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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Treat

Dear Family and Friends,

I have had the pleasure of staying with my eleven year old grandson for the past few weeks while his mother is out of town.

Yesterday, at his elementary school, all the kids came dressed in their halloween costume and paraded around the school ground.

This was an extra special treat for me because.... (1) I was able to participate with Bryce and (2) I haven't been in the U.S. for Halloween for 9 years.  The bar has definitely been raised for halloween costumes since I was a kid.  Check out these pictures I took.

Bryce seems to have found Waldo...

I lot of the characters I did not recognize.  I am definitely out of the loop.

I did, however, recognize Hermione from Harry Potter

 ..and the crash dummy.

Even the teacher was decked is the bear welcoming the students into the classroom.

A very creative peacock..

Not sure about this one...

This little prize fighter is a girl.

Strutting her stuff...

Not so scarry witch...


I bet this girl had to get up at 5am to get her well decorated face done.

Minnie Mouse.

And I saved the best for last "Bugger-man."

Have a happy halloween everyone.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Birthday Get Away

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I are in California staying with out grandson, Bryce, for six weeks while our daughter is away.

Bryce went to fifth grade camp Wednesday through Friday of last week.  Chuck and I used this "off duty" time for a quick trip to Reno.

It is about a four hour drive to Reno from Dublin, California.

Looking out our room window....yep this is Reno...not Vegas.

When we get tired of throwing out money into the slot machines, we take time out at the bar.  Here is Chuck enjoying his pipe while catching up on his email.

Thursday was Chuck's birthday.  Here is a cute picture of the birthday boy.

 The first thing people ask when you go to Reno or Vegas is how much did you win?  I always say if we can break even then we are winners.

We had a big celebration dinner including a bottle of fabulous wine for Chuck's big day....all from winnings.

The best thing is that we still have each other and that makes us both big winners.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fried Catfish in Cuenca?...Yes Sir

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck signed us up for a cooking class with Leslie Breen.  Leslie has lived here in Cuenca for about 13 years.  Since being in Cuenca I know of at least two very successful restaurants she has managed.  Before moving here she was a caterer in the United States.  This lady loves to cook and it shows.

Chuck signed us up for the "Southern Cuisine" class.  Since I was born and raised in Georgia, I already cook southern food.  However, since she was cooking fried catfish I had to see how she did it and find out where she got it. Catfish is my favorite fish and I have never made it here in Cuenca.

Leslie is very relaxed, friendly, and her classes include a lot of good food preperation tips that even seasoned cooks come away with new tricks.  Not only that, she has printed recipes for every dish she prepares.  We came home with a handful of recipes that I am anxious to try.

The cooking classes are in Leslie's beautiful home.  It is spacious and a perfect place to have these classes.  She limits the number of participants so that everyone can see the action and can sit around and enjoy the food with comfort.

Here are a couple of pictures of Leslie preparing the meal.

She has a nice counter where we relaxed, chatted and learned how to prepare each dish.  You will notice the table is set for tasting later.

Attentive students....

Here is the meal all ready to sample.

Green Bean and Benne Salad (A South Carolina Low Country dish)

Fried Catfish

Macaroni and Cheese...REAL Macaroni and Cheese...Delicious!!

Hush Puppies

Greens in Pork Stock   Turnip Greens and Chard.

I cook turnip greens here a lot but have never combined them with chard.  I always cook them for hours, like my mama always did.  These were cooked for 30 minutes or less.  They were delicious and tender.  I am going to add chard to my greens in the furture.

We had a great time, the food was delicious and the whole class and sampling was in a very friendly relaxed atmosphere.  The cooking class and eating the delicious food, which included wine was only $20 per person.

Since she limits the number of participants per class reservations are required. She posts upcoming classes to the online gringo networks.  Each cooking class features a different country of the world. I highly encourage you to take advantage of one of her classes.

Tonight, in between writing this post, I am packing my suitcase.  Tomorrow, I am going to go to California so our 11 yr. old grandson, Bryce, can babysit me while his mama goes on a six week business trip.  Bryce called me tonight to put in a last minute order...Kinder Eggs. Kinder Eggs are chocolate eggs with a toy inside. It seems they are not sold in the U.S.

Chuck will be flying to California next week.  Six weeks is too long for us to be apart.