Author: Sasha Martin

Around the World Lunch: Greece

Ava’s Greek Lunch

For this edition of Ava’s Around the World Lunch we’re heading to Greece with mezze. If you play your cards right, the flavors of Greece can be in your child’s lunch box in less than five minutes. Quick-Fix Secret Tucked away in my pantry is my greatest quick-fix secret: stuffed grape leaves, a.k.a. dolma.  Sure, I’ve been known to make dolma. I happen to LOVE making them. But sometimes I’m in a hurry and need to grab something quick for my daughter’s lunch. While I’ve found dolma at grocery store salad bars, I don’t always think far enough ahead to grab some. Thankfully our local Middle Eastern market sells dolma in cans for $3.99. There’s well over a dozen in each can. While not the same as homemade, they still have the same great pop of lemon and rich olive oil. They’re great to have around for hectic mornings!  Serve with pitted olives and a little tomato sauce for dipping, just like the do in Greece. Is it Greek without Spanakopita? I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out. This is another recipe you …

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besan doodh recipe

Besan Doodh: A Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash

One thought crossed my mind every time I took a sip of the Besan Doodh. The thought overwhelmed the bold cardamom and it distracted from the warm milk tinged with saffron. A small thing, really – a sentence, again and again, bringing tears to my eyes. “I didn’t clip her wings.” These are the words of Malala Yousafzai’s father. Malala is a young woman from Pakistan – just 17 years old. She is easily the greatest superstar in the peace movement right now thanks to her unapologetic opposition to those who would keep girls from receiving an education. Though she’d been blogging for the BBC since she was 11, the whole world paid attention when she took a shot to the head on the way to school at age 15, two years ago. As of Friday, Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first Pakistani winner. In a nice nod to her work for children’s education, she found out about the award during chemistry class. Malala’s father was the first person to write a girl’s name on the family …

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Around the World Lunch: Egypt

Ava’s Egyptian Lunch

Ever since Ava’s Egyptian-themed birthday party this summer, she’s been obsessed with all things Egypt. Naturally, when I asked what she wanted to try for this week’s Around the World Lunch she sang out “EGYPT!” Finger Foods  First up? Ful medames (pronounced “fool”), Egyptian street food often served for breakfast and lunch. Ful is a dip made with fava beans cooked with onion and tomatoes. It’s high in protein making ful great for concentration during the school day!  For color and flavor I added torn parsley and drizzled some olive oil and lemon juice over the top, just like they do in Egypt. We treat ful like hummus, so on the side Ava has plenty of pita bread to dip, dip, dip. I also included tomatoes and a hard boiled egg, both popular ful toppings in Egypt. Dessert As a nod to Ava’s Egyptian birthday party, I included a slice of Basboosa, a Middle Eastern semolina cake laced with rose water and lemon juice. This cake is dense and sweet – but the touch of lemon juice and rose water balances everything out.  It’s …

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Chana Masala Recipe

Chana Masala & The Remarkable Quest of Chris Guillebeau

Psst… Be sure to enter the giveway at the bottom of this post! I want to tell you a story about Chris Guillebeau – a man who traveled to every country in the world. It took him 10 years.  He’s not the first to do it, and he won’t be the last. And yet his quest is remarkable. Let me explain. From Quest to Calling I stumbled across Chris’ journey a few years back  when he had about three years left in his quest. I read with amusement about his jogging escapades on strange terrain, how airport lounges can double as offices (and triple as bedrooms!), and how he managed to maintain relationships with his family and friends all while exploring the world. Like many people, I was immediately smitten with Chris’ quest.  It’s not simply that his journey mirrored my own (cooking every country in the world for anyone stopping by) – but it was the fact that Chris was able to escape the confines of standard travel blogging to become a remarkable life blogger. That is to say, he used …

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Ava's Around the World Lunch - France

Ava’s French Lunch

This week Ava’s Around the World Lunch is inspired by the food of France. The Snacks We were in a bit of a hurry, so I started by grabbing some popular French snacks – a dark chocolate covered biscuit and a tiny, ultra creamy imported French yogurt called Petit Montenbourg (Ava’s favorite flavor is raspberry, but the little six-pack also comes with flavors like pear, apricot and banana). It’s really special that I can offer Ava the same snacks I enjoyed when I lived in France as a teenager (I was delighted to find both at Whole Foods). The Sandwich As for Ava’s sandwich – we did a simple cheese sandwich, though butter and ham would also be very French. A little lettuce adds color and a bit of nutrition – remember romaine lettuce offers much more than iceberg (Romaine is 17% protein and one head contains 4 1/2 times more vitamin A than a large carrot!). I’ve always added greens to Ava’s sandwiches, so it’s never been a struggle to “get” her to eat them. Sometimes it’s just easier …

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Where in the world are all the vegetarians

Where in the world are all the vegetarians?

This post started innocently enough – I was curious where all the vegetarians were around the world. But once I went down the rabbit hole, I was lost for good. Of the ten countries I was able to analyze, India takes the lead by a long, long shot. 31% vegetarian is amazing! And I wasn’t particularly surprised with the low results of Portugal and Spain (so many meat-heavy dishes there!). I thought Brazil’s would have been similar but it ranked quite high at 8%. Digging ever deeper, I found that the Brazilian city called Fortaleza is 13% vegetarian. 3 things to understand about vegetarian populations: Individual cities within a country will skew more or less vegetarian, depending on the culture The types of food a country loves will skew the results Some people who identify as vegan also identify as vegetarian. Depending on how accurate the survey is, there’s a risk they might have been counted twice. The huge frustration in my research. I may have been able to cook food from every African country, but no thanks to …

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Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

In our house we live by Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  This week we’re going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even the smallest creatures. Not one to mince words, Gandhi wasn’t afraid to puts his beliefs in black and white:  No flocks that range the valley free To slaughter I condemn Taught by the power that pities me I learn to pity them – Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Our daughter Ava has been eating mostly vegetarian for a while now, so she was particularly happy to celebrate World Vegetarian Day with a new-to-us dish. What to eat for World Vegetarian Day? While we have hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes from around the world, I thought it’d be fun to try a dish Gandhi might have enjoyed …

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ethiopia.img_6419

The REAL reason why people put butter in their coffee

We just celebrated International Coffee Day on September 29 (though every day might as well be coffee day around here)! In honor of the holiday, I did a little digging into the origins of butter in coffee… a hot trend in the United States. At the end of this post, follow the link to try your own Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. In Kate Bratskeir’s article entitled “Why People are Putting Butter in their Coffee”  a company by the name of Bulletproof is “credited for popularizing the concoction” (meaning butter in coffee). The article goes on to state the health benefits of adding butter to coffee – particularly how it stabilizes the caffeine hit for improved mental clarity and how it helps encourage weight loss. I’m no scientist. And I don’t particularly want to weigh in on the debate of  whether or not butter can help you lose weight. I would, however, like to back up a moment and explore the idea of butter in coffee and who came up with the concept. I assure you it is not a …

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Around the world lunch: South America

Ava’s South American Lunch

This week Ava’s Around the World Lunch is inspired by the food of South America. I wanted something healthy and my daughter loves fun finger foods – so I put together an easy and nutritious Bolivian Avocado Salad, a sweet and salty Martin Fierro from Uruguay (made with quince paste and queso fresco cheese – both scored at the local Hispanic market), and homemade Apple Empanadas. The apple empanadas were a direct inspiration from this week’s Around the World with Apples challenge, where I’ve invited you to try something new with apples! And I’ve been making some variation of the avocado salad for her lunches as far back as I can remember… so good. A Few Tips and Tricks: For little ones try cutting the avocado into cubes and serving the salad loose. Real talk: After taking this picture that’s exactly what I did for Ava – she’s in kindergarten after all! In a hurry? Make the empanadas quick by using pre-made pie crust with our filling recipe!  If you can’t find quince paste you can try guava paste. And if …

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Around the world in apples

Around the world with Apples ~ Celebrating the first day of Autumn

When the air bites. When my cheeks turn pink. These moments sing autumn. But now that I live in Oklahoma the first day of fall – September 23 – is almost always balmy. Sometimes it’s actually hot. Which means Ava can do this: The only surefire way I know it’s autumn is to watch the apples. There’s nothing like the crisp taste of a freshly plucked apple enjoyed while still standing in the orchard. The fruit is almost chalky on the tongue, the skin tight, the flesh sweet. When apples spring to life like this… well, that’s how I know it is autumn. As you fill your fruit basket with the season’s bounty, I invite you to play around with these apple recipes. They’re plucked from three continents and will make a great addition to your next around the world party or international night! In fact, I’ll be making one or two of them this week myself! Join me on Instagram so we can share our adventures! APPLE RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 1. Fig and Honey Apple Polenta Cake | Bustrengo (San Marino) …

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World Peace Day Recipe Challenge #EatInPeace #WorldPeaceDay #GlobalTableAdventure

Official World Peace Day Recipe

Look up recipes for world peace and you’ll find one of two things – a moral diatribe or Dori Greenspan’s chocolate chip cookies. While the former is on point, and the latter is undeniably incredible, I’m looking for something a little more… grounded… in the holiday. So I went back to the source for inspiration. Turns out the United Nations came up with “International Day of Peace” in 1981 and the first celebration occurred in 1982. Lots of people – myself included – simply call the September 21st holiday “World Peace Day.” What’s World Peace Day all about? World Peace Day is about having one day. One day without weapons. One day without killing. One day of treating each other with compassion, kindness and humanity. I get turkey fatigue on Thanksgiving and go chocolate bezerk on Valentine’s Day, but World Peace Day is one holiday I wish could last forever. OFFICIAL WORLD PEACE DAY RECIPE Serves 7.25 Billion Ingredients: 1 large heart 1 recipe from a country in conflict 7.25 billion friends Method: STEP 1 Imagine how mealtime would change in a …

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doro-wat

Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat

There’s been a movement to make Enkutatash – a.k.a. Ethiopian New Year – as popular as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo.  But instead of wearing green or dancing to a mariachi band you’re invited for a much simpler, down to earth sort of celebration. Wear white. Pick yellow daisies. And enjoy traditional Ethiopian food. Waaaay back when “Enkutatash” literally stands for “gift of jewels.” As the story goes, several thousand years ago the Queen of Sheba delivered more than 4.5 tons of gold and as many spices to King Solomon. King Solomon was quite the host as he, too, showered her with gifts: …in return, King Solomon had assembled an array of gifts for her arrival. Great caskets of sticky Nubian millet beer awaited her party. The gifts were staked on mules outside Solomon’s palace, ready for her people to take to their camp and enjoy. Silks and linens from Gaza, Assyria, and Lebanon. Tapestry from Ma-Wara-Mnar. Dresses, sweet fruit from Iraq, Mongolistan winter melons. And basins of water from the spring at Siloe. Following …

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