Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas in Brazil

Our next stop on the Christmas Train led us to Brazil.  This country is a special one for me.  During my high school years, our family had an exchange student live with us.  She was from Brazil and quickly became my Brazilian sister.  :)  So she gave us a tour and helped us learn about Christmas traditions in Brazil.  Thank you, P!

We got our passports and prepared to leave Mexico.  I told Old Crow we were headed to Brazil and we found it on our globe.  We talked about what direction we would travel in, and he pointed out that Brazil is south of the Equator.  I explained how it is summertime and hot in Brazil during Christmas.  His response was..."Awwww man!!"  I think he would love to be at the beach. ;)  I also prepared him for the language difference.  Brazilians do not speak Spanish; they speak Portuguese.  We had a quick history lesson on why they speak Portuguese and not Spanish.  We practiced saying Merry Christmas in Portuguese...Feliz Natal.

When we arrived we watched the lighting of a giant tree and then fireworks lit up the sky.  This is an annual tradition, and it was magnificent.  You can check it out here.  

We learned that Brazilians call the nativity scene "presepio."  This Portuguese word originates from the Hebrew word for straw...presepium.  It refers to the bed of straw on which baby Jesus first slept.  In keeping with this focus on the straw, we created two nativity scenes that included straw.  

The first activity used stickers for each person in the Nativity story and we glued straw for baby Jesus to be placed on.  These sticker scenes were bought from Oriental Trading and are also perfect for Sunday School classes. :)

We also created a Nativity ornament which included straw.  This ornament kit was purchased from Oriental Trading as well.

While we put together the ornaments, which required a delicate touch, Memphis Belle played with the Grinch Slime from our Grinch unit.  :)

Then came our time to cook Rabanada.  We learned that this is a Brazilian breakfast dish served on Christmas.  So we decided to give it a try. :)

Step 1:  Cut a baguette on the bias into 1 inch-thick-slices.  We had about 12 slices.

Step 2:  Whisk together 3 eggs, 3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk, 6 tablespoons whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt.  Pour mixture into a large baking dish and place sliced baguettes on top.  Turn to coat them well.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (it can be left overnight).

Step 3:  When you are about ready to remove bread from refrigerator, you need to prepare the final coating mixture to be sprinkled over the cooked bread.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  After mixing, pour onto a plate and set aside.

Step 4:  When baguettes have soaked up the mixture (at least 4 hours later) you are now ready to fry them.    Place vegetable oil in frying pan and heat over medium heat to 330 degrees.  (Be careful to not overheat the oil...the bread will burn quickly.)  Put several pieces in oil and fry on one side until a dark golden brown...about 4-5 minutes...and then flip and fry for another 4-5 minutes.  Remove from oil and drain on a paper-toweled plate.

Step 5:  While they are still hot, dredge them in the sugar/cocoa mixture.  Now they are ready to serve!

These may be a breakfast dish in Brazil, but they were perfect as an afternoon snack too. :)

Old Crow completed his Brazil notebooking page and then we called it a day.  We've got a busy day in Kenya tomorrow.  ;)

Feliz Natal,


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