Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Gluten Free Christmas Pudding

This year, I was presented with an interesting challenge for our Christmas celebration. My friend, Jen, is gluten free. After some quick consulting with her and reading through both of my previous pudding recipes and a few more online, I came up with a Gluten Free Pudding that honestly tasted no different from a pudding full of gluten.

Please note: This recipe contains dairy and eggs.

You will need:
550-600g dried mixed fruit (I used a whole bag of mixed fruit, a small bag of dried cranberries, and chopped up dried apricots)
250ml alcohol (I used the last of my brandy and topped it up with gin, rum, and krauterlikor)*
75g butter
85g dark muscovado sugar (aka brown sugar)
100g Gluten Free Flour (I used Freee by Dove Farms)
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
110g Gluten Free bread crumbs (I bought seeded buns by Genius and used 2)
85g suet (I used veggie suet)
50 ml orange juice (this is in lieu of the peel ad juice of an orange that many recipes call for. I’m lazy.)
150ml Gluten Free IPA (Easy to locate in the GF section of Tesco)*
2 x 2 Pint Pudding basins

1. Soak the fruit in the alcohol. Overnight is best.
2. Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add the GF flour, spices, and breadcrumbs.
3. Using a spoon (I have one dedicated to GF cooking!), stir in the suet and soaked fruit adding in any leftover alcohol from soaking the fruit. Add in the orange juice and Gluten Free IPA.
4. Cover and sit overnight.
5. In the morning, check the mixture. If it looks dry, add more beer, booze, or juice.
6. Prepare the basins by cutting rounds of parchment paper for the bottoms and tops and butter the sides.
7. Spoon in the mixture and steam the puddings as usual. I use my crock pot and steam for 8-12 hours. I had enough mixture for 2 large puddings and one small tester pudding, which I cooked in the microwave for 2 minutes to test the flavour.
8. Serve flaming (if you’d like) with brandy sauce or cream.

*You can make this alcohol free. Soak the fruit in fruit juice and use strong tea instead of the IPA.

And it was a hit with both Gluten Free and non-Gluten Free folks!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

I have not received compensation from any companies mentioned in my post.

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[Travel] Grocery Shopping

A selection of food and drink souvenirs from Austria.

One of the things I love to do when we travel is to hit up the local grocery store even if we’re not self-catering. On our recent day trip to Rotterdam, I went into a grocery store and purchased a bunch of foods to try, but my pic of everything turned out too blurry to use for anything (sorry!)

Going to a local grocery store first of all can cut down on food costs while travelling. Even if you’re not self-catered, you can pick up snacks for your visit or in your room – a box of cereal bars that will last for 5 days is going to be cheaper than buying them in singles from the corner shop. Same with a bag of apples. Buying beer or other alcohol to drink in your room can cut down on your bar bills tremendously, and if your room has a kettle, you can stock up on tea, cups of soup, etc. And if you packed a spork and a set of nesting plastic boxes, you can even pack up your own lunches to take with you when you’re on the go.

Second, you get a better feel for the language if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have knowledge of the native language. Everything in a grocery store is labelled and sometimes there are even pictures of the item. For example, with a pile of lemons in Germany, you will see the word “Zitrone”. Now you know when you go out to a restaurant and see the word “Zitrone” on a menu the dish contains lemon.

I bought zitrone wafer cookies in Austria, and other flavours.

Third, it can help to get a flavour for local food. Check out the bakery section to see what breads and pastries the locals buy. Head to the deli section and see what meat (if you’re a meat eater) is popular. Look at the local beer options if you’re a drinker. And check out the chocolate aisle! Don’t forget buying chocolate at the grocery store will be a lot cheaper than buying it at a convenience store.

Our chocolate haul from Austria

Fourth, as you can see from my photos, bringing back food as souvenirs is fun! Feeling glum in the middle of Winter knowing your next holiday is months away? Break into some chocolate or make a bowl of soup. Giving food to friends and family is great too – everyone loves cookies and chocolate! Need a gift for a beer drinker? How about a few bottles of a local brew (space permitting, of course!)?

Fifth, if you’re really feeling homesick, or are travelling with children who might need a dose of “home”, you can always head to the grocery store and look to see if they stock a similar product or if they have an import aisle. Imported items will be expensive, but sometimes, you just need it. As an American now living in the UK, I can vouch for sometimes just needing a dose of “home” and yes, I have paid £2 for a single can of Root Beer.

And lastly, shopping in a grocery store can be fun! Check out this short video I made while Tim and I were shopping in a Billa store in Gmünd and at a MPREIS in Werfen.

Follow along on our Austria trip:

Watch the rest of the videos here:

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from products pictured in my photos or video, nor did I receive compensation from the shops visited.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Slimming World: A Week in the Life

1911353_10152275381477160_591973515_o Last night I got my 2 Stone Award!!

A few of my friends have asked me what I eat since I tend to have consistent weight loss, and when I do have a wobble, I usually know what the cause was. I lose on average 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 pounds per week, which for me isn’t bad! So since I decided to start tracking my food again this week, I thought I would post a typical week. I’ll add recipes at the bottom.

For those of you not on Slimming World, Slimming World has 5 categories for food. Free and Super Free (mostly fruit, vegetables, and other food that fill you up – things like pasta, rice, lean meats, etc.), Syns, Healthy Extra As (something with calcium), and Healthy Extra Bs (something with Fiber). Additional As and Bs can be had, but you count them as Syns. The booklet you get when you join has hundreds of Syn values, and you can find the values for everything else online (or with the ap). If the Syns aren’t listed, you can use the Syn calculator. If an item has Syns, the number is indicated in parenthesis. Slimming World has three eating plans, Original, Green, and Extra Easy. I tend to follow Extra Easy. Unless otherwise stated, the coffee I drink is fresh brewed, sweetened with saccharine tablets and my tea is Tetley “best of both” blend. Mayonnaise used is Hellman’s Lightest, Ketchup is always Heinz Reduced Sugar and Salt, Bread is usually from a 400g loaf of Warburton’s, Squash is no added sugar Robinsons.

Day 1
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk measured out and used in tea/coffee
Breakfast – BLTEP(*) wrap in a Weight Watcher’s Tortilla (5 Syns) with Mayonnaise (.5 Syns), banana, coffee with milk.
Morning Snack – grapes, a pear, 500ml squash, and a cup of tea with milk
Lunch – Leftover Stew(**), 60g sliced wholemeal bread (HEB) with Flora spread (.5 Syns), 500ml no added sugar lemon squash, cup of tea with milk
Afternoon Snack – WW mini cake (3 Syns), apple, cup of tea with milk
Dinner/Tea – Vegetarian Chilli(***), 500ml diet iced tea
Evening Snack – RitterSport chocolate (6 Syns), cup of tea with milk
Total Syns: 15

Day 2
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk measured out and used in tea/coffee
Breakfast – 3 egg omelette with 10g Reduced Fat Cheddar cheese (1.5 Syns), tomatoes, mushrooms, and 1 TBS Reduced Sugar and Salt Heinz Ketchup (.5 Syn), banana, coffee with milk, tea with milk
Morning Snack – Grapes and a plum, tea with milk, 500ml squash
Lunch – 3 Chicken Fingers(^) (3 Syns), seasoned potato wedges, cucumber salad(^^), Ranch dressing dip (made with powder and Greek yogurt) (.5 Syn), 1 TBS Reduced Sugar and Salt Heinz Ketchup (.5 Syn), 500ml diet iced tea
Afternoon Snack – apple and a pear with a cup of tea with milk
Dinner/Tea – I tried making mushy pea curry, but I didn’t like it, so I wound up with beans on toast (HEB), salad, and 500ml squash
Evening Snack – WW cake (3 Syns), tea with milk
Total Syns: 9

Day 3
Breakfast – BLTEP sandwich on wholegrain bread (HEB) with 1 TBS Lightest Mayo (.5 Syn), banana, Coffee with milk (.5 Syn)
Morning Snack – 500ml squash, tea with milk (.5 Syn), beans on toast (5 Syn)
Lunch – Pasta with Lightest Philadelphia Cream Cheese (HEA) stirred in and one Chicken finger(^) cut up (1 Syn), Cucumber salad(^^), apple, 500ml squash, tea with milk (.5)
Afternoon Snack – Pink N White (2.5 Syns), pear, tea with milk (.5)
Dinner/Tea – Pork steaks with mustard and agave(^^^) (1 Syn), sauteed potatoes, sprouts, salad, muller light yogurt, 500ml diet iced tea
Evening Snack – Options hot chocolate (2.5 Syns)
Total Syns: 14.5

Day 4
Breakfast – BLTEP* on wholegrain toast (HEB) with mayo (.5 Syn), coffee with milk (.5 syn), tea with milk (.5 syn), plum
Morning Snack – ASDA Vitality cereal bar (3.5 Syns), apple, coffee with milk (.5 Syn)
Lunch – Jacket Potato with reduced fat Cheddar cheese (HEA), Tuna mayo (1 Syn), and ketchup (.5 Syn), salad, pear, green tea, 500ml squash
Afternoon Snack – Pink N White (2.5 Syns), tea with milk (.5 syn), 500ml squash
Dinner/Tea – Fish and Chips(+) (2.5 Syns), mushy peas, salad, ketchup (.5 Syn), 500ml squash
Evening Snack – green tea
Total Syns: 13

Day 5
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk used in coffee and tea
Breakfast – BLETP on toast (HEB) with mayo (.5 Syn), coffee with milk, tea with milk
Morning Snack – 500ml diet iced tea (++) (.5 Syn), plum
Lunch – (I wasn’t feeling well) Scrambled eggs, 10g cheddar (1.5 Syns), wholegrain toast (rest of HEB), green tea
Afternoon Snack – Atkins Endulge Chocolate Coconut bar (6.5 Syns), 500ml diet iced tea (.5 Syn)
Dinner/Tea – Roast chicken, roast potatoes, mushy peas, sprouts, ketchup (.5 Syn), tea with milk
Evening Snack – Options Hot Chocolate (2.5 Syn) made up with water and the rest of my HEA milk
Total Syns: 12.5

Day 6
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk used in coffee and tea
Breakfast – Eggs over easy, Toast (HEB), lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise (.5 Syn), Apple, coffee with milk
Morning Snack – ASDA Vitality cereal bar (3.5 Syn), Pear, coffee with milk, 500ml squash
Lunch – Salad – lettuce, tomato, cucumber, chicken, corn, pasta, and dressing(^^), mullerlight yogurt, banana, 500ml squash
Afternoon Snack – 2 cups of tea with milk, no food as we were going out to dinner….
Dinner/Tea – Dinner out at the Fox and Hounds pub — baked sea bass with parsley, boiled new potatoes, salad, and cole slaw (counting 1 Syn for the mayo in the slaw), and then because I had some Syns left and I looked up on the Slimming World App that a basic Lemon Meringue was 8.5, I had that for desert, and 500ml sparkling water
Evening Snack – cup of green tea
Total Syns: I counted today at 15 since we went out to dinner. If the desert was 8.5, I had 14 Syns, but I am counting it as 15 to be safe, though I might have gone over 15 for the day, depending on how “naughty” the desert was!

Day 7 – Weigh In Day!
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk used in coffee and tea+++
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs, baked beans, grilled tomato, apple, coffee with milk
Morning Snack – pear, mullerlight, coffee with milk
Lunch – We went to Morrison’s Cafe since we had a meeting in town. I had a Jacket potato with beans and a salad (no dressing), a mullerlight, and 2 cups of peppermint tea (all free!)
Afternoon Snack – apple, 500ml squash and a cup of peppermint green tea
Dinner/Tea – Eggs over easy, Toast (HEB), lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise (.5 Syn), RitterSport (5 Syn), tea with milk
Evening Snack – 2 Pink N Whites (5 Syn), tea with milk
Total Syns: 10.5

And this week I lost 2.5lbs to finally get my 2 stone award!

Some days I ate lots of food, some days I didn’t eat as much, but the idea is to eat if you are hungry — ie, don’t starve yourself and always eat until you are full. Some days all I really needed to feel full was some eggs and toast. Some days I needed more. Most days I ate salad at least once, maybe twice. I know it’s not the season for it, but a small pile of leaves and tomato with cucumber on the side is manageable.



* – BLTEP wrap or sandwich is a lean bacon, lettuce, tomato, egg, and pickle (gherkin) wrap/sandwich. I usually use 1TBS of Lightest mayonaise for 1/2 Syn, and either my HEB bread choice or I Syn a wrap. This became my go-to breakfast all week!

** – I made this in the crock pot on Wednesday and had the leftovers for lunch the following day. Combine diced chicken breasts, mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, peas, and tinned tomato in your crock pot with 2 Knorr stock pots, mixed herbs, and 3 bay leaves. If you are using frozen chicken and vegetables, you don’t need to add any water. If using fresh, add a mugful of water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. To thicken the stew, take a ladleful of the vegetables and blitz with a stick blender, then stir back in.

*** – See Slimming World Friendly Chilli

^ – I used a bag of 10 frozen chicken fillets from iceland and coated them with a beaten egg and then crumbs made from 2 slices of Hovis bread (10 syns for the bread), so I calculated these at 1 Syn per strip)

^^ – Super easy and free dressing made from 2TBS greek yogurt, 1TBS apple cider vinegar, and 1tsp dill, added to diced cucumbers and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce

^^^ – I coated pork steaks with 1TBS Tesco Whole Grain Mustard (1/2 Syn) and 1TBS Agave syrup (1/2 Syn) in a hot oven for 10 minutes on each side.

+ – I coated the fish with an egg wash and crumbs made from 1 slice of wholegrain bread

++ – Some of the iced tea I was drinking has 0 calories, so it is free, but another brand has 5 calories per serving, so 1L is 20 calories or 1 Syn.

+++ – I always measure out 250ml of milk in the morning and then keep track of my cups of tea/coffee. If I decide to have cheese later in the day, I change the tea/coffee to 1/2 Syn per splash of milk. If I have any milk leftover at the end of the day, I will either drink it straight or have an Options hot chocolate made up with water and topped up with the last bit of milk.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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More Recipes – Banoffee Pie

When I first visited the UK and heard the phrase “Banoffee”, I thought it meant Banana Coffee, and was immediately turned off by the idea. Then, I found out that the -offee in the name comes from toffee. Again, I wasn’t impressed, as I do not like English Toffee. Over a year later, I discovered that what the US food industry call English Toffee is not what toffee is like in the UK. Most toffee in the UK is more closely related to caramel – I’ve even seen the words used interchangeably. This, I could get behind. I’m not a super huge fan of caramel, but I like it a lot better than English Toffee!

With Tim’s promotion, I promised him any treat he wanted. We don’t do sweet treats often unless we have guests over or on special occasions. Tim picked his all-time favourite pudding (US: desert), Banoffee Pie.

I scoured the internet and my cookbooks and came up with a recipe that is Tim-approved. Ironically, this recipe also has coffee in it!

You will need:

3-4 bananas (depends on the size. I’d start with three, but have an extra just in case)
375ml can condensed milk (or caramel)
150g digestive biscuits (about half a pack)
300ml cream (or a pack of dream topping)
75g butter (melted)
1tsp coffee (instant)
1tsp sugar (I used Splenda)
1 bar good quality chocolate

pie plate
vegetable peeler
zipper top bag
rolling pin
electric mixer

Time saving tips:
When you’re doing your shopping, look in the condensed milk aisle. You might see a product called Carnation Caramel Dulce de Leche. Buy this instead of a can of regular condensed milk and save a step.

Pick up a pack of Bird’s Dream Topping (they even have a no added sugar version) instead of fresh cream to save on calories and for faster whipped cream (especially if you have problems with whipping cream like I do).


Put your mixing bowl for the whipped cream in the fridge along with your beaters (this will help your whipped cream whip better).

If you haven’t found a can of caramel, you need to make it. Boil a pot of water and put the unopened can of condensed milk in the pan. boil for 3 hours, then let the can cool before you open it.

While that’s boiling, make your crust.

Put the biscuits into a zipper top bag and go over it with a rolling pin until the biscuits are a fine powder. Pour crumbs into the bottom of your pie plate and pour over the melted butter. CAREFULLY (it will be hot!) stir until the crumbs are moist and spread over the bottom and sides of your pie dish. If it looks a little dry, add some more melted butter.

After your can is cooled (or if you bought a can of caramel), open the can carefully and spread the caramel on top of the crust mixture. If you used the boil method, put the pie in the fridge for an hour or so to let it cool before the rest of the steps. You don’t need this step if you bought a can of caramel.

Slice the bananas and layer them on top of the caramel. Add as many bananas as you’d like, saving some to garnish the top.

Next, make your whipped cream or dream topping. Once it’s fully whipped, add in the instant coffee and sugar and mix until blended. Spoon this on top of the bananas.

You can make chocolate shavings to garnish by taking your bar of chocolate and running a vegetable peeler over it or by using a cheese grater. Top with some extra banana slices.

Put the pie in the fridge for at least an hour to get it to firm up.

I made mine with a can of caramel and a packet of Bird’s Dream Topping and put the whole thing together in less than an hour.

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Well, I Can Still Bake….

Two posts in one day! Go me!

My husband is fantastic. And I’m not just saying that because today marks three months of being married and two weeks of me officially living in the UK. When we knew we wouldn’t get to spend Christmas together, we decided to hold it after I arrived complete with all the proper Christmas trimmings…which included a turkey, a Christmas pudding, Christmas crackers, and cranberry sauce. I made Tim a shopping list, and he set out to get everything we needed. I thought he was only going to get me 1 or 2 bags of cranberries….so imagine my surprise when I opened the freezer to find SIX BAGS OF CRANBERRIES!

So this morning I decided I wanted to make cranberry muffins. I have a really yummy recipe from Vegetarian Times I found several years ago, but that recipe was in US measurements and requires stuff like ricotta cheese and orange juice (the recipe is no longer on their website, sadly). I wanted to make simple, easy cranberry muffins, so I went to my favourite British Chef – Jamie Oliver. Sure enough, he had a simple recipe, which I’ve copied below to make it easier for you:

Cranberry muffins

• 60g softened butter
• 155g sugar
• 250g plain flour
• 2x teaspoons baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 125 millilitres milk
• 250g cranberries
• 2 eggs

1)Put the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix them together until completely blended. Add two eggs, one at a time, beating them into the mixture.
2)Put your flour in another mixing bowl. Add two teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Measure out 125 millilitres of milk. Then add small amounts of the flour mixture and milk alternately to your original mixture giving it a good stir each time, until all the milk and flour has been added and the mixture is smooth.
3)Finally, add the cranberries to the mixture. Spoon your mixture into a paper-lined cake tray. Fill the cases 3/4 full. There should be enough mixture for 12 muffins.
4)Pop them in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius or gas mark 4 and bake them for 25 – 30 minutes until they are golden brown. Leave your muffins to cool for about 20 minutes and then enjoy!

I didn’t have any stick butter, and the village shop only had lard in a stick, so I used butter out of the Lurpak (which has the bonus of already being soft). I also increased the amount of berries to 300g, as the bag I had was 300g and I sprinkled some sugar over the tops of the muffins before they went into the oven.

And here’s my finished muffins, all 11 of them (I had to taste one, you see!):


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What Did I do Wrong?

p2041139-640x480 Tim and I got a bread machine as a wedding gift from parents of a childhood friend of mine…and we LOVE it. It was the first thing to come out of it’s box when I arrived, and I was immediately making bread in it. We even scored organic locally milled (at a real windmill) wheat flour for our first loaf, and it was delicious. For our second loaf, I picked up a Hovel bread mix for white bread, and that went quickly!

While we were doing our weekly shopping at Tesco, we saw that there were several types of bread machine mixes, so we picked up one of each to have a go and see what we liked. Yesterday, I decided to make the Ciabatta. And the photo above is how it turned out. I followed the instructions exactly – 250g of mix, 175ml water, 2tsp olive oil. The only “difference” was that the machine was moved to the end of the counter (it’s the sticking out bit not supported by cabinets) and I was also doing a load of wash at the same time.

Do you think the vibrations from the washer (particularly that spin cycle!) could have caused the bread to not rise (or mix!) properly? I tried it a second time with another Hovel Mix, and while that bread turned out edible, the top isn’t smooth the way the first two loaves turned out, it’s all bumpy. Edible, but kind of ugly looking.

I can’t put the bread machine where it had been for the first two loaves, as that was on top of the old dryer we’ve gotten rid of (well, it’s as far as the front garden, we’re waiting for pick up).

Any ideas?

PS – we also determined that making our own bread will cost much less than buying a loaf. The mixes cost from 30-75p/loaf, but if we make it from scratch, we’re spending less than 30p/loaf. It does take 3 hours, but the machine also has a timer, so we can set it at night to wake up to fresh bread or even have bread waiting when we come home from a day out!

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An American Thanksgiving in the UK

I decided to make Thanksgiving dinner today. Originally, Tim’s mum was supposed to come over, as today is her birthday, but Tim’s dad has been in and out of the hospital and needed to go in again today, so I was just cooking for Tim. And boy, did I cook A LOT. He’ll be eating this stuff for weeks!

This wasn’t the first time I was away from home for Thanksgiving Thursday, but it was the first time I’d be away from home for Family Thanksgiving. My family celebrates the holiday on the Sunday after and we try to get as many people of the family together as possible, so on the Thursday I’ve sometimes gone to a boyfriend’s family dinner instead of spending the day with my mom and aunt. This was, however, the first time I’ve ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner on my own…or really, ANY of the dinner other than the vegetable!

I used an assortment of sites/people for help – some of my friends gave me great advice, my mom gave me her stuffing recipe, and I used google to find recipes (that I wound up adjusting/tweaking!) for today. Obviously, the centerpiece of today’s meal was turkey. At first, I wasn’t sure we’d find one in Tesco…we were in the “fresh” meat section and hadn’t seen any turkey and I had finally let Tim pick up a whole chicken when we found Turkey crowns (breasts) in the frozen section.

I did most of the cooking yesterday. Tim doesn’t have the type of oven/stove you expect to see in a US kitchen. He has a counter-top oven that has two burners on top..and, you can only use one burner while the oven is on! I knew it would be a challenge, but I was prepared and with making notes and a schedule I had it all figured out. Good thing we now have things like microwaves so I was able to make a lot of things last night and reheated them today!

The oven was, obviously, being taken up by the turkey, and while the turkey was cooling I cooked the pan(s) of stuffing – that I had put together the night before.

I wanted mashed potatoes (though Tim says mine are what he’d call “creamed potatoes”), and since I knew that would take up a burner for a long time, I decided to hunt out a way to do them in the crock pot. Surprisingly, I found a very simple recipe and started the potatoes before we went to bed, so in the morning I was able to mash them and leave the crock pot set to warm.

I started to combine a few Thanksgiving traditions from my family and I made sweet potatoes (usually made by my Aunt Beatie for Sunday dinner) and glazed carrots (usually made by my Aunt Janie for Saturday night dinner). The carrots were made on Wednesday, and put into the microwave for heating.

The other vegetable I chose to make was brussel sprouts, because I found a recipe online for Golden Encrusted Brussel Sprouts, and Tim and I both thought that sounded good.

Rounding out the plate we had gravy, which I wimped out on and made from granulates, jarred (not canned!) cranberry sauce, and cranberry orange muffins.

For dessert, I wanted to make pumpkin pie…but I couldn’t find a pumpkin, so we bought a butternut squash instead and I followed just the filling recipe from this website. The recipe said the pecan/graham layer was optional, but I think it would have been better with it because the pie needed to be a lot sweeter. If I follow that recipe again, I’ll either add more cinnamon and sugar, or I’ll add the optional layer. For a crust, Tim found me pre-made puff pastry sheets and for a pie plate, he bought a shallow cake tin, so I dubbed it “Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie”. We also had a pre-made apple pie made by a company called (mom, you’ll love this) Aunt Bessie’s. The apple pie turned out to be crap though, as despite it being in the oven for the full 50 minutes and the top browned on it….the bottom never cooked and when we dished it out it was stringy dough! Sadly, the apple pie was to be the back-up if the pumpkin pie didn’t turn out well, so we wound up not having dessert.

Tim’s gone off to work (2-10 shift today), and at some point I need to put away our leftovers!

for a vegetarian who has never cooked a turkey before on her own, looks pretty good!

The Deep Dish failure

Ready to eat!

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English Breakfast

I made an English Breakfast the other day. It started out as me wanting eggs and offering to make some for Tim, and then Tim suggested we make sausage (and veggie sausage). We needed more bread and by the time Tim got dressed and went to the store, it was late in the morning and we had things we wanted to do for the day, so he suggested we turn it into brunch and “pad it out” a bit with some baked beans (which is part of a traditional English Breakfast) and then I suggested we add in the grilled tomato as well.

Thus, I cooked an English Breakfast:

Tim has half a veggie sausage on his plate…he liked it better than I did!

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Restaurant.Com – Save 80%

Until 12:00PM CDT tomorrow, save 80% off ALL gift certificates on! I just ordered 12 gift cards for my mom and I to use for friends and family and paid LESS than the cost of ONE card. Think of how impressed people will be when you hand them a $25 restaurant gift card! Consider enrolling people in the “dinner of the month club” for only $25 for the entire year. Or, purchase gift certificates for yourself and save them for when you travel!

Go to and use code EIGHTY when you check out!

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Vegetarians on the Go

It’s hard finding food to eat while traveling. A simple road trip with friends can turn disastrous if you can’t find food for the vegetarian. I’ve made a few discoveries along the way that might make it easier for other vegetarians who travel:

  • Turnpike Rest Areas – the PA, DE, MD, and NJ Turnpikes (and probably others too) all have Roy Rogers in most of their rest areas. Roy Rogers will sell vegetarians (or anyone else, really) a bun with cheese. Sometimes you need to call it a grilled cheese for them to realize what you’re asking for, but most of the time you can get this, and then load up on the veggies at the fixin’s bar (lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onions). Depending on the cashier, I’ve been charged for either a kid’s meal ($1.99) or a biscuit ($0.60) with cheese ($0.10).
  • Burger King BK Veggie – in 2002, Burger King introduced the BK Veggie. When it was first introduced, it was cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers, but in 2004 Burger King changed their policies (and their burger) to microwaving the Veggie burger so it would not be cooked near meat. Because of their “have it your way” campaign, you can ask them to put lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion on it as well.
  • KFC Vegan Chicken – As of June 2008, KFC Canada is now offering vegan chicken. I haven’t yet tried this, but it’s apparently being offered at 300 of their 400 stores across Canada so far. I’m hoping I can try this before I leave, but I’m betting the Dauphin KFC doesn’t have it!
  • A&W Root Beer Veggie Swiss Burger – What inspired this post was a trip today over to the mall. I needed milk, and I decided to stop in at the A&W for a root beer float. I was perusing the menu while I waited for my float, and I discovered they offer a Veggie Swiss burger on their menu. The combo meal is over CDN$7, the same price as a triple burger, but it also comes with a side salad, so you might even get to make two meals (or a meal and a half?) out of it. The Veggie Swiss is a veggie patty with Swiss Cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle.
  • Subway Veggie Sub – I can’t forget this staple of my travel (and local!) diet. Subway will put whatever you want on the sub (provided they have it…for a while they didn’t have spinach, and then some shops took out tomatoes for a while) and you can even get it toasted. A 12-inch veggie sub is only $3.99, and you can always bring a cooler along and save half for later!

There’s plenty of other options too – Pizza, ordering breakfast at a diner (minus the bacon/sausage), or ordering a side salad, too. Unfortunately, there’s very little healthy choices for vegetarians at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Arby’s. McDonald’s sometimes has yogurt parfaits, but more often then not the store is out of them. At Wendy’s, the options are the taco salad (without the chili – give it to a meat eating friend), fries, or a frosty. And at Arby’s – well, they offer apple turnovers, mozzarella sticks, and curly fries. I have had luck with ordering a market fresh sandwich without the meat at some locations, but others have no idea what you are talking about.

I always make the mistake of not planning ahead for trips, but I’m getting better. On my flight up to Canada I packed myself a boxed lunch (I’m not sure I can call it a bento), and I plan on doing the same for the trip home as well as for my flight over to the UK. I haven’t started planning for the UK yet in terms of food, but Tim and I will manage. If we wind up eating pizza a lot, so be it. I could probably live off pizza anyway!

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Johnny Appleseed

J IMed me this afternoon and asked me if I wanted to help C pick apples at her grandmother’s. Apparently C went over to pick apples while her grandmother is out of town and there was a whole bunch as well as loads of string beans and cucumbers, so she wanted some help. I agreed, so she came and picked me up.

Her grandmother’s apple tree is HUGE and a ton of apples had already fallen to the ground from the windy storm we had on Friday, but there were still so many left to pick that when we got back to C’s house to cut them up, we filled 2 gallon sized ziplock bags and one quart sized bag before we gave up for the night…and we still had a huge bagful of apples we didn’t cut, AND there was probably the same amount of apples that we picked on the ground around the tree!

The apple tree

Our Haul:

Not pictured: a giant tubfull of cucumbers and a quart sized bag of string beans.

Our hands are stained brown from all the apple cutting we did tonight, too.

Tomorrow is a BBQ over at C and J’s…should be loads of fun! 😀

*edit* I was telling my mom about how chilly it’s been and how all the cats keep sleeping on the bed in such a way that I can’t get in with them, and she asked for a picture:

And last night, Hobbes decided getting stuck ontop of the fridge was a good idea:


Farmer’s Market? Sure, if you’re rich

This afternoon, C and I went to the “Farmer’s Market”. The first weird thing about this market is that it’s only open from 5PM to 8PM on Friday’s, and it’s in the Rotary Club building. But…okay. I figured it was later in the evening so more people could get to it. This is a small town, and probably most people work 9-5, so having market in the evening made sense.

Market, if you could call it that, was a joke. I think there were maybe 8 stands total, and at least three of those had or were baked goods stands, one was crafts, and one was used books (where, ironically, I spotted two Karen Kingsbury books!). The first stand had “Peaches and Cream” (white and yellow kernel) corn…$6/dozen. At home? I think the last time we were at market it was 12/$2.25. So right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be the type of market where I go with $10 and bring back a week’s worth of veggies. C and I did manage to get a bag of tomatoes for $5 that had about 20 small-to-medium tomatoes in it, and I bought some raisin bread and some cheese buns.

The best buy, though, was a Saskatoon Berry pie. C insisted that I had to try saskatoon berries since they are a local berry, so she bought a pie for us to have for dessert tonight. So good! Saskatoon berries sort of taste like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry…actually, it reminded me a lot of the lingonberry. Apparently there’s a saskatoon berry farm near Dauphin, so C is going to check and see if it’s still saskatoon season and if we can go to get some fresh saskatoons. I’m just sad I won’t be able to bring any home to share with mom, but fruit can’t be taken into the Us :(.

I’m glad the raisin bread was only $2. There’s hardly *any* raisins in the bread at all, so really I might as well have purchased a loaf of white bread. The cheese buns are good though. I had to sample one tonight when I got home along with a slice of tomato on it. The tomatoes are alright, but not as tomatoey as local tomatoes. Being away for the summer, I missed out on my aunt’s “tomato man” (her neighbour) giving her tomatoes that she always passed on to us.

C had never been to market before, either, so we both came away disappointed, but glad we had checked it out.

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You Can Take the Girl out of Lancaster County…

…but you can’t take Lancaster County out of the girl!

I wanted snack food. For the past few days I’d be watching TV or something around 10PM and just wish I had a handful of pretzels or chips to munch on, so today I decided to go get something to munch on in the evenings. There’s no Gibbles, no Utz, no Hanover….not even Snyder! The only pretzels I could find looked…not very good, so I settled for some salt and vinegar chips…and I bought the brand closest-sounding to home:

Old Dutch.

Oh, and how cool is it that the potato chips are in a box?

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