Our LA to OK Adventure – A Visit to The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

 

visit to The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

Smithsonian Magazine listed Pawhuska, OK as one of the 15 Best Small Towns in America to Visit in 2019

Our visit to The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

It is kind of surreal, but I am actually typing this introduction as I look across the aisle of my plane to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Yes it’s true, she is on our flight home to Los Angeles. Check my Fairy Tale Ending at the bottom of the post for more details of our encounter. Our visit to The Pioneer Woman Boarding House in Pawhuska, OK was a gift to my husband’s mom, Claudia and it was an adventure of epic proportions. Please read on…

visit to The Pioneer Woman Boarding House
Standing on the set of The Pioneer Woman Food Network Show

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A Cheese, Glorious Cheese Tour – Italian Cheese is the best!

Italian cheese
Cheese that has been aged in cavernous warehouses and carefully flipped, cleaned and stored in order to age it to perfection was a sight to behold.

Learning about cheese

Is learning about cheese on your bucket list? Maybe not, but let me tell you that once you know the work and craftsmanship that goes into the making of cheese, you may change your mind. I certainly did. I knew that I loved to eat and serve Italian cheese, but truthfully had no idea what it took to make authentic, real Italian cheese.  A trip to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy was the best way to learn! To get all of the delicious details of my entire tour with Oldways please click ==> HERE!

Italian cheese
Walking in the mountain pastures of Northern Italy

 

Cheese glorious cheese!

I must apologize to my lactose intolerant friends, but ooey gooey, tangy, buttery cheese is divine! Pair it with your favorite wine, grate it over pasta, bake a lasagna, melt it for sandwiches, enjoy a quesadilla or just eat a chunk with a piece of fruit. Tasty cheese is big business and nobody does cheese like the Italians!

Italian cheese
Monti Trentini is a family owned business and located at the base of the Dolomites.

Happily touring for cheese

On my recent culinary trip to Italy with Oldways, our traveling group had the pleasure of suiting up and touring a cheese plant with our new friends at Monti Trentini. Located in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, with views of craggy stone mountains in every direction, this AMAZING facility impressed us all.

I had no idea how much thought, effort and skill, mixed with a little Italian love, went in to making cheese. The cleanliness standards are extremely important and every precaution is taken to make sure the plant is germ free. This cheese is raw, not pasteurized and therefore must be aged in order to kill any possible contaminants. We all wore special clothing and fabulous hair nets.

Italian cheese

The milk comes from happy Italian cows that are only fed local, organic grasses, while they breathe fresh mountain air. They always use the freshest milk combined with certain techniques coupled with a strict aging process and this creates the most incredible cheese!

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A Visit to Bologna – A Delicious & Vibrant Must-See City In Italy!

visit to Bologna
The arched walkways are stunning in Bologna

A Visit to Bologna

This beautiful Italian city is the belly of the nation and the heart of the kitchen. Bologna is a delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets and the best location to start your visit is in the ancient mercantile center called the Quadrilatero. It’s an easy town to navigate where a popular 11th century university brings students from around the world. We were charmed by the arched covered walkways and the large brick piazzas were filled with happy tourists and locals. Why have I not visited before?

visit to Bologna
Bologna selfie!

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My Custom Made Adventure: A Culinary Tour in Italy

a culinary tour of Italy

A Well Seasoned Culinary Tour in Italy with Oldways

For me, travel should include eating, touring, learning, smiling, tasting, experiencing and a little added relaxation. Would you enjoy a tour to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy which included these satisfying ingredients? Yes, me too! Every detail of my culinary tour in Italy with Oldways was executed to perfection and I often wondered if it was custom made just for me.

Now I know this isn’t true, but the itinerary sure checked the boxes of my list of favorites. This trip to Italy focused on authentic dishes and included traveling with Chefs and Co-owners Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell from a traditional Venetian restaurant in Boston called SRV. Additionally, the creativity of the excursions and inventive itinerary were beyond anything I could envision. Imagine seeing a tour through the eyes of chef? How unique is that? It seems that every passion, every interest that I hold dear about cooking and travel, I share with Oldways

a culinary tour of Italy
Enjoying lunch on the Grand Canal in Venice with my tourmates

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Empty Nester Travel :: A Perfect Weekend in San Diego

 

weekend in San Diego
A view of the boats in the harbor and the Coronado Bridge in the distance

 

AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia asked me to share my adventures in San Diego. All opinions, photographs and details are my own.

As Southern California locals, we have a long list of choices for an exciting weekend getaway. How do we choose to leave when DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles) is brimming with new restaurants, artsy shopping streets, new hotels, and any kind of food we want on the planet?

Sometimes it’s nice just to step out of your world and into something calmer, like the supremely beautiful San Diego, California. Whether you arrive by plane, train or auto, this is the perfect city to reinvigorate you from a long week at work.

You can find great hotel options in San Diego for all tastes on AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia.

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Grillmarket :: A Fantastic Restaurant in Reykjavík, Iceland

restaurant in Reykjavík
At the bottom of the grand staircase sits this gorgeous bar

Discovering a new restaurant in Reykjavík

Last week I wrote about the unique food of Iceland and shared how we experienced quite a wide spectrum of tastes. Whether we embraced every dish or not, we LOVED the entire adventure. What’s the point of visiting a new country and spending your time looking for American food? There is more to life than hamburgers and french fries don’t you agree? Did you know that many tourists insist on keeping their diet exactly the same as when they are at home?

Unless a person has dietary restrictions, it is incumbent upon every traveler to embrace a new country and this includes the local culinary traditions! Hello? Isn’t this part of the reason we travel? Check out our delicious adventure…

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Food Photography Trends & A Colorful Restaurant Doing It Right

food photography trends
Even this delicious white sangria with fresh fruit served in adorable mugs was photogenic.

Food Photography Trends

Do you take pictures of your food? Do you think it is silly? I have actually been doing this for years, way before Instagram came along. I have always loved the beauty of the presentation of a dish. I saved the photos just for me, but now I have a convenient way to share my passion: social media.

Do I photograph every thing we eat? No, not everything, but a lot of it. My poor Instagram husband, doesn’t touch his plate until I give him the green light. I try to do it quickly and of course with no flash. Flash is a food photography no-no. For one it makes the food look ugly, two, it is such a rookie move and three, it definitely disturbs the other restaurant guests.

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Happy Five Year Anniversary to Adventures of Empty Nesters!

 

Happy Anniversary
The Palio – Siena, Italy

 

We are five years old!

Happy Anniversary to me, to us, to you! Without you there would be no us! Adventures of Empty Nesters (AOEN) was created out of the need for me to share my feelings about our empty nest. After five years I have found my sweet spot(s).

I definitely focus upon more than one area of life. I find it imperative and somewhat comforting to share the happenings with our family and with our life as an empty nester couple. Additionally, my dream is by offering colorful details of my traveling adventures you too will plan your own. One of the many benefits of travel blogging is that it takes you inside of a trip or tour. This type of writing does not read like a brochure or pamphlet. We tell stories, but hopefully they enlighten you and perhaps delight you at times. However, most of all, my wish for you is to find adventure.

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Eat, Drink & Discover – Culinary Travel to Northern Italy

Culinary travel to Venice

A Springtime Adventure! Venture to Veneto with me!

Come discover the sights, smells and tastes of the region of Veneto in Northern Italy on a culinary tour with Oldways. See the production of Prosecco (and taste yes please!) first hand and meet the artisans that make delicious cheese and local olive oil.

What better way to get to know a new region than to be introduced through culinary travel? I am joining a tour of travelers who share the same passion for food that I do. Another added bonus… Chefs Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi of the acclaimed SRV restaurant in Boston will be traveling with us sharing their knowledge and expertise as well. Oldways culinary tours takes small groups of travelers off the beaten path. Each tour is led in partnership with a culinary expert or chef, planned with a firm belief that the heart of any culture can be illuminated by exploring its food, wine, and culinary traditions.

culinary travel

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Your Most Favorite Posts of the Year! Did you miss any?

Another year of adventures

Well, another year has passed lightning fast, hasn’t it? We have all turned another page on the calendar that signifies the end of 12 more months of adventures. I don’t actually use a paper calendar but for some reason I visualize this large calendar with the word January 2019 printed at the top. Do you do that?

I went electronic with my personal calendar years ago and only write on paper in my bullet journal and book journal. I am a thank you note writer and card sender, but all of my calendar activities are stored in my computer and on my iPhone.

Life has evolved to the point that we all seem to need instant gratification. I could never be discussing a potential event or trip and say “Hold on, I need to go home and look at my calendar, I will get back to you.” It seems rather dramatic, but we expect instant decision-making. Don’t we?

Read moreYour Most Favorite Posts of the Year! Did you miss any?

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