Midsommar (Midsummer) in Sweden

                                           
The Swedes most favorite holiday is Midsommar. (Midsummer).  It's a huge deal all around Sweden to gather outdoors and celebrate the longest day of the year when the darkness of night is replaced by twilight. This year Swedish Midsummer was held on Friday the 24th of June.

The countryside is often the preferred place for Swedes to celebrate because of the tranquility and array of wildflowers but parks and town squares are also popular spots to celebrate Midsummer. It's a tradition for Swedish women and men to wear floral crowns for Midsummer while they enjoy dancing, drinking, feasting, and singing on "summer solstice."

A popular drink for Swedish Midsummer is the "elderflower cordial cocktail. 

 Elderflower Cordial Cocktail:

Take 2 parts Bourbon, 1/2 part St. Germain, and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Stir the ingredients in a glass and top with orange twist. 

June is a perfect time to visit Sweden when the days are extra long for exploring this beautiful Scandinavian country.


                                      Adrianna wearing her flower crown in Sweden                                  

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Cornwall, England...The Southwest Jewel

England is famous for The Queen and Royal Family, for Shakespeare, London, the countryside,
biscuits, crumpets, and tea, fish &chips, black cabs, driving on the left, Aston Martin, Big Ben, Harrods, the Beatles, Harry Potter, James Bond, cricket, Cambridge and Oxford Universities....one could carry on about the wonders of England.

On the southwest peninsula of the island of England lies "Cornwall" famous for being the birthplace of pasties. The "cornish pasty" a culinary heritage evolved in the 18th century when wives of Cornish tin miners prepared this simple meal made of a short crust pastry and filled with beef, potatoes, onions, and swede for their husbands who worked hard in the dark and damp mines.


                                         Cornish Pasties are famous in Cornwall

Today with its mind temperatures, lovely scenery, and relaxing seaside resorts Cornwall is a splendid vacation spot for those living in or visiting the United Kingdom. Popular places to enjoy in the Cornwall region are Bude, Falmouth, Newquay, Penzance, Perranporth, St Ives, and Truro. 

Be certain to enjoy an authentic crimped "Cornish Pasty" when in Cornwall.







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Reflecting on Nature in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park: VIETNAM

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam is designated a Unesco Heritage Site as of 2003. This national park contains the oldest Karst mountains in Asia and over 800 vertebrate species. Composed of 300 caves and grottos, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a recreational outdoor paradise where reflecting on nature is what to do


Explore and reflect at the Botanic Garden, Hang Toi, Hang Va, Paradise Cove, Tu Lan Cave and much more. 

Where to stay:

Phong Nha Farm Stay 

phong-nha-cave.com/farmstay/rooms 

Phong Nha Mountain House

phongnhamountainhouse.com 

Where to eat:  
Bamboo Cafe
Tuan Ngoc Restaurant 
Vung Hue
Wild Boar Eco Farm 

What to Do:
danangexperience.com


Vietnam is world famous for it's creative and delicious cuisine. A popular beverage in Vietnam is the Sinh to Bo (Avocado Shake)


Sinh to Bo (Avocado Shake)

Blend together 1 cup of ice cubes, 1 ripe and scooped avocado, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup condensed
milk. Blend at high speed until smooth.

Stir before pouring into small glasses.



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Brazil and the Acai Bowl



                                                     Acai Berry Tree

We have the Brazilians to thank for introducing the world to acai berries. Acai, pronounced (a-sa-EE) are nutritious berries that grow on a species of palm trees in Central and South America. They're a deep purple color and are best enjoyed as a frozen puree. It was in Brazil where the delicious "acai bowl" was created in the 1990's and enjoyed by Brazilian surfers. The recipe for "acai bowl" soon made it to Southern California where it became a smashing hit. No matter where you live in the world, once you  try an "acai bowl" you'll be hooked on this good for you meal that's loaded with antioxidants, and vitamins. An "acai bowl" is vegan and tastes terrific.
  

ACAI BOWL RECIPE

Sambazon is a big producer of pure unsweetened superfruit acai packs. These packs are often found in the freezer section of grocery stores and supermarkets. 


Acai Bowl Mixture

 2 packs of Sambazon Pure Unsweetened Superfruit Packs
1/2 a banana
1 cup of cashew or coconut milk
1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries

Blend the above ingredients in a blender and pour the thickened mixture into a bowl. You can also mix in two tablespoons of almond butter or peanut butter for added flavor.

Acai Bowl Toppings

cacao bits
granola
coconut flakes
sliced kiwi fruit
sliced banana
blackberries
blueberries
raspberries
strawberries

You can top your acai bowl with all of the above toppings or choose a few of your favorites.
                                   

                                You'll enjoy every spoonful of your ACAI BOWL
                                        







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Christmas Doughnuts in Southern Spain (A Tradition) Feliz Navidad

In Southern Spain it's a tradition during the Christmas season to eat doughnuts called
ROSCO'S NAVIDENOS. 


ROSCO'S NAVIDENOS

1 liter of olive oil
2 kg of flour
1/4 litro of Aguardiente
1/4 litro of orange juice
1/4 litro of white wine
1/4 kg of sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
150 grams of anis seeds
rind of one lemon and one orange
2 tablespoons of baking powder

Fry oil with half of the anise seeds along with lemon and orange rinds. Heat cinnamon stick in a pan and then grind it up. Add to the mixture. Strain the oil and add flour, Aguardiente, white wine, orange juice, baking powder and sugar. Once all the ingredients are mixed together knead the dough into a tight ball. Form the dough into doughnut circles. Place doughnuts on a baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes at an oven temperature of 175 degrees.

Use the remaining anise seeds to add to hot water. The anise seeds and hot water should be like a herbal tea. Dip each doughnut into the tea then ice each doughnut with a powdered sugar icing.

Let the doughnuts cool and enjoy a true Spanish Christmas treat!






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Tarifa Espana es Hermoso! (Tarifa, Spain is beautiful)






                                      An "Ancient Castle" in Tarifa


We never know in our travels what lies ahead of us especially when we're traveling solo to a destination for the first time with no exact itinerary. For me Tarifa, Spain was supposed to just be a stopover before sailing across the Straits of Gibralter on my way to North Africa's Tangler, Morocco. However when the bus from Sevilla arrived in Tarifa it was too late for me to catch a ferry to Morocco. I was fortunate to find a cozy place to stay for only 26 Euro's and the apartment was right on the beach. (Thanks to an AIRBNB host).

Tarifa, Espana (Tarifa, Spain) is the kind of place that you want to call home. It's laid back, the people are friendly, the beaches are gorgeous, there's an abundance of bakeries, cafe's, shops, and restaurants to choose from, and the weather is glorious. 

In Tarifa, the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet together, the sun shines a lot, and it's the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. Tarifa is situated in Andalusia the southernmost top of Spain and is famous for its winds all year long. 

The Foundation for Information and Research on Marine Mammals (FIRMM) offers a 2 hour boat trip (April-October) with researchers. Passengers can watch various dolphins and whales swimming in the Straits of Gibralter.

From Tarifa, Spain there are two ferry companies that sail over to Tangler, Morocco. You can leave early in the morning, spend the day in North Africa, and sail back to Tarifa in the evening of the same day. 

When you're longing for a holiday don't pass up on Tarifa, and it's surrounding area. This part of the world is a dream place to be. Tarifa Spain is beautiful….Tarifa Espana es Hermoso!

Activities

Tarifa Kite School has an international team of professional instructors who teach kitesurfing.

Firmm (Foundation for Information and Research on Marine Mammals) offers daily 2 hour boat trips with close views of dolphins and whales. (Sailings are from April-October)


Ferry Companies (Daily Ferry Service from Tarifa to Morocco)

FRS, Calle Alcalde, 11380 Tarifa, Cadiz

Inter-Shipping, Estacion, Maritima, 11380 Tarifa, Cadiz


Tapa's (A Spanish Tradition)

Bar Restaurant Morilla
In the heart of Old Town, this place serves quality tapas and seafood

Bodega La Casa Amarillo
Nice decor, one of the most popular places to eat in Tarifa

La Burla
A simple place known for great tapas and wine


                               Beach in Tarifa, Spain
                            







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AN "IRISH" HALLOWEEN

HALLOWEEN which is celebrated on October 31 in many parts of the world got it's start thousands of years ago by the Celts.

Long ago the Celts celebrated Samhain "the Feast of the Dead" when the dead revisited the mortal world and it was the end of Summer. This took place in what is now the present "Ireland."


The BONFIRE represented the end of summer. The Celts would gather together and light huge fires to ward off bad fortune for the coming year. It was believed that the bonfire encouraged dreams especially of a future husband or wife.


Halloween costumes originated when the community of Celtics would gather around the bonfire dressed in animal skins and heads. If the spirits were wandering the earth and bumped into a living Celt they though that the living Celt was a spirit too and let them go free.


The "Jack-o-Lantern" originated from an Irish myth about a man named "Stingy Jack."
The "Jack-o-Lantern" was first carved from large turnips and potatoes.

Trick or Treat first started in Ireland when the poor would go door to door to rich people's homes and ask for food or money. Later they would use that money and food to celebrate Halloween.

It is a Halloween tradition in Ireland for members of a family to get an IVY LEAF and place the perfect leaf in a cup of water, undisturbed, overnight. If the leaf is still perfect the following morning with no spots the person who placed the leaf in the cup of water can be certain to have 12 months of good health.

The BARMBRACK CAKE is a traditional Halloween cake made of dried fruit. Each cake is baked with a coin, cloth, or a ring. Every member of the family gets a slice of the barnbrack cake.
Receiving a ring means that there will be romance and happiness for the person.
Receiving the coin means a prosperous year for the person.
Receiving the cloth means a doubtful financial future for the person.

COLCANNON is a popular dish to serve on Halloween night. It is made with butter, milk, cabbage, onions,  and potatoes.
_________________________________________________________________________
Barmbrack Cake

Ingredients:


2 and 1/2 cups chopped dried mixed fruit

1 and 1/2 cups of hot brewed tea
2 and 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon marmalade
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Soak dried fruit in the hot tea for two hours than gently squeeze the excess tea out. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch Bundt pan.


Mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda in one bowl, set aside. Beat egg, sugar, marmalade and orange zest together in another bowl. Add the dried fruit mixture. Then add the flour mixture to the fruit mixture. Once everything is mixed together pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake the cake for about one hour or until it is lightly browned.


Allow the cake to cool two hours in the Bundt pan than remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool another hour on a wire rack. Press a coin, ring, and a tiny cloth into the cake through the bottom.


Serve and enjoy HALLOWEEN!!!!!






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