My Base is Growing…!

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My base of readers is growing slowly but steadily!
I hope to keep posting blogs about things that interest or inspire you!

I currently have 106 followers on wordpress and by email subscription.

There are over 260 people following on other platforms that have the opportunity to see my blog posts as well.

Plus, my mom recently told me that even though she can’t figure out how to subscribe, I should add one more to my count of faithful readers.

More than the stats and data, I appreciate that each individual takes a few minutes out of their busy day to chuckle at my thoughts, comment on my feelings, and enjoy my pictures (mostly of food).

Hugs, confetti, and ‘thank yous’ all around. You cats sure know how to make a girl feel special.

~Kat~

Spain Series: Lodging

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After our first (long) day hiking around the Pyrenees mountains a long haul with perhaps 100 bunk mates was a welcome sight.

The ancient beauty of the albergue was not to be outshone by the many pairs of bunkbeds. The converted churches and monasteries made the prettiest ceilings for sore and tired pilgrims.

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One thing I could hardly believe were the frequency of warm and hot showers. The picture above is the Jesus y María in Logroño and with over a hundred people on two floors in bunkbeds I got a hot shower. Spain must have magical water heaters.

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Not too surprisingly, toilets were more hit or miss. From the toilet/handsoap quantity to the Easter egg search that had to be performed on the flush handle almost every visit.

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The basic formula of an albergue (Al-bur-gay) was a room with double bunk beds, shower and toilet combo (not always split for sexes), a kitchen, possibly a laundry area and a shoe rack designated for dirty shoes that were not allowed in the dorm rooms.

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Some of the private hostels veered away from the dull white on white color scheme. We were always a little shocked when we came upon bright pink or orange sheets. What a treat!

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This was a very visually appealing albergue along the way. Although it was very plain it just had a good feel. Deep brown ceiling and floor with the lighter colors on the bunks themselves.

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Ciraqui (sear-raw-key) had some freaky art and dripping paint effects in the process.

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Although one night we worried about finding an inn with room. We never had to worry about staying in one of these wild looking rock shelters.

So, what can be said about shared living spaces?
• Don’t gawp in the bathrooms.
• Wear earplugs and an eye mask.
• Don’t be easily offended by smells.
• Stay in a hostel when you go to Europe—the experience was very enjoyable.

Spain Series: Travel

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During our time in Europe we used trains, planes and automobiles of various sorts. (Sorry, I had to!)

Our first leg of the journey involved driving to Louisville and getting through airport security.
We were ready and left on time but got multiple updates texts saying our flight would leave two hours earlier and then only one hour earlier….of course by the time we arrived at the airport (breathless!) the flight was delayed 30 minutes.

After around 12 hours on a plane and arriving at breakfast time in Madrid we were dragging.
Security was shockingly simple, the uniformed official did not even say ‘hola’. Strange compared to the questioning we get on the U.S. side.

And stumbled to the curb to find a taxi. One horrendously expensive cab ride later we made it to the Barbieri Hostel near Puerta del Sol. I recalled my Spanish teacher going over the differences in floors after we got turned around. Ground floor and first floor are the same thing in the USA, but the ground floor (planta baja) comes first then the first floor (primera planta) comes second.

Barbieri was great and Ana was super patient with our groggy minds. The only downer we experienced was while we were exhausted we could not check into our room until 2:00PM.

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The train station that we scoped out the day before we left Madrid had an epic entrance. However, we had to walk around the side to see this because the construction blocked our view. Inside it was sunny, noisy and housed a garden with reaching palms and a big turtle pool.

Sitting and waiting for the train to come was a little odd. We had absolutely no clue which platform ours would arrive at and listening for an echoing voice in Spanish announcing platforms was a little nerve wracking.
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However, like most of our other travels it was easier than I had guessed. There were screens everywhere with times and platform numbers and the PA was announcing in English as well.
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I was halfway hoping for a whoosh! of air or a rushing crowd to push me between two platforms but this was not a Harry Potter adventure. Finding our correct coche and seat was just as easy.
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We had much more room and comfort than our airplane seats but the feeling was much too familiar. Thankfully the ride was fun and I forgot I was in a confined space again.

I liked the rhythm of the ride and the sights we enjoyed during our 3.5 hour train ride. The only part that was uncomfortable was when the train went through the numerous tunnels and the pressure changed rapidly. Even the travel toilets were nice.

The experience of getting back to Madrid by bus at the end of the trip was quite enjoyable. I don’t have any pictures but if I had taken one of myself all you would have seen were my huge eyeballs.

Catching the bus was a bit hard because there were about five buses at the tiny station when mine should have arrived. There were some other Spanish pilgrims that helped me (thank goodness!).

A quote from my trail journal regarding my bus trip:
My eyes were as big as platters while [the driver] cut thru the construction zones and tiny streets of Najera. I think my stomach and anus have unclenched.
Once I reached the highways and countryside I relaxed, but every small town sidestreet we maneuvered was a miracle. I was truly amazed at his driving.
We also a enjoyed English and Spanish pop music, including this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC9Uz7x7pXM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Chewy Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

These sound like my kind of cookie. Anybody want to have a cooking date with me? I /might/ split the batch with you, depending on how awesome they are.
-Kat

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I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to bananas..and once they start to turn banana-bread-ready brown, I absolutely cannot stop myself from using them in a baked good. My usual go-to recipe is Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, but even my friends have become a little tired of my usual fix! So, as an alternative I decided to search for a banana cookie recipe (which is surprisingly hard to find), and after pages of Foodgawker research, I eventually came across these delicious looking chocolate chip banana oatmeal cookies.

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Fresh Tomato Tartines with Bacon Jam & Bacon Salt

Check out the recipe for Bacon Jam especially! -Kat

365 Days of Bacon

How do you make a “tartine,” you ask? Well, you take a reg ol’ BLT.

And you kick it up a notch.

And by “kick it up,” I mean,

Spread you some Bacon Jam and Bacon Salt on that sucker

La dee freaking da.

Voila! Suddenly your BLT is a fancy-schmancy-gourmet-cuisinish “tartine.”

(But you will still eat it with your fingers)

This is the last of the great recipes from Chef Ani’s Whole Foods “A Salute to Bacon” cooking class that I attended.

 

FRESH TOMATO TARTINES WITH BACON JAM & BACON SALT

Yield: 8 appetizer servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 leaves butter lettuce
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 6-7 leaves fresh basil, shredded just before serving
  • Bacon Jam at room temperature (recipe follows)
  • Bacon Salt, to taste
  • fresh black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spread lettuce with Bacon Jam (recipe below).
  2. Top with a slice of tomato and a bit of shredded basil.
  3. Sprinkle…

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