Excellent Cornbread!

It turned out really good!  Much more successful than my gluten-free/non-dairy butter tart squares!

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It was a little more cakier, or denser, and drier than the regular cornbread but a lot of the cornbread I’ve had is the same texture.  I also reduced the butter a bit because it just seemed like a lot (4tbsp instead of 6)  They also didn’t tell you where to add the honey, so I added it to the wet ingredients.  I would definitely make this again and even give it a try using almond milk (for my gluten-free, non-dairy DIL).

That and the cabbage roll soup made for a great dinner last night.  And the wine……OMG, this is the best Riesling I think I’ve ever had.  I picked up this bottle on our trip up to Naramata last month….I liked it then but often you kind of get caught up in the moment when doing these wine tastings…..everything tastes good…..but I will actually go in search of this wine!  It’s not available in our local government liquor stores but I’ve managed to track down a couple of private, specialty stores that I can get it in.  I’ll have to drive into Vancouver but it will be worth it.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before!  The winery will gladly ship some to you…..but you have to order by the case.  It’s a minimum of 2 cases for them to pay the shipping.  I like it but not sure I like it THAT much….that would be a lot of wine to go through….although….

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This wine is fantastic!  It went really well with the cornbread…that little bit of sweetness.

Speaking of Naramata….it’s in the Okanagan Valley which is where some pretty darn good wines are made.  It’s our version of Napa Valley I guess….at half the price!  It’s an absolutely beautiful area in the summer and fall.  There are tons of wineries for tours and tastings…..based on my experiences up there visiting 5 a day is about the max…..yes, it is possible to get “wined out”.  You start to lose track after a the first couple of tastings….I try to remember to grab one of the business cards and make a note of the wine I buy or taste and like or don’t like.  Some of the wineries also make cheese….one especially has really good cheeses (Upper Bench).  If you head up there for 3 or 4 days you can cover off at least 2 of the different areas.  The Naramata Bench, which is where I’ve stayed the last two times, the Golden Mile, which is a bit south and the area across the lake which is Summerland, Peachland and West Kelowna are easy to do in a day.   But there are so many more it could keep you busy for days and days!!  https://explore.winebc.com/view-region/?id=5  And on top of the wine, the area is pretty beautiful too.  It’s also where most of our local fruit is grown, so depending on when you go, you could come home with not only cases of wine but peaches, cherries, pears and apples of every kind.   Wine tasting (and buying) is not the only thing to do up there….in summer there are lots of lakes for fun and fishing and in winter, some of the best sky slopes in BC…also lots of restaurants…even at a few of the wineries.  Just a great place to visit year round (in winter it depends on the roads though….).

 

A few pics from that girls trip….the house was huge and gorgeous!  And the views were spectacular.

The house…..

Some quirky, fun stuff at many of the wineries…

And of course, grapes galore!

Tonight I’m off to dinner with the India trip girls….Brenda, Cathy and my daughter.  We’re of course going out for Indian food!  I’ve been to this restaurant before and it was really good…..looking forward to it.  Lots of yakking, planning etc…..just a fun evening.

L.

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Bears!

My first sighting of the year.  I know they’ve been around but I hadn’t seen one until last night.  And not only one but two!!  A mama and a baby.  It was pretty cute watching them work their way around the cul de sac, starting at my house.  They toppled green bins, which I’m hoping were either empty (mine) or locked so they couldn’t get into the food waste, as they went along.

Gym day today….that’s my plan.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday….at least 3 times a week.  My legs are still sore from my “orientation” on Monday so not sure just how many squats I’m going to be able to get in without not being able to get back up!!  The good news with my orientation was that I’m not in as bad shape as I thought!!  Still not great but I was pretty sure all the measurements they do were going to be in the “red” zone.  Luckily all, except the hydration one, were in the yellow….so I’m your average sort of unfit person!  I can easily deal with the hydration….I will consciously now drink more water….at least for a while!

It was kind of a neat thing they use to measure all this stuff……how accurate it is, I have no idea.  You take your shoes and socks off an stand on this thing that looks like a scale.  Somehow it can figure out how much fat you have versus muscle, whether or not you are hydrated enough, bone mass, BMI etc….and your weight, of course.  This is a freebie that they offer as often as you want to have it checked.  In theory within the next month or so all my measurements will move to the lower “yellow” zone or hopefully into the “green zone.  Regardless of the mid yellow ratings the summary comes out that I’m “overfat”!!!

They also offer nutrition/dietary consultations….for a fee.  They seem to be pretty good and certainly didn’t push too hard but their goal is to get you hooked up with a personal trainer for a about $99, which I think was good for 4 sessions or something….I told him I just wasn’t into it that much, which he accepted no problem.  I just need to do something to keep me in reasonably good shape for my age…..which is  a great excuse to use when something is too hard, heavy, active etc. that you don’t want to do!!

Yesterday Bev and I made our cabbage roll soup.  It was pretty good….missing something but just not sure what……I think bacon!! (so much for heart health!!).  We had a nice big pot of it,  a little thicker than we’d hoped but can easily be thinned down with a bit more tomato sauce or even water….lots of flavor.  Tonight that is what dinner will be….and gluten free cornbread.  A recipe I’m going to try out using up some of the gluten free flour that I’d bought a few months ago.  https://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/gluten-free-cornbread/  It’s not dairy free, so no good for my DIL….but will maybe give that recipe a shot if this one works out.

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Managed to get 4 of these containers out of our pot of soup.  There is easily enough for 2 meals in each one.  One of mine will be for tonight and the other will go into my WELL ORGANIZED FREEZER later today.

 

I have to admit that the days I go to the gym I have a lot more energy…..assuming I can still move when I get home today, we’ll see if that holds true this afternoon!  I have my freezer to finish and a number of other things on my lists.  Winter is such a blah time for me.  It’s not really winter yet but if it’s not hot and sunny, it’s winter to me!  The last couple of days were really quite pleasant with lots of sun…I could handle that all “winter” but I’ve lived here long enough to know that won’t be the case so I just have to suck it up and make the best of those blah days….wine goes good with those days 🙂

L.

The Weather…..Soup Days!

A good bowl of hot soup is one of the best comfort foods at this time of year.

Rain, hail, thunder, lightening and wind……

 

I like making soup….it’s easy and always good to have a stash of it in the freezer for one of those days that you need something warm and simple for dinner.  Bev and I have talked about getting together and making a big pot to divvy up…..the plan is to do it soon, maybe one day next week.

I certainly won’t be making any green pea soup….I have enough of that to last the winter I think.  I still have a container or two of chicken/turkey noodle and one of butternut squash.  I’ve made “cabbage roll soup” before and it was really good and it’s really easy to make…..Bev’s likes it too so that’s what we’re going to do.  I think it’s a recipe that she got years ago from a restaurant that she used to go to for lunch when she was still working.  More stuff to go in my freezer….which will be all organized by then (hahahaha).

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Having small containers of soup on hand is a good thing for one person.  Those one person meals still challenge me…..unless I’m really craving something it just seems like too much work to prepare the whole nine yards of a meal for one person.  Having my daughter here definitely makes a difference.

I’ve joined a different gym, which I’m hoping I’ll go too way more often than the one I was at before.  I did pretty good before we went on holidays…..had no choice really because I had to get myself into some sort of reasonable shape to do the bike ride.  But after I came back……..hmmmm.

My friend Brenda also joined the same gym.  She is much more motivated than me so I’m hoping that rubs off…..having someone to go with makes it a bit more fun too.  This gym is one of those big nationwide places.  It’s just opened in the last few months and of course is offering to waive certain fees so I thought I might as well take advantage of that.   I can walk to this place from my house…..I probably won’t though, at least not if it’s cold or raining.

All summer I seem to keep myself way more active….all those outside jobs, whereas come winter you just want to cocoon yourself or hibernate (with a bowl of soup!).  At this age I’m not so worried about being all “buffed up” but just need to get into some reasonable shape….it’s the “heart health” that needs to be considered….and that type II diabetes that seems to creep up on people when then get to this age. This gym also offers tons of classes (all included)…..spinning, zumba, yoga (hot and normal) etc., monthly weight/fat measuring, meal planning and help from a personal trainer (for a fee!). So maybe, just maybe….I can get myself into a pattern or routine of going at least three times a week and maybe even hitting one of two of those classes they offer.

I hesitated to move to this gym just because it sort of has that reputation of being for all those muscle men…..you know the ones that grunt and groan lifting a 1000 pounds.  There are a few of them but luckily this place is huge and has a bunch of different areas that you can work out in.  I find in the mornings 90% of the people there are women of all ages and sizes.  They even have a womens only area if you’re not comfortable in the main parts of the gym.  Tomorrow I go for my orientation and setting up my plan of attack to get fitter……

My daughter has lost a ton of weight over the last couple of years and she’s done an excellent job of keeping it off.  She still manages to eat junk and fast food but also eats pretty healthy, limited fat and certain carbs etc.  When she gets on one of her healthy eating kicks it help me too.  It doesn’t last but I figure it’s at least helped….we’ll work on that too!

The other night we had “BLT’s without bread!  We added cheese, so not sure we saved a lot calorie wise but they were really good and along with some beans (protein….probably not the good kind but oh well) we had a great dinner that was surprisingly satisfiying and filling!

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The lettuce leaves are the bread….a bit of mayo and salt and people (lol….) pepper and you’re good to go!

 

We won’t even talk about what we ate the next few days…..one day at a time, one step at a time.

Sechelt friends are here for a couple of days so off to do fun things this afternoon and dinner at one of their favorite Chinese restaurants later.

L.

And On To Burgundy!

Up bright and early to catch our train(s) to Beaune, France.  Had time to grab a coffee and croissant from the hotel continental breakfast and that was it.

Arrived at Milan Centrale to find out that our train had had a schedule change!!  On Sundays sometimes they will add an additional stop or two…..and that is what they did on this Sunday!!  All this meant that our train arrived in Lausanne Switzerland exactly 1 minute after our connecting train to Dijon left!

It was a very picturesque train ride….beautiful countryside.  Unfortunately all the pics were out the train windows!!  The area coming into Lausanne, which is on the shores of Lake Geneva was lovely.

In Lausanne the lady at the ticket counter was very helpful in getting us on the next train….4.5 hours later!!  She also exchanged some Euros for us so we could have lunch and get a locker for our bags.  20 Euros equated to 18SF.  The locker supposedly held two large cases….it did, eventually!  Brenda had much more patience and perseverance that me.  After quite a struggle we did manage to get them in and then the stupid thing promptly ate 9 of our precious Swiss francs!  Of course the door wouldn’t lock….argh.  I waited there while Brenda went in search of some assistance….it was lunch time and the people in charge of the lockers wouldn’t be back until 2!  We hauled them back out and found a place at the station for lunch.  A bit of a shock costwise after Italy…..for a mear 14SF’s you got a Panini and a drink….that would have cost about 5 or 6 Euros in Italy.  I’m sure it would have been cheaper had we wandered a bit further but weren’t going to do that rolling our bags along.  Oh well…..Switzerland, from what we seen of it, appears to be an expensive place to visit….but very beautiful!

Finally just after 4:30 we were on our way to Dijon.  I had been through the station there once many years ago and seem to recall it being busy but not as confusing as it was….some construction which included elevators that weren’t working.  Lots of stairs to go up and down with our very heavy suitcases before sorting out which track our train to Beaune was going to be on.

Arrived in Beaune just after 6.  No taxis to be seen anywhere so a quick call, again….I’d already called to let them know we’d be a few hours late….they sent one for us.

Beautiful and very typical quaint French country style of hotel with a very helpful lady at the desk.  Our bike person arrived to give us the orientation and all the maps and other information for our self-guided bike tour and to introduce us to our bikes!!  A quick little tour around the parking lot to make sure the seats etc. were all good we were all set.

A walk down the road to one of the few restaurants that was open on a Sunday night was enough for one day.  The waiter was not the most pleasant person but the food and wine was good, which is really all that was important.  This was our first of two nights in Beaune so thought we’d save any wandering and touristy stuff for the next afternoon when the town was alive again.

Tomorrow was going to be our first bike adventure…..a loop route through some of the vineyards!  I’ll summarize our week long biking adventures in the next post….

L.

 

 

Re-usable Grocery Bags….

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I have a lot of them…..do I remember to take them with me when I go shopping????  Most of the time NO.  Besides the ones above I have at least 3 or 4 in my car….which I also never remember to take in.  I do have good intentions though and grab one as I’m going out the door when I’m going shopping….unfortunately it just gets added to the ones already in the car.  Once a month or so I bring them all back in the house and try the whole process over again the next few times I go.

Finally last night while having one of my tossing and turning moments, I came up with a brainwave idea on how to make use of some of them.

Does anyone else’s freezer look like this?

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It’s been a while since I cleaned it out….goodness only knows what I’ll find on the bottom!!

 

My plan was to get a new one….an upright one that you don’t have to unload and root through to find the one thing you are looking for.  I’m just not sure where I’d put an upright one.  The one I have is a good size for me and it fits nicely right under the window in the garage.  I clean it out once a year or so and it’s always fun and exciting (not!!) to find those prawns or package of ground beef….dated from the prior year or two…. or a lone freezie/popsicle on the bottom….and then there are the buns and loaves of bread….all put there with the good intention of actually using them one day….maybe for bread crumbs or stuffing or ?????

I have these hooks, which I love….they’re everywhere…..all different sizes.  Behind doors, in my laundry room, in my ensuite bathroom….stuck around the side of the vanity which is where I hang my necklaces.  Anyway they are handy dandy things to have around.

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SO…..I am going to attach them to the inside of my freezer, then hang a bag on it.  There will be one bag for beef, one for pork, one for chicken, one for fish and if I have enough room one for frozen veg and other miscellaneous stuff (like those bacon wrapped scallops I’d forgotten about that I found lurking on the bottom!).

I will have to defrost it or chisel away at some of the built up frost first but this is a project for the next couple of rainy days to keep me busy.

This all sort of started last night when I’d gone looking for the prawns that I needed for dinner…..after pretty much emptying the entire freezer (and a few choice curse words….) to find them…I thought I really had to deal with this.  So much food either ends up getting wasted, or tasting (and looking) freezer burnt, it’s crazy.  What to do, what to do…..obviously my mind was working last night when the brainwave came to me.  And possibly because I went grocery shopping and again did not take in my re-usable bags and came home for another 5 or 6 plastic ones….they do get used for kitty litter, so not a waste, I guess.

Dinner last night was yummy again….two nights in a row!!  Simple pasta tossed in butter/olive oil that herbs and garlic had been sauted in, with some diced tomato and a handful or two of spinach all topped with some fresh parm cheese!

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Found this recipe on a weight watchers site….meals that are 7 points or less.  That doesn’t include the prawns or the cheese!

Tonight will be different.  My daughter has a dentist appointment after work and won’t be home for dinner….hmmmm.

 

L.

A Blustery Day!

IMG_2589Fall has definitely arrived!!

Last night and this morning it poured buckets…..and the wind!!  This morning it was so dark and blustery that the streetlights came back on!  With the wind the rain was coming in sheets.  Lots of seagulls around which is supposed to mean that it’s stormy at sea….thank goodness I’m not heading out on a ferry today!!

Now a couple hours later it’s still blustery but bright and sunny….if only every fall day was like it is now…..I’d be very happy!

I think this is my least favorite time of year.   Only because the weather is so unpredictable…..that said I live on the “wet” coast so we certainly expect rain but you just don’t know from one day to the next what it’s going to be like.  The temps can fluctuate like crazy too…..hat, coat, boots and umbrella one minute and the next you’re peeling off the layers because it’s warm and sunny.   I know, I know…..the pretty fall colours and all that, which I do like, I just wish we had more rainless days to get out and enjoy them.

And of course the leaves……ack!!  Millions of them from my maple tree.  I quite enjoy getting out and raking them….if it’s not raining.  It’s a fun thing to do when the kids come over on the weekends.  I have enough leaves to keep them busy for many, many weekends!!

I always find dark, dull days a little depressing…..and any motivation I have disappears.  But it is what it is and you just have to make the best of it.

I’ve just finished reading a great Conde Naste article about the Greek Islands…..I’ve been to a few of them but so many more to see one day.  It also made me really miss summer!  Our last big trip together was to Greece.  It had been on our bucket list since we got married many eons ago.  I love it there…..we did Athens and then spent 2+ more weeks island hopping.  What a great way to experience all that Greece has to offer.  Each island and their towns was a bit different.   And the food!!  All really good and so reasonably priced….except maybe for Rhodes and Santorini.  But even there we were able to find some little out of the way places that were good and lots of fun.  Through the day those two islands are inundated with cruise ship passengers…..lots of them!  One day on Santorini there were 7 cruise ships in port!!  We’d watch them sail in and then decide whether it was going to be an out and about day or one that we just spent by the pool.

Our Greece trip is one that needs to go into an album.  I know photo albums seem to be a little bit redundant these days but really….who actually sits down after the fact and looks back on their vacation pictures?  My grandkids like looking at the albums….for a while at least.  It also makes them ask questions…..who is that, where is this, what is that, when were you there etc.  They’d never sit long enough to look at them on the laptop….so this at least piques their interest.

Maybe today I’ll get around to doing another album.  I used to be really good at getting right on this after our holidays but for whatever reason for a number of them I just never had the time to sit down and get it done.  I have all the pics either on CD’s for USB’s so will have to go through them and decide which ones to get printed…..thank goodness there are still places to do that!  I know some of these trips are from quite a few years ago but maybe I’ll get my journals out and relive them in a post of two!

Last night for dinner I made Mongolian Beef!  https://therecipecritic.com/2015/08/slow-cooker-mongolian-beef/  OMG….it was absolutely delicious!!  Definitely one to make again.  Easy to make in the crockpot and a good dinner for fall or winter.  I should have taken pictures….it looked just like it did in the recipe.  Tonight it’s pasta of some sort…..I am very happy that my daughter lives here now otherwise I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be making stuff like this unless I was having company.  Even after almost 4 years I’m still challenged by cooking for one!

I’m heading out now while the sun is shining…..

L.

 

 

Milan….

Not too much of it though…..we were only there for a few hours unfortunately.  It was never really on my bucket list of places to see but after being there it is definitely some place I would love to go back to and spend a few days.

In summer it’s a busy, bustling, vibrant, fun place to be!  In June they had just set up in the duomo piazza for a music festival of some sort.  According to the desk guy at the hotel this is something that they do each year for most of the summer.  Lots of people, lots of music and just plain old lots of fun.  People wandering around with drinks in their hands and all behaving!!  What a fun place.

Our hotel was in a great location, only a block or two from the main piazza and the Galleria shopping mall, which is huge!

We left Bologna around 1PM and were in Milan a couple of hours later.  The Bologna train station is new….and very boring!!  Very efficient though……once you figure out where to go….it’s all underground and our taxi was able to drop us off right at the escalators that took us down to our train.  Certainly not like other train stations I’ve been in, except for maybe St Pancras in London.  It’s pretty sterile with only one fast food type café on the bottom floor.  There are a number of different levels that the trains come in on….the TGV, or Frecciarossas come in on level 4 or something, so quite easy to find your track!

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this was pretty much what the entire station was like…..

I didn’t take any pictures from the train enroute to Milan….some countryside but also a lot of industry along the way.

We had a very nice seat mate…..it was a he/she.  Brenda and I were struggling with our luggage because you had only the overhead racks to put it on and lifting 50 pounds, or pretty damn close to it, was not an easy feat.  This lovely person immediately jumped up and lifted our bags up there like nothing!!  Luckily, they also helped us get them back down at the end of train ride.

The Milan train station is unbelievable!!  Iconic I think is what you would call it…..huge and absolutely beautiful!

Our hotel was a 5 minute taxi ride from the station…..the drive took us past the main historical centre area which was crazy busy but got us pretty excited about getting out and seeing as much as we possibly could in our few hours there.

Our first stop was at a café for a celebratory drink to start the next leg of our adventure.  Had a fun time with the waiters and bartender, who tried to make special drinks for us but failed miserably.  They had things like White Russians, Whiskey Sours etc. on their menu but the guy was hopeless, even with our help.  After tasting a couple that he tried to make we decided to stick to Prosecco….pretty hard to make a mess of that!  Another waiter came along and told us we didn’t have to pay for those first horrid drinks…yeah!!  They also had “apertivo” there, which means if you order a drink you can help yourself to all the nibblies they put out around 5ish…..sort of a happy hour but with enough food to make a meal.  Pasta, antipasti etc….

We had so much fun there time got away from us and when we finally headed another block to the piazza the duomo was closed for the day…..oh well, just another reason to HAVE to go back.  I’m sure it is just as spectacular inside as it is outside!

Read all about it here.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milan_Cathedral  Who knew it was the largest cathedral in Italy!! (St Peter’s is in Vatican City….so technically not Italy!!)

We wandered around the piazza for a while…people watching, listening to the music and just generally enjoying the whole scene.

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Our next stop was the Galleria shopping mall….which is pretty amazing too.  Huge, multi-level with all the designer shops, restaurants and lots of bars and cafes…..where we stopped for yet another drink!!

We found a great little restaurant down a narrow street where we shared a delicious osso bucco (no pictures of the food….  😦  )  We kept an eye out for the size of the meals that were being served and decided that since we’d already had almost a meal at the apertivo bar we’d just share a dinner.  It was a good idea because the portions were huge and we had more than enough.

We spent the rest of the evening just wandering around listening to all the buskers, or street musicians, most of whom were really good!  Singing and/or playing cellos, violins….most were really good!

We of course had to see Teatro La Scala https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Scala .  From the outside it’s certainly not what I expected!  We actually walked by it a couple of times before realizing that was it….pretty non-descript building with no signs other than a couple of banners.  We were in the Piazza La Scala so knew it was there somewhere!! Some gala gala do appeared to be happening so other than sticking our heads in the door for a quick peek at the lobby we didn’t get to see inside the theatre…..another thing to do next time!!

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It was almost midnight by the time we headed back to our hotel….early morning for us the next day for the trip to France.

Definitely a city to go back to one day.  So much more to see and explore.  In hindsight, I wish we’d spent a couple of days there but truthfully nothing I read about it had really piqued my interest enough…..live and learn!

Today is a domestic chore day around here…..grass cutting being the number one thing on my to do list.  The weather is supposed to be awful for the next few days so getting the grass cut before that is a must otherwise it makes it difficult trying to plow through long, wet grass.  I never understood why it took Ken so long to cut the grass!!  Now I know of course.  It’s the weedeating the edges, emptying the bag 50 times (otherwise too hard to get the grass out if it gets packed in there….) then blowing all the mess off the road and driveway….   Hahaha….I thought he was just slow!

I have spent a few hours the last couple of days putting old pictures in albums….many more to go but yesterday the kids did have a look through them, which is why I’m doing this.

I also made enough green pea soup to feed a small army.  My son went home with 3 containers and I still have another 4 and that was after we’d had it for dinner!!  I won’t be making it again anytime too soon!

Off to Bev’s for dinner tonight to visit with her little granddaughter Eleanor.  I haven’t seen her for a long time….not since she started walking so will be a fun evening.

Our “mis-adventure” in Lausanne Switzerland and the rest of our trip to France will be next…..we found out that it is VERY expensive in Switzerland!!

L.

 

A Little Bit (?) More Of Italy

Really…..other than Milan….this will be the last of my Italy posts.  It’s just that there is so much that I’d love to share it’s hard to not go into great detail and post a zillion pictures.  Although the pictures don’t really do it justice….it’s really a spectacular country with so much to see!

Some of the countryside this time…..beautiful views, lovely and quaint small hamlets and hilltowns, fields and fields of sunflowers and vineyards…..

Caves….the Grotte de fasassi  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frasassi_Caves .  I have been to many caves and each and every one amaze me!!  Just incredible what mother nature can do.  Even more amazing is that the mountains have these huge caves inside them…..how on earth do they not just collapse on themselves??

The beaches….they are called “Blue Flag Beaches”.  Their idea of a sandy beach is a bit different than ours…..think rocks!  But they are beautiful unless you have to walk on them barefoot!!  The water such a pretty blue and even warm-ish.  Restaurants galore along the beachfront too.  Umbrellas and loungers rent for 15 – 18E a day depending on how close to the water you want to be.  http://www.italythisway.com/places/conero-peninsula.php

Loreto, not far from the Conero coast is a beautiful walled hilltown…..second only to Lourdes in France as a pilgrimage site.  The cathedral is beautiful….very medieval.  The stained glass windows are fantastic….

Some miscellaneous Le Marche pictures….towns, beautiful flowers, tree lined streets and churches….many, many churches, all different!

Lunch one day in the town of Corinaldo was in a restaurant that was actually inside the walls of the town!!  Very much like a cave…..very cool on a very hot day and terrific food too!

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And the mail……

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Our one day excursion into Tuscany….

Cortona on market day:

Montepulciano is famous for it’s vino nobili…..Brenda splurged on a bottle for us to enjoy with our dinner that night (40E!!!)  It was really good…… http://winefolly.com/review/montepulciano-wine-guide/  The Tuscan countryside enroute is so pretty….just like all those pictures you see of the vine covered hillsides with cypress trees lining driveways and roads. (Le Marche people use the cypress trees in cemeteries…..so they think the Tuscans are a little weird)

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an antipasti plate to go with our vino….

 

 

Sunflowers…..just coming into bloom as we arrived.  Hillside after hillside of them.  The oil is used for an additive to diesel fuel!!

Urbino….a fantastic town.  We had planned on doing Urbino and San Marino on the same day but found so much to see here we spent the whole day there!  Lots of great restaurants and a very nice museum….and of course lots of shops!!  All of which close for siesta so we had a very nice leisurely lunch while waiting for them to re-open.  We also took the little tourist train for a tour around the city and walls…..good to get your bearings and fun for 5E!  Great views of the surrounding hills.

Our last full day we did a wine tour with Marco’s Way  http://www.marcosway.it/  …..we should have done this the first day!!  He is pretty much the only guy in this area doing tours like this but he was wonderful and would highly recommend him if anyone heads that way.  Lots of great info about the area.  We did a couple of wine tastings, olive oil tour and tasting, cheese tasting at a local family farm and of course lunch….many courses or fantastic pasta, quail, rabbit, chicken and local salumi and cheeses.  All this with the beautiful Le Marche countryside as our backdrop from every location.

This is really it for Le Marche Italy pics…..Milan next!  But I was only there for a short period of time so unfortunately not a ton of info or pics to share on it….but another great city that I WILL return to someday!

I had a fun day with my granddaughter yesterday.  We read and looked at old pictures of her Dad and Auntie in the morning then we went to meet her Daddy for lunch.  After lunch it was bit of time playing Dora the Explorer games on the iPad (I had just as much fun as she did!!) then a movie and some popcorn.  So nice to be able to spend time alone with her….that doesn’t happen too often with any of them.  They’re so different when they’re on their own…..

L.

Last Of The Leftovers!

Turkey, turkey and more turkey……and ham too!

Yesterday I made my turkey stock for soup, to be used at a later date, and a turkey pot pie, which we had for dinner last night.  Turkey is really the best bang for your buck when you think about it!  I think I paid something like $12 for mine….it wasn’t that big, just over 12 pounds, hence the ham too, but it fed 10 people for dinner on Sunday, two people for dinner on Monday and three last night.  AND….chopped up turkey for turkey salad sandwiches!

I’ve got a couple brussel sprouts still lurking but they’ll be gone today and just enough leftover pumpkin cheesecake for dessert tonight.

Brenda is coming for dinner.  She’s been busy the last couple of weeks getting her Mom’s apartment cleaned out.  Her mom is 90 something and in hospital again due to a fall.  She’ll stay there until they can move her into a care home…..she’s just too fragile now to be on her own, even with daily care workers coming in.  The fall caused cracked vertebrae in her neck.  It could have have been a lot worse.  The best I can offer Brenda right now is dinner….one less thing that she has to deal with when she gets home later.  We’re having butternut squash soup that I made a month or so ago…..

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I made a lot and froze it in containers with enough for two….including the bacon bits to sprinkle on the dollop of cream for the centre.

 

…..she’s one of the few people I know that likes it!  We’ll have that and the turkey salad sandwiches tonight.

My little granddaughter is coming to spend the day tomorrow.  She’s so much fun and the easiest one to take care of…..she’s pretty self-sufficient and usually keeps herself occupied with whatever she finds.  Lately she’s really gotten into books….this is a good thing.  One book that has peaked her interest is my coffee table art book.  One picture in particular is her favorite……

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LOL……I’m not sure whether to laugh or be concerned.  I will just laugh for now but every time she comes over she has to get that book out and find “her” picture.  We’ll see if I can get her interested in some of the other artwork in the book tomorrow!

Ken’s birthday has come and gone on October 6th.  He would have been 67 this year.  My kids each “celebrated” by having something their Dad loved for dinner.  My son had a big juicy prime rib steak and my daughter had a piece of keylime pie.  I can’t remember what I had!  We weren’t big on presents for birthdays…..a card and some of his favorite treats was what I usually got him.  Cashews, pistachios, licorice allsorts and of course something chocolate.  I did buy some cashews and promptly ate all of them!!

Fall has really set in now….it rained again last night but has cleared up nicely this morning.  I’m hoping for crisp, sunny days…..I can handle those.

L.

It’s Been A Long Time

I can’t believe where time has gone!  I’ve meant to post many times over the last few weeks and then have gotten sidetracked with something else.

We had such a great summer and fall…..until today!  Cloudy, grey and rainy.

My life has become rather routine these days….nothing terribly exciting.  This is not a bad thing though.

I’m not working anymore…..I can’t say that I’m sorry about it.  The little bit of daily work that I was doing has now all gone out to the other office to do….they were getting paid to do it but because of some balancing issues they still wanted my part done in the local office.  It’s all been sorted out now and they get everything couriered out to them.  I miss the people though….it was a fun place to work and it got me up and out early those couple days a week.  I’m certainly not going to be looking for another job any time soon….I really do enjoy being retired!

Lots of yard work got done with all the good weather.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to cut my grass.  It does look pretty good now though but not sure I’ll use that weed and feed or turf enhancer again.  Paving stones are all in at the side of the house, grass seed around them is finally spouting and thickening up.  Still more work to do over there but I’ll get to that next summer.

Had a great mini-vacation with the old girlfriends a couple of weeks ago in Naramata.  The house we rented was absolutely gorgeous.  Tons of room, fantastic views out over vineyards and the lake.  Lots of fun, lots of laughs and of course…..lots of wine!!  I was so glad I went but it also made me a bit sad that I’d missed so many other of these little getaways with those guys…..oh well, you can’t go back can you so I will just make sure that I go forward and not miss any more if I can help it!!

No other trips planned for the fall.  Kind of nice to stay home and work on some of the things on my project “to do” lists.  There are lots and my biggest issue is staying focused on one of them at a time.

I’m sure everyone was bored to death with my trip posts from June but for those that weren’t I’ll carry on with the next installment soon….a bit more Italy and then on to that bike trip in France!!  Seems like that was ages ago now.

L.