Baking Tom’s favorites for his birthday and the holidays…

The humidity made it difficult for the Rice Crispy bars to harden, so I trimmed the edges, placing them in the red bowl as shown. Tom can snack on the edges today after they firm up in the refrigerator as well.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This croc was half the size as the one shown below.

Each year around Tom’s birthday on December 23rd, I ask him what special desserts or meals he’d enjoy for the occasion. This year, we’ll be dining at Rita and Gerhard’s temporary condo at Ngwenya since the Hornbill house wasn’t available for the few weeks at Christmas time when they’d come to Marloth Park without reservations…brave folks…lucky folks…Louise worked it all out for them.

I offered to bring a dessert Tom loves – gluten-free apple crisp made with “real” sugar using both white sugar and brown sugar in the interim. Whatever she’s making is a total surprise to us, and as good guests, we won’t ask.  We do not doubt that whatever it will be, we will love and appreciate it.  

We’re bringing vanilla ice cream and aerosol whipped cream, none of which Rita nor I will eat now that she’s joined me in this way of eating. We’ll stay true to our healthful commitment.

An Egyptian goose standing in shallow water.
For today, I started baking the “sugar frenzy,” which Tom will surely enjoy over the holidays and will abruptly come to an end on January 1st. Most likely, he’ll gain a few kilos (pounds) in the process. 

Let me explain, white marshmallows don’t exist in this area. The only option is pink and white. So, pink and white it was! As for the Rice Crispies themselves (the dry cereal in a box), Tom scoured a few warehouse-type stores on the way to Lebombo while I shopped at Spar in Komatipoort. Miraculously, he was able to purchase two giant boxes.

The first thing I did this morning was getting to work on making the bars. Today it’s hot, and it’s humid after last night’s glorious rainfall, not the ideal conditions for expecting the bars to firm up. In any case, I made three batches of Rice Crispy bars using the two giant boxes of the cereal, 500 grams of real butter, and four big bags of pink and white marshmallows.
A few elephants in the Crocodile River from quite a distance.
When they didn’t fully firm up sitting on the kitchen counter, I stacked them (uncut) atop one another, each batch separated with parchment paper, and placed them in the refrigerator, hoping they’ll firm up enough to make the cutting easier and the eating less messy and enjoyable. The photo above was taken before I placed them in the refrigerator.

Tomorrow night, we’re going to a party and Kathy and Don’s, and she insisted I don’t make a thing. Instead, when we go to their home again on Christmas Day, I’ll be baking Don’s favorite…cherry pie with a handmade lattice crust. We’ll see how that goes in the heat and humidity on Christmas morning.  

On Sunday, Tom’s birthday, I’ll make the apple crisp. I’m making an extra batch to have for Christmas Eve when Tom and Gerhard can dig in once more. That’s a hard one for me to resist. I love it warmed with vanilla ice cream and topped with a hefty dollop of whipped cream. But, that was then, and this is now, and I remind myself that I’m traveling the world due to renewed health from drastically changing my diet. 

As we perused the river for wildlife sightings, finding few, we took a few distant photos on a cloudy evening.
I didn’t eat many sweet desserts in my old life, but on special occasions, I did partake. Now, traveling the world makes every day is a special occasion, and I avoid starches, grains, and sugars as if they are poison. It’s a small price to pay to live this “wonderful life.” (No pun intended. It’s a great Christmas movie).

I’d hope to make a low-carb dessert for Rita and me, but I couldn’t find the ingredients needed to do so. Today I’ll go through my recipes and see if I can roust up a decent dessert item for us girls.

Last night, we headed to Ngwenya for dinner on our own since Rita and Gerhard were busy packing to move there today. Tonight, Tom and I will go to Jabula on our own since they’ll be busy getting unpacked.  

Mom and youngster heading back up the hill after a swim.
We’d promised Leon (of Dawn and Leon, owners of Jabula Lodge and Restaurant) that we’d bring him some Rice Crispy bars, a favorite childhood memory which we’re excited to do.
We’re staying put for the rest of the day until around 1700 hours (5:00 pm). We’ll be off for another fun evening at our favorite restaurant.  
We’ve had one Ms. Bushbuck and “Little” stop by this morning for some pellets, which of course, we provided, happy to see them both. As for the others? They are off and about visiting holidaymakers offering them all kinds of foods, some good for them, some not so much.  
Last night we saw a few crocs at the Crocodile River from the veranda at Ngwenya.
If you had a choice to go where the sweet treats are being offered instead of the dry pellets, carrots, and apples, where would you go?
Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 21, 2017:

Christmas display aboard the ship as we’re nearing the end of the cruise. For more details, please click here.

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