Saturday, November 20, 2010

Menu for my First Thanksgiving

Last year my mom announced while cooking Christmas dinner that it was her 50th Christmas dinner and so was that Thanksgiving!  Amazing ones they were, too!  Feeding my three brothers is a task in itself then add plus  ones, the cycle of relatives that traveled in for that year, grandkids, and a picky eater hubby.  Well she has definitely put in hers and it is time I take over that feat for her! 

I may be a few chairs and a roasting pan short, but I will make it happen, with a few scrapes and bruises I'm sure.  Even so, I am very excited!!  The only downside is that my partner in crime will be at work.  He gets out of clean up but will get all of the leftovers.  Lucky bugger!!  Think I'll have him be my sous chef before he heads off at 1:30... ;)

The guest list includes: Mom, my stepdad Lee, my oldest brother Jon, Simon's mom Sue, and his stepdad Steve.  Still waiting to hear if Simon's sister and her girlfriend will join us, so I have a potential guest list of 8.  I have 4 chairs... Ha!  It will be a hodge podge of patio mixed with dining @ the table and possibly my brother can bring over his bar stools so I can seat 2 at the bar.  It's what you do to fit all your fam, isn't it!  Can't wait!!

The biggest feat I have at hand will be timing - but I have learned from my organized mom and grandmother that there are great tricks to help along the way.  I think it will all come together beautifully!

I am aiming for "from scratch" on everything I make and have assigned a few tasks to lighten the load.  On the menu we have:

  • Turkey (duh!) - would love to do cage-free if affordable.  I think AJ's may sell them otherwise Safeway never fails with their meats.  Still going to do some research but one trick I will use from Mom is covering it with a brown grocery bag to help seal in moisture
  • Cranberry Orange Sauce
  • Dressing (I won't be stuffing the turkey so technically it's called dressing - who knew!)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Green bean casserole, courtesy of Jon
  • Pies, courtesy of Mom
  • Dinner rolls, courtesy of Sue

These are the recipes for the stuffing, cranberry, and yams I found.

Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, peeled and pureed
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 pear - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer, and stir in cranberries, pureed orange, apple, pear, dried fruit, pecans, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

Traditional Crockpot Dressing

I'm really happy to have found this!  It will help save time and work on Thanksgiving day.  :)


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 12 cups day old bread cubes, dried overnight
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3-1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten


To dry bread, let it stand uncovered overnight on a wire rack, or bake in a 200 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes, until firm. In a heavy skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add onion, celery, parsley, and mushrooms and cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, place bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour this mixture over bread cubes, then add all seasonings and toss well. Pour in enough broth to moisten, about 1/3 cup at a time, tossing with fork. Don't make the dressing too wet! Add eggs and mix well. Spoon lightly into 5-6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, sprinkling with some more chicken stock once or twice during the cooking time.

Buttermilk Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 medium)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature or slightly warmed
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Steam over boiling water until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (Or, pierce unpeeled potatoes with fork and microwave on high (100% power) 12 to 14 minutes, turning over halfway through, let cool and peel.)
  2. Transfer sweet potatoes to mixing bowl and mash, blending in orange zest, buttermilk, butter and brown sugar. Transfer to serving dish. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pubs are oh so lovely...

The running list of pubs in England we went to on our trip. Finally
getting around to sharing! Brigs back wonderful memories!

5/26 Monkey Puzzle westminster London, across from the hotel (1st
beers since arriving)

5/27 st. James tavern on shaftsebury in Picadilly

5/27 the Shakespeare, buckingham palace rd - Victoria

5/27 driveby "the loose box" (while on the big red bus-simon pointed
it out to the tour guide but apparently only we found it funny)

5/27 yates and slug & lettuce in Leicester square. This was the night
of the premiere of SATC2. Yates was a club next to the theatre - were
mobs outside. The slug and lettuce may sound like a regular stop in
the world of Potter, but in real life it is a chain similar to
Applebees but with a better bar and a menu of typical English fare.
Also is a big hot spot on a night out.

5/28 St Charles, 1st pub in York. Sat in the beer garden and enjoyed a
few ciders. Mmmm

5/28 - pub crawl after an Indian at The Garden of India with the
family... (take note... Do NOT go out on the piss after a curry! Was
so full and none of us could catch a buzz... Well except Tommy & Simon
but who's surprised there!)

The Louther - this is where all the students go under age to celebrate
the end of year 11 (16 years old).
Yates. - had the treat of a Plastic Terry sighting!
Slug and Lettuce
The Gallery - Simon almost started a fight. "cause that's just what we do!!"

5/29 the stoneyard and Terrace with basil. Boys went to Beeswing and
then we all met up at the black bull to meet Sue's friend Jane and

5/30 brigadier Gerard to meet Debbie, Sue's bestie. Then Tap and Spile.

5/31 Lendall Cellars

6/1 The Castle Arms, Edinburgh. Steak pie and Yorkshire pudding

Jenny Ha's. Si took a piss. Founded in 1600.

The Burgh for sandwhiches and pints to kill a couple hours before the
train back to York

6/2 the Blue Bell, smallest pub pub in York, recntly visited by Russel crowe
White swan Aka mucky duck
Cross keys
The golden slipper, where Jeff plays darts with his friend on Fridays
Snickelways, probably the smallest beer "yarden" in the world. Also
haunted! (as is the rest of York lol)

...have a million stories I could type forever! Had a blast! Looking
forward to a return trip!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

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Friday, September 24, 2010

TDL does it again

"If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth."
- Anthony de Mello, was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist.

"Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you.  They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion." 

- Buddha, founder of Buddhism.

"Everything is out there waiting for you. All you have to do is walk up and declare yourself in. No need for permission. You just need courage to say, "Include me". Providing you have the energy to pull it off you can do what you like. And the Universal Law, being impartial, will be only too delighted to deliver."
- Stuart Wilde, is a British writer best known for his works on metaphysics and consciousness.

"It is through solving problems correctly that we grow spiritually.  We are never given a burden unless we have the capacity to overcome it.  If a great problem is set before you, this merely indicates that you have the great inner strength to solve a great problem.  There is never really anything to be discouraged about, because difficulties are opportunities for inner growth, and the greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity for growth." 

- Peace Pilgrim
"I am the architect of my present, not an artifact of my past."
- Heather Primerano, TDL subscriber.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random thought of the moment

I need to learn to let people hate me. 28 years later, I am deciding
some people will and I can't take it personal. It is simply a clash of
personalties and/or bad timing.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer heat is slowly killing my plants

Slowly but surely, the dry, triple digits are thinning out and
browning my garden. I am relentlessly watering my beds, mostly twice
a day and keeping a close eye on my pots but it is tough out there.

My 12" pot filled with succulents is now after 6 months depleted down to this...

In trying to counteract the sad look of the patio, I got inspired when
washing these glass pieces. (to contradict my complaints... we had THE
monsoon of the year last night and the bowl was filled to the brim
with dirty rain water-I am sure the plants were happy though!)

So I am brainstorming of ways I can give it all a facelift for little
it no dinero to tide us over for another month or so when I add some
new plants. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wouldn't it be great

If I could quit my 7-5, train to be a yoga instructor, take art classes to improve my skills and support myself on yoga and painting?

Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update on the flat belly quest

So I lost 2 pounds last week, my first week on the plan.  Woo hoo!  This also included a full on binge day courtesy of my company's employee appreciation day.  I mean honestly, I was on a boat what choice did I have?!

Here is what I've done so far:

Sundays is meal planning and market day.  Here's the meals we had last week.  I would make everything again!  (sorry I tossed the menu):
  • Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps (MUFA=Safflower Oil) - was a perfect lunch paired with fresh fruit
  • Spinach Salad with Pears, pecans, and goat cheese (MUFA=Pecans)
  • Roasted Potatoes with Feta cheese-walnut butter (MUFA=walnuts) - served with flank steak
  • Roasted chicken, potatoes, & veggies (MUFA=olive oil) - the most common meal we eat weekly
  • Roasted tomatoes with garlic - served on an english muffin for a snack (MUFA=olive oil) 
  • Chicken avocado taco (MUFA=avocado) - a standard also found in the book - score! 
  • Bean avocado tacos (MUFA=avocado) - always a standard - was my staple when I was veg.
  • Olives and cheese for a snack - (MUFA=olives)I realized I am very picky about which olives i like, one kind almost made me ralph!  braved through it though.  (notice there are no olives on this week's menu... I think they would be best in a recipe rather than standing alone)
This week:

  • Not being too planned on breakfast and the snacks:
    • Breakfasts: Cereal with fruit & nuts or egg with muffin (MUFA=nuts or olive oil) - pretty standard stuff
    • Snacks: Fruit, cheese, nuts (MUFA=nuts) or whatever perks interest for the day from the book
  • Monday
    • Lunch: Avocado and ham sandwich (MUFA=Avocado) - pretty standard on our normal menu
    • Dinner: Leftover pasta from Sunday (home cooked fresh tomato, garlic, & basil sauce) (MUFA=olive oil) - recipe courtesy miss Sarah T.
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch: Salad with chicken and etc. (MUFA=nuts)
    • Dinner: Ahi steak with Bok Choy & garlic (MUFA=olive oil)  - yum yum yummy!  Simon made this one and it was delicious!  Who know bok choy would be so great!
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch: Cashew Chicken w/ brown rice (MUFA=Cashews)- just finished making this and it looks GOOD!
    • Dinner: Roasted Chicken with mushroom rice pilaf (MUFA=Pecans)
  • Thursday
    • Lunch: Leftovers from Wed dinner
    • Dinner: tbd - I'm going to a Saki tasting! =)
  • Friday
    • Lunch: Chickpea Curry with Cashews (MUFA=cashews)
    • Dinner: tbd for me, Simon eats out with co-workers every Friday 
A lot of the techniques are pretty on par for the way we cooked before - if anything, it's giving both of us a chance to experiment in the kitchen!  Have stocked up on some new staples - need to get some Hoisin sauce for the asian dishes, though.  Substituting with terriyaki can only go so far.  I don't even know what hoisin sauce is, really.  

I have been going to yoga 3x a week and really working hard while I'm there.  I have seen immense improvements in my strength, control, and flow as well as good oceanic breathing.  My posture is better and I can see the difference in my arms and legs. Also, I've been trying to throw in a cardio/weights day 1x a week when I can.

To be honest, not seeing much shrinkage in the belly area... maybe if I quit drinking during the week or cheating so much on the weekend...  Regardless - my progress is slow but it is ever present!

Baking with Frank and friends

Note: wrote this last Friday night but just now got around to posting...  Guess I've been busy!

Well, couldn't wait until tomorrow - baked the Lemon Cupcakes with Citrus Icing tonight.  I won't bore you with the recipe but if you'd like it email me ( or, just buy the book!  (See Eating My Way to a Flat Belly).  I will tell you , though, that our MUFA in this recipe is Safflower Oil.

Frank (as in Sinatra) provided the tunes and when he tired out Michael Buble stepped in to finish out the set.  A few others helped me out along the way, too.

My late Grandma Thelma (her friends called her Petie) taught me how to take everything out and put it away as you need it - this way, you know if you forgot something because it'll still be sitting out.  Great, right?  So I used my cute little pinch bowls and such and prepped all my ingredients.  Normally, I would just take her advice and dish straight out of the box/jar/bag/whatever but I have always wanted to be fancy and use pinch bowls.  And trust me, it's worth the extra step!

Took a break to head back to the store and purchase a new muffin tin - one of the tricks to Yorkshire puddings is to leave the lard in the muffin tin and cover it with foil for next time.  This definitely warranted a new bakeware purchase!

I couldn't resist to dance my way through - Frankie sure is infectious!  I even thought it might be fun to try to juggle my lemon and orange.  Yep.  Nothing like goofing off and laughing out loud at yourself!

So I had all my ingredients together and ready to go, but I was missing one thing - a refreshing G&T.  Thank you Cross Keys pub in York for serving me my first and getting me hooked!  Cheers!

While preparing the batter I used this new little trick that I love - I was scolded once (in jest of course) for cracking an egg on the counter and introduced to the proper technique.  A lady lightly taps her egg with the bottom of a spoon and presses into the dent with her thumbs.  This just makes me giggle that there is a proper way and I undoubtedly feel obligated to do it.

Another friend that helped this evening is my amazing mother.  She taught me to always clean up as you go, and that starts with a sink full of hot, soapy water.  Sure does the trick!  While the cupcakes were baking, I was able to wash all of my dishes that I used!

Payton, my little niece, reminded me a few Christmases ago the fun of baking like getting flour on yourself or anywhere else possible and making sure you finish off cleaning the bowl.  Mmmm, that batter was tasty!

They came out perfect and smelling intensely of lemon!  Yum yum!  Now to let them cool completely and prepare the icing.


Voile!  287 calories - add a glass of fat free milk and you've got a MUFA meal!

They aren't exactly the picture in the book but I am guessing they taste just as good.  The only thing I would change is buying a bigger lemon and orange to get more zest and then I would have made the glaze a little differently.  I think more fresh OJ to powdered sugar and it may have turned out a little better.  It's basically the icing used to make snow on a gingerbread mountain, but better.  =)

Survey says....   Delish!  moist, fluffy, and fresh!  Will definitely make them again!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Daily Love

I am in love with all of today's quotes from The Daily Love!  I think we all could benefit from them and work them into our own personal mantras.  We have control of our emotions!

Happy Friday!

"Stress is not what happens to us. It's our response TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose."
- Maureen Killoran, life coach.

 "An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight... The truly wise person is color- blind."
- Albert Schweitzer, was a theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician.

"No one else 'makes us angry.' We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our attitude. What someone else may have done is irrelevant. We choose, not they. They merely put our attitude to a test."
- Jim Rohn, was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eating my way to a flat belly

First of all, if I can eat those cupcakes and work towards a flat belly, I'm sold.  Second, this book is so cute with it's bright happy yellow and super fun hot pink I just couldn't wait to get going!   Thank you, Mom!
I know what you are wondering - how the heck is this even possible to eat your way towards a flat belly?  The secret is MUFAs!  (Monounsaturated fats)  The nutritionists at Prevention magazine took habits from people in the Mediterranean (who according to this book and their research, have some of the healthiest stats on the planet) and combined those with loads and loads of research to discover that MUFAs actually target lisceral fat!  That is the dangerous fat that lurks in the core of your body and surronds your organs.  By carefully constructing balanced meals, the Flat Belly Diet has you eating 4 times a day, consuming 1600 calories, and the magic trick is eating 1 MUFA in each 400 cal meal.

There are tons of testimonials inside, and I know of one first hand - my mom.  She suffers from thyroid disease which means she has been struggling with poor metabolism since she was treated - she used to have hyper which means her metabolism was through the roof but, it's a disease and her body was producing too much of the hormone.  They zapped her thyroid and now she has to rely on medication to have any hint of a metabolism.  It's extremely tough and frustrating and I've seen her struggle with it for years.  Two weeks ago, she started this plan and since has lost 13 pounds!  AND she says she is losing it in her belly, the hardest place for her to lose weight!  I'm so happy for her! 

So I say, if she is successful, I can be too!

First step:  4-day Jumpstart

Here is a link to a cheat sheet I created:  Flat Belly Diet - 4-day Jumpstart Plan

Check it out and meet me back here....

... not to bad, huh! And, this is the hard part!  In all honesty, this is pretty close what I eat anyways.  There are a few changes but otherwise, nothing too drastic so far!

So last night I did my shopping for two (Simon is along for the ride) and prepped most of the food for the plan:

Here are my 16 portions of fruit - 1 for breakfast with cereal or oatmeal and 1 for the smoothie.  This was a pain!  3 packages of strawberries, 3 packages of blackberries, and 1 package of blueberries.  AND I think I shorted a few of the baggies so I probably could have gotten 1 more package of blueberries.  Rinsed all and cut up the strawberries and then put 2 handfuls (1c) in a little plastic baggie.  (Thank goodness for my Pampered Chef spinner!)

The veggie tray with plan approved veg for steaming (green beans, carrots, squash) - I think we'll have to replenish this before too soon - does this look like 16 cups to you?  Hardly but we'll see... Sunflower is right across the street so that is a quick and easy fix!

Yummy yummy chicken!  Roasted with Caribbean Jerk marinde.  We only get 3oz chicken per meal.  Wondering if Simon will survive on that little meat!  The alternate is a 4oz fish fillet - I buy the Gortons Tilapia that are delish and they're super easy to pull out of the freezer to bake right when you want your meal.

This is the "Sassy Water" that you drink at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I renamed it "Jumpstart H2O" to make it a little more guy friendly ;)  Water, lemon & cucumber thinly sliced, grated ginger, and fresh mint leaves.  Let me tell you this is sooooo yummy!  They said a lot of people still drink this after the plan is over but I immediately doubted I would cause it is a lot of work every day but I may have to make it here or there.  Yum yum!

And here are the star players:  the MUFAs! Sunflower seeds at breakfast, Flaxseed Oil in the smoothie, and Olive Oil with the veggies at dinner.

Looking forward to getting through the first part and trying out all of their delicious looking recipes.  First order of business Saturday - bake lemon cupcakes!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Daily Love

"I align myself with people who support my growth. If you meet someone whose soul is not aligned with yours, send them love and move along."
- Dr. Wayne Dyer

Love, love, love this concept! We've all met a lot of different folks along the way and sometimes our souls are aligned and many times they are not.  Goes along with the idea that some individuals are meant to teach or help us, we are meant to teach or help some, and others are meant to be there for life.  Not everyone can be a lifer, and we need to make sure to hold onto the ones we just click with.  

On another note... today is my first day back into the real world and off vacation.  Also my first day away from Simon and without a leisurely cocktail for 3 weeks.  So far so good... We'll see how the rest of the afternoon and evening go.  Been up since 4:30 (still getting over jet lag), at work since 7, off at 4, then drive out to my mom's (in an hour of traffic), then back to Phoenix by 7 for a dinner, and probably home by 10.  My only worry is that I've been zonking out around 7 at night the past 2 days.  Hopefully I can make it!!!

I miss vacation but I am enjoying this intense feeling of purpose and of being needed!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A very successful Sunday Roast

To date a man, you need to know how to cook. To date an English man,
you need to know how to cook a roast and how to perfect Yorkshire
Puddings (basically a popover but a tad different).
Today, I succeded! It is a major triumph - I think a right of passage
in acceptance by your English man. Haha There is a lot of pressure to
do it right and damn it, I nailed it!!! Wahoo!!
Simon told me that I did such a wonderful job that he now wants this
every Sunday. I did have a lot of fun puttin it all together and
figuring things out with him... We will see! :)
Ladies, I think this meal goes down in history for a tell tale, for
sure way to win a man's heart through his stomach!!!!
Here is my step by step to eat about 5:15...
1:15 preheat oven to 325. Prep roast in pan ( I used a 3.2 lb chuck
roast). Salt and pepper each side and add about a half cup of water
into the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil
1:30ish put in the roast on the center rack
Do all of your prep work - clean and cut veggies & place in the
steamer so they're ready to go, get all f your ingredients sorted for
the yorkshires, cut up potatoes and place on a baking sheet covered in
foil insides down, place sprigs of Rosemary and thyme throughout the
pan and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to
2:30 prepare yorkshire batter (see below)
3 turn roast over, recover and put in about another hour
4 pull out roast ( if ready) and set oven to 400
4:20 put in potatoes on the top rack and Yorkshire pan on the center
4:30 take out Yorkshire pan and add mixture. (See below for super
important details!)
Make gravy and let simmer (we just use a brown gravy packet and Simon
added grilled onions to it. Yum)
4:45 Turn on the steamer and steam veggies for 10-15 minutes
5 take out potatoes, quickly!!!!!!!!!! (and carefully!!!!!!!)
5:10 yorkshires should be done
Set oven to 330, when ready, put in bread & butter pudding for about
an hr (until it isn't watery anymore)
By 5:15 you'll have a heavenly meal on your plate. Enjoy!!
Here are the recipes for Yorkshire puddings and Bread and Butter

Yorkshire pudding (courtesy of Martha Stewart, revised by me)
Mix 2 cups flour, 1 tsp coarse salt and a little bit of cracked
pepper. Create a well in the center.
Measure out about 3 cups milk. (2% is good. Original recipe called for
Pour about 1/4 of the milk and 4 eggs, beaten into the well and whisk
together. Fold in the flour.
Add about half of the remaining milk and beat with an electric mixer
on low until liquid. Set for about 1 1/2 hrs at room temp. Set
remaining milk aside, room temp

Put about a tsp of lard in the bottom of each cup of a 12 cup muffin
Once you pull the roast out, turn up the heat to 400 an put in the
potatoes and the Yorkshire pan.
Now, slowly add more milk and mix with the electric mixer on low. You
may not need all the milk, just get it to the consistency of cream. I
used a total of 2 1/2 cups or so.
About 10 minutes in, take out the pan and fill each tin about 3/4 of
the way. Put in the oven on the center rack, centered pefectly, shut
the door, and do NOT open it for anything. Your potatoes will be just
fine unturned.
They should begin to rise after about 10 min or less and continue
until about 20 or 30 in. They are done when they are golden brown. If
they start to fall when you open the door, they aren't done so close
the door quickly!!! Should take about 40 minutes.
Bread and butter Pudding, courtesy of Simon's dad
1 pint (20 oz) milk, hot
2 large eggs
1/2 c sugar
Whisk together
Butter 3-5 slices of stale bread (if ends, slice the end off. Some
take all the crust off) and quarter.
Layer half the bread in casserole dish and pour half the mixture over
it. Layer the remains of the bread and then the rest of the mix.
Sprinkle with raw sugar and all spice. If desired, currants and or
Bake at 150C (332f) for about an hour or so, until it isn't watery at

England Trip Photos!!

Follow this link to view my online album of photos from the trip!

We had an amazing time and I can't wait to go back and do some more exploring!

Trip Photos

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spanish Siesta

While I know I have skipped quite a few days and in turn many sights
and events, part of being on vacation far from home means very limited
access. So deal with it and eventually I will get you all caught up. ;)

Currently we are sitting on a patio overlooking the Atlantic and the
Sahara on the horizon just 60 miles away.

The sun is extremely hot but the breeze is beautiful and instantly relieving. Cold beers and ginormous piña coladas are also a wonderful relief!

We haven't done much of anything which has been perfect. I'm close to finishing my book which I hardly read any of in traveling and Simon and I have battled out in a few games of scrabble. 

The bars are hilarious: Ruta 66 and The American Indian are a couple of my faves!  I must be the only American on the island! Well, besides the lead singer of Def Leppard that I hear has a place he and his family stay. The woman that served us breakfast this morning is long time friends with he and his wife (also from Arizona) and apparently they just left town as we arrived.

But really, I feel like Im a celebrity here they always seem to light up and go into deep conversation once they find out we live it the states. Quite the difference from feeling like sticking out like a sore thumb just a few days ago! 

Yesterday was one of my favorite days in a long time. We rented some beach chairs and an umbrella for 8 euro and lounged around and played in the ocean. Oh yeah, and I braved the feat of sun bathing topless. Simply liberating. And NO TAN LINES! Amazing!

Today we are just exploring the bars even more and have made plans for a scuba/snorkeling trip on Tuesday. Scuba for Si and snorkleing for me. HAVE to plan that diving trip next year to get mr certified!!!!

Oh! A game of Jenga calls! Gotta run! 

P.S. The pool is in our little complex, the drink is my Pina Colada from American Indian, and the view, well that's what Im looking at right now!  

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lunch in Edinburgh

The view from our table at The Castle Arms, Simon scopes out the map
and makes our plan of attack (yay again no planning for me!), Simon
has the Yorkshire Pudding and a Carling and I have the Steak and Ale
pie and the bartender's favorite Scottish Ale. Delish!!


We took the train from London to York on Friday. Simon's brother and
his girlfriend picked us up from the station and then we went to his
youngest brother's school for Sports Day. We met up with Simon's
sister, Sarah then it was straight to the pub, the Charles (we're
keeping a list of all the pubs we visit but I'll save a post just for
Walked the grounds of York University and by the moor along the way.
Simon, Sarah, and Tommy took Anna and I down memory lane. I knew I was
going to learn a lot about Simon's childhood. :)

After the Charles we freshened up and got ready for the night. A
delicious Indian at the Garden of India, Jeff's favorite then we hit
the town for round 2 of Sarah's birthday. A lot of Simon's friends
from primary school met us out, too! We had a huge group! Some places
even turned us away because of it. Going out in town in a weekend
night is so awesome, especially because when you are going from place
to place, the cobblestone streets are empty other than all of people
that are out as well. One big playground!

On Saturday, we got up early to meet Basil, Simon's grandad. We
wandered through the Shambles, the main area of town. I love how old
these buildigs are and that everyone lives a very modern life in them.
Had some lunch and did some shopping and then Basil was off and it was
time to go visit some friends of Simon's mom.

The girls decided it was a good night to break away from the boys so
we went to see SATC2 while they stayed out at the pubs. When those
boys get together they're trouble! Haha not really too bad but they
can be a handful. Lol. Turns out that they were in bed before we even
got out of the movie though. They sure did have a good time!

Sunday we all drove out to the coast to the old fishing town of
Whitby. It was blistering! The wind was so strong it almost blew my
glasses off and nearly blew me over! But we found a good chippy soon
enough and tucked in for tea and fish and chips. Yummy!!! Best Ive
ever had! Got to try some mushy peas - not too bad! I'd been dying for
some veggies so I was happy with what I could get. Lol.

We walked up the hill after lunch to have a look at the Abbey. You can
see it in the photo on the horizon. This is the site used in Bram
Stoker's Dracula! And again, everything is so old! People were
fishing here some 2,000 years ago!

We drove through the countryside each way and got to see some really
great things. Among them were the Gypos (gypsies) who set up camp in
the public section on the side of the road. Now these are some old
school people!!! Didn't catch a glimpse of any of them but apparently
they are very small and very dirty! And they keep the coolest horses,
not as big as Clydesdales but the kind with long hair on their hooves
and heads. It really was a sight to see!!

We then met up with another friend of Simon's mom for a drink. Simon,
Tommy, Anna and I went for a walk along the bar walls and then out to
dinner and I finally got a good lot of veggies! Veggie pizza and a
salad. Mmm! And leftovers for breakfast. Everyone thought I was nuts
but they're just missin out!

Monday, Simon, his dad and I drove back out through the country to
visit with his nanna. We had tea and cakes and a really nice visit.
She is a doll!

Once back in York, the sun came out again and we walked into town for
some sight seeing. We walked through the Minster gardens and just
Simon and I went through the Minster - tehy charge ��8 but we borrowed
a couple York Minster cards and Si told em we live there. I just
smiled and nodded as not to give it away with my blatant American
accent. We also walked through the museum gardens and saw some more
ruins. Back at the house, a roast beef and chicken were being prepared
along with Yorkshire puddings, veggies, and roasted potatoes. Jeff
taught us all how to make bread and butter pudding!

Dinner was delicious and we all just relaxed and enjoyed each others
company. Sarah had to be off to London to catch her flight home in the
morning and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. It is so
sad that the distance is so great...

This morning we are on the train again but this time it is for a day
trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. Will see the castle, Mary Queen of Scots
crown and septor, first used by her in the 1500s when she was just 9
months old! We'll watch the guns go off at the castle and do a lot of
exploring. Gonna be cold and wet but Im sure all worth it!

Gonna shut my eyes for a minute... A long day ahead of us!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Day in London

Changing of the gaurds (check out my YouTube page for a video!! Link
on the sidebar), meandered through the museum gardens just in time for
the sun to come out! Hopped on and off the big red bus and got some
very entertaining stories about the city, and enjoyed a handful of
pubs as well as a cheese sandwhich with branston pickle. Yumm!

Turned out that the SATC2 premiere was last night but unfortunately I
missed all the good stuff. :( pretty down about that but I did hang
out in Leicester Square while they were all in watching the movie! And
I saw a couple local celebs, Amanda Hall and some Daisy chick. Will
have to google them. Still pretty stoked to know that I was feet from
SJP and Kim Catrall!!! Love those gals!

Today we are on our way up to York. Looking forward to seeing Simon's

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hello there, London. Pleased to meet you!

A long, long flight but every bit worth it, hotel is quite small as
expected but is nicely updated - very cozy!

Once we got settled and cleaned up it was off to the pub (The Monkey
Puzzle) and then the London Eye. They had a quick 4D experience
beforehand that was really cool and got you psyched up for the LE.
Views were stunning! A neighboring pod was catered with drinks, and in
ours a 10 yr old's mom brought a bday cake and her family sang to her.
It was all a fantastic experience.

Afterwards, we made our way to Picadilly Circus for dinner - yummy

We got around on the underground, under ��6 was a steal for the
roundtrip and all the stops in between!

Stopped for tins of beer and chocolate bars. I got a Kronenberg
(��1.49!!) and a chocolate orange bar and Si got a strongbow and a
cider. Climbed out to the rooftop garden of our hotel and finished off
the night.

Slept amazing! On day 2 and can't wait to get moving! Looking forward
to a fry up in the city. Yum!