Monday, December 1, 2008

Waxing Nostalgic for Wales

The recent downturn in temperature has made me pine for the lands of England and Wales. I visited the United Kingdom in March to visit my aunt who was living in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Temperatures averaged in the high 40s, low 50s everyday and the air was damp, mostly in London, not so much in Wales. (lucky for us!)

The hubs and I spent a wonderful 10 days bouncing from London to Windsor to Milford Haven to Bath and to Stone Henge. These are a few of my favorite things...

1. Windsor Castle - The official home of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Windsor is a resort town akin to Aspen, CO and built around the castle at its city center. Not only was the Queen at home the day we visited, but we also witnessed the changing of the Windsor Castle guard. My favorite part of Windsor was visiting St. George's chapel and standing upon the tomb of King Henry VIII. The sheer majesty of history struck me as I recalled how many monarchs were married, buried, or lived at Windsor.
2. Welsh Cawl - Imagine this, your driving down a very narrow rode in the middle of lush, green fields often stopping to let sheep or dairy cows cross your path. Then, lo and behold, a cute bed and breakfast pops up in the middle of nowhere! Not only is it cute, quaint, and a much-needed watering hole, but it's named "St. Govan's Inn" and has the best soup I've ever tasted! It's called a Welsh cawl and is a creamy, herb broth with vegetables and lamb (if you want). Drop in a cube of white cheddar cheese and you've got it made. On the side, St. Govan's served a Welsh roll called a "hufkin." Isn't that fun? And super tasty too. Wash the whole meal down with a half-pint of hard cider. My favorite meal of the whole trip.

3. King's Cross Station - also known as the setting for the mythical "Platform 9 3/4" which Harry Potter visits every September to catch the Hogwarts Express to school. We approached the platform behind a trio of young chaps that were so excited I think they really thought they might see something magical happen.
4. our "people carrier" - Nope, not just a minivan, it's called a people carrier. While this could also apply to buses, trains, planes, etc., our party used it in reference to a short, gray van made to carry 7 people. 7 small, short-legged people, with no luggage. On our trip, we happened to have two people carriers; one lost its clutch just outside of snowy Windsor. Oops!

5. Paddington Bear - He wears a blue peacoat, yellow hat, and a tag that says "Please look after this bear." He lives at Paddington station underneath a local coffee shop called Starbucks! What more is there to love?
6. the smallest city in the UK - The Royal City of St. David's is the smallest city in the UK, located in Wales, and home to St. David's Cathedral. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny day in which to walk around the grounds of this beautiful cathedral and explore it's aged walls. I'm talking AGED here people. One tomb was from 1100 AD! After paying our two pounds (4 US dollars) to receive an official photographer's badge and be able to take all the pictures we wanted, we ate a fabulous pesto pizza at a local surf shop. (Washed down with Guinness and hard cider of course!) 7. jacket potatoes! - We are so boring in the U.S. to call them baked potatoes. I'm adopting this as my new moniker for the yummy flaky goodness of a potato within its' baking skin.

8. signage - I've included a couple of pictures below but I have to tell you about my favorite example. One afternoon we drove down the Welsh coast and through various fields exploring. I quickly noticed as we sped between two hedgerows a government-issued sign that containing a large black exclamation point and bearing the words "Random Gunfire." After suffering a quick case of whiplash, I pondered the regularity of this random gunfire and wondered if it was ever targeted at Welsh mini-cars on an afternoon country drive.

9. the lingo -
Cheerio ol' chap! (translation: Hello!)
Don't be such a wanker! (translation: chill out, loser)
Change that baby's nappie! (translation: baby needs a new diaper!)
How 'bout some bangers and mash for dinner? (translation: potatos and rutebegas)
Haggus tonight, dear? (translation: chopped beef and gravy cooked in a sheep's bladder) <--pretty good actually! I suggest pairing with lots of wine, cheese and crackers. Put that luggage in the boot! (translation: put your bags in the trunk)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know that last year, 1 in 4 couples met online?

Did you know the top 10 in-demand jobs you will apply for in 2010 did not even exist in 2004?

Did you know that China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world?

Take the next 4 minutes and 55 seconds to watch the following video:

It was made by Sony and will make you stop and think about your place in the world. Feel free to share your thoughts...

Monday, November 10, 2008

My New Mantra

I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.I want to chant this phrase as I step foot out my door every morning. I picture myself in a red, felt cape and sparkly, gold tiara - head held high and a strut in my step. What can't I do? What obstacle can't I tackle.

None I say! ;-)

Where does this onslaught of goodness, optimism, and all 'round smiley-ness come from? I've just come from purchasing two children's coats for a Coats for Kids drive at work. I spent the small amount of $38.70 to secure two winter coats for a boy and a girl who may not otherwise have the opportunity to own that extra layer of warmth this season.

For a girl, I bought a shiny, red puffy jacket with a fleece lining and faux fur around the hood. For a boy, I bought a very stylish khaki jacket lined with blue plaid fleece and housing several good pockets for holding the loot little boys tend to carry.

As sad as it sometimes is to think about those less fortunate, I say this because I often have tears in my eyes as empathy rises in me and I almost can't bear the sadness of the situation, this holiday season in particular may be the onslaught of the "perfect storm." Donations to non-profit organizations will decrease with the current financial state of the world but the needs of those less fortunate and the demands on those same non-profit organizations is bound to increase.

Whether it be a child's coat, a can of green beans, a Thanksgiving dinner, or a multi-figure check, I encourage you to research what you can do for those less fortunate.

However small the amount of money or gesture of kindness, I hope you find your own way to wear a cape and a nice tiara this holiday season.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

True Confessions: I have a girl-crush on Marie Antoinette

Last summer was the summer of biographies. I read the biography of Truman Capote, the real authors of the Nancy Drew series and, my favorite, the biography of Marie Antoinette by Lady Antonia Fraser.I don't know what got me started. I just thought it might be interesting to find out what it was like to marry the crown-prince of France at the age of 14. Wouldn't you have been totally ready to marry someone you've never met and subsequently be judged daily by the French court?

What is most interesting to me is Fraser's examination of the monarchy. Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were born into their roles as Queen and King and never really wanted to rule a country, let-alone the posh, hard-to-please France of the late 1700s. Louis wanted to hunt the great stag and Marie Antoinette wanted to, well she wanted to buy clothes and host fancy parties. And who can blame her? She was coming into the best years of her life (says the "very happy with her current age" 26 year-old author of this blog).

Long Story Short

Marie Antoinette of Austria and Louis-Auguste of France (her second cousin once removed) were married in 1770 at the ages of 15 and 17, respectively. The young couple took up residence at the palace of Versailles and were plagued with an unconsummated marriage for seven years. Why not consummate, you ask? Well, they were a real pair of clueless individuals. He apparently had no desire to sleep with his wife and she was consistently accused of the inability to inspire passion in her husband. It has also been said that the two young-uns simply didn't know how to complete the act.

Louis-Auguste's grandfather, Louis XV died of smallpox in 1775 and Louis XVI was crowned King of France. The marriage was finally consummated in 1777 and she would eventually birth 4 children, two sons and two daughters.

My Favorite Part

During the seven year lack of sex and child bearing, Marie Antoinette made herself famous for big hair, expensive dresses, and the growing national debt. During what I'll call her mid-life crisis (she only lived to 37 after all), Marie Antoinette did what any upstanding Queen would do and quit wearing silk and diamonds opting instead for muslin and flowers. She also ordered the construction of a real working farm on the grounds of the Petit Trianon. Excuse Moi? Yes, that's right gals, she said screw you France, traded in her gilded palace and chose milking cows and a small chateau for her pure enjoyment.

Let's explore this...

She was given her very own chateau to escape her royal responsibilities, host endless slumber parties, and hide away her various lovers. Aha! It's all clear now.

The queen began to institute changes in the archaic customs practiced at court. Most importantly was the abandonment of heavy make-up and the popular wide-hooped skirts for a more simple female look, typified first by the rustic and simple muslin dress she adopted. She also began to participate in amateur plays and musicals, starting in 1780, in a theatre built for her and other courtiers who wished to indulge in the scandalous delights of, gasp, acting and singing.

Her most well-known love affair involved a Swedish military man by the name of Count Axel von Fersen. It's possible that her second son was actually Fersen's child and that Louis XVI accepted this reality.

In 1789, the royally family was forced from the palace of Versailles by an angry mob complaining of a severe bread shortage. Marie Antoinette is famously quoted as saying "Let them eat cake" in response to the hunger of the French people. The origin of this quote is highly contested. Upon being alerted by a messenger that her people were starving due to having little bread to eat, she is said to have replied "Let them eat cake..." The storming of Versailles marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Oh Marie, why must you have been shouldered with the responsibility to uphold the selfish values of a country in a debt you had nothing to do with? Her head would eventually fall due to her lack of devotion for a country that judged her before she ever stepped foot across its borders.

She was declared guilty of treason and executed by guillotine on October 16, 1793. She was dressed as a common French housewife, an insult probably lost on Marie Antoinette as she had so famously adopted the garb of a milkmaid years earlier.

Why Do I Love Her So?

To be frank, I think she was punked by circumstance. Plain and simple, she was an icon. Perfect to take the blame for the selfish history of the French monarchy.

I admire her for her gumption through the accusations of tabloids of that time and for promoting good fashion. My favorite film depiction of her is Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst. Coppola does an excellent job of tapping into your imagination and depicting Marie Antoinette's Versailles in all its fabulousness. Marie Antoinette, her friends, and lovers are all portrayed in a fabulous rainbow of pastels and towering hairpieces.

Oh and I've forgotten to mention the sweets! It is widely reported that the King and Queen were gluttons for good food and drink and Coppola uses sugary sweet desserts as part of every scene.

If you need to take a mental break and experience complete frivolity of self and finances, I encourage you to watch Coppola's Marie Antoinette. For all the glorious details of her life and times, be sure to spend some time with Lady Antonia Fraser and her book about the journey of this iconic woman from Austrian child to guillotined Queen of France.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November is Upon Us

Hello November! Where did you go October? I sit forlornly on the eve of Daylight Savings Sunday wondering just what happened to the months of September and October. Does anyone else feel as though time is spinning faster and faster?

Today I have for your reading pleasure a restaurant review. My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary in October by treating ourselves to dinner at Moonshine in Austin.

First you are uniquely greeted with a bowl of popcorn on your table and water served in mason jars. This is my kinda restaurant. Great food yet I can wear my jeans and T-shirt to eat in. We started our meal with a beautiful baked brie topped with pear chutney. (Oh, actually, I started my meal with a hard lemonade. A girl's got her priorities.) For my entree I ordered the Texas Flat Iron Steak with bleu cheese butter and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Aaron ordered pork chops with a side of baked macaroni and cheese but it wasn't your ordinary mac and cheese. It was mac and cheese made with pimento cheese and baked in a pint-size casserole dish.

Seeing as how we were celebrating our anniversary, after all of that food, we had to muster our strength to order dessert. We were greeted with this lovely concoction
Red Velvet Cake. When was the last time you were at a classy restaurant and had red velvet cake as an option? Moonshine was a wonderful choice for dinner and I highly recommend you try it out soon.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

15 x 15

One of the fondest memories I have of a friend is looking into the congregation during communion at my wedding and seeing this friend taking the bread and the wine. There's a lot to remember about a wedding but this image is sharp and clear in my mind. I just remember looking up and seeing Willie there.
Our friend Willie T. was passionate about music throughout his life. He was a talented singer and musician, often on stage with his band CloverStreet or at church. Willie worked with my husband and I never saw him without a smile on his face. Willie died of osteosarcoma in 2006 at the age of 19.

Before Willie died, his mom Lisa asked him to compose a list of his 15 favorite songs by 15 different artists. Think of it as a soundtrack for your life.

You can learn a lot about yourself through the music you listen to. Compiling this list is harder than you think. And I think the list is probably fluid and will be different at different points in your life. My list is included below, in no particular order.

01 U2 -- All I Want is You
02 Derek Webb -- Share in the Blame
03 Jack Johnson -- Good People
04 The Beatles -- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
05 Barenaked Ladies -- If I Had a Million Dollars
06 Bob Dylan -- Like a Rolling Stone
07 Matt Costa -- Sunshine
08 Coldplay -- Clocks
09 David Gray -- Lately
10 Jimmy Buffet -- Cheeseburger in Paradise
11 Steppenwolf -- Magic Carpet Ride
12 Tom Petty -- Wildflowers
13 REM -- Nightswimming
14 Elton John -- Tiny Dancer
15 Nancy Wilson -- River Road

What's on your list of 15 x 15?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Poll!

My previous poll was about your favorite flavor of pie. After a long-standing tie between apple and pecan, I thought I was going to have to find a recipe for apple pecan pie, pecan edged out over apple which I am going to be testing for my mom-in-law's birthday. I will be sure to let you know how well it turns out. :-)

In honor of Halloween, sort of, I decided to ask a question I think could pose a challenge for some of you. And I'm preparing for an upcoming post/rant about my opinions of the future Harry Potter theme park...

Monday, October 13, 2008

True Confessions: I am a Dallas Cowboys Fan

It all started when I married my husband and realized how much he really watched ESPN. If he were writing this blog he would argue about how much I watch the Food Network. But there's only one Food Network competing with at least 4 different ESPN channels on cable television! And then there is Fox Sports, NFL Network, Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, and on and on.

In order to combat this necessary evil that invaded my house shortly after my wedding, I decided I had better get used to watching at least some sports with him. Little did I know that I would soon be yelling at the TV and urging players to score touchdowns.

There's just something about the sound of helmets clashing, the suspense of a 50+ yard field goal, and those darn football pants that got me hooked. Why the Cowboys? Well, I used to live in Dallas and the Texans just aren't that promising (sorry Houstonians). I'm also a pretty big fan of the Colts and the Giants because what's not to love about two brothers who are starting quarterbacks in the NFL AND back-to-back super Bowl winners? 2007 and 2008 were good years for the Manning family.

NFL football is a weekend event in my house and I'll admit that I look forward to watching the games throughout the week. I've even watched an entire Monday night football game when Aaron was out of town! Shh, don't tell.

Ladies, don't worry, I still ask questions like, "Do you think Jason Garrett is married? What about Jason Witten?" or "Why does that player wear his hair like that?" (I wikipedia all of this and more during halftime.)

I have learned a lot of the rules and lingo of NFL football but I still have to ask, "What does 'lining up shotgun' mean?" or "Offsides? What is that?"

Now that I have asserted my Cowboys fan status, can we talk about what happened during Sunday's game? Did they actually think they were going to win like that? They sucked it up. Royally. We pay previously mentioned Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett waay too much. Hey Jerry [Jones, Cowboys team owner], why don't you just pay me that much to tell Marion Barber to run on EVERY first down? It's getting a little obvious and I'm pretty sure the opposing team is on to you Jason Garrett.

Or maybe quarerback Tony Romo (9) is just a wuss and doesn't feel like throwing the ball on first down. How 'bout we take some risks once in a while and play out of the box. What if we actually try to throw the ball downfield and not just dump it to Barber so he can shuffle for half a yard then fall down. Tell me why exactly we are paying Terrell Owens (81) if he isn't going to catch the ball and run like hell to the endzone?
And Jason Witten (82), what happened to you? A couple dropped passes and unable to get open? We can always count on you to come through! Get your head back in the game! Please!

And don't even get me started on Jessica Simpson. Every game she has come to and been on camera, Tony has managed to lose. I have yet to see her this season but I'm pretty sure she's getting into his head because he's still managing to LOSE. We had a golden opportunity in overtime (thank you Nick Folk (kicker) for making that 52-yard field goal to get us to OT even though you jacked that other field goal in the second quarter) but Romo squandered it away in a quick 55 second possession. Who exactly told him it was okay to get on the field and go 3 downs and out in SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME? That would be Jason Garrett. Again.

And now, Tony has announced that he's broken his pinkie finger. Ok, I know that finger is probably essential to throwing a football but doesn't that sound like the wimpiest injury you've ever heard of?Sigh. As you can see, I'm getting worked up about this. But NFL football plays with your emotions! One minute it's a last ditch field goal attempt to get us into overtime (YAY!) the next minute, the opposition has blocked our punt attempt, broken our punter's foot, and scored a touchdown (CRUD, or another expletive that's bouncing around my head but I won't write here).

Cowboys, I'm still with ya for the duration of the season but our backup quarterback prospects are bleak. Brad Johnson (14), 40 years-old and coming off a 2 year stint on the bench, I'll be praying for you. I hope Tony's back soon.

Roger, over and out. Time to watch Eli Manning and the NY Giants defeat the Cleveland Browns. (Unless they play like the Cowboys, wink).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Pumpkins are Here!

One of my most favorite times of year in my town is the arrival of the pumpkin patch harvest. Every year I look forward to the seemingly bottomless piles of orange pumpkins gathered in front of the 150 year-old First Methodist Church.

The 18-wheeler truck that transports the bounty to Georgetown delivers your traditional carving pumpkins, mini-pumpkins, white pumpkins, blue pumpkins, and gourds of all shapes, colors, and sizes.And that's not all, a second 18-wheeler truck restocks the patch two weeks later!

I was overwhelmed with joy last Saturday morning when I saw they had finally arrived. The patch is open from 9:00am 'til dark everyday and all proceeds from pumpkin sales benefit the youth mission trip fund.The pumpkin patch also heartily welcomes babies for that ever-popular pumpkin photo op. I'm trying to convince my husband to take our annual Christmas picture there but I don't think he's even going to humor me. ;-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall Fashion Diagnosis: Investment Pieces vs. Trends

What are my fashion credentials you might ask? Well, my fashion resume consists of a few years in retail management at J.Crew and a distinct interest in mirroring my personality through my choice in wardrobe. My style is decidedly preppy (it's undeniable really) and a lesson in high/low shopping. That's just code for a closet consisting of a few J.Crew, Anthropologie, and BCBG pieces but bursting with a miscellany of Target, Old Navy, JC Penney, and anything-Outlet snags.
The trick is to successfully marry those pieces into an outfit without looking like Joey in that episode of Friends where he tried on all of his clothes at once. Or looking like I buy everything in the Juniors department as I move into the eve of my 27th year.

Let's start with
investment pieces. These are the quintessential go-with-anything, always-lookin'-good, wardrobe staples that you probably want to spend a little more coin on in the name of quality.

1. blazer (my all-time fave is a navy wool version with gold buttons I got for $90 after my employee discount. Think blazer with a tee/tank and
jeans or blazer over a silk dress, etc.)
2. grey wool pants (I just grabbed a new pair from Martin
& Osa because the waist fits wonderfully high over my love handles and the inseam is long enough for my 5'9" frame.)
3. knee-high boo
ts (in black or brown, a good pair of tailored, leather boots look great with skirts, jeans, trousers, knee-high wool shorts, you name it.)
4. white button-front blouse (you can always look sharp with a starc
hed white shirt. Cute new twist: InStyle recommends trying a men's button-front pajama top under a blazer. How fantastically silly!)
5. jeans (just find a gr
eat pair that fits no matter what the cost. need I say more? I'm a bit of Frugal Fanny so I don't even own a pair of jeans that always fit great. I did find a pretty good pair at Madewell though. They sell jeans using men's waist sizes AND they sell different lengths in the store.)
6. t-shirts (Pima cotton, short-sleeve, long-sleeve, crew neck, v-neck. Find your
favorite and keep it on hand in a few colors for Saturdays around town or under a blazer at work. My favorite is a v-neck with a pocket for a little added character.)
7. black dress (this is a given but why must it still allude me?)

On to this season's
trends. These are pieces that I just don't tend to spend much on because they may be a faux pas before the holiday season.

1. ruffle blouses (in any fabric, they add a flair of feminism to any outfit.)

long cardigan (These look great over a t-shirt or silk camisole and can be accessorized with skinny belts [see #3] or scarves. I've got
an evergreen-colored one from my grandfather I'm about to try as soon as it gets cold.)
3. belted waists (most popular being a patent leath
er skinny belt but wider leather versions are popping up too)
4. colorful tights (these a
re so fun! If you tend to buy lots of blacks and grays like I do, this is an instant color boost to your outfit or can make a mini-skirt not seem so tiny. I bought a citron yellow pair last season on sale but I'm so glad to see them back again.)
5. big jewelry (where to find, I can't say I have any grea
t recommendations. You'll just know that big, bauble necklace when you see it and you'll wanna snatch it.)
6. ankle boots (this I feel like I might not be able to pull off but I just saw a gray suede pair in a DSW ad and I'm thinking my bravery's up.)

When I mentioned to a friend that I might be writing a fall fashion-themed post, he requested that I not forget the men out there. Here you are guys, my diagnosis of the current men's fashions.

1. v-neck sweater vests (a solid or a subtle stripe is super cute over a casual [think un-iron
ed] button-front shirt with rolled sleeves)
2. skinny jea
ns (I'm not sure what this trend is about. Maybe the fit is better for some men, but for my hubs and his seriously muscular legs due to running, these just won't cut it. He was actually turned down recently in a store after the salesperson gave him a once over. She said "nope, our jeans just aren't gonna work for you.")
3. blazers or sportcoats (corduroy, canvas, tailored but casual. Think super smart math professor Charlie from Numb3rs.)
boy scout belts (I don't know why I refer to them as such but I'm talking about leather belts with small, silver buckles. These just make my heart smile.)
5. t-shirts (similar diagnosis as for women, just find one you like that doesn't have any holes in it and that you haven't owned since high school.)

Lastly, here are a few of the current looks I love that illustrate the principals outlined above:

Oops, forgot to mention anything about color palette. This fall berry, yellow, and grey/silver are BIG so supplement your everyday wardrobe with splashes of those colors.

I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface so perhaps this commentary will continue in a few days. Until then, let me know what you

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A little bowl of goodness

So I promise all of my posts are not going to be about food or pastries. But I just had to show you this picture.
Isn't that the best looking bowl of banana pudding you've ever seen? It's wearing a homemade meringue hat!

Thank you Monument Cafe (Georgetown, TX) for making my night.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Consider the oyster, if you please

Let us all thank MFK Fisher for asking so politely that her readers "consider" the oyster. This slim (only 96 pages!) yet potent book, like its protagonist, is a must read merely for the pleasure of learning the evolution of your oyster before down the hatch it goes. Often considered a summer read, I challenge you to read it this fall cozied up in your house while it's chilly outside (if you're from Texas like I am, you may have to wait until at least December to experience this scene).

Fisher opens with a brief, witty history of the short life of an oyster (titled Love and Death Among the Mollusks) followed by numerous eloquent descriptions of oyster recipes. Raw, stewed, served with crusty brown bread, used in creamy soups, Fisher describes different uses for oysters from San Francisco to Boston. Never having eaten oysters, I closed the book halfway out the door on my way to the nearest oyster bar. Fisher describes in such lemony detail a meal of raw oysters and white wine that you are almost sure to have a Goliath-sized craving by the time you have finished reading.

We should all indulge the author and contribute to the well-being of the oyster community. She asked so nicely, after all.

An excerpt from Consider the Oyster:

"An oyster leads a dreadful but exciting life.

Indeed, his chance to live at all is slim, and if he should survive the arrows of his own outrageous fortune and in the two weeks of his carefree youth find a clean smooth place to fix on, the years afterwards are full of stress, passion and danger."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

“Waitin’ on Toyota to Finish Changin’ My Oil” pie

You might be wondering why my poll this month is about pie. I recently watched the movie Waitress with Keri Russell and got a real hankering for pie. (I know this movie is at least two years old but it just now made it to the top of my Netflix queue.)

Russell’s character works at Joe’s Pie Diner (owned by Andy Griffith playing Joe) and invents wonderful pie creations with fantastically descriptive names like “Bad Baby” pie or “Earl Murders Me Because I'm Having An Affair Pie” pie. The flick is well done and easy on the eyes if you like small-town stories with a little bit o’ drama and a happy ending. It’ll also make you crave pie.

I don’t want to just eat pie, I want to bake pie. I learned a lot about making homemade pies from my grandmother who makes me a lemon meringue pie every time I come to visit. She used to live in Pearland with a Meyer Lemon tree in the backyard. That’s a rare treat. Meyer lemons are sweeter than your average lemon and have a smooth skin.

The first pie I ever baked all on my own was a mincemeat pie. (Traditionally made with a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits, spices, and sometimes beef or venison) Not everyone’s favorite pie, mind you, but when you are competing for the “Daughter-in-law” of the year award you bake what’s ordered. The crust was beautiful; made from scratch with a hand-sculpted, scalloped edge. I’ll be honest with you, the filling was from a jar (gasp!) but for a first-timer it turned out pretty and only one person was going to eat it anyway. I will hereby name this pie “Daughter-in-Law of the Year Trophy Winning” pie.

My next pie endeavor was a no-bake key lime pie but that’s kind of cheating. It tasted great but really only involved heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and frozen lime concentrate. I did expertly craft the crust by smashing a plastic bag full of graham crackers to smithereens. Let’s name this pie “I Got Lots of Help from the Grocery Store” pie.

My next pie creation will be the winner of my pie poll. (Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if it was a pie chart? haha) I vow to make every bit of it from scratch and even wear an apron if I have to. I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out. I’m famous for trippin’ the smoke alarm when I’m in the kitchen (once when I was making mashed potatoes, of all things) so it could go either way…

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Friday

This just made me smile! "I stand for goodness! and frozen vegetables!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back to Earth

So yes, it's been almost a year since my last blog post. I have no excuse for this. Clearly I hopped on the blog bandwagon too soon and my interest petered out after two measly little posts.

Having reread my original posts, I feel they are still applicable even though the read-by date has long past. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.

I thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to read my thoughts today. I promise to include more soon. There are lots of future blog posts swirling in my head right this minute (favorite things, cool fashion finds, recipes for traditional Welsh soups, book reviews, green living advice, and so much more). But alas, it's off to a Grey's Anatomy premiere party for me.

Later gator!


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