15 March 2011

Make a roast without even trying.....

Seriously you can look like an awesome girlfriend (or a really together with it lady) with very little work....

Roasting Chicken
Carrots (add parsnips too)
olive oil
chicken stock
white wine

1) Prep chicken and remove giblets (you can use them to make gravy I typically thicken the juices)
2) Cut all root veggies to be about 1/2 inch thick- try to keep them even for good cooking
3) Place chicken upside down in 9"x13" roasting pan and drizzle olive oil and rub into skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.* Flip chicken over and place in the middle of the pan. Repeat olive oil and seasoning
4) Scatter cut veggies around chicken and give a light drizzle of olive oil salt and pepper
5) Fill the pan with a 50/50 combo of chicken stock and white wine so the top of the veggies still stick out
6) Cut lemon in half and place inside the cavity of the chicken (keeps it moist and flavors the meat)

If you are good with your knife skills the total prep time should be around 10 minutes

7) Place in oven for 90 minutes at 350F

Get dressed, set the table and light some candles. Look like a rockstar when it comes out.

*If you want to get more creative you can try a cajun spice as well, rosemary or any other seasoning combo
2) Scl

11 March 2011

Dublin Bound!!!

Tomorrow AM the Mr and I get to head to Dublin....

Pics to come

09 March 2011

The wedding Craziness has been moved to a separate blog due to my attempt to be a wedding bee.. you can follow here: http://4weddingsnamove.blogspot.com/

But for today I will make it easy for you-

We are having the big formal wedding in the States and a "fill in adjective" in jolly old England. So before I go into the disaster that was wedding planning we need to define what this England party wedding thing is.

First it needs a name because "English wedding" just ends up confusing a lot of people. So break out the thesaurus:
Main Entry: wedding
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: marriage rite
Synonyms: bells, bridal, espousal, hook, marriage, marriage ceremony, matrimony, nuptial rite, nuptials,spousal, union, wedlock
- none of these seem to clue in on the awesome party we plan on having so how about another word:

Main Entry: party
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: social gathering
Synonyms: affair, amusement, at home, ball, banquet, barbecue, bash*, blowout, carousal, carousing,celebration, cocktails, coffee klatch, coming-out,dinner, diversion*, do*, entertainment, feast,festive occasion, festivity, fete, fun, function,gala, get-together, luncheon, movable feast,orgy, prom, reception, riot, shindig*, social,soiree, splurge, spree*, tea

DO! Its the perfect English word for a party. After all Mr. FMB will be having a stag-do and I will be having a hen-do. So the English wedding is in Sheffield (the steel city and home of The Full Monty). So its official we are having a wedding and the Sheff-Do.

Now that that is settled lets go back to our classic of "A Tale of Two Venues"

After the very romantic proposal (that involves its own post) I immediately had a decision to make. Do I get married at home in upstate NY or at my catholic college in central MA. I browsed the options available to me in both and decided to go for the campus wedding. However it is well known that our college chapel books up 2 years in advance. In fact its rumored that if you are a couple your senior year who may get married in the future you may as well book your date before you graduate. So with Mr. FMB's brother on a trip around the world, we settled on a end of July date and had a backup just in case.

Well I call up the chapel- date, time, open, booked, done. The college has a beautiful ballroom right on campus and the surrounding area has many other venues but are a good drive away. With everyone traveling to the wedding from as far as TX, CA and England (and we shouldn't let those last ones loose on roads with MA drivers) I went to book the ballroom- date, time, open, booked, done. I decided I was done planning the wedding for then (we were 11 months out still). Now before you venue crazed brides out there create a voodoo doll and pull out the pins remember... this is a Tale of TWO venues, so there must be more to come.

Now due to round trip flights from England being in excess of $1000 in July many of Mr. FMB's friends are not able to make the trip (Luckily his entire family can though). So in comes the Sheff-Do. Mr. FMB being the diligent groom he is did some research around the same time I was booking the venue stateside. He saw a venue in the cheery English summer and liked it, however he did not want to book it without me seeing it. So several months later I am in England in December and we looked at the venue and WWIII began. Luckily a treaty was signed just as I was heading back to the states for work.

We continued to do some research and discussed what we wanted for the Sheff-Do with the safety barrier of the Atlantic Ocean between us. We picked out three locations: traditional ballroom in hotel outside the city, traditional ballroom in hotel inside the city, the skyline suite at an athletics facility inside the city. So we made appointments last weekend and took a train over to Sheffield. However this time we were armed with a secret weapon, one that allowed us to pick an amazing venue and and still save over 50%....
we changed our date to... a... Friday. This allowed us to book the best venue that we both fell in love with and still be able to afford furniture for the new house (although we may want to steal the hotels chairs). Which one do you think we decided on?

I will reveal pics of both venues tomorrow. What was your venue search like- too easy or did it require a mediator?

08 March 2011

Call it what you want... but call it delicious

Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Máirt Inide, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Fastnacht Day, Tuesday of Carnival, Terça-feira Gorda, Malasada Day, Sprengidagur, Uzgavenes, Pączki Day

Around the world in any language its a celebration we all share. As tomorrow is the first day of lent, a time of sacrifice and reflection in the Christian church, this Tuesday marks the last day of indulgence. Traditionally lent was a time of fasting (we get off easy not eating meat on just Fridays) so on this day all of the rest of the rich ingredients needed to be used up so they would not good bad over the next 40 days. In the anglo world they decided to make pancakes (US translation- Crepes) and top them will all the goodness.

Now for those of you who have not been graced with the magic that is Mr. Crepe there are two ways you can rock this boat.... Savory or Sweet...

For fillings:
Savory- bacon, brie, cheddar, rocket, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, chicken, sausage, peppers, eggs, pesto, salsa, spinach, chorizo, pulled pork, salmon, steak, feta, caprice

Sweet- nutella, lemon, sugar, powered sugar, bananas, ice cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries, blueberries, any berries

As you can see the options are basically endless.... personally I plan on the following:
Dinner- Chicken, brie, spinach, sun-dried tomato
Dessert: Nutella and chocolate

What is your favorite topping combo?

07 March 2011

An empty space... to fill with dreams

That is what my new house is. Since I have been here (3 weeks to date) we have been waiting on notice of our move date. All we can do till then is dream and plan and dream a bit more. One dream we have... a wedgie garden.

Now those of you who don't know a little background: vegetable = wedgetable= wedgie

I already have my awesome to the max waterproof and warm wellies from LLbean. And I have brokered a deal with my male half to build me up a raised bed so we can supplement our clay soil with other. (I also plan on composting for nutrients but that is another story). So in 2-3 months time when we have all that in what do we do.....

Well the man has been promised a chili patch of his own. Surely he will follow the slashfood blogs way to make your own chili sauce on that one. Other than that we need to be reasonable-

Herbs (will be separate and potted in planters for winter)
Beans (of the green variety)

Now I need to do some reading as I will need to start seedlings indoors soon after the move, however some of these I have not grown before. Farmers almanac research to come....

03 March 2011

My father failed me.....

... at least when it comes to driving. You see when I was a young girl of 16 we only had one car on the road, an automatic Toyota Sienna. So I learned to drive start, turn, three point turn, stop in snow and parallel park that large lass (now being able to parallel park my F150 all over Boston and Austin doesn't seem to hard). Just before I took my test my dad put the '95 Accord he had in storage back on the road and I was good to go from them on. When I moved to Texas I left the aging accord to my brother and bought Reba, my beloved F150 which was also an automatic.

Now I life in a place where gasoline is more than twice as much as the states and not only are the cars ridiculously small, they have the steering wheel on the wrong side and they are almost all standard. Basically I am screwed. Essentially I will end up buying a car that I wont be able to drive and will have to completely retake a road test in order to be legal to drive.

So this weekend the boy and I are to set off to Sheffield to plan the big party over there and were going to rent so I can get used to the roads. On our way home we can stop off at my rugby game and it will all be good right? So we check into cars and enterprise has a special on for £65 for a three day rental (ie we can actually function like normal people who own cars and do a few errands too). So we book an automatic only to receive a call an hour later that there are no automatics anywhere in the city of Birmingham to rent. Ugh!

Now logically the easiest would be for Tony to drive right? Well I explain that I booked with them, they cant provide anything but manual, so in exchange I will provide a manual driver if they wave the fee.... this fee is an issue and ridiculous. Now because I am robbing the proverbial cradle, there is an extra charge of £90 for Tony to drive. This more than doubles the rate of the rental. Sadly, Enterprise did not buy my logic. Somehow its a better gamble to let an american who barely knows how to shift a manual or drive on these roads have a car then someone who has been driving here for 9 years. Basically boys under 25 just can not be trusted.

So its back to the train for us... cue up a movie, pop a bottle of wine and poof we will be in Sheffield to have a roast dinner and out with friends.

Introducing the Ford Ka- a great vehicle for a family of 4 in the UK (if you are clowns)

... and eat it too

Unlike many other brides I do not get to taste any of my foods or cake (Atlantic ocean problem). I don't even like cake. Thankfully I have parental units who are willing to sacrifice themselves to go cake tasting for me this weekend (like angels I know....)

Anyone want to weigh in on the selection of choices?


A light airy cake made with fresh orange juice, layered with fresh sliced strawberries and Italian meringue buttercream.

White Cake

A light tender cake with alternating thin layers of raspberry jam and Italian meringue buttercream.

Chocolate Gènoise

Four layers of a chocolate genoise, laced with a hint of raspberry, layered with milk chocolate butter cream and white chocolate buttercream.

Devils Food

A luscious chocolate cake, soaked with rum syrup, layered with a semi-sweet chocolate Italian meringue buttercream.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

A moist lemon cake, layered with a creamy lemon Italian meringue buttercream.

Opera Cake

A traditional French favorite, a light almond cake, soaked with an espresso syrup, alternately layered with espresso ganache and mocha buttercream.

Don't panic... this is not my cake. Mine shall be much much larger!

02 March 2011

Tasty T- Date night style

Living in a house with 4 boys and their occasional girlfriends is in many words... interesting. Trying to save up money to buy furniture and decorate the new house makes going out a bit harder than it was back in my days of Boston. So what is a girl to do for date night? If we cooked at home it would be just another night in and most likely we would end up cooking for everyone as well (group date!) Luckily 2/3 of my favorite websites have British counterparts which many times end up being tasty.

In the case you have been living under a rock the last year (one company was offered a $6billion buyout from Google and turned it down... so yeah they are kind of a big deal) there was this brilliant revolution in coupons. Ever since the tinternet took off savvy savers have been taking advantage of its price comparisons and coupons. Then the revolution happened.... each day to your doorstep you can have a special deal over 50% off delivered right to your mailbox (or crackberry if you are me). Like it... buy it, print it, use it.... or if not just continue perusing your mail. Buywithme.com operates only stateside but often has more than one deal at a time. However my current lifelines are below (note I subscribe to Birmingham, Sheffield and London deals).

www.groupon.co.uk (US- www.groupon.com)- The host of our date night tonight as we bought a three course Vietnamese meal for two for only £15. Also known to have great places back in Boston like Redbones and many other favorites.

www.livingsocial.co.uk (US- www.livingsocial.com)- has great daily deals but also awesome get aways. We captured an amazing 2 night get away to the white mountains for after the wedding including meals, champagne and chocolate and a cooking class for only $275. Crazy right? Now if only they can have a wedding package deal so I can be done planning....

So go on my deal finding friends... in the comfort of your home, delivered straight to your blackberry.... so you don't have to look like the crazy coupon lady below :)