Tag Archives: cooking

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup – America

American Flag

This week we are exploring typical winter dishes from around the world. Tonight we visit America and the most common plate you will find in the winter here is tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. There are many recipes for tomato soup, however most people here buy canned which requires that you add milk and warm it up until at a desired temperature. Americans will recognize this iconic image:

tomato soup

Grilled cheese is generally made by putting butter on one side of sliced bread of any kind and placing the buttered side on a griddle before adding cheese of your choice (usually American) and closing it off with the other slice of bread butter side up. You then flip to grill on both sides and melt the cheese.


The soup makes a great dip for the sandwich and together they make a terrific warm, filling meal.

How do you make your grilled cheese and tomato soup?

Until next time,

Traveling Sam xo

Maizena from The Dominican Republic


Good afternoon!

Today I’m bringing you a recipe for staying warm from the Domincan Republic. It is called maizena and it is also common in Puerto Rico. It is commonly eaten for breakfast and is quite delicious! This recipe can be changed quite a bit to suite your tastes. The most important ingredient is the corn starch, that’s what turns the milk into a custard. From there you can add unsweetened cocoa instead of vanilla, almond milk instead of regular milk, the cloves can be skipped altogether etc…


3 tablespoons corn starch

1 tablespoon sugar

dash of cinnamon

2-3 whole cloves

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1 1/2 cups milk

1. Pour the milk into a small pot and add the corn starch. Stir until the corn starch is completely dissolved.


2. Turn the burner on to a medium high heat.


3. Add in vanilla, cloves, cinnamon and sugar and stir slowly for about 10 minutes.

I think that's everything!

I think that’s everything!

4. Your maizena is ready to be taken off the heat about a minute after it begins to bubble and thicken up.

thickening up!

thickening up!

5. Pour into a bowl and let cool for a bit before eating. Maizena is best enjoyed warm.

Remove cloves before eating!

Remove cloves before eating!

I enjoy it exactly like this, however I use almond milk instead of regular. It really adds to the flavor. I hope you enjoy and please keep warm everyone!


Traveling Sam

Family Traditions week!

Hello everyone!

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

I am here in Winchester, Virginia helping my host family and they have kindly let me participate in their family tradition of baking reindeer cookies for Santa. I hope to share more family traditions this week so please send in your pictures!

We found this special peanut butter cookie recipe to use for the base of our reindeer cookies. We were excited because they promised soft peanut butter cookies (and they delivered!) Here is a link to the website we found the recipe on. Be sure to check out her other treats!


Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies


1/2 cup (1 stick) of salted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

chocolate chips


M&M’s (preferably the brown and red!)


In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.



Mix in peanut butter, then the egg, and then the vanilla.


IMG_6162        IMG_6157

In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda and flour.

Wait... WHAT? We remembered flour and baking soda but COMPLETELY missed the salt and baking powder but guess what? They were STILL yummy! (in my defense, I'm a bit under the weather!)

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.


IMG_6158  Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

We covered and stuck the dough in the fridge for about 2 hours and all was good.

We covered and stuck the dough in the fridge for about 2 hours and all was good.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove chilled dough from fridge and roll into balls. Spread a thin layer of granulated sugar on a plate and roll each dough ball to evenly coat (if desired*). *we did not do this part because we were about to make reindeer.

Add chocolate chip eyes, an M&M for the nose, and pretzels for the antlers.


On an ungreased baking sheet, bake for 8-9 minutes, until the tops begin to *slightly* crack. Do not bake longer than this.  Cookies will look undone, but will firm up as they cool.

Transfer to a cooling rack very VERY carefully! Those antlers take some practice to handle!


Those smell delicious! I hope we can manage to save one for Santa in a couple nights! What kind of cookies do you make for Christmas?

Until tomorrow,

Traveling Sam