Tuesday, May 24, 2011

England Part IV

This will be the last group of photos I post from my trip to England - thanks for all your lovely comments.  My husband and I ended the week with a 3-day stay at an 18th Century Edwardian Manor nestled amid 12 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.  Despite no internet service and a last minute childcare emergency 4000+ miles away in Virginia, it was the prefect end to a great vacation.  

Massive Cedar of Lebanon Tree with 4 meter diameter trunk - ButterYum
Sorry for the bad pic - it got distorted when I rotated it.  I wish I would have gotten a photo of someone standing in front of that massive tree - you just can't imagine how large it is by looking at the photo.  At the base, the trunk is wider than the length of a car.

This adorable little guy followed me around the gardens.  I'm not familiar with this bird species - does anyone out there know?

This 2nd story corner room was the restroom in our suite.  Notice the windows - the mirrored portions were not visible inside the room because they had been plastered over.  I like the way they were mirrored on outside to maintain the building's appearance.

Breakfast on the terrace overlooking the garden.  Did you catch the palm trees - I was really surprised to see palms growing in England, but I actually saw quite a few of them during our stay.

A life-size game of chess anyone?

I wonder how many people have traveled this staircase over the past 3 centuries.  I love all the moss and lichen on the steps.

Thanks for letting me share my photos!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies - ButterYum
Little ButterYum made these tender and tasty powdered sugar covered cookies for a school function recently, and there wasn't a single cookie left to bring home at the end of the evening.  Kept in an airtight container, these cookies can be made weeks ahead of time.  The recipe contains no eggs and goes together very easily using a food processor.  Alternately, the dough can be mixed together by hand if you have finely ground nuts already on hand.

Mexican Wedding Cookies
makes 2 dozen cookies Adapted from Rose's Christmas Cookies
(plan ahead - dough should chill for about an hour before baking)

1/2 cup toasted nuts, finely chopped (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) we used pecans and almonds
1 cup powdered sugar (4 ounces or 115 grams)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp (8 ounces or 227 grams)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour (8.75 ounces or 250grams)
additional powdered sugar for dredging

To chop the nuts, place them in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, along with 1 cup powdered sugar;  pulse until nuts are finely ground.  Add butter, vanilla, and salt; process until smooth, scraping the sides of the work bowl as needed.  Add flour and pulse until dough clumps together in a ball.  Alternately, you can combine all the ingredients by hand, or using a stand mixer.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Divide dough into 24 equal portions and roll each into a ball.  Place on silpat lined cookie sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 20 minutes until the edges just start to brown.  Remove sheet pan from oven and let cookies rest for 3 minutes before dredging in powdered sugar (do this while the cookies are still warm).  After dredging, allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack and dredge in powdered sugar a second time.  Store cookies in an airtight covered container at room temperature for up to a month (they'll never last that long once you taste them!).  Enjoy!

Mexican Wedding Cookies - ButterYum

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Trip to England Part III

More pics from our trip to England.
Today, East and West Sussex.

Brighton Beach, England - ButterYum

The Royal Pavilion (aka Brighton Pavilion), built by the Prince of Wales in 1787 - ButterYum

Saw lots of stair risers covered in harlequin patterned tile all over England, especially in Brighton.  I really love the look.  Might have to recreate the look in my home.

Fancy and Festive :)

Telscombe Cliffs, England (East Sussex) - ButterYum

Telscombe Cliffs, England (East Sussex) - ButterYum

Street Lights of Brighton, England - ButterYum

Brighton, England - ButterYum

Brighton, England - ButterYum

Arundel Castle, West Sussex (11th Century) - ButterYum

Arundel Castle, West Sussex (11th Century) - ButterYum
Sorry, we weren't allowed to take photos inside the castle.

Arundel Castle, West Sussex (11th Century) - ButterYum

Arundel Castle, West Sussex (11th Century) - ButterYum

Arundel Castle, West Sussex (11th Century) - ButterYum

I don't know if there's anything special about this car or not, but after watching several men go out of their way to take a picture of it, I thought I'd better get one too.  Men - can you clue me in here?

Adorable dog sitting in the doorway of a Pub in Brighton - ButterYum

Victoria Fountain in Brighton (32 Feet tall) - ButterYum

Had to get a pic of this vehicle we passed on the motorway - notice anything unusual?

I'll finish sharing our trip to England when I post Part IV (photos will be from the end of our visit as we spent a couple of days staying at an English Manor) - trust me when I say I saved the best for last.  Until then...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Roasted Asparagus, and a nest of BABIES!!!

Oven Roasted Asparagus - ButterYum
Oven-roasted asparagus is something I look forward to each spring.  I usually put them on a sheet pan, glug on a good bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper before tossing into a very hot oven (400-450F) for 10-20 minutes until they're soft and beginning to caramelized.  Wanting to cut back on the calories this time, I lightly spritzed them with olive oil spray instead - they turned out just as delicious.  Can't wait to make them again.

Now get a load of this photo I took yesterday:

Hmmm.... I'd never seen Misty smashing her ears against the window screen before - I knew there had to be something interesting going on outside.

Yep, I'd say this is interesting - very interesting!  We've never had a nest right outside one of the windows before.  That little branch was in the way (uh, was!!), but it looked like the nest held two babies and an unhatched egg.

Robin feeding 4 chicks - ButterYum
But look at the pic I got today - FOUR BABIES!  I snapped nearly 1000 pics and got sunburned waiting in the blazing sun for more than an hour, but this photo made it worth the effort.  Happy Spring everyone!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trip to England Part II

Ready for more pics of England?

Big Ben (note the floral design on the clock face)

Westminster Abbey

Buckingham Palace

Pedestrian Crossing

Next time we'll visit Brighton Beach on the Southern Coast.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trip to England Part I

In light of recent Royal events, I realize I never got around to sharing photos of a trip to England Hubby and I took a few months ago.  It was a fabulous vacation with perfect weather for nearly the entire time we were there.  What a beautiful country - I look forward to returning someday.

We arrived early on a Sunday morning, just in time to rush to a quaint church in the heart of London - the people were incredibly warm and friendly, and they invited us to join them for their monthly lunch after Worship.  We were missing lunch at our own church that day, so it was really neat to be able to fellowship with like minded souls just like we would have done at home.

I never sleep before a flight (and hardly ever during) so I had been awake for 30+ hours by the time church was over.  By that time I was completely exhausted.  Hubby was tired as well so we did quick driving tour of London before heading to our hotel on the Southern coast of Brighton.  It was an overcast day and the photos I snapped on this day were done so through the window of a moving vehicle, so please forgive the quality.

Water Feature at Heathrow Airport - ButterYum

Living plants on building in London - ButterYum

Crowns on top of the street light in London - ButterYum

Koi pond and cemetery in church courtyard, London - ButterYum

Rolls of toilet paper are much smaller in the UK


Thanks for visiting - I'll post Part II soon.