Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our 4th Annual Thanksgiving Down Under

For me, November 27th this year was merely 'Thursday.' But I do not miss out on Thanksgiving whatsoever in Australia, we just roll it to the weekend and use it as an oppotune way to introduce others to the wonders of this feast. I do always enjoy giving the little historical overview of the holiday, I must admit.

This year was slightly different from past ones...we started a bit earlier, eating at 5. This allowed our friends who lingered (ie, those of us who wanted to keep drinking wine and watch videos) to go for round 2 at about 10pm.

I have always relied on cans of Libby's Pumpkin Pie puree to help me make the pies, and this year I brought back a big can of it from the US. I thought it was so big as to make two pies, but instead it was just all ingredients for one pie in a big can. So I had a bit of a panic and thought I'd challenge myself to make one by scratch.

I did some googling and decided on this recipe from what looks like a now-defunct online mag about all things Iowa. I liked the simplicity of it and the ingredient that gives it a bit of a kick: bourbon! I also found it rather fitting that it was by a chef at a restaurant in Iowa City called Devotay that I used to walk by daily during my junior year at college when I lived on Linn Street. It was too posh for college students, but I did like to glance at the menu once in awhile.

As it turns out, it's a recipe I can highly recommend. We served the pies up as a taste test and the 'from scratch' version was the crowd favouite, which I will attribute to less preservatives/chemicals and things in my recipe. It was lighter and maybe a tad sweeter. Much more labor intensive tho -- cutting up a pumpkin is hard work.

This year's meal:

The pumpkin becomes puree

About to get to work

Jimmy and Matt ready the bird

How to Make Gravy

Ta da!


Kitchen Mistress

Dan, Jimmy, Lisa

Matt, Emilie, Tara

Trouble: Joeley & Lisa

Fresh air post-meal

And, with that, another Thanksgiving comes and goes. We will have to wait another year for stuffing.

- chunkytoast

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Way back on vacation

Haydn and I have been back for a full week now and of course, like most good vacations, it seems like eons ago. Like, we were in a paralell universe. I guess we kind of were -- the states during election fever! Since the Brewers couldn't time my visit with a world series appearance, it was good to be around during the buzz and blows of the campaign.

But really, it was about time with family and dear friends. Reunited with family I haven't seen in years, seeing Tom and the wonderful Jen tie the knot and throw a great bash. Taking a couple of day trips to get some small town flavor. And catching up with friends from all eras -- old school, college, grad school...

Let's go to the pics, shall we?

Amazing dinner in Narita, Japan. We thought we'd be at the airport Holiday Inn, but ended up in a really nice town that gave us a good 24 hours in Japan with great sights, wonderful food.

And on to Wisconsin...Mineral Point to be exact. But oddly enough, we can't recommend the pasty at the Red Rooster Cafe (open at 5 am in case you're up early or out late) the Reuben however was diner perfection.

Scenes from the wedding:

The old stomping grounds on campus

The little school house in Fall River, dating back to the 1860s when kids really walked 5 miles barefoot in the snow!

A visit to Chicago, complete with the view from Laura's...

Chicago was good times around the northside with old friends and all night-Mexican -- thank you Lazlo's and everyone who made time to accommodate our random windows of visiting.

There are many, many more photos and you can check them on my Flickr:

Fun times with friends and fam

More wedding pics

-- chunkytoast

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Meet Frankie

We've been back in Sydney nearly a week now and I have pics and trip updates to post but the weekend has gotten away. A portion of the weekend went to a couple of drinks at the Annandale Hotel with friends. We were fortunate enough to meet a friend's new Kelty puppy, Frankie. He's all paws, floppy ears, and blue eyes. Adorable and definitely worthy of a Daily Puppy headline!