Bringing the Holidays Home


Poonam Benakatti, 130 YinD

Serving in the Peace Corps in 2018 means a series of juxtapositions. Often, these are presented in our modern day conveniences and daily routines. I can watch Netflix while taking a wet-wipe shower if the water is off. The power could be out, but I can still FaceTime family. Peace Corps would be an entirely different experience without technology. However, 5% of the time my phone brings me a visual experience, through social media, reminding me I am 8,000 miles away. The sting is especially deep this holiday season. So instead of brooding about the festivities missed, I shut off my phone, and get in the kitchen. Here are three of my favorite peace-corps-possible recipes to bring the holidays to my 95-degrees-all-year home.

Carrot Cake Loaf (Modified from crazyforcrust)

• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/8 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 eggs
• ¾ cup vegetable oil (I always put in a bit extra)
• ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup of shredded carrots (2 carrots)
Frosting (Optional)
• 4 ounces of cream cheese
• ¼ cup unsalted butter
• 1.5 cups powdered sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• A pinch of salt

1. Preheat your toaster oven to 350°F (177° C)
2. Whisk salt, baking powder, baking soda, and all spices in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Whisk eggs until beaten, then whisk in oil, vanilla, and both sugars. Combine well, and add dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4. Stir in carrots.
5. Make sure to grease your loaf pan (I bought mine at Daiso for 60 baht)
6. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes. Be sure to check it’s done by inserting a knife/toothpick.
7. Let the cake cool completely before frosting or it will melt off.
8. Frosting: beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar little by little until the mixture comes together. Finally, add vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ cup oil (I like to use vegetable or corn but anything will work)
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• ¼ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup chocolate chips
• Cinnamon to your taste!

1. Preheat toaster oven to 300°F (175°C)
2. Stir flour, baking soda, salt (set aside)
3. Cream veggie oil, and sugar.
4. Beat in the egg, and stir in vanilla.
5. Blend in the dry ingredients
6. Fold in the chocolate chips
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes

Cinnamon Apples (Recipe from a sweet pea chef)

• 4 apples (cored and sliced into ¼ inch slices)
• ¼ cup coconut sugar (Brown sugar also works)
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp ground ginger
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp coconut oil (Vegetable also works)

1. Combine apples, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt.
2. Make sure apples are evenly coated
3. Melt coconut oil in a pan
4. Cook apple mixture over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until the apples are tender.

Happy holidays!

Check out Poonam’s previous articles and contributions.

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