Caceres, Spain

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We decided to drive just an hour north of Merida for dinner and see yet another one of Spain’s small historical towns. It was a little deserted at first but the time there was only 7:00 pm, a bit early for most Spaniards to eat dinner. So we walked up the hill, following the sounds of bells until we found the old church where they originated. As the sun began to set the people started coming out, and talking to them was one of  the most unique situations we have had. The conversations began in a restaurant that had a seductive feeling about it as the lights began to come on. Everyone was so receptive to us too  and it started with our waiter. With David interpreting, we had a very informative conversation with him. We learned that Spain does not allow their people to own guns and that their crime rate is very low. He said “I have a knife and that’s all I need!” He also proceeded to tell us “what big balls” our president has and that they admire him. Then later, we got into another conversation with a man and his family from Egypt. Again, he was saying how our president is a businessman whose own pockets are full so he doesn’t need other countries to fill them with bribes. He thinks he’s really doing a good job of trying to straighten things out for our country, trying to get industries to set up there and giving them incentives to do so in order for more Americans to have jobs.  He continued to say, “your president means what he says and will do everything he can to do what he says,” again saying how much he admired him. I’m not used to all this positive talk. On Facebook and in the media all the time you hear how bad Trump is doing, pointing out the bad and not letting go of past things. It was a fun and informative dinner, conversations that none of us were expecting.

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Seville/ flamenco dancing 

Less than 3 hours away from Merida is Seville, Spain, famous for its flamenco dancers and bull fighting. It’s filled with old buildings that ooze history and charm. It has beautiful cathedrals and museums. The Seville University is close to the train tracks and bus stops which give it easy access for students. As David, Rebecca and I searched for parking we quickly found out the “P” signs everywhere did not mean parking! Instead they are a rating for hostels, “P” meaning cheaper ones, where an “H” meant more expensive. Both are clean and governed by the government, so either is fine to stay in. Now, this was nice to know, but back to  finding parking. As we drove around and around David finally stopped right in the middle of one of the courtyards where a wedding was about to take place, got out, and talked with a policeman. Because David can speak and understand Spanish, he easily followed the directions. Turning right here and left there, our streets were getting more and more narrow with people  and bicycles still coming toward us. We felt like Chevy Chase in his famous “European Vacation” movie. Honestly, we were all getting so nervous at this point because as the cobblestone streets became more and more narrow we were worried we might have to back out!! Eventually we found a road to take us out and it didn’t matter how far away we had to walk, we weren’t going down that path again. Time for lunch and sangria!

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We didn’t go to the flamenco dancing show this time, but several years ago we did. It was fun to see them tell their stories in their bright colored attire, all with the loud sounds of their shoes hitting the wooden floors. I will come back again later this trip and enjoy an evening here with family. Seville is a marvelous city with many choices of restaurants and things to do. 💃

There’s even Starbucks on most corners. Of course we stopped in. Their iced coffee is very appropriate for the extreme heat here, too.

Sharing Merida, Spain

How did the Romans know how to build bridges to last so long?  From my understanding this is the oldest operational Roman Bridge in the world. As I stand here looking to the other side I see the town square where the Roman theater is and restaurants and shopping markets. Just a 10 minute walk. I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz as I stand here looking beyond. It’s lasted this long, it’s not going to crumble now! So here I go.

Oh, wait. There’s a Hostel right next to this bridge and it’s time here for sangria and tapas. I can already smell the potato omelettes cooking with hints of onion and peppers. I must try this now!

 

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And I have no idea what kind of tree this is or if it’s against the law to pick from it, but I will be finding out!

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A Special Kind Of Love

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 You read and hear about true love all the time. For some, love comes quickly, for others it takes time. I’ve had the opportunity over the years to witness a special kind of  love and watch it grow. I’ve seen them argue over little things and seen how different they are in personality. But their bond will never be broken. You see, you don’t have to be born to the same mother or father to love as sisters do. One of my first special memories of them was seeing them be pulled in a little red wagon to an outside symphony concert. One with brown hair, the other blonde. One in pigtails, the other in a ponytail. Both wearing shorts because it was summer. Through the years the family has always seen to it that they  support each other. One would play softball while the other chose cheerleading, not on the same team or even the same school, but each enjoyed watching the other perfect her talent. They helped each other get ready for proms and date nights. They started out in bunk beds together and then eventually they each had their own bedrooms in different colors and styles. But one thing they always had in common was cooking, and the house they grew up in always smelled delectable with hints of cinnamon or garlic, depending on the recipe, lingering in the air. They were the maid or matron of honor in each other’s weddings recently. Both chose many special ways to celebrate their heritage and keep family members past and present in their details. To this day they still share recipes and I’ve chosen one from each to share.

The recipe that follows is from Jessica Brevard Osborne. Now that she has been married to Colin for about 3 months, she has been trying many new recipes and wanted to share this one.

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Alexis Atkinson Smith has chosen one of her favorite old recipes passed down from her maternal grandmother.

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Thanksgiving/Baked Sweet Potatoes

 

The garden is empty now except for the sweet potatoes hiding underneath the dirt. After washing and baking them in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees I let them cool just long enough to pull off the potato peel without getting burned.  Then I sliced them, put a lot of butter slices on them and added brown sugar and a kiss of cinnamon. Because some people at the table don’t like nuts I only add them to half the baking dish. Cover with foil and baked until all is melted and warm. Perfect for any Thanksgiving dinner.

French Heritage/Pork Normande

imageMy sister and I love to fix French recipes. Maybe it’s because on our Dad’s side of the family from all we’ve been told through the years, his grandparents came from Niece, France and met on the ship. The ship’s name was Louis and that’s where our dad got his middle name, Paul Lewis Brevard. They changed the “o” to “e” to make it more Americanized. So needlessly to say my sister and I both love French food and cook it whenever we can. Here’s a  recipe for you that’s ” delicieux ” and so easy even my husband could make it. It is called Pork Normande. My sister says to flatten the pork medallions with a rolling pin and then sauté them in olive oil and a little bacon grease about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the pork and put them on a plate or pan with a lid. Turn the heat off and add about 1/2 cup of apple brandy. Turn the heat on and scrape up all the pork bits and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup cream and any juice on the plate from the pork. Boil again. Buy Stouffers wonderful baked apples and cook it in the microwave or canned apples work as well and then add it to the cream sauce. You can cook your own apples of course and sweeten with brown sugar and cinnamon. Serve the pork on everyone’s plate and pour the sauce over it. If you can’t find medallions, thin boneless pork chops work well too.

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#Frenchfood

Our Aunt Wanda Belle Tacy/And Lemons. #lemons

imageI like lemons and put them in my water all the time. But I’ve never met anyone who liked lemons more than my Aunt Wanda. Through the years she put lemons in everything she made from  cookies, cakes, frosting, candies, puddings and tarts. She served lemonade  and lemon sherbet. She was a great cook and prepared many meals for everyone she knew and if you took the time while eating you’d probably taste a hint of lemon in most things she made. She said the secret ingredient in most things was lemon. Added to spaghetti sauce or chili brought out the flavors of all the other vegetables  It makes me sad to think that my sweet aunt passed away on August 31, 2016. But I can’t dwell on that for long because she was so ready to see her Living God as she would say and point to heaven while in her hospital bed. Still she fought hard to get rid of the pneumonia in her lungs. She would try to eat even when she wasn’t hungry. She’d sit up and cough and take small steps around the room. But in the end  she was really sick and very weak and she told me we have to trust God because He knows what’s best for us. 🙏

I have made lemon squares in her honor and I’m asking any of you to fix your favorite lemon recipe and send it to me and I will add it to this blog. She would have  liked this. Happy cooking! 🍋🍋🍋

image.jpegMix crust with 1/2 c butter, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Place in the bottom of an 8×8 pan or tart pan like I did here. Bake 335 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix 2eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 T flour, 2 T fresh lemon juice and the jest of I lemon.

When the crust is done pour the mixture on the hot crust. Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

PS  A special note of thanks to Lindsay’s Bakery for the delicious lemon coffee cake I took to Aunt Wanda at the hospital to help her and Uncle Bob celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. She liked it so much she ate two pieces and we still had plenty to pass out to all the nurses on her floor. 💕