Monday, April 11, 2011


Nine years ago this month I finished my last class of University, was turning 25, and hopped on an airplane with two amazing friends to Bali, Indonesia. Tanya Ginet, Jan Mackenzie, and I spun a globe and landed on Bali as our destination for a girls’ holiday. The dynamics of the three of us was perfect for much entertainment and made for the most memorable trip I have ever taken.

Jan was the prepared one of the group and was well read about Bali before and during our stay. So it was no big surprise to her when we landed and DRUGS EQUEL DEATH greeted us on a large sign that hung above customs. Even Jan was a bit intimidated by the security officers carrying machine guns in the airport. We were helped immediately by several gentlemen offering to take our bags and roll them out to the “van” outside waiting to take us to our “hotel”. I believe it cost us 10 000 rupee for those young men to walk the three feet to get outside.

Interesting fact about Bali is that they have almost no casualties in motor or automobile accidents. They understand that three quick beeps of the horn means, “I’m driving on the sidewalk fellas, so get off!” They are gracious at times and let the family of five (including the newborn) on the moped weave in and out of traffic. It always amazed me that the wife carrying a two-foot tall pyramid of fruit on her head, never dropped a single piece.

Bali is home to many beautiful resorts with white and black sand beaches, buffets of all you can eat tropical fruit and rooms with views over looking the Indian Ocean. Our hotel wasn’t quite as majestical as that. We were on a tight budget and we shared a room with armies of ants marching up and down the bathroom walls. I found a dead bug in my bed and refused to sleep alone for the entire time we were in Bali. Thank goodness Tanya allowed me to share her single bed with her. We had an opportunity to see a room in a resort hotel down the beach and our reaction to the carpet in the room, left our new friend puzzled and concerned about our sleeping quarters. I believe his comment was, “Jeez, haven’t you girls ever seen carpet before?”

The tours and sight seeing was incredible. The streets were littered with bamboo leaves fashioned into trays holding burning incense to honor their God. The sound of wooden chimes filled the air in the warm wind. We happened to be in Bali during the Full Moon Festival. The Balinese people would dress in their finest shirts and sarongs and take offerings of fruit on their heads, drive their whole family to the temples on a moped, and walk up hundreds of stairs to the top where they would pray for two hours or more. Interesting fact; women are not allowed to enter the temples if they are menstruating (you are seen as being impure during that time).

We ate the same thing almost every day, French fries and coca cola in a glass bottle. The food was a little shady. The second night we were there I had the spaghetti with “meat”. The meat was grey and very salty. I remember Tanya saying, “Don’t look at it just eat it.” It turned out the meat came from one of the many stray dogs we saw roaming around everywhere! Keep in mind we were eating outside of resorts and dogs to them are like cows to us. In fact, cows are sacred animals in Bali and beef is imported for tourists from Australia. The menus at many restaurants always brought much entertainment for us girls. The Balinese spoke pretty good English but there were a few misspellings on the menus. For example; Chicken Cordon Bleu was written Chicken Gordon Blow.

After some time had passed and a few lessons were learned, we were able to get around Bali with no problems and fit in with the life style a bit more. We visited compounds (where families live together in individual huts attached to long houses), attended ritual dances with scary fire shows, and witnessed a group of people carrying a loved one above their heads( that had passed away) to the center of the village for a ceremony and celebration. We visited many villages on the island. Each one specializes in its own trade. We stopped in wood carving villages, stone carving, jewelry making, and kite making villages. The Balinese people are talented and dedicated to their art. We were blown away by the quality of the art work. Tanya bought a beautiful wooden whistle as a gift for a friend.

Even though the culture shock was intense at times, I loved adjusting to a different lifestyle for awhile. The Balinese people were kind and welcomed us to their home. I will never forget the feel of Bali. The warm humid air curled our hair and made our skin fresh and soft. Bali seemed untouched by commercialism. Guns N’ Roses was just getting big there! Locals were tucked in corners of shops watching Balinese soap-operas on a tiny black and white TV’s and surfing during work breaks. Bali sounded like serenity. It was peaceful apart from the larger center, Denpasar. The wooden bamboo chimes are still chiming in my backyard. I didn’t unzip my suitcase from Bali for three days in hope I could prolong the trip and preserve the incense and floral scent of Bali. I stood in my room three days later and just smelled my clothes with my eyes tightly shut.

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These waffles and pizza muffins sound like heaven.  Thanks to Hollie Helend for the recipes.

Pumpkin Waffles (Makes 12 4 inch Waffles)

2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
4 Eggs
1 Cup Milk (I used rice milk)
1 Cup Buttermilk (I used low fat)
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
6 Tbsp Butter, melted

1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. Sift first 7 ingredients into a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the remaining ingredients.
4. Whisk the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Pour about 1/2 cup of the pumpkin batter into a waffle iron that’s been buttered or greased and cook according to manufacturer’s directions.

I didn't have buttermilk , so I used 2 cups skim milk and they were great. Although I think the buttermilk makes them a bit fluffier. You can also put them in the toaster after for a few seconds to " crisp " them a bit !! I put on syrup and sliced strawberries with a pinch of icing sugar ....soooooo good !! Enjoy !

I had leftover batter , so I9 just poured it into sprayed muffin tins and did about 15 m\in @ 350 and made 12 delish muffins !! :)
Pizza Muffins (Makes 16-18 Cups)

1 Lb Package Pizza Dough
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup Pizza Sauce
Olive Oil

Toppings: Mushrooms, Ham, Red Peppers, Olives or whatever you and your kids love. The possibilities are endless.

1. Bring dough to room temperature and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Roll out the dough to a thin 18 x 12 rectangle and cut into squares about 3 x 3 inches.
3. Grease mini muffin cups and place one square in each cup, making sure that the corners of the dough are sticking out.
4. Brush edges of dough with olive oil.
5. Par-bake dough for 8 minutes and take tins out of oven.
6. Pour 1 tsp of sauce in each cup and evenly distribute the cheese between the cups (you can add toppings now as well).
7. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
8. Cool and serve.


  1. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. And then I jumped in the pool and it was the best of times again. Ahh're in my heart forever (and also on my boobs what with the third degree burns and all). Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, friend!