Category Archives: Miscellaneous

That’s right, two posts in one day!

So here’s some Wordles that I’ve been meaning to put on here!  The one made up of words from my blog was made by my BF.  The other, is made from words that I had used in one of my French papers.  To see them in larger form, just click on them!  Enjoy!  If you’re interested in creating your own Wordle, just go here

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Filed under Miscellaneous

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

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

Some winners and some pictures

As I’ve been in the kitchen quite a lot recently, I thought I’d pass along some recipes that have turned out as delicious success stories as well as some pics I’ve taken lately while out and about with my camera phone.

Ok, first some Vegan Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies.  These took a bit of time to put together, but nothing too difficult by any means and the results were yummy.  Thanks to MAC & CHEESE, I got the recipe here

Here’s my picture of the finished product:

Tower of cookies

Tower of cookies

My next recent success comes from the gang at Martha Stewart.  I bought the Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook (you can buy/look at the cookbook here) atleast a year ago and have only recently started using recipes from it.  I made their Tortilla and Black Bean Pie, and since I’m not a fan of black beans, I substituted pinto beans instead.  I also used an ale as my beer choice.  You can find the recipe on page 236 of the cookbook or online here

My BF loved this dish and I thought it was both original and economical. We will certainly be making this again as we both loved the flavors of it too!

 

Dinner last night

Dinner last night

 

For the side dish, we made Spanish Rice and an excellent recipe for it can be found at Simply Recipes, an excellent food blog/website that I’ve been using for quite some time now.  Elise’s Spanish Rice recipe is again not only economical in this day and age, but also very delicious!  I’ll never go back to using pre-made packages of it when it’s so much better and healthier for me to just make it myself.  You can find the recipe here. Add some sour cream and salsa on the side, and you’ve got yourself an excellent meal that’ll easily feed 4 adults for very little money.  

And now, some more foodie photos taken with my camera phone:

 

And since I can’t seem to get rid of the tortilla pie or vegan cookies pictures in this section, you get to see them again!  I’m still new to blogging, so bear with me–think of it as doubling your photographic viewing pleasure. Ha ha.

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Filed under Favorite, Foodie, Miscellaneous

Mmmm…Monday….

Like I said in my previous post, I’ve got a lot of blogging catching up to do!  Or would that be called blatching?  Ha.  I’ve made a couple of things in the past couple of days that I would like to share!  Ok first, is what is known in England as Millionaire Shortbread……Mmmm…like the title isn’t delicious enough?  It had me at shortbread!  What is it you may ask?  It’s a base of shortbread covered with a gooey layer of caramel followed by a layer of chocolate! Mmmm………It’s a square of goodness!  

First I must share the recipe, which you can find here:  Millionaire Shortbread  Please note:  instead of spending a ridiculous 3-4 hours boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk to make the caramel, why not just save yourself the agony and just buy it already made?  I made mine with Dulce de leche which is basically caramel in a can and followed the recipe from there.  I found it almost too easy!  So you know what that means–I’m putting it in the yummy file!  

One more thing I must say to all of my non-UK readers–if you need help converting any of the recipes I post on my site from Metric to Imperial measurements than feel free to turn to the internet for help.  There are lots of conversion resources and websites!  

Now I can present you the pics!  I do think the pictures don’t do it justice in my opinion, they somehow ended up like pictures from a 1970’s cookbook, but I guess you’ll just have to make it to find out what you think of them, my beautiful pics aside.

caramel  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note the caramel gooeyness!  

layers

 

 

 I like the shortbread base too!  If only this was fat-free…..ha.  

 And now I must also share a recipe that is on the opposite side of the      food spectrum–Mikki’s Magically Delicious Vegan Cookies.  Now these  cookies came to me via a family member who is vegan.  I’m not a vegan  and would usually not be so keen to try a baking recipe that is.  I’ve been  through my gluten free phase before and couldn’t help but speculate that  somehow vegan would be the same—dry and tasteless.  These cookies  could not be farther from the truth!  They are SO DELICIOUS and addictive it’s not even funny!  And the best part is, you can eat the cookie dough too!  They contain no butter or eggs, so eat away without fear of salmonella!  Mmmm….salmonella free cookies!  Yes please!  So without further due, I present you Mikki’s Magically Vegan Cookies, but please don’t thank me, thank Mikki!  Thanks Mikki!

1/3 Cup Peanut Butter

2 Tblsp. Canola Oil

1 Cup Sugar (I used 1/2 C white, 1/2 C brown)

1/3 Cup Soy/ Rice/ Whatever kind of milk you prefer (I used regular milk)

1 tsp. Vanilla

Mix that together and in a seperate bowl mix:

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 Heaping tsp. of Cinnamon (that’s the secret ingredient!)

Mix those two concoctions together and then fold in 1 cup of Rolled Oats and 1 HEAPING cup of Chocolate Chips (I found this worked well with even a 1/2-3/4 C of mini chocolate chips). Now, the dough gets thick and it’s hard to get the chocolate chips to fold in. I end up getting a ball of dough and stuffing as many chips into each cookie as I can. That’s where the LOVE comes in! 

Bake on an GREASED cookie sheet at 375F/180C for 12-14 minutes (if using a fan assisted oven like me, bake for 8-9 mins, turning half way through baking time).

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