Sunday, 26 January 2014

Bread Making Day!

I have been wanting to make a hand made loaf for ages.  And today I decided to set the time aside just to do that.
 We have a breadmaker which is great - you just tip all the ingredients into the pan and put it in the machine and 4 hours later you have a lovely tasty loaf.
But I think there is so much more to be gained by making it completely by hand!

While we were on holiday last year for dinner one night we were served a honey and wholemeal loaf it was served with maple butter.  
Oh my goodness - it was soooooo delicious.  
From the moment I tasted it I knew I would want to try and make it.

After we got home I searched on good old google for a recipe - and I found one. 
It came from a cook book called "King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion".  I decided to look for the cook book to see what it was like, I liked what I saw and it got great reviews, so I bought it from Amazon.
 In my view you can never have to many cook books - well you can but who cares :)) 

King Arthur Flour is based in Norwich, Vermont.  I wish I'd known about them before I went on holiday because I would surely have gone to visit the shop.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I decided to make the bread today. 

Recipe courtesy of King Arthur  All Purpose Baking Cookbook.

  Here are all the ingredients needed, the only thing I couldn't get was maple sugar, we can't get that here, so I used brown sugar instead.  I think the maple sugar would have definitely been better though.

Here is the mixture getting it's first proving.

After it's first proving and in bread tins getting ready for it's 2nd proving.

Wow, it did get bigger.  Phew I was happy it worked!  Now the only thing to worry about is the flavour.

Here is the finished product - doesn't look to bad even if I do say so myself :)  

Danny and I both tried it with a bit of butter.  And I am pleased to report it was very tasty - I can imagine it will be very tasty toasted too. 

But I think I will need to try and find some way of putting maple sugar into the mixture - then it will be perfect!

I did enjoy making this bread - and I found out just how hard and how warm you get when you knead bread for 10 minutes.  Next time I will have a t-shirt and not a sweatshirt on, lol.

Now what kind of bread can I try to make next!!!!  :)

Watch this space!!!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Grow Your Blog 2014

Hi everyone.  
I'm adding my post a wee bitty late, but don't they say better late than never, I certainly hope that is what they say :))

I had found out about this great link up a while back and decided to put my name down.  
What a great idea for a link up by the way!!!   It is run by Vicki at  2 bags full - you should go and have a look at her blog!

Anyway a little bit about myself.  

I'm Ellie, pleased to meet you!
I live on the west coast of Scotland and I'm a wife, mum to 3 lovely girls and gran to my very first grandchild, a lovely wee lad called Riley who is 10 months old now :))  Let me tell you it is great to be a gran and I love it! 

My three daughters are 24, 22 and my youngest just turned 19.  Phew when did they get so grown up.  That's the trouble with life - it just rushes by when you least expect it !!!

My interests - I love to take pictures even though I've slipped a wee bit at that, however I got a new camera for my Christmas and once this awful weather we are having gets better I'm getting back out there  to take some piccies. The rain and wind are certainly non conducive to good picture taking.

My new camera is a Canon SX500 - a bit bigger and better than my last point and shoot.  I love a point and shoot camera for ease of carrying I can just slip it into my bag.  You just never know when that special shot will appear. 

I also love to read be it a blog, book or magazine.  Blogging is such a great way to 'meet' people from all around the world. 

I have lots of things I'd love to have a go at!  Sewing, knitting, baking.  I've done a little of all of them but not got into them in a big way. I have an awful habbit of starting something and not finishing it for some reason or other.

My husband (Danny) and myself had a fab holiday in the States late last year to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary and now I just want to explore the world, lol.  I think I may just have to win that elusive lottery!  

Wish me luck :))

It will be nice to meet some new bloggers. 

Have fun reading some of the lovely blogs on this wonderful link up.

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Final Instalment

Here it is, the last and final post on our holiday.  Ah!!! -  is that a collective sigh of relief I can hear :))

I know it has taken me a long while to get these all up but this is it, after this one there will be no more!!!!

When we left Niagara we weren't sure which way to head back to Newark airport. 
Now I am a bit of a worrier and I was very concerned we wouldn't make it back to in time for the flight, but Danny assured me we would and said words to the effect of  'don't be so silly'. 
We hummed and hawed and finally decided to go back via Pennyslvania.  I am so glad we did because it was such a beautiful part of our journey. 

We drove through to Lancaster, our idea was to go the The Lapp Valley Farm to sample some of their ice-cream.  
We had read that this was the BEST ice cream - and who could say no to that?  
The trouble was by the time we got there we realised it was Sunday and it was closed!!!! 
We hadn't even realised what day it was, oh well I suppose we will have to go back there some other time and try again.  
How does that sound Danny?!  :))

Anyway, despite not getting any ice-cream, it was worth the drive as the colours were out in full force and absolutely beautiful. 
Everything was so bright, even the grass looked greener!

We left there and headed off towards the Valley Forge Centre. We were very limited in time here and it was just a quick look I'm afraid.

Just look at that stunning red tree.

And a close up of those glorious leaves.

Lovely countryside.

We travelled on from there only to hit queues of traffic, it was so busy!
 I was seriously starting to get worried about our flight - I think even Danny was beginning to get a bit concerned. 
 We did make it though with time to spare.  It was a relief to get to the airport but also very sad as we had really enjoyed our holiday and didn't really want to go home. 

We had seen some amazing sights and experienced so much. 

I have to leave one last picture.

 Dunkin Donuts was a big part of our time in America. We managed to get free wifi and they do sell exceedingly good donuts and coffee :))

Danny made a map of our journey. 
We worked out that we travelled 1995 miles in our car, not including the flights and train journey from NY to Boston.  
Phew that was a lot of mileage!!

So that was it - our holiday 2013. I hope you enjoyed reading about it!!

Now if Danny plays his cards right, I might just take him back again, lol.  

Here's hoping!!!

The End!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Niagara - The Power of the Water

Well I've had a long enough rest from posting my holiday shots. 
 I've only got another 1 post to go and then it will all be done - you will be pleased to hear :))

Anyway ...  after another 7 hours on the road we arrived at Niagara.  It was a very grey day and a bit drizzly, it was also out of season so quite quiet too.

We found our hotel - The Giacomo - which was lovely!!!  We did very well with all of our hotels - no disappointment anywhere.

We dumped our bags and headed out towards the falls. We were quite excited to see them!!

Our hotel in the distance!

It was very cloudy and grey but the sun shone for just a few minutes and I managed to capture it - much to Danny's disgust as he was fiddling with his camera and missed it  ha!!!

Not a bad shot - even if I do say so myself lol.

The bridge nearest in the picture is the viewing deck which hangs right over the water,  it was closed which I was quite pleased about as I don't think I could have gone on it (I have a fear of heights). 
The other bridge is called Rainbow Bridge which takes you over to Canada.

A selfie :)

Yes, we decided to cross the Rainbow Bridge and visit to the Canada side.

The view of the falls from the Rainbow Bridge.

View of the bridge from the Canada side.

It soon turned dark and Danny got some wonderful shots  - all of the following night shots are his.
The lights are turned on at about 7pm  - it sure was an awesome sight!

I think this is my favourite night time shot (we were back on the USA side by this time).

Mind you this one is quite good too :))
Dan did a fine job of taking them.  

We had been walking for hours and hours and were feeling really tired so decided to head back to the hotel for the night.

The next morning we got up bright and early as we wanted to go and see the falls again before we had to check out of the hotel and head onwards in our journey.

The weather was even drearier than it was the day before. But it didn't really matter as we were going to get really wet anyway!!

I tried to get a shot of the water falling over the edge.

I hope it gives some impression of the power of the water as it falls!

Spot my new red jacket  which I bought in Freeport!!  It came in real handy let me tell you. 
And as I said we got very wet from the spray from the water. 

We walked to Goat Island which takes you right up to the edge of the Horseshoe Falls - wow the noise and spray were something else!

We were well drookit (a good Scots word for soaking)!!

At least I had a hood, poor Danny didn't :)

I couldn't resist this last shot.  The picnic tables were all stored and stacked for the winter.  

This shot just said to me - Shoot Me  so I did, lol :))

And that was Niagara - I'm so glad we decided to visit as it certainly was an experience not to be missed.  I hope you enjoyed it a wee bit too :))

Friday, 3 January 2014

January 2014

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. 

We were supposed to drive over to Laura's in Dundee on Christmas Eve but the weather has been atrocious here.  Very windy, with strong gusts and heavy rain, YUK!!!.

As a result we decided it would be much safer to drive over on Christmas Day instead.   It was so much calmer on the day with no wind or rain and we had the added bonus was that the roads were very quiet.  We left home quite early at around 9am and arrived at Laura's at about 11am.  

Wee Riley hasn't been very well for a wee while and was suffering from a throat and ear infection.  
Poor wee soul!! 
But he has been put on a course of anti biotics and is really getting much better now. 
 Laura (with a little bit of help from myself) organised the dinner.  Kevin's parents and brother were coming too.  
It was a lovely day and I was really glad to be part of Riley's very first Christmas. You kind of forget what its like when your children are grown up!

Laura sent me these pics of Riley - isn't he just the cutest wee guy (I know I'm a bit biased!)

 We drove home on Christmas night as Emma had to go to work on Boxing Day.  We eventually arrived home at around 8pm and flopped into chairs feeling a wee bit exhausted but in a really nice way :))

We had a very quiet Hogmanay but we did sit up for the bells at midnight.  I was hosting dinner for Laura's little family this time on New Year's Day  and we were going to be having steak pie (kind of a tradition in our household) 

I love steak pie!!!  :))

While I was working away in the kitchen Laura came through to chat to me and when I looked up she had a great big grin on her face. 
 I was thinking "Awe she must be really happy to be home" when she said to me "I have something to tell you".  Then she flashed her finger at me which had a lovely diamond ring on it.  

Yup that's right!!

They got engaged on Hogmanay - how cool is that :)))
No date has been set for the wedding yet but it is really exciting.
I'm going to have to buy a hat, lol. 
 The happy family!!!

So that's it, 2014 has begun.  

I quite enjoyed 2013 - we got a lovely wee grandson and a super holiday for our silver wedding anniversary (I will be doing 2 final posts on that shortly).  

I wonder what the New Year will bring for us all. 

Hope you all had a super time :))

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year

Sending everybody Happy New Year wishes.  
I hope it's a great one for everyone :))

My hope for this new year -

To be able to blog much more often!!! :))

I'll be back soon.