Journey to my Roots… The Motherland… Africa :: Scenery Pre-Preview

2 weeks ago, I returned home from an eye-opening, beautiful, unlike any other trip to South Africa!  The food was amazing… the fellowship was outstanding… The people there were so warm, hospitable, and helpful… and then I came home to the realities of individualism.  I loved my journey, and my trusty NIKON was there to capture every moment.  Here are pre-preview images from the scenery of this beautiful land (9 of the the over 2,000 images captured).

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Taking Portraits with Friends

A few years ago, I went to Niagara Falls for the first time with my friend Le’Toya.  I posted some of the scenic pictures around that time.  Anyway, while there, I had my camera, so Le’Toya and I decided to make the most of the beautiful scenery and take a few portraits.  If you know Le’Toya and me, you would know that there were plenty of silly pictures in there.  But, we did also manage to squeeze in some classics!  I must say, I think we did pretty good on the fly that HOT summer day!  See some of my favorite images below.


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Fruit and Root-Inspired Desserts

Ok, so before I became a teacher, I LOVED to bake!  I mean, I was ALWAYS looking for an excuse to bake something.  For me, it was just about the baking part, it was also about the garnishing part.  Ever since becoming a teacher, my free time has been so golden and valued that I let the baking go to the wayside.  In others, I got a little rusty after I started teaching.  Well this summer, I was determined to get back into baking.  As a person concerned with my health, I found inspiration from fruit and root-based recipes, and went from there.

The first dessert I made was a Sweet Potato Pie as a thank you for someone with some country roots.  After that, I wanted to be All-American with a classic Apple Pie for the 4th of July!  Then, I wanted to do something really fruity for my cousin’s surprise birthday celebration.  I made Strawberry Cakes with Strawberry Frosting and Strawberries On Top… and my cousin and I tag teamed a Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

After eating a sweet summer peach this afternoon, I think I figured out the next dessert that I will try this summer!

Here are pictures from the process of making the Sweet Potato Pie and other shots of the other fruit and root inspired dishes that I have made!


Making the Sweet Potato Pie:

1. I washed the potatoes.



2. I baked the potatoes for over an hour.Desserts-sm-102

3. I peeled and mashed them.

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4. I mixed in the butter, milk, and seasonings… and once it tasted about right, I added in some eggs.


5. After making and chilling the crust, I rolled it out.  Then I fitted it into the pie pan and filled a generous amount of filling.  Then I finger-pressed the crust on top.



6.  It seems like I baked this FOREVER…. It was well over an hour and 10 minutes.  Desserts-sm-107

The finished products!


Ready for delivery!


Ok, so I NEVER give people something I didn’t try first.  As this my first attempt at making Sweet Potato Pie, I definitely had to sample it!

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Here’s the Apple Pie for the 4th of JULY!


Here’s the Pineapple Upside Down Cake!


Here are the Mini Bundt Strawberry Cakes with Strawberry Frostingand Strawberries on Top


Family Moments I Forgot I Had!

Back in January, I participated in the Martin Luther King March with my cousins and their children.  It was such a beautiful event on an even beautifuler day! This was definitely a change of pace for me after living on the East Coast for 10+ years and being used to super cold Januaries!  Anyway, after the march, we took full advantage of the day and snapped some photos.  Here are some of my faves.

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