From the Heartland to the Heart of the Rift (my new favorite cookbook)!

While in Michigan I met and made friends with many wonderful people. I love Michigan. One of the wonderful families I met is building a school in Kenya, while here and over there. They are all over. Anyway. It is going to be a beautiful school.

Here is their description or their premise and current project.

“Simbolei Community Assistance Association (SCAA) is a charitable 501 (c)(3) organization, originally organized by Richard and Andrea Kaitany, supporting the education and empowerment of young women and their families in Rift Valley Province, Kenya.”

“Our current project is the planning, construction and development of an innovative, non-profit, self-supporting high school for 320 girls in Rift Valley Province, Kenya. Simbolei Girls’ Preparatory Academy will be located near Iten, at the edge of the Great Rift Valley. In addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, our school will provide community literacy programs, a community library, and community development activities to foster leadership and community activism within our student body.”

The above is from the Simbolei Academy facebook page.

When Andrea told me (through Facebook, since I had already moved) they were putting together a cookbook to help fund the school I literally jumped at the chance to get one! So exciting, I have never had Kenyan food, nor do I have the slightest idea what there is to eat in Kenya.

The cookbook was ready to go early this spring. I ordered two copies, one for myself and one for my mother in law.

It is beautiful! The cover is bright and bold with a contrasting back. The inside is full, so full, of recipes I literally did not where to start.

Not only is it brimming with recipes, it is chock filled with full color pictures. That’s right, full color! I have never ever seen a fundraising cookbook with so many pictures and so many descriptions. Usually they are hastily thrown together with only the recipe and the recipe giver name. Maybe a couple black and white pictures. This one though, amazing.

There are elephants! There is lots of coconut milk!

I haven’t even gotten to look at every picture and read every recipe. The recipe book is 101 pages long. Behind the recipes  is a miscellaneous section full of helpful things like substitutions, equivalents, measurements, herbs and my favorite. Recipes for household cleaners. A couple of versions for every kind of cleaner you could ever use in your home from all-purpose to getting rid of odors, to cleaning walls, candles and even telephones.

Along with the cookbook, I also received a business card for each book and a thank you note!

Prettiest business cards I have ever seen.

This is a very exciting point for everyone working for this school. The foundation is dug, the stones are ready and with the help of sponsors, donors and now this cookbook more things are able to happen! The cook book is $18.95 with shipping and is available on their website. Simbolei There are also many other ways to donate and help, they are all listed on the website.

Here is the first recipe we made from the book.

Since none of us have ever had Kenyan food, we thought we would start simple. Also, it was a ‘no-drive’ day. Which means, Snug and I do not drive anywhere that day. If we need something or have to go somewhere we walk. It saves gas, money, the environment and for our lives it just isn’t necessary to make errands 7 days a week.

Due to the no-drive day plan, we used what we had to make the recipe, which ended up being less Kenyan than the actual recipe intends. It still turned out delicious.

These were the only dry beans we had in the house. They are in the common bean family though and worked just fine.

Anasazi beans are beautiful, I am not sure if they are the same as painted beans.

Just in case you didn’t see how nice they are in the first picture, here is another one.

Here are the rest of the ingredients we used. The only things we had to change around were the butter and rice. We used olive oil instead of butter (we were all out) and we used extra fancy rice instead of basmati.

(Insert cooking the recipe here. Since I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you, I didn’t include the recipe or the steps, just the ingredients. However, it is very easy and very quick).

TA-DA! It turned out wonderful! However, since this was going to be our dinner and not a side dish as I think it is intended, I added twice the amount of rice called for in the recipe.

Delicious and simple. You know who loved it the most? Snug! She ate two bowels that night and ate more for lunch the next day. We found it is just as good cold as it is hot. What a great thing to take camping or on picnics.

Again to buy a cookbook of your own, or to donate or just find more information please visit;

Question, concerns, etc? You can email;

Happy cooking!


3 responses to “From the Heartland to the Heart of the Rift (my new favorite cookbook)!

  1. Great post! I’m glad you enjoyed the cookbook and took such fantastic pictures!

  2. What a wonderful endorsement of my sister’s book!

  3. Pingback: No Drive Days! | The Crayon Apron

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