Tuesday, August 28, 2012


While I am getting soaked in Tampa, Florida this week, I am sending you this yummy recipe for Macaroni Salad--sooo good!

Our family doesn't usually go for macaroni salad.  But on a hot day this sounded just right to serve with grilled sliders.   I adapted this recipe from Pioneer Woman Cooks and everyone loved it. Not too mayonnaisey (which is my usual complaint about macaroni salads) and the sweetness from the pickles is magic.  I use Bubbies Bread and Butter Chips (found at Sprouts in the refrigerated deli section) which is our favorite sweet pickle.


  • 4 cups Elbow Macaroni
  • 3 whole Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped
  • ½ cups Black Olives, Chopped
  • 6 whole Sweet/spicy Pickle Slices, Diced (about 1/2 Cup Diced)
  • 1 cup diced Celery
  • 4 whole Green Onions, Sliced (white and dark green parts)
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • Plenty Of Black Pepper
  • ¼ cups Milk (more if needed)
  • Splash Of Pickle Juice (spicy Sweet Pickles)

Preparation Instructions

Cook the macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.
Mix together mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Splash in enough milk to make it pourable. Splash in pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
Place cooled macaroni in a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing. Toss and add more dressing if you’d like. (Dressing will seem a little thin, but it will thicken up as salad chills.)
Stir in olives, roasted red peppers, pickles, celery, and green onions.  At the end, splash in a little more pickle juice and stir.
Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with sliced green onion to serve.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


We screeched to a halt when we saw this sign so that I could hop out and snap a pic. B roads are the best.

Where are we? Stoke-on-Trent, also known as The Potteries.

                   Lots of shops and factory's housing English pottery.  First stop: Emma Bridgewater.

Are you familiar with Emma Bridgewater pottery?  It's one of the few potteries that is still made in England and the dishes are beautiful.

Having just driven through torrential rain and watching flashes of lightening grow closer we were happy that Emma Bridgewater had a tearoom.  Fully restored after tea and scones, we plunged into shopping and found a few treats.

                                    This is the line I'm partial to: Black Toast and Marmalade.

Here are a few of the items I had shipped home to add to my collection.

We stopped by a few more shops and then checked into 

                                    The Graythwaite in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

                                              What a great find this was (well done, Leslie).


                                   We were greeted with afternoon tea in the library and then

                                      I spied this gorgeous Lacanche range in the kitchen and

                                  these pretty flowers stashed in a Burleigh pitcher on the sill

                                      so, I just knew there would be a fine view from our room.

                                                   Hazel and John Cooke, Proprietors

              Hazel and John are quite the culinary team.  Hazel makes the yogurt,  John cooks the breakfast (on my current obsession French Lacanche range) using fresh, local, and organic products and her parents make most of the jams and preserves.  We sampled everything and didn't eat again until dinner.


                          After seeing a few Burleigh pieces at Hazel's, we had to stop by for a peek.

Of course we had to buy a few things.  Well, more than a few things.  Leslie decided it was time to freshen-up her tableware and bought all sorts of plates, bowls, cups, and saucers.

Here is my stash.  Those checkerboard plates were $4 each (originally $30 each) and work well with my current cobalt blue dinner plates.  Mixing and matching is far more interesting than a matched set, no?  We then placed a moratorium on additional dinnerware purchases and quickly got out of town.

                                             "Please drive with special care" is so dignified.

                                                           Next stop:  Chatsworth (finally!)

Friday, August 17, 2012


After a fabulous week in Istanbul it was onward to England.  If you are new to this blog, I am an Anglophile so while Istanbul was a treat, I breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived at Heathrow.

Warwick Castle

We quickly got to Paddington station where we moved on to Oxford to pick up our rental car.  My friend, Leslie (also an Anglophile) and I learned long ago to never rent a car from London.  Take the train to an easy location to pick up a car and head out.   So, let's go!

                      We stayed overnight at Park Cottage right at the entrance to Warwick Castle

We threw our bags on the bed, peaked out the window to check our view (lovely) and then quickly walked over to Warwick Castle and arrived just before closing so we snapped a few pics.  Fortunately, we have both been there before so just a quick peek was all we needed. 

                    After a plane, a train, and an automobile, a stroll around town was required.
                       Warwick was still very festive coming off the Queen's Jubilee celebration. 

                                               I would like to have tea at this darling place,

                                        and then go to the pottery paint workshop, after which to

                                         stop by this cute flat just to say "hi" before popping in to

                                                 this hardware store to buy a tea kettle.

                                                   Two heartening words: Garden Open

                 Janet, our B and B hostess, told us about this little gem--The Mill Garden, tucked in beneath the walls of Warwick Castle. We visited first thing in the morning and had the place to ourselves.

                            When I hear the words "cottage garden" this is exactly what I picture.

                                                             Down the garden path we go.

                                                             Let's go this way.

                                     Isn't everything prettier placed against an ancient stone wall?

                                           This little willow fence is just the right touch, isn't it? 

                       I imagine a hobbit will be strolling out any minute after second breakfast.

                   I love to see the back areas where random goodies are waiting to be put to use.

                                                                   A hidden gem.                                                            

                                                                Wasn't that a nice respite?                      
                                                                 Next stop: The Potteries

Friday, August 10, 2012


A few observations about Istanbul:
Love the people - helpful, happy, hardworking--they will always try to sell you something
We rarely interacted with women, it was always the men who did  the serving, selling, etc.
Multiple daily call to prayers were a reminder that this is a history-rich ancient city
The Turks aren't like the Greeks and they make sure you know it
Traveling there in the summer without a hat is stupid

Hope you enjoy these last pics of my trip to Istanbul

Looking out from the ruins of Yoros Castle

Breakfast on our hotel rooftop

                                      Love these cute girls with their colorful dresses and braided hair

This tipped over truck had everyone scratching their heads.  It toppled just as this narrow road bends.

                          Yusuf Kurt, our darling guide we hired for a day.  He was excellent.

                                                               Gate at Dolmabache Palace

                                                      Heading out on our Bosphorus Cruise

                                                                   Rumeli Castle    

                                 Looking out toward the Black Sea from the ruins of Yoros Castle

                                                       Lunch on the Asian side of Istanbul

                                                           The Turks love their bread!

                                                         Love the modern with the old

          Impressive--we were sweltering wearing cotton and linen but these ladies didn't break a sweat.

                                                               Goodnight Istanbul