Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Baking

Well the Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone and it was a good one around the Yellow House. I had the chance to go on Skype on Thanksgiving with my niece and sisters as I mentioned in a previous post. And it was a whole lot of fun! It was just like I was sitting in the room with them. Then on Friday, Brit Boy and I had our Thanksgiving dinner. We had a great day together!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to make a different version of sweet potato pie this year and you know what...they turned out great. I made mini sweet potato pies. I got the original recipe off of the Food Network website and had to make a substitution for the crust. Here’s a link to the recipe from their site. I’m not very good at making crusts yet and I ran out of time, so I found a substitute. I found this product called brandy snap baskets that were pre-made and used them for my shell. You can see them in the photo below. They are kind of crispy and a bit chewy, but they were the perfect accompaniment to the pies. My version tastes better than it looks in the photo...trust me ;-)

So the filling of the brandy snap baskets is a sweet potato soufflé that I made separately and then placed it into the baskets. Then I made the whipped topping with cream cheese, cinnamon, and confectioners sugar/powdered sugar. I didn’t have a pastry bag so I just kind of dropped a bit of the cream on each one. It turned out fine and it was still good :-)

I was intrigued when I saw them made on the cooking show that I watched. So when I tasted them, I was not disappointed at all. I’ll definitely be making them again.

This was my latest cooking adventure and it was fun...now on to the next thing.

P.S. – Brit Boy recently completed his first review. Please go by his blog if you have a moment and check it out! Thanks...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On the Eve of Thanksgiving

Today is a good day at the Yellow House. As many of you know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the USA and even though I’ve been living here for five and a half years, the tradition is still very much celebrated in this little house. Brit Boy loves the holiday too, and has always been a very willing participant in the celebration. So it is nice to share this holiday with him and embrace the gratitude and connection of the day together.

We’re actually going to celebrate on Friday because Brit Boy won’t have the day off on the actual Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, since the day isn’t celebrated here of course. He is having the day off on Friday so we can have a long weekend together though. So that will be nice. It’s going to be great no matter what day!

My thoughts are all over the place today, but in a good way. I’m having a hybrid of memory and new traditions going through my mind. Today I’m remembering the last Thanksgiving that my siblings and I had with my mom six years ago. And in the spirit of gratitude, I’m so grateful that we were able to be together like that, with her sitting at the head of the table at my sister’s house and giving us that beautiful smile of hers. I remember a lot of Thanksgivings fondly, but that one stands out to me more than any of them and it will stay with me forever. She was happy and that is the way I remember her. She loved the holiday season, so Thanksgiving and Christmas were her times. Right after Thanksgiving she would pull out her Christmas music and sing her way around the kitchen all the way up until Christmas. It’s interesting when you look back at a person in all of their glory and you really ‘see’ them. I realize now that besides all that she taught me in being my mother, she also taught me a lot about being a human being. My mother didn’t have the easiest life by any stretch of the imagination, but she had the greatest joy for life and she lived in the moment. I loved that about her...

Later this evening, Brit Boy and I are heading to the supermarket to pick up some ingredients for our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. I’m making some of the standard traditional dishes that I grew up with, but I’m going to attempt to make a new dessert. I know that lots of people make pumpkin pies, but in our house it was always sweet potato pies. That's what I love though...there are traditional foods that we all share in common on that day and then there are regional variations. Variety and tradition living side by side is a beautiful thing. I’m still going to make regular sweet potato pie, but I’m going to try this recipe that I found for these mini pies with a cream cheese type topping. They looked good when I saw them on the Food Network last year, so I’m gonna give it a whirl. Wish me luck! ;-) If I go ahead with trying it, I’ll share how they turned out...for better or worse. Also, it’s usually a customary challenge to find substitutions for some ingredients here. But after these past few years, it’s become a standard part of my life, so it’s kind of like a game now. Lol. It should be fun! I embrace the challenge!

Tomorrow I will get my dessert making done so that I won’t have that to on Friday. And hopefully if I get it all planned out right, I’ll be able to check in by Skype with my niece and have some laughs. We did this last year and it was fun to have virtual back home Thanksgiving. I got the chance to check out their food and it was a good time. My niece is twenty-one, but you would think that we grew up together because we laugh at the same stuff and have a good time on Skype. So I’m looking forward to that with my sisters in the background :-)

It’s getting very thankful around here and I’m looking forward to it all! I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everybody out there who celebrates the holiday and a great Thursday tomorrow to one and all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Child's Play and Ringing Food

So I mentioned in my last post that I would share two other things that I bought on Saturday when we were having our Saturday shopping trip. As I mentioned then, I felt like a kid again when I was playing with the games and things on display in some of the stores. Well, I had to bring a little piece of that gaming fun home with me and it's very old school and I love it! Here is thing #1 :

They are jacks and I haven't played jacks since I was a kid and I haven't seen any in a store in forever! So I had to have them. As you can see from the photo, they are suitable for eight years old and up, so I think I qualify ;-) I have been a jacks playing fool every since I got home Saturday. LOL. I tried to play with them on our table, but after I got a splinter twice I moved to the kitchen counter. I think that I'm going soft though. I told Brit Boy that when I was a kid we used to play anywhere so if you got a splinter or scraped your knuckles while trying to pick the jacks up, it was like...'Oh Well' and you kept on playing. Gotta get that edge back ;-) So these jacks will be mini therapy for me and it's still fun to play! These are good for the kid at heart that I still am sometimes.

The second thing is above and it's something that Brit Boy and I will share. We needed a kitchen timer and hey, who doesn't need a ringing hamburger. This will definitely come in handy as I plan out my Thanksgiving cooking schedule and also, a regular timer just wouldn't do. Lol. I wasn't looking for it, but when I saw it I told Brit Boy that we'd met our timer and he agreed. Gotta love a man who doesn't mind a ringing burger ;-)

So as I said in my previous post, it was just fun to have a day out together on Saturday and along the way we picked up a few little things. Simple pleasures are the best...and I'm glad that I could share mine here! Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday Treats

Brit Boy and I had a good time yesterday. It was like our Saturdays of old when we went into town more often. We've been affected by the recession and its aftermath just like everyone else, so those trips into town have been strictly for the bare essentials. We're not big shoppers anyway, but it was fun to do something different :-) So yesterday we went into town to do some Christmas shopping and managed to get all of our gifts. We figured that it would be good to spread our shopping out so we bought a few things last week and then this week we finished. We didn't have to get too many gifts. It will be a frugal Christmas, but that's not a bad thing at all. It's the thought that counts, isn't it? :-)

The fun of yesterday though was just the chance to hang out together. We had the most fun when we went into this store that had lots of little gifty things and I turned ten years old. LOL. I had the best time playing with the little games and things they had on display.

We came home with a couple of trinkets for ourselves and mine were fun stuff that made me remember being a kid. I'll share the other two things tomorrow, but for today, I want to share this...traditional slab toffee. I love that it came with its very own little hammer to break it up. It reminds me of the little rock hammer that the main character used to escape out of prison in the movie Shawshank Redemption. I love it.

This is so wrong but so right, but everything in moderation is cool. LOL. I was salivating when I saw it and I will force myself to eat it over a while and not in two days. So far I've done pretty good and only had a little bit. It's really rich so that's the only way for me to survive and not pass out in a sugar coma ;-) It's called toffee over here, but for my readers from back home in the USA it is very reminiscent of caramel candy to me actually if you're wondering what it tastes like. It reminds me of a Sugar Daddy and I don't mean that other kind of sugar daddy ;-) But anyway, the toffee is so good!!! And it has brazil nuts in it so I'm extra excited. They had the plain kind, but I like my crunchiness!

But I know some of you may be saying...hey don't rush Christmas on us and you're right. We've got to have Thanksgiving first and my mind is certainly on Thanksgiving today. I was sitting here thinking about my menu. I was on Skype with my niece the other day and we were discussing Thanksgiving and I started salivating. I salivate a lot I guess. LOL. The food is fun to think about and eat, but my favorite part is the love and gratefulness behind the day. I'm planning on getting on Skype again with my niece and whoever is around that day. It will be fun to have virtual Thanksgiving. Brit Boy won't be off on that day, but we will still celebrate as we always have together. He has the day off on the next day, so we'll just roll all that fun into an extra day :-) Yay us!

Therefore, I'm in menu planning mode. I'll have my recipes in one hand and a tiny piece of toffee in the other ;-) Just kidding. For real though, I'm planning out my menu and you know me...I love to photograph food, so I'll show the good, the bad, and the ugly. So watch this space.

Tomorrow I'm gonna share my other two little things that I picked up yesterday. Simple pleasures....Have a great Sunday and I'll be back tomorrow with my other two favorite things!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Special Day

Now that I've completed my latest assignments for school and I'm FREE for a couple of days, I'm so glad to come back here to my blog. As I mentioned in my last post, I had planned on sharing some photos that I've taken recently, but I've decided to leave them for another day.

Today I'd just like to highlight this special day of 11-11-11. Today means so much to so many and I wanted to use my little corner of the internet to share what I am thinking about today in particular.

First, I'd like to add my voice to honoring those who have served our various countries. I remember them all and their sacrifices on this Veterans Day and Remembrance Day. I grew up knowing it as Veterans Day growing up in the United States and over here in the United Kingdom it is called Remembrance Day. But to me it doesn't matter what you call it...the respect comes from the same place.

And also, this day this year has an interesting significance. It is of course 11-11-11 and even though I've read some things here and there where people think it's just another day, I don't think that myself. I'm totally respectful to how other people feel...that's cool by me. But I just think that this day is cool. I mean, I won't ever live again to see a day, month, and year where it's all ones. And it may seem much ado about nothing to some, but for me, it is one of those times when I pause and realize how amazing life is and how much we are all a part of everything. I'm grateful to be alive everyday, but today I'm vibing off of being alive on this day when all the ones line up ;-) Sometimes things are just cool to think about and that's what I'm thinking about today!

Have a great Friday! :-)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Study and Writing Week

I hope that everyone's weekend was good. Mine was good. I took a trip into town with Brit Boy on Saturday and it was fun to get out and window shop. Other than that, we hung out around home and caught up on some television and in between I finished up some reading for school.

The photo above shows my continuously growing pile of books, notebooks, folders, etc that I use for my schoolwork. I figured that I'd just post a photo that illustrates what my week will be all about ;-) I'm looking forward to a bit of freedom on Friday and being able to do a proper post here. I have some photos that I want to share when I can put the time in on Friday. So I hope that you'll stop back by to visit me! I just wanted to drop by to say hello and thank you for still coming by here even when I can't do a full post sometimes because of my studies.

In other news, we're headed into the holiday season, so I will definitely be sharing some cooking triumphs and mess-ups on here. I love photographing food...LOL. Maybe I'm just hungry ;-)

Anyway, I'm headed back to the books and I'll see you Friday. Until next time...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hello November

I can't believe that it's November already. I know that everyone says this, but I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by. This is my favorite time of the year though. I love Halloween and now we're heading towards Thanksgiving, so I'm a happy woman :) And then of course there's Christmas.

I'm hoping that I get the chance to Skype with my family on Thankgiving and/or Christmas this year. Last year I Skyped in for both and had some good laughs. I even joined in for a board game with the relatives on Christmas. That was hilarious because I was yelling out my answers across the miles and it just got really surreal at times. LOL. The best part was that I got my first look at my newest nephew via Skype that day. Technology is really cool sometimes :) So I hope that I can check in and see what the folks back home are doing this year too.

But I don't want to get ahead of myself. First I want to say hello to November and right at this moment it's sunny outside. Woo Hoo! I don't know how long that will last so I'm soaking it in while I can. As some of you may know, November is also the month for NaNoWriMo. Check them out here. Now, I've attempted this in the past, but it all kind of fell apart for me after like day six. But I don't give up easily, so I guess that I'll try again this year, although with my school work, it will definitely be a battle for time. But I'm up for it and I like the flurry of things. And besides, I've been playing around with a novel for a while now, so I want to give it a chance and scratch this itch. For at least the first third of the month my time is promised to about 3,000 words in the name of academics. However, after that, I'm gonna give NaNoWriMo more attention and I'm looking forward to it. I figure that I need something to get my mind working in that way again. I don't expect any miracles or anything, but I think it's good to just see what develops. So we shall see how it goes :) And by the way, if anyone is concerned that I'm gonna overextend myself, don't worry...I know when to throw in the towel and give it a rest, but I also know me and I thrive off this kind of stuff :)

I'm really pleased to report that Brit Boy is giving NaNoWriMo a go this year for the first time, so please go by his blog and wish him good luck if you have a moment! I'm very proud of him getting into the writing hot tub ;-)

So it will probably be a wordy month around the Yellow House, along with daydreams of Thanksgiving dinner thrown in here and there.

I'm sending out wishes to everyone for a healthy, happy November and if you're doing NaNoWriMo...I wish you the best of luck! Happy November!!!!