Rise to the Occasion…and 2021

As we start a new unknown year, we are all overwhelmed with questions and concerns. 2021 seems so uncertain… how do we plan for this year? Last year was a year to reset and refocus… and this year?

Sitting on my Kalahari porch and scrolling through social media , I came upon this writing by Alex Cravens and it touched my heart. It gave me a new perspective. A new excitement. And I have to share it with you!

“Don’t feel sorry for or fear for your kids because the world they are going to grow up in is not what it used to be.

God created them and called them for the exact moment in time that they’re in. Their life wasn’t a coincidence or an accident.

Raise them up to know the power they walk in as children of God.

Train them up in the authority of His Word.

Teach them to walk in faith knowing that God is in control.

Empower them to know they can change the world.
Don’t teach them to be fearful and disheartened by the state of the world but hopeful that they can do something about it.

Every person in all of history has been placed in the time that they were in because of God’s sovereign plan.

He knew Daniel could handle the lions den.

Don’t be scared for your children, but be honored that God chose YOU to parent the generation that is facing the biggest challenges of our lifetime.
Rise up to the challenge.

Raise Daniels, Davids, Esthers and Peters!

God isn’t scratching His head wondering what He’s going to do with this mess of a world.

He has an army He’s raising up to drive back the darkness and make Him known all over the earth.

Don’t let your fear steal the greatness God placed in them. I know it’s hard to imagine them as anything besides our sweet little babies, and we just want to protect them from anything that could ever be hard on them, but they were born for such a time as this.” – Alex Cravens

May we rise up to the occasion! We are all born for a time like this! As our new year begins, take time to reflect on 2020. Don’t let the past year be wasted, instead, let us learn from all we have experienced. Then, commit to live a purposeful life in the year ahead. Don’t live the entire year without purpose, only reacting to what happens from day to day.

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭AMP‬‬

God is intentional. God has specific plans and acts accordingly to those plans. If God does not approach life randomly, neither should we. Let us live 2021 with purpose!

I look forward to walking this journey and this year with you. Love from my Kalahari Kitchen, Aldalene



The Best is yet to Come

As I sit reflecting on 2020 on this last day of the year, I read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and my heart is encouraged.


“Though the fig tree does not blossom
And there is no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock is cut off from the fold
And there are no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord;
I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!
The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army];
He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet
And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my [a]high places [of challenge and responsibility].”

Though 2020 was not the year we planned or dreamed about…

Though 2020 was a year with no hunters around my Kalahari Kitchen…

Though 2020 was a year of tears, disappointments, unrealised dreams and goals…

Yet, I will choose to rejoice in my Lord for

…a year of student children returning home for lockdown on the ranch

…early morning runs on the farm road

…late night bon fires under the starry Milky Way

…creating new recipes with my daughters in my Kalahari kitchen

…the opportunity for us as a family to reset, regather, refocus, grow.

Yes, 2020 was a challenging year but today as I reflect back, my heart is filled with joy, thankfulness and hope.

For the Lord is my strength, my source of courage

He makes my feet steady, even though the new year is uncertain and the future is unknown

He makes me walk with spiritual confidence on my high places of challenge and responsibility.

I am excited to journey with you as we face a new year with new possibilities, new opportunities, new friendships, new memories around my Kalahari Kitchen table.

Love Aldalene

Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.

Mike Dooley


Until you come home
I’m waiting for Christmas with you

I cannot wait for this week! Lorene is writing her last school exam (ever!) and we are packing the car to head south… vacation time. After a year of restrictions, lockdowns,closed borders and not seeing loved ones, we are taking the dreaded Covid test and driving down to Cape Town for our summer and Christmas holiday.

I can already feel my mother’s hug and see my dad’s tears. I can already hear the bubbling excitement of cousins reunited, the crashing of waves outside my bedroom window…I can already feel the salty sea breeze on my face and the white sand under my toes. I am so ready!

Memories are made when gathered around the table.

The rusks are baked, the Rocky roads are made and the Christmas menu is planned. I am so excited to set my Christmas table and have my family gathered together on Christmas Eve. To set the stage for creating new memories, celebrating new and old traditions and honoring our Lord and Savior. I am looking forward to lighting the fairy lights and candles around the house and seeing the shadows dance on my children’s faces. To listen to Christmas carols ring out this special season. Because we are home…we belong.

I belong because I am loved….Yes! I have a Reason to celebrate life. He is my Reason. He is my Immanuel… despite these unprecedented. uncertain and unknown times… my God with us, now here in 2020.

So with much excitement and thankfulness, I am ready. Ready for Christmas and ready to create a home away from home this summer Ready to spoil my loved ones with a celebratory environment and an easy and delicious festive menu. Roast Lamb with some beautiful sides and then of course dessert.

My sides will be quick salads full of colour and flavor. It is summer and the days are long and warm, so what is better than a succulent roast lamb with this beautiful Cranberry and Spinach Salad. All the preparations are done beforehand and you toss the homemade dressing just before serving. I assure you it will be a great accompaniment to your Christmas table. A salad that balances sweet and sour with a good crunch from almonds and sesame seeds. Beautiful, easy and delicious.

Recipe page 2.


What if, today, we were grateful for everything?

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. I can imagine all my American friends are ready to slow down and take the time to gather with family and friends and reminisce on the months passed.

Yes, 2020 was a tough year. A year that challenged us as a family in more ways than one. But it was also a year of reflection, refocus, realigning priorities and rekindling family relationships. A year where we grew stronger together and where we were reminded to live attentively and thankfully.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

So take the time this Thanksgiving to STOP. LOOK. GO. Make a list of everything you can be thankful for…a Gratitude list. (Numerous studies have shown that the acknowledgement of gratitude is positively correlated to happiness.) Be intentional about thanking God and others for the blessings that come our way (daily!).

Eucharisteo-thanksgiving-always precedes the miracle.

Ann Voskamp

I know you are tired of lists, but I ensure you this gratitude list will be a list that puts a smile on your face. And then there are these super easy, gorgeous and delicious Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls! Holiday entertaining has never been easier! Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s! (Can be made in advance!) It will surely bring a smile to all your loved ones gathered together during this festive time.

One just has to love cheese balls. Sweet, savory…I love mixing and matching flavors and coming up with new and exciting combinations that will please friends and family.

This cheese ball is perfect as a party appetizer while you prepare the rest of your holiday feast! It’s completely low maintenance. Just fix it up, pull it from the fridge when you’re ready, and set it out with a bunch of yummy crackers for people to serve themselves.

For the festive season, the winning combination of cream cheese, goat cheese, white cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, pecans, and chives come together for a pleasantly savory appetizer that is just as pretty as it is delicious.

Serve the mini cheese balls with a pretzel stick in them, as it makes them so easy to pick up and it looks cute too! I have covered the cheese balls in dried cranberries, chives, and pecans. I love how festive this looks! If you have an extra couple minutes, tie chives into bows around the pretzel sticks. Totally optional, but it gives such a Christmas feel to it!

I assure you your friends and family will go nuts for this make-ahead appetizer. And it will become a to-go-to recipe in your kitchen and a favorite on your gratitude ( and festive menu) list. Recipe page 2


Thanksgiving is a Word of Gratitude.

We are midway into Lorene’s final exams. Days, schedules and shopping lists are full and time is running through our fingers. So many to-do lists and so little time. But today I am taking a deep breath and taking the time to give thanks. To wake up to the wonder of the small every day things… the wonder of life.

I love the American Thanksgiving celebrations. It is not a holiday we celebrate (nationally) here in Namibia but it has become a reminder to us as a family to take time to be thankful. To highlight a day on our calendar to say ‘Thank you’. Even in a year with so many challenges, disappointments and cancellations, there is so much to be thankful for!

Deep joy is only really found at the table of thanksgiving.

Ann Voskamp

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies . And since the time of Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving had been celebrated on the last Thursday of the month. What a rich history and beautiful reminder to live a thankful and grateful life. We love sharing in our American and Canadian friends’ celebration of this day.

As a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Abraham Lincoln, 1863

The centerpiece of a contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States is a large family meal, generally centered on a large roasted turkey. It is served with a variety of side dishes which vary from traditional dishes such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, Brussel sprouts, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie. This Namibian girl will be sharing with you a delicious, easy cranberry relish that you can serve with your show stopper turkey. Turkey is not a meat you will find in our Namibian stores or on our dinner tables ( even during the festive season), so I will be serving this beautiful cranberry relish with a baked brie cheese and some crackers. However you want to serve it, I assure you this colorful cranberry accompaniment will appeal to all joined around your laden Thanksgiving table. Recipe page 2

So, with a week to go, may this Thanksgiving be more than just a day where we eat too much and strategize our Black Friday sales plan of attack. May the next week of preparing a bountiful meal with family and friends, creating a day of festive celebrations,give you enough reason to stop, breath and be thankful. Remember, giving thanks isn’t a practice reserved for a single day each year. It has deeper spiritual significance and benefits that ring true long after the leftovers are consumed. Even in a year like 2020, we have reason to say ‘ Thank You’.

For food in a world where many walk in hunger, faith in a world where many walk in fear, friends in a world where many walk alone. We give you thanks, Oh Lord. Amen.

—From Seven Days in Utopia, directed by Matthew Dean Russell

What’s In My Cup?

It’s that time of year. Shop windows fill up with brightly-coloured, twinkly light holiday displays, and living room windows fill up with Christmas trees. Festive music plays on repeat. If you’re like me, this is the time of year when you realize Christmas is fast approaching and the year went far too quickly.

For many of us, this is also one of our busiest times of the year. If you have school kids, you’re swamped with Christmas concerts, school year end functions and the thick fog of final papers and exams. After lockdown it feels like we are still trying to make up for the missed months. In between all the busyness,you want to create the most perfect family vacation and a special Christmas celebrations. Yes, November/December season is packed with parties, decorations, presents, so many events and above all, meeting everyone’s expectations.

I love this analogy I stumbled upon this week. And it reminds me of the scripture that reads “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45).

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Because someone bumped into me!!!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.*

The bumping is simply the catalyst to reveal what was tucked inside.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled or busy or frazzled or overwhelmed.

So today we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace, joy and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose how to fill it.

Friend, I do not know what is in your cup right now but if you are in any version of normal, there is a lot of coffee-infused exam nerves and cinnamon-spiced holiday stress. The demands are overwhelming and if you are like me, this time of year also brings a reflection of all the ways that 2020 did not measure up to expectations.

So today, let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others. For life will bump into us. But a heart full of Jesus doesn’t get bruised when it gets bumped.

And when the hustle and bustle of this season seems to drain you from all your good intentions and you get bumped around, there is always ice cream and coffee. Affogato is an Italian classic dessert and means “drowned” in Italian as it is essentially drowning ice cream in coffee. The hot coffee starts to melt the ice cream and forms a thick foam at the top. The best way to eat an affogato is with a spoon, eat the ice cream first and then drink the coffee along with any melted ice cream.

Affogato is so good, you won’t believe it is so elegant, easy, delicious and only needs two ingredients. Perfect to round off any festive menu or as a late night treat. I am filling my cup now! Recipe page 2


Life is a Book with Many Chapters

It is Monday morning and our seniors started with their final exams today. Yes, in Namibia our school year runs with the calendar year and our kids finish their year in December to start a new school grade in January. With Covid -19 and the pandemic that also reached us here in the southwest of Africa, there was a time when our seniors were to only write their finals in 2021.

But thankfully, with prayerful faith, meetings with top officials and hours of negotiating, our seniors could walk into the school hall today to write their Cambridge final exams and close this chapter named ‘school’. I stand in awe at how quickly this crazy but delightful season of school runs, lunch boxes and sport days went by for me as the mother of a bright beautiful young girl..

Our lives are all about chapters and seasons. 2020 may be a year for many of us where we wish we could skip some chapters, skip to THE END. As we flip through the pages of our life, and especially this year, we live through an array of emotions, actions, and circumstances. We had our ups and downs. We laughed,we cried,we won,we lost,we faltered and we grew stronger…in ourselves and in our faith.

Yes, every day adds a new page to our overall journey. Every day offers a new beginning. A chance to act, to live attentively. To start over. To try again to make something beautiful of this journey called life.

The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”

George Bernard Shaw

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season.” It also tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.” I love these scriptures, as it encourages me that seasons change and that God is working in my life and the lives of my too-quick-growing children. I can keep the faith and live expectantly! For God is the author of my (and their) life.

So in the next few weeks, we as a family are in the chapter or season called FINALS. Long days of studying, encouraging, late nights, cookies and milk, supporting, praying, biting nails, coffee on the porch, tears, giggles, hugs and chocolate. Lots of chocolate! We have already finished a batch of the most delectable Rocky Roads… and this is day one!

Whoever came up with the idea for Rocky Roads was a genius. It requires no baking, contains lots of yummy ingredients and no one expects it to look picture perfect! It is a family favorite, especially during the exams. This is a no bake cookie recipe that doesn’t require the oven, so it’s super quick and easy to make. Child‘s play! Perfect to keep a batch on hand to serve friends as they pop over and spread some holiday cheer.

The problem will be keeping your family away from it long enough to actually serve to guests! I know my pan has already been devoured and they are waiting for a refill! And we are not even close to vacation time or Christmas! Maybe it is because of exam nerves? ( Mum included!).

While Rocky Roads are the perfect easy treat to put out any time and during any season of year, it also makes for an amazing homemade holiday treat! A great homemade gift for all the teachers,coaches, friends and family over this festive season.

I love to add cranberries and flaked almonds or pistachios for a Christmas touch and then box it with a big Christmas bow! Use your imagination and add dried fruits, candied cherries, Turkish delight, Maltezer chocolate balls, white chocolate, hazelnuts, raisins, choc chips or anything you may have on hand in your pantry. This is your story, your own take on Rocky Roads.

So whatever season you find yourself in, or whatever chapter of your life story you are writing, or if you just want to reach THE END of 2020, there should be a special mention of these fudgy, chewy, and crunchy textured Rocky Road cookies. You will find this a scrumptious, indulgent and easy-to-make Rocky Road recipe. Perfect for the holiday season ( and exam chapter) and so super easy and simple to make. It will bring a huge happy smile to your face and give you the spring in your step you need for the next few weeks. Recipe on page 2.


Nothing brings people together like good food.

I really love to cook and bake, plan and prepare for special celebrations, holidays and high days but, there is something about weekday dinners. We all have those nights when we don’t feel like cooking anything complicated. There’s also times when we don’t feel inspired, or just simply did not put in any time or energy into planning a meal.

As a mother, we are continuously running around trying to balance work, laundry, car pools, homework and healthy eating. And all the while trying to stay fit, fabulous and fun! Hard work for sure!

Family dinners are non negotiable in our house, even if it is something simple like scrambled eggs on toast. On the ranch in the Kalahari or in Windhoek during school runs, we make it a priority to sit down as a family for dinner around the kitchen table and share our day and life together. Time to look one another in the eye, be vulnerable and be together, all around a plate of food.

A family that eats together, stays together.

But it is not that easy! Evening work commitments, late meetings, sport and school activities all compete for evening-time attention, not to speak about television, social media and smart phones!

So when life is busy and hunger knocks at the door…Open, sesame! Everyone loves a warm and classic casserole like Chicken Divan, or as it’s more commonly known, Chicken Broccoli Casserole.This is an easy family-friendly weekday favorite.When you need dinner ready under the hour, this Chicken Broccoli Casserole with the creamiest sauce will save the day. Say hello to your family’s new favorite!

I absolutely love this easy version of Easy Chicken Broccoli Casserole. Perfectly-cooked broccoli, tender and juicy chicken on the bone, with an incredibly creamy, garlicky sauce – what more could you ask for? Many recipes call for condensed soups to get that smooth and creamy sauce, but this one uses just cream, wholegrain mustard and honey– so it’s gluten-free, and healthier all around! Yes, no processed ingredients in sight! Awesome, right?

So set the table, light the candles even on this Thursday evening. Your Chicken Broccoli Casserole will be ready in the hour and you can prepare for a hearty, easy and relaxed meal with your family. For the best memories are made around the table. Recipe on page 2.


This Time of Year…All Roads Lead Home

Holiday season is fast approaching. A time filled with special memories and long family meals around my kitchen table. But it is also a time of frantic menu planning, crowded shopping malls and the struggle to meet everyone’s expectations. Yes, I am a people’s pleaser and want to ensure that everything is perfect and everyone around me is smiling and loving the celebrations ( and food!). For everyone is coming home.

Tradition is not to preserve the ashes but to pass on the flame.

Gustav Mahler

So this time of year can be stressful. Add to that the restrictions due to Covid, the girls writing their final exams and all the year end madness, life can become quite overwhelming. I love the article of Jill Savage Let go of Holiday Expectations. If only I can learn to let go of control, opinions and expectations and rather embrace simplicity, connection and attentiveness. This way I will pass on the flame.

This holiday season we are going for simple yet delicious, easy yet deletable. ( Keep following My blog for some inspiring and stress free recipes during the next few festive weeks). Yes, we are going to look at simple, easy menu options. Meals that will be fit for a king but will also allow us time with our loved ones. So join me in my Kalahari kitchen and let us plan for a time of celebration, joy and thankfulness.

Now, I know lamb isn’t traditionally Thanksgiving food BUT I’m here to tell you it totally can be. It is a great option for all those “I ONLY EAT RED MEAT!” lovers in your life. You have those people in your family, right? In my case, those family members not only love red meat they also love all things garlic and all things fresh herbs. What can be better than the smell of roasting lamb wafting towards them as they enter your house with sparkling eyes and joyful merriment.

This garlic, anchovies and rosemary roast lamb and salsa verde can be prepared hours in advance. ( Recipe page 2) You can even prepare it the day ahead of your celebrations and reheat it on the day of the family gathering. The salsa verde is the perfect sauce for the lamb as it cuts the fattiness and gives a lovely fresh taste.

Serve a few hearty slices of lamb per plate, and drizzle the salsa verde over. Any kind of potato dish is also perfect with this simple feast, but I adore tossing hot boiled new potatoes in really good olive oil, lemon zest, parsley, mint and seasoning. They soak the oil and aromatics up and it’s hard to resist eating them before they get to the table. Another easy way to serve this delicious roast is with freshly baked bread. The bread will soak up all the deliciousness of garlic, herbs and lemon. Simple yet so delectable.

So let us do more than survive the next few weeks. Let us thrive. Remember, less is more. Keep it simple. Be intentional. And do not sweat the small stuff. Join me in my Kalahari Kitchen as we plan ahead for time full of special, enchanting memories and scrumptious, mouth-watering meals.

This time of year… all road lead home. And to My Kalahari Kitchen.

Recipe page 2


The Best Attitude is Gratitude

“I knew a woman once

who waited

for the perfect day,

then the ultimate raise,

then the long applause,

then the mountain retreat,

then the magic number,

then the noticed thanks,

then the wanted affirmation

that never came

and for far too long she had no idea that joy could be found in day just like today with the cotton bedsheets pulled up and made smooth in a messy room,

or even the cold water straight from the earth below her, now there at the edge of the cup tipped at her lips,

or even this regular moment with her heart drumming like a wild anthem within her,

because on any old day, even this one, is never too late,

all she had to do was write down these smallest slivers of grace in her everyday because:

Gratefulness isn’t hard.

Forgetting to be grateful is what makes life hard.“

This beautiful piece is written by one of my favourite bloggers Ann Voskamp. Her writing has impacted by life, especially this year where I had to be reminded to be grateful. Grateful for the small mercies and slivers of grace visible in the bizarre, unpredictable, unknown, uncontrollable life we now call our ‘new normal’.

This week we had Lorene’s ‘ Mother- Daughter’ evening at school. It is a special celebration of womanhood, as our daughters embark on this journey called life. After 18 years under our roof and 12 years at school, they are ready to fly! It is time for us as mothers to let go. That is difficult! All around me I hear mothers voice their concern for what the future holds, the world an uncertain place. Tears stain our faces. The wish is uttered that our daughters will just be happy… But what does that mean?

This year has taught me many things, but one things is to give attention to what I am giving attention to. To daily train myself to be more thankful, even for the mundane, ordinary things we call life. To stand still and enjoy the endless grocery shopping, the cooking and feeding of a house full of teenagers, the house littered with school shoes and golf clubs and rugby balls. A house that is busy and full of organized chaos.

The result of living attentively and gratefully? Being infinitely more joyful!

And that is my prayer for Lorene ( and all other children soon leaving the comfort and security of home and venturing into the big wide world), that as they embark on this wonderful, scary journey called life, they will be attentive and grateful.

Yes, today is the perfect day. The perfect day to start living a meaningful life. For my daughter soon to leave home and for myself.

A life that is meaningful — starts with a heart that is grateful. All great lives start with a habit of gratefulness.– Ann Voskamp