Category Archives: Life

Sense and Sensibility

Hello All,

I know, I know, I’m overdue it seems as always with my blog!  But I sit here now, ready to update it!  I’ve started my new job, been at it for already a week now…it’s not that bad, just a bit dull at times, but this is only temporary!  Hopefully soon I’ll be embarking on some different projects.  But to be honest, I really don’t mind going to work.  Trust me, I’ve had several jobs where I DREAD going to them, and this is not one of them.  I treat the job that I have now with a lot of respect.

Anyways, getting to what I love doing–being in the kitchen!  I realized as I walked down the baking aisle the other day, that it’s my most favorite aisle of the whole grocery store!  I love looking at all the different kinds of spices for sale, or the different types of flour on sale…I’m surrounded by pie fillings, marshmallows, and chocolate chips!  In the baking aisle, how can life be unhappy? Ha.

This weekend I baked Sweet Potato cookies, which turned out more like mini-scones, which I thought were interesting.  As my mom put it, they’d be great with coffee or tea!  I’m on the fence about them however, as to whether or not I’d make them again…Hmm….I also baked my grandfather a surprise!  It was my Saturday baking project–a Black Forest Cake! Mmmm…I’d never made one before, and I knew that I wanted to make one that was small and yet enough to enjoy for a while.  So in a loaf pan it was!  The original recipe called for 2 8 inch pans, and I halved the recipe, and it fit perfectly in my loaf tin!  Success!  Sadly, I do not have any pictures of my delicious and beautiful two-layered baking wonder, but it remains in my memory, alas.

My grandfather was so cute–he called me to tell me how much he LOVED my cake!  And how he was going to enjoy it each night for several nights to come!   Ah, that was just so cute!  I put a lot of love into that cake, as I do with anything that comes out of my kitchen or made by my hands.  In addition to writing, it’s one of the ways I know best to express myself.

Ok, now for some pictures!  Yes, some much needed pictures!

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Filed under Bake, Chocolate, Foodie, Life, Miscellaneous, New Recipe

Oh it’s hot…

It’s been a hot day here in CO.  I find myself constantly surrounded by beverages, although that goes for most of the year.  Although it’s been hot lately, last month was one of the wettest months here on record, something like 236% above average!  I kind of like to think that we’re nearly half way through the month….far fetched thinking I know, but I suppose you can understand my logic if you’ve read my previous post.

I know it doesn’t bear repeating, but I probably won’t be talking about food nearly as much as I used to for a while…I’ve discovered that my BF inspires me to cook and bake and without him, I don’t feel passionate about it.  I have however baked once or twice since I’ve been back in the States.  Today for instance, I baked Banana Oatmeal Cookies and they were delicious!  Kind of like a little piece of banana bread in cookie form…Mmmm…..Yeah, I know it was something like 97 degrees outside today, but I felt like baking despite the hot temperatures.  I apparently also feel inspired during the hotter months to make afghans!   Ha.  I’m nearly done with crocheting my blanket–I’m just finishing up those hanging threads and giving it the finishing touches.  I’ll be so happy with my handiwork when it’s all finished.  I know it’ll definitely be an heirloom one day.

Not much else going on while I wait to hear more news about my job, which will hopefully be starting soon!  I hope to know more this week….fingers crossed!  Until then, it gives me an excuse to enjoy what time I have in the kitchen and devoted to my blanket!  I’ll be sure to post a picture of my blanket when it’s all done!  I’ve also found that I enjoy watching all the Harry Potter movies lately too….and reading the Twilight series too!  I certainly never run out of things I’d like to do while not working, that’s for sure!  I’ve always got a stack of stuff from the library like magazines and books/Cd’s to look at in addition to all the books I have already that I’d like to get around to reading.  I find I read mostly at night, which thankfully hasn’t been playing itself out in my dreams or anything.

Can I also say on a different note, how much I miss England and of course my boyfriend?  I miss them both..I miss all of my English TV programming, my little pieces of nature, my little way of life there, getting to see my boyfriend each and every day, getting to spend so much blissful time in the kitchen, going to the market, even grocery store shopping, which I hate doing here in the States…..I miss watching funny episodes of ‘Top Gear’ or ‘The Apprentice’ when it was getting good…and giving me a reason to look forward to Wednesdays after work….getting to see the ocean is another thing I miss, ok, technically it isn’t an ‘ocean’ per say, since it’s a channel, but you know what I mean.  I miss my favorite pine tree filled neighborhood near the beach.  Ahh..I just miss so much of it–all of those millions of little things that made up my daily life….I can picture it all now…it was all so different to my life now here.  It’s as if my time in England was truly another life time and I can only hope that I always remember every last bit of it.  Of course, I’m dying to go back for long visits…..to savor it all over again.

Well I’m happy to report that I have been in the kitchen lately…see pics below for the goodness both foodie and non-foodie!

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Filed under Crafty, Foodie, Life, Nature, Travel

Welcome to July!!!

Yes, I’m happy that it’s July, because that means I’m one month closer to being together again with my beloved BF.  Yes!  I must admit, I don’t take advantage of the glorious sunshine we have at the moment…..I find that I stay inside most of the time because it’s too hot out there.  And yet when it’s winter, I will have to stay inside, which I don’t care for.

But anyways, I think it’s time to roll out some pictures both foodie and non-foodie related.  So here they are!

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Filed under Foodie, Life

Bits and Bobs

I know it’s been ages since I’ve updated my blog here.  A lot has happened since I was in the UK.  My BF came out for a most amazing visit to see me in the US, since I live here now, and we had a most fantastic time together.  As he is finishing school and still working, he had to return home to England.  So now I am here in the States trying to find a job and hold out as best as I can until I see him again hopefully at Christmas.  I know especially when winter hits, it’ll be especially hard for me.  I don’t know if it’s because it makes my nights more lonely or because life seems a little bit more harsh during the winter time.  Winter by the way is my most hated season.  I require, if I can help it, a fair dose of sunshine now and again, something that winter does not provide enough of.

So in light of me being back in the States, things on the cooking front have been very slow and probably will continue to be so.  I’m so behind on posting pictures on here it’s not even funny, plus, I’m nearly at my uploading limit with Flickr, thus probably why you haven’t seen many new pics on there either.  But despite not cooking/baking nearly as much I did in the UK, and my BF having to return there, and not having a job at the moment, there is one thing that I am glad to have accomplished: getting a new cell phone.  I am also slowly but steadily making squares for a crocheted afghan–granny squares.  So I know I will be SO happy when I’ve completed it, which won’t be for a while.  But how many people do you know in this day and age still make blankets?  With their own two hands?  Uh, no one!  So I’m proud that I defy the odds!

Oh, on a foodie note, today I did visit a local dairy farm with my mom.  It was reminiscent of when I used to buy direct from the farmers/producers at the weekly village market.  We bought butter, ice cream, and a kraut burger (interestingly enough they had that and cinnamon rolls for sale–both of which I’d like to try).  They also sold beef/steaks, milk (of course) and cheese curds.  So I think I’d definitely on the occasional weekend pay another visit to this local dairy farm.  Do I think we need more places like this around here?  Heck yes I do!  But for now, I can only take what I can get.

Anyways, that’s all for now.  Just wanted to give a little update with me.  Hopefully I can get some more new pics on here soon so that my blog isn’t always 100% writing all the time.  Sometimes I like just looking at pictures because they can convey so much.

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Filed under Life

An old post that needed posting

It is with sadness and a small twinge of excitement that I must leave the British Isles this weekend.  I was reflecting back this morning on my way to the market how much I’ve come to love this place.  I haven’t enjoyed every single day, but I’ve sure enjoyed the hell out of being here!  I really have.  I have learned so much about myself, where I want to be, how to do new things, and how I’ve done things I never thought I’d ever do.  I guess this part of life teaches you that you can’t hold onto everything forever, sometimes you gotta move on and cherish every single second for what it was.

Before I moved here, I never knew how to use public transportation like using a bus or getting on a train, I never knew how to make marmalade, I’d never haggled at a market, I’d never been to a butcher’s shop, or felt more connected with nature in a way that I never have before.  I now pay more attention to birds, butterflies, and the way the air smells in the morning.

Similarly, in the culinary world since living here I have come so far that I cannot tell you, I could only show you.  Yeah, I still have my recipes that aren’t all that great, but you know what?  They are few compared to the number of yummy successes I’ve had.

I feel like I’m a new woman since living here, an experience that I couldn’t get anywhere else but here at this exact time and place in my life, a time when I needed a little self assessment.  I know more about myself now in the past year of living here than I have in all of my 20-something years of being on this planet.

Looking back on the past 6 months or so, I’ve realized just how much I’ve grown as a person and how much I’ve learned about myself.  I’m almost taken back by it.  I’ve learned just how passionate of a person I can be about my creative hobbies–crocheting, using yarn/wool, making things, and how I’ve improved ten fold in the kitchen!  I’ve also learned that I aspire to have a home that I love being in, a place that I want decorated with things vintage and new.

I am deeply saddened by having to leave the country I have come to love in so many ways, one that I hope stays with me forever no matter where I am.  I am glad to know that I cannot go back to being the person I once was before I moved to this country; I have changed and living in Europe has changed me.  Yes, I still avoid making phone calls here at all costs, because I’m not a phone person here, but I have learned to overcome so much more than that–public transport challenges being one of them.  Coming from a country where I have to drive absolutely everywhere to a country where I can walk everywhere or get to use public transport.  I have developed my self confidence in so many ways and yet come to realize sometimes I really can become a shrinking violet.  But you know what?  That’s just who I am, a woman of contradictions.

Moreover, I have experienced things here that only I alone can cherish or remember.  I try to take pictures of everything I can to somehow take hold of all those things around me and remember them forever.  Where I come from and where I live now in England are worlds apart and as each day draws nearer to when I must leave, my heart fills with dread.

Yes, I am happy to return to a land with warmer temperatures, burritos, my car, my family, and ingredients I’m used to cooking with, but that doesn’t make leaving here any easier.  It’s a mixed bag of emotions for me.  I know that I’ll face that day when it comes where my BF and I won’t have to separate anymore, with disbelief.  You see, that’s one of the many challenges we must face and have been facing for 4 years as a trans-atlantic couple, but I know that one day soon, that’ll all be behind us.

I remember 6 months ago I was looking ahead to the future, hoping and wishing that I’d get something, anything out of my experience in being here in England.  And you know what?  I have, I most certainly have.  I feel enriched and more sure of myself now about who I am and what I want out of life and you can’t put a price tag on that!

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Filed under Life, Miscellaneous

Rain rain, go away!

Ugh, it’s an unpleasantly rainy day here in England today–cold and rainy, the kind that makes you want to stay inside all day.  We haven’t had good weather or a spot of sunshine in some two weeks here.  I’m dreaming of a Spanish villa somewhere in the sunshine….I’m tired of being cold.  I’m also starting to wonder how people do indeed put up with the weather on this island for so long!  I can see why sitting inside drinking tea and making up for the weather’s miserable existence by eating tons of cakes and cookies is the norm here.  

Although I must say, despite the gloomy weather today, three things excite me: one, it’s FRIDAY, always a good thing even when you’re not working, two, I FINALLY managed to find some polenta at the grocery store, something I’ve been trying to find for a while now (I’ve been wanting to make this: Sweet Breakfast Polenta), and thirdly, I just received a gift from Coldplay in my inbox: a free download of a live album they put together just for their fans!  Sweet!  

Oh and I went to the Dorchester Market during the week and scored some greatness as usual!  I came home with a weaving loom for only £1, a way cool ring made out of sea shell, and some dried fruit for a cake for really cheap.  I’d never taken a train by myself before even though I’ve been living here for over a year now, and it was my first adventure on the rails!  Thankfully it was uneventful and I made it home without any transportation mishaps.  Oh, and I also bought some rhubarb since it’s now in season, and made this for tea the other day:  Sour Cream Rhubarb Squares. They were indeed deliciously moist with a faint hint of rhubarb.  I made some in a muffin tin and the rest of it I made in a loaf tin and froze for later.  

Tomorrow night for dinner I’m trying my hand at Apricot Pork Chops with Jersey Royal potatoes and I’m making my first ever Shoo-fly Pie!  I bought a Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook ages ago at my local library and came across the recipe today, so I’m going to make it.  It will also be my first time making a pie or even working with molasses!  So here we go!  Wish me luck!  

Brrr!!! I’m really cold right now!  I think I’m going to make a tea loaf now…my new thing is to make baked goods and then freeze them for later use/enjoyment.  With only three of us in the house, it’s kind of hard to eat everything up within the week, even though believe me, I’m trying my best!  So by freezing it, it lasts longer and we can have things available for tea in only a couple of hour’s notice.

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Filed under Bake, Foodie, Life, New Recipe

Sugar Nuts n’ Such

Well today I’m making this: Sugar Nuts . Beforehand, I made a batch of raspberry cream cheese swirl brownies (yes, using a package mix that was lying around!  gasp!) that refused to come out of the pan nicely so now they are all crumbled on a dinner plate.  I think they’ll have to go along side some vanilla ice cream or except defeat and remain ugly but still edible.  And while I take breaks between my nut stirring activity for the next hour, I’m thinking about life.  Then again, I feel that I’m doing that a lot these days.  I guess I’m just annoyed at how if you’re not working in American culture, you’re viewed as not being productive, something that is just so unthinkable in our culture.  That irks me.  Yeah ok, I don’t work currently, but does that mean that what I do is less important or meaningful than someone who does?  Just something to think about…

Ah, I don’t know why it just hit me, but I’d love to work in a bakery.  No, I wouldn’t like those early morning starting hours (having to be at work at 4:30AM thanks to working at a coffee shop wasn’t my idea of fun after a few years) but there’s something I’d love about having the radio on and working with something so natural and pure as bread.  I’m not talking fancy pastry shop work, I’m just talking making honest to goodness bread.  I think it’s good that people are starting to get back to basics given our current economic climate.  We should be appreciating things made and baked at home.  Hey, even if you’re using Bisquick, that’s a start–atleast you’re in the kitchen making something! I’m telling you, there’s nothing better than making something yourself!  

Cooking and baking teach you how to be creative, have self confidence, and best of all, you get to enjoy the outcome! If not, there’s always that frozen pizza that you should always have on hand in case culinary disaster strikes or the nearest pizza delivery on speed dial.

*My post continued one day later……*

Today is one of the most rainy and grey days we’ve had here in a long time….it makes you want to sit next to the radiator and read a book.  Atleast today it’s raining vertically rather than the usual horizontal direction typical of English rain.  I do wonder if England could ever run out of rain?  Ha.  I’m trying to keep myself warm by watching the UKTV food channel and thinking about what type of tea to have. I also have some udon noodles laying around that I’d like to have for lunch. Being that it’s yucky outside today, I will probably also whip up something comforting in the kitchen as well as crochet something with some amazing yarn I bought at the local haberdashery shop over the weekend….Can I just say that I had a great weekend? I always love paying a visit to my haberdashery shop and scoring some awesome yarn and I even picked up a few neat looking buttons. I also took a long walk in the English countryside with my BF. You can see my pics from the weekend below:

Also forgot to mention that my picture of Salisbury Cathedral got included in the latest edition of Schmap!  See it here

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Filed under Foodie, Life, Nature