Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cooking and Recipes: Part 2

Baking observations:

Baking "from scratch" is something I have yet to really master. Since moving here, I have come accross several obstacles...

Sopapillas (source)
I’m having to figure out new baking recipes because the traditional American ingredients do not exist here (or I don’t know where to find them!)

There is no shortening, only butter and oil.

There is no brown sugar as the USA sells it (white sugar with molasses), just treacle sugar and caramel sugar. Brown sugar is just “unrefined sugar” here. I’m not sure if they taste the same. I’ve looked for molasses and found it in one store- but it was a YEAR past it’s due date!

There are no graham crackers- and I have really wanted to make graham cracker crusts lately. Do you have any suggestions for alternatives. Oreos come in really small packages, so I'd have to buy a lot of them...

The butter isn’t sold in “sticks” as it often is in the USA, but in bigger blocks, so when a recipe calls for one stick of butter, I have to figure out how much that really is in milliliters.

Finally, I have only now realized that my oven is not working right, so I might not get to make these recipes any time soon. 

Emergency Chocolate Cake (source)

Creamy Caramel Sauce (source)

Cream Cheese Brownies (source)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar (source)

 Song of the Post: Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie by Jay and the Techniques.

 Please ignore the cheesy audience! And the track suit...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cooking and Recipies: Part 1

I have started developing an interest in cooking more interesting things lately. However I am always looking for quick, and low ingredient recipes.If its healthy, that's a plus!
Sour Cream Enchiladas (source)

Since moving to a country that uses the Metric system and measures temperature in Celsius, I have had to convert many recipes to make them work here. I had to buy a measuring cup that had milliliters and cups on it, and then convert the temperature to its equivalent in degrees Celsius. 

I’m the type of person that bookmarks yummy recipes when I come across them, so I have a lot waiting to be tested. There are many recipes that I just cannot make because I don’t have the ingredients here. I’m slowly finding recipes made in South Africa and other countries that have ingredients that I can find in SA.

So here are some of the meals that I am planning on making sometime in the future (they aren’t that healthy though):
Butternut Squash Fries (source)

Buttermilk Baked Chicken (source)
"Army" Chicken (source)

Buffalo Chicken Dip (source)

I’ll make an entirely separate post with all the dessert recipes!

What are some recipes that you want to make soon? I’d love to see what you’ve got planned for the table!

P.S.- I misspelled recipe every time I wrote it- apparently I like to spell it recipie. Thanks spell chnck!

Song of the Post: Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Camps Bay Beach and Loneliness.

I’ve been missing my people! 

I have a long history of not keeping up with friends over summer vacation, moving across the country, or moving across the world. Not many people have kept up with me either, so I’m not sure if I’m just friends with people who have the same communication style, or whether its “out of sight, out of mind.”

Homeless woman with holes in her socks.

I try not to be lonely here, but it is hard. 

Really hard sometimes. This is what I didn’t expect about my move...

I sent out e-mails to people last week, and only one person responded (thanks auntie!). 

Many sea shells!

Trash on the beach; green vuvuzela.

Part of the reason that I haven’t e-mailed people much is that I use this blog as a medium of communication. Early on, my friends and family commented, but most have stopped commenting now.

My hubby, playing.

I have a widget that tells me which cities across the world have looked at my blog, and I can tell that not many of my friends or family has checked it out very often. 

I can’t help it, I feel forgotten. 

Family playing.
Foot print. Toe print?


But at the same time, I KNOW that it is up to ME to keep up with people through e-mail, facebook, or telephone. 

Me, playing.
  Enough that they want to share with me too, of their own accord.

There was a kid/young adult surfing competition going on that day.

We have not gotten any mail from the USA (except from Chase Bank, animal control, and junk mail)- no letters or care packages.

New friends.
 I do have a local AZ number through Skype, so it’s not that hard to call (and if you ask, I’ll give it to you)! 

I hate thinking like this; feeling "whiny"; and I hate making people feel guilty…but this is my reality and I need to communicate it. 

Throw the ball!

PLEASE help me.
Please help me feel connected and not so alone. Even just one e-mail or call a month to keep me going and feed my soul.

So this is my promise: I will be contacting all my friends and family in the next week. I hope that I will get some positive responses…

I miss you!!

P.S. Thank you so much to those few who have kept in touch through e-mail and telephone!! It is amazing.

Song of the Post: A song by The Beatles, With a Little help from My Friends as sung by Joe Cocker.

My favorite lines:
“What would you do if I sang out of tune, Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song, And I'll try not to sing out of key. Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends…”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Last Saturday, one of our friends took us to Mzoli’s butchery and restaurant. It is in the Guguletu neighborhood and it was like nothing we have ever experienced. Please read more about it here. What we were told is that it started as a butcher shop in 2003, then they started braaing their lunches and they put some tables out to eat at. More and more people came and by 2006 it was incredibly popular for the locals and tourists. This place has a “bare bones” menu (there isn’t actually a menu…), so you need to come prepared. Beware: not vegetarian friendly.

The Butcher Shop.
The seating area.

What to bring on a trip to Mzoli’s:
-Napkins/paper towels! I cannot stress this enough.
Street vendors and car guards.
-Baby wipes if you hate the “sticky” feeling on your fingers.  
-Your own drinks: water, soda, beer, alcohol, mixers. Your choice!
-Own cups (especially if you brought stuff for mixed drinks). If you forget some, you can buy some cups made out of beer bottles from street vendors across the street.
-Silverware (mostly if you bring sides; every one eats the meat with their hands) and a knife (to cut the bigger pieces of meat). 
-Side dishes, if you so please. You can buy sliced bread there if you want. 

Drinking glasses made out of beer bottles.

The braai. See how smokey it is?!

Gotta represent!

How it goes: Bring cash. They have ATMs there, but they maybe in disrepair or out of order. Go to the butcher (to the left of the dining area) and choose your meat. They have various cuts of chicken, beef, pork, lamb and they have boerewors sausage. You can order a marinade if you want- I suggest you do, it’s the best part! You carry your tub of meat down the hallway out back and leave it in queue. Then, spend many minutes searching for a free table… really was yummy!
Before, in our tub.

The hookah, and the bread!

The Saturday we went, at about 1:30 was cray-zy! It felt like spring break in Tijuana! It’s a possibility that it was the weekend before Varsity starts up here again, but I sure wasn’t expecting it. People were dancing at their tables, drinking, smoking on hookahs, and there was a DJ spinning tunes. It is hot in there, so they have water misters that turn on sporadically. Be prepared to wait at least 45 minutes for your food, so eat some of your snacks while waiting- but not too much because the meat is the main attraction!

The crowd.
We would definitely go back, but during the week to see if it is a more mellow atmosphere. Its funny- we almost felt too old for it, but not quite! And there were people definitely older than us there…


P.S.- Wear clothing that’s nice but you don’t mind getting dirty if need be!
P.P.S.- I tried a South African Twix bar and it tastes nothing like the USA’s. I think the cookie crisp is different.

Song of the day: After Party by Ozomatli
The sound and picture aren't perfect, but it's the best video of this song on the internet.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monthaversary Five: Our new Home in Pictures.

This last month has meant a lot of changes for us. Primarily, we moved into an adorable little cottage (guest house/granny flat) that was completely dirty. It is now only partially dirty. Haha. Please bear in mind that all the pictures show some of the previous tenants things and some of ours during the moving in process. I'll probably never show "after pictures" so here you go:

The bedroom- not our bedding!
There are so many nooks and crannies and high ceilings that I can’t dust. I’m also realizing how sandy our yard is and how easily we get dog hair, dirt, sand, and grass on our floor. We have 3 exterior doors on the first floor, on the loft, we have two doors. There are three pocket doors on the first floor. The furniture is nothing to brag about. But all in all, this place has a lot of cuteness potential!

The "BICs" (aka built in closets). You can see the "kitchen" in the back.

It has been a HUGE adjustment, moving from a large 2-bedroom house to a tiny cottage. It is the smallest place we have ever shared. The entire footprint of our place is often the size of a bedroom in other homes. We have opened up many of our boxes now that we are in more permanent housing, so that has helped alleviate some of the space issues. Some boxes were half full of paper packaging!

The width of our kitchen. Really.
The sink- if you turn around, you find the stove and microwave.

The bathroom sink and washing machine. Not pictured: the water heater hanging sideways above the sink.

Our toilet- yes really!
Our dogs have had to adjust as well. They love the yard. Love it. Reeces is back to her old self. She can find things to keep herself busy for hours. The hardest part for Etta has been the stairs. The stairs are semi-open air, so sometimes her paws slide right on through and she falters; she has fallen down the stairs a few times. She gets better at them every day. We do try to limit how many times she goes up and down them so that she doesn’t strain herself too much.

The treacherous stairs and the dryer. Ignore the cleaning supplies.
One of the doors upstairs.

See the thatching!? Using the rafters like this is our solution for extra storage.

We celebrated the 4th of July with a Mexican dinner at another American’s house. We made a double batch of tortillas, salsa bandera, and pinto beans. They grilled/braaied some carne asada. I tried my first cup of rooibos tea. It was a nice day.

Doesn't this look idyllic? Pink flowers, Devil's Peak in the background, and a pool in front.

This week, my husband lost his wedding ring. He has lost weight, so the ring had become looser. Since it is winter here, it is cold and his fingers got even thinner. We think he lost it while bike riding home from work. I’m ambivalent about how to feel. I could take it personally and be upset about him losing the symbol of our marriage and love. But I think my ideas about material possessions have changed, and I’m not as upset as I would have been. I’d like him to wear a ring, but does it truly, really matter what type of ring it is? To me, what matters most is his intention to keep his marriage vows true. Everything is else is just icing.

R.I.P. wedding ring....

I made it to 100 followers this month! And I’ve had at least people from 55 countries look at my blog. I think that is amazing!


Song of the month: Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a good live version…Such a beautiful love song for children or lovers.

Here is a nice cover of it sung by a young girl.