Saturday, May 30, 2009

Passion Fruit Cake

I'm starting to try a number of recipes using some of the exotic fruit we have here. This one uses passion fruit pulp (seeds and all) and is not only easy to make, but delicious.

3/4 C butter softened
3/4 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1/3 C passion fruit pulp
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add the flour and passion fruit and mix well. Put in a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until comes clean with a toothpick.

Frosting: Mix together well 3/4 C of softened butter with 1 C of powdered sugar and 1/4 C passion fruit pulp.

This frosting isn't stiff, but was fantastic poured over the cake once it cooled. It's also very sweet, so this cake should serve about nine people.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Open wide!

Our internet has been down since the weekend. We finally decided to try a small internet cafe in town. Hopefully it will be working tomorrow.

With all the feedback I received on my hippo photos, I had to post this one that comes with a warning to parents to cut down on your kids sweets! LOL

I'm planning to post another book giveaway on Monday if my internet is up and running. So be sure and stop by for the chance to win one of several copies of Love Finds you in Revenge, Ohio!



Saturday, May 23, 2009

Safely home

We're finally home after an uneventful trip from the capital. We ended up spending last night in Maputo because we were going to get home after dark. With the roads all full of potholes, it's simply not safe to drive at night. The kids didn't mind too much. We were able to get Jayden a bunk bed and have pizza and ice cream for dinner.

I was amazed at how much we were able to stuff in the car. Along with Jayden's new bunk bed, we were able to stock up on supplies for the upcoming mission teams that will be here in June and July. A lot of food items, even basics like milk and oil, cost twice as much here, so whenever it's possible we try and stock up either in Maputo or South Africa.

Here are some photos of Maputo from our third story hotel room.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Safari Photos

Finally picked up the car tonight and will be heading home tomorrow. We spent the day at Kruger, and while it wasn't a great day as far as seeing lots of animals, we still had a lot of fun. Some of the highlights were three cheetahs lounging under a tree. They were close enough for us to see the, but not close enough for me to get a good photo. We heard later that some people saw them kill a warthog in the same area.

Loved watching the hippos as well, as they managed to show more than just their ears out of the water. Otherwise, we only saw one elephant, a handful of zebra, a dozen or so giraffe, and a lion that was too far away to really see. (Looked like a rock to me!)

Enjoy the photos,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trekking across Africa. . .oh my!

Someone recently told me they assumed that all our traveling across Africa must be like a bunch of vacations. I had to chuckle, because while we've definitely seen a number of amazing places and enjoy traveling, it's not always easy. Take yesterday for example.

We try to limit our trips to the capital by combining necessary errands, but some trips are unavoidable. We set off yesterday with a number of things that had to be taken care of. Besides stocking up on supplies for the mission teams arriving next month, we also have a number of business things that have to be done. While there is a car insurance off in our small town, they aren't connected by computer to the main office, so we learned first hand that if you pay there, you're insurance will likely be cancelled. This means it has to be paid in person in the capital.

We also needed a signature on an official document from a lady in the capital in order for us to file the papers for us to continue living here as our one year dery expires next month. Lastly, we have to take our car to a mechanic in South Africa as parts in Mozambique are hard to come by.

So we started off yesterday morning with plans to make it to the capital for lunch, run our errands there, then cross the boarder so the car could be dropped off this morning. Because of the problems we'd had with the car, I drove a second car in case we broke down as it had only been temporarily fixed.

An hour into the trip, Scott was pulled over by the police. Now the odds of getting a speeding ticket here, whether you've been speeding or not is high. So I waited up ahead, he paid the mandatory forty bucks we always keep with us and we headed off. Now the roads, especially in this long section are horrid and that's putting it nicely. I wove through potholes down the narrow stretch, trying to avoid as many as I could. Then at one point I missed one hug hole spanning the road and ran over a second.

The moment my tire hit the hole I knew I was in trouble. Immediately, I pulled over and sure enough, I'd ruined the tire and crushed the rim. For my first flat tire in Africa, it was a doozy. I called Scott on the walkie-talkie and he turned around to help. By the time we were on the road again, we'd lost more time. The kids were hungry, so we bought gas and bread, (there is no fast food)

We finally made it to the capital with only minutes to spare as the insurance place closes at 3:45. (Strange, I know.) They were getting ready to lock the door, but Scott begged for them to let him in which they did. Our insurance expired today, so we didn't want to have to spend the night in the capital. Scott rushed off to get the needed signature, and we forego the rest of what we had to do and headed for the boarder.

By now, it was dark and the kids were hungry, but the missionary guest house we were going to stay in was fixing us dinner, so we decided to grab a small burger for the kids across the boarder to hold them over, then drive the last hour to the guest house.

After an uneventful boarder crossing, KFC was a welcome sight. The ATM was broke, so we couldn't get money, but we scrounged for cash and had just enough to buy everyone a small chicken burger and pay for the upcoming toll. We got ready to leave and. . .Scott couldn't start his car. And it wasn't just that it wouldn't start, he couldn't even turn the key.

He called someone over from the gas station next door to see if they could help him, but after fifteen minutes, nothing. I noticed a guy pull up at the KFC with a 24 hour emergency car service on his car, so after praying over our car, we snagged him and asked for his help. Problem was, we had no cash to pay anyone to help us. Scott then sent me on to the next gas station to find an ATM, but when I got there, it was broken as well. I'd seen a sign that said three kilometers to the next town, so I headed off to the next town. By the time Scott called me on the phone, I realized that I was in the middle of nowhere and there were no towns and I must have read the sign wrong. But Scott had finally started the car (Praise God!) and with me headed down the highway (thankfully in the right direction) he caught up with me and we headed--again--for the guest house.

We arrived about nine o'clock and the wonderful hosts had saved us roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. The only problem was that I was so tired and hungry after eating so little all day, that I crashed and was asleep within a few minutes. I'm feeling much better today. Our cars in the shop, the flat tires being fixed, and while the kids are working on school work, I plan to start working on my Zondervan edits.

Depending on the car situation, we're hoping to spend tomorrow at the game park, though I might just curl up and sleep. :-)



Friday, May 15, 2009

Another typical day. . .

I had to laugh at Scott's facebook post this morning.

"Took one of the Pajero's in for repair this morning with the parts needed. Will it be done today as promised? The parts for the second Pajero are to arrive today by plane from South Africa. Will they arrive? Will the second car be fixed tomorrow? More suspense than your daily Soap Opera, but just another typical day here in Mozambique."

Ah, another typical day. More than that, though, is that God is using it to teach me every day to relax and go with the flow. Something that can be quite a challenge to me. I've always been a highly-structured fairly organized person, who used to live by my watch. Now, I don't even wear one. What's really important in life has also changed.

One thing that always puts things into prospective is when I see a man, like the one in this photo, pushing his goods on a cart and I'm reminded how blessed I am to have a car to fix.

Today I want to be thankful for His blessings and be aware of how I can be a blessing to those around me.

On another note, if you missed winning a copy Wild Prairie Roses in my last drawing, visit Lena's blog for a chance to win another copy today! Scroll down to my interview and leave a comment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brazilian Trip Praise Report

As many of you know, Scott and his uncle just returned from two weeks in Brazil, meeting with two couples and a single lady who are interested in joining us in our work. We met these wonderful people while we were in language school last year, and while we never imagined recruiting while we lived in Brazil, God had other plans in mind. It's been an amazing journey as over the past year God has continued to move in the hearts of these dear friends.

Luis, Fernanda, and Luciana have now committed to come to Mozambique this October to
join our family full time in the work here. The second couple is praying and fasting right now for a confirmation of their desire to join the team. This is wonderful news for our ministry and for our family in particular.

Please pray for these friends of ours as they make preparations to come and praise God for His supplying of much needed harvesters for Mozambique!



P.S. I received an email from one of my readers, pointing out that I left out a couple directions on the peanuts in my last post. Here's what my aunt had to say. "While the peanuts are in the oven, stir them a little, but not much. And I put the oven on low, about 200 degrees fahrenheit, as you just want to dry them out. If it's too high, it will melt the sugar and you will get a hard caramel coating."

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hungry anyone?

Sugar Cane

I've been meaning to post all week, but it's been hectic with Scott gone, keeping up with school for the kids, and finishing up a manuscript. He finally returned yesterday with good news regarding the couples considering joining us here. I'll blog more on that later once everything is worked out.

I've written before on the challenges of cooking here. For the most part, by making my rounds of all the tiny shops in the area, I've been able to adapt my cooking to fit what is available. I was stuck recently, at how my kids have also adapted to living here in regards to what the eat. There are no instant/traditional snack foods here (sometimes I can find chips, but that's about it) so with three growing kids who are always hungry, I've had to get creative.

While some of our favorite snacks, like fruit, popcorn, yogurt, and vegetable sticks, are more in line with traditional snacks, others are pretty unique to this area. We roast our own peanuts, pop our own popcorn, and snack on regional things like Tenzewa--I have no idea how to spell this, but this is what our neighbor calls it--where you break off the outside shell and eat the powdery insides. Sugar cane is one of Gabe's favorite snacks, but I picture rotting teeth and don't let him have it often.

Favorite fruits are green oranges, bananas, mango, pineapple, and passion fruit. The boys love scooping out the insides of the passion fruit and eating it, seeds and all. (This is my favorite as well!)


Roasted Peanuts

If you're feeling adventurous, try this yummy receipe from my aunt.

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 or 2 t. cinnamon (to taste)
Mix sugar and cinnamon in heavy skillet, and add water and heat until dissolved. Add 4 cups of raw peanuts and continue cooking peanuts over medium heat. Cook and stir until sugar has dried. Put into medium oven for 30 minutes or more.

You can leave out the cinnamon if you want that. I always use my iron skillet and I cook them until the sugar dries on the sides and down into the bottom for a ways. If you try to cook it till it is dry all the way, it will begin caramelizing the sugar and make it hard.



Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Book winners!

Congratulations to the five winners of Wild Prairie Roses. My kids drew the numbers to keep everything fair. :-) Drawing from both blogger comments and my newsletter list, the winners are. . .

mary_zander, susans_book_sets, rdinges, Shirl, and Kelly Kiggins-Lund.


Please contact me here with your snail mail address so I can send you a copy of the book.

Thank you so much to those of you who left a comment on why you love historicals. I loved reading your answers. And if you didn't win, I'll be holding another contest on the first of June for my upcoming historical release with Summerside Press, Love Finds you, in Revenge, Ohio. I'm really excited about this book that is to be released next month and will be available at all your local book stores.

"The only thing worse than being a spinster is being a twice-jilted spinster. At twenty-five, Catherine Morgan is hardly an old maid. But she’s given up on marriage and instead manages the family’s general store in the small town of Revenge, Ohio. Bound by a promise to care for her three sisters until they marry, she’ll do anything to keep them safe. But Sheriff Corbin Hunter stands in her way. He has evidence that her sister’s fiancé is really an infamous bank robber—and the man who murdered his father. Catherine finds herself torn between saving her sister’s heart and losing hers to the man who jilted her seven years ago. Will Corbin’s desire for revenge cause him to lose Catherine a second time?"

“This story has all the elements I love in a good read: mystery, romance, and faith. Add a fun historical setting and a fast-moving plot, and Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio is a winner.”
~Susan Page Davis, author of the Frasier Island series.

". . .riveting suspense and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing until the very end. Fans of historical romance won't want to miss this one." ~Carol Cox, author of A Bride So Fair and A Test of Faith

Friday, May 01, 2009

Win a copy of Wild Prairie Hearts

It's been another busy week with Scott in Brazil while I hold down the fort at home. The kids have been working hard at school and I've stayed busy by judging entries for a writing contest, reading through gallies for two of my books coming out this summer, and writing

I've just received my author copies of Wild Prairie Hearts! The book is scheduled to hit the shelves in a couple of weeks, so if you don't win a copy you should be able to find it at your local bookstore.

This month, I'll be giving away FIVE copies of the book. If you're signed up for my newsletter, you'll be automatically entered. (You can easily sign up on my blog at the top) A comment left between now and midnight on Monday (PST) gives you another chance to win. So leave a comment below, letting me know what you love about historicals (I'd really like to know!) and that you'd like to win a copy.

Looking forward to hearing from you!