Friday, January 19, 2018

Cinnamon Rolls for the Birthday Boy!

OK, this is my 250th blog, according to Google also called my semiquincentennial or bicenquiquagenarial! Try that after a glass of wine!
It so happened to coincide with James' 59th Birthday, which I don't think has any such Latin translation, and is not a 'big' one, unless you think of it as the one before your 60th! Eeks!

Or maybe you should think about it as it says on this card ..

He had hoped to go golfing that day, since one of the courses here gives you a free round for your birthday but it was just too cold and probably closed anyway because of the snow.
Like this:

Any-who, he didn't 'want' anything so he got cinnamon rolls, always a winner in his book, and he took it easy for most of the morning ...

His only request was pea-soup, so ...

Ehm .. yeah .. I screwed up, I forgot to buy split peas, so I invented a delicious black-eyed pea/pinto bean/lentil soup with veggies, ham hocks and sausage. Almost as good!
Real 'stick-to-your-ribs' food, which was very fortunate since we had very, very cold weather that day. 
The overnight low was 14F (-10C)! I'm not kidding! On top of that we had some more snow ... 

Everything more or less froze (except for our pipes fortunately), and we found ourselves once again in a winter wonderland.
Being Dutch, that immediately set of thoughts of  .. skating!
We got rid of our skates when we 'downsized' for our RV-adventure, but I remembered I had a very old pair of wooden skates in my 'saved-from-my-childhood' stuff, in a box under the bed.


Here they are! These are called 'Friese Doorlopers' and I first skated on them in the winter of 1965-1966. Look, here's proof, although you can't see them very well, but you have to take my word for it. Those are them. Over fifty years old!

So cute, my sister and me!
I couldn't resist trying them on! My feet, of course, have grown a bit since than, normally you would see the 'point' sticking out in front of your toe, but my shoe just fit on the wood ..


Unfortunately, the ice wasn't thick enough to skate. Or as they say in Holland: 't Ken net'! 
('Net', usually means 'just', as in 'the ice is 'just' thick enough', but in the Frisian language it means 'not', as in 'it can not', meaning it's not possible/thick enough.
This, as you can imagine, can be the difference between having fun or getting wet (or worse, drown)!)

It has been freezing for several nights since, but it looks like the forecast is for much warmer weather for the coming week.
I actually liked the cold, much better than the week before when we had rain pretty much every day and the, as of yet not landscaped grounds, looked like this:

Yikes! Mud-fight anyone?

I haven't walked much lately, mainly because of the cold but also because I've been helping with some cleaning and painting at the B&B.
The one time I did, the only bird I saw was this little Bluebird ..

But I've mainly stayed warm and cozy inside. I finished my 'Christmas puzzle' and started a very appropriate 'winter' one ...

                       Lots of snow in this one. Not easy, I can tell you that!

Other than that, I drink a lot of coffee and I baked some Pignoli, Italian pine-nut cookies (with fennel seeds), which are possibly my favorite cookies ever .. for now!


Merlin sleeps even more than he already did with these temperatures and constantly wants to sit in our lap to warm himself. This weather is too cold, even for him!
He sleeps in in the mornings, on the bed, and doesn't even want to get up when I start to change the sheets ...

Smart cat!

That's it for now. See you soon, most likely in much warmer temperatures!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year Y'all and all the best for 2018! 
I like the sound of it, 2018, it's a nice and round number, rolls easily of the tongue ... oh boy, I hope I don't have to 'eat' my words later on ..
As usual, our New Years celebration was a quiet one, although we heard a lot of very loud firework being set off all through the day. (Or maybe they were gun-shots, this IS the south of course!)

Per 'our' tradition (sort of) we had 'surf and turf' for dinner:

Lobster and Rib-eye steak, a dinner fit for a King!

The next morning, I was up in time to prepare the batter for the eagerly awaited 'Oliebollen'!

The dough rose exceptionally well this year, it almost came out of the bowl!
There was a moment of horror when we realized that we had gotten rid of the big pan that we usually make them in .. gasp .. , but we made do with a smaller one and everything went just fine!

Look at those beauties! (the oliebollen, I mean)

As every year we vowed we will make them again over the summer, during the (dutch) 'Kermis' (Fair) season, and hopefully this year we will actually remember this and do it!

We watched the 'Rose-Parade' on TV:

And in the evening I made a traditional, southern, 'Good Luck' dinner (hey, every little bit helps), which consisted of: 
Black-eyed Peas (for coins), a Ham-hock ( for the pig, a 'forward foraging animal' which brings good fortune), Collards (for the green paper money) and Cornbread (for gold).

Another delicious, comforting dish made in my Instant Pot. 
I took me less than an hour to get this on the table (only 20 minutes actual cooking time), versus 3 to 4 hours if had prepared this on the stove.
And boy, do we need these 'stick-to-your-ribs kinda comfort foods!
It is brutal cold here in the south! 

The temperature had actually already come up a degree when I took this picture at 8 am, 20 degrees! Can you believe it? We're in the South! Now I understand why this is not really a 'Snowbird' destination per se ...
We'd let the water trickle overnight and had already wrapped up the water hose real good so we had no problems. What with all 3 electric heaters running (one in the bedroom) and extra blankets on the bed we were as toasty as bears in their winter den.

On Tuesday it never even got above freezing! Unreal!
When it warmed up to 45F today I braved outside for a short walk. After spending 2 days in the RV, I was in dire need for some fresh air.

And fresh it was, even worse of course if you consider the windchill.
Everything was frosty ...

James had until now been working as much as he could on the inside, but it was high time to tackle a project outside that needed to be done.
The balcony at the back, in front of the 3 guest bedrooms, needed to be separated by walls for privacy, so the guys donned their thermal underwear, multiple layers and hoodies and braved the elements!


It's at times like these that I'm so happy to be able to cuddle under the covers with Merlin in my cozy bed, when James gets up at 7 in the morning!
Talking about me, I'm not doing a lot at the moment I have to say. I'm working on getting our taxes 'done', or at least 'organized'. I've finished a pair of socks that I've been working on for over a year (!), I do a lot of (jigsaw) puzzling and reading and I'm determined to make even more use this year of the Instant Pot than I already have.

I made these Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Actual cooking time: 5 +18 minutes!
Together with some mashed potatoes, oh my, they were delicious! That (sweet and sour) sauce!

OK, that's it for this week. I'll end with this hilarious play-off on the warnings on TV about the cold, and to bring your plants and 'pets' indoors!