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!


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!






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!


A Special Kind Of Love


 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.


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


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.



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. 💕

Relax !! And eat fried potatoes and ham

imageThis cabin in the woods has brought the best part of us out. We can head up at a moments notice now that we keep coffee and extra clothes here. We find the time to read sitting by the fire and playing board games we haven’t done in years. Our grandchildren will find us a  challenge next time they play with us!  With winter coming to an end we may find ourselves hiking more and taking advantage of all the things there are to do up here but for now we just enjoy the fireplace and the porch view. So since I usually have potatoes on hand and ham in the freezer,  I fry them up and we eat and just relax. Of course we go out to eat anytime we want and have all the choices you can imagine. This weekend we brought my brother and since he’s such an outdoors person we decided we should get up early and watch the sunrise. We set the alarm for 6:30, made the coffee and out to the porch we went. Back in for more blankets and refills on coffee and still no sun! Growing up in Ohio and now living in a flat area of Georgia I now understand what mom always talked about when she mentioned the twilight you have with mountains. She grew up the West Virginia surrounded by mountains. The sun slowly creeps up and you have light way before you see the sun. We could have slept in another hour,  but then we would have missed drinking hot coffee bundled up with blankets hearing the mountains awake.image


 Now this wasn’t always the truth. Bless her heart. Her heart was so good but her mind was an understandable mess. When she and her siblings were removed from their mother, someone in the state agency decided that it would be best for the others if she not to live with them. Now, can you imagine that? She was stubborn and outspoken. Those are good qualities for anyone in politics and other occupations like that. But for her not to be submissive with all these changes in her life was perceived to be a bad thing. The  first time my husband went to pick her up from the school she was attending, she ran from him and he had to chase her around the school yard till she got tired and slowed down  because of the heavy load she was carrying in her back pack. Now picture this!  Kids are taught everyday in school and on TV to NEVER get into a car with strangers and now my husband has to persuade her to get into his car and go home with him for the week-end. We were asked to  keep her for respite to give her current foster parents a week-end break. She had been told this, of course, but had never met any of us. The week-end went very well. My own children who were older were always so sweet and understanding of all these children that came through our home and that made the children feel more welcome. In time she was able to move in with us and become a real part of our family. Her heart was so enormous and she wanted to help others all the time. One time she was worried about another family not having enough food so she started carrying out our food to help them. Finally, I had to sit down with her, pen and paper in hand, and explain how this works. I showed her the amount of food we had left for the week and told her to figure out enough meals for us for the remaining week and whatever was left she could take to her friends. After figuring it all out she decided she had taken enough food and would help in another way.

On another day she decided to fix supper for us and was so excited to do so. Her meal of baked spaghetti with corn turned out great. This was a recipe she had learned from another foster home she had lived in. One really good thing about this recipe is you can make it ahead and bake it when you want it. You see recipes like this now but back then it was a new idea. And for some reason she likes corn with her spaghetti instead of a salad. That is probably because that’s how she first ate it or she didn’t know how to make a salad. Either way it was delicious and we still make it today.

 As time went along, she still struggled with missing her sisters, and with the help of her case worker, we were able to set up visitations, and that helped. She always had trouble in school, too, till finally she was diagnosed as being dyslexic and got the proper training. Because she had such a caring personality she had many mentors along the way that helped her. Her youth minister, the secretary of her high school, and “Poppy” as we all called him. He was my daughter’s grandfather, and since his wife had just died and Linda’s birthday was the same day as “Mimi’s,” it was a perfect match. He would take her to dinner on occasions and he taught her to play Uno and Skip Bo and they would play for hours. In reality, she probably helped him as much as he helped her.

A New Life Begins/Grilled New York Steaks with coffee rub

  After twenty years of managing properties and traveling to other states to train other managers, a  new company bought the property I managed and I was asked to leave. Well, it was unexpected because I had gone through many other changes like this during my twenty years and was always able to keep my position. This meant we had to move!  It was time to buy a house. We had never done this before because we had to live on the property I mangaged. This was exciting and scary all at the same time. We looked around and finally settled on a two story, three if you count the finished basement with its own entryway, white brick house on historical Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, Tennessee. My Dad noticed right off the bat that the address 1732 South Clayton totaled our family’s lucky number “13”. So it had to be the right move for us. So we moved in on a weekend with all tha family and friends we could mustard up. When Monday came and I didn’t have a job to go to I thought I’d watch morning TV. My coworker called since she didn’t have a job either and came right over. We fixed a big breakfast with no interrupting phone calls! We watched all the morning shows we thought we had missed through the years and just kept looking at each other. When we checked the time, it was still morning!! We weren’t hungry!! Now what?? We knew we would come up with something. And we did. Bea Chadburn is the one in an earlier blog that went with me on many of my craft fairs.

One of the funny things I remember about our house was that the stairs leading up to the bedrooms were built like the ones mentioned in the book MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. One of the steps was built a different height from the others and a person that didn’t know that would surly fall. This was a poorman’s security alarm and was made that way on purpose. Even though the distance from our old place and the new one wasn’t that far, it seemed like we had moved to a different state. I started going to another post office and bought my groceries at a different food market. We were closer to downtown than the mall so my shopping experiences changed. It was a delightful change and one we needed more than we knew.  God has His plans for us and even when we can’t see how.

The Lord watches over all who love him. Psalm 145:20    

There were other things about this house we throughly enjoyed too. The fireplace was a real wood burning one and we would gather the branches of the small cherry and apple trees from way at the back of our property to burn and the smell that filled our house was so much better than any candle or potpourri you could find anywhere. Just sitting by this fire in the mornings drinking our coffee was a perfect way to ensure a good day. There was a small covered side porch with a fan and a big porch off the back of the large family room where we did a lot of grilling. We purchased a hot tub and placed it below on another porch you could get to from the basement level that had other rooms and a full bath and small kitchen. This made for a nice apartment for Heather, our daughter, since she had just finished college and was now going to nursing school. All this made us feel like we had moved to one of those large cabins in the Smoky Mountains, only when the weekend was over we didn’t have to pack up and go home. We were home!

  Here’s “THE CALIFORNIA CHEFS” with another good idea. This time a great topping for steak.