Pumpkin Corn Chowder

This week for the Caribbean Cooking Challenge, I cooked with pumpkin twice!  First the scones, and now the real pumpkin recipe: Pumpkin Corn Chowder.

via All Recipes
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups green pepper diced
  • 2 cups red pepper diced
  • 1/3 cup jalapeno pepper diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 4 cups pumpkin peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes                                {I used half pumpkin and half potatoes}
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • 1 pound cut corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro {i wish!}

  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and all of the peppers in butter 5 minutes to soften.
  2. Add the pumpkin and garlic and saute for an additional 5 minutes stirring often.
  3. Add the Imagine Organic Vegetable Broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is just tender.
  4. In a food processor (or blender) place 3/4 cups of the cut corn, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the pot, and process to form a chunky puree.
  5. Add the pureed mixture, the remaining corn, chili powder, cumin, Hain Pure Foods Iodized Sea Salt, and pepper to the pot, and simmer the soup an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.
= happy camper husband


Kids are Amazing

Today's Lesson:  
When your child asks to be a unicorn for Halloween, make it happen!


Pumpkin Scones

Fall doesn't really exist here in Dominica, at least weather/foliage wise.  Still, I am missing all those fall treats: apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and especially pumpkin scones.  Since the nearest Starbucks is in Puerto Rico, Clare and I decided to make our own!

Let me first say, neither Clare nor myself are bakers, so this was amateur baking at it's finest.  We were both highly concerned with the consistency of the dough (more like batter than dough) but went with it, and they turned out super moist and delicious.

We got the recipe from Mom's Who Think and here's a printable copy for you!

{click here to print from Google Docs}


Cooking with Avocado

My good friend Clare was so sad that the 10 Days in Dominica challenge ended that she came up with her own challenge. In the Caribbean Kitchen Cooking & Blogging Challenge, we are supposed to use one local vegetable a week for the next 6 weeks to create an island inspired recipe.  

This week the special ingredient is avocados. As a Californian and Mexican food enthusiast, I already have a good handle on how to cook with avocados. This week I'm going to share my easy guacamole recipe with you along with the recipe for the carnitas that I served it with.

Start with the garlic, jalepenos and onion.  
In the land of plenty America there would be cilantro.

Cut your avocado in half, lengthwise.
Then use a spoon to make hash marks through the fruit to the skin.  
Finally, use the spoon to scoop out all the goodness!

Add some salt and lime juice.
Mix carefully, so it ends up chunky!

Now, on to what I made to go with this: Carnitas. I adapted what I made from a recipe I found here. Basically, I rubbed boneless pork chops down with salt, pepper, cumin, and chile powder. Then I grilled them lightly in olive oil with loads of garlic and onion inside a big metal pot. I added lots of lime and lemon juice and enough water to cover the meat and let it cook until all the water was gone (about 2 hours). I let them keep cooking until they were nice and browned.

Once the pieces of pork sit for a few minutes they should shred easily.

Serve the carnitas with cheese, sour cream, taco sauce, and of course guacamole!


Twelve by 2012

Did you know I am a multi-tasker at heart? I've always got at least 12 things going on in my life at the same time. School, design, blogging, RSO (Ross Spouses Organization - I'm president this semester), and the list goes on.

I found this Twelve by 2012: a project of goals challenge via Kate of The Small Things Blog and was immediately drawn to it. Even though I'm good at doing a ton of things at once, what I'm not so good at is making goals relating to the projects I start.

The Twelve by 2012 challenge is perfect for me because the calendar of my life is governed mostly by my husband's med-school semesters. We are almost half-way through this semester already and there are definitely things I'd like to finish up before the end of the semester and the end of the year. It was quite easy to find 12 things I'd like to wrap up by year's end.

My Twelve by 2012:

1- finish up my 10 free makeovers at Priceless Design
2- complete the Caribbean Cooking challenge from Spouses Kitchen (more to come..)
3- plan something fun for my husband's 30th birthday
4- go to Rainbow Yoga at least once a week
5- organize my messy closet 
6- take a blog designers course from BDN
7-  read the last 5 books in my Goodreads 2011 Reading Challenge
8- get A's in both my classes this semester
9- complete in my masters capstone project: Globablog
10- get Priceless Design ready for it's grand opening
11- organize a Christmas party 
12- walk at my graduation 


One Day by David Nicholls

It is very rare that I put a book down.  But it's been over 2 months, and I still haven't had the desire to finish reading One Day.  I picked it up because the book was made into a movie this summer, and I always like to read the book before seeing the movie.  Maybe I got it backwards this time.

I wasn't expecting the British dialect which although isn't something I dislike, it turned me off in this case. I felt like the same situations just kept repeating themselves.  After 9 chapters, and more than a third of the way through, I just lost interest.  I guess it's the movie for me.  


Challenge Complete!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 10 Days in Dominica Challenge. I was shocked that so many people decided to participate; 17 participated in the challenge for at least a day or two.

I am especially amazed by Jessie and Cassie who both gave birth to baby girls during the challenge! Congratulations to both of you on the new additions to your families, and your first baby girls.  

I will be keeping a quick link to the 10 Days in Dominica challenge on my sidebar. Readers will be able to click the 10 Days logo to see all the posts. If you'd like to do the same, here is the how-to:

> "tag" each of the posts under the label "10 Days in Dominica"
> from your main blog page click the label "10 Days in Dominica" and it will open up a new page with all the posts with that label.
> copy the web address from your browser's address bar.. it will look something like: http://www.pricelessadventure.com/search/label/10%20Days%20in%20Dominica
> go into your layout and click "add a gadget"
> choose to add a picture
> in the html box, paste the web address you copied
> be sure the box "shrink to fit" is checked
> choose the file from your computer with the 10 Days logo
> save, and you are done!

For those who are still working on the challenge, I would LOVE to still read your posts. Writing every day for 10 days was more difficult than I thought it would be. Not only with remembering to do it, but finding the time to squeeze it in. I really enjoyed reflecting on my time in Dominica and was reminded of some great reasons to treasure the time I have left here.


10 Days in Dominica, Day Ten

Day Ten- What will you miss when you leave Dominica?

When my time in Dominica is over, I am certain that I will look back at it fondly. I won't remember the heat or the everyday annoyances. What I will miss is the way of life, the mornings at Rituals drinking coffee with good friends, how easy it was to get from place to place. I will miss walking to restaurants, sitting outside in January, and really appreciating good food when I get it.

In America, I won't recognize people everywhere I go and most people won't understand what it's like to be the wife of a med-student. I will miss the closeness of friends and constant social interaction. I'll miss the days at the pool and the beach, the amazing scenery, and the sound of the ocean during yoga. There is something special about the pace of life here and the slow flow from day to day.  I look forward to finding more things to miss during my last six months here.


10 Days in Dominica, Day Nine

Day Nine- Has anything made this journey easier for you?

There are two things I can say that have definitely made this journey easier for me. First, the wonderful group of spouses on the island. Before I even arrived, the spouses here were supportive. The wonderful Samantha was my "sponsor" and advised me every step of the way. I don't think I could have made it this last year without friends to talk to and go on adventures with.

Secondly, the internet absolutely has made life here easier. I can connect with people back home, watch TV online, and take classes all from the comfort of my bed. Back home, I might have checked my personal email once or twice a day but here at Ross it is the primary way people communicate. It is unusual if someone doesn't respond within 5 or 6 hours. Without the internet I would be bored, lonely, and homesick. Sad, but true.


10 Days in Dominica, Day Eight

Day Eight- Does your spouse like it here?

I'm pretty sure my husband is indifferent to Dominica. He doesn't hate it here, he doesn't love it here. I occasionally hear him complain about various things like the food or weather but most of the time he is too busy studying to really care. I know that he's enjoyed the few trips he's had the time to go on and also just the adventure of being here.

One of the things Chris loves about the island is the scuba diving. We really enjoyed getting certified together and going on all the different dives. He would go every week if we had the money time.

I'm glad he isn't a Dominica hater like most of the students.  I think it is silly to choose to come here and then complain about it so much.  Accept where you are, enjoy the good the island has to offer, and then appreciate America more when you go home.


10 Days in Dominica, Day Seven

Day Seven- What is the best meal you have had on the island?

The best meal I've had on this little island of Dominica is hands down the filet mignon from Red Rock Haven.  The beef is marinated and grilled to perfection.  It is served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables.  I am salivating just thinking of it right now.  All of Red Rock's food and drinks are delicious, but the filet is simply amazing.

And on top of the good food?  It is one of the most beautiful spots on the island.  You get to eat at little round tables on the sand set under a palapa roof with twinkle lights.  At the end of the night they even give you marshmallows to roast over the fire!


10 Days in Dominica, Day Six .................. Only in Dominica Part II

Day Six- Tell about an "Only in Dominica.." moment.

It's hard to tell about just one special moment.  Instead, I'd like to present you with a collection of photos I've taken since my last Only in Dominica post.

are taxi drivers bold enough to leave you a parting message..

or adorn their vehicles with nicknames..

Only in Dominica would you find a mannequin instead of a hostess at a restaurant..

or paneled wood flooring in a taxi..

or sweet wall carpeting for that matter..

Only in Dominica do they flavor their rum with snake..

or offer Body Gassis Objects Demolisher in a bottle..

Only in Dominica can you purchase tightey-whiteys individually..

or happy pineapples at the grocery store..


Only in Dominica do they screen Harry Potter illegally at a bar..
{check out that menu, btw}

or have disco party lights above the ATMs..

Only in Dominica are there caterpillars longer than my finger.. 

or eggnog 'flavoured' juice boxes..

Only in Dominica (and Jamaica) do they have Cock Soup Mix with Pumpkin..

but the Jamaicans certainly don't have miniature Beyonce the MoFo Chicken's..

Dominica, you make me laugh.


10 Days in Dominica, Day Five

Day Five, What don't you miss about home?

I do not miss working.  I do not miss getting up at 6 every morning and fighting traffic to get to work.  I do not miss complaining parents, picky administrators, or the paperwork..  but I do miss the kids.

I thought for sure I would be bored and miss having a job to keep me busy, but it turns out I love my freedom. It is going to be difficult for me to go back to teaching next year, and I'm not quite sure I will. I would love to get a job teaching online- either higher education or elementary school.  We'll see what this masters degree can get me!


10 Days in Dominica, Participants

I've gotten a few requests for the blogroll for this challenge.  In no particular order:

10 Days in Dominica, Day Four

Day Four- What has been your favorite trip?

I have been on so many wonderful trips over the last year it's hard to pick between the wine cruises, Batibou Beach, Red Rock, Bense Pool, to name a few.  But I think one of the best days I've had was spent at the Pagua River with Chris and Kristen.  We had breakfast at the Pagua Bay Bar & Grill, and then borrowed their toys to go play in the river and ocean.

We would float on the floaties in the warm ocean, letting the waves take us by surprise and then move over to the cold river and cool off.  The combination of warm and salty ocean and clean and cold river is super refreshing.  Once we were pooped, we went back up to the restaurant for a delicious lunch and cold drinks.  My kind of day.