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Posts Tagged ‘cousins’

Stopping to Smell the Roses…Or view the blossoms.

March 30, 2011 1 comment

I think one of the saddest things about living in a city (especially D.C.) is how often I simply live here. I don’t take the time I used to to appreciate my surroundings. For this reason, I love the occasional opportunity to host out of town guests.

My cousin (who got married last summer) came down last weekend with her husband, who had never seen the city. He’s not a city person, but even he admitted he loved DC. (not sure I can agree with him on the “clean” part of why he liked it…but I do have to agree it’s a rather “small town” like city).

I dropped them off in the middle of the city one day and let them explore on their own while I worked, but took a day off to spend more time being a “tourist.”

One day, we managed to see the cherry blossoms, FDR, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and all the major war memorials (WWII, Vietnam, Korea). I realized while we were at the memorials, it had been something like 10 years since I’d been to see any of them up close (not just watched them pass from I-395). How sad is that?

And of course, we hit Chick-fila (they don’t have it in Connecticut) for a banana pudding shake (they’re AMAZING!).

The following day, I wanted to stay away from D.C. First day of the cherry blossom festival, national marathon, etc… No thank you! We decided to stay in Va. and I suggested Mount Vernon. I swear, everytime I go there the house gets smaller, but the grounds are so fun! We even got to see the spring lambs. Baaaah.

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Cousin Kathy’s Irish Soda Bread

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I had really hoped to bake this last night to have photos to provide for you, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling like it. Hopefully I will get to have some this weekend when I go home to see Mom and I can add a photo of it then. She makes it better anyway. But I can assure you, it’s delicious!

I’m fairly sure this recipe came from Cousin Kathy (whose quiche I featured last year). If it wasn’t Kathy, it was someone in her family for sure! Since I don’t have a photo of the bread, I’ll share one of Cousin Kathy (dancing with her brother Danny).

This bread is best if it’s made in a large cast iron skillet. Something about the skillet gives the bread an amazing crust.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tsps baking powder (note – it’s POWDER, not soda, even though it’s called “soda” bread. yeah. this confuses me)
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 cup raisins (pour boiling water over them and soak until plump)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter or oleo

Sift dry ingredients. Add the rest and blend with a fork. The dough will be moist.

Grease and flour a skillet (or cake or loaf pans if you must).

Flour your hands and loosen the batter from the sides of the bowel. It will be stiff. Pour it into your skillet or two small loaf pans. Brush the top with milk.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes (less time if you use smaller pans).

I can already taste the caraway seeds!

Traditionally, this bread is served with apples and cheddar. However, I prefer plain Kerrygold butter. Yum!

The world’s biggest Cadbury Creme Egg

March 10, 2011 9 comments

A couple years ago when my dad was sick, my sister and I decided to FINALLY create something from Pimp that Snack for him.  His favorite Easter treat had always been Cadbury eggs. Perfect, right?

First of all, while they call their egg the “Creme de la Creme,” I’ll go with “world’s biggest” for ours. Our mold was significantly bigger.

The ingredients are simple enough (for what seems like a complex treat):

1.5 kg of Cadburys Milk Chocolate
3lbs of granulated sugar
2 x 140 g bottles of liquid glucose (or corn syrup)
vanilla extract
red food colouring
yellow food colouring

Being that we’re not in Great Britain, milk chocolate was hard to find. I looked EVERYWHERE for dairy milk and couldn’t find it. My brother in law told us to just use hershey’s chips…BLASPHEMY!  Then it would be a hershey’s creme egg. Not a Cadbury one.

I finally found a World Market that had several cases of Flake bars. Close enough, right?

Well, the taste was right…but whatever it is that makes them “flake” also keeps them from melting. So while breaking $50 worth of flake into tiny peices and mixing in milk while melthing…my sister and I got rather sick of Flake.

You’d also think it would be easy to find an egg mold the week of Easter. You would also be wrong. We finally found ONE available in a candy store.

We spent hours stirring, melting, brushing, etc. It’s not as easy as it seems! (and we’d made candy in the past)

Next up, was the filling. Let me preface this by saying this was the first time my cousin’s boyfriend (now fiance) was meeting the family. He met us over a pot of boiling white goo. A pot of goo so gooey, we girls were too weak to handle the necessary stirring!

Thankfully, he was able to handle it while two or three of us held the pot down.

Once he got it stirred and out of the pot (and licked all our utensils!), we made our “yolk” with food coloring, and set about filling the chocolate shells.

(Note to self: I think I need to return to that haircut!)

It was a sticky job and involved some finger licking at the end, but someone had to do it!

Then, we attempted the magic. We put the molds in the refrigerator, the freezer, anything to help them “set.”

Damn Flake. It doesn’t set.

We ended up serving Dad two open-face halves of a Cadbury egg, but it was still the most amazing thing ever!

We all grabbed spoons and had at it, until we couldn’t have anything more. I also remember figuring out the Weight Watcher points the thing included. Trust me. You don’t want to know.

Favorite Things – Children’s Board Games

October 29, 2010 3 comments

When I was a kid, I probably played board games with my cousin Lara more than anyone else (well, maybe not myself. How sad is it that I had siblings but still played board games by myself??). The following were my favorites:

1. The Game of Life. This game was very serious to us. HELLO! It’s Life!! We had to name our husbands and kids (sometimes more kids than we could fit in the car). And we couldn’t just stop when we got to the end…no. If your number didn’t land you EXACTLY at the mansion, you had to go back however many spaces you had left in the number you spun. This rule made the games last much longer (Who doesn’t want a longer Life??).

Personally, I think the newer versions of this game are terrible. They never should have messed with the original.

2. Hungry Hungry Hippo. This was a game that was fun to play with others, or by myself (If you have two hands, you can control two hippos). I think I liked this game because I felt I had a lot in common with those hippos. However, living in a 200 year old house made it hard to play a fair game. There aren’t many truly level places to play.

3. Girl Talk. What I loved even more than giving each other “zits” to wear, were the crazy things we came up with. My favorite time was when Lara took a turn and was told to turn on the radio and the song playing would say something about her future. Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby” came on so we decided Lara would have 28 babies because that’s how often the word is mentioned.

4. Hi Ho Cheery-o. Another favorite to play alone (do you feel sorry for me yet or what?). And again like hungry hippos, I love cherries.

5. Candy Land!! I loved this game with Lara (even in high school) and have enjoyed playing it during power outages in my adult years. But like Life, if the color you draw isn’t ahead of you at the end, you have to go backward. Who doesn’t want more candy??

What were your favorite games as a kid?

My favorite things…Cousins!

October 18, 2010 1 comment

So, in response to my feedback on Friday, this week will begin a series of My Favorite Things. Sometimes in list form, sometimes not. (Thanks for the feedback, and let me know if you have more suggestions!)

Taking Jeannine’s suggestion, today’s blog will be about cousins. More specifically, second cousins once removed and third cousins.

As a kid, my first cousins either lived 5 miles away, or 500. It was an interesting dynamic with them. They were either as close as siblings (teaching me how to sneak out at night and knowing which bars I could get into before I was 21. Of course I never drank though! No!) or they were people I barely knew who, let’s be honest, seemed SO old to me as teenagers!

My second and third cousins were of a horse of a different color though. And they taught me many things about family and friends.

No matter if I saw them a month ago or 10 years ago, we were always able to pick right up where we left off. I think a true test of friendship (and great family!) is that no matter how far apart you live or what life seems to hand you, they will always answer the phone when you call, return an e-mail with kind words, and in a matter of moments decide to pick up and come see you if you need it.

When my father got sick, of corse the imediate family was there day in and day out to visit us and help us and keep our minds on happy things.

But it was the second and third cousins that swooped in unexpectedly to be there when Mom needed someone to scream at or a calm person to visit and laugh with. For months after Dad passed away there were visitors at least once a month (you’d think they’d planned it!) to give her something to look forward to.

It seems like with friends in life, if you don’t see them for a few years, it becomes harder and harder to make that call to get back in touch or decide to make that needed visit.

With cousins, the longer you go without seeing them, the easier and more necessary it seems to make that call or jump in the car (seriously, do any of us fly anywhere?)!

One of the things I probably love most about my grandfather (who I never met) is the relationship he had with his first cousins (who were like siblings…not unlike my own first cousins). Thanks to him, their children and grandchildren are much closer to me and not at all “removed” like their relationship states.

Something Fuzzy…

September 22, 2010 2 comments

My crib blanket, made by my Grand-Godmother Rita

The scavenger hunt theme for yesterday was “something fuzzy.”

Since I don’t have pets…that topic sort of stumped me. I also didn’t have time to get to the grocery store shoot a kiwi or peach or other fuzzy food. I thought of taking a photo of my boyfriend’s shaved head, but even that seemed like a cop out.

But to me, “fuzzy” also connotes something comfy. So when I got home I had the perfect subjects. My blankets.

I am a blanket whore. I couldn’t even tell you how many I have total because they’re stashed all over the house…in my r

oom…in  the basement…in the linen closet…in the living room. I have some that are totally sentimental, and some that I just have but can’t get rid of. I LOVE blankets.

And this love inspired my desire to make them for all of my nieces and nephews (granted, I didn’t realize I’d have 10!!).

Growing up, I had this blanket neatly folded in thirds and draped across the foot of my bed.

Because it was on MY bed, I always for some reason thought it was “mine.” Silly kid!

Actually, it was a wedding present made for my parents by Uncle Tom and Brenda. I have struggled for at least two years to try to figure out how on earth people crochet. I prefer knitting because the loops you grab are already on the needles. I could NEVER imagine crocheting this beautiful blanket and then still being dedicated enough to go back over it and cross stitch it! This thing is truely amazing to me with it’s neat little stitches.

This is what my family lovingly calls a “Giggie Blanket.” She must have made dozens of them. Everyone in the family had their very own up to all the great-great nieces and nephews that she ever met (and some she didn’t meet got extras we found when she died). Giggie made these after her eyesight got too bad to do regular needle work, but the holes in the canvas (I guess you’d call it a canvas?) were large enough she could still see them. Most of them feature varigated yarn…which I’ve never been a huge fan of…except in a Giggie blanket.

I like the idea of blankets giving warmth…but not only that. When they’re made by someone you love, I like the feeling that it’s bits and pieces of their love that warm you up.

Besides these few blankets that were made for me, I also treasure my embroidered blankets (like the bunny one I just finished) made by Aunt Ina (who wasn’t an aunt, but it took me years to figure that out!) and Giggie.

And of course my T-shirt quilt. Since nearly half the shirts were donated by family and cousins…that one has a LOT of love wrapped up in it!

Scavenger theme – Half

September 21, 2010 3 comments

Yesterday’s scavenger theme was a little bit hard to find things to shoot for…so I decided to take it outside the box! The theme was “half.”

I only use digital clocks, so “half past” wouldn’t have made a very great picture…

I can never remind myself to stop eating…so I couldn’t take any “half” pictures of food.

I could have cropped a photo so only half of something was showing…but that didn’t seem very interesting to me.

So I decided to interpret it differently. The Better Half.

My home is full of photos of friends and family…so as I looked up from my couch last night remembering I hadn’t taken any photos…my eyes fell on photos of my grandparents. Especailly this one. My mom’s parents weren’t especially “touchy feely” emotional people. In fact, my grandfather called Grandma “Old Fat” (and she was never “fat” a day in her life!). That’s why I love this picture. They’re just so sweet!

Dad's parents. Aren't they beautiful?

The first thing Grandaddy said to Grandma, “Hey, Your slip is showing.”

My better half

Lara and Tim like cake.

They also love their pets

Santa and Anthony. Santa saw a photo of Anthony before she agreed to marry him and immigrated to America.

Mom and Dad. Dad always wanted to know why someone didn't tell him he needed a haircut.