Monday, April 30, 2012

Thanks Dad....

As a young girl growing up I have countless memories of my father....building and making things, fixing many things around the house, and all the while dragging me around with him! At the time I hated it. Being woken up early in the morning to hold some drywall while he hammers it into place. Hearing over and over, "now remember this, it is very important." All the while thinking...."yeah right, when am I ever going to need to know this?!"

The building and fixing lessons were something I would smile at and tolerate. Truthfully, I rather enjoyed learning things like that but, the one thing I hated with a passion was doing the dishes. See we were the family with a dishwasher, just a broken one. And for some reason or another it was never as high on the "fix list" as I thought it should be. So, day after day I would hear him say...."Cassandra do your dishes. Cassandra we do not have a maid!" Soon my eyes would roll automatically at the sound of my name paired up with the word dishes. I did everything I could to get out of doing them. Things like eating without a plate, and of course get told that was not ok. Use a paper towel instead of plate and be reminded how costly that was. So needless to say I did dishes daily by hand for a LONG time.

Now fast forward a few in Africa. I can not count how many times I have thought of how thankful I was for my father teaching me... (insert name of lesson). Really, so many things I thought were pointless as a kids were truly valuable lessons. I can check my own oil and tire presser. I can hang photos and art without needing help.  Making small repairs around the house can be done by me. And the most important one of all....I am used to living without a dishwasher!

Moving overseas is hard. There are many many things to get use to. So many things that you have to relearn, but thanks to good ole' dad I learned many well before I needed to. He could have thought of never teaching me these things. I mean most fathers don't. Teaching a son is one thing but your daughter.....not so often. So, all of this to say....THANK YOU DAD! I know you never thought I would need these lessons because I would live in Africa someday. You just showed me because you love me and wanted me to be a strong and independent girl, not a little princess, like so many you saw running around. God truly blessed me with a father who loves his little girl but never treated her like one. I am so sorry for all the times I have frustrated you or never took the time to really listen to your teaching. Just know now....1/2 way around the world I am thankful for you! Thanks for all the love and lessons over the past 28 years.

Love you papa smurf! xoxox

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What to do with squash?!

Backed Butternut Squash with Apples=YUMMY Dinner

It is so odd to think I am enjoying butternut squash in summer, I guess that is what happens when you live on the equator. Butternut squash is something that is very easy to find here in the markets. After making the dishes I knew with the lovely orange squash I slowly got tired of them. Really, how many times can you have butternut squash soup for lunch and or dinner?! So, needles to say it has been a few months from the last time this healthy and cheap food made it's way into my kitchen. The market I shop at had many lovely butternut squashes...just sitting there and the price was really good! (1,500 USH about $.58 per squash) Two came home with me and had been sitting on the counter for over a week..."what to do with them?" is what I thought every time I looked at them. Thank heavens for BING! At the top of the search list was this yummy and Africa friendly recipe (only one ingrate I could not get) So I can say it was a very yummy and healthy dinner tonight!
2 tablespoons butter or margarine(Ugandans would use Blue Band but I use Coconut oil, thanks for sending it mum!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
2 to 3 large Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups) (apples are apples out here so mine were most likely NOT granny smith)
1/4 cup real maple or maple-flavored syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (this is the one thing I could not get...nuts are hard to find out here!) 
Bake at 375F or 176C (if you live in Africa) covered with foil until squash is tender....YUP that is it!