Friday, October 30, 2009

Color Affair

I've got a secret to admit. I have a love affair with colorful textiles. I could walk through markets every single day admiring the array of colors and patterns all around me. Not all of them are my taste, but I have a deep appreciation for the work that goes into the making of them, from the dying of the thread all the way to the thought that goes into the color combinations. I know that one day I'll probably go home to the land of neutrals and have a hard time knowing how to incorporate all of these brights into my decor, but for now I embrace them. These are the colors of life! Viva Guatemala!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Boo! Lusts for you!

As October wraps up, we're trying to get things back in order here on the blog. The whole privatization thing didn't work because Blogger got cranky with the invitations, so we had to rethink the dilemma. Problem solved. Go check FB side bars for the answer.

It's pretty hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner. I'm not in the mood at all. Maybe it's that there was no change of leaves, no pumpkins, no bombardment from retailers for tacky Halloween junk. In fact I doubt that we will even do anything for the holiday. Having a budget makes going out to waste money on a costume a little lower on the priority list. Plus with our jobs being quite hectic lately and the projects we've been tackling lately in the house, we could use a few days of relaxation.

Anywho, enough bellyaching. Yes, we've been busy, but not too busy to crave a few of our favorite fall treats. So without further adieu.......Boo! October lusts for you!

Krista’s current Must Have Lust
apple butter & apple cider

Delicious! One my favorite things about Fall is the smell (and taste) of cinnamon, spice and everything nice. There's no fooling those of you who know me and my absolute obsession with baked apple goods, but I never quite realized how much I love apple butter - that is until I couldn't seem to find it anywhere. I think I may have learned this love first from Barbie my babysitter from a very young age, and it stuck with me for the duration. A blob on an english muffin or on top of a bowl of cottage cheese (I know it sounds gross, but it's soooooo good!). Yum! I've searched high and low and can't find it here anywhere, but lucky for me one of my favorite bloggers posted her personal recipe here . I can't wait to try it! Do you think I can can here? And of course going along with the apple theme, there is apple cider. Oh how I could go for a big gulp right now! For sure I'll be partaking in something seriously big Fall celebrations next year.

Ben's current Must Have Lust
Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Moving from the land of great beers to the the land of 3 choices - Gallo (blah!), Cabro (drinkable) and Moza (the only truly good beer), Ben sure has been lusting for one of his favorite Fall favorites. Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. He's not quite as descriptive as me with his taste buds, but I'm sure he'd agree that the Coors Lite-like light beers that Guatamala serves up, pale in comparison (no pun intended) to this dark beauty (like Butte E). In fact Ben has been missing his old friend the tasty beer so much, that he's about to begin the process of brewing his very own homebrew right here in our humble little abode. He's been collecting bottles for a couple of months now, and just recently announced that he's gathered enough to get started. Give him a couple of weeks and we'll be hosting a tasting. Purchase your flights now!

Breaking News!

From Colfax to Xela is back & open for business to the greater public!

We gave the private blog status our best shot but let's face it, Blogger isn't very advanced. It just couldn't handle sending out invitations to all of you! So we're gonna give this little blog that could another go, starting now. Thanks for sticking it out with us!

Oh and if you had any interest at all in the reason we went private in the first place, log into Facebook and check out a new announcement in our side bars. We've doubled your reading pleasure!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back to school

Primary education in Guatemala is mandatory and thought to be free, but unfortunately neither is necessarily true. While the government is lax in enforcing the attendance of kids in school, is the estimated cost per year of the children who are enrolled in school is about $100, including inscription fees, uniforms, and school supplies. Considering that the average Guatemalan family has 5-7 children and earns a monthly income of $170, you can see how it becomes impossible for all the children to attend school. This is where Common Hope steps in with sponsorship. Because we seek to form partnerships with families that share our same values, we affiliate 50% of the children in the families that we work with. Upon affiliation students have the cost of their education covered as well as health care, housing and social work services for their entire families. Since we sponsor 2,400 kids, that's a whole lot of pencils & crayons, isn't it!!

Just as the kids in the States have headed back to school, the students in Guatemala are finishing up their exams before vacation begins. Each month we ask for a specific donations to help stock the shelves of our warehouse so that when school starts back up again in January each affiliated child will head back to class with a backpack full of all the things he or she needs to be successful. This month we are specifically collecting colored pencils (12 packs). Of course we will always take any supplies that are donated, not just our monthly need. Check out our suggested monthly needs right here.

As you head out to scoop up some last minute deals in the school supply aisles, think about grabbing a few extras for the kids in Guatemala. You can make a huge difference in their lives with just a simple donation and I promise you it will be worth it!

Please contact our St. Paul, MN office at (651) 917-0917 or for more information about collecting or delivering items.

Donations can be mailed year-round to:

Common Hope
PO Box 14298
St. Paul, MN 55114

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sí él hizo!

Our voice.

Did you hear the great news? Barak Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize! Yipee! We really feel fortunate to have the opportunity to experience this changing time in US and world history. Plus being able to experience it from another country and feel their support and hope is so inspiring!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

there he goes again!

We had quite an eventful weekend at the Lengacher home obviously, but with all excitement we almost forget to share Ben's big news - he ran a marathon!

Sunday morning at 5am, he loaded up Dewey with a bunch of Gatorade (it was a super hot day),his friend Brandon, Brandon's friend Jen and the 3 of them headed about an hour away to Lago Amatitlán where the race occurred. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go support them, but things went just fine. For several weeks Ben and Brandon have been training (not enough Ben says) so they ran most of the race together. Several years ago while living in Ft. Collins, Ben ran his first marathon and didn't really ever plan on doing it again, that is until Brandon put the idea in his head. And since they had such a great time running the Antigua half-marathon a few months ago, they gave it a go again!

Here he comes.....

...and there he goes!

Brandon warming up!
Yea Jen! She ran the half marathon
Completely pooped, but proud!

Ben completed the race in a little under 4 hours and thought that was pretty good, considering his training schedule wasn't the most thorough and it was a killer hot day (with inadequate water supply on the race course)! Last time he was only about 10 minutes off from qualifying for the Boston. Sometimes His athletic abilities pretty much amaze me. When Ben sets his mind on something, he never gives up!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spread the Word!

It's official folks, this blog is going private.
Beginning Monday, October 5th.
{At least we're gonna try it for a while.}

Like I mentioned before it's not really to keep the nosy nosers out, it's more to keep the good stuff in. Of course if you are already a follower, you've got an instant pass.

We'll be posting the password on both of our Facebook pages, so just friend us if you're not already on our lists. We'll also send out a general email, to those of you who aren't on the FB. If you find yourself still on the outs, drop us a comment or email {remember you can find our addresses by clicking the Contact Us button} and we'll gladly make sure you are in the know.

We really hope you'll stick with us!

Frijoles Refritos

It's becoming increasing apparent that we have become part Guatemalan. When we first arrived in Xela and were fed black beans at every breakfast, lunch & dinner, my stomach protested and I thought I just may turn into a black bean. Now, we love them! We have refined the recipe for preparing frijoles (beans still intact) and frijoles refritos, or "goo" as I like to call it (the black bean puree), that comes in both runny and paste like consistencies.

Last weekend Alejandro shared some of the fresh frijol that he has been growing at the ADU office and we whipped up our specialty. They are delicious, taste great with just about everything & are even on the list of super foods.

Frijoles Refritos
3-4 cups cooked black beans with broth (short cut with canned beans if you need to)
1/2 white onion chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

3 tbsp. canola oil (or bacon grease)

sea salt to taste

1 tsp. ground red chile (optional)

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until soft and golden, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes. Raise the heat and add the beans and broth 1 cup at a time, smashing the down with a potato masher or molino. This process takes about 10 minutes, but if you use a stick blender or regular blender it can really speed things up. Add salt and chile to taste. We think the beans are best served immediately with crumbled cheese sprinkled on top. If you can find it, try queso fresco. If not, feta is good too. Serve them up with rice, eggs, chips or just about anything!

Buen Provecho