Passport to Fun - Egypt

Travel the world from the comfort of your living room with this Passport to Fun series!  Whether you use these ideas as a date night, family fun night, or homeschool study, you'll be sure to have some fun and bring a bit of Egypt's culture right into your own home!




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You'll remember that I came up with a pretty awesome idea for G's Christmas gift last year.

If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, then feel free to wander on over to this post to read all about it.

I'll wait.

Even though we spent all of 2016 traveling to new countries each month, we had so much fun I decided to extend this series indefinitely - so many cool places to learn about and we've even got a list of places we want to return to in the future!


This month, we headed to Egypt, mainly because it was one of the pre-made passport stamps in the kit I've been using, but then it was also fun to discover that one of my favorite bloggers, Alyson over at World Travel Family, is over there exploring Egypt right now, so we've been reading posts like this one and this one and feeling like we're right there with them on their journey!

I wasn't really sure how much I could come up with for our own trip, since we kind of covered the whole continent pretty well way back on our epic trip to Africa, but I think we managed to do okay.

April - Egypt



Set the Stage

I added this stamp to G's passport, then left it out where he'd find it the next morning before he went to work so he'd see where we were going:




What to Decorate With


The flag thing is our go-to wall art for each trip.  It's something fairly simple for Gv and I to do together, uses supplies we already have, and still lends an air of the locale.


The yellow part in the middle should be a bird...

I was also going to scavenge some fallen palm fronds from the yard to spice things up a bit, but they were all hanging on too tightly to the tree for me to pull down.





What to Dress Like


We tried to go with a pharoah theme for this one. I realized later that one of us could have been a mummy, but it all turned out okay:


Gv and I are wearing our arm bands and necklaces from the craft activity.






What to Listen to

I created a playlist for this month based off of whatever related songs I already had on my ipod:

We had to blare (and boogie to) Walk Like an Egyptian, obviously. We also listened to The Prince of Egypt soundtrack and several selections off the Arabic Groove album.


What to Eat

I had a crazy-long list of things I wanted to make for this trip, but luckily realized my foolishness early enough to cut a few things out and keep the dishes at a manageable (Ha! It still all took all day to make!) four.

We started with some Aish Baladi, which is an Egyptian flatbread similar to a pita. I also fried up a mess of falafel, which we tried on its own as well as inside the bread with some of the delicious sauce.

For the main dish, I decided we had to go with Kushari, which is considered one of Egypt's national dishes. I'd also planned to make ful medames, kebabs, and shawarma, but that's when I quickly realized things were getting a bit out of hand (flash back to my insane cook-a-thon for the Africa trip!)

For dessert, I made Kunafa, although I experimented a bit and used pasta instead of the phyllo dough (because I thought I was out of it - I wasn't - and the pasta would be cheaper anyway).


Aish Baladi


What You Need

1 Tablespoon yeast

2 1/2 cups 105-degree water

5 cups whole wheat flour

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon oil

What You Do


1.  Mix the yeast with the water and let sit for about 10 minutes.

2.  Add in 2 1/2 cups of flour, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.

3. Add in the salt, oil and rest of the flour. Knead, cover, and let sit for 1-2 hours.

4. Stick a baking stone (or two) in the oven and heat to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 16 balls, roll into hand-sized circles (I needed to add more flour during this step so the dough didn't stick) and stick on baking sheets (allow space between them so they don't stick together when they rise). Cover with a towel and let sit for those 30 minutes you're heating up the baking stones.

6. Slide a few breads at a time onto your stone(s) and bake for about 8-10 minutes. It's okay if they end up being a little charred.

7. Let them cool a bit before you eat them.

Falafel


What You Need

16-ounce can of rinsed and drained garbanzo beans

1/4 cup to 2 cups bread crumbs (panko is often used - I actually used wheat germ)

1/4 cup onion

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

2 Tablespoons parsley

1 Tablespoon curry

6 garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

oil for frying

Falafel Sauce (1/4 cup tahini, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dill, 2 cloves garlic, some water and a little salt)

What You Do


1.  Stick everything but the frying oil into your food processor and mix. I suggest starting with just 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and adding a little bit at a time. You want the dough to be kind of crumbly, not like paste.

2. Cover the dough and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours. In the meantime, make the sauce (I just zubbed all the sauce ingredients in my Ninja, adding more and more water until it was the consistency I wanted, then I stuck it all in the fridge until we were ready to eat).

3. Roll the dough into balls (I went for golf ball-sized), smoosh each one flat in a pile of more bread crumbs, then heat your oil and fry those babies up for about 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Eat them plain, with the yummy sauce, or fixed up in a sandwich with the bread above.


Kushari


What You Need

3/4 cup lentils

3/4 cup rice

4 cups (maybe more) water

1 cup cooked macaroni

2 Tablespoons oil

2 chopped onions

6 chopped garlic cloves

1 can tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon baharat (If you don't have an awesome friend like me who shares some of her mother-in-law's special baharat spice mix with you, then you can leave this out.)

What You Do


1.  Cook the lentils in the water for about 25 minutes.

2.  Add the rice to the lentils and cook for another 20 minutes (I had to keep adding water to this so that the rice would get soft enough).

3.  Cook your onion and garlic in another pan with the oil until soft. Add in the tomato paste, red pepper flakes and baharat spice along with a little salt and pepper.

4. Mix the macaroni with the lentil/rice mixture and top with the tomato sauce.


Kunafa


What You Need

1 cup water

1 cup honey

1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound konafa pastry (or crushed phyllo dough, or even really fine pasta, like angel hair, which is what I did)

1/2 pound melted butter

1/2 cup raisins

2 cups chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons cinnamon

drizzle of honey

What You Do


1.  Boil the water, sugar and lemon juice until a thick(ish) syrup. Let this cool and then add the vanilla.

2. Mix your konafa (or cooked pasta) with the melted butter and press half of the mixture into a greased cake pan.

3.  Cover with raisins and nuts, then press the rest of the konafa/butter mixture on top of it. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle honey over.

4.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

5.  Pour cooled syrup over this hot baked mixture. When this all cools, invert onto a plate and serve. 


What to Do


We tried our hand at writing hieroglyphs by making cartouches:


I found this Penn Museum site where you can type in your name and it will show you what it looks like with hieroglyphs. G and I quickly realized this wasn't completely authentic, since the symbols don't really correspond to our alphabet, but they were true hieroglyphic symbols and it was still fun to try.

I printed out each of our names and then we drew and colored them. G was content to just have his printout. Not in a crafty mood, I suppose. :)


Then we made a set of paper plate and TP roll jewelry to complement our outfits:


Cut a slit in a paper plate and then cut out a small circle to go around your neck. Decorate this necklace with jewels, markers, and glitter. Cut a toilet paper tube into a spiral and decorate with glitter to make the armband. (This one's obviously Gv's)

Come on, you just knew mine would have something to do with rainbows, didn't you?



What to Read





Two Agatha Christie novels would fit this trip for the grownups: Death on the Nile and Death Comes as the End.



What to Watch

Gv loves The Prince of Egypt, so that was an easy choice for the family flick for the evening.


If your child is a bit older, Night at the Museum Secret of the Tomb might be an option, as well.

For the grown-ups, my Bond-crazed self immediately thought of The Spy Who Loved Me, but since G had never seen Death on the Nile (which I love), that was our selection instead.



Other options to consider are Cairo (maybe even The Purple Rose of Cairo - just based on the name, not the plot), Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark or the Mummy movies.


And that wrapped up our "trip." It was another huge success and we can't wait to jet off to someplace new next month!



Travel all over the world, without leaving your living room!  Come back each month to see where we head next.  Can you think of any other ideas to add for a trip to Egypt?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.


Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.

Want more?  Check out some of our other trips:

Italy - India - France - Africa - Ireland - Switzerland - Canada - Greece - England - Germany - Thailand Russia - China - Spain - Jamaica - Mexico - Japan - Brazil Cuba Scotland

Love this idea, but want the easy, made-for-you-and-all-you-do-is-print-it version?  Click here to get your own pack and see what inspired me to create this series!