Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Black Friday, support Tucson refugees by spending your dollars locally

Friday November 27th, Iskashitaa will selling our refugee-made, local products at a Local Artisans Market at Placita Plaza (downtown at Church and Congress), as part of the Buy Local Day Events organized by Local First AZ. From 9am to 4pm, we are offering you numerous great gift options:

  • Local marmalades and vinegars
  • Recycled rag rugs
  • Burundi baskets made from recycled material
  • Plarn water bottle holders
  • Stylized crocheted bags
  • Sewn cloth shopping bags
  • Handmade harvesting bags for the locavores
  • Quilts & pillows
  • Baby booties
  • Skinny scarves perfect for Sonora--more style, less warmth
  • Hats
  • Drawstring giftbags
  • Stockings for your stuffers.

We look forward to seeing you supporting local refugee artisans this Friday! Also, thank you to Chris' Cafe for hosting us.

For more information about the Buy Local Day Events in Tucson, click here or check out http://localfirstaz.com/tucson.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HCET helps refugee families save a bundle $$$$

is here for YOU!

Iskashitaa's Honor's College Civic Engagement Team (HCET) from the UofA is teaching refugee families how to get utility discounts from TEP, SWGas, Qwest and Cox lifeline telephone service.

We have offered assistance to refugees from all over the world: Iraq, Bhutan, Somalia, Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Cuba, ANYWHERE!

We help refugee friends to reduce electric and phone costs only and save:

Save $8.00 off electric bill/month
Save $7.95 off phone bill/month
Total savings of $15.95/month
SAVE UP TO $191.00 each year!

HCET has worked with apartment managers, Tucson International Alliance of Refugee Communities (TIARC), and Bhutanese Mutual Assistance Association of Tucson (BMAAT) to reach a variety of groups. We have visited over 8 apartment complexes and impacted nearly 100 families since September!

To find out where we will be helping to fill out the forms or for more information/questions call Danny: (602) 513-1203 or dmayasich08@gmail.com.

Thank you Honor's Civic Engagement Team and the refugee community volunteers for helping accomplish this lofty goal!

Save a Turkey, Stuff a Pumpkin!

Have extra pumpkins from Halloween sitting around? Eat 'em!

It's pumpkin and squash season and here are a few recipes Iskashitaa recommends for doing some seasonal cooking.

Elegant Stuffed Pumpkin
From the Vegetarian Times Cookbook
Modified by “Fun with Fruit”, Iskash*taa Harvesting Network

  • 1 five pound pumpkin
  • 2-3 cups brown or white rice, cooked
  • 2 cups crumbled dry bread
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½-1 cup chopped celery and leaves
  • 2 local apples (tart, chopped)
  • Handful dried fruit (any)
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼- ½ cup butter, melted, or safflower oil
  • Sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, & paprika to taste
  • Soy sauce or salt to taste

Cut off top of pumpkin to make a lid. Remove seeds and scrape out any stringy pulp. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well with hands. Add stock and butter, and mix well, adding soy sauce or salt if desired. Stuffing should be moist by not wet. Pack loosely into pumpkin, replace lid, and bake on an oiled cookie sheet for 1 ½ hours or more at 325 °F. It’s done when a fork pushes easily through the pumpkin. Transfer to a casserole dish and serve at the table, scooping out some of the tender pumpkin flesh with each serving of stuffing.

Serves 5-6

Stuffed Squash
From the Vegetarian Times Cookbook
Modified by “Fun with Fruit”, Iskash*taa Refugee Harvesting Network

  • 1 large squash (Hubbard, butternut, or 2-3 acorn squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 6 celery stocks (with leaves)
  • 2 chopped local apples
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soup stock or water
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, millet, or bulgur
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed sage
  • ½ cup toasted and chopped almonds, cashews, etc.
  • Handful dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cherries, any)

Split squash in half and scoop out seeds and membrane. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet and sauté onion. When it’s lightly browned, add celery and sauté a few minutes more. Add salt and ½ cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Combine with remaining stuffing ingredients. Fill squash cavities and brush sides with remaining oil. Place in a roasting pan and cover the whole pan with foil. Bake at 350 °F for 1-2 hours. (Hubbard squash usually takes much longer to bake than an Acorn.)

Serves 6

Pumpkin (& Raisin) Chutney
By Joanna Farrow
Modified by “Fun with Fruit”, Iskash*taa Refugee Harvesting Network

  • 2 lbs. pumpkin, seeded
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large cooking apple, cored & grated
  • 1¼ cup raisins, dried cherries & currants
  • 1 ¾ cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ oz fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, halved
  1. Cut the pumpkin (or firm winter squash) into ¾ -inch chunks, discarding the skin.
  2. Put the pumpkin in a large, heavy-based saucepan and add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and cook gently, uncovered, for about 45 minutes until the chutney is thick and pulpy. To check whether the chutney is cooked, draw a wooden spoon through the mixture, it should leave a clean trail on the base of the pan that slowly disappears.
  3. Spoon the chutney into sterilized jars and lids. Store in a cool place for a month before using or not.

Makes 2 ½ lbs

Roasted Pumpkin with Cheese Soup

from Ruth Reichl Tender at the Bone

Cut off the crown and scoop out the seeds and strings. Layer it two thirds full with toasted bread and grated gruyere cheese. Then fill it up with cream and chicken or vegetable broth at a 1.5 to 1 ratio. Put the crown on and bake it at 350 degrees for two hours (or less for a very small one). Serve it at the table right from the pumpkin, scooping out the pumpkin meat with the goodies.

Below is a printable version of these recipes.

Save a Turkey_Stuff a Pumpkin Recipes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Looking for good music, food and company?

The Love Club of Catalina Foothills High School invites you, your family and friends to join them this Sunday for a Refugee Fundraising Concert!

The Love Club and U of A Eller students are helping Iskashitaa empower refugees with this fundraiser night at St. Francis with ethnic food, refugee services and plenty of things to do:

  • Come view the Refugee Exhibit in Ravenscroft Hall
  • Try Nepalese food
  • Get a henna tattoo done by Bhutanese refugees
  • Spice up your hair with African braids
  • Shape your eybrow using the Asian tradition of threading
  • Watch or participate in an Open Mic/talent show
  • Learn a Bhutanese dance or two taught by refugees
  • Browse the refugee arts and crafts and Iskashitaa's local marmalades for sale.

    Click here for a copy of the flyer for Sunday's Concert.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Call for Volunteers on Nov. 11th and 13th

Hello All,

It's a busy month for Iskashitaa and saving good fruits and vegetables from going to waste! Iskashitaa will be teaming up with the Community Food Bank next Wednesday and Friday (11th and 13th) to harvest squash and pumpkins from Buckelew Farms, about 30 minutes outside of the city. We are in need of people to help with the harvest, especially drivers for refugee volunteers. If you would like to go and can drive please email me how many you can fit, and what days you are available. Click here to view a flyer about the event. This should be a fun day at the farm, hope you can make it! If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call or email me,

Michael Mayette
Harvesting Coordinator and Product Manager

Below are a few more photos of our favorite photos from our harvest 2 years ago at Buckelew Farms.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Join Iskash*taa this weekend

Saturday, November 7th--Mesquite Pancake Breakfast

This Saturday morning, November 7th, Iskashitaa is contributing local food and juice to the 7th Annual Desert Harvesters Mesquite Milling Fiesta and Mesquite Pancake Breakfast at the Dunbar Springs Community Garden (corner of 11th Avenue and University Blvd). We will be selling our refugee-made jams and marmalades along with crafts made by the Tucson Refugee Sewing and Crafts Circle. Don’t miss this great opportunity to enjoy a local organic breakfast, catch up with Iskashitaa and get some Christmas shopping done.

The mesquite pancake breakfast is from 9pm to 12pm and the mesquite bean pod milling is from 8am to 2pm so don’t forget to bring your own mesquite pods!

Sunday, November 8th--Saint Francis Meet Yourself

Sunday morning from 10am to 12:30pm, Iskashitaa will be talking about our organization and selling local food products and refugee crafts at Saint Francis in the Foothills UMC (northwest corner of River and Swan) for the St. Francis Meet Yourself event. Learn more about Iskashitaa and be sure to check out John Sartin's Refugee Photo Exhibit in Ravenscroft Hall. For years, John has been Iskashitaa’s trusted friend and photographer, capturing images of refugees, harvest events, refugee crafts and more. This spectacular exhibit also features refugee-made arts and crafts. Don’t miss it!

We hope to see you this weekend!