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Archive for May, 2010

Mallorca Day 2

I find it always a little strange to come back after a holiday.

Whole wheat pancakes with mashed banana, pecans, cinnamon, and maple syrup

I’m sitting at my computer, like every other day, eating my breakfast and drinking a cup of coffee, but looking at photos of my time away.

It never feels real.

Did I really do that?

Did I see these things with my own eyes?

Was it me that experienced those emotions?

On my second day in Mallorca, I woke up for an early breakfast. I had a 9:45 bus into Palma to catch.

I first met Barbara and Claire when I was waiting for the bus. I stepped away to break my money when the bus came. They waited for me to be sure I knew which bus to take and guarantee that the bus didn’t leave without me. I think they already felt sorry for the lonely girl who was vacationing alone.

About an hour later, I was in Palma. I quickly realized that the city was much larger than I had expected, so decided to do a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

Historically, the island was known for it’s wind-powered grain mills. Many are now used as clubs.

The main industry has always been and still is the port. There were cruise ships constantly coming in and out of the port. It was fun to watch the ships sail away from the resort at night. Like floating hotels, 13 stories high.

The Cathedral of Mallorca was really impressive; from the gardens to the cathedral itself. The doorway depicting the Virgin Mary was blessed in 1601 and the construction of the cathedral lasted for the next three centuries. There are 61 stained-glass windows in the cathedral, all of which cast beautiful pools of light to the earth. This place is huge!

Little-known-fact, my aunt taught me how to do stained glass when I was 17.

From designing the pieces, to cutting and buffing the glass and welding it all together, I’ve done several pieces, all as gifts.

I’ve always loved stained-glass windows, but since experiencing how much work it is, my appreciation has grown.

After visiting the cathedral, I wondered around Palma by foot for a long while capturing some of the beauty of the city.

I even spotted a Cheshire Cat blanket. See the resemblance?

Lunch was a three-course ordeal. Since I could see the sea, I figured seafood was a good bet. I was certainly correct.

White wine, seafood salad, olives and cheese.

Seafood pasta topped with arugula and pesto

Chocolate ice cream for dessert

After lunch I hopped back on the bus and ventured up to the Castell de Bellver. The castle is on a hill overlooking Palma and the bay. The views from above were incredible.

Secret staircase under the fireplace

This couple thought they found a secret little place be alone. I don’t think they realized that the castle roof was higher than them… or that there was access to said roof.

After spending a lot of time exploring the empty castle, I headed back to the bus station. Fate jumped in and put me back in the crowded line standing next to Barbara and Claire again. There were buses running all day long, but we picked the same one. They were surprised and happy to see me so we sat together and talked on the way back to the resort. After that we had a drink, I met the rest of the family, we all ate dinner together and then watched the evening entertainment- starring two of Barbara’s boys. That was the beginning of the end, for the next 2 days, they took me in like I was part of the family. Day 2 was my last day alone.

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Mallorca Day 1

Settling In- Horseback Riding- Swimming- Sunsets

After leaving my apartment in the middle of the night, taking 1 bus, 2 trains, 1 plane, and another bus ride, I was at my holiday destination, Mallorca.

The first day was spent getting acquainted and trying out some of the many activities offered to guests by Sun Club Eldorado.

The view from the front of the bungalow I stayed in.

My humble abode.

There were many activities to take part. From tennis, to horse riding, to mini golf  and so much more. I would recommend this place for any family.

The rooms weren’t exactly wonderful, but with so much going on, I only used the place to store my stuff and sleep.

I spent most of the first day laying by the pool with this view.

This holiday was a monumental one for me- it marks the first time I have EVER worn a bikini. I’ve always been very self-conscious about my bust (or lack there of) so was never willing to draw any attention to myself. For this holiday I packed only one swimming suite, it was either have some courage and wear the bikini or enjoy a beach holiday without the beach and fun in the sun.

Not only was there a ton to do, the grounds were beautiful.


The property was on the edge of a cliff. Taking the 306 stairs down the edge of the cliff provided spectacular views.


I had fun playing around with my camera to capture saturated images of the brilliant colors of the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a long way to the top… (if you want to rock and roll!)

After a grueling hike up the cliff, I had riding lessons. The instructor was very kind and instructed her 4 students in English, Germany, and French. I was really impressed by the language abilities of all the staff at El Dorado.

My first day in Mallorcan paradise ended with the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen.

The perfect end to the beginning.

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Mallorca 1

Hi all!

Well, I made it and am enjoying every minute of my holiday in Mallorca. Tomorrow is my final full day here. I’ll do a proper update on all the fun I’ve been having once I’m back home, but for now, enjoy a few shots from this beautiful island!

View looking down from my bungalow.

Where I spent the majority of day 1.

The property where I’m staying is on a cliff. After hiking down 306 unstable stone steps, this is the view that greeted me. Well worth the danger.

Sun setting on day 1.

The cathedral in Palma.

The view of Palma from the castle.

This would be the aforementioned castle.

I’ve been taken in by a lovely family from Liverpool, England. It’s been a lot of fun hanging out with them the last couple of days. Today we went to the beach.

Alright, that will do it for me today. Have a nice week, everyone!

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I love the rich taste of a good, fresh pesto.

I don’t, however, like the way my body feels after indulging in the oily green Goddess.

Solution?  Lightened-Up Pesto.

Lightened-Up Pesto

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Romano cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup mixture of Brazil and pine nuts
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes
  • dash of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • Hot cooked spaghetti

Method

  1. In a food processor, combine Romano cheese and garlic; cover and process for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the basil, nuts, tomatoes, salt and pepper; cover and process until combined. While processing, add the lemon juice; process until combined.
  3. Warm the sauce with the prepared spaghetti, allowing the cheese to melt.

I added a skewer of boiled baby shrimp to my dinner.

This is the lightest, most refreshing pesto you will ever taste.

Once you make pesto with lemon juice, you will never turn back to oil again.

Here’s the step-by-step.

Collect your ingredients

Fresh ingredients always point to an outstanding meal.

Get your pasta going.

Process the garlic and cheese until combined.

Add the basil, nuts, tomatoes, pepper and salt.

Process while adding lemon juice.

Heat and serve.


Simply delicious!

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Last Minute Holiday

Last night I booked a holiday. Tonight I leave.

One of the best things about living in Europe is the ease of traveling to places unknown on a whim.

I had planned to spend my Summer half-term holiday in France, staying with a French family and learning how to cook. Dreams don’t always come true though. Things sort of fell through so I changed my plans. I’m still holding on for another chance though!

Sebastian is working all week and my friends have all arranged travel plans already, so rather than sitting alone in my apartment feeling sorry for myself for 4 days… I’m packing my bags and venturing off!

Can you guess where I’m going?

I’ll give you some suitcase clues.

Clue #1 –  I need my passport but can still pay with Euros

Clue #2 – Miniature-sized toiletries

Clue #3 – Shoes: sandals, hiking shoes, tennis shoes

Clue #4 – I’ve packed several magazines and books

Clue #5 – I will be spending a lot of time in my miss-matched swimming suite, cover-up, and doused in sun screan

Clue #6 -I’ve been brushing up on  Spanish!

Como estas?

If you guessed that I’ll be spending the next 4 days on the Spanish island of Mallorca, you’re right!

I’ll be hiking the cliffs

Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea

Relaxing pool-side reading books

Exploring the capital city

I’ll blog along the way if at all possible!

I can’t wait!

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Just down the path from my apartment, a farmer lady sets up shop out of the back of her van 3 days a week.

Instant farmer’s market.


She sells fresh farm eggs and whatever vegetable, fruits, and flowers are in season. Her food is always fresh, often times still garbed in small chunks of soil. I love that I know where my food is coming from and it feels good to support a local farmer.

This past Saturday, I bought the following from her:

  • 1 kg of strawberries, used in the Strawberry Shortcake Cake
  • 3 small beats for juicing
  • 1 butter head lettuce
  • 1 kg rhubarb
  • 10 eggs

Today is the first day of my summer half-term holiday. I woke up at 9 and got right to work cleaning the rhubarb for one of my favorite treats.

Rhubarb Bread

Adapted from allrecipes.com the original recipe also has a crumble topping. I left it off to cut back on sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans (or if you only have one loaf pan like me, one loaf pan and 12 muffin cups.) In a small bowl, stir together milk, lemon juice and vanilla; let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, oil, applesauce and egg. Combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda, stir into sugar mixture alternately with the milk mixture just until combined. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean. Muffins need around 20-30 minutes.

All right, I’ve already eaten 3 of these muffins, I think it’s time to put them out of reach.

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Rhine Lust

Want to know a great place to relax with friends? Right here, along the banks of the Rhine.

A pebbly “beach” makes for good stone skipping.

Our little patch on the Rhine.

Away from the rest of the world.

The sky was just scattered enough with clouds to make the sunset really spectacular.

We watched the sun melt away…

… but before the day was completely gone, we had birthday cake to eat.

Thanks Zoe for your help!  Happy Birthday, Simon!

What a nice night.


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