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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 above).

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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January 11, 2010


I am such an idiot or maybe not that bad, maybe just not a consummate journaler/photographer.  I was looking out my windows today at the cold, gray river and thought "hmmm - it almost looks like it's freezing up a little" which wouldn't be too surprising considering that I think it hasn't been above freezing since before I got home from my travels.  Anyway, I decided I needed an outing, got all bundled up and walked down to the river.  It wasn't actually freezing over, but there were little patches of ice which made the water move differently than normal and so from my window, it had the look of non-moving water.  Did I have my camera with me???  No.  Did I have my new phone with its camera with me???  No.  So no pictures of the river in its fairly rare state and no pictures either of two very large flocks of geese which were wandering the riverbank.  There are always ducks there but this was the first time I've seen actual flocks of geese.  The ducks were all in the water which made me really glad I'm not a duck!

So I came back home and put on a pan of prunes to stew.  I've rediscovered stewed prunes the last year or so.  I've made the rediscovery a couple of times in the past and don't know what makes me suddenly decide to stew some prunes after so many years.  But I love them - they're like eating candy in my humble opinion and without guilt - I mean, they're calories of course, but such healthy calories.

And while they were cooking I dipped into a book I bought off one of the bargain tables at our local bookstore and that I am loving.  The title is "Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant - Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone".  It's a collection of essays on that subject by various writers and foodie types on their thoughts and experiences of dining alone and cooking (or not) for oneself.  I always hesitate to recommend books if there's any foul language or anything in them which might offend some sensibilities (remember my excitement about the tomato book and then having to recant a little as it got weirder and grosser?) .  This book has some of that periodically since it is writing by a diverse collection of individuals.  But that's not a problem for me if the book is really good and this one is really good.  Not every essay includes a recipe but some do and, of course, some of those are going on my list of things I'm going to try.  If I did half the things I put on to do lists, I'd be a super-achiever! I just went to ABEbooks.com to see if they had this title and I shouldn't have - they have a bunch for $1.00 + $2.63 shipping. But that's only a couple dollars less than I spent and I've been enjoying it without having to wait to get it. But I do love ABEbooks...

Oh, speaking of cooking ideas, I made a recipe that January told me about that uses French green lentils.  While I was with her we were talking food and she told me about this recipe and how she had searched and searched for the lentils and finally found them at a strange little store near where she lives.  So, of course, we went to the store and bought some lentils for both of us.  The recipe she gave me is from the website 101Cookbooks.com which is one of her favorites.  I made it when I got home and as it cooked, I kept tasting and thinking this doesn't have much taste so I started adding various things the recipe suggested you could add if you wanted to and when it was finally done cooking, it was almost a little too tasty.  But I ate it a couple of times and enjoyed it well enough.  Then, last night I had decided I wanted one of my toasted (not grilled) cheese sandwiches with a bowl of tomato soup.  And that made me think of my sister who buys tomato soup by the carton because she uses it with leftovers (any and all) for their lunches in the winter.  Some of the things she's said she puts in I've thought sounded a little strange, but she finally fixed a batch once when I was there and whatever all it had in it, it was real tasty.  So I thought "I'm going to put some of this lentil stuff into the tomato soup" which I did and it was real tasty too and I will probably have that again tonight.  That's one benefit of eating alone and cooking for yourself - you can have the same thing five nights in a row if that's what you feel like doing - don't have to come up with different menus all the time.  So, thanks to January and Virginia both for two ideas that went together very nicely.

What with having a new magnifying lamp, I've returned to my stitching which I had forsaken for quite a while. I've had to work at finding a good position for me, the piece of work, and the lamp, but I think I'm getting there and it is a fantastic aid. I should be working on the 48 count piece that prompted me to ask for the lamp, but so far I've been working on a rug I had last worked on in the summer of 2008!! I took pictures of each project to post to the Yahoo petitpointers group that I belong to and will post them here too.

This, obviously, is the rug.  It's a chart by Joan Adams who I discovered years ago and whose patterns, I think, are beautiful.  She created bunches of charts and I have them all because for a few years, I sold her charts at miniature shows (with her permission, of course).

and this is the start of what will be a sort of Grecian urn type vase with stylized flowers in it.  It's a design taken from a life-sized chart that a woman has commissioned me to do in miniature for her (just the vase - not the whole chart which is quite large).

Once I get over the pleasure of being back to work on the rug (which is kind of an idiotic project since I have absolutely no place I will use it!), I'll get to work on the little vase and it should go pretty quickly.

Guess that's it for now.  I need to go out in that cold and get some groceries...


Christopher said...

You know, give it another two or three years, and this blog may be a ready-made book, waiting to be published, about your adventures in food...
Glad to hear the lamp is working out, too!
And yes, mother, you need to keep either the phone, or the camera, in your purse whenever you go out... tsk tsk. ;)

Mary Lynne said...

I know , I know - and I've been doing real well keeping the phone with me - just didn't today since I was just walking to the river.

January said...

I'm glad you ended up deciding the lentils were okay. Did you stir in the saffron yogurt? Or try it with a poached egg like you said you were going to?
When I was bringing Maggie home from play rehearsal the other night, we noticed that the Potomac was almost frozen over! I can't imagine the Ohio being the same way. It is COLD.

Mary Lynne said...

Both times I had the lentils by themselves, I kept forgetting to put in the saffron yogurt. Finally, last night when I was finishing up my soup with lentils, I decided I'd at least taste the yogurt and, at least, by itself, I have to say I wasn't crazy about it. I did have the lentils the second time with a poached egg and enjoyed that.

vrmichie said...

My tomato soup for lunch is in the oven right now. Today it includes leftover black-eyed peas that were cooked with lots of garlic, celery and onions plus some leftover chicken that was cooked with lots of mushrooms and red wine. I'll try to remember to let you know how it tastes. Oh, and I added some cumin just to bring it all together. Weird but it will probably work. And just to take care of all the rivers in the family, the Connecticut has lots of frozen chunks floating around because it's mighty darn cold here also. Supposed to get in the mid-twenties today but back down to near zero tonight. At least we're having sunshine. xoxo

Mary Lynne said...

Mm-mmm! Your tomato soup sounds like it will be very yummy! And nice for such cold weather. It's nice having a big sister who gives me such good tips! :)

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