Saturday, November 28, 2009

Look who's coming to Cape Town...

Two very dear friends from Seattle, Ben and Jen are coming out to see Eliot and I in South Africa! I've done a lot of racing with these guys on their boat (Moore 24 named More Uff Da), and they really are two of the most fun loving people I know. This photo is from a few years ago, and almost immediately after it was taken the lifeline snapped sending us three girls into the frigid November waters of Puget Sound! As soon as we bobbed back up and realized what had happened we just fell into a fit of giggles. Always a great time with this crew, I can't wait to show them our little world down here in South Africa.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Goodness

Eliot and I realized last night that this is our 4th Thanksgiving together, and in the past 4 years we've celebrated it in 4 different countries and on 3 different continents! Although it is an American holiday, he seems to love celebrating it just as much as the rest of us. This year we were really lucky to also be able to celebrate it with my parents who are in South Africa visiting. We didn't have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (much too hot now in SA to roast a turkey, + we didn't want to spend a whole day of my parent's holiday cooking), but we haven't actually had any "traditional" Thanksgiving dinners for the past 4 years. So I guess we kind of kept up with our own tradition in that sense.

So..... This year I'm thankful for:

Travel! And being able to do so much of it with the person I love the most.

Here's rundown of our past 4 Thanksgivings.

~2006: Cashew Chicken feast on Similan Island #4 in Thailand~

~2007: Snowboarding at Okemo in Vermont~

~2008: Roast Chicken Dinner in Fuyang China with our ex-pat friends~

~2009: Spaghetti feast in Cape Town South Africa~

Can't wait to see what the years ahead bring us, maybe next year we'll do something new and spend it in the states with a proper turkey! Happy Holidays everyone :o)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If this isn't bliss...

Then I don't know what is.

I swear the ocean has completely changed colors. It's now a turquoise blue that fades into a deep ocean green as it gets deeper. The sky has completely rid itself of any clouds, and everything looks so bright and beautiful. I have a good friend here visiting me and my parents arrive in Cape Town this weekend which I'm so excited about. And I have 2 more great friends coming the week after them! I'm a lucky girl. Next week is Thanksgiving and I have A LOT to be thankful for.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Friends in Cape Town

Well... Just one for right now. There's so much going on. Holly arrived late Wednesday night. We've been having a lot of fun exploring Cape Town together. We went downtown on Thursday, hiked the Lion's Head on Friday, market shopping and wine tasting in Stellenbosch on Saturday, and Sunday Holly hung out on the beach in Langabaan while Eliot and I went kite boarding. It's really cool to have a friend from home here when we're in such a far away place. I'm so happy it worked out the way it did for her to come out and visit. Here's some photos of our adventures so far:

~Tapas for lunch in Downtown Cape Town~

~Margaritas at Poncho's, seriously, THE BEST margaritas~

~Holly on top of the Lion's Head~

~Table Mountain from the Lion's Head~

~Summertime flowers~


~Cliff face of the Lion's Head~

~Wine tasting- A definite must for anyone who visits Cape Town~


~This is one of the oldest wineries that's been here since 1659, they're in the process of preserving their cobwebs~

~Wine Barrells~

Kite boarding progression:

I'm was so excited and am still on a high after Sunday's kite boarding. I feel like it's the first day where I can actually say I went kite boarding (rather than being awkwardly dragged downwind). I'm feeling a lot happier with myself and the sport, and it seems like every time we go out things get better, and I learn a ton more. I'm goofy footed (right foot forward) so going to the right is a lot easier for me than to the left (exact opposite for Eliot), but I was able to go both ways and keep the kite powered up for a decent amount of time. It's such a rush and I'm itching to get out again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Comfort Food for a Rainy Day

So our beautiful Cape Town weather disappointed us a bit this weekend. We woke up Saturday morning rearing to go kite boarding, and were very disappointed when we got up to our spot and there was way too much wind. There were no other kiters out (never a good sign in Cape Town), and we watched 2 people put their kites in the air, almost fly away and drop them back down again without even attempting to get in the water. Plus, the rain was starting to set in, which was making things even more unpleasant.

Sunday we woke up to our roof shaking, and sideways rain. Before we even got out of bed we decided it would be a great day to spend indoors. Eliot had some work he wanted to do and I thought it would be a great afternoon to do some baking in preparation for all the visitors that are about to arrive. (I do mean ABOUT, Holly's plane lands in just a few short hours.)

On a side note, I went on a diet and Eliot lost weight. There's something really really unfair about the differences between men and women's bodies, and how he loses weight because I make the effort to cook differently. Anyways, it doesn't matter, I don't think I'm fat, but I'm just trying to rein in my recent eating habits that have been spiraling out of control since we left China and entered the world of wonderful food again (aka the world of bread, pasta and other delicious carbs that I haven't felt the need to deny in any way...until now).

(*I realize that this blog doesn't really go along very well with my low carb diet plan, but you should know I've been practicing the BEST self control within my abilities.)

Here's the menu for Sunday afternoon:

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to freeze for quick Chocolate Chip Cookies in a pinch

(Didn't take a photo, wasn't that exciting)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (At Eliot's request)

Lemon-Sour Currant Coffee Cake- A recipe I got from THIS LOVELY FRIEND

Coconut Cupcakes with Curry Lemon Curd and Basil Cream Frosting

~Baby Cakes with Curry Lemon Curd on top~

~Applying the Basil Cream Frosting~

Recipe For Cupcakes:

Sweet Basil Cream
1 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1 bunch Fresh Basil
6 C confectioners sugar
8oz. packet cream cheese

Sweet Curry Lemon Curd
1 C Sugar
2 eggs
2 Tsp. Mild Curry Powder
3/4 C Lemon Juice (about 3 lemons)
3 Lemons zested
1/4 C Unsalted Butter (melted)

Coconut Cupcakes
1 (18.25 oz) Package of White Cake Mix
1 1/4 C Sweetened Flaked Coconut
3 eggs
1/3 C vegetable oil
2 Tsp Coconut extract

Sweet Basil Cream
Heat whipping cream in saucepan until hot (not boiling). Turn off heat and add bunch of basil, let seep for 1 hr. Allow to refrigerate overnight, strain and discard basil.

Sweet Curry Lemon Curd
In lg microwave bowl whisk white sugar, 2 eggs and curry powder until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in microwave stirring at one minute intervals until thick. Should do this in reasonably large bowl, it tends to grow and bubble a lot while it cooks. Pour through and sieve and refrigerate at least 3 hours (I did mine overnight) until it's the consistency of pudding.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius (347 degrees F)
Combine white cake mix and coconut flakes in mixing bowl. Stir in water, 3 eggs, vegetable oil and coconut extract. Scoop cake batter into prepared muffin tins filling 2/3 full. Bake until golden brown (about 20 min) and cool completely.

In a chilled bowl whip basil cream and 3 C confectioner's sugar until stiff peaks form. In separate bowl beat cream cheese and remaining 3 C confectioner's sugar until smooth and soft. Fold in whip cream and mix gently until completely combined.

Spread 1 Tsp curry lemon curd on top of cupcake and then put on a dollop of basil Cream frosting. Garnish with baby basil leaf (if you so wish).


It was a great day to take advantage of the weather, stay inside and fill the house with lovely warm aromas coming from the oven.

So now I have tons of Curry Lemon Curd and Sweet Basil Cream Frosting left over. Does anyone have any good ideas to utilize these? I would love any suggestions.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kruger National Park- Part III

I think by now I don't have to say that we did indeed see a lot of animals. We're still talking about our trip, and amazed at the things we saw. The lions seem to be the star attraction in the park. Everywhere you go people are looking for lions, and they tend to draw the biggest crowd of cars. But I'm quite convinced that cats don't do ANYTHING at all, unless they're hungry. All the lions we saw were normally lazing around in a shady spot. But they are incredible to see.

Mama and cubs

Loving on eachother

Probably the most charismatic animals. We had so much fun taking photos of these guys when we went on a walk around our camp one morning.

Vervet Monkeys

Chacma Baboons

The most elusive of all the animals we saw in the park. The rhinos seemed very shy, which I think is probably a good thing. They're one of the biggest targets for poachers. They're horns are sought after in the Chinese markets because they're believed to be an aphrodisiac. Completely untrue, but little seems to be stronger than the Chinese superstition. I read in an article yesterday that in Mozambique they are removing all the horns from their wild rhinos to make them less of a target for poachers, apparently the horns grow back, but I'm not sure this is really the answer.

Post mud bath

Other critters we saw


~When I was a young WARTHOG!~

~When HE was a young WARTHOG!~
(If you've never seen The Lion King that won't make sense- sorry)


~My RHYMES are bottomless~
(if you've never seen Flight of the Concords that won't make sense either- sorry again)

Hippos and Crocs

The African Buffalo- The deadliest of the Big 5


Lazy pooch having a stretch.

Spotted Hyena: Strongest jaws in the animal kingdom.

Hyenas taking over a watering hole and making the zebra very nervous. This was before the giraffe saved the day.

And I'm done. It was really a special trip for us, and I'm glad I have such great memories to keep and hold onto. We're really fortunate to be able to experience the place we're living in to such extents, and I'm glad I have an outlet to share it with you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kruger National Park- Part II

2nd installment of Kruger photos. The giraffe were so beautiful and I was in complete awe of them. They seem like they're moving slow, but with those long legs they cover a lot of ground really quickly.

Tall horse

Tongue in nose. This was a little guy, you can tell by the light coloring.

We watched this guy for a while. This watering hole was surrounded by hyenas (not pictured) and the zebra weren't quite brave enough to get near it, but the giraffe didn't have much of a problem. We could tell he took some time looking around before crouching down into this awkward position. It can't be too easy to get out of in a hurry.

I thought it was really cool getting some shots of him in this position.

Slowly the zebra started gaining more confidence and went for the water.

Everywhere you look in the Kruger there's some sort of antelope hanging out, feeding on grass or small bushes. Seemingly unafraid of the cars, but always on the lookout for something else lurking in the grass.

Water Buck: Nuzzling or getting ready to have it out? I think they were friends ;-)

Impala: Definitely had the biggest presence in the park.

Steinbok: We thought these ones looked like Bambi. Completely full grown, but probably wouldn't come up past my knees.

More impala. These ones actually were having it out.


I couldn't believe how many vibrantly colored birds we saw. All different shapes and sizes, and a lot of personalities. Here's just a handful.

Horn Bill

Saddle Billed Stork: Endangered in South Africa and less than 100 in Kruger.

Pink Stork

I can't remember what this guy was called, but he was so pretty and whenever he did his little song he would put his head straight down and shake his whole body.

Grey "go-away" Bird: Not sure how he got the name.

Water Thick-knee

These guys were harrassing us at breakfast and this one took off with the bacon fat I'd left on my plate.

Yellow Billed Kite: Feeding on something in the early morning.


Vulture drying out his wings.

Vulture sitting on a nest.

I'll post the last of them tomorrow! It's nice stretching my weekend adventure out over a few posts. Tomorrow you can look forward to lions, rhinos and other critters!
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