Friday, May 22, 2015

S is for: South Africa, Part III: Safari at Notten's Bush Camp {travel}

As I mentioned in Part I of this post, going on safari was at the top of my South Africa bucket list (and my bucket list in general), just as diving with Great White Sharks was at the top of Dana's.

As a kid, I was always obsessed with the "big cats," and you will find many of them in South Africa, such as lions, leopards and cheetahs. Naturally, seeing those were a priority for me during our 2-day safari.

Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa, and one of the largest in all of the entire continent. While there are camps you can stay at within the park, my research led me to Sabi Sands, which is a private game reserve just outside of Kruger. There are no fences between the two, so the animals are free to roam as they please. Benefits of a private reserve include luxury accommodations and often times, better game viewing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

S is for: South Africa, Part II: Cape Town Food & Wine {travel}

Since the idea for our South Africa trip was hatched over a glass (ok, bottle) of wine, it's only fitting that we drank plenty of it during our 8-day stay.

Just outside of Cape Town, you'll find the Cape Winelands, which is the largest producing wine region in South Africa. It is divided into six individual sub-regions, of which we visited half. (Did I mention we like wine?)

Cape Town is also home to some really fantastic and eclectic food. The entire country is a melting pot of cultures, which of course spills over into the cuisine. There's a strong Malaysian influence, stemming from when the Dutch brought over Malay slaves in the 1600's. There's also traditional African staples, as well as European influences. (Don't worry, we tried pretty much all of it!)

S is for: South Africa, Part I: Adventures in Cape Town & Beyond

My friend Dana and I have only known each other for about a year and a half, but right away it was clear we were meant to be lifelong friends. Early on, we discovered that we both share a passion for good food, wine, traveling the world and the occasional late-night Taco Bell run. It was a friendship match made in heaven.

So as we were sitting on her couch in December (drinking wine, obvi), I asked what her travel plans were for 2015. She said she wasn't sure, that she really wanted to go to South Africa and dive with Great White Sharks, but added that no one would go with her. To which I immediately replied (/slash yelled): "Uhhhh.... I'll go! As long as we can go on safari."

And with that, our South African adventure was born. We both had a desire to spend considerable time in Cape Town, and made that our home base for six days. Many tourists opt to stay in Camps Bay by the ocean, but we were having none of that. Instead, we settled on a perfect Air BnB flat in the city center with a killer view of Table Mountain and close proximity to everything (namely, the bars on Long & Bree Streets).

*At the time, it was about $105 per night, but I believe it's gone up a bit in price since.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

R is for: Ramp Pesto

OK... I'm SO freaking excited about this post. For a number of reasons.

1.) This pesto is bomb. No really. It's pretty phenomenal. You should totally make it. (And soon. Ramp season doesn't last very long).

2.) I'm starting to get the hang of my new camera, which is really fun and exciting. (In a totally nerdy photography way, though I still have a ways to go.)

3.) I just downloaded Lightroom CC for editing (thanks Cuz Erin), and I can't even tell you the difference it's made, and I haven't even scratched the surface. (More nerdy photography stuff... so I won't bore you).

4.) And... this has nothing to do with ramp pesto, but I leave for South Africa in THREE DAYS. (I should totally be packing, but instead I'm blogging).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Q is for: Quinoa Mexican Pilaf

I knew I was going to make quinoa for the blog this week.

Being that there's not a ton of options when it comes to "Q" foods, I've featured it quite a bit. My quinoa & ground turkey zucchini boats are one of my all-time most popular posts, and the kale and quinoa gratin is one of my faves. I've used it in a salad, I've stuffed it into an acorn squash. But I've never posted about it as a stand alone dish, which is ironic considering I make it quite a bit at home.

So anyways, my original plan was to recreate something I'd had from Whole Foods recently with blueberries and feta. But then I walked in to the store, and saw everything on display for Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Quinoa. Arriba!

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