Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving, near and far.

I woke up on Thanksgiving to this post on my sisters Facebook page,  

"Happy Thanksgiving!!! May your day be filled with great food, amazing family and friends and loads of fun!  This wonderful holiday is a true example that the best things in life aren't things." 

....and in my opinion, truer words have never been spoken.

It's hard being so far away from my family during the year but throw a holiday in and it can really get to a gal.  We make attempts on holidays to visit over the phone, through texts and Facebook messages but its not the same.  It's different.  We are busy, hosting or visiting and the day seems to go by so fast.  I try not to focus on what I am missing and I think of how lucky I am that I have such a wonderful family to miss and friends to celebrate with.

I love that my Mom still hosts the holidays and my brother, sister and their families as well as my Aunt and Uncle join in the celebration.  I love that my Dad needs to extend the already big rectangular table in the dining room so they can all sit together.  I love that they pass my Mom's delicious turkey, Aunt Barbs cardamom rolls, the cranberry sauce with Amaretto and all the other fixins' worthy of a grand feast.  And I love that my niece in Oklahoma made the cutest cookie/candy turkey's for her table this year and is celebrating with her family and her in-laws. 


We have celebrated Thanksgiving with our dear friends since 1995 and sometimes there have been big crowds and sometimes it's just the four of us but it's always wonderful.  One year we celebrated with my sweet cousin when she lived here which was extra special.  She has since moved back to the East coast and has a beautiful family of her own to celebrate with, along with her parents and in-laws. 

It makes me enormously happy knowing that although we are all so scattered and far away, we are all consumed by the same holiday and we are all grateful for what we are blessed with. 


This year was just the four of us, and our two canine friends of course, and it was beautiful.


The sides were delicious, the champagne was chilled...


and the turkey was perfect, yes I said it, the thing cooks should never say but my friends said it first so I am just repeating it.   They actually all agreed, it may just have been the best turkey I have ever made.  Yay!


Oh, and that delicious Cranberry Sauce with Amaretto was passed down to me from the lovely lady in the background, and it's been on our table for the past 17 years.

I dream of a big home only a few times a year and its usually when I envision these types of grand celebrations.   I picture all of my family and dear friends gathered around the same table toasting each other, passing rutabagas, and professing gratitude.   I think of them all playing cards or Apples to Apples until the wee hours of the morning and extending the holiday through the entire weekend.  Oh how fabulous would that celebration be?


We rejoiced this holiday and with grateful hearts, we enjoyed all the blessings in our lives the near ones and the far away ones.

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chasing the magic hour.

I have heard alot about the "magic" hour lately, the first and last hour of daylight.  Also called the golden hour, this diffused light is highly sought after by photographers and today I wanted to experience it first hand.  So on this chilly November morning I woke up before dawn, grabbed my camera and took off.  It was a cold 32 degrees and quite frosty along the still quiet roads.  Not sure exactly what I was looking for or what I was going to shoot I ended up at one of my favorite places, the Edmonds waterfront.

It was quiet, easy to find a parking spot at the waterfront park and so very still.  The tide was low and looked like it was returning to the shore, a handful of seagulls were scoping out the scene, and two very brave scuba divers were prepping for a chilly early morning swim. 

I walked out on the breakwater and just as I reached the end and turned around I spotted it, my very first sun star.


This light is amazing and so much fun to shoot with.  The way the light passes through the atmosphere creates a highlighted effect on everything.  It was beautiful.   No harsh shadows or sharp bright light.

This Blue Heron was not too please I found his hiding place as he was tucked between the dock and breakwater of the Edmonds Marina; he flew off just after I took this picture.

My hands were so cold as I snapped photos, changed lenses and strolled from one end of the waterfront to the other. 




And just as I was starting to really see the beauty in this light, it was fading.  The shadows deepened, and the light was all of a sudden different, Mother Nature's slight of hand was fast and before I knew it, the magic had disappeared.

It was lovely and I will make a point of shooting during the magic hour more often because well, it's magical. 

And now it looks like it's going to be a beautiful clear, crisp fall day here in the Pacific Northwest and I must go enjoy it.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apple Cider Caramels

For Halloween I made these Apple Cider Caramels and they were simple to make and delicious.


I have wanted to make caramels for a few years and after an epic failure with a Gingerbread Caramel that never set up I gave up.  But the other day with all the ingredients for this recipe on hand, I thought I would make another attempt.  These are yummy and would make a great hostess gift.


They come together very fast, once you have the cider reduced.  I cut my waxed paper while they were cooling.  The wrapping is a bit tedious but once you get the hang of it, it's not too bad.


The recipe makes an 8x8 pan full and once you start cutting them you realize that is quite a few.  I stored the leftovers in the fridge. 



I'll be taking the rest into work tomorrow, hope they like them.

Wishing you all a lovely day and great week ahead. 
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