Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mid-week Musings: Chances and Ceilidhs

     I had an idea of what I was going to write today, but when I started fleshing it out, I quickly realized that it was spiraling into something quite boring and depressing. Not good.
     But here's a new idea. It's something better and (hopefully) much more inspiring and happy.
     I've been listening to a podcast called Desert Island Discs that is put on by BBC Radio 4. It is a radio program that interviews famous people and has them play the eight songs they would want if they were stranded on a desert island. It is essentially an autobiography with a musical accompaniment.  Yesterday, on my happy drive to class on twisty roads, I was listening to one about Margaret Rhodes. Her life is completely fascinating. If I could choose to be one person, it would probably be her. She had so many nuggets of good advice, and her view on life and struggles were completely awe-inspiring.
     One bit that really struck home to me was something that her father told her. "The only things to be regretted in life are the things you don't do." How golden is that? I adopted a version of this phrase last year. Mine, of course, is quite elementary in wording. "If you have the chance to do something that isn't illegal or immoral, do it." That was the only New Years' resolution that I made last year. None of that "I'm going to lose weight or devote more time to charity" stuff. I figured that I might possibly make this one last.
     And let me tell you, I had the best year ever.
     The idea that I had was to reach outside of my comfort zone. There have been so many things in life that I have decided not to do because I was too shy or too unwilling to do. I regret those things. But last year, I was able to do so many things that ended up being the best experiences of my life.
     One thing that really sticks out to me is when our church had a missions conference focusing on Great Britian in February 2011.  On a Wednesday night, we had a ceilidh dance. They asked the people who had been to Scotland before to get up there first and show everyone how much fun it is and to demonstrate. Well, I scoffed at the idea. I don't really dance well, and with all the twisting and spinning and exchanging partners that you go through during a Strip the Willow, I declined. It wasn't until they needed another person, and someone literally dragged me out there, did I realize what I needed to do about my life. Oh, did I have fun dancing. There is something about the lively music, accidental missteps, repetitive spins, and bruises that you get in the bend of your arms that make for the best time.
     That is one of my fondest memories because in that moment, I realized how I needed to live. Take chances, and step outside of your comfort zone. It's so cliche, but I honestly believe that my life wouldn't be near as exciting as is it if I hadn't realized that.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Recipe Monday: Cranachan

     Well, it's Monday. In fact, it's Labor Day. It is nice to have the family together for some fun time. My mom, dad, and I went for a 3 mile sunrise walk before it heated up outside.  As a family, we went and did the monumentally fun thing that all families do when they're together. Kidding. We went to Walmart and then to Baskin Robbins for ice-cream.
     Back on topic, every Monday, my good friend, Kathleen, comes over for dinner and British TV.  She bought a British IP address, so we get to watch all the good shows (Downton Abbey!) in September rather than January.
     Spend five minutes with me, and you will find out that I am head over heels in love with Scotland. I've been three times, and it is my goal to be living there in the next five years.  I will need to write an entire post dedicated just to my favorite place in the whole world.
     Since, I can't go back at this time, I will have to settle on Scottish desserts. This, my friends, is cranachan.  If you're from the South like me, you pronounce it kran-ah-kin. If you're from the Scottish Highlands, it is pronounced cran-ah-chahn (cran=short a as in bath, ah=long a as in car, chahn= ch as in Bach, ah as in car). Make sense?  In my brief study of the Gaelic language, I've learned that you need to use your throat. 
     Enough chit chat, here is how to make cranachan. 

     I got my recipe from Claire Macdonald's Scottish Cookery. These are all the ingredients that you will need. I'm no Scotch connoisseur, but thankfully, my dad is. When I told him what I was cooking, he went into his cabinet and came back with this lovely bottle. The book I got the recipe from said that her personal favorite was Highland Park, but since we are out of that, I used The Antiquary instead. I would imagine that you don't want anything too peaty for cranachan. It is a dessert after all :) 

     This is one of the simplest desserts I've ever made, but believe me when I tell you, it is so delicious. There isn't a ton of alcohol in it, so don't worry about that.  All you do is whip the cream and throw it all together. It is definitely great for a last-minute resort. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oh Yay!

Hey look!
I have a blog! I'm sorry, what? I have a blog?
Wow. This is big. As I type this, I am thinking mainly of that scene from Tangled when Rapunzel has locked Flynn in her closet. "I have a person in my closet. I. Have. A. Person. In. My. Closet!" This first post is just to say that I have indeed posted something, and so I can get all the formatting right. Basically, I'm posting so that I can get all my pretty colors in line, and make it look like I actually know what I'm doing.
I have exciting things planned for tomorrow and for the rest of the week!