Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hazards of Relaxation and The Goodness of Bissap Juice

Last Sunday...

In an effort to enjoy a sunny afternoon, I grabbed a book and slipped on my sunglasses and headed outside for some reading and relaxation. Little did I know that I unwittingly set in motion events that would lead to an afternoon spent, not in the great outdoors, but in the emergency room......WHAT?

Although it seems a rather embarrassing way to get hurt, it would be wrong for me not to share these events because by sharing my newfound knowledge I might keep YOU from an injury or perhaps something worse.


With a smile on my lips and the sun on my face I sat down on the hammock and layed back onto the pillow. After a quick adjustment to center myself and even quicker snap and I found myself falling down to the ground. The 4x4 wood post that I was counting on to support me had cracked and the hammock pulled that post down onto my head with what I liken to the force of a baseball bat at full swing. Wow did that hurt! I did not pass out, but I was stunned. I instinctively reached for my forehead and that is when I realized I was bleeding...alot in fact.

The only one at home was Delaney. Mike was on his way home from North Florida with his dad. I walked to the patio, opened the sliding glass door and called for Delaney...three times I called. It seemed like an eternity, but finally she arrived. I asked her to grab a towel so I could try and stop the bleeding. I must have looked horrible because she sprang into action, bringing the towel and immediately dialing 911.

I wasn't sure I needed an ambulance to come, but it was smart that she made the decision. Turns out I needed 14 stitches and a CT scan to make sure I had no fractures or brain injuries. I am happy to say that my brain is A-ok!

What did I learn? Well, I won't be getting on a hammock again. I urge anyone reading to make sure that a hammock is secure before trying it out...maybe wear a helmet or hard hat. In thinking this was a freak accident I did a little research. I am not alone!! A year ago a couple sat down on a hammock supported between two trees, and the tree came down on both of them sending them both to the hospital. The girl didn't make it.

Thank you God for protecting me. My injuries are temporary. It could have been much worse.

Now...on to Bissap Juice

Bissap is a drink that you can find throught Burkina Faso and much of West Africa. It is made from dried flowers of the sorrel plant (a type of hibiscus).

Mom and daughter sorting dried flowers.

Preparing the Bissap Juice

I had read about it and asked Mike to bring a bag of the dried flowers home with him from his trip to Burkina. I figured that even if i wasn't there with my family, I could try and make this drink at home. Today is the day.

I found a recipe online from The Congo Cookbook that I will share with you. I heard that these flowers can be purchased at West Indian markets as they are also used to make drinks in the carribean.

2-3 cups of dried hibiscus flowers (sorrel or roselle)
1-2 cups of sugar
1-2 of the following optional flavorings:
* sprig of mint
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
* 1 teaspoon orange-flower water
* 1/2 cup lemon juice
* 1 cup pineapple juice or orange juice
Briefly rinse the dried flowers in cool water.
In a saucepan heat two quarts (approximately two litres) of cold water. As soon as the water begins to boil, add the dried hibiscus leaves.
Immediately remove from heat and let the flowers steep for ten minutes.
Pour the water from the pot into a pitcher using a strainer (lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel if you like) to separate the flowers from the water. Be sure not to pour any of the flower sediment into the pitcher.)
Stir in the sugar. Add any other flavorings (if desired).
Add ice and chill completely. May be served over ice.

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