Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Under $20

Remember in China how I was always so impressed with how much I could get for so little?  My Namibian shopping experiences are not at all like my experience in China.  I have to take a pasta salad to a party on Saturday.  According to the recipe it serves 12, but since it is a potluck side dish I figure it will serve more.  

  • Medium jar of mayo (generic was $1.90 cheaper a jar than Hellman's)
  • Red wine vinegar (hopefully!  Didn't see any red wine vinegar at the store, but decided brown grape vinegar might be it.  Generic was $6.28 cheaper than German brand)
  • Black olives (jar, but equivalent of a can of olives in the US)
  • 1 kg of spiral pasta (saved just over $4 by getting non-colored over tri-colored)
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 4 tomatoes

Maybe I am just really cheap and out of touch with US prices, but this seemed like it cost a lot. Often there is not a choice of brand. Since some of the items here had a local or imported option, I was able to save. For produce I got the cheapest option. All the produce was looking pretty dismal.  There are some other ingredients that I already have on hand.  We will see how it tastes.  Perhaps I should have spent $12 to get "quality" ingredients. 

Of course I also purchased additional items including 1.06 gallons of milk ($6.85) and 17 cough drops ($3.32).  The cough drops taste like burped up sausage, though they claim to be cherry flavored.  I think I will stop coughing just to avoid using one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eggplant Recipe?

When we lived in China we used to go to a nearby restaurant and get an eggplant dish that I absolutely LOVED.  I never knew eggplant could be so delicious.  So today when I was on allrecipes.com and saw they had a Chinese site, I wondered if perhaps that site might have a dish similar to the one I loved so much.  Well, they might; I am afraid that even with (or perhaps because of) the babelfish translation of the page, I will never know.  I think this one is close though!  http://allrecipes.cn/caipu/2009/----.aspx
0 Easy Altogether takes time: 25 minutes
Prepares 10 minutes to manufacture 15 minutes

Component: 3

The daily family activity eggplant is together the delicacy the good for both young and old cooked food. The land has the different cooking method color fragrance to be but complete.

Preparation material
Eggplant 500 grams
Tender garlic stem 2
Green pepper 3
Auricularia auricula 50 grams
Oil 7 buckets
Thick bean sauce 1 bucket
Soy sauce 1 bucket
Salt, monosodium glutamate respectively right amount
Water starch 1 bucket
Chili oil 1 bucket

Manufacture method

1. Peels the cleaning the eggplant, slivers the length 4 centimeters, thick 1 centimeter strip; Slivers the section the tender garlic stem cleaning; Slivers the scrap the green pepper.

2. On the wok burns down the heat, puts in the oil 4 buckets, pours into the eggplant strip to turn fries several, adds the salt, bakes receives basically to the eggplant strip moisture content does, bails out the oil asphalt is ready to be used dry.

3. The wok gets angry again, puts in the oil 3 buckets, fries the fragrant thick bean sauce, gets down the tender garlic stem section, the auricularia auricula and the blue hot pepper block fries the fragrance, pours into the eggplant strip, uses the soy sauce to blend flavors again, the water used starch thickens soup, to drench into the chili oil to fry uniform then.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

18 Months Already!

Last week TB (short for Tiny Baby since I am trying so hard not to call him Tiny or Tiny Baby anymore) turned 18 months.  A friend of mine was coming up with ideas for her son's birthday cake, so I decided that half birthdays are great reasons to have a cake and made one for TB.  I ate about half of it.  Oops.  I also discovered that I need to call way in advance for well baby checkups with the pediatrician.  We don't get in until July 6th.  Evidently there are only 6 pediatricians for a country the size of California (much smaller population though).  Oh well.  Don't really have concerns about how he is doing so it isn't that big of a deal.

To add to Ryan's previous word list, he can now also say:
snack (meaning fruit snacks, something Justin didn't even know about at 18 months!)
boo boo
Momo (name of toy hamster)
Justin (hard to understand, but consistent)
Diego (and Go, Diego, go)
Bo Bo (as in Bo Bo brother monkeys from Diego)
Click (from Diego)
llama (because of Diego)
Oh man!  (from Dora the Explorer)
teamwork (from Wonder pets.  He doesn't know what it is, but he knows it is what's going to work.)
Ha! Ha! Ha!

I think that these are new.  I was writing a list on the back of an envelope and tried not to make duplicates, but without having the other list in front of me I am not sure.  Regardless, even if every single one was a duplicate, Ryan can say much more than Justin's 10 words at 18 months.  I am surprised Ryan can say anything at all because Justin never shuts up!  When he runs out of things to say he just kind of stalls with mumbles as he looks around the room for an idea for a new topic.  I think sometimes he even bores himself, but he keeps at it.  Could we have a future lawyer or politician?  He is pretty creative with excuses too.

TB is already sleeping in a twin bed (with the toddler bed beside to "catch" him if he rolls off) while Justin was in the crib until we needed it for Ryan. He is climbing, jumping, and doing a lot of the things that Justin is doing now.  Maybe he will decide to use the potty soon.  Yeah, right.

Justin is Ryan's favorite person, with Diego a close second.  Too bad it isn't them that Ryan calls for in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Happy Birthday to Meredith!

     This year my sister, Meredith, has been writing nice tributes to family members on their birthdays.  Since I doubt that she will write one for herself, I decided that I should write one.  Hopefully, she will put a link on her blog to mine so that her friends can see how wonderful I think she is. 
     I don't have the writing ability or creativity that Meredith has.  To do her justice I should have started on this long ago.  I won't put it off until next year though.  It seems to me that all too often people put off saying nice things about people until they die.  It is nice to be able to share stories and memories about someone who has died, but isn't it nice to tell the person while they are still alive?
     Meredith and I are very different.  We have very little in common, yet I always enjoy the time I spend with her.  She is incredibly creative and that comes through in just about everything she does.  I love her writing, her drawing, her pictures, her crafts, and the way she is able to recount simple, everyday things in a way that has you on the edge of your seat.  To get a letter from Meredith means a handmade envelope, a cute little doodle, or witty words.  To have her tell you about something she saw or did is like you were there yourself.  I really admire her talent.  I often think that I have some good ideas, but not the talent to do with them the things she could do.  Maybe I am just lazy, but I feel like I would have to work so hard to come up short of what I see her regularly achieve.
     I see myself as a rather boring person.  I like to be safe, comfortable, and secure.  That may seem like an odd statement from someone who currently lives in Africa and moves every 2 or 3 years.  I don't like to take risks.  Meredith dreams big and finds ways to make it work.   I love the way she makes bold choices that I would never make.  She doesn't go for easy, she goes for exciting.  I would be a nervous wreck living the way she does, but I love that she does it.  I think that when she looks back on her life she will have very few regrets of things she did not do.
It was hard to decide what to write and what pictures to include.  I started with a huge pile, but realized that I needed to choose only a few.  I tried to find some that people may not have seen of her.  The first is pictures of sweet little Meredith when she was a newborn.  She is ten years younger than I am and seven years younger than our brother.  We were so excited to have a baby sister and we loved her to death.  At four pounds, four ounces she was like a doll.  Even at an early age she was her own person.  She had the cutest little facial expressions and she knew how to SCREAM!
This next picture was taken the second time we lived in Belgium.  I don't know exactly how old she was when it was taken, but kindergarten age is the oldest she could have been.  She decided that she wanted to marry someone we knew from church.  She made him a picture and I think considered it an engagement.  What a good sport he was!  Don't you just love Meredith's Rainbow Brite dress?  Very 80's.  She had a lot of clothes with personality including two jackets.  The purple one was Michael Jacket and the pink one was Janet Jacket.  How cute is that? 

Meredith and I generally got along.  Sure there was the normal squabbling that you would expect siblings to have, but with so many years between us we weren't competitive or anything.  She was my baby sister and I loved being a big sister to her.  When we did have fights, arguments, or whatever you want to call them, they didn't last long.  This is a note that she wrote to me near the end of my senior year.  She would have been just shy of eight years old.

Here is a picture of Miss Meredith A Bak playing T-ball.  Even at a young age she was good at sports. :P

I wish I knew when this picture was taken.  Obviously it was some Christmas.  I believe it was between 1991 and 1994, but no guarantee.  We decided to be "Bow Legged Sisters" though I am not sure why.
This is another Christmas picture.  I would guess it is also 1991 to 1994, but not the same Christmas as the previous picture.  Our dad had (and still has) a tendency to call Meredith my name.  One time she had a friend come over and when he answered the door he greeted her and said, "you must be Kathryn's friend."  Poor Meredith.  (In defense of my dad, I only have two children and I can't keep their names straight.  Not only do I call them each other's names, I call them my siblings' names as well!)  My dad had labeled some of our Christmas presents and we decided to label ourselves to make things easier for him.
Meredith has always been creative.  In high school she was into drama.  Here is a program from Meredith Madness II.  (Yes, there was a first Meredith Madness too.)  She wrote and directed all of the plays AND acted in most of them.  She has the ability to crack me up.  In college she continued to be part of a drama group that performed as far away as Hawaii.  Don't take a big sip of a drink when Meredith is talking, or you might just have it come spraying out your nose as you laugh.
This last picture is one drawn by Meredith to represent our family on a trip we took to Yellowstone in May of 2001.  There is our dad, mom, me, Meredith, our brother (Nathan), and his wife (Amy) holding their son, David.  Nathan and his family were living in Colorado at the time, I was living in Maryland, and Meredith was home from college for the summer.  Now I understand Meredith is not going to have pictures hung in museums as great masterpieces of our time, but I love her style.  She has made posters, books, shirts, and other things featuring her cartoonish art work.  It always brightens my day to see something that she has drawn.

I had hoped to go through this yesterday and fix it up a bit, but I had a migraine and didn't even turn on the computer.  There was something else that I wanted to add, but I can't remember what it was.  It will have to go online as is.  Sorry, dear Meredith, that it is not better.  I love you.  Happy, Happy, Birthday!