (120 ml) and 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice (15-45 ml) to taste.
  • Low Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting: Add 1 cup cream cheese (250 ml), 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and rind (15 ml).  Decrease sugar to 1/4 cup (60 ml).  
  • Spice Cake Frosting: Use maple for flavoring and coffee for milk.
  • Yogurt Frosting: Use yogurt for milk.  Add more lemon juice, if desired.
Source: Wycliffe Cookbook

Homemade Chai Tea

My new favorite chai recipefrom Ashley - a fellow sojourner living in Asia...


  1. I'm cracking up that so many of these begin with "easy". This post could be titled "Diary of A Young Mother!" Cooking in bulk is quite useful, spend 3 days, cook for 6 months and freeze it. Once you have all the ingredients out, may as well maximize the efficiency.