Top 5 Favorite Toys from Childhood

This turned out to be a mildly challenging list to come up with because during much of my childhood I enjoyed many make believe game. I tried to pick props from some make believe games so I can say I had a favorite toy.
So here are my top five favorite toys in no particular order:

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When I wasn’t running around on all fours as a dog, I was pulling around my own pet dog. I think I enjoyed the doggy cluck noise and flopping ears the most. I had no clue, until Googling, that this toy was so old! Around the middle 1960s apparently; even my husband had one when he was a boy. I am pleased to report that my nephew drags around my old pull-dog when he visits grandma.

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Tree image source
Just like link source, my family always piled our stuffies (stuffed animals) under the Christmas tree. My stuffed anims were more than tree ornaments, they were snuggly bedfellows, confidants and actors.

I have tons of fond memories of my brother and I reading a story from our kids picture bible then acting it out with our stuffies for the family.
I have to say, I thought our bible plays were pretty cool. We acted out fairy tales too from time to time. As an adult, I wish for a rainy day with my brother and a pile of actors.
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Another game that I have a fondness for was playing kitchen. This blogger Happy Hooligans has the right idea in keeping her day care kids entertained. My mom wasn’t exactly pleased with this game because it always ended in her having to wash weeks of plant materials out of her favorite soup pots.

Almost any container that could hold a large amount of fluids would work for this game. I even used a sea shell once….and got grounded forever.

The best games I recall were when I had a lid with a pot so I could make a hot stew over a period of several days of play. The other ideal weather were rainy days, I remember making chickory and grass seed coffee one time during a rain. Not just stirring, building a “fire”, but especially the adventring for magical or rare ingredients.

Love this game. Probably where my love of real cooking has come from. I still feel adventurous when I go to the garden for herbs to add to the soup pot.

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There are so many possibilities for blankets. My all time favorite game–that I still play as an adult–is the holcher globber. Perhaps other families would call this the blanket monster.

The rules are simple. Find a large blanket and crawl around until you can attack and absorb another person. It is wise to pick a large blanket if you intend on absorbing a lot of players.

The monster cannot extend limbs beyond the blanket, so no reaching out and grabbing ankles. Mostly, there is little talking unless under blanket communications for directions are necessary. Mostly growling or grumbling the words ‘holcher globber’.
Much like sardines, when everyone in the house is eaten the game is over.

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lego image source

My brothers were the real kings of Legos, but I did get my build on as a kid. My brothers collected and made awesome castles, ships and worlds from their legos. I was lucky to get a four walled building most days.
I played with Legos much the same way that my older sisters created and executed elaborate doll house adventures. Just another medium for imagination. Of course I loved creating female characters with horses and dragons atop barns.

Do you harbour warm memories for particular toys from your youth?

Spain Series: Food pt. 2

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After our first long day of hiking we enjoyed a big Pilgrim’s meal at one of the two cafes in Roncesvalles. The pasta, wine and bread was gobbled quickly, but Jess and I both had to pause before digging into our fish. Neither of us were experienced with eating too many fish bone-in. Luckily, we had awesome dinner mates at our table. They were patient and encouraging while we fiddled with forks and fingers. After our first few bites we needed very little encouragement to continue.
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Like I mentioned, the pasta was typical part of the pilgrim’s menu. Some were better than others. After hiking all day, we ate every bit and slept well with full bellies.
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We had several different types of pre-packaged desserts. The cup of flan was on a quality on par with the snack pack pudding cups. A Spanish couple at our table taught us how to flip the cup and hit it against the heel of our palms before opening. This knocked the sugary caramel syrup down so it blended better.
image Museo del Jam on was a chain fast food joint. It was a novelty to us in that everyone stood at the bar or around the shop-there were no seats. During busy times, you couldn’t stir them with a stick. It was a mingle, eat and drink type place. The most popular menu choices were dirt cheap. We bought bocadillos (boe-kah-dee-ohs) and glasses of beer. The bocadillos were thick, crusty sandwhiches with a thin slice of Spanish style ham in the middle.
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I wish I had gone back to this cafe when I wasn’t jetlaggin’, but it was still good. We had fresh churros, coffee and hot chocolate.
We could see the cook pulling the dough, twisting it and dropping it into the fryer.
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The hot chocolate was a bit of a surprise. It was perfect for dipping churros, but was almost took much of a pudding conaistancy for drinking.
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The fun Spanish and English menu for the Churros y Chocolate that we went to in Spain. After looking at the menu, I pretty much wanted everything.
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This part of the meal was a surprise to us. We ordered it, I loved it. Then we looked it up on my phone back at the hostel.
“Sepia plancha” is grilled cuttlefish. Cuttlefish are boss at camouflage so I felt a little bad, but it tasted so darn good. The consistancy was similar to scallops or squid.
image We also split an empanada for our first meal in Spain. It was yummy too. Perhaps I could make empanadas here at home. Anyone know an easy version of this?
image At the same meal were some veggies in a light vinegar. They had a good flavor and a nice crunch. Much like a salad served before the meal and along with the bread.
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Along the Way, we stopped at a cafe that had an outdoor oven where they baked pizza, tortillas, and other good things. A tortilla in Spain is an omelet. Believe it or not, even the Fanta soda tasted different.
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Fell in love with an adult beverage while I was in Spain. Apparently this is a thing in USA too, I just didn’t have a clue.
In Spain it is called a pica or clara and in the U.S. it is called a Shandy.
Whatever you call it, it tastes awesome! Fill a glass half full with light beer and fill it the rest of the way with lemonade. Best cocktail ever. I have been drinking them at every opportunity since I have been home.

Spain Series: Food pt. 1

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This was the main course of the meal in a small town called Obanos (Oh-bahn-nose). If it looks like a mystery meat drowning in a peculiar sauce then you’d be spot onto how it tasted. It was supposedly chicken, but the other folks who ordered beef got a similar murky looking plate. Thankfully, I had filled up on the previous soups and starters before the main course. No pix of the starters—that’s how good it was!

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The dessert at Obanos was good, but I wasn’t sure where to put it. I believe they called it tiramisu? I can’t recall. It was a good cake with super sweet raspberry sauce and fluffy whipped cream.
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The meal we had in Cirauqui. Although the Spinach soup doesn’t look like much it had a phenomenal flavor! It also warmed us straight to the bone. The dining room was a little odd as we went downstairs to the basement underneath the hostel to eat. It was a very nice dining area.
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In Estella, we checked into our albergue and went in search of food. Yan (our friend from China) knew a good place to eat and we did eat well!
We had sandwhiches and gobbled our weight in patatas bravas. Brava has many meanings, so I assume the translation would be hot potatoes. Fierce potatoes sounds more awesome though.
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Yan–ever brave–ordered this to share with us. I was shocked that i liked it. I ate it, but was quite hesitant. This was squid and the sauce was made from its own ink. The sauce and meat were both good. I ate it on a crust of bread. Too fishy for Jess’ taste.
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Ice cream or helado (el-ah-doe).
Mango flavored! It was so good! Very creamy with that unmistakable fruity mango flavor. It wasn’t a super common flavor, but we did find it in many of the ice cream shops we went to.
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Green soups seemed to be a common starter when we ordered the Pilgrim’s menu along the way. Although the presentation was better than some we ate the flavor was not as complex. The hostel was being run by two couples from Holland. They spent 3-6 weeks working there then another set of people would come run the hostel.
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Pasta was the typical second or main course in the Pilgrim’s menu. This was some sort of bolognaise sauce–or so I was told by my more traveled eating companions.
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A custard was a typical postre (poe-strey). It was a surprise when we got bread pudding. I make bread pudding so I am a bit particular. I was satisfied with the quality–the whipped cream was yummo too. The people from Europe at the table were more wary of it than I expected.
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My coworker told me I had to try paella (pie-eh-yah). Which, near as I can tell, is a baked skillet of saffron rice and some sort of meat. I wish I could have found some grandmother to make it for me. Homecooking always wins. This was quite good and makes me want to experiment with saffron.
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This was an adventure of a meal. Yan, Daniel (hiker from Sweden) and I met our new friend and hospitelero (hostel host) for supper in Logroño. He decided to order for us and we all ate family style. This is how we ended up with a salad that included a goat cheese (I think), a balsamic vinegar dressing and thin slices of cooked duck. The duck is what looks like the purple slices of meat. It was an awesome salad. I ate mostly that.
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Blood sausage. Despite its terrible appearance and name. It tasted much like liver; that high in iron taste. It was mixed somehow with rice so I’m not sure what order they did things in to make it taste the way it did.
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More of the fancy pinchos (similar to tapas) we ate wers octopus on bread with other veggies. It was delicious and I would have gotten another one if they had more. can you see the tentacles!?
The ordering style at the bar involved pointing and stating a quantity. Because of that, I have no clue what they called this type of food. It was pulpo something. Pulpo just means octopus.
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Along the Way we ate at an outdoor oven cafe. It was lovely and their food was flavorful. Jess got the asparagus pizza and she was lucky I didn’t steal it from her.

There was too much good food for one blog post! I am splitting this into two parts so I don’t make my readers too hungry. So wipe away the saliva, fix yourself a PB&J and wait for another post about food that is coming soon.

Day 220: Lentil and Sausage Soup {Recipe Revealed!!}

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This is just a picture from my preparation stages. Keep in mind that whenever I use a recipe I rarely follow it exactly. They’re more like guidelines (stop reading this blog like Geoffrey Rush).

This soup is one that is pretty darn easy. Chopping and dumping for the most part.

Rinse and soak a bag of dried lentils in a bowl of cool water (lightly salt if desired).
Get a large soup pot and start browning a pound of sausage. The best ever sausage is the JD’s Italian sausage but beggars can’t be choosers.

Get to chopping while you’re waiting. Add more water to your lentils—more soaking means less cooking time. Try to allow them to soak 30 min to an hour.

When the sausage is completely browned then add one chopped sweet onion, 4 cloves of minced garlic and 4 stalks of celery (washed and chopped).
Cook til transluscent.

While you’re waiting for celery and such to cook: open can of diced tomatoes (Italian or garlic seasoned all the better).  Shred 1 cup of carrot (Around 2 to 4 peeled carrots).

When ready, drain lentils and dump in soup pot, dump in carrot, tomatoes, 4 cups water and 2 cups of chicken broth.
Don’t worry! It will look freakishly watery. Lentils soak up tons and tons of liquid. I usually end up with a hearty soup even with all that water.

Add spices: garlic powder, black pepper. If you used regular sausage instead of Italian then add parsley, oregano, thyme and basil.
Be careful adding salt because most broth/bouillon and sausage have plenty.

Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook until lentils are tender. If you soaked lentils prior to this it won’t take very long. I give my about 30 minutes just for the flavors to meld.

Serve warm and top with shredded cheese if you like.

My husband hates tomatoes and celery but he adores this soup. I can make anything edible for my sweetie.

Just to recap:

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And the ingredients were…

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I hope you enjoy this as much as my hubster.

Day 144: Dinner is Served

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I have taken oodles of pictures of dishes I have made and this meal, although simple, was exactly what I needed.

Kit and I were both pretty pooped from jobs and farm work. We knew we were hungry but couldn’t visualize any effort going into it.

Kit sliced up a block a cheese while I scrounged in the cubboards looking for non-tomato soups.

The end result is as you see it. Mugs filled with heated hearty vegetable soup and two cheese grilled cheese sandwiches.

Awesome. Awesome dinner. I may have grilled cheese night again but plan ahead by having sautéd onions and mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, and homemade soup.