Ginger Citrus Salmon with Fruit & Beet Salad

While my sidekick and I were back in the US visiting family, I took the opportunity to try out some new recipes for my parents. I always have a great time trying out new recipes on them. Not only is it a chance for me to use ingredients I don’t have available wherever we are living but also to introduce my parents to something outside their normal rotation. For me, it gives me another set of tastebuds to test things out on and I’m sure a nice break for them having someone else cook.

Remember those beets I showed you how to roast earlier this month, well for dinner one night we were looking for something light and refreshing so we added them to a salad and topped it with a piece of salmon. Even my dad was raving about it…he’s gotten better about eating his vegetables over the years. As a kid, I remember him calling it “rabbit food” but these days he’s embracing it.

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Moroccan-Spiced Couscous

Several years ago, I discovered couscous and loved it. Not only was it something that tasted good but it is so incredibly simple to make. Some weeknights after an exhausting day at work or a long, slow commute home, I just needed something quick to make and couscous was an easy decision.

With just a little effort to measure out or chop up a few ingredients, you can create a variety of flavor combinations, making it an easy side dish for everyday meals. I am in love with the beautiful bright golden yellow hue the turmeric gave this Moroccan-spiced couscous. And, even more, it made the perfect accompaniment to my harissa chicken legs – the recipe for this to come!

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Loaded Taters | Father’s Day Breakfast

Before our son was even conceived let alone a plan, my husband and I started to refer to our one-day-future-child-to-be as our little tater tot (tater for short). We continued this after we found out we were pregnant last year and after finding out we were having a boy. Using it so much so that people wondered if that would be his name in some way or if we had even chosen a name yet or maybe we were keeping it a secret. Truth is we had a name picked out also before conceiving but tater had become the name we used to talk to and about our little guy and we loved it. But my husband and I are also big fans of nicknames so maybe this is weird…we don’t care though! I will admit it did feel weird to call him Jackson while in my belly and even after he was born but I converted quickly.

Even so, he’s still our little tater and as I thought about how to celebrate my husband’s first father’s day as a daddy, it struck me how fitting it would be to make him something with “taters.” Now, my husband is a huge fan of breakfast so my idea was quickly born – loaded taters (hash browns) with a fried egg, bacon, and all his favorite flavors. So whether you treat your baby’s daddy to a father’s day feast or just love breakfast, try this next weekend…it won’t disappoint!

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How to Roast Beets | Oven

A Hint of Ginger has been a little M.I.A. lately…I told you we were fired up to make the most of our new post in Cote d’Ivoire and then radio silence. Truth is – we’ve been quite busy! I know, likely excuse. We’ve been watching our little one grow and develop literally overnight and have been cheering him on maybe a little to emphatically for his tastes with every scoot across the floor as he recently inched toward crawling. We are working up the courage to start him on solid foods and make a foodie out of him early on. And we have already started showing him the world (more on our recent European get away coming soon).

In April, my sidekick and I took a trip back to the US to celebrate best-friend-since-kindergarten’s nuptials. We were so excited to escape the constant heat and humidity of Abidjan but ended up with colder-than-I-wanted weather, days of endless rain, and of course the same heat we sought to get away from. During those gloomy and rainy-for-days days, I felt like some nice roasted veggies would help the mood. And beets just seemed right, with their earthy, hearty flavor and their bright, beautiful color. These bad boys go with lots from salads and grains to other veggies and cheese and even better they can turn a monochromatic plate into a work of art!

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et Voila! | Côte d’Ivoire

Here we are in Abidjan…poised to begin another adventure together, this time alongside our son.

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I immediately fell in love with the food available here…from delicious pastries to fresh seafood but I felt like a fish out of water and searching for something to make this new place feel like home. I was initially a little uninspired to write about our arrival here because I was struggling a bit to fit in those first days. Lots of new things in my life…new city, being a new mom, new environment, new language, new friends, new routines, etc. Never being one for liking too much change, this is always an adjustment for me but one I end up appreciating and even relish in the end and one I know will get easier with time and practice. New doors are opened to me, new ideas and new experiences abound.

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Face-to-Face | Mountain Gorillas

Our final weekend during my parents’ visit last January/February was the ultimate crescendo to a wonderful 3 weeks together…getting up-close and personal with mountain gorillas!

Crouched down, admiring the large silverback 10-15 feet in front of me, and looking through my camera lens, the 40+ year old got up from his relaxed pose he had been holding for several minutes now.  He came right up to within a foot of my face, while I kept my camera and eyes down so as not to intimidate him. Running through my head were thoughts and visions of him headbutting me or shoving me down the incline I was on. Instead, he stopped to stare me down and then kept moving brushing past me as he made his way between other members of our group standing off to the sides. As strong and ferocious as he seemed to be towering down at me, his brush against my shoulder was deceivingly light and delicate. A fact I was quite thankful for in that moment! In describing what it was like to come face-to-face with this silverback…I can only say that it was equally one of the most incredible experiences and most terrifying moments I have ever had. It is not one I will ever forget. And this was just the start of our hour spent among the Kwitonda family.

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Nyamirambo Women’s Center | Basketweaving

After the fun we had doing pottery in Gatagara, we set up another activity with VAYANDO at the Nyamirambo Women’s Center in Kigali during my parents’ and aunt’s trip to Rwanda last January/February.

My husband and I love Rwandan baskets…the colors and patterns! Anytime we found a new pattern or color scheme, we could not resist getting one or even two. The stacks and stacks of baskets we have around our house is a giveaway that we are obsessed. Having gotten rid of a decent amount of our decorations before moving, I would find festive baskets of all sizes in the colors of the holiday.

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Earth Trembling | Intore Dancing

More from our visit to Rosamond Carr’s on our way back from Gisenyi during my parents’ and aunt’s trip to Rwanda last year…

Roz Carr’s gardens were the ideal backdrop for the Intore dancing performance we arranged for our visit. The performance consists of three components, the women’s dance – or ballet, the men’s dance – dance of heroes, and drums.

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Rosamond Carr’s Gardens and Imbabazi Orphanage

Another adventure during my parents’ and aunt’s 3 week visit to Rwanda…

On our way back to Kigali from Gisenyi, we stopped by Rosamond Carr’s Gardens and the former Imbabazi Orphanage. As we waited for our tour to begin, we meandered through her gardens…an oasis of colors, flora, and birds. Endless varieties of flowers brought from around the world to populate her property. We only wished my aunt, a florist, was there to witness these beautiful, endless rows of intertwined flowers.

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Our Rough Ride | Congo Nile Trail

The adventure continued with my parents and aunt from Kibuye to Gisenyi…

We all have those trips that we think we have all planned out, itineraries, and printed google maps to get us from place to place…but there are those times when best laid plans don’t go your way. This adventure was one of them but it will be one we will all be talking and laughing about for the rest of our lives…there is no way we will ever forget about it.

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