Thursday, August 1, 2013

US -> UK : Baking Edition

Trying to bake after moving to the UK has been a complete nightmare. I know the food is different and the language is different but I had no idea simple things like ingredients would take so much work to decipher.
The is a list I've put together of the different names for food as well as good alternatives when what you're looking for just doesn't exist. 

Most of the alternative only options you can special order online. 

From US to UK

All-Purpose Flour = Plain flour (as opposed to self raising, but it's called "plain flour."

Corn Syrup = Doesn't exist. Alternatives include: Golden syrup and Treacle Syrup. 

Baking Soda = Bicarbonate of soda (Not baking powder) This one in particular has caused me a lot of confusion.

Corn Starch = Corn Flour

This one deserves is own section

Jelly = Jam
Jello = Jelly (Jello is not a UK brand and no one will know what it is) 
Pudding = Custard
Pudding (UK) =  a general term for any dessert.

Shortening = Alternative = Butter, Margarine, or Vegetable Spread

Confectioners Sugar = Icing Sugar

Granulated Sugar = Caster Sugar or any kind of sugar will usually do

Graham Crackers = Best alternative = Plain Digestive Biscuits

Eggplant = Aubergine 

Zucchini = Courgette 

Coffee Cake. I'm adding this one even though it's not an ingredient because it's caused a great deal of confusion for me this past week. Coffee cake is NOT a breakfast cake used to pair with coffee. It is ONLY coffee flavoured cake. 

Plastic wrap = Cling film

Extract (Vanilla Extract) = Essence (Vanilla Essence)

Ham = Gammon

Bacon = Streaky Bacon / (UK) Bacon = Canadian Bacon.

Pickles = Gherkins or Pickled Cucumber. You WILL NOT find normal Dill Pickles, unless you special order them online. End of story. Believe me, I've looked!

Oatmeal = Porridge

Lemonade = Lemonade if (AND ONLY IF) you find it in the juice section. Any other time it is used it means Sprite or some other kind of lemon/lime soda.

Soda = Fizzy Drinks (Silly, I know) 
             Soda (UK) = Carbonated water
             I just ask specifically for what I want. Much easier, as long as you keep in mind restaurants don't carry Dr. Pepper. :( Not even American ones. 

Shrimp = Prawn

An entire book could be written on British vs. American food. So I have kept this particular post specific to baking ingredients and some food.

A LOT of people have been requesting this stuff from me for a while. So please let me know if there's anything you'd like to know or would like me to talk about. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jesus Grumpy

Today Joel and I were looking at pictures online. Mostly trains. And I thought, Ill google some pictures of people I think he should recognize at his age. First we did Santa Claus. Then I thought, we should probably do Jesus. So we google pictures of Jesus and I tell him "Joel, that's Jesus. Can you say Jee-sus?" He looks and me, then at the screen and says, "Jesus. Jesus glumpy!" *( Glumpy is Joel's word for grumpy)
Ha! Apparently he didn't think Jesus looked very happy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Wow. So it has been a crazy long time since I've done any blogging. Which is weird cause I spend way to much time on the internet so you'd think I would've attempted to do something semi-useful or interesting.

I've got some plans.
Recently, every single door of everything I've ever wanted to accomplish in life has been shut in my face. And I have been devastated! Mourning my alternate life, I have been pathetic, moping around feeling sorry for myself. Now, this isn't one of those times where you say to the world, "I'm not going to take this lying down," and you pull yourself together and conquer your dreams. It is really soul destroying, feeling in your gut that you are meant for something, finally getting your head together figuring out what it is and then being pinned down and unable to move. And oh patience. I could be patience. But in this rarest of cases, patience is off the table. Unless we start talking miracles, patience isn't an option either.

So all that's left is new plans. They won't be the same. They won't fulfill me mentally or spiritually. But at this point they are all that's left. -- Man, am I a Debbie Downer today or what?! -- And who knows, maybe I have some hidden talent I don't know about and things will somehow magically work out. Plus, it's a bit of fun which I could really use.

New Plans
- Start blogging more. Out of almost nowhere, I've been getting loads of questions from people wanting to know about life living in England and how it compares to America. AND what's really surprising is that people actually want to hear what I think. Craziness! So I say, give the people what they want. Okay, I'm making it sound like a lot more people that it actually is but I'm still surprised by the actual number. I could write books on the subject, instead I think I'll just blog a little.
- Start making videos. Possibly connected to my blog but funnier. I've got a few good ideas so far. I'm only missing one ingredient, a computer. :/ So far I need £1200 for the one I want. And so far I have £0. Being unemployed makes this especially difficult but I'm working on it. You will be mine!
- Get a freaking job. Life is finally starting to cool down with the kids and with all my career dreams out the window, I'm willing to take anything because I am sick of being broke. And I need to pay for that very expensive computer I've got my eye on. Also, I'm a big fan of stuff. Oh how I miss stuff.
- Get super fit!
- Take a nap
- Do more crafty things. I've already ordered a bunch of stuff and I'm so excited. I may even be able to make a little money off of it.

I have more plans but I'm going to have to stop here because most of them require money, because most of them involve traveling of some kind.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Caleb James

When my first son Joel was born, my husband wrote a blog briefly describing the entire experience from first contraction to bringing our little baby boy home. I hoped to do a similar one for our second son so we wouldn't forget but never got around to it. Now it's 8 weeks later. Time flies! So now I'm going to make a similar attempt to remember and record all the events of that wonderful day on June 25, 2012.

Joel was born 7 days late so when Caleb was 10 days late I was more than ready and beginning to think he may never come and that I was going to have to be induced. A few days after my due date I went to have a sweep done and the midwife couldn't even do it because I hadn't started dilating at all. I was not happy and that's why I was sure I was going to have to be induced. But luckily I didn't and at 10 days late I finally went into labor. At around 1:00am I began having contractions. FINALLY! And apparently I had forgotten just how much they hurt, even the earliest ones. Since my first labor took 26 hours start to finish I was prepared to take it easy and prepare for the long haul. Oh how wrong I was. I wanted to stay at home and wait as long as I could before going to the hospital but after only a few hours I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to go now and I was finally between 5 and 7 minutes apart so could justify going in. We stopped on the way to pick up some food. The last time they wouldn't let me eat or drink anything and if I wasn't going to be eating for the next 24 hours I wanted to fill up. But it didn't up being a problem because they were wonderful and encouraged me to eat and drink to keep my strength up. Anyway, on the way, I called ahead to let them know we were on our way. The woman on the phone said she didn't think we should bother coming in yet because my waters hadn't even broken yet and she thought it might not be real labor. But I was sure that it was so insisted that we were coming anyway and if they wanted to send me home, then fine. 

When we got there, they were so great. We immediately went into our own room and had a great midwife. The first one wasn't there for very long but was so nice and helpful. She brought be a birthing ball, which was seriously amazing. The gas and air makes me sick and I didn't find it at all helpful the first time. And strangely enough using the ball was so much more helpful and relaxing. She even brought in some lavender oil and massaged my lower back. You'd think that would be weird but I was in so much pain I didn't care and I loved it. I can't even tell you how much that helped! The combination of the massage oil and the birthing ball was WAY more helpful relieving pain than any pain meds they gave me. I did not expect that. Then they ran a really hot bath for me to help relieve the pain. I loved the idea of having a water birth but was sure I would end up getting an epidural and you can't have both so I just took a bath and went back to our room. 

Because I was expecting to be in there for at least a day, my plan was to wait as long as possible to get an epidural. I was sure I would need one again but wanted to wait because once you get it you are completely confined to the bed. They also told me it was best to wait until I was in active labor, which was basically having at least 4 contractions every 10 minutes. When the time finally came, they came in and examined me again. It was time. Things were finally speeding up. I asked them if that meant they though he might be born today. They laughed and said he'd be born before noon. Wow. So things continued, contractions becoming more and more painful and closer together. Finally it became so unbearable that I was desperate for an epidural. They came in and began to set up before they called in the doctor. I desperately begged them to hurry. I could feel the pressure of him coming. Eek. They told me the baby was coming now and they didn't think there was time for an epidural. James and I very kindly told them to suck it and get the doctor, which they did. I couldn't believe how fast things were moving. I'm not the kind of person that screams at things. Not at movies. Not when I'm scared. And definitely not when I'm in pain. By this point I was screaming uncontrollably. It's really hard to describe. There is nothing like it. It was actually really scary. Poor James must have been terrified. I know I was. I so badly wanted the epidural I was actually trying to keep him in  and not let on to the midwives that he was coming out. I was even sitting up hoping that would hold him off until the doctor came in. But nope, Caleb was coming now. He was going to push himself out no matter what position I was in. Finally not being able to take it, I swung my legs up onto the bed and pushed him out. I couldn't believe it had happened. It was so weird. I could feel everything so intensely. I'm not going to go on describing the pain because there really is no way to describe it with words and nothing I could compare it to would do it justice. So there's no point. 

Then they handed me my beautiful baby boy. He was so handsome. He had black hair and black eyes. He weighed 7 lbs and 14 oz. And was born at 11:25am on June 25th 2012. He was so gorgeous. Because there were no complications we were able to leave after about 7 hours. I was so glad. There was nothing I wanted more than to take my sweet little boy home and get some rest. 

So we brought our beautiful son home to meet his little brother and settle into his first home. Happy Birthday Caleb. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I just turned 13 weeks pregnant today with numero 2. And last night for the first time I felt it kick. I really thought there was no way I could be just as excited as I was with Joel but I was wrong. We went to my first scan 2 days ago and watching little baby dancing in there was the cutest thing ever. I really am just as excited. And also just as paranoid. I've already had several dreams where I've managed to accidently drink half a bottle of alcohol before remembering I'm pregnant and then go into a mad panic. Phew. Not enjoying that.
We have really struggled to agree on any names, even worse than last time. Yesterday I found a girl's name that I am officially in love with. We are not going to tell anyone this time. I almost didn't want to tell James. I found an equally lovely name a few weeks ago and made the mistake of sharing it with some family members, who laughed at it. :( And honestly, it wasn't a weird, new age hippie name or anything. I loved it because it was very classy sounding and I even liked the shortened name to use while she was little. Oh well, it's gone now. No going back. But I love, love, love this new one, which is a lot less common than the first so for sure not a sole will hear of it. This all might not even matter cause we still don't know the sex. But if it's a boy, I'm sensing a long a bloody fight ahead cause I just haven't found a single one I like, except for the single one I like that James , of course, hates. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joel Update 18 weeks

Today Joel rolled over for the first time. It was absolutely adorable. He did it by lifting his butt high into the air and grabbing his feet then falling onto his side. SO CUTE. Then he just shimmied around til he made it to his tummy.
Also last night I tried giving him a bit of baby cereal again and he did such a good job of eating it. Well after reading quite a bit about weaning I didn't actually expect any of it to make it into his mouth let alone get swallowed so I was all the more impressed when he ate it. It was ridiculously messy as I expected it would be but he actually managed to keep a few bites down. But of course as he'll tell you it's just not as much fun as spewing it everywhere.

Also here are some picture of our house for those you back in the good ole U S of A that might like to see it.