April 8 is National Empanada Day

Local Sprouts:

Ole! Such a great day to celebrate!

Originally posted on Foodimentary - National Food Holidays:


Interesting Food Facts about Empanadas

  1. The Spanish word for bread is “pan”.  “Empanar” is a verb form that means “to bread”.  Emapanada is the past-participle, “breaded”.
  2. It’s basically a single-serving turnover.  It can be filled with sweet foods like fruits, sugars, and syrups, or savory foods like meats, cheeses, and oils.
  3. They originated in northwest Spain, in a region known as Galicia.
  4. Today they are most popular in Spanish-speaking countries across Europe and South America.
  5. Originally they were made with bread dough, but now they are made with pastries as well.

Fun Fact:

The bolani is an Afghan variant of the empanada. Bolanis are flatbreads stuffed with vegetables such as spinach or potato. They are served in the evenings during the Muslim feast of Ramadan as well as at other times.

Bolivian empanadas are made with beef, pork, or chicken, and usually contain potatoes, peas and carrots, as well as a hard-boiled…

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What Rwanda needs 20 years after the Genocide

“People must determine their own positive future”, What Rwanda needs 20 years after the Genocide

Ernest Ngabonzima


Today in rural Rwandan communities, people are proud that they have regained their hope

in life. Rwandans have started to believe in themselves, yet still struggle to be self-reliant and

maintain a sense of self-determination. This is a very long journey from the pervasive passive-

mindedness of 20 years ago in the horrible genocide of Tutsi.

Since 1994, Rwandans have dedicated their efforts into building themselves and their

communities. The first step to rebuild the country was to establish healing and reconciliation,

to unite Rwandans as one people, who respect all types of human dignity. So, now, who

should help Rwanda to have people who are self-determined? Who should play this role to

help the people of Rwanda to believe in themselves? Who will help Rwanda to drive its own



This is an obvious question, of course Rwandans themselves can help other Rwandans.

A young lady called Clenie Mushimiyimana of the Nyagisenyi village located in the countryside

of the Muhabura Volcano in Rwanda, was unable to continue her studies as a result of the

genocide. She decided that her future would be better if she had basic sewing skills which

would allow her to find job opportunities. She said: “I have been able to continue my studies

and I lost hope of living in the future but getting the chance to develop sewing skills will give me

an opportunity to create my own business and prosper.” Today, Clenie attends the vocational

school built in the Nyagisenyi village which was supported by Spark MicroGrants.


So, is Spark helping Rwandan people to determine their own positive future? Is Spark helping

Rwanda to be pro-active rather than staying with sorrow of Genocide?


I would strongly respond YES as Spark MicroGrants involves local people to change their

own lives. The Spark mission is community-led development, helping people to put their

own ideas into action. Through Spark, young graduates from universities work closely with

communities and engage them in a facilitation process of 3 to 5 months to help them to choose,

plan and implement a project. This is a very unique model for community-led development.

Spark involves the community in everything – ultimately increasing the sense of ownership and

creating sustainable solutions in communities.


I, Ernest Ngabonzima, am one of these young people, who have been touched a lot by what

happened in the genocide and questioned myself on how to help my country to regain hope the

a positive future. After finishing secondary school, I was concerned of how people were passive,

not thinking about the future but staying with sorrow and thinking about their relatives, their

parents, their friends lost in the genocide and even those who were stuck thinking about their

sins. I joined Spark in 2010 as a volunteer, it was a chance for me to start helping my broken

country to regain the hope of living the positive future and drive its own development.

I work with Spark to help Rwandan communities to alleviate poverty, to build good inter-

community relationships and to help these communities to learn the basic skills to give them the

ability to determine their own positive future.


As Rwandans, the positive future is in our hands, we should not be consumed by the sorrow

of the genocide but rather think about how to rebuild our broken hearts. It is time to question

ourselves: who am I? What is my history? How am I affected by the history? How is my

present? How should my future be? Who determines my future? What is my role in rebuilding

Rwanda? These are not only questions for Rwandan, but for humankind, everyone in this world

has a role to play to help Rwandans to realize their dreams, determine their own futures, and

take action in their own development.


Ernest Ngabonzima is the Rwandan Country Director at Spark Microgrants. For more on his work please

visit http://www.sparkmicrogrants.org.

*Originally published on sparkmicrogrants.org

Home Brew

Maine. It really is the way life should be. And if you’re here, it’s the way life is. And it’s grand! I am back in lovely Portland, my hometown, where the food and beverage scene has been pretty happening for a while. Then the world found out just how happening it is, and bam! Even more local amazingness happens. From new craft breweries and artesanal coffee roasters to cafes in brownstones and little bagel shops rolling out a piece of NY (or heaven), Portland has got it all going on!

Here’s a quick peek at what I’ve been drinking!

Coffee at Crema

Coffee at Crema

Sparkling and Sisters at the recently renovated Top of The East at the Westin

Sparkling and Sisters at the recently renovated Top of The East at the Westin

Empty Oxbow glass once filled with their Farmhouse Pale Ale

Empty Oxbow glass once filled with their Farmhouse Pale Ale

Pizza Night!

Pizza Night!

Pizza Night at Malayaka House

Every Tuesday and Thursday in Lunyo, Entebbe, a group of teenaged girls are rolling out the dough to bring in the dollars, and the skills, for Malayaka House, a home for children. They have mastered pizza making, serving, and restaurant management and filling lots of hungry stomachs along the way.

If you find yourself in Entebbe, ask for directions to Malayaka House–it’s like the local Cheers. Everyone knows our name!

10 alcoholic drinks to replace the pills in your medicine cabinet

Local Sprouts:

Love a healthy dose of alternative medicine!

Originally posted on Lords of the Drinks:

Now this is the kind of medicine cabinet we like to see.

Now this is the kind of medicine cabinet we like to see.

At Lords of the Drinks we’re not big fans of the world of medicine nowadays. Big pharmaceutical companies rule the world and doctors are slaves of the system who will prescribe you all kinds of drugs for every minor health problem you might feel. Our medical cabinets are booming and as we drug ourselves more and more our immune systems can’t handle anything anymore. Whatever happened to the days when you would just have some hard liquor? Who would want to pop pills if you can have some warm brandy with honey? We already let you in on the Czech drink called Becherovka, now here are 10 more tips to make your liquor cabinet also your medical cabinet.

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I recently was fortunate enough to visit Uluṟu. I was even more fortunate to visit in summer and have rain! And Sydney-like temperatures!

When planning this trip, I wanted an experience as authentic and local as I could get. When researching, I was surprised at the lack of information about visiting the area. There is very little useful tourist information about Uluṟu. Every site seems to be pushing tours and all the same hotels and restaurants. Once you visit, you understand why. It is all owned by the same company, with exception of some of the tour companies, which are reliant on guests of the hotels.

I can highly recommend Voyages Desert Awakenings Tour ($163 per person plus Park Entry Ticket). The guide is really knowledgeable and the group is small, never more than 15 people. Learning about the rich history, sacred spots and natural beauty made Uluṟu come alive through context, stories and personal impressions. I really loved seeing the art on the walls of Uluṟu and the waterfalls and full watering hole, which are not normal in summer.

art at Uluṟu

I also went to the Voyages Sounds of Silence dinner ($185 per person) and can not highly recommend this experience. It is a massive group of people, the food is a mediocre buffet and we had no stars and a little rain, not Voyages’ fault. We were unable to cancel our reservation without losing the $185 per person we had paid, totally in Voyages control. If you are interested in this dinner, be aware that they have 4 very large sites and the capacity to serve 600 people each night. Unless this is your dream experience, I would advise booking when you arrive when you can make an informed booking and not be out $185 should the weather not be perfect for alfresco dining.

In the town center, there are several restaurants with something for everyone. Additionally, each hotel has a restaurant or two and are open to the public. There is also a small grocery store which has all the staples as well as some gourmet treats. We expected the prices to be inflated as we are in the middle of nowhere, but the prices were similar to or less than prices in Sydney.

Dingo Footprint

My best tip for visiting Uluṟu is to rent a car and do it yourself. You can rent a car at the airport and create your own tours. Stop in at the grocery store & pack a picnic to take to the sunset viewing area within the national park. Pick up some muffins and create your own sunrise tour. The resort is close to the national park and it is easy to get around, allowing you to create the experience just right for you!

My biggest piece of advice for visiting Uluṟu is to respect the Traditional Landowners, their culture, requests and sacred spaces. Every day people disregard the sanctity of Uluṟu and climb up the rock face and take photos of sacred places around Uluṟu. Please have respect. Enjoy Uluṟu, feel the magic of the area, see the beauty in the surrounds and experience what is right before you.


Fika Swedish Kitchen – Manly

Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly is a breath of fresh air for the Sydney food scene, which is currently overrun with locals take on American burgers, BBQ  and Mexican. Fisk is hedging it’s bets on authentic Swedish food, and my money is on them too! Clean flavors, fresh ingredients and a little laneway, beachside location has all the makings for a great cafe! They do breakfast & lunch daily, and dinner Wednesday to Saturday. Add in a name of the day & it’s all fun and games! Today’s Nameday: Kyndelsmässodagen (what are the odds?)

Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly


Tina at Fika

daisies and cutlery

Lunch for TwoBeetroot & Potato Hash Skagen --Shrimp SandwichGingerbread Cookies

Fisk Swedish Kitchen
5b Market Lane, Manly

To My Little Sister on Her 30th Birthday

Great moments in our lives. They can be anything, take any shape and be celebrated in a zillion different ways. My little sister is turning 30 today, and I am celebrating her. She is an absolute gem, full of life, love, creativity, brains, beauty and sass. But being her older, perhaps wiser, sister, who is so far away from her on this special day, I am offering some sage words of wisdom as she enters the next decade.

1. See the world! Keep it local, jump on a plane, hike up a mountain or dive down deep–however you travel, wherever you go, know that the world hold all the adventure and answers you are looking for, you just need to be open to seeing them!

2. Say YES!

3. Dance in the aisles! Laugh out loud! Sing in the shower! Life is full of amazing moments! Make them happen!

4. Love. Love. Love.

5. Call your sister. Any of them! Especially me!

6.  Embrace you! You are you and you are AMAZING! Share all you are with everyone. They will love you…and if they don’t, give them a bit of your glowing smile. That is probably just what they need!

Happy 30th Birthday! You are an absolute rockstar at life. I love you! Thanks for being a bright light in my life!

Happy Birthday Mei!