Halloween Thanksgiving

the girls celebrated halloween on thanksgiving day this year. their costumes were on the boat with all our stuff and didn't get here until after halloween. so they dressed up for thanksgiving in their bunny costumes. dan hid candy in the hall's back garden and they went "trick-or-treating". it also felt a bit like easter with the girls dressed like bunnies and looking for candy. they had a great time!

later in the evening we had dinner with a few of our new friends in camden and a couple of other americans living in the city. we didn't all know each other, but we had a wonderful time together. we even watched a taped baltimore ravens game so all of our english friends were able to experiance a true american thanksgiving. we ate the usual turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce along with different vegetable dishes. i made the desserts. here are the recipes...

...gingerbread cookies slightly adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dark corn sryup

In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, all the spices, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and corn syrup; beat until combined.

Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture; beat on low speed until well combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm; at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. On a floured work surface roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile gather the scraps together and roll out the dough again. and cut out more cookies.

i used the Wilton Leaves/Acorns Cookie Cutter set

...chocolate cake recipe is here

...pumpkin pie slightly adapted from the can of Libby's Pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
6 ounces cream
6 ounces milk
1 unbaked pie shell

Mix together the sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in cream and milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 F. Then reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. pie recipe is here

...pecan pie slightly adapted from Emeril
1 unbaked pie shell
1 3/4 cups pecans
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour

Spread the pecans evenly in the bottom of the pie crust. In a bowl whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, butter, and flour together. Pour the mixture over the pecans. Bake for about 1 hour at 375 F or until set.



the halls came over for dinner tonight. we didn't some last minute planning for thanksgiving tomorrow. i needed a quick and easy dessert to make while making the pies for tomorrow. i usually make a big tiramisu in a 9 inch pan, but i didn't have time for all that so i just made four individual servings. these were loosley based on this recipe.


Libby's Pumpkin

the grocery stores here don't carry canned pumpkin. so i was very excited to find this small deli that specializes in american products. they import all sorts of things that you can't find here. dan and i stood in the store exclaiming over stuff like two kids in a candy store...hershey bars, nestle chocolate chips, kraft macaroni and cheese, jiff peanut butter, reese's peanut butter cups, canned black beans, karo syrup, stove top stuffing, oreos, teddy grahams...that is until we realized how much everything cost! just to give you an idea the pack of oreos was 5 pounds, about 10 dollars! needless to say we only got a few things.

Primrose Bakery

last thursday my friend mary ellen came into the city to hang out for a little bit. i've been wanting to try this bakery for awhile so we went there. dan and i walked by it a few weeks ago and i thought it was so cute. it is very retro looking and they have the cutest cakes and cupcakes. we had tea and i got the mocha cupcake and mary ellen had the crumpets and a peanut butter cookie. everything was delicious! but the most exciting thing about the visit was while we were sitting there drinking tea gwyneth paltrow walked in! this was my first celebrity sighting! and to be honest i probably would have never even noticed her (my back was to the door) if mary ellen hadn't whispered to me "that's gwyneth paltrow!" thanks mary ellen for a fun afternoon!


right now i should finish putting away the groceries, organizing my closet, and doing laundry, but i don't feel like doing any of those things. i've decided to blog instead. my mom has been asking for pictures of the flat so she can visualize what it looks like with stuff in it. so here are pictures of the kitchen with everything unpacked and put away and with my knife rack and my pot rack hung. so far it is the only place that is completely unpacked and organized.


Our Stuff Is Here!

our stuff finally arrived today! they didn't even have a hard time parking like we thought they would. instead of a big truck, our stuff was delivered in a van and was able to park in the garage for our building. john and kathy showed up soon after everything arrived and helped us unpack this afternoon. we were able to get everything out of the boxes in just a couple of hours this afternoon. as i write this i'm sitting on our sofa. it is so great to have furniture again!

Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup

i made this soup last night for dinner with some homade bread. it was delicious!


Victoria and Albert Museum

yesterday i went with andi's class the the victoria and albert museum in south kensington. we travelled on the tube to get there. someone at the station escorted us down to the platform and then informed the driver that we were getting on and where we were getting off so that he could wait for us to all get on and off again. we had to make one train change and someone met us again when we got off and helped us navigate the station as a group and get on the train again. and when we arrived at our final destination someone met us again and helped us to make our way our of the crowded station, even stopping foor traffic so that the group didn't get separated. it was quite an experiance to travel on the tube with about 25 five year olds, but the museum was interesting too. the year 1 class has been learning about toys from the past and old houses and how people used to live and trying to develope a concept of history. so at the museum we saw some old toys, a dining room that used to be in an old house, an old bed, and some plates. the children had to stop and pick several items along the way to draw a picture of. they really enjoyed doing this and showing all the adults their pictures. i had never been the the v & a before so it was fun to see.



today was our first cold day. we've had some days that have been a little chilly, but today was actually cold. for lumch i was in the mood for some hot soup after a morning of walking and shopping with jodie. i just cooked up some small pasta shells and put them in chicken broth made from a stock cube and hot water. i served it with a large sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. this soup is very mild tasting and extremely easy to make.


this summer while we were staying with our families i started mall walking in the mornings. for mother's day dan got me an ipod to take with me walking. i even got my mom to go with me some. we would walk towson mall and then meet at the starbucks for an iced americano when we were done. i really enjoyed the routine of walking in the morning and missed it once we moved here. so i've recently started walking in the morning after i drop andi off at school. i usually walk through regents park and listen to my ipod. they have really pretty gardens there. yesterday was the first day that the sun was actually shining while i walked, usually it's cloudy and a little rainy. lately i've been listening to the you've got mail soundtrack, which always evokes images of fall in the city for me. i love that movie!