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Welcome! We are about to start this up again!

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog. I’ve really been using it as a place to put my recipes to share with family and friends. It’s been good, but lacking content.

So what has been going on, you ask? Well, let me tell you… stuff. Stuff has happened. I’ve started working with a personal trainer who is helping me become strong. My Mom had another surgery to fuse her neck and I realized that I do not want to be in the position that I need to have vertebrate fused when I get older. There are also a plethora of other issues common in my family that I am trying to hold off as long as possible. The trips below (fitting into plane seats) are another reason I want to work on my strength and weight.

I’ve also decided that I am going to make a couple trips of a lifetime. Year 45 is going to be a good one. First thing off my bucket list – a trip to Denver for my birthday to see Eddie Izzard in concert! I’ve been a huge fan since his Dressed to Kill tour and am finally going to see him in person!

Second trip is the biggy! I am going to the UK for 2 weeks. I will be starting with a lovely trip to Northern England, seeing Hadrian’s wall, probably some of Scotland and the Lake District. Then its off to Gloucester and a few days of castle walking in Wales. The trip ends with 5 days in London attending and volunteering at Minecon 2015! I’m super excited and looking forward to seeing all my European friends.

I would also like to post recipes that can help others who are not as familiar with cooking, or who might not enjoy the experimentation like I do. I am not completely sure how I want to format this site at this time, but I am definitly going to have basic recipes for stocks, broths and soups as well as a bunch of gluten free recipes. My boyfriend is gluten free, as are a couple of my friends, and another one of my goals is to have good tasting foods that they can eat.

Feel free to ask for recipes and give your ideas as to how you would like this site to be organized.

Talk to you soon,

Kathy

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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Recipes

 

Cheddar – June 29th, 2015

Cheddar! Home of cheddar. Home of Cheddar Man. CHEEEEEESSSEEE! If you like cheese, this is the place to be. I, however, do not like it as much as others.
That being said, the cheese I tried was very good. I tried all the standard cheeses along with a vintage and an oak smoked. All very good. For being a semi-dry cheese, it was very smooth and creamy with a really nice….funk… Honestly, you can get a very, very close approximation to the cheese here in the States. We just can’t use raw milk. Now, after the cheese was tasted it was time to find out what the rest of this gorge had in store. Turns out quite a lot! What started out as a short time to check out the cheese, turned into a full day of sillyness.
First off, open top bus tour. 12 minute drive up the gorge then back down. Really nice, I recommend it. Second, the first of the 2 caves. Gough Cave. There was an audio tour thingy that was attempting to be amusing, but ended up campy. I think I recognized one of the voices too! The Cheddar Man was found in this cave, read more here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheddar_Man
Lunch was next. Rarebit with a lovely ale mustard and chutney. It was basically a grilled cheese sandwich – but a ridiculously delicious grilled cheese.
Next, and for the 2nd time in as many days, I climbed over 200 stairs. This time it was Jacob’s Ladder – 276 steps straight up. Oh, then there is a tower with, now hold on to your hats, ANOTHER set of stairs. This time 48. Whew. Damn things that go up.
The second cave was Cox’s Crystal Cave. OH. MY. GOD. *giggle* The first part of the cave was good, beautiful mirror pools, ribbons, stalactites, stalagmites. The rest.. it was a campy story where you had to save the world from darkness and an evil dude. There were dragons.
Last place to visit for the day was the museum and looking at what Cheddar Man really looked like. Pretty nice museum, got a bit weird at the end with canabalism and religion and ended with a skeleton in a field, while Jannis Joplin sang “Mercedes Benz.” I was quite puzzled.
Rocky road ice cream ended the day and now I am relaxing in the pub, having an ale and dinner.

 

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July 28th – Skelmersdale to Gloucester

Today was a quiet trip from Skelmersdale to Gloucester. You have seen some of my pictures/posts before this, but I also went to the Gloucester Cathedral. This is hands down the most spectacular cathedral I’ve seen so far. I even got to meet a King! King Edward II is interred there.

That is something I have come to realize. My visits to these places are not just words and pictures in a history book, these are real places. These were real people, wealthy, poor and in between, who lived, loved and died. Even sitting here, in this courtyard, just imagining the world that has gone before me and the world that will go ahead of me has me reeling. (Or it’s the beer. Could be the beer.)
I must admit to being pretty disappointed in Wolverhampton racecourse. I really wanted there to be a large stone sign with the name engraved into it. It was a small, green sign. The name didn’t even take up the whole sign…it was being shared with the Holiday Inn. Ah well. Cheers to Wolverhamptom for giving us testers something to look forward to every season.
Tomorrow I’m off to Cheddar Gorge, specifically The Cliffs Dairy. According to the website, the last place making cheddar the traditional way. I must have this. I wonder how different it tastes from Tillamook.

 

Chester & Beeston Castle – June 27th, 2015

There was no post yesterday, as I took the day to do the mundane things we must do to be comfortable. Resting, eating, laundry, etc. Today I was back at it, on the road to another destination.

Today’s adventure took me to Chester, south of Liverpool and near the Welsh border.

My first stop was to the Chester Cathedral. Beautiful Norman and newer builds. I decided to take the Climb the Tower tour that consisted of climbing 216 stairs up a very windy and very tiny stone stairway. Now, I’m not a small woman, but my shoulders almost rubbed both sides of the stairwell and I had to duck several times to not clock myself.

The view at the top of the bell tower was worth the climb! I can’t wait to get all of these photos downloaded then uploaded for you all to see!
After the Cathedral, I wandered over to Beeston Castle, a National Heritage place that has had a castle or fortress on it since pre-history, although the castle was built in the 1220’s. It is 350 feet above the plain and has a commanding view of the entire valley. I was definitely feeling old as I slowly climbed up the hill.
After wandering around the ruins and grounds, I treated myself to something that I see the locals doing everywhere I go…ICE CREAM! I had vanilla with honeycomb and it was fine after a long, warm walk/climb.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Hadrian’s Wall – June 24th, 2015

Note: These are a little out of order, I’m taking them off my FB and placing them here.

Today’s adventures: Hadrian’s Wall.

Those who know me know that I have wanted to see the wall for so long. Well I got the chance today. Drove to Walltown Crag and stood at the wall, looking over the valley into Scotland. It was gray, misty and the wind was biting. I walked up and down the section of wall for about 2 hours before the chill took over and I returned to my car.

GD Americans were climbing all over the wall and being annoying Americans. If they had looked around, no one else was climbing on the wall. (It’s kinda frowned on as being disrespectful, but is allowed) I spent time visiting with a local family and a couple from Spain who were sitting near the wall eating lunch and played with their dogs. Come to think of it, none of them talked to the loud, obnoxious, entitled Americans. I saw looks of disgust.

Ah well, that was quickly forgotten. Went down the hill and to the first of 2 museums. Really nice displays, great 3D “eagle eye” view of the wall and a bit of reenactment. Drove 6 miles away to Vindolanda http://www.vindolanda.com/ and proceeded to get lost in history.

This season’s dig was in full force and I could not stop watching them slowly scrape, scrape, scrape at the rocks. I have a ton of pictures of the ruins and the beautiful gardens. There was also a museum with the most spectacular artifacts I have ever seen! So many leather garments, shoes and other leather goods have survived all these centuries! And the glass! Oh, and the pottery and all the things that were brought from Italy to the Wall.

Lastly, I was standing at the wall, looking over the great divide between the Romans and the barbarians and was struck by two things – One, it is summer and cold and dreary, even with modern protection. Those soldiers would have been miserable. Two – I’m reading the GoT right now. Why does this wall remind me of the Wall? No giant wall of ice, but a wall to keep out the barbarians nevertheless.

Tomorrow I am going to decide between going to Chester and York or going to the Lake District. I drove by the Lakes on my way to the wall and it is magnificent. UK, you have AMAZING natural beauty, never forget it.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in UK Trip - Minecon 2015

 

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York & Castle Howard – June 25, 2015

Day 3: York & Castle Howard

Another amazing day, this time in Yorkshire, specifically the town of York and Castle Howard.

City of York: Parking is stupid expensive. Stupid. People aren’t unfriendly, but more reserved than the other places I’ve been. Could be that they are tired of tourists already.

Went to Clifford’s Castle, Jorvik Viking Museum and York Minister. Clifford’s Castle is in the center of the old town and has a commanding view of the old town and some of the new town. Good place to start. This is really a true European town with small roads, buildings that tower overhead, markets and musicians. I could have spent the entire day just wandering from shop to shop. I got my pasty too. Traditional steak from a baker from Cornwall. It was fantastic. Beef, potatoes, onions, carrots and a nice gravy. They did good. It was all gentrified, what with that flaky crust of deliciousness!

The Viking museum was really fun. Basic museum stuff for the first part of the building, but the best part was the RIDE! Yes, you got into a Disney-like car and were transported back to the recreated village! It was a narrated tour and although a bit campy in places, was pretty interesting.

The Minster: This is the 2nd cathedral I’ve been in, the first being Notre-Dame in Quebec. This Minster was easily 2x the size, with flying buttresses and all! I didn’t take the tour because my parking time was up in less than an hour. I did get a bunch of pictures of the front part of the church though

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Castle Howard:
Long time ago, in a different life, I was married to a Howard. Through long hours of searching, I found out that he did, indeed have ties to the Howard clan. The connection was an uncle of Katherine Howard. Looking at the portraits of the men and women, there is definitely a family resemblance. I saw a small boy that looked very much like my step-son and my ex has the same facial features as many others.

The grounds were amazing! The staff there is very talented. The castle was very interesting. Lots of Greek gods and Roman Emperors in statue and paintings all around the house, but when it comes to things like the marble “temple” to Bacchus in the Great Hall, it was fake. Marble chips and paint. Make a good first impression, as long as you don’t look too close.

I lost all steam after walking to the far end of the gardens, by the Temple of the Four Winds. I mustered the last of my resolve when I saw the 3rd group of seniors bustle their way by me! I can’t let them see me take a tram back, can I??

I forgot my card for the camera, so all photos were taken on the phone. DRAT. Tomorrow I am sticking around Skelmersdale, picking up a few things, laundry and getting myself ready for the next leg of my trip.

 

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Protein Waffles – 2 Recipes for the price of 1

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you realize how many breakfast foods are nothing but carbs? There is very little protein content in your donuts, waffles, pancakes, etc.

Well, I decided to tackle my love of carbs by making protein waffles. Honestly, most of the recipes out there are pretty terrible. Hockey pucks and rubber balls for the most part. So I decided to take a very basic waffle recipe and play with it.

Turns out that the basic recipe works stupidly well. I didn’t really have to modify it much at all. The only thing I did is when I doubled the recipe, I didn’t double the sugar. It really didn’t need it.

As for the whey powder, I prefer to use Tera’s Whey, plain, unsweetened. I think these waffles would be a good way of using up some of the more disgusting powders out there. Chocolate flavored powders would be interesting. You would get chocolate waffles.

Make a double batch and freeze the waffles. Toss one in the toaster for breakfast. Just like the frozen waffles from the store – except you know all of the ingredients that went into it!

One more thing, if you don’t have a waffle maker, these make great pancakes too. Not as fluffy as regular pancakes, but…welll…it’s still a pancake.

Protein Waffles
Makes 4 waffles

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 scoops protein powder (I use Tera’s Whey)
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Instructions:

1. Plug in the waffle maker and allow it to heat up according to the manufacturer’s instructions

2. Thoroughly mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave and allow to cool slightly. In a smaller bowl, mix the milk, butter and eggs until fully combined.

4. Pour the wet mixture onto the dry and stir until just combined. You may see lumps…those are ok.

5. Spray the waffle maker with non-stick spray and add the batter, cooking according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Hold on, don’t go anywhere! I’ve got a gluten free version of this waffle too! It uses almond flour and is nutty and thirsty as all get out. If you do not have almond flour, I believe oat flour or a combo of rice/oat would be nice as well. It is surprising how nice and light these are considering almond flour is pretty dense. These also go from freezer to toaster very nicely.

If you find the mixture is too wet, add more flour. If too dry, add more milk.

Almond Flour Protein Waffles
Makes 4 waffles

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 scoops protein powder (I use Tera’s Whey)
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups milk
2 eggs

Instructions:

1. Plug in the waffle maker and allow it to heat up according to the manufacturer’s instructions

2. Thoroughly mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave and allow to cool slightly. In a smaller bowl, mix the milk, butter and eggs until fully combined.

4. Pour the wet mixture onto the dry and stir. Because there is no gluten to form, stir all you like!

5. Spray the waffle maker with non-stick spray and add the batter, cooking according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Breakfast

 

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