Housewarming Party

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

This weekend, Ben and I hosted our Housewarming party for our Lusaka friends. I was overwhelmed to realize the community that we have after only being here for 2 months. We feel so thankful for our new friends, both expats and Zambians alike.

Our invitation stated the party was from 2-5pm. In true African Spirit, many of our expat guests didn’t show up until 3:30 or 4pm. As Ben was washing dishes and I was mopping the floor at 6:30pm, more Zambian friends rolled in with a whole gang of people, some we knew and others we didn’t. Thankfully, we had a little leftover food and some drinks left to share. It was a very Zambian moment!

In honor of the Fall season at home in Seattle, I made a homemade (from the pumpkin) pumpkin pie! I think it tasted OK because there was none left halfway through the party. It looked somewhat like the picture below but unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of my masterpiece.

Enjoy some photographed moments of the party, courtesy of my friend Beth. FYI – we didn’t get many pictures of the guys but I promise they were there in full force!

A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...

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Amy, Chisomo, and Janette

Krystel and Katy

Geeta, Oliver, and Megan

Myself, Maggie, Rohit, Holly, Chichi

Mercy Flyers Colleagues - Craig (the Boss), myself, Joseph (our future pilot! ;)), Mandy (our excellent administrator), and Lee (Mandy's husband)


Happy Birthday, Zambia!

October 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, October 24th, is Independence Day for Zambia. 47 years ago (that’s 1964 if you’re slow with math) Zambia became an independent nation.

I love Zambia!

In honor of the holiday, our love for Zambia, and the fact that we have a day off from work, we are heading 3 hours out of a town for a day trip to a national park. I also made patriotic cookies for the occasion!


Ta da!

Happy birthday, Zambia!

Making my own goodies

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some of you may have seen on twitter (I am @lauramenenberg, by the way) that I have been doing my fair share of making sweets recently. Perhaps it’s because we were stuck at home last week and I had nothing better to do. Perhaps its because of the low sugar content in Zambian food and thus we crave sweet food (and drinks) more often (store bought sweet goods are fairly poor quality here). Nevertheless, I attempted making sweet and savory crepes, maple donuts, and my mother’s famous chocolate chip cookies. Now, on average when living in the US, I probably bake sweets about once or twice a month (usually, this is a result of our parents forcing us to have dessert! šŸ˜‰ ) so this was over the top in my books.



Crepe breakfast, Lusaka, Zambia

I used the basic crepe recipe from my “How to Cook Everything” book. For filling, I used brie and apples (a Menenberg tradition) for my savory crepes and lemon juice (lime juice is the Leyde tradition) over 1 1/2 tbs of powdered sugar. They were delicious, if I do say so myself.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Alas, I don’t have any pictures from this baking endeavor. I also don’t want to share the recipe without permission, since it is a Leyde family tradition. So, let’s just say these were a good first try – I had to substitute large chopped milk chocolate candy bars for chips and brown sugar isn’t the same here as at home. I also overcooked them slightly (my mom’s recipe for cookies is essentially underbaked). They do deserve another try to perfect my African version.


Maple Ball Doughnuts

This was truly adventurous attempting doughnuts. I had never attempted to deep fry anything before and was pretty much going by my recipe and by my instincts (and the help of the ladies I live with!). HERE is the link to the recipe I used. The recipe stated to add enough flour to get the dough into a workable state but not to add to much to make it tough. This was very tough to gauge – I never felt like it was workable at all and by the time I added “enough” flour it was starting to be tough. It was incredibly sticky and I wasn’t able to shape it into bars at all. Thus, I went with it and ended up with balls. As the French say, “C’est la vie.” Another African problem I encountered, was that our stove fluctuated temperatures from 280 deg F to 480 deg F. This meant that some were over done while others were under done. I might try these again but the stove issue was definitely the most frustrating part.


All in all, it was a great week of experimenting and I don’t think any one complained about being a taste tester.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am thankful for…

  • my God and savior
  • my husband
  • our families
  • our wonderful friends and church communities
  • my job
  • our apartment
  • graham cracker crust pumpkin pie (get the recipe here)













  • garlic mashed potatoes…they’re probably so good because of the stick and a half of butter (thanks, Paula Deen!). *I did modify it slightly by adding parsley to the potatoes and I about quadrupled the batch and eye-balled the amounts. They’re very smooth so add less milk if you like them more chunky*


BreadĀ Making

November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the midst of my insomnia last week (see this post for more details), I decided to make bread in my borrowed (thanks, Mom!) bread maker. It was something I’d been wanting to try for a while. I just used the basic bread maker recipe for a small loaf of white bread. It turned out really well and I’m excited to try out another recipe sometime!



  • 3/4 cup cool water (I used our refrigerator Brita water)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups bread flour (I used plain baking flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

My recipe didn’t say any order of the ingredients so I just threw everything in together and started the machine and everything turned out great

I decided not to use this…notice the expiration was February 19, 1998. Apparently, my parents hadn’t had a big need for yeast in the last 12 years.

After I awoke the next afternoon, I found my bread loaf nicely formed and wonderfully delicious. It was the perfect companion for my soup dinner at work. Yum!

*It was a bit consternating to remove this item from it’s pan…next time, I will try to do it when it is hot*

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