My Relentless Pursuit……Some Stops Along the Way – Greece.

I’ve been told many times that I should write a book. That’s likely never going to happen in the traditional form, not because I don’t have stories to tell…..you can’t be married for almost 35 years and raise nine children and not have a few good stories!! But I wouldn’t know where to start or how to keep it short.

But there are a few events in our journey that definitely have been memorable……like our trip to Greece.

We’d been married just a couple months shy of 4 years. In those four short years we were working out the kinks of being married, had suffered through the pain of a stillbirth, the joy of welcoming a daughter, and Glenn was learning to be ‘Dad’ to my son who was six years old when we got married.

We decided we would take a trip to Israel. We wanted to see in person some of the sites and places we had read about so often in our Bibles. We found an organized tour through 100 Huntley Street, which included nine days in Israel and five days in Greece.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that travelling abroad is just not my thing. To say that flying terrifies me, would be a huge understatement! But I figured if I was going to risk life and limb, this would be a trip worthy of the inevitable angst I would experience. It didn’t help that we were leaving our two children at home, Jeremy was ten and Stephanie only a year and a half. Oh, and I was also six months pregnant with our son Joel. But off we went…

Israel was amazing, though incredibly hot…..especially being pregnant. Unfortunately, much of it is a blur as it is nearly impossible to absorb all the information, history, and key events related to the whirlwind of places we visited, all in one trip. But we made it through the nine days, walked, I’m sure, hundreds of miles, and spent just as many dollars in phone calls, calling my mom who was staying with the kids. But by the time the nine days were over, I was done!! I missed my kids and I cried all the way from Israel to Greece, and all I could think was, “I am on the wrong freaking plane!!!” I wanted to go home!

We landed in Greece, boarded the bus with the rest of our tour group and headed for the Parthenon. I’m sure it was impressive, but I didn’t care. It was later afternoon when we boarded the bus again and headed for our hotel.

I don’t remember getting ready to go down for dinner…….my next recall is finding myself sitting down for our meal with two of the more elderly ladies from our group, at our table for four. It was Friday evening and our first time chatting with these two lovely ladies. I do remember that I had worked hard to stop the flow of tears before arriving for dinner and was determined to make the most of the evening.

Invariably, the conversation began and it wasn’t long before these ladies were asking about our lives. They asked Glenn if we had any children. I gulped and tried to deep breathe, repeatedly telling myself internally, “It’s okay, everything is okay, don’t cry. Glenn explained that we had a ten year old and little girl that was under two being well taken care of by grandma while we were gone. Then one of the ladies (I never did remember their names), but I do remember she was the one on the right, turned to me with much sympathy and concern, looking right into my eyes and said…. “You must really be missing them…”

There was no turning back, no dam that could have held back the tears that began to flow, and I sobbed out my answer, “Yes, I really do….”

Dinner was over. I don’t even know if I ate. We went back to our room and went to sleep…….well, Glenn went to sleep. Not me!!! I lay awake waiting for the morning light. I’m pretty sure Glenn had barely even become conscious before I had him up, begging him to go home.

This was Saturday morning and we weren’t due to fly home til Wednesday. I couldn’t even imagine 4-5 more days. We didn’t have a cell phone in those days, so knowing that his life would be nothing but misery for the next four days, Glenn (God bless him) reluctantly headed downstairs to find a phone booth and call the airport. Naturally, I was right behind him!

I stood outside the phone booth praying my heart out while he called to see what he could arrange. When he hung up and opened the door of the phone booth, I stood expectantly hoping for the best.

“The next flight out isn’t until Wednesday…” he said, but I could tell by the way he said it, he wasn’t telling me everything. “What EXACTLY did they say, Glenn?” I asked. He kind of squirmed, and hemmed and hawed and then started, “W-e-l-l-l….there is another flight but it leaves this morning at 8:30 (it was now around 7:30 – I should have woke him up at 4:00!!!). “We’ll never make it….” he declared.

We may have only been married four years, but it was long enough that he knew I was never going down without a fight. I mean, how do you know if you don’t try, right??? So, with resignation in his face, he listened as I begged “Let’s just try!! We’ll pack our bags and go to the airport and if we miss the flight we’ll just come back!”

I don’t think I’ve ever packed so fast!!!! We flew out the door and hailed a cab. We told the driver we wanted to go to the airport and he replied something in greek which we did not understand. We just kept saying airport and nodding our heads, yes! He spoke no English, we knew no greek….but off we went!!

NOW we know he was probably asking which airport…….we didn’t know there were two!!!! As luck would have it, he took us to the wrong one first!!! I have no idea how he realized that before we left the car, but he did and he got on his radio and called the right airport. I have NO idea what he told them, but when we pulled up to the airport doors, every staff member was standing along the path to the boarding gate waving us through and telling us to hurry. They never made us go through customs, never stopped us to pay the fee to change our travel date, never even looked to see if we had passports, but frantically just kept moving us forward. When we boarded the plane, everyone else was already seated and looking irritated, even border-line angry. I don’t know who that cab driver told them we were, but they had held the plane on the tarmac for almost half an hour to wait for us to board!!! I didn’t care if two hundred other passengers were ticked at us, I was going home!!!!

When Glenn tells people we’ve been to Greece, he says he saw the Parthenon and the airport!!!

HE can go back some day….

Our Anniversary Weekend Away – Part Two

It’s all about the food….. 🙂

One of the first things I look for when we go away for something special, is a place where I can cook!! It truly is something I really enjoy, and I love experimenting.

Now I’m no expert…..not by a long shot! One of my dream vacations would be to travel around the world and learn to cook all the dishes native to each place. So many different flavours and interesting ingredients to discover!!

However, this could be a little tricky for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I HATE to fly!!!

So, if I ever get rich, I am going to build a cooking school and offer classes where the cooks come HERE and teach me/us!!

Until then, I hack around in the kitchen and cross my fingers!! So far, there have been no human casualties, and everyone here seems to still like to eat!

On the menu tonight would be a shrimp and scallop dish – something we’ve never made before. We thought since it was just the two of us (when does that ever happen?) this would be perfect opportunity. When we paid the cashier at the grocery store check-out, I knew why we don’t do this often and certainly not for the whole household.

I like to cook with wine……..sometimes it goes in the food…..but usually not. I actually prefer drinking wine while I’m cooking over having it with my meal.

So, I cracked open a bottle of red, put out some cheese and olives to snack on, and turned on some music.

This is my element!

Glenn, still not feeling well, took a well-deserved rest while I began the prep.

I really had no recipe, just an idea….and I had NONE of my usual herbs and spices on hand. So this was going to be somewhat of a challenge. But after half a glass of wine, I was feeling brave!!

Vegetables all prepped and ready to go…..

Beans went into the pan first, then I added butter for sautéing as well as a bit of water to create some steam. Then the garlic…….always the garlic.

Once the colour began to change and the beans started to get tender, I added the peppers and green onion, then about half a cup of half and half cream.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take to cook the shrimp and scallops and knew that overcooked wouldn’t be good. So I waited until the cream sauce had started to thicken and then add the seafood.

I plated the greens in anticipation of the finished dish…

Once the sauce began to coat the ingredients nicely, I added salt and pepper and a few red Chile flakes. Then, we filled our plates and enjoyed.

I will add the recipe below and modifications I would have made in my own kitchen with a greater selection of ingredients. But we really enjoyed it…and the leftovers next day were even better!!!

If you try the recipe, let me know how it turned out.

Seafood Alfredo with Vegetables

Jumbo shrimp and scallops cooked with fresh beans and peppers in cream sauce.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 234 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 lb fresh jumbo scallops
  • 6 large fresh jumbo shrimp
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • !/2 large red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions sliced
  • 2 tbs butter melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in large non stick frying pan.
  • Add green beans and saute until turning bright but still crisp. I added 1/4 cup of water and steamed as well.
  • Add fresh garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add scallops, shrimp, peppers and cream. Continue to saute until sauce begiins to thicken.
  • Add and adjust seasonings.

Notes

We made this dish when we were away for the weekend for our 34th anniversary.  We stayed in an Airbnb and my selection of herbs and spices was quite limited.  I feel added chives, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes etc. would really enhance this recipe, as would some good mushrooms!
Keyword Keto, Low Carb, Seafood

Our Anniversary Weekend Away

We took to the road and headed to the Prince Edward County area to stay in our first ever Airbnb and take our first tour of some wineries.

The place we stayed was wonderful!!! It was the bottom half of a chalet style home. It was clean, modern, and had a great kitchen!!!

The first night we just snacked on cheeses and crackers, olives, and wine… I think I was meant to live in Italy!!

The next morning I made omelets, and we debated what we were going to do for the day since it had rained the night before, and Glenn was actually sick before we left. He had a sore throat and a terrible cough that kept him up for a couple of nights.

But the sun came out and we picked two places that had been recommended to us. The drive was over an hour through some beautiful country. There were lots of farms, rolling hills, and……..tourists.

Our first stop was at Waupoos Estates Wineries. We strolled around the grounds and checked out the grapes. This winery is along the banks of Lake Ontario and though it was quite windy when we were there, the setting is beautiful as are the store and the restaurant. They host weddings and events, and it would be a beautiful spot for a celebration.

The main entrance
Tasting room and store
Party tent for events and the restaurant.
Rows and rows….
There’s my red wine hanging right there….. 🙂

We then went down the road a bit further and found an artisan cheese shop. Along with regular dairy cheeses, they also sold cheese made from goats milk and water buffalo. They don’t keep the animals there, but buy the milk from other producers/farms.

Lots of cheese samples as well as cured meats available
Even the cheese store grows grapes!
So……..a drinking fountain right beside the port-a-potty. Yeah, definitely not!

We then visited the second place on our list…..County Cider Company. Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed and Glenn didn’t feel up to braving the crowds for a tasting. So we just got to take a couple pics and leave.

The restaurant with a patio behind that overlooks rows of grapes and the lake… There are better pictures on their website www.countycider.com

So that was the end of our excursion. We took a different route back to our Airbnb along Hwy 33 and we were surprised at how many other wineries we passed along the way, including Sandbanks which looked huge!

Should we do this again……and we will, I would pay the money for a guided winery tour. You are picked up and chauffeured to four or five different places and can enjoy tastings without worrying about having to drive. I’m sure the drivers would be quite informative and we would get a better overview of the area and all that there is to see.

We picked up some fresh veggies on the way back and I got to make a seafood dish for our dinner and we enjoyed the best white wine I’ve ever had….one we got at the Waupoos winery.

More pics and a recipe coming in the next post… 🙂