Tuesday, April 24, 2012

22 Weeks

Yup.  Still Pregnant and still growing.  Now I have a definitely for real bump.  You can see it even when I don't pull my shirt tight.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Scones

The other day I made some blueberry scones with lemon frosting.  I used my roommate Jayne's recipe, which she got from food network.  I love them, and so did Hollis.  So this time around I made a double batch.  And we didn't have blueberries, so I used frozen wild berries.  And we didn't have a lemon, so I used an orange instead.



This is the recipe:

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence foodnetwork.com

Recipe Summary 
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 scones
User Rating: 5 Stars

Blueberry Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough. 

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze. 

Technically you should make this simple lemon glaze in a double boiler (i.e. over a pot of simmering water with a heatproof bowl set on top) but it's even simpler to zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photos from the Road

Before we started driving all around southern Spain, we went to the Madrid Temple.  I love that there are temples all over the world.



Outside of the temple, there are some olive trees.  Jason took this really nice picture of one with the temple in the background.

 

Then we drove south.  We saw quite a few windmills.



They are much bigger than they look.  We saw some windmill blades being transported down the freeway.



It's so much bigger than I thought.



Some of the windmills date from 600 A.D.  The ones below are the famous ones that Don Quixote mistook for giants and tried to joust.

 

We also saw a giant bull billboard.  They are posted periodically near the highways and freeways.  It's an icon of Spain, and it is pretty nifty.


Also, there are miles upon miles of olive groves.



And our favorite road sign:

 
Hollis interpreted it as "Caution: Motorcycles doing endos.

Also, there were amazing rolling hills of green.

 

And this was the outdoor hallway of one of the cheapest hotels we stayed at.  It was so classy for not very much money.  I loved it!

 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Córdoba


Our last city we visited on our road trip was Córdoba.  I have a special place in my heart for Córdoba because when I was on my study abroad (in 2007) I was the tour guide for La Mezquita, the mosque-cathedral located there.  I was so excited to share this building with everyone!

The belltower was originally a minaret.  It is one of the most iconic features of La Mezquita.


Inside you can see the forest of pillars and double horseshoe arches that were part of the mosque.  Several of the pillars were repurposed from the Roman temple that was located in this spot.



We also saw very beautiful examples of Moorish architecture (like we saw in the Alhambra).



The most unique part of the Mezquita is the fact that there is a full baroque cathedral in the middle of this mosque.  You can see how the architecture changes dramatically as you pass into the cathedral section (look at the celling).



Moorish ceiling:

 

Baroque ceiling:

 
Technically the whole building is the cathedral, but the architecture is so distinct that it seems like two separate buildings.  That is why the floats for the processional are stored in the moorish part of the building.



I love the Mezquita.


(L to R: Jason, Neoma, Michelle, and Hollis) 

The view of the minaret from the Jewish quarter of the city is found on many postcards.  Last time I was here I took the picture but did not get one with me in it!  I was sad, but happily got to rectify that oversight this time around.


So glad I married this guy!

 

Ronda


Ronda was next.  The drive up there is quite windy, but the views are awesome.


We bought some fresh cotton candy.  It was the biggest cotton candy I've ever seen!  We all ate our fill and there was still leftover.

 

This is the beautiful "new" bridge (build in the 1400s I think).




After looking at the beauty of the city itself, we toured the bullfighting museum.  Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting, and the bullring there is the first in Spain.  I rented an audio guide and listened to every section!  I learned a lot (but forgot a lot too) and now I want to see part of a bullfight.  Not a whole six bulls worth, but just one bull.  Probably.


Anyway, we got to see where the bulls are kept during a fight and we followed the path of the bulls into the ring.


(Michelle, channeling her inner bull)

Once in the ring, Hollis and Neoma played a little bit of bullfighting.  They didn't know they had an audience until they started cheering.



On our way out, we bought lunch.  I was unadventurous with McDonald's (giving into my cravings for American fast food again), but the others bought jamón bocadillos.  Jason is very impressed with the sheer number of pig legs (jamón) that the shop has.

 

There are several varieties of jamón, but all of them are served thinly sliced.  The man pictured below is very good at matching the jamón to cheese that complements it nicely.



Jason really enjoyed his sandwich.

 

Tarifa


We went to Tarifa next.  Tarifa is the southermost point of Europe.  Thus, it is the point at which the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea.  So we parked and went to the beach so we could touch two bodies of water within a short span of time (we couldn't touch both at once because the actual tip is a military post and we aren't allowed there).

We found an exercise park right on the beach.  The equipment was in good shape and it was quite fun.



After getting some exercise (that was mostly play), we headed down to the beach.


(Neoma wading in a pool)

Hollis, Jason, and Neoma had contests to see who could stand the longest on one foot in the Atlantic Ocean.



Then we walked along the Atlantic beach toward the Mediterranean.



From here you can see both the Atlantic (on the right) and the Mediterranean (on the left).



We stopped for ice cream on our way out of Tarifa.  It was good, but the view was awesome!  The land mass in the background is Africa.


(L to R: Jason, Neoma, Hollis, and Michelle)

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gibralter


Next on our vacation with Jason and Neoma was Gibralter.  The Rock.



Gibralter is actually a UK territory or province or something.  It's not part of Spain, so they had a whole new suite of foreign things.  Like this super deluxe pay toilet.  It sanitizes the whole bathroom after each use!

 

Then we went for some fish and chips.

They were super delicious!  And plentiful.  I ate a ton of fries because I could make fry sauce (ketchup + mayonaise).  And it tasted SO DELICIOUS because apparently I crave fatty American tasting sauces.



Also, there were monkeys.



Lots of monkeys.



Gibralter has the only wild monkey population in Europe.  There were several theories about how the monkeys got there (they are related to the monkeys found in northern Africa, which is just a few miles away across the water).  The most likely thing is that the Moors brought pet monkeys with them when they colonized Gibralter (and the rest of Spain).

You are not allowed to touch the monkeys or feed them.  But that sure doesn't prevent them from touching you.  This monkey sat on Hollis.  I love the progression as Hollis realizes that the warm thin on his neck is monkey bum.  And we'd seen some really disgusting monkey bums that day.



The monkey tried to steal his glasses.  We have the finger prints to prove it! (Look carefully at the left lens.)



We ate dinner at Pizza Hut!  I was so excited because I crave American fast food a TON and was overjoyed to get some.

 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Semana Santa in Granada

Because we were in Granada during Semana Santa, we got to see a processional.  We were late arriving to the route that we knew it would be on, so I worried that we wouldn't get to see it.  However, these things move so slowly that I had no reason to worry.  But it was pretty cool.



Several men carry these large and heavy statues of Mary and Jesus.  The move slowly but sometimes go very quickly in time to the music.



We finally stopped watching and went to dinner.  The processional was still in progress when we were done - at least 6 hours after it had started!