My Travel Journal

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West Virginia
When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs below).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 16, 2016

I'm Putting This on My Calendar for Next Year!

I read about this every fall (when it's too late to sign up - they completely sell out) and think it would be fun to do so I'm putting a spring-time reminder on my calendar to find out when tickets will go on sale.  And what really inspired me this year to try and do it next year is my recent trek to the grocery store.  I had been out to lunch and decided I'd swing by Kroger's on my way home.  To do that I had to go under one of the railroad track viaducts and as I turned on to that road and could see the tracks, there was this beautiful railroad car slowly and very quietly rolling across followed by another.  It really shocked me and I even stopped briefly but realized I couldn't sit there watching them all go by with traffic piling up behind me.  So took a detour from the store and found the first street I came to that would let me get right up to the tracks and here they came.  I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted but here are a few.

 The Marshall locomotive is always parked here - if it's ever been used I've missed it.  But I think it's great to see it all spiffy.
This is the main center portion of the old Huntington train station.  It's still in use as something to do with trains I think, but the actual train station is a kind of dismal cement block one story building on down a few streets.
And this gent is Collis P. Huntington, an important figure in Huntington's history.
I was told that all these refurbished cars are, for the most part, privately owned - either by companies or individuals - and I don't know how it all works actually.  I don't know if the privately owned ones are used by the owners, their friends, families, whatever or if they rent them to Amtrak for the trip or ...???  But I sure love seeing them.  I've loved trains since I was a girl and saved my pennies to buy a model train and then didn't really know what to do with it.  Just ran it around and around the track mostly.  One of my big thrills when we visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (which we did at least once a year) was to gawk at their model train display.  It was truly fantastic - don't know if it's still there or not.

If anyone is interested in this trip or one of their other offerings, the website is  They have longer trips to Washington, DC and New York City where everything pretty much is included - hotel, meals, etc.

October 13, 2016

A New "for one" Recipe and Bread Diary Part II

Well, I always seem to announce in my posts that I'm going to do this, that or the other and then often times never get around to it. This time I thought I remembered posting my latest "I'm going to" and went through my last two posts and nope, I didn't. And this time, I've been doing it!!! 

Ah, the vagaries of life...

Anyway, my vow was to go through most all my "cooking for one" cookbooks, select recipes that sounded good and easily doable,
make up shopping lists for each one and start trying them. And I've been doing that. So far, I've made SIX! And out of all those, the one I made last night is my favorite and I took a picture of it and have posted the recipe on my RECIPES page (tab above). It is Eggplant-Hummus Pizza for One and I hope you don't let the eggplant turn you off. I really enjoyed it plus which I think it would be just as good with veggies other than eggplant.

On my lists there are two that I pencilled in a big NO! after trying them - one was way too much trouble for a mediocre dish and the other one I can't remember why it got a thumbs down.  It's interesting that they were both from the same book and also that it was the only book that wasn't geared towards solo cooking.  All of its recipes served four.  I cut the ingredients of the ones I tried in half but that shouldn't have made them turn out bad.

I haven't put the other recipes on here yet.  There was another really strange sounding one but if you like cooked cabbage and pasta I bet you'd like it cause that's what it is.  Real simple and real tasty.  So I'll probably get around to posting that one too.  There was also a chicken and bread soup recipe I tried and it got a "not bad" and I will probably try it again and do a little tinkering.

My bread diary may turn out to be a long, long project.  I haven't made any for a while now.  After that first Julia Child, incredibly-salty-but-acting-like-French-bread session , I've made three more attempts.  Turns out that another of my solo cookbooks is called "Small Batch Baking" and there were two recipes I tried.  The first one was a total fiasco and went straight from the mixing bowl to the trash.  It would never have risen.

Here's a picture of the second was all right I guess but not very hole-y.  In fact maybe this is a picture of my old French bread recipe I tried back in July before I tried the Julia Child one.

 And this is the last try I did - it was from the "Small Batch Baking" book and was a new-fangled method where you don't actually knead the dough - you mash it around for a while in the mixing bowl and then leave it to rise.  It actually worked and rose beautifully but it was a much softer and less sturdy dough than Julia's and so it came out pretty darned flat.

So I think I will go back to Julia's recipe, cut down on the salt and also make the entire recipe.  That will be way more dough that I could make use of in one baking so my experiment this time will be to divide the dough into thirds, make a loaf from one third and freeze the other two separately.  I have no idea if that will work or not but I think it might.  I imagine I can find some tips on freezing and thawing unrisen dough.  Maybe I'll get a good loaf of bread yet. :)

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