Friday, October 8, 2010

Land of the Kiwi

Let’s go under the Land Down Under to an almost surreal place of lush rainforests, steaming volcanoes, breathtaking beaches and bigger-than-life fiords. New Zealand is roughly the size of Colorado, but it’s amazing scenery and unusual creatures make it a popular destination for playing, relaxing and thrill-seeking.

The photo at left is Mt. Tongariro, one of three active volcanoes that dominate the landscape of the North Island. It's dramatic beauty made it the perfect spot to shoot parts of the Lord of the Rings triology! I heard parts of Jurassic Park were filmed there as well...or somewhere in NZ.

About a quarter of the country is forested and, thank goodness, protected from exploitation. Let’s hope it stays that way. Only about 4 million people call New Zealand home, making it one of the world’s least crowded countries. If you’re looking for peace, quiet, wide open spaces or deep, dense forests with ginormous ferns...this is the place to go.

Stop by next week for the scoop on places to stay, things to do and a bit about this small country's unusual wildlife. For now, take a look at this New Zealand recipe that would make a perfect Halloween dinner! (And don't worry about trying to find New Zealand pumpkins -- good old American pumpkins work just fine.)

Printed from COOKS.COM
2 med. size New Zealand pumpkins
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 round onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Minced garlic
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 lg. can sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tbsp. shoyu (soy sauce)
2 tbsp. brown or raw sugar
1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, chopped
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash pumpkins; cut a round hole on top of each pumpkin and use as a cover while baking. Remove seeds and pulp. Set pumpkins aside.
Saute onion, celery and garlic in oil; add ground meat and brown well. Drain excess fat. Add mushrooms, soup, shoyu and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water chestnuts and cooked rice. Spoon half of mixture in one pumpkin shell and the other half in second pumpkin shell. Place on baking sheet and bake 1 hour or until pumpkin meat is fork tender. Remove and serve hot, scooping out filling as well as pumpkin meat.


  1. A kiwi sits on my computer desk promising publication any minute now. I loved New Zealand. We traveled in October so I was lucky enough to enjoy two springs in one year. We traveled with Overseas Travel with friends from the University. Susan, you are part of ACFW Midwest I believe. I thought I might meet you in Indianapolis but didn't realize the opportunity. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Rohn Federbush

  2. My son traveled to Australia and New Zealand a few years ago and absolutely loved it! Maybe someday I'll be able to visit!