Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trip Summary through Pinterest

Today I am linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for "Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday". My theme this week is "What I'm Doing Over the Next Two Weeks". As you read this I am well on my way to the Great State, possibly even landed and enjoying by first Texas meal (I'm thinking BBQ).

Source: via Lacota on Pinterest
Source: via Darlene on Pinterest

As you can tell, I'll be covering a lot of ground over the next two weeks but I'll have my best guy, driving his Texas sized truck and good tunes on the radio, right next to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Olympic Torch Comes Through Town

Yesterday, the Olympic Torch made it's way through Aberdeen and we were front and center for all the action. My friend, Kristin, lives a block off Union (the main street through Aberdeen) so we had a little pre-party with fajitas and all the fixings.

The torch relay began on May 19th in Land's End, England and has made it's way through parts of England, Wales, Ireland, and now Scotland. The torch ends in London at the opening ceremonies on July 27th. It was a pretty awesome event to say I've been apart of. (I can almost remember my grandmother talking of the torch running right in front of her house when the Olympics were held in Atlanta in '96.)

There was a lot of build up to the torch; buses, police, another bus, police, another bus and finally the torch bearer came through! He was gone in an instant and it was over just like that but still cool to say I was there!

45 days til London 2012 Olympics. GO TEAM U S A!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Perfecting Pork tenderloin

When you like to cook and even more so when you like experimenting or trying new recipes you're bound to have a disaster or two in the kitchen. And I have had my fair share of dinner fails but never more so then with pork tenderloin. When I cook it the designated time it usually comes out under done so I put it back in and then it come out waaay too dry. There have been many times when we've had to douse our pork in ketchup or bbq sauce to make it taste better but unfortunately that doesn't make it any easier to chew. So, needless to say, I am bound and determined to perfect the pork-loin. It's one of our favorite meals (when cooked correctly of course) and since it's pretty healthy I'd like to keep it in the dinner rotation.
I found a recipe on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try. I didn't use the exact marinade (but pretty close) however, I did use the exact cooking times and it came out almost perfect. Ryan said it was really good so I should technically leave it at that but I think I can get it just a little more juicy next time.
The recipe is from Chef Mommy and is as follows. (PS. I often find myself using kid friendly recipes because my husband is pretty picky so if it's kid friend, it's usually Ryan friendly too ;-)
Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce (I didn't do the pan sauce part of the recipe) by Chef Mommy (adapted from For the Love of Cooking)
1⁄2 cups olive oil
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp dry mustard
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 1-lb. pork tenderloin (silver skin removed)

Combine all marinade ingredients and reserve 2-3 Tbsp. Place the pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F (176C) degrees. In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, sear each side of tenderloin for 2-3 minutes. Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the meat has reached 160 degrees. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Pan Sauce:
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2-3 tbsp of pork marinade (thoroughly mixed)
1-2 tsp butter

Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add the chicken broth and scrape up all the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan. Add the marinade and let it boil down for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and remove from heat stirring until butter has melted. Pour over the pork tenderloin.
Source: Chef Mommy
I think the pan searing is key! I served this with brown rice and green beans because that is what I had on hand but it would be yummy with a vinaigrette salad, potatoes, etc. I really don't think you can go wrong with this one!


What has been your biggest kitchen fail?

Any tips for perfecting pork-loin are welcome!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

You ask me what I like about Texas...

I hope all my Texans recognize the lyrics in my title. If not, I'm disappointed but I'll refresh your memory with this ;-)

(Just skip the ad and if you can't view it go here instead)

People are always asking me what I miss most about Texas (other than the obvious, family and friends) and the longer I am away the harder it gets to answer (sadly). However, I can still think of a good 5 things off the top of my head that I am most looking forward to in just about 4 days.

1. Mexican Food-this could probably be in the obvious category but I wanted a nice round 5 so I put it here. After living in SE Asia and now the UK there is absolutely nothing like Mexican food in Texas. It doesn't even come close anywhere else and you find that your standards of 'good' really lower. My favorite Mexican Food is El Tiempo in Houston and you better bet I'll be there one night while we are in Houston. The margaritas and fajitas are the best!

2. Sunshine-this wouldn't have been on my list while living in Singapore but it certainly tops it living in the UK. We had amazing weather last week and now it's back to cold and rainy. So, I am most looking forward to consistent sunshine and if it does rain while I'm home, I know it'll be accompanied by thunder which is another thing I miss about Texas (it doesn't thunder or lightening here).

3. Shopping-some of you may be saying, huh? Isn't Singapore a city of malls (yes) and then Aberdeen being not too far away from London (a fashion capital) has to have some decent shopping? I am not saying the shopping here is not good (we have Zara and Top Shop and Gap) but the sizes are different and some of the clothes just fit weird and not to mention pricier than the good ol US of A. No matter how long I am away, I will always look forward to visiting my favorite stores where most things will fit me just right. Dillard's, Nordstrom's (hello shoes!), Target, J. Crew, Ann Taylor Loft, Gap are all calling my name. North Park and I have a date next Friday!

4. Sandals and dresses-for the last 4 months (except for the week of uncharacteristic weather) my wardrobe has been boots, jeans, sweaters and usually a coat and this is the norm almost 12 months out of the year. So, needless to say, I may not be looking forward to the 90+ degree temperatures but I am looking forward to wearing less clothing for 2 weeks ;-) I'm sure I'll be ready for jeans again but it'll be nice for a little bit!

5. BBQ-This list wouldn't be complete without another food. Texas BBQ is definitely found no where else in the world and it's something else I look forward to having while I'm home. Rudy's where are you?

I'm sure I could easily make this list 10 but it would probably be mostly food items and how I miss that Texas pride and southern hospitality (other obvious things). Don't get me wrong, I am loving the situation we are in. I never thought I would get to travel the world and experience so many cultures and I wouldn't trade it for anything right now but Dorothy had it right....there's no place like home.

If you no longer live in your home state or country, what do you miss the most (other than the obvious)?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yellow fields

    Yesterday I set out on a hike with the AWA Explorers group to Inverbervie (about 15 minutes south of Stonehaven, 30ish minutes from Aberdeen). It was a pretty easy 10K hike through farm land, rapeseed fields and coastline. We didn't get rained on but it was really foggy which doesn't make ideal photography situations. I hope you can kind of get the grasp of how beautiful the rapeseed (canola oil) fields are and how it's not unusual to run in to a few four legged friends along the way.
    This was our last official Explorers hike of the year (a lot of people travel all summer long) but I am hoping we can still get together for some unofficial hikes and continue to discover this beautiful country (Do I sound I sound like broken record yet? I love hiking through Scotland and discovering new places and I'm not tired of it yet so, I hope you don't get tired of me talking about it anytime soon ;-)

I love the black and white with the bright yellow field in the background

Foggy coastline
Yes, horses wear coats gets cold!

Rapeseed fields

A stop at The Mill of Benholm for coffee/tea.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Glen Tanar Walk

To celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday and the fact that Ryan actually had the day off we went out to Glen Tanar estate for a 5 mile walk with our friends, Jonathan and Laine and their pup, Bailey. Glen Tanar is about a 45 minute drive from us and is located in the Cairngorms, a mountain range on the eastern part of the Highlands. We had a beautiful day for most of the walk and it only started sprinkling during the last 10 minutes. Since it's nesting season around here, the doggies were, unfortunately, unable to be let off their leads except when they went swimming. It was a very peaceful walk with beautiful scenery.
Some of the beautiful scenery
Our first family photo

Beautiful Bailey

So glad the weather was as great as it was yesterday because it's back to a steady drizzle today. I am hoping that it clears up by the weekend so we can discover more of Scotland's gorgeous countryside; I already have 3 walks on my list!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Secret Place

We love to get outdoors and having a dog now definitely gets us out a lot more. Angus loves to run and play and we are always looking for new places to roam. Ryan found a 'secret' spot that he almost didn't want to tell me was going to be just his and Angus' place but it's so great he couldn't hold out for long. It's only about a 5 minute drive from the house and there is hardly anyone there. A little creek runs through the forest and feeds into Loch Skene (remember a loch is a lake). Saturday we took him for a walk throughout the forest and Sunday went to the Loch with some friends of ours that have a very energetic Brittany Spaniel for the dogs to swim out their energy. Angus and Bailey loved playing in the water before we went over to the forest area for them to run free throughout the forest. Needless to say, there were two very tired pups when it was all said and done. I've said it many times, I don't think there is a better place to have a dog. It never gets hot, there are no poisonous snakes, no rabies and no heart worms and more room to play then they know what to do with....pretty much doggie heaven!

So peaceful

Beautiful Loch Skene
The clouds are one of my favorite things in Scotland
Bailey and Angus getting their swim on

Monday, June 4, 2012

26th Great Grampian Beer Festival

Friday night we went to the beer festival held at Pittodrie Stadium, where the Aberdeen Dons play football (soccer to you Americans ;-). The festival had great potential but the beers were definitely less than par. And the atmosphere was kind of blah, no music, etc but we were there with some great friends so it was a fun time anyway! Also, the event benefited Parkinson's research so our left over beer tokens were an extra donation to a great cause.

My handsome hubby

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hazelhead Park

Friday afternoon was beautiful in Aberdeen so needless to say, we had to get out! Angus and I headed to Hazelhead Park, just about a 10 minute drive into town. There is a big open field that Angus was able to run and play to his heart's content. The park also has beautiful landscaping that I couldn't help but get a few pictures (especially for my mom and mother in law). Spring and Summer are really beautiful in Scotland especially when all the flowers are blooming.

He always finds the biggest stick log

My handsome boy

All of this was his to run and play

Beautiful blooms

Posing in the flowers

I don't know if there is a more beautiful place in the spring when the sun is shining!