Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

SDC19842We had a lovely afternoon with Paty’s familia. I had asked her a while back to teach me her ways in the queso helado world. She kindly obliged, and went all the way by inviting the McKinzie fam over for lunch and dessert. So delicious. I could have taken lessons on preparing her “Soltero de Queso,” another dish that I need to learn, but we enjoyed the time of visiting and eating delicious food. Afterward, Greg returned to our home with the the two littles, and Ana and I stayed for our ice cream lesson.

Queso Helado is a famous homemade ice cream served all over the city on a hot day. The women will wear the traditional Arequipa outfit and scoop the portions from large wooden vats of the ice cream. We love queso helado. It literally means “cheese ice cream,” but there is no cheese to be found in the ingredient list. The ice cream usually comes out with a yellowish tint that is similar to the color of cheese. Coconut is a main ingredient in the icy treat, and the portion is always sprinkled with ground cinnamon. My family’s Christmas tradition is to serve boiled custard over a piece of coconut cake. I think that is why I like this ice cream so much. Minus the cinnamon, the flavor could be titled, “Boiled Custard over Coconut Cake.”

a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.
a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.

Queso Helado










  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 8 eggs
  • 100 g of shredded coconut
  • 1.5 c of sugar
  • 1 can or small bag of evaporated milk
  • ground cinnamon


  1. Echar un litro de leche, 100 g coco rallado, una rama de canela, 1.5 T azucar en una olla (medio fuego). Combine the milk, coconut, cinnamon stick, sugar in a small pot on medium heat.DSC_0266DSC_0267DSC_0269DSC_0272
  2. Separar 8 huevos clara de yema. Separate the eggs, yolk from whites.DSC_0274
  3. Mezclar yemas. Mix the yolks.DSC_0275
  4. Cuando liquido hierva, apagar el fuego. Colar la mezcla para eliminar el coco del liquido. When the mixture begins to boil, turn down the flame. Strain the liquid in order to remove the coconut pieces from the liquid.DSC_0273DSC_0276DSC_0278DSC_0280
  5. Agregar leche evaporada a liquido. Add the evaporated milk to the liquid.DSC_0282
  6. Enfriar el liquido (10-15 minutos). Allow the mixture to cool.
  7. Agregar las yemas. Add the yolks, but temp the yolks with a little bit of the hot mixture first.DSC_0283
  8. Echar en un fuente. Cubrir con plastico. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cover with plastic or a top.DSC_0284DSC_0285
  9. Congelar de una noche. Freeze over night.DSC_0286
  10. Servir con canela molida. Serve sprinkled with ground cinnamon.SDC19842

    Ana and Lola
    Ana and Lola
Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

Back to school for Meg

August 18 is tomorrow. It is around the time that lots of universities are starting back. Besides all the prep work for here in Peru that we need to do for our reentry, we also have to think about what happens after reentry. Greg published not too long ago that he is submitting applications to doctoral programs. The plan is for him to study full-time. Get ‘er done. You know what that means? “Bread winner Meg” is back in the picture. 🙂

I posted not too long ago about the blessing of the library work here. It is something for me to put on my resume. It will also help me in renewing my teaching license. I have to show proof of 60 hours of professional development (along with some other things) in order to renew my teaching license for the US. Many of those hours will come from the professional development that I teach through Living Libraries.

Some of my mentors in this field told me about a new law that passed in AR (where I earned my teaching license). Someone with a middle level title can take 2 reading courses, a 45 hour on-line literacy course, and pass the Praxis in order to add elementary to their teaching title. I said, “Sign me up!” Coming back to the states, I want to be as marketable as possible. Learning Spanish while here in Peru will serve to my advantage, but it won’t hurt to be marketable for grades 1-8 either.

So… I am taking an independent study in “Teaching Reading” with one of those mentors I mentioned, Dr. Clara Carroll. I am pumped. I have already been reading ahead from my two main textbooks:

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You know you are in the right profession when you enjoy the work you are given in a masters level course. I am excited to dive in, learn things for Living Libraries currently, and add to my schema for teaching in the future.

Also on my requirement list: joining the National Reading Association (which I joined almost a year ago), writing reading reflections, formulating lesson plans using the Common Core, and writing an article to be published for CUDA’s Living Libraries project.

You wouldn’t have heard me say this back in grade school, but, “I am pumped to go back to school!”

Here’s to a semester of craziness with a little bit of professional development sprinkled in. 🙂 And here’s to hoping this helps me land a job come this time next year…

Back to school for Meg

Sprinting to the End

We bought our tickets yesterday.

While Meg has been ramping up emotionally for a while, I am postponing a lot of those feelings for nearer to our departure. But setting an official leave date was a significant moment. We will arrive in the US on January 12th, 2015. In just under five months, our family will leave home to return home.

I have a lot to work through—feelings that are at odds with what I think I’m supposed to think. Stuff related to my motives for coming to Peru in the first place, including my relationship with God, dreams, ambitions, and various factors of rather uneven spiritual value. Disappointments and lessons learned. Joys and sorrows. Just life, I guess, but it was life here. Anyway, my plan is to blog through these, hopefully regularly until our departure.

Right now, my primary thought is, “Sprint to the end.” I want to finish well. But it’s hard to know what that means. On one hand, it is remaining faithful in the everyday work despite feeling like mine is a contribution with an expiration date. My input becomes increasingly less relevant to long-term decisions. The window for unmet goals shrinks to a matter of months and feels impossible. The hope of correcting past failures withers. “Sprint to the end” in this sense is not the thought of the accomplished athlete finishing with discipline but of the guy who is still running the race after everyone else has already crossed the finish line, wondering what would be the point of the extra effort. On the other hand, it is doing well the things that this new phase requires. It’s time to do transition work again. So we’re starting on our RAFT, a device many expatriates have used to make a good exit and return. It entails:

Reconciliation (in borken relationships and unresolved conflicts)
Affirmation (of the people in our lives)
Farewells (in timely and intentional ways)
Thinking Destination (being realistic about life upon return)

This is a big part of our work now, and just coming to terms with that fact is really hard. But it’s time.

Sprinting to the End

Terminal Fit

I’m in the process of applying to PhD programs. Postgraduate programs. Terminal degree programs. I like that last one. It sounds definitive, if ominous.

It’s tricky business. Aside form all the usual hoops, there is this big hairy thing called “fit.” Do I fit with the faculty’s interests? Do my interests fit with the program’s design? Will I fit anywhere? Trying to find the right programs to apply to makes me feel like the proverbial square peg.

I’m making it hard on myself, but my research interests are what they are, and I can’t see spending the crowning years of my academic training on something else for so irksome a notion as fit. I’m interested in interdisciplinary study, you see, which means I’m rejecting the academy’s venerable tradition of specialization. I want to make hermeneutics and biblical theology and missiology talk to one another. Alas, but missiology is a rather underrepresented field in postgraduate studies, and hermeneutics isn’t really at home in any of the theological disciplines as they are usually formulated. What to do?

I’ve applied to Fuller Theological Seminary, but it’s a long wait to hear back. In the mean time, I need to explore other options. I wonder if I will find a fit or become a fit.

Terminal Fit

Papa a la Huancaína–starring Etelvina

On my reentry bucket list in these last months is to learn some recipes that my family loves. I have learned many recipes in my time here, mostly from Manuela. But today, Etelvina made a special trip to our home to show me her ways in Ocopa (a creamy spicy, yellow sauce). Ocopa is used in a dish called “Papa a la Huancaína.” You can read the origin of the plate at this link. Arequipa has its own twist on the dish. It is typically served as a starter, but when using big potatoes (which is what I used today), it is very filling. When I say that my family loves this dish, ALL of us ask for more sauce. At the end of the meal, the kids are always drinking up their extra ocopa like they would the milk from a bowl of cereal.

Etelvina brought all the ingredients for the ocopa (the sauce), and I had to provide the rest. The rest includes boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and purple olives. I bought all of my ingredients in the bodega one block from my home for under 2 dollars. Man, I love Peruvian bodegas. 🙂

So… I give you the step by step directions for making Ocopa and then how to assemble a plate of Papa a la Huancaína.



  • 5 ají verde (and yes, I know they aren’t green)
  • 2 dientes (teeth) of ajo (garlic)
  • salt
  • oil
  • saltine crackers and animal crackers
  • 1 large onion
  • Huacatay
  • peanuts
  • water

(This recipe is enough for 10 large potatoes)


1. Lavar aji verde. Clean the peppers very well.


2. Sacar semilla de aji. Remove all the seeds and “guts” from the peppers. This removes the spicy.


3. If cooking for people that like spicy food, leave the peppers alone. If cooking for children, rub the halves together very well under water to remove the spicy. Cut away any excess “guts.” Frotándole.


4. Freírlos. Cut the ajís and place them into a hot skillet coated with oil. Add the garlic and huatacay. Fry them until their are golden. Freír hasta se doren (doraditos).


5. While frying, remove shells from peanuts. You only need a half-handful of peanuts.


6. Remove Aji mixture into a bowl. Add peanuts (maní) and crackers (saltine and animal).



7. Cortar cebolla. Cut up the onion and fry in the same pan as the peppers. Allow to get black specks and soften.


8. Poner todo en la liquadora. Put everything in a blender.


9. Add water until all the ingredients are covered. Also add about 1 tsp of salt.


Blend away! The color will go from this…


to this…


Somebody is hungry and happy about Vina’s cookin’…


10. Taste test. If you want it thicker, add more crackers. Add more salt or garlic based on your taste preference.



And now, prepare the Papa a la Huancaína: place a large lettuce leave to the side of a plate. Put the potato down. Pour the ocopa over the potato. Lay the egg halves and olives in front of the potato, and lay a tomato slice on top of potato. Wah-lah!


Finally, enjoy with some Peruvians that you have come to LOVE. We love you so much, Etelvina and Arelí!!!!!!!! We will cherish afternoons like this!



Papa a la Huancaína–starring Etelvina

Ecological Ethics

I’ve been working through a course on ethics with theology students in AQP, including a section on ecological ethics. Simultaneously working on the next issue of Missio Dei on “watershed discipleship”—a bioregional Christian response to our current ecological situation. I’m a newcomer to the ecological conversation, but my initial response, in the context of a broader view of Christian ethics, is that it looks like it will be analogous in my generation to the American civil rights movement. Except that it’s a global conversation. As I write these words, I know that to some they will seem like the most obvious statement possible and to others they will reek of dramatic overstatement. But that is part of the analogy. The profound change of lifestyle and reordering of relationships that ecological ethics entail will be led (only in part but critically) by some Christians who have the moral imagination necessary to follow Jesus into a reconciled relationship with creation. A great deal of Christianity, however, will spend the next generation little by little making public apologies for moral failure and delayed response. The former is what interests me—not the unlikely attempt to avoid the latter. How do we recognize those with eyes to see a different future? Because what matters ultimately is that the prophetic word be spoken into the present, even by a fragile few. I say this as the farthest thing from an activist. As far as I can tell, repentance is going to be inconvenient, painful, costly, uncertain, dangerous, and discouraging all at the same time. On a personal level, I’m rather repelled by it. But I’m trying to listen to those who are already further along the way. Trying to hear. I confess, it’s disconcerting.

Ecological Ethics