The Mongolian Steppe

Horses on the Steppe, Mongolia

On the road in Mongolia.

Mongolia

We usually drove 200-250 kilometers or more (one day was 400km!) per day there are few paved roads.

Russian van in Mongolian steppe

The Russian Tank Truck (as I like to call it) became our home.

Russian van in Mongolia 2

It didn’t provide seat belts and the ride was bumpy.

rock formations on the steppe, Mongolia

Bracing myself helped give my arms quite the workout!

Mongolian landscape

Along the way… there was beauty. I was even lucky enough to see this golden eagle in flight.

Golden eagle, Mongolia

Mongolia

 These next few posts are sorely overdue. My apologies.

 Rock formations, Mongolia

Mongolia had been a dream adventure of mine for many years (and still is). Finally this past summer, I got to experience the glory of the Gobi Desert. Having only ten days total and eight days for my adventure, I had to make the tough decision of choosing where to go. I found Golden Gobi Tours and Hostel online and made arrangements with them.

 Sunset in Mongolia

Eight days to explore the Gobi and its surroundings.

Hiking into the Devil's Mouth

Eight days off the grid.

slanted rock formations, Mongolia

Eight days with no shower.

Succulent in Mongolia

Eight days riding around with a group of strangers in a magnificent Russian-made machine that I’m not sure could ever be stopped.

Russin van in Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Eight days conquering fears.

Dramatic sky in Mongolia

Eight days falling more and more in love with a land of such extreme beauty.

prayer flags in Mongolia

Eight days to experience a people of such incredible resilience.

Cool rock formations, Mongolia

The Devil's Mouth, Mongolia

Eight days to behold one of the most stunning and unique landscapes I have ever experienced.

beautiful rock formations, Mongolia

Sigh. Eight days was not enough. Nor is one single post to show off my favourite photos, so there’s more to come.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Candied Ginger Week: Candied Ginger Cocoa Nib Cookies with Nuts

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Cocoa nibs can be found in more and more places: chocolate covered cocoa nibs, smoothies, protein shakes and various baked goods. They are broken pieces of cocoa beans that have been prepped all but to the point of being processed into cocoa for chocolate.

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They are rich in vitamins and nutrients and are considered a raw superfood. Cocoa nibs are pleasantly nutty, delicately earthy and they have a wonderful, crunchy texture.

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They also perfectly compliment ginger. Especially candied ginger. In cookies. THESE cookies.

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Ginger and cocoa strike again.

 

 

Candied Ginger Cocoa Nib Cookies with Nuts

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ cup candied ginger pieces (recipe here)
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC/Gas mark 5.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside

Combine candied ginger, cocoa nibs, coconut and chopped nuts. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a bowl with mixer or whisk. Add eggs and vanilla and continue to whisk until the eggs are well mixed.

Slowly combine flour mixture a bit at a time. Add some and mix well. Then add a bit more. Repeat until the flour is fully incorporated and there is no trace of dry powder.

Now stir in the candied ginger mixture.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a tablespoon-sized dollop of dough evenly spaced along the pan. Leave about two inches between the dollops so they have enough room to expand without being crowded.

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Bake for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they bake quite fast. They are done when the edges are brown and the middle is still a little raw looking.

Remove from heat and let cool. Devour immediately or freeze. Share with friends. Bring to a potluck. Or a brunch. Replace cookie for spoon with you ice cream. Dip in milk. Or milkshake. Anyway you do it, enjoy.

Makes about 24 cookies

 

Toji Temple

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Temples and Shrines

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Geisha

While roaming around Gion, the Geisha district in Kyoto, I had desperately hoped to spot geisha doing their thing on the streets. As I found out, they are as elusive to spot as a hummingbirds. So, to satiate ourselves, my friends and I went to a wee geisha show.

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It was very exciting, especially since I was chosen to wear a kimono on stage. I am not posting photos of myself, as I pretty much looked like a tool.

Buds and Blooms in Kyoto

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