Mediterranean Diet

IMG_9304The Mediterranean diet is an easy diet to be on when you’re in the Mediterranean. Everywhere you go things are cooked with olive oil or they put it directly on your salads and you can dip your bread into it. Their tapas is served the minute you sit down, and it consists of olives or small dishes of cut up tomatoes and herbs with olive oil, or just small plates of anything for you to nibble on while you wait for your meal. Your meal is never heavy with flour coatings and fried. And talk about salads, the lettuce is paired with a variety of healthy choices like avocados, artichokes, very flavorful tomatoes, onions, red peppers, fresh corn cut right off the cob, legumes and any kind of seeds and nuts. The dressing is olive oil and vinegar, of course.  It looks as pretty as it tastes.

 

Olive oil is added to shampoos, lotions and conditioners as well. It feels very soothing on your skin and helps with the dry heat to keep your skin soft.

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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.

Another great salad!

 

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Again using this wonderful lettuce from my garden, but any lettuce will do, mix with it cottage cheese, crisp bacon, chopped tomatoes and green onions. Stir and add salt and pepper. It’s as good as a BLT but without the bread and mayonnaise so it has less calories! image

Spring has sprung/Wilted lettuce salad

 

 Funny thing happened the other day when I took my little granddaughter, Deedy almost three, named for her mother’s sister, to the garden. Spring has appeared and you can see it in the flowering trees and the second generation lettuce that is coming up. Deedy loves the outdoors and was so excited to be there. Immediately she started helping me cut the lettuce leaves because she knew we’d wash and use them in something good to eat. As I looked at her I could see myself as I was at her age and felt a presence of my maternal grandmother in me. I could see my grandmother’s brown hair pulled up in a loose bun with dainty ringlets of her hair falling around her face and blowing in the wind. She always wore an apron with pockets. What a good idea! She had an apron for everything. One for the garden and another one for the kitchen and a completely different one for dusting. They came in pretty flower prints and some were solid pastel colors.I guess that’s why I’ve always liked aprons so much. I spent a lot of time with my “Grandma Dessie” helping her in the garden and kitchen like Deedy is now helping me. Here is my grandmother’s wilted lettuce salad and dressing recipe.

 

Our mother’s baby sister, Aunt Wanda Tacy / AND Her 24 Hour Salad

 I thank our parents for allowing us to know our relatives like we do. Our parents always made the effort to travel to see their relatives and to open their home to any and all relations that would come visit and by doing that  we all had the privilege to get to know each other so much better.

I’ve been watching the new TV series ” Who Do You Think You Are” and I can honestly say I’ve heard our family stories through the years. Especially on my mom’s side. Mom was very close to her maternal grandmother, Jenny Catherine Hinkle Eye, and  listened to her stories very well. Now that our precious mother has gone to heaven it is my responsiblity to keep the stories going.

Aunt Wanda Belle Tracy was the youngest of three children and she took on the fair skin, light hair and blue eyes of her father, Claude  James Tracy’s side of the family. Both her siblings had dark brown hair and olive skin, from their mother, Dessa Marie Eye’s side. When I was born she was still living at her parents home. So when my sister and I went to stay the summers with our grandparents in West Virginia she was there. She was a teenager and very busy dating and being with her cousins. Before the knowledge of the sun being bad for you I can remember Aunt Wanda and her cousin Bonnie Mullinax getting blankets and tanning in the sun behind the snowball bushes in the front yard.

Even though my aunt had several suitors with all of them trying to win her affection with jewelry and flowers; which my sister, Rose Carol and I enjoyed very much, she had already given away her heart to her high school sweetheart, Bob Tacy.  He also brought her gifts and brought us candy. He was very smart like that. He was a football player and she was a cheerleader. After high school, Aunt Wanda went off to college at Asbury University and got her degree in elementary education and Uncle Bob joined the navy. Four years passed and they still felt the same love for each other. They are still the same sweethearts today as they were back then. And he still brings her flowers and jewelry. We all thought it was just real funny that she only had to drop one letter from TRACY to TACY when she married him.

They raised two sons in a Christian home, taking them every Sunday to Sunday school and church. Tim, the oldest lives in Dallas, Texas and Mark now lives in Chickamauga, Georgia. Uncle Bob has always teased him since he lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee for many years, that he had just learned to spell Chattanooga when he moved to Chickamauga. The Cherokee Indians had large reservations in this part of the country, hence all these Indian names.

After teaching 3rd and 4th grades for 30 years in Circleville, Ohio,  Aunt Wanda retired. As a retirement project and since she had the birth dates of her last class she sent birthday cards to every student till they graduated from high school. I think that’s remarkable and I hope some of them remembered her birthday on March 26th. It’s never too late!!

Aunt Wanda has always enjoyed cooking and shared many recipes through the years. The one she is known best for is her 24 hour salad. She always made this for holidays and we were known to scrape the bowl clean by the end of the day. It’s nice too that you make it ahead and that’s one thing less to do for those holiday meals.