Spring Trip

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In IL visiting the siblings. We have great plans for my weekend. Of course some of our plans involve a bit of wine.

Everytime I come to visit we try to hit a new winery. This time we visited Star View Vineyards. They have beautiful grounds surrounding their events/tasting building. We tasted five of their sweet wines which were all quite tasty. We left with souvenir glasses and a bottle of wine for later.

While shopping in town we got more scrapbooking supplies. Beth and I have decided that our distant descendents will likely be putting the final touches on our wedding scrapbooks long after our deaths.

We also stopped by the international grocery to grab a sushi mat. I hope you’re looking forward to see photos from the sushi rolling tonight. I expect a delicious train wreck.

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After shopping we hung out at Rustle Hill Winery with a pitcher (or two) of their white sangria. Tom opted for a Gunslinger beer. After getting sufficiently spiffled we came home so Tom could catch up.

Beth and I slowed our boozing down with chocolate chip cheesecake dip, graham crackers and port. I made the sweet dessert dip earlier yesterday. It is so completely worth the 10 minutes it takes to put together. Want the recipe? Stay tuned.

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Hope your week is going just as well. We’ll be hitting the Giant City State Park trails midmorning and picnicking in the woods.

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Spain Series: Cityscapes and Countrysides

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One of the great peaks we climbed in two weeks. The Alto de Perdon can be seen in the movie about the Camino. The view and cool breeze from the top was fantastic.

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Many of the large cities took pride in creating their own spin on the shell way marker. These in Estella were quite fun to walk beside, if a little overkill in frequency.
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When we began hiking we would look ahead and pick a hill we thought we would be climbing soon. Of course, there were a few hills I let out a sigh as we passed because I enjoyed the scenes and didn’t have to climb each one.

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There was a large recreational park we hiked through at the edge of Logroño and it was a breath of fresh air after so much city slogging. We passed many families fishing off the bridge, hiking, biking together, and having a good ole barbeque.
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I almost forgot to take a picture of these super freaky trees. Near as I can tell, they are sycamores, but they have been cut and trained so many ways they look a little sad and sparse. In some cities, they trained them to grow across the sidewalk into an arbor. Eerie considering how towering and majestic these big water loving trees can grow.
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This town square was packed the night before with children and adults. Only hikers and those who had to work were up before 9AM. Strangely quiet in the city, but it made breakfast at the cafe quite nice.
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There were several areas with a big shade tree and wide open, super green field. Every once in a while my friend and I would stop at a place of beauty like this and say “Holy cow! We’re in Spain!”
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Looking down at the little French border town of St Jean Pied de Port. From this perspective it looked like someone’s dollhouse collection.

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When we hiked through wine country we saw grapes as often as you’d see tobacco, corn and beans here in Kentucky.
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France had funny little streets. Old, old towns that were used more bt horses and walkers than the cars that zoom down them today. You had to jump on someone’s front stoop if two cars tried to pass each other.

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Wine country was fun. I was thankful for the wide open fields and the promise of good local wine at dinner each night.
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I must say we didn’t didn’t pass nearly so many of these olive trees nor almond trees (not pictured) but when we did they were always interesting. Olive trees are fairly squat and wide–likely trained that way as well. Almond trees looked similar to peach trees.

Spain Series: Bread, Coffee, and Wine

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If anything can be the staple of a country it must be the bread in Spain. Followed closely by the local wine and coffee.
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This was a snack or light breakfast that I discovered by way of the lovely Chinese woman I met on trail. Yan has lived in Spain for several years. During her time there she learned language, worked and found all the awesome foods.

Tostada con tomate means toast with tomato. The unlisted ingredients makes it delish too. Diced or mashed up tomatoes mixed with olive oil and spread on toast. Sprinkle with black pepper. Maybe it doesn’t sound too special, but I can promise it is good. I can’t wait for my garden tomatoes to come up so I can make this for my hubbster.
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Red wine (vino tinto) was another common sight in Spain. Every single town had their own brand of wine. I don’t just mean the wealthy towns either. I mean the po-dunk of the bunch with a population of 200 or so. You want to know what comes from the town of 350 where I grew up? Mullets.
The folks in Spain have as many bodegas (wineries) as we have cricks around Kentucky. Crazy frequent.
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Like I said, bread is a staple. We had some sort of bread with every meal. The particular meal (pictured above) is a breakfast made up bread, bread, and bread, with coffee and juice.
Really. There were two sweet breads and a toast for breakfast.
Other meals were usually served with a crusty French bread.
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Some wineries took their business very serious. This huge form of advertisement was along side the Camino and invited a photo.
Link to Irache free winery

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My first night in Madrid I had to try to wine. It surprisingly helped to settle my stomach, if just for a little while from the gawdawful jetlag. I swear the jetlag felt like a hard night of drinking that left one feeling hungover and unable to sleep it off. So I figured, why not have a glass of wine–
I could feel as though I had earned that sickness.
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I’m normally an anytime of day type of coffee drinker, but this espresso I had to be careful with. Typically, I drank the cafe con leche. Not cold milk, this was heated and sometimes frothy.

As you can plainly see, this was a midmorning snack of champions. Chips and coffee. There were some bread crusts and chorizo.

Just remember, if you end up in Spain and it is not during one of the strangely late meal times you can always have bread, coffee or wine.

Day 365(!!!): Free Wine

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I thought long and hard (a whole 45 seconds!) Before deciding what to post for my final 365 days blog.

I know I post a lot of selfie type pictures and a lot of food so I will share this final one.

Me in front of the FREE Irache wine fountain in Spain. Yes, free wine. It wasn’t actually that bad!
Peace to my wonderful blog followers. I promise to post more blogs and a new series when I return home from my trip.

Drink wine.
Eat food.

Live.

Kat’s V-Day 2013

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This Valentine’s Day went pretty well. I was very pleased that Kit and I decided to stay at home. I hate the stress of going out for a fancy dinner only to find every restaurant over-packed with other noisy people. Besides our food was better. First, we got semi-dressed up and were witnesses at a friend’s wedding. We had lunch with the happy couple and then went trudging to do the V-day shopping we should have done days before.
I was surprised how many men were snatching flowers with a desperate look in their eyes and how many folk there were in the grocery store.

Samplecards

This is a hugely popular DIY gift on Pinterest. The project is called 52 Things I Love About You. On each card I wrote something that I love about Kit. I copied some from another crafter, but I found that the ones that meant more were the personal ones. My Kit rarely wears pants. He is a shorts-man. Because of that fact I wanted him to wear shorts for our wedding. The phrase “Two Wild Banshees” is one of those things I catch him saying all the time.

cardsWhen Kit looked through the cards on Vday, he was chuckling and smiling all the way through. Because I wrote on the face of the cards, they can still be played with normally.

wineSupper started the only way it could; with wine. I bought a bottle of the same wine we had for our wedding (a peach chardonnay) and threw some frozen peaches into it. Perfecto.

kabobsHonestly, the first thing I did was begin marinating the shrimp and steak. The shrimp was medium, fully-cooked and frozen. I used a lemon ginger marinade that I should have started the night before, but the hours run away from me. The marinade for 1 pound of shrimp is:

  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/8 onion, chopped
  • 5/8 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro leaves (I used cubed bouillon style cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (dash)

I cubed up a steak and threw it into a gallon bag and tried to follow this steak marinade recipe: (I didn’t have W-sauce, oops!)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • dash of pepper

As you can see in the photo above, I skewered quartered small sweet onions, whole mushrooms (baby portabellas were on sale), whole grape tomatoes, and fat slices of red and green bell peppers. I baked these kabobs on a cookie sheet (I recommend putting aluminum foil on the trays to help with cleanup). Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 450F, flip them over and bake an additional 7-8 minutes. Thanks for the oven kabobs recipe, Sarra!

cccakeI made coca-cola cake for dessert. I failed to check my stock of butter and only had enough to make the cake and not the glaze that went on top. What makes coca-cola cake special or different from a regular chocolate cake? I honestly have no clue. Google is not helping a sister out either. It was a good recipe that I have to try again when I can do the glaze as well. I honestly love my mom’s recipe for crazy cake. This was more moist…almost like a light brownie.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying our present that we gave to each other. Our Roku is so much better than jewelry I may never wear. Tons of Netflix TV shows at our fingertips. In one month, the Roku has already paid for itself several times over because we were frequent users of Redbox.

Day 155: Needlework Owls

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I’m not really sure wwhat to call this piece of art. It is made with yarn but the stitches look to be embroidery style. Is this tapestry work?
It’s pretty neat to be sure. They used a fuzzy wild yarn for the fluffy feathers around the eyes.of he owl.

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The second owl was made using the same method and has quite the intense look.

I wandered around the lodge taking photos of all their wall art and I think I made the lady running the bar a little nervous.
I wonder if people just give random owl junk to their winery. It wasn’t tacky decorating just lots of cool owl pictures created using many different mediums.

A couple more owl best of’s that I will share in the next blog.