Monday Meal Review: Tonga


My family almost didn’t get to try the Sweet Potatoes this week. Twice I screwed up the caramel. Once, Ava was too tired to eat. When she was better rested, I was out of sweet potatoes.

It was a comedy of errors. Except I wasn’t laughing,

To blow off some steam, Ava and I decided to wash the car. We got on our bathing suits and began to scrub. Dust and bird gunk (and so much more) gradually peeled off the car.

As the car cleaned up, something curious began to happen. I began to feel better.

Cleansed, even.

Ava laughed – no squealed – as she got caught in the spray. And I found myself joining in her joyous refrain.

When we were done, we had the watermelon ‘Otai. It was just hot enough, and we were more than thirsty.

Ava wasn’t crazy about the chunks of watermelon (although I loved chewing them)… but that wasn’t the point. It never really is. The point is to try it. And to have a little fun in the process.

If she has a happy memory of sprinkling on the coconut shreds, and little else, then I will be satisfied.

Life is too short to be worried about everything going perfectly.

Take it from me: when things go wrong for much too long, consider rinsing away some of the stuff that gets in the way.

And we can start with our expectations of what should happen.

Life will feel a whole lot sparklier.

(How do you like that made up word?)


Sweet Potatoes in Coconut Caramel Sauce [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

For those with a sweet tooth, this recipe is definitely a winner. I preferred it with just a little of the coconut sauce, although I’m sure many others would be happy to drown the sweet potato in it. Many recipes featuring the coconut sauce in Tonga look to be swimming in it! I’m voting for this to replace the typical candied sweet potatoes we get at Thanksgiving. It’d make a great substitute!

What I loved least about this dish:

While I really dislike candied sweet potatoes, this combination somehow seems more approachable to me. The toasty coconut caramel makes it seem earthier.. more palatable.

Coconut Watermelon Refresher | ‘Otai [Recipe]

What I loved most about this drink:

For just three ingredients, this ‘Otai really packs a punch. The watermelon is fresh, and gives the fruity chew, which is fun. The coconut milk lends a creaminess, while the shredded coconut is both beautiful and delicious. Keith went for seconds without me asking! Ava had lots of fun making it…

What I loved least about this drink:

While Ava loved making ‘Otai, she wasn’t a huge fan of drinking it. I think she would have liked it better if the whole thing was blended smooth. Lesson learned! With recipes like this, I usually wait a few weeks (or more) before trying again. That way she has time to forget about it.. and possibly like it better than the last time.


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