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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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June 19, 2011

June 19 - Sunday Afternoon

A kind of grey, rainy day today which is all right with me.  Had my nice Sunday morning at Starbucks with my yogurt, tea and newspaper.  And had a nice long chat with a young man who asked if he could borrow the classified section of my paper.  Turned out he wasn't looking for a job, but for somewhere to live for a month.  He's a med student from University of Virginia and was sent here for one of his rotations.  He apparently had just rolled into town this morning.  We ended up visiting for half an hour or so.  I told him about some of the neat places in Huntington, found out he has family in Massachusetts near where my sister and her husband live and we both agreed it's a great place to live, and anything else that popped into our heads...a very personable young man.

I'm kind of put out with my crazy old self right now, because as I mentioned in an earlier post, I had made some notes on what I did differently this last time I made my vodka sauce and when I got home and settled back down, I went to get them and add them to the recipe in My Recipe Collection and I cannot find them anywhere.  I had a whole little stack of handwritten notes on various recipes I've tried and not typed up yet and that's where it should be and it's not.  And, apparently, since I wrote it all down, my brain did not retain anything about what I changed except that I made half a recipe instead of a quarter recipe.  Dumb old brain...

But the last two nights I've made myself dinner and enjoyed them both.  I bought some organic lean beef mainly because it was a little less than a pound package, looked like nice meat, and I've been meat hungry lately.  I divided it up into five 3-oz. servings, froze four of them and cooked the fifth one just in a real hot skillet after coating it with garlic infused olive oil.  It was quite tasty but I cooked it longer than I should have cause it was well done all the way through which meant it was a little rubbery.  Also, I cooked up some reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms in some olive oil, added a little red wine to them and served that along with the meat.  I'll do that again only with fresh mushrooms - they would work much better, I think.  My starch with that was a couple slices of some delicious Moroccan olive bread from River and Rail Bakery.  I used to buy that from Kroger's bakery and it was good, but I like this one better because it's a lighter bread which is nicer with a meal.

Then yesterday, Jamie and I went over to Charleston so I could return something I had bought at a Home Good Store while I was in Virginia.  Then we browsed through Home Goods, Cato's (I'd never been in one before) and Marshall's, stopping for a delicious strawberry and chocolate crepe at a place called La Creperie in the same strip mall as the stores.  A kind of strange place cause with that name, you'd think crepes and, of course, they have them, but it's very much a Greek-slanted restaurant with gyro sandwiches, Greek salads, and various other menu items.

Anyway, in Home Goods I found some tomato-basil linguine noodles that I had to buy (I'm going to have to buy a separate cupboard for all the pasta I seem to feel compelled to buy!) and also bought a little can of white tuna in olive oil, imported from Spain.  I'd read some time ago, that tuna in olive oil is so much better than tuna in water or other oil and had found some at Kroger and used it several times in tuna/pasta salad and such.  But it wasn't white tuna and plus which, what I got yesterday was a 3.25 oz. can instead of 6.50 oz. can so it was obvious I had to buy that also.  Last night I cooked up a batch of the linguine and heated half the can of tuna, along with some of its oil, in  a small skillet.  I also threw in some frozen peas cause I wanted something green but not salad. When it had heated up enough, I added a little of the pasta water and let that cook down a little. When the pasta was done, I drained it, put it back in the pan on the heat, scraped in all the tuna, peas and oil and tossed that around for a bit til it was sizzling nicely, and then sprinkled in a goodly amount of parmesan cheese and tossed it around until it was melted.  I really enjoyed it and it went very well with my glass of red wine.

Now I still have the other half can of tuna and it's entirely possible I may do the same thing tonight!  I could also cook up some shell pasta and use the tuna in a salad with some capers, tomatoes, olive oil and Feta cheese... (LATER:  I used the rest of the tuna in a very nummy salad - I'll post what I did in the recipe collection although it's one that you just do whatever you want.)

The only other thing to report is that the travel bug has been hovering around lately.  I got a new book "Europe Through the Back Door" by Rick Steves and have been perusing that.  Lots and lots of very useful information on travel even before you get to the chapters on the various countries.  Wish I had known some of it on my second trip especially when I was constantly traveling from place to place.  And with all his information on train travel, I might be able to convince myself to fly into Spain or France, visit there for a week or so and then train into Italy.  I'm kind of embarassed to admit that I can't imagine being in Europe and not being in Italy at some point.  I've begun to think maybe I should look at a trip in the spring sometime around my birthday.  Have been looking on line and found several really nice looking places to stay for reasonable prices...


Christopher said...

I'm curious what information you've learned from the new book, that you wish you had on your earlier trips... I consider you a veteran now, after what, a total of about 45 days abroad, over 2 visits? ;)

Mary Lynne said...

Right off the top of my head, of course, I'm not remembering specifics. I'm going to go back through it with those little sticky tabs and mark things of particular interest. I DO remember that there was a lot of discussion of the various rail passes and how to determine if it was worth getting one or just doing individual tickets and I want to study that some more if I'm thinking about maybe a 2-country trip...He also gives lots of websites scattered throughout that pertain to whatever he's talking about and I'll probably look at some of those.

Mary Lynne said...

Had a nice comment from Marlene:

"No pictures, Mary Lynne, but still a fascinating blog. You make yourself so accessible to your readers that I, for one, feel I'm there enjoying your company and good food. Thank you for having me as a guest! Love, Marlene"

Marlene lives in California and is an on-line friend I've never met. I have another friend I've never met who lives in Arizona, and one of these days I'm going to figure out a trip west that would introduce me to these two very nice ladies. :)

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