Now that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, we know that everyone is preparing to celebrate in different ways than usual this year. And since you may be trying some new things this year, why not try some new holiday recipes as well?
FINCA works with clients in 44 countries around the world, giving people in need a hand up when they need it most. Working in so many places, we’ve come across some amazing people who have also shared with us some incredible holiday recipes.
Read below to find out more about two inspiring women we’ve worked with, and to learn some traditional recipes from their countries that you can try out this holiday season.
Lisseth Cerda from Nicaragua
With good jobs harder to come by in Nicaragua, Martha “Lisseth” Castellon Cerda her husband decided to leave their home in Nicaragua in search of better jobs. They moved to neighboring Costa Rica, where Lisseth worked in a bar and a restaurant.
However, after earning and saving some money, Lisseth and her husband chose to move back to Nicaragua so they could raise their children in their home country around their family. But with good jobs harder to come by in Nicaragua, Lisseth decided to start her own business: a bakery. Each morning, she and her husband start baking at 6 am and they keep working until 9 pm.
That strong work ethic—along with her talent for baking, good business sense, and several loans from FINCA—has made her bakery one of the most successful in the area, not only providing her family with a good life but also providing good jobs to four of her neighbors. And it’s an ethic that she’s passing on to her children as she prepares them for university, something she never thought they would be able to afford.
But you can get an even better sense of why Lisseth’s bakery is doing so well by making a batch of Nicaraguan Rosquillas, like what you would find in her shop, this Thanksgiving morning! It’s the prefect holiday recipe for your family to enjoy as they watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade from home.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
¼ tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the milk and vanilla, then stir in the masa harina and salt until a dough forms. It may seem a little wet but keep stirring or just let it sit for a few minutes so the masa harina has time to absorb the moisture.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Use a heaped tablespoon to portion dough. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and arrange them onto the lined baking tray, leaving an inch between them.
- Take a glass or something with a flat bottom and press it gently on each ball of dough, flattening them to one-third of an inch thickness. Use your finger and press an indent in the center of each flattened round of dough, then press more indents around the perimeter to form “petals.”
- Drop a small amount of brown sugar onto the center of each cookie, then bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on the edges.
- Cool completely on the tray before storing in a sealed container.
Rossette Kyomuhangi from Uganda
Every morning, long before the sun has even made its appearance over the horizon, you’ll find Rossette at her roadside stand in Kampala, Uganda getting ready for the day’s business. For the next four hours or so, she’ll prepare hot food and sell produce to passersby, usually folks on their way to work.
When Rossette started her business, it was hard working in the dark, and the smoke from the traditional wood and charcoal stoves she used to cook made her eyes burn. And the firewood or charcoal was expensive, eating into her profits.
But that was before she learned about FINCA’s BrightLife program and purchased an efficient new cookstove. It had an immediate impact on her business. For one thing, the cookstove comes with a built-in light, which helps her see better, and the savings in fuel costs are dramatic. “I used to spend 15,000 shillings per week on firewood,” said Rossette. “Today I spend about 5,000 shillings. And the new cookstove is much faster. It took me two to three hours to cook cowpeas on a traditional stove. Not it takes just one and a half hours.”
Rossette uses her newfound time to give more of her attention to her two young children and her husband. And with her increased profits, she has big plans for the future. “I also wish to educate my children because education is the source of everything. I didn’t finish school because of lack of school fees. I don’t want the same to be true for my children.”
One of our favorite holiday recipes you might find at Rossette’s roadside stand is Ugandan Curry Potatoes. They are a delicious way to spice up a traditional Thanksgiving potato dish.
Ugandan Curry Potatoes
2 lbs red potatoes washed, cut into 1-inch cubes, and parboiled 4 minutes in salted water
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ cups of water
½ tsp ground cayenne
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Salt to taste
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté for 6-8 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Add the turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, and coriander and stir well. Add the tomato paste and lemon juice and stir again to combine everything.
- Add the potatoes and about 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt and stir again.
- Add 1½ cups of water.
- Cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fully tender and the juices in the pan are thickened and coating the potatoes.
- Add the parsley near the end of cooking time and stir well. Serve hot.
Share These Holiday Recipes with Family and Friends
We hope you enjoy making these delicious holiday recipes with your family this Thanksgiving. And when you do, be sure to share your baking experience on social media. With the holidays looking a little different this year, posting a photo of your family’s Thanksgiving activities can be a great way to share your holiday with friends and family you may not be able to visit. And don’t forget to also tag FINCA Canada on Facebook, so that we can share your photos with the FINCA family as well.