This dish is my version of macaroni gratinen, semi-healthy and with an Italian kick. It doesn't sound appetizing, but it was so good! Alter it to make it full-fat by not using healthier choices.
(This one is for you Dorly!)
- 1 box of macaroni (I use Dream Fields, low carb)
- 1/2 lb of lean ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (Smart Balance)
- 1 cup of French's Friend Onions
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of ketchup
- 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
- 6 capers
Set the oven to 350 degrees. Boil the macaroni with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Put the olive oil in a pot and sauté the lean ground beef with it until cooked.
In a bowl, mix the fried onions, eggs, evaporated milk, mayo, ketchup, mozzarella cheese and capers.
Rinse the macaroni off with cold water. Mix the above ingredients in with the macaroni. Add more mozzarella and fried onions to the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy my totally altered, but good Haitian macaroni gratinen.
This is a Q&A for my job. I couldn't help answering almost every question about Haiti...enjoy!
What is the favorite part of your job at the College?
Although it might seem like all fun and games, the College Facebook and Twitter pages have become a great online networking place for students. It's also a place where they know they can come and get their questions answered. I love being able to help students online.
What event changed your life? My life changed when I was hired in CRM because I was given a chance as a young professional to prove that I could do the job well. I have learned so much in the past 3.5 years and the experience I have gained is invaluable. I have also established a career that I enjoy so much.
Who had the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? My husband, Endy. He has taught me to work hard at everything I do, to be open-minded, patient and caring. He has also taught me to not worry as much as I used to and to appreciate the little things in life. He always says, "Life is beautiful" and he really is right!
What are you most proud of in your life? It's a recent event, actually. I applied to a contest to rebrand Haiti to promote tourism. My slogan, "Experience it" or "Experience Haiti" was chosen by the Minister of Tourism office! Soon I will be attending a special ceremony in Haiti to officially launch the logo and slogan with the logo winner, the Republic's ambassadors, the minister of tourism and President Michel Martelly.
How would you like to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as a thoughtful person who appreciates different cultures and countries for what they are.
What skill should every person have? Communication is key in every relationship. You don't have to agree to have effective communication. As long as you can see other people's point of view with respect, everything will be ok.
Is there something that you wish you could change? How would you change it, and why? I wish I could change the image of Haiti as it is perceived in the news. Yes, there is a lot of sadness and help needed for the country; however, there are also a lot of great things there. The media focuses on the capital only, but if you could go and experience the culture, music, food and people, your life will change for the better.
Do you have a talent no one knows about? I love photography. I learned videography in graduate school, but learning photography has become one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoy both of them very much!
Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to pass along? My parents always told me, "No one can ever take your education away from you." I kept telling myself this throughout college. Also, take everything for what it's worth. If you have to work for free to gain experience, do it. Hard work always pays off.
What is one skill you would most like to master? Speak Haitian Creole fluently.
I was asked to be a guest writer on Brand-Haiti.org. Check out my exclusive blog post - www.Brand-Haiti.org - about how I got to meet President Martelly!
BrandHaiti is a global student led non-profit business marketing organization that re-brands Haiti’s negative image through highlighting the country’s strengths and comparative advantages to foster pro-Haitian business investment and revitalize a non-exploitative economy.
Logo and slogan winners
Today I was featured in ManManPemba.com, a blog about food, nightlife, events and shopping in Haiti!
MMPB : Hi Diana, can you present yourself to the readers of the Pemba City Blog and share with us what made you participate to the contest organized by Minstry of Tourism ?
Diana Pierre-Louis : Hello readers! I am a public relations/social media marketing professional and founder of www.TheRealHaiti.com, a blog about the other side of Haiti that goes underreported. The Real Haiti is more than a blog, it’s a movement to educate followers by seeing stories from other Haitians or Haitian diaspora on positive memories, experiences, or places in Haiti. I know that once people learn more about Haiti and what it has to offer as a tourist destination, they will come.
I participated in the contest organized by the Ministry of Tourism because I am a lover of travel and a lover of Haiti. I want people to see the beauty in Haiti. Each person and project to educate people about Haiti is one step closer to helping Haiti’s tourism. I thought this contest was a wonderful way to engage people and it really exposed Haiti in a positive way. It’s amazing to see the positive publicity that the country has received over the last month. This is just the beginning to a great start encouraged by the Ministry.
MMPB : Could you explain why did you choose the slogan “Experience it” ? Why did you think this would be a good slogan to promote Haiti Tourism ?
Diana Pierre-Louis : It’s funny, I came up with it by saying, “I don’t know how to describe Haiti, you just have to experience it!” It was a heartfelt statement that I made that shortly became the slogan for the country. I chose “Experience it” because it truly takes an experience in Haiti to appreciate the country 100%. There is so much to do, to see, to hear, to feel, to eat…these are all experiences. I couldn’t have come up with this slogan if I hadn’t visited Haiti before. I am hoping that this slogan speaks to foreigners so that they will experience Haiti and then tell their family and friends. In a digital world, word of mouth advertising is still the most effective!
MMPB : According to you, what are the main strengths and weakness of tourism sector in Haiti, what are the main challenges to make Haiti a destination choice, rather than DR, Bahamas, etc ?
Diana Pierre-Louis : Haiti is different. Haiti is authentic and real. Haiti is a place that people fall in love with the minute they get there.
I have been to almost every island in the Caribbean. There is no other like Haiti. This is a huge benefit for the country in promoting and maintaining tourism. Now that there is an ambitious, dedicated team that is working on improving tourism, I know that it will soon be on the list for Caribbean destinations next to the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Jamaica. The logo and slogan are finally a way to identify Haiti and make a connection to it in a positive way. So many people love Haiti and this “brand” was well needed. Now it’s time to highlight the culture, food, music, art and so many great things about Haiti to get visitors to come. There’s a saying in marketing, “If you build it, they will come.”
The biggest challenge that I’ve noticed in the hotel industry in Haiti is the lack of online feasibility. Some hotels are doing a perfect job in representing their brand online with a website and communicating on social media. However, it’s still nearly impossible to book a reservation online in any hotel. Although it might cost money to invest in a program or staff for this, it will be well worth it. (Americans) are used to instant gratification. If the room rates aren’t listed online and you have to call or email for information, people will lose their attention and go away frustrated. That might result in fewer visitors. It needs to be as easy and quick as possible so that they book right when they are on the website. Although it’s ok for me because I know it’s worth, first time visitors won’t have the same feeling and might pick a different country to visit because it’s just easier.
Making Haiti a choice as a destination is the first step. If hotel and tour packages get listed on Expedia, Travelocity, or Orbitz for example, people will finally see it as an option. Then, convincing the tourist that it’s safe and most importantly different than any other island, is the next step. This can be done online with professional pictures, videos and reviews of past travelers. This has already started on tripadvisor.com, on social media (and this blog!). However, you can only find the information if you’re specifically searching hotels in Haiti. The information needs to be more prevalent on websites that tourists go to for searching for a destination when they are trying to decide where to go.
Diana’s 5 favorite places in Haiti :
Caribbean Supermarket: I love this supermarket because I can get my favorite coffee creamer to put in my Haitian coffee…just kidding. I love this store because there is a great variety of products and goods. Although there are imported brands, there are many authentic foods and drinks to buy. It is very affordable, clean, organized and customer friendly.
Hollywood: This restaurant/club is such a gem. I visited it twice on my last vacation to Haiti. It has blazing cold air conditioning, great Haitian food, great music and a huge dance area. The staff treated us with true Haitian hospitality and made us go back the second time.
Auberge Au Picolet Restaurant (Cap-Haitien): Although I didn’t stay at the hotel, I did eat lunch at the restaurant. The atmosphere is great with a sea breeze and view. The service was very good and the food was great! The curry chicken was wonderful!
Quartier Latin: This is hands down my favorite restaurant that I’ve ate at so far in Haiti. It is charming, historical, romantic and delicious. The service is always good and always great food. I love the notes on the walls in the bathroom from visitors. It shows how much people love Haiti.
Moulin Sur Mer: One of the most charming hotels in Haiti. I felt like I was staying at a family members house. I felt welcomed and at home! Although the rooms are a little are small, they are beautifully decorated as authentic gingerbread style and very comfortable. Visit the Ogier-Fombrun Museum located near the entrance of the hotel. There’s no tour guide, but you’ll be able to see lots of history and learn a lot!
Check it out here!
My heart is full of joy, pleasure and happiness. I recently returned from my trip to Haiti to participate in the special ceremony with President Michel Martelly and the Minister of Tourism Ms. Stephanie Villedrouin for the official logo & slogan launch. I wish there were words to describe the feelings that I experienced there. Just like the slogan for the country, you just have to experience it.
One day I was a woman behind a computer writing about how much I love Haiti and the next, I was speaking in Haiti about how I came up with the country's slogan. It was a very surreal moment, but I took all of the love and support in with open arms.
The night before the ceremony, I got the invitation cards and was told that I was going to have to give a 2-3 minute speech in front of the President, the Minister and all of the guests. I calmly replied, "no problem at all," but inside I was slightly freaking out! This was my chance to show Haiti my passion and love for the country. My husband kept telling me that as long as I speak from the heart, I will have no problem with my words. Once again, he was right.
When it came time for my speech, I went up and the words just flowed. I explained how I thought of the slogan...a night on the couch with writers block. I was stressing about what to come up with. I told my husband, "I don't know how to explain it, you just have to experience it yourself." And then I said, "that's it!!!!" and went to the computer and submitted my entry. Then I told the audience about this blog and how I want feedback, stories and ideas to make it even better.
The ceremony ended with President Martelly and others dancing to a RARA band. The whole night was magical. An EXPERIENCE that I will never forget. I want thank the President and the Ministry again for their generous prize and their support. My guests and I had the time of our lives. A night we will cherish forever. An experience that I cannot explain. Thank you all for your support!!!
More photos on Facebook.com/TheRealHaiti
Stay tuned for the ceremony video. Also, I will have an exclusive article on www.Brand-Haiti.org about the details of the event.