Happy Halloween!!!!

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Wabbits…

The thing is…I have a really really overwhelming desire to hug animals.
All of them.
A basket of sea otters.
A box full of baby chickens.
A bag overflowing with super soft squishy rabbits.

Even an armful of turtles.

I’m like the crazy youtube cat girl who wants to hug all the cats in the world…except that her video was fake and I’m not batshit crazy.
I just like creatures.

My new London buddy “M” apparently wanted to crawl into my heart as quickly as possible, because she took me to Vauxhall City Farm today and spent several HOURS squeeing about animals with me.

There was so much squeeing.

Meet Misty. She is very tolerant.

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Misty made my “I simply must hug a bunny today or I will die” dreams come true.

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This might be the most unattractive photo of myself that I have ever willingly posted on the internet for all to see, but it’s important that you understand how much I wanted to hug that damn rabbit.

And then snuggle him…

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And then sway with him while snuggling him (yes, like a 3 year old).

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Like this three year old.

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But dude, seriously. CHECK OUT THOSE FEET!

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If Misty didn’t hop around in her own poop all day I would want to put it in my mouth.

So, I settled for kissing her (notice her bun-riffic disapproval).

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But I wasn’t the only one requiring rabbit-cuddles.

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M fell in love too.

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And then I got crazy with the close-ups.

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LOOK AT ITS FACE! GAHHHHHH! KATIE ARE YOU SEEING THIS!? IS YOUR HEART EXPLODING?

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And then Misty started giving me the side-eye and we knew that her tolerance bucket was full and we kindly returned her to her happy play area.

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And then there was this guy.

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We didn’t get to hang out with him though because he was busy being chubby and sleepy the entire time.

Okay! So onto the chickens!

This guy was cool.

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This guy was kind of a jerk and bit me (but I had my camera in his face so I suppose I might have had it coming).

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This guy had some sort of shrunken head syndrome action going on because the proportions just don’t add up.

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Mother Nature is hysterical.

Ohhhhh, and I maybe hugged some chickens too.

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We had a little moment.

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I definitely like petting them more than eating them.

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Again, I must point out that I was NOT alone in my chasing around of chickens shenanigans.

This gentleman was totally doing it too!

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See? Wasn’t the only one. Just saying.

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So this brings us to these ridiculous fuzzy creatures of absolute hilarity.

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Look. At. THAT. HAIR.

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It’s just breathtakingly comical.

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Hello. I’m an Alpaca. I’m cooler than anything else that exists.

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JUST BE MY FRAND!

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And maybe YOU don’t get excited by cows, but I can barely keep it together.

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Even though they are majorly sassy…

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They are still SO darling and soft and I want to pet them.

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I even want to pet this fellow…

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And this one giving me the duck stink eye…

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And how do you hug a goat you ask?

Easy.

Gently take hold of his horns…

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Guide him ever so sweetly into your loving embrace…

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And then wrap your arms squarely around his big goat head and SQUEEZE!

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I know, I know. Seek help immediately.

Well kids, this is just who I am.

I leave you with bunny ears.

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http://www.vauxhallcityfarm.org/
xxoo

TEA. A Love Affair.

I have always loved tea.

Growing up in the South, iced tea is generally part of daily existence.

Iced Sweet tea, Iced Green Tea, Iced Peach Tea, Iced Passionfruit Tea…the varieties are endless.

I’ve never really gotten into hot tea as much (aside from wintry days where my throat is highly unhappy).

A few years ago I stumbled upon Teavana in the Green Hills Mall and developed a very serious crush with the place.

http://www.teavana.com

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But they are SO EXPENSIVE. And they try to up-sell you to death.
It got to the point where I didn’t even want to make eye contact with the sales associates when I went into the store.
They also don’t tell you that the canisters they put the tea in cost extra (or at least failed to mention that to me any of the 50 times I bought tea).
And some of the “teas” don’t even contain tea at all. Just sweetened dried fruit & flowers…but they still call it “TEA”.
(Is there not a rule against this)?

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Anyway, I still love tea.

To be more accurate, I’m pretty much obsessed with hot tea since I moved to the UK.
Specifically Earl Grey.

At first, it’s a little weird that everyone is always going on and on about having a “cuppa” tea all the damn time.
But I quickly realized that I had never had Earl Grey tea with milk & sugar before.

MY BRAIN——-> WAIT A MINUTE! THIS IS EFFING STELLAR!

A hot cup of tea can fix your soul.

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Part of the joy of tea is the ceremony…

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And adorable china…

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And having a hot tea date…

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I can’t stop drinking it. I crave it!
I have even been using agave syrup and soy milk to be healthier.
It has fully replaced coffee in my life.
I know…THAT’S CRAZY TALK!

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I order it everywhere we go.
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I just can’t help myself.

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And people here even drink it alongside their meals. Even with cheeseburgers!
(By the way, I ate a cheeseburger the other day and it was phenomenally delicious).

See? DELICIOUS!

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So, long story short, tea is important. Drink it and feel better.

Now, how about I leave you with some spectacular street art from my travels around Brick Lane in London?

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And of course, lest you forget…The Beginning is Nigh!

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Adventures with Duck

Although my status as a carnivore has for the most part, been on a down trend, every so often I break away and indulge in some good old-fashioned meat-eating.
My favorite animal to eat is duck.
The deliciously tasty and most excellent duck.
The skin especially, is just down right decadent.

Guh.

How can one commit to a life of complete vegetarianism after tasting duck skin?

Tell me this!

My spectacular trip to London this Summer involved my first ever Peking Duck experience, which I shall never forget, no matter how many more brain injuries I sustain in my life.

The started out with no plans of a duck feast in sight.
We did a little sight-seeing…

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Hung out in the park and acted like annoyingly adorable teenagers…

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Met up with QT and consumed some wine on a boat bar on the Thames River…

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Before you know it we were on a tipsy mission, wandering the streets of London in search of the duck feast to end all duck feasts…

Soon enough we were seated in a fabulously elegant Chinese restaurant ordering a duck and a half, and even more wine…

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Moi, patiently awaiting the duck feast!

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Snacks!

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THE DUCK!!!

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MMMMmmmmmmm…

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Duck Skin…

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The spread…

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So here is what you do to make your taste buds have the biggest most fantastical explosive party in your mouth ever…

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You take a pancake, you spread some plum sauce on it, you add cucumber and spring onions…

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You grab a nice tender chunk of duck meat and top it with a crispy crunchy lacquered duck skin crackling and you roll it up as quickly as possible; inhaling it like you are in a prison camp.

Because it disappears fast!

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QT tries to hide the shame of shoveling duck into his mouth…

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Oh! And they clean the rest of the duck and stir fry it with bean sprouts!

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There is no shame! Only joy!

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Wow. That was an awesome day.

So the other night, I attempted to make my first duck and roasties using the UK fan oven.

DUCK!

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Check out those taters atop my new Acacia chopping block…

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And the finished product!

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MAGNIFICENT! CRISPY SKIN, TENDER DUCK!

Super easy to make!

Simply sear the duck legs for a few moments on a hot skillet til the skin gets nice and brown and transfer to the oven with raw sliced potatoes for 1.25 hours on 190 degrees Celcius
(for UK fan ovens).

You can season the potatoes however you wish, although I just opted for simple salt & pepper.
As the duck legs cook, the fat seeps out of the duck and cooks the potatoes to the most gorgeous crispy golden brown, while also enriching it with a truly sinful flavour.

Here is the US equivalent…375 F for 1.25 hours
(Remember, I’m all British now)

Okay y’all…more later! Back to veggies and soymilk for me!