Tea for Two

On Wednesday we checked out of our apartment in Oxford and took a taxi to Woodstock to check into our hotel for  Wednesday and Thursday night. For curious minds the taxi was about 30 bucks. We could have taken a bus except with our luggage that would have been too taxing on us. We checked our luggage at the hotel and took a walk about the town. We had a nice lunch with a very jovial host at The King’s Arms where we met another U.S. family enjoying Woodstock. Later in the afternoon after getting the key to our room we had our first Afternoon Tea on at The Feathers Hotel in Woodstock. It’s interesting when our lodgings want you to check out by 10am and then your next lodging won’t want you to check in till 4PM. The hotel did let us check into our room at 2 instead of 4 since our room was ready. Our tea reservation was at 4:30. Afterwards we had a nice walk to the outskirts of town to catch a glimpse of Blenheim Palace.

Goodnight from Woodstock!

A Sunday Roast

My postcard for today after the Queen’s funeral yesterday is my Sunday Lamb Roast from the Turf Tavern. Roasts typically are only offered on Sundays at Pubs and restaurants. The Turf had a choice of Beef, Lamb or Chicken. Dear picked the Lamb for me, delicious. Besides the meat portion you get veggies, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Dear opted for fish and chips instead of a Roast.

We spent the whole day yesterday watching the telly with absolutely no commercials or interruptions of the ceremony and processionals. We started watching at 7am up until the late afternoon with a quick break to run down for a quick fish and chips break. Wonderful coverage and commentary here.

Today, Tuesday, we will be out and about again trying to visit as many colleges as we can before we check out tomorrow at 10am and head to Woodstock for a couple of nights.

Quiet Today…

Today Monday September 19th should be a quieter day here because of the Queen’s funeral and it being a bank holiday here in the United Kingdom.

We stocked up on picnic supplies to enjoy in our apartment today during the funeral televised on the major channels here.

Grocery stores are closed today. Some of the other businesses will have open hours today. We are going to have an off day today just relaxing in our apartment, eating up what we have on hand. Curious as to what we purchased? Well let me tell you anyway. We have a beautiful loaf of Rosemary Sour Dough bread we purchased at the amazing Gail’s Bakery. We have a lovely Pear tartlet and Strawberry tart with custard we purchased at Paul Bakery. We have salami, cheese, olives & feta combo, avocado, grapes, tomatoes purchased at Sainsbury. We won’t starve.

Later I’ll share about the nice Sunday we had worshipping at a church service here in Oxford and our other Sunday experiences.

Quinoa Salad

This hearty salad has a nice flavor and is naturally gluten free. You can add or delete ingredients to suit your own taste buds, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mango
  • 1/2 to 1 cup garbanzo beans drained and rinsed (Chickpeas)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan combine quinoa with the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  2. Once it boils reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool completely.
  5. You can set it in the refrigerator to speed the cooling.

While the quinoa is cooling prepare the rest of the ingredients. I left the amounts of beans and green onion to your discretion. We enjoy green onion so I added the full 1/2 cup. Mix together all these ingredients with the cooled quinoa and enjoy as a side dish or a meal. You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by cooking the quinoa with water or vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.

Although I’m going to try to create some posts during our travels I cannot guarantee that and I will be hit and miss with visiting blogs over the next two weeks. Cheers!

Back to School Hodgepodge

We are back on track for Wednesday Hodgepodge thanks to Jo From This Side of the Pond.

1. August is National Back To School Month…how does that make you feel? 

I’m pretty stuck in the tradition of school starting after Labor Day so I’m always surprised when we get the photos of our nieces and nephews starting school in August. Above is a photo of me in front of my high school that always started back to school after Labor Day.

Share a back-to-school memory. 

Our sons on the first day of school in 1986 or 1987, ready to walk to school. Our daughter waiting for the bus in 1991ish.

This memory of our daughter always sticks in my mind because she chose to wear that t-shirt on the first day of school a few years in a row. I was and am impressed with her boldness and resolve. This photo is from the first day of her senior year, 2003.

2. Something you’ve learned in ‘the school of life’? 

That God is in control and I am not.

Contentment is worth more than riches.

Here’s a quote from our sermon on Sunday. “If we displease God does it matter whom we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease? ~Leonard Ravenhill

3. Three words to describe your current mood.

Under the weather…

4. A summer food you’ve eaten too much of/are tired of?

Nada, Zip, nothing.

A summer food you haven’t had enough of? 

Nectarines and watermelon.

5. What small stuff do you sweat that you know you shouldn’t?

When planning a meal or event I always wonder if I ordered or made enough of this or that. It seems to always work out so I’m trying not to sweat over those things.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Speaking of Leonard Ravenhill here is another gem I’ll quote from him.

“A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by men.”

Raclette for a Worthy Cause

I managed to take a few photos of the Raclette Meal in progress. We served Steak, Shrimp, Asparagus, Red Bell Pepper strips, Mushrooms, Thinly sliced Onion, Pickles, Cheese, Boiled Potatoes, bread and butter. It was up to our guests what they would cook on the top of the grills and melt in the individual melting pans that fit under the grill. The usual item placed below the grills is the cheese or something else cooked with a little butter like mushrooms.

For dessert I served the Strawberry Ice Cream Cake that I posted the recipe for on Wednesday Hodgepodge.

The Raclette Meal was a hit and it was a first for all 6 guests. This was a meal that we offered up for an auction item at our church to raise money over and above our usual monthly support for our missionaries to the Ukraine. The couple that won the bid donated $450.00 for this meal for them and 4 of their guests. We enjoyed serving them. The Missionary Auction brought in $16,000 from items donated by our church members and then bid on by people in our church.

This week I’m very busy both helping out by watching the grands during the day and then in the evenings helping with our Vacation Bible School which runs from 6pm until 8:30. I won’t have much leisure time for visiting blogs. I’ll visit when I can.

A Quartet of Sisters Hodgepodge

It’s Wednesday and time for the Hodgepodge questions this first week in August! Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond!

1. Do you have a sister? Tell us something about her. If you don’t have a sister, tell us about a friend who has been like a sister. Or tell us about a sister-in-law if you have one who is extra special. 

I have 3 sisters and 4 brothers. My sister-in-laws are extra special, too. The photo above is of us sisters in age order, youngest on the left and oldest on the right.

My oldest sister Kathy is a gifted teacher. Vera has the gift of hospitality. Lana is an amazing organizer. We all challenge each other to follow Jesus closely. We all sing and have sung in choirs, trios, duets or in a ‘rock’ band. We all can cook for a crowd.

2. Resister, assister, insister, persister…choose one of the words listed and explain how it relates to you and your life lately. 

Right now since I’m working on dropping unwanted pounds I would say I’m a resister. It’s interesting what a great resister I am in the morning up until about 3pm and then it gets tougher for me to resist so I switch to insister, telling my brain I do not need to have this or that as it will derail my plan. I’m working on some healthier eating habits, too. I want to be able to walk in England in September without huffing and puffing and sweating more than I need to because of excess weight.

3. Share a favorite song, book, movie, or television program that features sisters.

How timely as we pulled out BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on Monday evening and are watching all the episodes again with the 5 sisters who are all quite different from each other.

4. August 3rd is national watermelon day…are you a fan? ~ Yes

Do you like watermelon flavored candy?  NO

Besides eating the melon as is, do you have a good recipe made with watermelon? 

This Watermelon Cucumber Salad is perfect for a summer get together.

5. ‘Tis August…what are three things you’re looking forward to this month.

Our Coast kids are hopping over for a long weekend visit, Addy starts soccer this month so I’ll enjoy watching on the sidelines, and I’ll be helping a little with Vacation Bible School.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I’m making this dessert again this week for a dinner we are having here on Saturday evening. It has a few steps but is pretty easy to make. It’s a dessert you can make a few days ahead. I think it would easily serve 10-12 people. I’ll give you the link so you can see how much prettier you can make it look with whip cream and fresh strawberries on top. I only used a large carton of good Strawberry Ice Cream. My carton was not 1/2 gallon so my version is not as tall as the showstopper…

I used vanilla wafers and regular Strawberry Ice Cream.

To see the showstopper version of this cake and get the recipe click below!

You can find the recipe here.

It’s called Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake because she used Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream. I call mine Strawberry Ice Cream Cake since I didn’t find the shortcake version of ice cream to use. It is not overly sweet. Hopefully I’ll remember to take a photo of the cake decorated with whipped cream and Strawberries on Saturday.

Goodbye July Hodgepodge

Another Summer Wednesday Hodgepodge today with thanks to Jo From This Side of the Pond.

1. According to author Gary Chapman there are five love languages-words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Which one is yours? 

If you mean which one do I receive as love, I’d have to say acts of service with true words of affirmation coming in close. On the other side, the giving not receiving, I like to give gifts.

2. What are five foods you eat every day? 

As it stands, I’m in a period of trying to drop some pounds so according to that regiment here are five foods I’m eating at present:

High Fiber Cereal from Trader Joe’s with 9 grams of fiber per serving, a good handful of blueberries, low fat string cheese, eggs and an assortment of veggies.

3. Five places you’d love to visit?

Prince Edward Island, Ireland, New England States, More National Parks, More of Great Britain

4. Something you’ve done recently that deserved a ‘high five‘?

I’ve lost a good solid 12 pounds.

5.  Give us five 5-letter words that describe your July. 

Water: with the summer heat I’ve been watering, a lot.

Shade: If I’m outside I try to find shade. We have also put up our shade cloth.

Walks: Early morning walks have started in July.

Grands: July has lots of opportunities for fun in the sun with our Grands!

Focus: Working on a more God-Centered focus. Something I read yesterday in a devotional by Alistair Begg: “Jesus made it clear that in order for us to embrace a God-centered focus, we must first understand who we are without Him. In fact, Jesus explained to His disciples that apart from Him they could do nothing; after all, “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17) Our need for Jesus is not partial; it is total. None of us can even breathe without God’s enabling. How can we think of taking credit for any work that He’s done through us? We are absolutely impoverished without divine help.”

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

Speaking of our grands and July, on Monday we went into the Colville National Forest to a very remote area to help our kids get stocked up with fire wood for the winter. I’ll do a whole post on our time there. Here are the grands who persevered a whole 4 hours!

Mango Jicama Slaw

This slaw is a fresh alternative to traditional coleslaw for a barbecue. You can use a store bought dressing or mix up Anneliese’s dressing. Anneliese also has a tutorial on how to cut a mango at that link.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Small Jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 2 Mangoes, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 small cabbage julienned
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions/scallions sliced thin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Store bought mango dressing or Anneliese’s dressing

Method:

  1. Mix all fresh ingredients together.
  2. Add enough dressing to coat.

Serves 6

You can double or triple this recipe for a large crowd using up a whole Jicama, whole head of cabbage, adding more mangoes and increasing the dressing. An easy tip is to use equal parts Jicama, Mango and Cabbage.
If you don’t want to bother with whole mangoes you can buy peeled and pitted mangoes at your grocery store. I bought mine at Costco.

Free Range Hodgepodge

Time for Wednesday Hodgepodge with thanks to Jo From This Side of the Pond for coming up with the questions.

The internet has been touch and go at our country bungalow so I’m behind on my visits to your blogs. Hopefully things will speed up and I’ll be back soon.

1. July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day…are you a fan? Do you make your own or have a favorite place to buy from? Do you own chickens? If not chicken what’s your favorite fried food?

Chicken is not my favorite fried food but we do enjoy fried chicken and buy it once in a while from Colonel Lickie Quickie Chickie. We do not own chickens but our local kids do. I like Tempura Vegetables and they are probably my favorite fried food.

2.  What’s something you’re too chicken to try?

Sky diving, bungie jumping, backpacking just to name a few.

3. When did you last find yourself running around like a ‘chicken with its head cut off‘?

I’m drawing a blank with this one.

4. Something you’ve done recently that makes you think ‘I’m no spring chicken’

Oh boy, here we go. Trying to get up off the floor when I get down to play with the grands. Getting down on the floor isn’t easy either. Weeding is another thing that reminds me of the natural progression of my age and how it affects my body. Trying to get out of cars that sit low to the ground.

5. ‘Winner winner chicken dinner‘…tell us about something good that’s happened in your life lately. 

So many things…

Time spent with loved ones that I hadn’t seen for ages. Visits from our kids and grands. Finding a friend to walk with. My dear husband and his care for me. Speaking of Dear, he’s painting the exterior of our home and it is looking fresh and good. Generally relationally I am blessed with very little conflict, with good relationships and I don’t take that for granted.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

The many faces of our grands reacting to their at home Fourth of July fireworks! Thank you to our daughter-in-law for capturing these moments.