this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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Food Culture and Crispy Goodness

Hasselback Potatoes

I’ve always enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen, but lacked confidence to share it with others. My style is not sophisticated, neither is it unique. I just love feeding people and having them gather around my table. The culture of eating together, was something I was brought up with. Whenever I have lived with at least one other person, I have rarely eaten alone of an evening. And when I lived alone, I was always gathering friends round to share one pot wonders with. My food tends to be low-key and as low-fuss as possible. I have always cooked creatively but frugally. People will compliment me on my cooking from time to time, but more often than not they simply emit polite murmurs of appreciation as they tuck in. My food does not become the specific subject of conversation at the table, although we are a greedy lot – future meals or interesting ingredients are often discussed whilst we eat! For me, a shared meal is about providing nourishment for the body but more importantly, it is about togetherness and conversation – food for the soul.

I have a confession. I rarely follow recipes. I get that from my mum. She is the ultimate in hosting random people who show up on the doorstep and accidentally stay on for dinner. Whatever is in the fridge, freezer or cupboard will be thrown together to create a hearty meal. So, I’ve also had some fun writing my own recipes in 2012, working out what quantities I used on a particular occasion, knowing that it will probably never happen in the same way again! (That is with the exception of baking, almost. I still can’t help throwing in some randoms just because I feel like it – a bit risky, seeing as baking can be a little like Chemistry lessons sometimes. Although I must admit, happy accidents do often occur.)

I often eat late now, I cook and then wait for my munching partner. And by the time we eat, the food has been kept warm to death. I am ravenous and food is food. A dinner is polished off in much less time than it took to prepare and cook it. However, as I blogged over the past year, I came to realise how much I enjoy cooking and eating my own food. I have my trusted favourites, my store cupboard staples, my preferences and routines, but discovering and exchanging lots of ideas with other bloggers has given me the impetus to explore further.

What a wonderful invention is the oven. And what a wonderful climate we have in the UK to use it. In recent years, I have not even broken sweat when using the oven in summer. One of my favourite things to do is to roast a chicken, together with potatoes and root veg. I marinade the chicken, or simply rub it in olive oil, salt and pepper. I then cube potatoes and root veg in similar sizes and toss those in the same. I’ll time it so that the veg gets about 45-60 minutes in the oven, so if the chicken needs longer, I will add the veg into the roasting tin later.

Even though I generally consider myself a healthy eater, I do have an addiction a soft spot for crisps. I’ll eat my potatoes made any way, but I love them fried or even double and triple fried (by a restaurant – I hate deep fat frying at home). So imagine my excitement when Pinterest kept throwing up these little beauties… a concertina of crispiness called  Hasselback Potatoes. I just had to experiment with them myself. They are baked, and the only difference I could tell between making these and my roasted easies was that you sliced them through (almost) whole first, before baking. Oh, and it’s best not to put them in with the chicken I imagine. The yummy chicken juices soaking into the potatoes will not be conducive to crispiness-making.

Well.. unusually, there are no photos with this post even though I took some. I just felt like having another go at drawing again. But I did stumble across a cute little article complete with videos, if you want to amuse yourself taking photos of food in a restaurant.

What are your cultural habits when it comes to food? Do you enjoy cooking and eating your own food? And, most quite importantly, do you like crisps/potato chips? 🙂

Breakfast Granola


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Happy Monday!

It’s dull, gloomy, grey, rainy, windy, overcast, cold… did I mention grey..? I’d love to restart the day, eat breakfast again and have another go at it. Aaahh well, not an option… how’s your last Monday of January 2013 been so far?

Here’s to a good evening! Do you have any sparkly plans? I don’t know how yet, but I’m going to try and make mine sparkly and hope the sparkles last into tomorrow!


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Scribbling on the wall

Feeling a bit lost for words. Not taking to the blogging very easily right now. I have a load of posts in the queue that I want to write, but the words are getting stuck somewhere and I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps in spite of the beautiful snow.

In an attempt not to get stuck in the black hole of despair, I decided to do something different. A digital doodle using a surprise Christmas present I received. I’ve been holding back and telling myself I’d use it as a reward for having organised things. But organisation is hitting a wall today, and I feel like I accidentally got crumpled up and smashed against the wall with it.

By contrast, you are all being so very impressive. We’re in the last third of January and all the resolutions are going so well! Roxy has not just been sharing a photo a day, she’s been making me envious of the amount of sunshine in the stories attached. Although the snow photo is my absolute favourite so far, followed very closely by the yellow butterfly. Ziggy has already written TWENTY letters with elves on them, and they have been flying all over the world. Ginna even went and ran a marathon on Saturday (woah, yes, I know! I’m in awe of anyone who runs further than the bus stop.)

I feel like a lazy bum, so here is the result of gingerly peeling myself off the wall and trying to do something positive, albeit so quick and unpolished:

Experiment

How is 2013 treating you so far? Have you set yourself any challenges and how are they going?


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Why I love the Tube in spite of everything

LU150 – steam train run 13th Jan 2013


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Winter: brrrrrr!

Happy new week everyone. The BBC has officially reported that it is winter in the UK (see video link below). I was wearing ear muffs, cosy socks and a scarf indoors – it’s like the equivalent of a duvet day – well, I bought into that one anyway. Hope you are all wrapping up warm and staying safe. Don’t go crazy with those sledges people!

UK Snow

Still from BBC video – click through for article.

OK, I’m off to wrap my hands around a mug of hot soup now… hope the week has flurried away to a good start for you 🙂

Google doodle for LU 150 years


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Googling somewhere are we?

Happy 150th birthday to London Underground. From Google:

Google doodle for LU 150 years

I love the London Tube map with its continuous evolution based on the original by Harry Beck and many Londoners do feel strongly about it. Not that long ago, when they tried removing the river image there was outrage. What a relief therefore, that Google has done a pretty good job of it!

The doodle only appeared on the UK search page but there is now an archived version on the doodles site!


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2013: We can do this thing… together!

It’s been somewhat overwhelming, reading everyone else’s inspiring posts stuffed with new projects and progress planned for 2013. You all seem to have been ahead of the game, either pre-scheduling posts or mapping out the year to come well in advance. I expected a lull for at least a few days, but it turned out that many bloggers took one day off and were back online on Boxing Day with feature length posts or some even putting up multiple offerings! I decided to sit back lazily, give myself some days off over the Christmas-New Year period and just enjoy all your hard work. Well someone’s got to do it! 😉

this is lemonade on Pinterest   this is lemonade on Facebook

I’ve maximised my absorption period by pinning all the ideas and images that inspired me and fumbling around on Facebook (your feedback would be most appreciated!). I’ve also been organising my life a little around the home (which I hope to share) and I’ve been eating and taking photographs of my exploits in the kitchen (which I also hope to share). I have been thoroughly enjoying the downtime and am making plans to resume my knitting as well, before the winter is over!

The end of 2012 was one of thanksgiving for me. I underwent a routine medical procedure following which I was advised, among other things, not to partake in any housework. With this instruction, needless to say, I gladly complied – thank you for your encouragement 😉 On New Year’s Eve, I was the grateful recipient of a generally positive verdict on my health. I cannot honestly say that I have used every God-given moment of 2012 to its full potential, and with a new lease of life I hope to improve on that in 2013! So without further ado, let me throw out some goals I have for the year ahead:

  • to live by the intention of this blog: be grateful in good times and bad.
  • to get my home, schedule and responsibilities in good order.
  • to get more creative with yarn, thread, pen, camera and food.
  • to give more thought and time to offline, tangible investments in my relationships.
  • to get into pilates. (This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while, any tips welcome!)

Thank you for being my encouragers through the life of this blog in 2012. I am truly grateful and feel so inspired by all the hopes and seriously ambitious goals you have shared for 2013. I’m so privileged to have your support to carry onwards and upwards with this is lemonade. Who knows what adventures and challenges this year will bring? I wish you the very best, much strength and great courage to take this year in both hands and to live it to the full! Happy New Year 🙂