Friday Five

Five Desserts– When Jeff came to me with the idea for the 10 foods and drinks lists, I couldn’t fit the sinful desserts onto my food list. Enter Friday Five.

Ooey, Gooey Brownies
A favorite Sunday activity in my family is to make a box mix (judge away) of brownies after church for an afternoon treat. Both my Mom and I like a mushy brownie, so they’re always just a little bit undercooked. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an English movie on a cold Autumn day with the fire going… sounds like paradise after two years in the tropics.

Grammy’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
I know the exact steps of how she does it, but I swear, there is magic Grandmother dust when she makes this pie because it seems like an out-of-body experience. Over the holidays my family will go to arms via forks who gets the last piece of this mixture of chocolate pudding, gobs of peanut butter, graham crust and a tub of Cool Whip.

Cheesecake
Cheesecake and I only started our relationship the Autumn before I left for Thailand. It was hot and heavy at first, but after two years of deprivation, cheesecake and I are ready to begin again. I can not wait to go to Cheesecake Factory for Saturday brunch to skip the real food and just order three slices of different kinds of dessert.

Family Recipe Sugar Cookies
Thailand doesn’t do cookies very well. My Aunt Renee does. Every year for Thanksgiving in Christmas she would make me my own dozen of inch thick sugar cookies for me to keep all for myself. I hope to spend a week at their house in rural Pennsylvania in the summer following my return to the U.S. and fingers crossed I can get a dose of homemade family deliciousness.

Apple Pie
Oddly enough, my first (adult) slice of this American classic was in Thailand. I was never a fan before, but this taste of home while here really opened my mind to apple pie. I’m looking forward to trying it still warm, homemade, and some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to accompany it.

*If you are ever in Thailand and hankering for a phenomenal dessert fix, the best I’ve come across here is Love at First Bite in Chiang Mai. Volcano Explosion. You’re welcome.

Tuesday Travel Photo

How does a Day of the Dead celebration sound for Halloween week’s TTP? I’m fairly certain Thai people would be terrified of going, but there is something so colorful and vibrant that draws my travel lust eyes to Mexico for this festival.

Even though it’s on the Rose Parade Float, I thought it was a good photo of the celebrations
http://www.juanofwords.com/tag/day-of-the-dead-skull/

Friday Five

Five Scary Movies for October

Scream
An absolute classic. I haven’t seen this since the late 90s and was probably way too young to watch such a bloody movie. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I remembered, but I still enjoyed it so much that I decided to try out the newest installment, Scream 4 and was pleasantly surprised by it as well. Emma Roberts stole the freaking show.

28 Days Later
Watched this (sort-of) zombie/end of the world film at a friend’s suggestion and fell in love with it. Not only is it plenty bloody (people are infected with the ‘rage’ virus and rip all kinds of people apart and puke blood on them to spread the disease), but it had a few captivating messages about human nature when you go take away the idea of civilization and a future. The sequel, 28 Weeks Later, has me crossing my fingers for a third installment.

The Exorcist
I decided this Halloween season I would finally give in to the half-desire half-fright to watch what many call one of the scariest movies of all time. In the protection of day and averting my eyes at several key moments, I was able to make it through this creeper classic without any nightmares. Yes, I’m proud of that. Unfortunately, the movie I watched after it as the sun was setting, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (I wanted to keep it in the same category), pushed it too far and the combined effects of the two movies had me watching shallow, happy films for the rest of the night to get my mind off it.

Saw
Another bloody film of my adolescence that I thought would complete the scary movie round-up. As an extremely guts spewing type of feature, I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone that can’t stomach that sort of thing, but if you can, this is a fantastic movie with some messages about being grateful for the life you’re living. I’ll be happy to answer more questions from Thais about my breakfast and where blue eyes come from if I don’t have to play in one of Jigsaw’s games.

Hocus Pocus
This movie isn’t really scary to me anymore, but I still try to watch it every Halloween. To my credit, it was creepier when I was a little kid hoping the Sanderson sisters didn’t put me under a spell trying to suck out my youth. Now I laugh along with it, picking up more adult jokes that Disney movies always tends to throw in to entertain the poor parents dragged along to watch.

Any more suggestions of scary movies to check out are more than welcome!

Tuesday Travel Photo

This is as close to Halloween as Thailand gets. I first heard about the Phi Ta Khon festival when I went to stay with a group 122 Volunteer in Dan Sai (Loei province, northern Thailand), home to the celebration. People dress up for a huge parade with amazingly intricate masks as wood spirits. They also wave around giant penises. This festival normally happens in late June or early July, but I felt it was fitting for a ghost/Halloween themed TTP.

WIsh I had time to go
Photo From: http://www.chiangmai-mail.com/w019/tours.shtml

Tuesday Travel Photo

It’s that time of the year. Last year we went to Halloweentown, this year, a world that Bette Midler, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kathy Namjimy are resurrected witches in the town of Salem looking for some young’uns to suck the youth out of. Hocus Pocus could be the best Halloween movie ever.

Friday Five

Five Things I look forward to in my first Autumn in the non-tropics

Crisp Air/Weather
Does this go without saying? After nearly two years in a country which the seasons can be titled ‘hot, hotter, and hot and wet,’ I crave the husky, dry air of Fall. It’s a different kind of air than spring, what I’ll be diving into when I first get home and don’t care for as much. All that yay renewal stuff means nothing to someone that’s been in a technicolor green haven for an extended period of time. I want the dead smell of leaves falling and air not quite cold enough that my ass cheeks have turned pink after a day outdoors. Mmm, hoodies.

Fashion
Layers! Cardigans! Scarfs! Boots! I’ve spent a significant portion of the past year learning about fashion and hair things that I am so excited to try out in a place that will not require heavy sweating while accomplishing those looks. Sometimes I wear long sleeves or pants around the house on days that don’t really necessitate it, but because I can. In the next Autumn, not only will I want/need to, but I’ll have options as well.

Leaves
I feel like leaves own its own category because I’m just so sick of seeing green, Green, GREEN everywhere I look. I know once I leave, I’ll miss seeing palm trees everyday, but I’ll gladly change that in for a nice oak or maple with red, orange, and yellow leaves, hopefully put into a pile so I can jump and roll around in them.

Holidays
Autumn has a nice line-up of fun that Thais generally don’t recognize and/or decorate for. I want to drive through neighborhoods with jack-o-lanterns and ghost decorations. And then see stalks of corn next to kids dressed up as pilgrims and indians, despite how wrong that story is. These are of course leading up to the big shebang also known as Christmas. One thing I’ve realized during my time in Peace Corps is when the people surrounding you don’t celebrate something it both helps and depresses you. No one reminds you of it, but then at the same time, no one else reminds you of it. I’m so looking forward to getting swept up in the holiday spirit and soaking it all in to make up for two years worth.

Desserts
A tie in to the holidays is of course the temptations that appear alongside them. And what dessert doesn’t taste better on a Fall Sunday afternoon wrapped up in a blanket with the fire going watching a movie with people you like to grace your presence with? A few I’m looking forward to: my Mom’s 3/4 baked brownies with vanilla ice cream melting on top, my aunt’s inch thick sugar cookies, eating raw chocolate chip cookie dough, my grandmother’s peanut butter and chocolate pie, and apple pie (something that I’ve acquired a taste for in Thailand oddly enough). I think I’ll be taking pictures of a lot of food when I get back to America… and not just in Autumn.