Sunday, 28 December 2014

Our Late Christmas Day Meal

You may not know this, but almost no one goes to bed early on Christmas Eve, which is one of the three big days at Christmas in Spain; the other two being New Year's Eve and the 6th of January when the Three Kings bring presents. Don't think that Santa isn't unknown here, because some lucky kids get presents from him too.

I calculate the time in the photo to be anywhere from 4.30 pm to 4.45. The turkey is just out of the oven. This is the chef, my friend June who I've known since I first came to Spain. I posted a photo of my rolls on Facebook, so I won't post those again. However, here's a photo of us last year and I seem to be showing off my rolls.
 With me: Jaime, June's brother-in-law; Jesse, June and Enrique's son; and Alicia, Jaime's wife and Enrique's sister. Jaime and Alicia's children Sergio and Laura didn't get in this photo. The photos from this year's meal seem to just be of us eating and not looking at the camera. Everything was delicious and I always go back for seconds as do others.

Needless to say, we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I laughed at the story about June and Alicia shopping. Alicia had a pair of pijamas hanging on her arm and was carrying several other things which she was going to buy. She paid for everything except the PJ's and they left the shop. As they were walking away to the car, Alicia suddenly saw the pijamas still hanging off her arm. She asked June what they should do and June said run. So they did. Funnily enough, they said good-by to the security guard in the shop and no alarms went off.

One of my gifts was a pair of pijamas that I don't think were stolen by accident. Pijamas and socks are among my favourite presents to receive and I got both. I love books too and won one in a Facebook group.The only thing I would change about the day or the meal is that Alicia 'carves' the turkey and she cuts it way too thick. I was thinking about getting June an electric knife for her birthday. That's what we always used to carve with.

Hope everyone enjoyed your Christmas as much as I. Have a good week and hope to talk to you before the new year.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Lights and Crowds

Every year I say the same thing! This is the last time I'm going to the centre at Christmas. As you may remember, I'm not a lover of crowds, and that's exactly what I found - people everywhere. I had to circle around to get into the building where I used to work as it was show time at our Macy's or Harrod's, better known as El Corte Inglés. 

I had lunch at the restaurant where we always used to celebrate Christmas with some colleagues who like me are no longer working there. I didn't talk to any of them a lot, because we usually just sit with the people that we're still in touch with, and to tell the truth I wasn't too keen on going but did so to support Chris and the institute that is continuing.

I don't know whose idea it was, but Chris, Judy and I started walking back home after the lunch to look at the Christmas lights, or so we said. We did see and appreciate a few, like the Gate of Alcalá (see photo) all lit up. The Town Hall, which is actually a palace that cost less money when it was built than my flat cost me, was lovely too. But oh, it was painful walking past so many who were also looking at and photographing the lights.

 In the end, Chris and I walked all the way home and Judy finally caught the underground. Chris and I live in the same area of Madrid which is about 5 kilometres from the centre. Wouldn't you know we saw an accident between a car that was stopped at the pedestrian crossing we were crossing at that moment and a motorbike. We think the motorcyclist ran into the back of the car. Luckily there was a traffic warden there, and we don't think the guy was badly hurt.

I was almost not going to the centre for another reason too yesterday. On Friday while I was making lunch, I suddenly felt sick and dizzy. I had the windows open a bit in the kitchen and the fumes from whatever they're doing in the basement were coming in. It smelled like the workmen were using some type of diesel machine from the smell and noise. I immediately thought that I could be getting intoxicated by carbon monoxide and closed the interior windows but opened the ones to the street. On Friday evening when I came back from class, I could still smell the fumes in the hall. I feel a lot better today. At lunch yesterday I drank no more than a glass of wine. Since I don't like cava (champagne to the French) I only took a token sip to toast Christmas.

Other than my trip to the centre, the only other thing I've done is make goodies and make goodies. I'm supposed to meet up with some Spanish friends later on. Hope it's not too late, because I have classes in the morning instead of the afternoon and have nothing much prepared for them.

Hope everyone is getting what needs doing before Christmas done. I, as always, am behind. Have a good week of Christmas and hope to see you on here or on Facebook.                                     

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Cookin' Up a Storm

Or should I say cooking up a rain. Yesterday started our typical Christmas weather with rain most of the day and continuing into today. Anyway, I think I've got my goodie bags prepared for Wednesday evening, which will include that homemade body butter I made last week, homemade dressing mixes and/or buckeyes and these teacakes.

Yesterday my friend June and I went to a crafts fair. Boy, was it ever crowded at the time we arrived. It thinned out somewhat round the 'aperitif hour', so we were finally able to look at things and talk to the people we knew there. My friends from two bee-z (who made my Christmas tree) were thrilled that there was such a crowd. I can't say I bought a lot - a few gifts for some friends (reindeer pins) and the dragonflies hanging on my tree (not that they're very visible).
The three reindeer standing in front of the tree are on a Christmas card I got from my friend Sara. I almost gave her a card with three reindeer on it, and I bought three reindeer pins that I mentioned earlier.

I have two possibly three Christmas meals this week. One of them is in the centre of town which is always super crowded at this time of the year. You can tell I'm not fond of conglomerations of people, can't you?

As one of my friends says: I'm going to love you and leave you. Hope everyone has a pleasant almost Christmas week.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Pinterest And Post Secret

This is the second day of my 3-day weekend. Yes, I'm finally getting a holiday. So what have I been doing? Probably the same as many of you - getting ready for Christmas, that is. I still haven't got my 'different' tree, but have added a few decorations round the house.

I haven't done a lot of cooking yet, but will be looking at my supplies later to see what I need for the goodies that I make to give as gifts at Christmas, namely buckeyes (chocolate-covered peanut butter balls), Mexican wedding cookies (also called Russian teacakes), and sometimes for the kids I make sugar cookies. Remember last year I got a beautiful picture in exchange for the teacakes.

The photo above shows some of the body butter I made for some of my friends. I wish I had more of these tiny jars, because I think the size is perfect for  stocking stuffers. I'm not happy with how the bells are positioned as some are droopy, so I'll be re-doing them. I'm sort of a perfectionist, at least I try my best.

The recipe for the body butter was simple to make, and I found it on Pinterest. The ingredients are coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil and one of the essential oils I got from a company in France. When the recipe called for 1/4 cup each of shea butter and coconut oil and said the whipped butter would equal a cup, I was a bit dubious. However, it certainly made more than what you see in these little pots. I have discovered so many interesting ideas and recipes on Pinterest. It's become one of my favourite addictive sites.

My other favourite webpage is Post Secret. This is one site I've followed since its beginning. If you're not familiar with Post Secret, it's filled with people's secrets that they've sent probably with the hopes of seeing them published on the internet. Some of the secrets are funny while others are sad or even disgusting. The cool thing about the postcards that the secrets are written on is that they are, in general, homemade. I remember one of  Richard Simmons lying in a bowl of salad which made me laugh.

Since I've written about one of my homemade projects, here are a couple of photos from the show I went to last week. I'll be attending another one this Saturday. Hope to find some more gifts then. The next one will be in a church hall.

Hope everyone is feeling blessed on this Sunday, and hope you have a good week.