We have just enjoyed a week in Sunny Southern California with family and friends, one of our favorite parts was a visit to the lovely seaside town of La Jolla. I highly recommend it strolling along the coast, seeing the seals and soaking up the sunrises and sunsets. I had the joy of meeting EA again, a talented blogger and dietitian from The Spicy RD. Its the best meeting locals when traveling, EA recommended that we visit Torrey Pines State park. Its a wonderful park, full of trails at various seasons you can enjoy wild flowers along the way. It has a great trail leading to the beach, even our 5 year old managed it well.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I have always been fond of Mexican Wedding Cookies, and I buy something similar at the Greek festival when I saw the recipe on the lovely Mely's blog - Mexico in My Kitchen it looked pretty straight forward so I thought why not. I simply halved the recipe as didn't want to make many. To my delight they turned out wonderfully hats of to Mely. It really is fun baking festive treats with our wee ones this time of year, and I love seeing blogs filled with delicious goodies and festive cheer.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
My Journey as an Expat
I have now lived in the US for 10 years, I moved here shortly after marriage. My husband came here to do residency. I followed a few years later starting our life in Cleveland. The first year was exciting to learn a new country but very hard, small things like learning to drive on the other side of the road and being alone while he worked. It was also very hard to get work initially as a registered dietitian I had to take the RD exam here and then try and convince a potential employer to hire me while needing them to help me get a work visa. So for over a year I was out of work, it was a valuable learning curve and insight into life as an immigrant. I did network with other dietitians at meetings and shadow a few and attended some interviews.
|a picture I took next to my NC dietitian license in the office :-)|
We then moved to North Carolina a small town called Elkin and my husbands employer kindly offered to hire me too, I worked in a small hospital with a colleague and also did clinics for the doctors offices. Working again was wonderful and overall not that different from the UK. I slowly smiled and called vitamins in an American way and learnt about Southern food and culture. I still say tomatoes like a Brit though and eat very internationally. In 2008 we moved to a bigger city Winston Salem, a lovely place with more to do, a great arts scene, lovely parks and rich in history with the living museum of Old Salem.
We now have two small children here who hold both an American and US passport. It’s not been an easy journey I have been very homesick over the years especially after the kids came along longing for more support. As an expat I think we all feel quite a bit of guilt about not having our kids growing up near family and living away. But little by little our adopted countries become home as we settle and make friends. Slowly the culture soaks into us I have spent most of my twenties and early thirties here developing more as a person and professionally. I have networked with my profession at the State level, done professional speaking and have great opportunities. I have also given talks at British universities about social media when I visit home for vacations.
Last month we took a huge step and became citizens I will admit it may not have been so easy to do if I had needed to give up my British nationality. But becoming an American citizen felt right to become part of the country and commit. When we took the oath with 85 other people from 45 countries it was actually quite emotional it’s amazing that after so many years folks come and join this country. I loved the sense of unity and that we are all in it together to help one another and share our talents.
|my amazing Grandma, she once told me the job of a parent is to help our kids get wings so they can fly away.|
|My parents at The Highland games in Winston Salem, this one made me smile as my Dad is holding Scotland's flag. Me living here has been hard for them particularly my Mum.|
|the view from my in law's terrace, Chennai India|
|our wee guy at the pumpkin patch|
No one knows what the future holds or where we will live but for now I have made the choice to make this home, not to keep looking back and pining for days gone by. Both countries have moved on and changed from when we left.
|a beach in Fife Scotland|
The UK is always my homeland and my first love but I feel as expats committing and making where we are now home brings happiness and a sense of contentment. Reassure loved ones that you love them and where you grew up but someone once said to me “it isn’t that you have decided to leave but that they have decided to stay” we all live where we have opportunity and a good life for our families.
So the journey and adventures continue its not always easy but full of wonderful experiences and amazing connections with folks along the way, thanks for being part of it :-)
If you would like to hear of others experiences as expats and fun cultural tips check out this blog, I shared this post on there.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Saffron is one of those wonderful spices that is very expensive and something I often wonder how to use. I have seen this drink on a few Indian blogs over the years and since I had recently bought some saffron I decided to give it a try. Its an easy and elegant drink, the slightly bitter and delicate saffron flavor is well balanced with the sweet milk, cardamon and sugar.
- one cup of Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of warm milk
- 5-6 saffron strands
- a pinch of ground cardamon
- a few almonds or any nut to garnish
- a handful of ice cubes
- a little milk to obtain desired consistency
- one tablespoon sugar
- heat a little milk in the microwave to warm and add the saffron to it, it will diffuse and color the milk
- add the yogurt, saffron infused milk, cardamon powder and sugar to a blender and blend until frothy
- then add a little milk if too thick
- garnish with nuts and a little more saffron.
- for fun garnish with an edible flower
I made some bedding and wee pillows for our daughters dolls house today :-) also be sure to connect with me on Vine for fun 6 second cooking clips, crafts and daily life love this app.
Have a wonderful start to the week, look forward to visiting all your blogs and seeing all the festive recipes
Monday, December 2, 2013
Pumpkins are the perfect vegetable super healthy, and they blend so well for a wonderful thick and flavorful soup, this soup is made from a butternut squash and blue hubbard squash and has a fun kick with the addition of curry powder.
- one small blue hubbard squash
- one small butternut squash
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- one small onion chopped
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of masala, curry powder amount depends on desired heat
- pistachios to garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- a pinch of cumin powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- cut the squash in half and place in an oven proof dish with a little water roast for about 20 min at 400 until soft, when cooked allow to cool and dice.
- heat a little olive oil and saute the onions, ginger and garlic for 3-4 minutes
- then add the squash pieces with the stock, cumin and curry powder turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes
- then blend the soup, season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with pistachio nuts
tis the season for lovely warming soups :0)
I am interviewing Matt Long from Land Lopers on Blog talk radio this Thursday 10.30am EST he is one of my favorite travel bloggers and through hard work and talent now living his dream as a travel writer, he has been to 7 continents and 60 countries. Feel free to call in or drop me a line with questions.
Have a wonderful week everyone
Friday, November 29, 2013
I have followed Bolot on twitter now for a few years
@yakutia, I enjoy learning about life in Yakutia Siberia. The pretty countryside, the cold climate, the smiles of the kids in the city, and the day to day life. Bolot is a journalist and loves sharing the stories of his people. I have asked him a few times for a food post and here it is.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Slow down embrace the warmth of a sunrise as it beckons in a new day of possibilities
Slow down to really listen to what your darling child is telling you as you can't afford to miss something great
Slow down to savor the meal in front of you and the gift of nourishment for your body
Slow down and make time to catch up with a friend there may be hearts to mend
Slow down to really read social media updates listen to when someone is unwell or not feeling swell
Slow down to see the glory of the seasons and natures radiance
Slow down don't get trapped by being "busy" even the bees know when to rest
Slow down enjoy the colors and magic of the sunset pause and be thankful knowing that God will always take the time to listen and just be
|taken the other evening by the Yadkin river I took the kids to watch the sunset|
Slow down breath listen to the birds, smell the fall leaves, spring flowers, fresh tomatoes
Slow down ....
Have a lovely weekend all and hope you get chance to slow down
Saturday, November 16, 2013
These dutch pancakes, also called pop overs or to this Brit sweet Yorkshire pudding make a wonderful brunch. Great for sharing and eagerly digging into as it comes out of the oven with a cup of coffee.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
This is a fun way to prepare butternut squash or any pumpkin with an Indian twist. You simply roast it first dice and saute. I have been having fun creating new recipes with them I recently added to cous cous I have also made a barley salad with it and stay tuned for a spicy pumpkin soup.
Monday, November 4, 2013
One of the things I miss most about the UK is Bonfire night on November the 5th it celebrates the foiled plot of Gawy Folkes and colleagues and their attempt to destroy the houses of parliment with gun powder. Towns and cities will host bonfires, where a big fire is lit in a field or park and dummies of Gawy falkes thrown on it. After there will be a big firework display. This toffee is one of the traditional treats that folks eat on bonfire night, its made with black treacle or molasses.
I only made a little mostly for the nostalgia and to share with the kids
- 100 g sugar 1/2 cup
- 2 tablespoon molasses
- 2 tablespoon golden syrup (can be found in some grocery stores in the baking section)
- one tablespoon butter
- melt the butter
- add the syrups and the sugar
- allow it to boil for about 10 minutes, test how done it is by dropping a little into cold water it should be hard
- add to a cookie sheet lined with baking paper
- allow to cool
- now the fun part, when cool break with a hammer, see the clip below ;-)
of course we had to play with the sparklers -
Hope you enjoyed a little bit of British food culture, have you ever attended a bonfire night?
The following pictures are from Phillip of @LoveBattersea1 a fun twitter account from a cool neighbourhood in London, this was a bonfire and firework display there ;-) this Saturday.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
I simply adore this time of year as the leaves change I have been taking pictures like crazy :-) and even our daughter asked to have her picture taken under a pretty fall tree. The vibrant colors bring a smile to our faces in fact over the last few years I have been making a conscious effort to focus on natures beauty, embrace it and savor each magical moment. The sunrises, sunsets, blossoms, vegetables growing in the garden, flowers and change of seasons. This practice really brings happiness and marvel at the world.
The little things are what life is all about, sipping tea on a cool day, cherishing the laughter of our kids, family and friends and being thankful.
As the seasons cool in this part of the world, soups and stews are wonderful here's a quick and healthy soup I made recently. The bok choy was sitting in the fridge and I thought why not add for flavor and of course extra nutrition.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Kathy is one of the wonderful folks I have meet on the chow and chatter facebook page. I always enjoy her comments and conversation. Through these chats I learnt that Kathy lives on a farm, that is pretty much sustainable and I simply couldn't resist asking her to share life on her farm.
Posted by Rebecca Subbiah at 9:17 AM
Thursday, October 24, 2013
One of the best things about this time of year is the abundance of squash and pumpkins they are not just for the front step you know. Butternut squash is a wonderful sweet one, super healthy and versatile. I love roasting these, cutting into cubes and adding to dishes. This salad is easy to make and full of bright flavors.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I recently got some minced pork at the farmers market and wanted something new to cook, google came to the rescue and I came across Sheftalia a pork meat ball from Cyprus, these are easy to make and pair wonderfully with salad, and hummus. They would make a fun party food as well.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I have recently started making Caramel popcorn and I had no idea how easy it is to make. The more I cook and read blogs, little by little I have become more confident in the kitchen and am learning items that we may traditionally buy at the store with a list of ingredients as long as our arm are super easy to make. This is a fun treat, but on a regular basis just make the popcorn with a sprinkle of spice or cinnamon and a touch of sugar. Popcorn is a whole grain and makes a fun snack, with endless flavor possibilities.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
|fields of a sheep farm New Zealand|
One of my favorite hash tags on twitter is #frifotos each week it has a different theme, this week's is Fields and I just couldn't resist putting together a photo series, to join in simply tweet a picture and tag it #frifotos and join in the fun. Folks contribute from all over the world with a love of sharing fun images and travel pictures.
Friday, September 27, 2013
This recipe was given to me by my friend Yulia she grew up in Tajikistan a small land locked mountainous country in Central Asia, it was governed by Russia at that time. She learnt this dish while there it would be made as a big communal dish and shared as a family. Here's a nice little article on the country from a group of travel bloggers who drove across Asia and their views A rallying cry. Its a tasty dish that can be made with vegetables, I did one loaded with veggies and a mixture of red and white Thai rice, beef or chicken, a great one pot meal.
Friday, September 20, 2013
One of the foods I love from Puerto Rico and South America is Empanadas or little meat pies, the fillings can be endless from meat, veggie, seafood and even sweet. I remember once visiting a little place in Miami dedicated to them. I made a more British style pastry and made a shrimp filling. Our sweet girl and I really enjoyed rolling the pastry and filling these and to make them a little healthier we baked them.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
This easy recipe was inspired by Anncoo's hobby one of my favorite blogs from Singapore, great food, and amazing mooncakes. I loved that Ann used milk and honey in place of condensed milk. Its another fun recipe to make with kids and makes a great snack.