Beets are the New Pumpkin

Last fall I was obsessed with pumpkin. The pumpkin I can get here in Libreville (citrouille) looks a little bit more like a mix between a squash and a gourd, but has the same seeds as the round, orange pumpkins I’d find back home. I made soups, slices, pies and ice cream with the pumpkin. I was super psyched when I found tins of pumpkin pie filling at a local store that sells some American products! There was only 4 cans left, and I bought 3 of them! I think my Facebook post went something along the lines of, “This Thanksgiving I’m thankful that Canadian Thanksgiving falls before American Thanksgiving ’cause I used picked up 3 out of the 4 last pumpkin fillings!” Hehe. It got to a point where Francois would say, “Please, no more pumpkin!” I even bought two little ones (that looked more like the ones used for jack-o-lanterns back home) for Halloween when I was in Ghana for a conference.

I had forgotten about my pumpkin kick until I mentioned my recent beet kick to my colleagues.

I made borscht a couple of weeks ago, and have recently been using the raw beets in juices or smoothies or just cutting the vacuum sealed ones and eating them by themselves.

Bit of a bag log on the food,

Sunday, April 27

Breakfast – Green smoothie

Pinapple, mango, spinach smoothie Pinapple, mango, spinach smoothie

Lunch – hummus, carrots and green salad

Hummus and Mixed Greens Salad

Snack – darn Tyrrells crisps (I was corrected by my British friend that I can not say they are chips because they are a British brand) got me again! Need to stop buying them or send Francois to do the grocery shopping!

Dinner – I had taken salmon out to have for dinner, but we ended up going for a drive and ended up having dinner out. Had one of the typical local maki (small, sort of side-of-the-road restaurant) brochette de gambas (shrimp kabobs) and rice.

Brochette de Gambas

Monday, April 28

Breakfast – granola and almond milk

Snack – 2 mandarine oranges

Lunch – hummus, carrots, mixed green salad and salmon ( I had planned to eat the salmon the night before, but we ended up eating out instead)

Snack – Nii bar – I subscribed to Vegan Cuts and each month they send me a box (yes for a little bit more they even send to Gabon!) of vegan samples, and this bar was in one of their boxes.

Dinner – Francois had bought some potatoes and asked me to make an omelette with them, so I had a recipe for a Spanish tortillas and made that with zucchini.

Spanish Tortilla Spanish Tortilla and Zucchini

Tuesday, April 29

Breakfast – green smoothie (bok choy, almond butter, 2 bananas, hemp protein and almond milk)

Lunch – salmon, mixed green salad and carrots

Snacks – plum, Oat Works Peach Mango drink, mediterranean Snack Baked Lentil Chips (both Vegan Cuts sample box products)

Dinner – leftover Spanish tortillas and brussel sprouts

Wednesday, April 30

Breakfast – Maca Double Chocolate Oat-Based Cereal (Vegan Cuts sample box product)

IMG_8469 IMG_8467

Lunch – I forget!

Dinner – We had friends over and I was quite lazy as we ended up buying some pre made finger foods to go along with some sliced baguette and eggplant spread we had bought in France. This went nicely with some of the white wine we bought during our wine tasting in South Africa at Christmas.

Thursday, May 1

No school so I went on a bit of a cooking spree!

Breakfast – Cabbage and apple fresh juice

IMG_8473 Cabbage and Apple Juice

Snack – I tried the beet smoothie from fellow beet lover at, http://stepheusebi.com/best-beet-smoothie/

Beet Smoothie Beet Smoothie

Lunch – left over finger foods (baguette with eggplant spread and carrots and yellow peppers)

Snack – vanilla ice (made from the Mexican recipe book I got two Christmases ago) with caramel sauce left over from the coconut flan I made

Vanilla Ice and Salted Caramel Sauce

Dinner – vegetarian chili (I had some recipes that called for black-eyed peas, but hadn’t seen them when the recipes called for it. Then found them one day at the store, but hadn’t had any recipes call for them since. In my continued efforts to clear out the shelves I decided to make the chili with them) and corn meal muffins (again on the shelves and trying to clear them out). The muffins have maple syrup in them which reminds me of home in these days when I’m missing it. I also had a slice of the coconut flan I made. When my mom was here in Gabon visiting a friend Val made it (merci Val pour la recette!) and we had then bought the ingredients to make it, but never had the chance. Both Francois and I both have said we’re not the biggest fans of normal flan, but this coconut flan is different, and we both quite enjoyed it!

IMG_8488 Cornmeal Muffins IMG_8479 Coconut Flan

Friday, May 2

Breakfast – juice (I forget what I put in it, but think there must have been a beet!)

IMG_8492 IMG_8491

Lunch – strawberry, banana cacao smoothie with added Vegan Smart nutritional shake (Vegan Cuts sample box product) and a mixed green salad

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Dinner – left over chill and corn meal muffins

Saturday, May 3

Opps! I forget!

Sunday, May 4

Breakfast – cabbage, apple, carrot, beet, lemon and celery juice with 2 hard boiled eggs

Lunch – une tarte a la tomato (My new found French food love! On a pastry crust spread Djion mustard and then put slices of tomato, herbes de provence, olive oil and cheese), green salad, and cubed vacuum sealed beets.

Tarte a la Tomate

Dinner – borscht

Monday, May 5

Breakfast – green juice (spinach, green apples, celery, and cucumber) and a hard boiled egg. This was my first attempt using spinach in a juice. At the market the day before I had asked another customer what the green were and she had told me they were a local spinach. I asked what a different green was (what I had seen else where as a local spinach) and she told me that both were local spinaches. So I tried it in a green juice and found it to be quite slimy. I drank it up, but am going to try my traditional baby spinach next time!

Local Spinach

Snack – 2 sm. bananas and almonds

Lunch – spinach quiche (I need to learn to make my own pastry crust!) and green salad

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Snack – I found this recipe to sauté flax seeds in olive oil and garlic, and as I have some to use I tried this recipe. I ended up burning them a bit (oops!) but they were still pretty good. I mixed them with a mashed avocado.

Garlic Roasted Flax Seeds

Dinner – Broscht (Had just finished heating the soup when the electricity went off!  Our oven is propane, but it still would have been interesting cooking in the dark!)

Tuesday, May 6

Breakfast – cabbage, apple, beet, carrot, lemon, celery and ginger juice with 2 hard boiled eggs

Snack – 2 sm. bananas and almonds

Lunch – spinach quiche and green salad

Snack – roasted flax seeds and avacado

Dinner – avocado, lemon raw soup and olive pesto pizza (The olive pesto was again something from the shelves I was trying to use up which was a purchase from when I went to Ghana. Don’t think I would have these two things together again. I had planned to have salmon for dinner this night, but had forgotten to take it out of the freezer, so switched the meal plans.)

Raw Avocado Lemon Soup Olive Pesto Pizza

Wednesday, May 7

Breakfast – cabbage, apple, beet, carrot, lemon celery and ginger juice with goat milk yogurt

Snack – 2 mandarin oranges

Lunch – spinach quiche and green salad

Snack – carrots and hummus, darn crisps, and a  chocolate, banana, peanut-butter milkshake (2 bananas, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, 2 TBSP cacao powder, 1 TBSP maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, 6 ice cubes, 3/4 cup almond milk, and a pinch of salt)

IMG_8528 IMG_8530

Dinner – salmon and brussel sprouts

 

I’ve been using the site www.mapmyrun.com to log what I eat and my workouts. I like the site as it gives me an ideas of how much protein, fat, carbs and such I’m getting and compares that for the recommended intake for my body size. It has shown me more about what foods are high in what components and what foods are not.

 

 

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What I Ate April 26 (Chef Philippe Etchebest)

Last Saturday, April 26, some people from Francois’ work organized an evening at one of the posher restaurants here in Libreville. Francois had told me that some big chef was coming into town, so they were making reservations. I’m terrible with names, so when Francois said the chef was Philippe Etchebest, that didn’t mean anything to me. A couple of hours before going, he was like, “It’s the chef from Cauchemar en Cuisine!” Then I knew who he meant! To improve my French it’s one of the tv shows we’ll watch together. Who cares what I ate the rest of the day (it was really boring compared to the dinner)!

Carte Menu

We had the option of having both entrées, plats, and desserts or we could chose to have one entrées, one plats and then both desserts. We chose the second option.

Les Entrées

I had the “Caviar d’Aquitaine Sturia/Sélection Osciètre, oeufs de caille sommités et purée fumée de choux fleur” (caviar with quail egss and cauliflower purée).

My Entree

Francois had “Le Foie Gras/Enrubanné de spaghettis cuit vapeur, champignons du moment, jus crémeux truffé” (foie gras (goose liver with spaghettis, mushrooms at a cream sauce).

Francois' Entree

Les Plats

I had the “Duo de langoustine et camerone/En marinade épicée, légumes du moment, coriandre fraiche, consommé de crustacés” (lobster with carrot and zucchini in a sauce).

Mon Plat Principal

Francois had the “Magret de canard/Laqué au poivre de Sichuan, mangue jaune et verte au gingembre, jus de canard acidulé au jasmin” (duck with young mango and green ginger in a jasmine duck sauce). Francois doesn’t like ginger so I got his cucumbers with mango and ginger, yum!

Francois' Plat Principal

Les Desserts

As I said, we both got both desserts with the menu. Thank goodness we didn’t have to chose one or the other!

I learned something new during the dinner about big chefs. Francois’ colleague told us that most chefs will only be good at one aspect of cooking/baking, either sweet or savoury, and then they will hire a chef who’s forté is the opposite to travel/work with them. So Francois’ colleague figured Etchebest is a savoury chef, so the dessert would likely have come from someone else.

“Le chocolat/Lingot chocolate, crumble fleur de sel de Guérande, crémeux Mascarpone vanille/citron vert” (chocolate on a salty crumble base with vanilla Mascarpone and lime). The presentation of the first one reminded me of the popular French candies, Carambar, only bigger. I liked the salty bit of taste from the base. The lime wasn’t really tasted in the dessert.

Something else I found interesting, was that they used a strip of liquid chocolate (like that was used for presentation on the plate) to glue the dessert in place on the plate.

Dessert #1   Dessert #1

The second dessert was “La Fraise/En gelée de champagne rosé, écume pamplemousse, sorbet Rose” (strawberry in rosé champagne jelly, pink grapefruit foam and rose sorbet).

Dessert #2

I liked both desserts as they completely different textures and tastes.

The dinner was very French and took about 4.5/5 hours in total.

Philippe and the Ladies Philippe and Me

The evening was a very nice treat!

What I Ate (April 24 and 25)

Thursday breakfast consisted of a smoothie. I did a smoothie challenge last year where they provide you with the recipes for a smoothie a day I believe it was for a month. I had found some bok choy at the store last week, and although it wasn’t in top, top form (although still 12 USD for the head) I bought it to change up my greens a bit. I had cut it up and froze it. So I used some bok choy for this smoothie. Also included 2 apples, 5 basil leaves, a banana, the juice from one lime, 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 1 cup of coconut water.

Apple, Bok Choy, Basil Smoothie Apple, Bok Choy, Basil Smoothie

In the picture there is an apple, but I took this picture the night before and ended up using the apples in the smoothie for breakfast. Instead, I had 2 mandarin oranges for morning snack. Lunch was then the leftovers from yesterday’s greek salad and beets. Then for an after school snack I had energy balls and a banana and succumbed to a craving for Tyrrell crisps.

Packed Lunch Spiced Flax Energy Balls

For dinner I tried to make a poached egg. It ended up being a pretty sad looking poached egg. I ended up frying Francois’ egg for him so he didn’t have to suffer with poached eggs like mine. I had also tossed carrots, zucchini, brussel sprouts, and mushrooms in coconut oil and roasted them in the oven. The coconut oil made them smell almost sweet while cooking!

Roast Vegetables and a Sad Looking Poached Egg

The next morning came the almond milk situation! I had made the almond milk on Sunday, so Friday made it 5 days old. I had read it should be good for 4, but thought one more day wouldn’t make a different. I had taken out stuff to make a smoothie from the freezer, but thought I should have granola to use up the almond milk. I hadn’t cooked the granola, so quickly put it in the oven that morning. I’ve had some trouble with granola burning in the past, maybe because our oven is propane and the dial does real accurately. Watched the granola carefully though, and it turned out fine. I poured on the almond milk and then added a handful of dried cranberries, a handful of dried blueberries, and a handful of grid goji berries. I’m not the biggest fan of goji berries, but again, wanted to use them up before the move. After sitting down I took my first bite and it tasted a bit rancid. I thought maybe it was the goji berries, but after checking the jug of almond milk found out that was the problem. So I ended up dumping the first bowl of the granola I had just made down the toilet. What a waste! Luckily, I had found almond milk in a carton at the grocery store the day before (and bought enough to do me until I leave!) and was able to make a new bowl of granola with that.

Granola Granola Granola with Almond Milk and Dried Cranberries, Blueberries and Goji Berries

 

Lunch consisted of a salad and the roasted vegetables that were leftover form the night before. The salad was made of  1/2 cup of purple cabbage, 1/2 cup of green cabbage, 1/4 cup of chopped walnut, 1/4 cup of raisins, and 2 apples. I topped it off with the dressing I had made for the spinach salad the weekend before. I’ve done it before, but found I was a bit optimistic with the size of the salad, as I wasn’t able to finish it all. I had skipped the morning snack, so had the 2 mandarin oranges as an after school snack and left the energy balls.

 

Friday's Packed Lunch

 

 

 

 

I went for an after school drink with colleagues and had 2 Desparados. They were great after a long, short week (It was only a 4 day week, but felt much longer!!).

I was feeling lazy and just wanted to order a pizza, but decided no, didn’t want to do that. So, I ended up making a yummy recipe for lentil lettuce wraps I came across in the weekly food planning I subscribe to at http://www.thefresh20.com. I don’t usually follow all their week as I find it hard to find some of their ingredients, but I enjoy their recipes. They base the recipes on all fresh supplies and try to also use produce that is in season. There is ginger and soy sauce in the lentils which results in a yummy tang!! Finished dinner off with a pear. 🙂

Lettuce Wraps

Yoga and Zumba

I did my 30 minute routine of yoga today to have just a bit more sleep. Was feeling the difference after being at the gym the night before.

I’ve never been a person who cracks any joints. In fact I hate the sound of cracking joints and will often cover my ears to avoid hearing it. This might be because of my arthritis, but I’ve never really felt the need to, and I kind of found it hurt. Lately, however, I’ve been feeling the need to crack my right ankle for one of my movements. I can do the movement more comfortably after I do. Is that an age things? I dunno.

Tonight I went and did Zumba at the gym across the street. The teacher is Esto S. I believe he’s Gabonese, but lived in Spain for a bit. I used to find he did a lot of Latino music (which I like, but like to have a mix of music in Zumba), but he’s changed things up in the last bit and now has a bit more of a variety. Tonight he had a song that reminded me of the tape my dad would put in for us to listen to on family road trips. Made me smile 🙂

O Gabon/Au Gabon!

I use this statement often in Gabon when something ridiculous or frustrating happens. Well, actually, I say something else when something frustrating happens. 😉

Yesterday two presenters came to speak to my class from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. I don’t know who got more out of the presentation, me or the kids! The presenters were talking about the efforts their organization makes to promote better agriculture practices for the farmer, but also for the environment here in Gabon. They told us that there really isn’t a lot of farming in Gabon, and that causes the prices of food to go up. I guess I knew that (having to buy the expensive food here!), but it was nice to hear that they are working to helping develop more farming here. Gabon is so green and lush that it’s really too bad that they don’t grow more here. They talked about how the farmers here have the tendency to work alone (even within families they will work as individuals on the land), so they talked about how they are working with farmers to learn about the benefits of working together. They also talked about a farm they had helped start where the people were raising chickens and growing bananas.

Libreville is one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world for expats. As I said, in regards to food, part of this is because they import much from other counties. Even things like mangoes and bananas (that they could grow here) they import from the surrounding countries of Cameroon and Mali. When grocery shopping, I do try to buy the things that do come from Gabon such as zucchini and cucumbers. They aren’t necessarily the beautiful cucumbers I’m used to seeing in stores back home, but they taste the same. The tomatoes that come from Gabon are different as they are often sold green (and I think some people eat them this way). I often find that out of a group of 5 tomatoes 2 or 3 of them will be bad with a bug or something in them. As a result, I find we don’t eat many tomatoes here, or if we do, they are ones that have been imported. I also find the carrots here different (and they are often imported, so I don’t know what that means). At home I could buy carrots at the beginning of the week and they’d be good for a while. Here, I find after a couple of days in the fridge, the carrots go limp and soggy. Someone suggested peeling them and putting them in water. I do this now and find they last for about a week. I will miss how cheap avocados are when we go back to France. They are cheap, but also HUGE! Pineapples are also quite cheap, and I will miss these as well when we leave. To get an idea of the cost of something, my colleague told me, not thinking about it, she spent the equivalent of 6 USD to buy 1 cucumber. I also treated myself to a red pepper last week for 4 USD.

It’s all been an experience!

What I Ate (April 23)

Started the day with a cup of white tea, pumpkin seed granola with almond milk, a banana and coconut yogurt with honey.

I had made the pumpkin seed granola last week and there was only a bit left. I added dried cranberries, blueberries and goji berries to it as well. I got the granola recipe from a eat well online program that I did in July with Megan from http://www.detoxinista.com. I don’t know exactly how I stumbled across her website, but I started trying some of her recipes and thought I’d give the program a try as well. In the granola there is pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup (Canadian in me was happy!), pumpkin pie spice, salt and I put pine nuts in place of sunflower seeds as I can’t find sunflower seeds here in Gabon.

The coconut yogurt was a result of the coconut milk I made on Sunday with the coconut water and meat we bought on the beach. It wasn’t my first attempt at coconut yogurt. I’ve been finding with the yogurts I make in my yogurt machine have been really runny regardless if I use cow milk, goat milk or coconut milk. Talking with a friend a couple of weekends ago she suggested boiling the milk before putting the fermenting agent in it and putting it in the machine. So I thought I’d try that. I have fermenting agents as well as probiotics. I decided to try the probiotics again, also as I’m trying to use up as much as I can before the move. Maybe the coconut milk was a bit thicker than usual, but I found this yogurt was thicker than the previous ones I’d made. So I’ll have to try boiling other milks to see if that makes a difference.

Breakfast Coconut Yogurt

My packed lunch consisted of apples for morning snack (although I didn’t end of eating them), a greek salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and feta cheese) and the beets I didn’t eat yesterday, and then 4 energy balls and a banana for an after school snack. I made the energy balls I made last night were spice flax balls from the website http://www.anjasfood4thought.com/2011/09/spiced-flax-balls.html. Again, trying to use stuff up I was trying to find a use for my flax seeds. I had Jenni (my saviour in Paris) send them to me as I had asked for a dehydrator for my birthday. Things didn’t work out to get the one I wanted shipped to Gabon (that’s going to be one of my first purchases when we’re back in France!!), so I didn’t get to use the flax seeds for crackers like I wanted. So I came across this recipe for energy balls. In them are almonds, ground flax seeds, dates (I used half the called amount of dates and replaced the other half with prunes), raisins, dried apricots, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Lunch

Dinner consisted of 2 bowls (yes, I was a bit greedy) of the borscht I made on the weekend. It was YUMMY!!

Is being bored the same thing as lacking patience?

So I started the day off at 4:30am with my 50 minute yoga routine. Still felt tight in the hamstrings, but hopefully will be looser after a workout and stretch at the gym tonight.

So I was doing my yoga, and two things came into my head. 1) Stop thinking Amanda and concentrate on your breathing and your mantra. 2) My sister’s comment from a few nights ago when I suggested she should start doing yoga. Her reply to me was, “I can’t do yoga. It’s too boring”.

So this is what I was thinking about instead of concentrating on my breathing and my mantra. I got to thinking, yes you’re not really thinking or “engaged” in anything when you’re doing yoga, but isn’t it okay to be “bored” or not do anything for a little while? Can’t you make yourself be patient and not do anything for just a little while. This led me to thinking is being bored really the same thing as lacking patience?

I’ve been reading a great book called, “French Kids Eat Everything, and Yours Can Too!” by Karen Le Billon. The author is a Canadian woman who’s married to a French man. The book talks about the year they moved with their two small children to the small French village where her husband grew up. I love the book as I can relate so much with her values regarding food as an “American” prior to living in France as well as some of the culture shock she goes through (I don’t iron anything either, but thank goodness my mother-in-law doesn’t know it or she probably wouldn’t have wanted me marry my husband either!). In the book she talks about the strict cultural rules regarding food consumption that the French hold. It talks about the French teaching children early on to have patience and wait to eat. It talks about how the French don’t snack between meals and they think it’s okay for a person to feel hungry, they have to have patience.

Karen Le Billon talks about how snacking was a sore spot between her and her husband, and I would say it’s the same between Francois and I. I grew up learning that you should have 5 small meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner and snacks in between the main meals). Francois has tisked me for snacking in between meals. This book really points out how the French see snacking as almost rude. I think I maybe hadn’t seen that so much that way before as we lived in Paris where there is lots of expats and my close friends were expats. I can remember conversations though, when Francois would say to me, you shouldn’t snack, you’ll ruin your dinner. Can’t you be patient?!

So, I am not patient. I hate feeling hungry. I am not patient when it comes to many other things, as much as I hate to admit it. I really feel this is a reflexion of North American culture though. We have 24 hour everything! We have pretty much anything at our beck and call. I remember my first year in France and the closest store in the village where I lived closed at 5:30 pm and I worked until 5:00pm! Without a car it was basically impossible to get there before it closed. How annoying! Or was I just being impatient? I’ve grown to change my view on stores closing “early”.  Why should people have to work instead of spending time with their families? Couldn’t I plan to do my shopping on the weekend or on Wednesday when primary students didn’t have school? I appreciate the value the French put on slowing down (even if I’m still not good at slowing down) and maybe doing less. Le Billon also talks about this in her book. She talks about how French families take the time to sit down together and eat together. Eating is never done on the run. Is that why French people in Paris stared at me as I was walking down the streets shoving my face with pain au chocolates? 😉

So back to my question, is being bored really just being impatient? And have we North Americans forgotten how to just be patient?

What I Ate (Tuesday, April 22, 2014)

So the morning started off with a green smoothie. It consisted of 1 frozen banana, 23g of Garden of Life Raw Protein Vanilla Spiced Chai flavour (I’ve subscribed to Vegan Cuts that sends you a a box of vegan samples each month and this was in one of the boxes), 2 cups of baby spinach (I bought it fresh but froze it so it would keep), 1 Tbsp of almond butter, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, and 1 cup of almond milk. This was the first time I’d put a protein powder in it, just as I had troubles getting protein powders (I asked my good friend and saviour Jenni in France to go to some organic stores for me to look for rice protein and none of the stores had any), and it tasted a bit different from what I was used to, but I liked it! As I love vanilla flavouring that may have been the reason.

Green Smoothie IMG_8369

I had packed my snacks and lunch for school last night. There were two cut apples for a first recess snack, then a half an avocado, beets, carrots and a salad with red and yellow peppers for lunch and a banana and almonds for an after school snack. I ended up not eating the beets as I ran out of time and I added another banana to the after school snack when I got home from school.

School Snacks and Lunch

I went to the gym this evening, but knew I had left overs for dinner tonight. It was the polenta and mushroom ragu I had cooked Saturday night with dried beans that took a long time to cook so we ended up eating something else Saturday night. The beans were cooked fine, but I found as I cooked them so long much of the water and tomato juice in the ragu evaporated. So tonight I added a bit more tomato sauce and it was fine. I was talking to my colleague about polenta at lunch today, and she was asking how I cooked it and was it like rice. I would say it turned out more like a mashed potatoes than rice and it was simple to make with just a bit of oregano and water.

Polenta and Mushroom Ragu

Yoga

I did my 50 minute yoga routine today. I never knew before doing yoga that you could have tight shins! That’s where I was feeling tightest today. Was feeling a bit like an old lady, but yoga made me feel better! I always doubt that it will, but I always feel better after doing it! Hopefully will be able to get to the gym tomorrow to loosen up all the tight muscles!

What I Ate (Monday, April 21, 2014)

Started the day off with a juice (2 carrots, about 2 ribs of celery with leaves, 1/4 head of green cabbage, 1/4 head of purple cabbage, 2 apples, inch of ginger, two beet and a lemon) and a pot of plain goat yogurt with honey. About 3 weeks ago when my mom was here I found fresh/raw beets at one of the local open stores, but true to Gabon method they haven’t been there since until…TODAY. I didn’t have the beets at the time I made the juice though, so I used vacuum sealed/cooked beets. I brought some back from South Africa when I was there in February (it was that big of a deal to have them!), so I was extremely happy to find them again today. In addition, they’re HUGE!! Lots of juicing coming up!

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For lunch I made a salad with baby spinach, 1/4 cup of sliced almonds, 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and a bit of red onion. I topped it with a dressing recipe my mom put together when she was here visiting consisting of olive oil, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and honey. I had a 1/2 an avocado on the side.

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Francois and I went for a drive today and ended up at the cap about a half hour drive outside of Libreville. We stopped at a restaurant on the beach and I had a Desperados (similar to a Corona) and we each had two stuffed crabs (a Gabonese specialty).

When we got home I made Francois’ breakfast for the week, his favorite banana bread. The recipe is from a Mary Montgomery School cookbook and put in by Mrs. Routledge who was the school librarian. Francois says he married me because of this banana bread, and all the French (and a few other non-Frenchies in France) I’ve made it for LOVE it. Just last week I showed my neighbour how to make it. I used my cups, teaspoons and tablespoons and she used her scale to measure the quantities in grams while laughing at me using the teaspoons as she said it reminded her of the spoons little girls use when they have a tea party.

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I then proceeded to make dinner which consisted of salmon covered in a soy sauce base sauce and coated with sesame seeds. It was accompanied by steamed cauliflower.

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I started making granola, but realized I didn’t have pine nuts to replace the sunflower seeds the recipe calls for. So I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow! Now to make my lunch for tomorrow at school!