Menu: Sierra Leone (& Giveaway)


Next time you see someone doing or experiencing something especially grand (or perhaps even showing off a bit), say with wide eyes:

“The salt has climbed the hill.”

It’s the way people in Sierra Leone express amazement over something they weren’t quite expecting.

Like how we had two days in the 70’s in January. Totally unexpected. Or when I found out I’d secured a book deal with National Geographic. The salt and the pepper both climbed the hill on that one.

As for this menu? She’s plain and simple, but full of rich, comforting flavors, perfect for hot or cold weather, so no need to watch the radar.

The recipes and meal review will be posted throughout the week.

Beef, Okra & Eggplant Stew [Recipe]
Bits of unctious beef in a thick, veggie-loaded sauce, bragging an entire eggplant, okra, tomatoes, and onion. Perfect ladled over a bowl of rice.

West African Peanut Bites | Kanya [Recipe]
Just three ingredients make up these peanut bites: peanuts, sugar, and rice flour. The perfect Valentine’s Gift for the vegan, gluten-free people in your heart. (Bet you can’t stop with just one)

Weekly Giveaway

Because it was 70 degrees yesterday, and because I wanted nothing more than go for a picnic… (and, trust me, I would have if it weren’t for the tornado watch)… I’m giving away a shiny, new picnic backpack.

It’s wonderful.

I know because this is the same picnic backpack I bought Keith for our anniversary last June. We’ve used it on hikes, at festivals, outdoor music concerts, lake days, and more. We love it.


She stores wine or other cold beverages (with plenty of room for corked bottles), an entire tub of fresh strawberries (should you be a last minute picnic person, like ourselves, and place settings for 4 – perfect for a small family or when joining friends for a walk.


The bag keeps the food cold, organized, and easy to carry.  The silverware is surprisingly sturdy, and the cute, capped salt and pepper shakers send me over the moon.

You could even have the cream area monogrammed if you were so inclined.

I can’t say enough good things about it and I want you to win.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#f1f1f1″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]How to Enter:

1. Leave a comment in this post and tell me where in the world your dream picnic would be, what you would eat, and/or who you would eat with.

2. For extra entries, share the contest on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter (#GlobalGiveaway). [/dropshadowbox]

Winner will be chosen at random and announced on January 4, 2013. Prize must be claimed by February 11, 2013.


Congratulations to Marina, who says:

I would picnic somewhere in Switzerland, in the mountains, on the wonderful green pastures, with sounds of cow bells ringing in the background. It’s so peaceful, and perfect for a nice picnic with my fiance.

We would probably eat sandwiches, with some gourmet things thrown into them. And for drink, we would have the best ice tea ever, it’s some swiss brand, herb mixture and seriously tastes like the nectar of gods.

Oh, and definitely some brownies would be in there :)

Please contact me by February 11, 2013 to claim your prize!


  1. Hmm, I would take my husband and kids with me to the woods surrounding the house in rural West Virginia that my grandparents lived in when I was growing up. I have such good memories of summers spent there. The lunch itself could be simple, as long as it included blackberries from their berry bushes!

  2. Kristin B says

    I’d love to picnic somewhere in New Zealand; a meadow with mountain scenery in the background. People of choice for this picnic would be my husband and three kids. I might make chicken salad (with grapes and nuts) sandwiches for me and the hubby. The kids probably peanut butter and jelly. 🙂 Fruit, cocktail shrimp, hummus might be a few other items I’d throw in. The drink choice I’d leave up to my husband.

  3. Marina says

    I would picnic somewhere in Switzerland, in the mountains, on the wonderful green pastures, with sounds of cow bells ringing in the background. It’s so peaceful, and perfect for a nice picnic with my fiance.

    We would probably eat sandwiches, with some gourmet things thrown into them. And for drink, we would have the best ice tea ever, it’s some swiss brand, herb mixture and seriously tastes like the nectar of gods.

    Oh, and definitely some brownies would be in there 🙂

  4. Marie Delaplace says

    Oh how beautiful! I’d take all of my family on a picnic to my grandfather’s rose garden in Arcisse, France. I’d want my father to be able to go back to see him, because he’s 87 and doesn’t have much time left. It would be a sweet way to say goodbye. After being unable to vacation in France for years, it would be such a wonderful thing for my father, to see his family once more…I wish this could actually happen sometime in the near future.

  5. Germany! With a new friend I met from there while she was here on sabbatical….just some good German bread…no filling required.

  6. My dream picnic would be in Wales with Princess Diana and I would pack up some Belgian-Style Fried Chicken, Korean Kalbi Ribs and crudites.

  7. Leslie Litz Ryan says

    To the beach from my childhood (where my mother and fathers ashes were taken into the ocean) with my closest friend, It would start just after sunrise- our coffee and Krispy Cream donuts, laterwe would have wine, cheese, crackers, okra pickles, smoked oysters, clams and mussels, black and green olives–that would be to toast my mom, later as the sun is falling fire up the pit and toss on a steak and potato a toast to my father. I would lie down on my blanket and watch the stars til I could hold my eyes open no longer-just like when I was a kid

  8. I live in the Caribbean and I hike a lot at home and have discovered some great picnic spots i’d like to go back to. this backpack would be ideal to go to those secluded spots. One in particular comes to mind where there’s a lovely flat grassy area right next to a cliff with a natural pool at the bottom.
    I’d have pack sandwiches and fruit and i’d eat with my boyfriend

  9. The perfect picnic for me would be an afternoon in or around Kansai, Japan, with an extensive array of fresh sushi, in the company of Kaneko and Daisaku Ikeda and SGI members from Kansai. : D

  10. I’m pretty simple in my picnicking tastes. There are a few parks right near my house, so I would just want to go to one of them with some friends or family to enjoy the view of Baltimore harbor that each of them affords.

  11. Nicole DeBoer says

    Picnicking means peaceful family moments. So the location isn’t as important as a peaceful environment and family to share it with. Thanks for all you do to expand our minds Sasha!

  12. Monique says

    The mountain from the opening scene of Sound of Music – our family loves that movie……with my girls and hubbie.
    As to what to eat – a wide variety of finger foods…..cheese, crackers, olives, vietnamese summer rolls (the girls favorite) berries, cookies, wine (for the grown ups)…..I could go on 🙂

  13. I’d like to go to Ireland with my husband. We had our Honeymoon there and would love to return. I’d choose a small coastal town we stayed in by chance. It was called Lehinch. It was colorful, small, hospitable, and had a beautiful beach. Watching the sun set over the Atlantic was an incredible and different experience. I’d pack it with wine, Guinness, Irish bread, jam, and clotted cream!

  14. annaclarice says

    My dream picnic would be anywhere with my 3 granddaughters. Our imaginations can take us anywhere and if we do it together…all the better.

  15. Simone says

    Wow, this is a tough question, only because there are so many great locations and choices… but I think it would be in the mountains ‘back home’ in Bavaria, on a peak with a view of all the alps… I’d take my parents and my girls and hubby 🙂 it will happen one day I’m sure!!

  16. alyssa says

    I’ve had my dream picnic! It was with my husband on Montmartre, sitting in the grass overlooking Paris with wine, cheese, crunchy baguettes and macaroons. Any picnic with my husband is where I want to be!

  17. I would have a tea party picnic in the English countryside. I’d invite my friends who just came to a tea party at my house this weekend. We’d have tea sandwiches, scones, and all the other tea party treats. And of course we’d have some yummy English tea!

  18. Gwen Larsen says

    Great idea in the middle of winter to keep us dreaming about picnics in the great outdoors! First place that comes to mind is an idyllic setting along the Thames River, just a few blocks from our Henley-on-Thames home, with cows grazing nearby on the meadow, willow trees for shade where the swans like to nest, and my dear hubby taking his noon hour break to meet up there! We might have scotch eggs from the farmers market en route (reminder to pack the mustard) with the local’s apple cider to share, if it was autumn – elderberry juice in summer or hot tea in winter – to finish with a cherry Bakewell tart from Kenneth the baker in next village, only a 15 minute walk along the river…what a delightful hour to hold hands, count swans, and relive our dream life in 2010!

  19. Heather Blazier says

    My mom has a beautiful 10 acres in the mountains of Idaho. Because I live so far away from her (SC) any time with her is a dream. I would love to find some little picnic spot by a stream on her property and have a picnic with her. It wouldn’t matter what we were eating!

  20. Christina says

    My ideal picnic would be in the Flint Hills of Kansas with all my friends and family. It won’t happen because they are scattered all over the world, but I can always dream. We would eat faspa (zweibach, lunch meat, sliced cheese, potato chips, pickles, & cookies with coffee & tea to drink.)

  21. Sherry says

    Next to a lake somewhere in Croatia, with my dear husband with some wonderful local cheeses, breads and some local beers.

  22. Andrea Lopez says

    I dream of a picnic under the Tuscan Sun. I would definitely spend it with my wonderfully romantic husband and as we found out this week that we are expecting our first child….. our little bean would definitely be included. 😀

  23. Donna Redman says

    I would like to return to Jamaica. I went there on my honeymoon. My husband insisted on renting a car. I called it a two by two because it was half the size of a 4 x 4. We really didn’t get an opportunity to just sit down and relax. It would be nice to go back and have a picnic by a waterfall or under some of the beautiful trees.

  24. Picnic with my husband, kids, parents and grandma at the countryside in Poland, somewhere under the peach tree. We would be eating fresh strawberries, grandma’s apple cake, drinking homemade wine and enjoying the peaches, of course:)

  25. Janine says

    I would love to have a picnic with my hubby on the bank of the Seine. I’d have cheeses and meats and baguettes. And of course wine! Some olives and strawberries would be good too.

  26. My dream picnic would be with my husband and daughter on the beach in Honduras- in Tela, Atlantida close to where my mother grew up. The menu: Bananina soda, Rica Sula chips, and fresh-made Baleadas from the neighborhood Chucheria 🙂 That would be beyond amazing.

  27. I would take my husband and son on a picnic in the mountains of my native Norway, and also invite all my Norwegian family and friends whom I don’t see often enough. We would light a campfire and fry trout straight from the mountain lakes (we would have to catch them first), make barbecued bread (recipe: and bake potatoes in the embers. We might also bring some cured meat of lamb, eaten with scrambled eggs and traditional flatbread. Coffee, also brewed over the open fire and served with simple biscuits or a chocolate cake, would finish the meal. I should start planning today!

  28. Maryam says

    I would take my daughter to our family home in outskirts of Kashan, Iran
    I would take with us a feast of traditional Iranian finger food… Kuku, kotlet, shami, and for desert juicy pomegranates and rose water and saffron ice cream eaten with wafers
    (I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do this as we fled the country due to religious persecution… But it’s nice to have dreams 🙂 )

  29. I would take my family to France. We would picnic with a variety of good cheeses, homemade bread, and pastries!

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