Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chef Rich-ard and his Gumbo

Chef Boy-ar-dee move over...Rick is making Chicken-and-Sausage Gumbo for dinner tonight! Gumbo is one of the crowning glories of southern cuisine. This flavorful stew is named for the West African word for okra, "gombo". It can feature any number of ingredients, most commonly shrimp, crab, chicken, and sausage. All gumbos start with a roux, the browning of fat and flour, followed by what Louisianans call the "holy trinity" -- bell pepper, onion, and celery. After that the ingredients are left up to the discretion of the cook and what ingredients are on hand. Rick spent two summers working on tug boats out of Slidell, Louisiana and learned in the galley kitchens on board how to make a "real" roux. He always adds okra, tomatoes, bay leaves, and garlic...but an equal amount of chefs do not...right Sandi? Another possible thickening ingredient is file' you didn't know it was crushed sassafras leaves?
I'm under Doctor's orders not to get my hands wet so this was a real treat for me...I feel better already! Now, who gets to do the dishes?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Is it over yet?

The traveling, the shopping, the decorating, the wrapping, the's over and now the days can sloooww down! We are looking forward to spending all day at the Rivah Cottage with the kids. Christy and Doug are starting a new tradition by ordering oysters from Duxbury for an afternoon of shucking and Patriot football. To add to the "tailgate" I brought my 'favourite' Onion Chutney from London for a traditional pub Ploughman's Platter. Haley is in charge of our special cocktail with pomegranate and spice. The Prime Rib Roast goes in at 3:00 - and I turn off the oven at 4:00 - hope this works! (No Gumbo this year, boyfriend Tommy is joining us and he is strictly a meat and potatoes kind of guy!) I have the Mahjongg game primed in case there is a lull but I think Train Dominoes may be the game of choice this year...Thanks Sandi! Through out the day I will think of all our family and friends around the world. We have certainly enjoyed a year of abundant blessings. I hope each of you are surrounded by laughter and hugs .....Happy Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tree Hugger

You may remember this in the news last February...... Auburn Tree Huggers: Fans & Friends of Toomer's Corner AU to test for spread of herbicide Auburn University will begin drilling test wells today around the Toomer’s Corner oaks to monitor the possible spread of herbicide in the surrounding soil and groundwater. Yes, the trees were poisoned by some wacko who actually bragged about it on Talk Radio! And the University has done everything possible to try to save the trees on Toomer's Corner but sadly, this is what the magnificent trees looked like last week when we were visiting the "loveliest village on the plain". I was impressed with some of the T-shirts on sale to help the cause.
And I thought it might be fun to replay last year's Christmas card photo in front of the trees after a "major celebration".... Cause this is how we roll in Auburn!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Add a bow !

Start with a basic evergreen wreath or a container of budding bulbs...the fun is adding the extras! In this case dried oranges, bundles of cinnamon sticks and dried apple slices or even dried lavender.
I can always get good ideas from the flower shop around the corner....'wild at heart'
Looks like all you will need to do is add a pretty bow!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mistletoe in London

Nothing says "festive" like a Christmas street fair to kick off the holiday season! This one was Sunday afternoon on Elizabeth Street, just a couple of blocks from our flat near Victoria Station. The highlights of the day were Santa (so engaged!),Three Wise (Wo)Men with their camels,and the Elf and Fairy Princess Christmas Tree on stilts...interesting combination but the children loved them all!
There were also stalls filled with special gifts...sweets, knitted treats, baby Uggs, and the most popular of all, the mistletoe stall. I asked the fellow if he shot it out of the trees and he looked at me as if I were CRAZY. (I am used to that look by the way!) "You must be from Texas, we are not allowed to carry guns in this country", he says, "We have to climb up into the tree and cut it down." AND I will add, that is why he was selling it for £20 a branch! It's a lot easier to just shoot it out of the top of a tree, and NO, I'm not from Texas!
The best part for me is always the Hot mulled wine and listening to the choirs sing all my favorite Christmas carols...especially the children's choirs.