Empress Winter Retreat 2017

Last weekend we had our annual winter Empress Retreat up in the beautiful, cool Blue Mountains of St. Andrew Parish. At the retreat we had insightful sessions led by Peace Corps volunteers, Peace Corps staff, and Jamaican women. It was a wonderful, cathartic weekend full of delicious food, late night talks, a movie night, s’mores, laughter and hugs.  Here are some of the resources in the Empress Retreat wrap up email for those interested in seeing a little bit of what goes on at an annual retreat:

Big ups and big thanks to all the women who participated in this winter Empress Retreat. Those who led sessions, participated actively, and cooked delicious meals; you all made the retreat. This is a wrap up with further resources, info from the cooking team, and further info from some of the women who led sessions at the retreat.

Intersectional Feminism:

Check this video out that compares intersectional feminism to pizza: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgK3NFvGp58

Discussion on Sexual Harassment:

Here are the links mentioned at the end of the session on sexual harassment and how to deal with it:

Tambourine Army on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tambourinearmy/

Hollaback!: www.ihollaback.org

Stop Telling Women to Smile: http://stoptellingwomentosmile.com


Here is the link with directions for how to make a zentangle in case anyone forgot how to start: https://googleweblight.com/i?u=https://zentangle.com/&grqid=kmT1ZTNd&hl=en-JM


Here are two poi tutorial channels on Youtube. These are a a great place for those who took their own pair of poi home from the retreat to get started:

Drex Factor and his beginner poi tutorial series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGRWu2f31dFVYp558VqSHdeESHGVkMbvz

PlayPoi and their beginner poi dancing lessons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-USZKB6KtW0&list=PLAA9A2EFA0E3A2039


Empress Recipes:


An easy hummus recipe that uses sesame seeds to make a homemade tahini (sesame butter) instead of store-bought.


  • 1/2 c. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, plus more as needed and for garnish
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 c. garbanzo beans (home cooked or canned)
  • 2 T. lemon juice (about 1 small lemon or lime)
  • 1 t. salt
  • paprika


Make Tahini: Place the sesame seeds and 1/4 cup olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a smooth-ish paste forms, adding a little more olive oil if needed.

Continue Making Hummus:

Add the garlic and pulse until evenly chopped.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Process until desired consistency, adding more olive oil (or water) as needed. Taste to adjust for salt.

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Serve with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.



  • 5 cups cornmeal
  • 5 cups flour
  • 5 cups sugar
  • .25 cup baking powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 6 cans coco milk
  • 6 tsp vanilla




  • 2 cups coconut oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 cups banana
  • 5 cups almond milk
  • 6 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 cups flour





  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6 white onions
  • 6 tsp salt
  • 18 clove garlic
  • ½ cup ginger
  • 6 tsp turmeric
  • 6 tsp cayenne
  • 9 sweet potatoes
  • 8/9 can chickpeas
  • 8 cans diced tomato
  • 9 cans coco milk
  • 6 packages of bok choy
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • dried coconut
  • toasted pita
  • brown rice



  • 12 cups green lentils
  • 4 onions
  • 5 grated carrots
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups sesame seeds
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 tsp cumin
  • 12 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
  • Cayenne
  • Breadcrumbs/flour
  • Fried with olive oil
  • Burger buns
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Sliced tomato
  • Onion
  • Lettuce

Lentil burger recipe (this is a very large amount. You may want to down size it. I usually freeze some as patties to have later).

Put three cups of lentils in enough water to cover them .They will expand so make sure you have enough water in the pot. Bring to a boil and then cook on low heat , covered, for about 30-45 minutes (until they are soft but not too mushy. Drain off water. Mash lentils and add:

One medium onion, chopped

One or two carrots grated

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup sesame seeds

2 eggs beaten

2 tsp cumin

3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

I add part of a crumbled dry hot pepper, a dash of cayenne pepper would work just as well

Mix this all together and add seasoned breadcrumbs enough to make it not so mushy so you can make into patties and fry. I usually add a cup or more. It depends on how mushy the lentils are.

The amounts of ingredients I’m giving here are loose. I don’t really measure because I’ve made these so many times. If you choose to make these you can change it up as you like. Some people add walnuts, for example.




  • 6 cups bulgur
  • 10 cups peeled cucumber
  • 2 cups cranberry
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 5 cups scallion
  • 3 cups parsley
  • 5 cups tomato



  • 5 cups OJ squeezed
  • 5 cups olive oil
  • 8 tsp salt
  • 8 tsp pepper




  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Chinese long beans, halved crosswise or 15 green beans
  • 1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound green papaya, peeled, halved, seeded
  • 5 Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts


Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Set dressing aside.

Cut beans into 2-inch pieces. Using peeler or grater, peel enough papaya to measure 6 cups. Place in large bowl. Add tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, chile, and green beans. Pour dressing over; toss. Sprinkle peanuts over and serve.



  • Pico de gallo
  • 15 fried and chopped plantains
  • 15 dozen ackee
  • 13 cans black beans
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • avo
  • Mexican tofu
  • Spanish brown rice
  • Lettuce
  • Corn Chips


Pico de Gallo

  • Ingredients
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon sal
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Lime juice to taste

Directions: chop all ingredients and mix into a bowl, add lemon or lime juice.

  • Tofu:
  • Drain tofu first by slicing the block and placing the slices in a single layer on a paper towel lined plate. Top tofu with more paper towels then place a heavy object on top. Let it sit for a while. This allows the tofu to absorb the marinade.


  • 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu
  • lime juice
  • Soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro(optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tea spoon cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste


While the tofu is drying, mix the marinade ingredients. Feel free to add any other seasonings you might like. Cut tofu into cubes, and add into bowl with marinade. Make sure marinade is well absorbed by tofu. Leave for at least 30 minutes. Add oil into pan and sauté tofu.

For crispy tofu: mix the tofu mixture with flour. Sift to get rid of excess flour and fry.

  • Plantain: cut and fry 🙂


That’s all for now, until next time ~

One Love ❤ 






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