Summer clips

Summer comes and goes quickly… As I mentioned we are back to school and ‘the routine’ while folks on Orcas are still enjoying the last scraps of summer till Labor Day. I’m enjoying our own last weeks of summer vicariously through our large roll of photo imports and the thankfully persisting warm days and evenings. So get comfy cause I got some highlights of summer photos to share!

Waking up at 4.30am at the Anacortes Inn, (it’s no Hilton but is clean and does the job) the day after landing in Seattle, patiently waiting for day break and letting my DOD (81yrs old) sleep till we can’t take it anymore… The first glimpse of summer from the Anacortes ferry landing.

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Wendy tries a diet… teehee

Wendy tries a diet… teehee


Being a nutritionist, I’ve never been one to condone dieting. Or diets with names… either for the person who defined the diet nor the place from which it came. It’s so simple it’s mind blowing. When one consumes more calories than the body needs, one will indeed gain weight. Now of course there are variables involved. Primarily, physical activity and from where the calories are derived, a slice of pumpernickel or an oreo. These things certainly have an effect. But it is still so basic. What stands in the way of these simple calculations are our minds and emotions. One doesn’t require a degree in nutrition to know these things and for the most part within the structure of a decent education, we learn what we need to eat to maintain a healthy weight and physical well being. So why in God’s name is it so easy to stuff our gobs till we are sick. Eat because we are sad. Eat because we are bored. Eat because it is raining. Eat because we are celebrating. Eat. Eat. Eat.

I’ve discovered my own personal trend. I tend to work hard for 4-6 months, exercising and using some form of  magic emotion portion control. I get “in shape”. Then I sort of coast off that for about 3 years until I notice the circulation starts waning around my bra straps leaving red indented tire tracks in my back and shoulders. The same starts happening around my waist and I look down a) to make sure I can see my belt and b) to see just what notch on this belt I’m actually penetrating. Continue reading

Seville part 3 – tapas & streetlife

Seville part 3 – tapas & streetlife

The atmosphere and vibrancy of Seville, influenced I’m sure by the sun and warmth, is something to behold.  It’s one of those places I plan to return. Someday, I’ll spend a month reading, writing, walking and eating….. and blogging.

Click to enlarge

People enjoy being outside day and night. Who wouldn’t when the sun shines and the air is cool. I’ll remind you I did grow up in Florida, and too much of anything, including sun, has its downside. But my life with sun was like 2+ decades ago. So at this point sun everyday sounds dreamy.

And how about a little street music?






Or iceskating?

And they are still out at night…..







Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the fresh oj and coffee. I like my coffee strong with a little milk and pretty sweet. The sugar packets in this country were fat with about 3tsp of sugar/pkt.



One morning we bought churros for a euro at a little mini booth, took them next door, sugared them up and ate with… you guessed, sweet coffee. Once again, a photo after being half eaten. I just can’t get the camera out before I start chowing.

And lastly, as I’m all jazzed up about this video option… a parade clip.

Seville Pt 1

Seville Pt 1

We arrived in Seville without problems, dropped the car rental off at the airport and taxied into the Santa Cruz barrio near the cathedral. Again in awe of the unknown we stared out the car windows grasping the newness of another city. Traveling with 5 now, required us to take two taxis and they clung to each other, front bumper to back, straight for 20 minutes through streets so small you could spit from one side to the other.

Our apartment, actually divided into 2 separate places, spewed charm and authenticity with a small central courtyard up through the 3 stories. The kids in one and O and I in the other. Plenty of privacy but we could check up on when they went to sleep at night through the random glass tiles in the floor. We enjoyed a rooftop terrace where the sun beat down in the day. Two straight, heavenly weeks of sun. Feel like I’m charging up a trunk load of D size batteries with sun to take back to hamburg.
Our days in Seville have been mixed with sightseeing, loads of walking and hours of reading. This is a place I’d like to return. I love the bells every morning at nine that chime long enough to wake the dead. They start at 9am and like a puntual snooze button again at 9.10 9.20 and finally at 9.30. The city wakes up.

The Alçazar palace on New Years Day was a highlight, but for me just walking, absorbing the vibrancy of this city, standing at a bar in the morning for cafe con leche and churros, standing at a bar at night for cerveza and tapas….brilliant. Our barrio (neighborhood) is probably the most popular for tourists, but I don’t mind. We did walk about 2 hours one morning north near the Macarena neighborhood, wandering the streets seeing a little more real daily life.

The Alçazar, originally a Moorish fort and now a Unesco World Heritage site is a royal palace that still serves the royal family in the upper quarters. I tried to imagine little children here. I could not. But I could see them in the beautiful garden chasing the peacock.





I preferred the Alçazar over the Alhambra partly because it was easier to take in and partly because we took it upon ourselves to tour and learn, instead of a guided tour. Wouldn’t you have liked to be the one to come up with the hand held guide in 13 different languages?

brains exploding with information

Varieties of jamon. I want to put one in my suitcase.

Following our tour of the Alçazar, our next stop was the grocery store for New Year’s Eve dinner. With the kids and costs, we weren’t particularly interested in the set menu options offered by restaurants. All I can say is wow. I love visiting food stores in foreign countries. Highlights were legs of jamon, an entire aisle of jarred olives, peppers and asparagus that you didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford, loads of crazy fish options, and enough tuna and anchovies to feed a pescatarian platoon. Love it.

New Year’s dinner was a simple paella with shrimp and chicken, then we headed out for the evening. I know I’m not winning any awards here with the pics but the tiled table was pretty.




Plaza Neuva above… We parked our car just outside the old city streets and took a taxi here. Felt like we were miles and miles away. Actually, Granada is only about 1.5 kilometers square. We are a fifteen minute walk from our car!

On our sunny drive to Granada, we made one unscheduled stop in Estepa…. Keep the spontaneity alive I say. Wikipedia states it being founded in 1241, but there seems to be about another 1000 years of history dating back to Romans. I’ll let you continue that history lesson. It’s also famous for producing 45,000 pounds of Christmas biscuits made with lard, in 30 factories, with about 60,000 employees, of which about 90% are woman, from Sept to Dec.


First meal in Granada a bit heavy on the mayo but I love it.


Our days have been spent walking, exploring and eating. We spent a lot of time walking in one of the barrios near us, an area originally settled by gypsies, dwelling in caves, where we visited the museum here in Sacromonte.




Another afternoon spent in the Arabic Hamman baths gave us all a new lease on life. The world an even better place after 2 hours spent here



I heart Iberico jamon


We flew into Seville, Spain about 9pm Wed night. After a small struggle at the Avis counter deciding on insurance, we hit the road to Granada. Why might you ask did we choose this route? Even when I questioned myself after making these plans 3 months ago, I realized after a full circle of thought, for very good reasons that I won’t bore you with now.

Does that ever happen to you? You make plans way ahead. Then you are on your trip and asking, “Why did I choose this or that” …and you spend about an hour thinking and re-researching in order to return to square one and go, “Oh right, that’s why.”

Our first night, we went rogue…. No reservations. Just winging it. Like the time I showed up in Baja Mexico for 5 weeks with no plan and ended up crossing the Sea of Cortez on a sailboat with an old man named Richard. I was to cook for him in exchange. But due to a storm, was unable to remain vertical and ate saltines for 2 days. Once to the mainland, we stayed on the boat for 2 weeks cooking, touring, playing cards and chess. … But that’s another story.

So here’s our first night at a roadside hotel. And after our first breakfast in Spain, we continued on to Granada. Fresh squeezed oj. Great coffee con leche.



Veggie quiche and a collage

There are many versions of baked eggs. One of my favorite cookbooks containing all egg based recipes is Michel Roux ‘Eggs’

As much as I love a light quiche, this is a denser, eggy version of quiche if you don’t want to use as much cream (or you don’t have any on hand). I started with my pie crust in the morning.  See below for crust recipe.

This is a tried and true savory crust recipe from cooking school and in the crust bible:

  • 250g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 50ml (call it a gram) cold water
  • 1 yolk
  • Flour, salt, butter pulsed in cuisinart.  Place in bowl or on counter.
  • Add water and yolk. Lightly knead to bring ingredients together and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30min.
  • Roll out, place in pie dish, cover with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or garbanzo beans like I do.(If your fridge is bigger than my Euro under the counter you can put rolled out crust back in fridge for another 30 min or longer.
  • Bake at 400° for 12 min
  • Remove weights and paper, bake another 5-8 min.

The filling is on the collage. Except I forgot green pepper, zucchini, salt to taste and maybe a grate or 2 from a fresh nutmeg…. and since what I wanted to say is it took me as long to figure out how to do the collage as it did to make this quiche (including the crust making and resting, pre-baking, cooking the filling and cooking the quiche itself), I just thought I’d add it on here. Did I mention the app was free?

  • Sauté your veggies, cool slighty, put in pre-baked pie crust.
  • Mix eggs and whole milk and gently pour over sauteed veggies
  • Place slices of chevre on top
  • Bake at 400° for 30min.

And you can be completely creative with this….. Quiches are the perfect place to use your last scraps of things including veggies, meats, cheeses.

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