We’re back from Milwaukee…Unfortunate situation…Photos from the event…

Sister Beth and Tom at the luncheon on Saturday.

We left for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for Tom’s Sister Beth’s 70th Jubilee ( since becoming a nun) on Friday morning after we checked out of the Eden Prairie, Minnesota hotel. We booked the Fairfield Inn West hotel for two nights with a plan to participate in all the activities relative to the event.

Tom was recovering from his bad case of the flu with a horrific cough, but it had been over a week since the onset of symptoms, and he was feeling better and unlikely still infectious. I was thrilled a week later when I hadn’t caught this virus from him.

When I awoke on Friday morning, I noticed a little tickle in my throat but dismissed it as dryness due to the aircon in the room at night. But, on the way to Milwaukee in the car, my sore throat worsened, and I developed an awful cough in just a few hours. When we arrived in Milwaukee, I was “down for the count,” too sick to do anything.

Of course, I wouldn’t risk getting Sister Beth sick, as well as the other nuns and three other family members who also drove to the celebration, knowing I was fully contagious at that point. As a result, I spent two miserable days in that hotel room, laying on the sofa with a pillow and blanket, streaming shows to keep my mind occupied while napping off and on.

Sister Beth broke her neck in a car accident and has trouble holding up her head.

Tom attended all the festivities, including a 90-minute mass, a luncheon, and as much time as possible with Sister Beth, expressing my apologies for not being able to join in and be with her. Sister Beth’s health has been failing over the past few years. She spent most of her days sleeping and could not attend the mass and recognition for all of the nuns.

However, she could sit at the table with the four family members, including Tom, nephew Steve, and nieces Jean and Laurie, when a lovely luncheon was served at the nursing home at a special table beautifully set for the occasion. Tom said the nuns had arranged a special lunch with several courses, including a delicious dessert.

He was in awe of how well the activities had been organized, ensuring the family members felt included. I wish I could have been there to partake, but that was not on my agenda, much to my disappointment.

St. Joseph’s Chapel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Tom and family attended the services on Saturday.

On the return drive, with both of us coughing, we stopped for breakfast at a Denny’s on the outskirts of Milwaukee and had a nice breakfast. When I asked the server what they used to cook omelets, requesting butter for my omelet, she explained they didn’t have butter and cooked their eggs in margarine, which I don’t eat due to its trans fats.

Instead of eggs, I had a salad for breakfast, minus any bottled dressing, and I used sour cream instead. Since it was Father’s Day, the restaurant was packed, but we managed to get seated in no time, and before we knew it, we were back on the road. Road construction and road closures approaching St. Paul created a traffic fiasco that slowed us down by about an hour.

The choir and organ are on this balcony in the church.

Once we arrived back in Eden Prairie, we stopped at a grocery store while I shopped for enough food to get us through the week and last night’s dinner. We purchased roasted chickens since I wasn’t feeling well enough to cook, and we didn’t feel well enough to dine out. We’d made plans with Tammy to go out to dinner for Father’s Day, but we felt bad postponing it until another date.

By the time we arrived back at the hotel, having to check in all over again, it had taken a while to get situated, considering we had everything we owned with us, including the groceries. The hotel staff delivered our three stored bags to the room, and Tom carried in the balance, including non-perishable foodstuffs we’d saved.

We’re fairly organized at this point. This room has four good-sized drawers we can use for folded clothes and has two closets for our hang-up clothes, unlike the last room. I still have a little unpacking, but there is nothing I can’t complete in a short time.

Whew! It’s good to be back here; hopefully, we’ll both feel well soon.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 17, 2014:

In Minnesota, these were called begonias, a flower that grew well in shady areas. For more photos, please click here.

No post today…Here’s why…

Well, Tom’s illness got me one week after his symptoms started. I am too sick to do a post today or attend any of the events for Sister Beth. I certainly don’t want to infect any of the sisters or their family members.

Most likely, since we’re returning to Minnesota tomorrow I won’t do a post until Monday. Thanks for your understanding!

Packing day…

Angel’s Trumpet flowers…Brugmansia is a genus of seven flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae. They are woody trees or shrubs with pendulous flowers and have no spines on their fruit. All parts of Angel’s Trumpets are considered poisonous and contain the alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Ingestion of the plants can cause disturbing hallucinations, paralysis, tachycardia, and memory loss and can be fatal.

The laundry and half the packing are done, as I write here now. I do it in short spurts. We picked up luggage tags from the front desk and will use them on the three bags we’re leaving behind. The only reason we have so much stuff is in preparation for the many months we’ll stay in Cleveland for many months. Once we’re ready to fly again, we’ll have used or will unload the excess “stuff.”

Also, over time, I’ll dispose of some old clothes but keep them to wear here and then in the coming months. Right now, getting new clothes is unimportant to me. I have enough to get me through. As mentioned, once I know the surgery date, I’ll order some items to get me through the recovery period.

We just returned from breakfast in the hotel, which is marginal at best, and fortunately, yesterday, I made a batch of chicken salad, which we’ll have for tonight’s dinner. Easy is of the utmost importance at this point. We’ll most likely have breakfast here tomorrow morning before we leave so we can get on the road and not be concerned about stopping except for restroom breaks and refueling the car.

The distance to the hotel is 344 miles and should take about five hours of driving time. We plan to be on our way by 9:00 or 10:00 am, arriving in plenty of time to see the other family, four of whom are also staying at the same hotel. Most likely, we’ll all have dinner together tomorrow evening. Then, on Saturday, the Jubilee festivities, mass, and luncheon will transpire throughout the day.

The four family members will be leaving to return to Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon, but we’ll be staying overnight on Saturday to spend time with Sister Beth on Sunday morning for a few more hours. It will be good to spend time with her. She’s fragile with health issues and will appreciate any time we can spend with her.

Years ago, Sister Beth was in a horrible auto accident while in the car with three other nuns. Two of the nuns were killed in the accident, and Sister Beth suffered severe injuries, including a broken neck, which significantly impacted the quality of her life today.

However, typical of the Lyman family, they don’t complain or feel sorry for themselves. They all forge ahead with smiles on their faces. Seeing their strength, determination, and resolve inspires everyone who has the privilege of knowing this fine family.

It’s time for me to get back to packing. Most likely, there won’t be a post tomorrow. We’ll take photos of the festivities and post the story and photos of Sister Beth’s 70th Jubilee, 70 years since she became a nun. Numerous nuns are honored this weekend, including 14 other nuns celebrating 70 years, like Sister Beth, four nuns celebrating 75 years, four nuns celebrating 80 years, and two nuns celebrating 85 years. That’s amazing!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 13, 2014:

Last night’s view of the moon and the lights from our veranda over Campanario, Madeira. For more photos, please click here.

My boy Norman and his family have returned to our old holiday home in the bush!…Girl’s lunch today…

Louise took this photo of Norman last night when he came to visit. He’s wearing a branch hat.

When Louise sent me the above photo of Norman wearing a branch hat, my heart skipped a beat. Over the past many months, Norman had been wandering another area, nowhere near the house we’d been renting over the past several years. I was hoping by the time we return, he’ll still be in the area, and we’ll be able to interact with him and his family. What a pleasant thought!

Over the next many months, I must keep the prospect of returning to Marloth Park in the forefront of my mind instead of thinking about what I’m facing. Every day, I remind myself to dismiss any worrisome thoughts that come my way and replace them with my usual dreams of Africa. It helps.

Tom is still coughing a lot, especially at night, but hopefully, that will improve each day. This morning, I noticed a bit of congestion in my head, and I have my fingers crossed it’s not the same as what Tom had when he first got the virus. Good grief, we’re leaving for Milwaukee in 48 hours. I better not get sick!

This morning, I made a batch of chicken salad using the last of our eggs to boil and celery, red onion, and sour cream for the dressing, which I use instead of mayonnaise, typically made with oils we don’t consume. Last night, I made a batch of shrimp salad while Tom finished the pork chops and rice.

After tonight’s dinner, we’ll know if we need to eat out tomorrow, depending on how much salad we have left. We’ll most likely have enough to get us through one more dinner. At that point, we’ll have used everything perishable in the freezer and most of the items in the refrigerator.

At noon, Greg’s girlfriend Heather and her adult daughter Hannah are picking me up for a girl’s lunch. I don’t know where we’re going, but wherever they choose will be fine with me. I can always find something in most restaurants. I’m sure Tom will enjoy some time on his own, and it will feel good to get out after several days hunkered down, except for our visit to Maisie yesterday afternoon.

We brought her a fun get-well gift, which she loves, and it was great to see her doing so well after her short hospital stay last weekend. We had a great chat and then headed back to the hotel after the hour-long visit so that Tom could rest and recuperate further. He didn’t hug Maisie and stayed far across the room.

The remainder of the evening was quiet and uneventful. We finished the fabulous series on Netflix, “Anne with an E,” which we highly recommend. It’s suitable for all ages, and we loved every moment. Tonight and tomorrow night, we’ll stay in again, allowing Tom more time to rest. Fortunately, the drive to Milwaukee is only a little over five hours.

We’ll do laundry and pack tomorrow, storing some bags with the hotel so we can take very little with us for the two-night stay. Before we know it, we’ll return to this hotel and settle in for two more months until our departure on August 25.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a good “hump day” if you are still working and another good midweek day if you are retired.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 12, 2014:

These tall flowers grow wild in Madeira, often blue and occasionally white. For more photos, please click here.

Birthday party last night…Heading to see granddaughter at 11:30…

Time was winding down as we prepared to leave Madeira to sail to Australia and the South Pacific, where we’d stay for several months.

Again, I am rushing this morning to leave for Chaska to go see Maisie. With Tom feeling better and no longer contagious, we feel confident visiting her and seeing Miles and Madighan. Most likely, Greg will be working, but we won’t see him. I’m glad Tom will drive there after my driving experience to Target on Sunday for cough medicine for Tom. I am not a good driver, and it’s best I don’t get behind the wheel.

Last night, we headed to Champlin for DIL Tracy’s 60th birthday party at a festive bar and grill, where 11 of us sat at a big table and had a good time. Tom wasn’t feeling 100% yet but could interact and enjoy the few hours with everyone. The limited meal options made it tricky to find something I could eat.

I ordered a relatively plain diced chicken salad when I’d left out some ingredients I don’t eat, such as tortilla strips and bottled dressing. It was okay, but I was still hungry when we got back to the hotel, and I had a big bowl of Fage plain Greek yogurt with added frozen berries, my go-to snack when I’m hungry at night.

Tom insisted on sleeping on the sofa last night, although I pressed him to let me sleep there while he had the bed. It’s a queen size, and if he’s facing me, he could end up coughing in my face, so we knew we’d have to sleep separately until his coughing is gone.

It’s hard to believe I didn’t catch what he had. He is often the one to start with a cough or flu, and I catch it from him. But his symptoms started a week ago, and so far, I’m OK. Most likely, this time, I dodged a bullet. This is a big relief since we’re leaving in three days to head to Milwaukee for Sister Beth’s 70th Jubilee celebration. Five of us from the Lyman family will attend the mass and celebratory luncheon prepared by the nuns.

We’ll all spend time with Sister Beth, but her health has been challenging, and she can only visit for short periods without becoming exhausted. That’s why we planned to spend two nights in Milwaukee, enabling us to visit with her over two days. The others are staying one night; we can be with her again on Sunday.

We’ll return to this same hotel but most likely will be staying in a different room.  We didn’t want to pay for two hotels simultaneously, so we’re checking out on Friday and back in on Sunday. The hotel will keep our excess luggage so we don’t have to leave it in the car while staying in the Milwaukee hotel.

As a result, on Thursday, we’ll do laundry again and then pack the one bag we’re taking with us and store the rest in the storage area in the hotel. We’re glad we’ll get a different room when we return since there are some problems with the TV for streaming shows, and there’s an issue closing the door. Maintenance has been here twice for each issue but hasn’t been able to resolve them. We haven’t pressed it since we figured out workarounds, as we often do.

That’s it for today, folks. Again, thanks for all Tom’s well wishes. He surely appreciated all the kind and thoughtful comments.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 11, 2014:

Tom’s photo is at dusk, as we spent our last night in Madeira, Portugal. For more photos, please click here.

He’s doing better! Whew! What a relief!!!…Back to our busy schedule…

As we drove around Campanario, Madeira, we encountered these blue stalks. We stopped the car, and I got out and zoomed in to get a closer view of these beautiful flowers. See the photo below.

I hoped he was on the mend when I didn’t hear Tom coughing much during the night. When he got up, he said he was feeling much better, so much so that perhaps we could go to Tracy’s birthday party tonight at a restaurant in Champlin (35 minutes from here) at 5:15.

We wouldn’t have gone out tonight if he weren’t so much better. As we discussed this morning at breakfast, the virus began about a week ago when he noticed a fullness in his ears, and his nose ran a lot. We assumed those symptoms were due to an allergic reaction to all the pollen flying around Minnesota this time of year.

But when the awful cough began, we knew it was more than an allergy, and he was down for the count for the entire weekend. It’s quite a relief that he’s back to being his usual cheerful self, although the cough continues to a much lesser degree.

Usually, when he gets sick, I follow suit a few days later. I am hoping that this time, I dodged a bullet. So far, I feel fine, for which I am very grateful. In the meanwhile, we’ve had to stay away from our granddaughter, who had surgery on Friday, who we’ll visit tomorrow, hoping enough time has passed since the onset of Tom’s symptoms.

It was a long weekend. On Saturday, when Tom was coughing badly and had a fever, I drove the rental car to the closest Target store to get him Day/Night Nyquil. I’d ordered Nyquil on Amazon, but there wasn’t same-day delivery available for that product. I hadn’t driven a car in a long time but decided I could make it one mile to the Target store.

Up close and zoomed in, we were shocked by what we saw the above stalks. Quite lovely.

Driving like an “old lady,” I made it up and back to Target without incident and other drivers honking at me. While driving, it was easy to tell how diminished my reflexes are right now, most likely due to my current heart condition. I am hoping that this will improve after I have surgery.

Tom didn’t eat much on Saturday, but finally, he ate half of his dinner last night. This morning, he had a small breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage. I was happy to be able to take care of him while he was so sick, as he has done for me in the past. Soon enough, he’ll be busy taking care of me.

We’ll see how he does during the day today to determine if we can go to the party tonight, if only for a few hours. Right now, he is napping while our usual favorite podcasts are playing in the background. Sleep can be curative when under the weather for one reason or another.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Tom, thanks to you for all the get-well messages and our readers for their continued readership during this quiet time in our lives.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 10, 2014:

Tom enjoyed taking these sunset photos while in Madeira, Portugal. For more photos, please click here.

Stuff happens…

We visited a small town in Madeira, Portugal, and spotted this pretty bridge.

It’s been a long 48 hours. My granddaughter had to have emergency gallbladder surgery (she’s doing fine now) at the same time as Tom became ill yesterday with an outrageous cough, and now, we can’t visit her, fearful she’s catching it from us. I am still ok but could easily catch this from him, with symptoms appearing in the next several days. He is miserable.

Not visiting my granddaughter while she recovers at home, fearful we’d inflict her with this virus, is frustrating. Instead, we’ve sent her a few fun “great well” gifts and texted her several times, letting her know we are thinking of her. As soon as Tom is recovered, we’ll go see her.

Of course, he refuses to go to Urgent Care since he’s been through this many times. He’s more susceptible to respiratory conditions than most since, in the past few years, he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis after 42½ years of asbestos exposure while working for the railroad. There is no treatment or cure for the condition. His lungs are scarred. As a result, a simple cold can immediately impact his lungs, leaving him susceptible to pneumonia.

If we feel he develops pneumonia, most assuredly, we’ll be heading to the same Urgent Care facility we visited at least twice while in Minnesota in the past four years, once during COVID-19 and again when we were here last fall for a family visit. It took him quite a while to recover in both cases.

He’s using an electric nebulizer four times a day, with medication we carry with us, and taking Nyquil Day and Night, Claritan, and Vitamin C. He’s not eating much and has a fever. We can only wait and see how he feels to determine if we can attend some upcoming events this week.

All he ate for dinner last night was a small bowl of white rice. I’m hoping by this evening, he’ll be able to eat some protein, which will help him recover. I have a nice dinner ready to put together this evening.

We’re scheduled to attend daughter-in-law Tracy’s birthday party tomorrow night. But he’d have to have a miraculous recovery in the next 36 hours to attend. Nor does he want the potential of infecting others. Plus, if I am on the brink of contracting this virus, I could be infectious even if symptoms haven’t started.

As a result, it is quiet here. We’ve got shows streaming continually, but we aren’t really watching anything, and we cannot focus on anything other than him getting well soon. The housekeeper is here now. What a relief it is to have daily cleaning help and fresh towels now and into the future.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 9, 2014:

The dedication to farming and gardening is evident everywhere on the island of Madeira. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2, Graduation party last night…What is a “Walking Taco?”…30 food trends from the past decade…

Vincent and his two moms, Tracy on the left and Tammy on the right were at Vincent’s graduation party last night at a regional park.

Everyone enjoyed last night’s party for Vincent’s graduation. The food was plentiful, delicious, and catered by “We Cater to You,” a local company that may be found here at this site.

They did an excellent job preparing (and cleaning up) beautifully presented food that included the typical taco fixings, bags of chips, a fruit salad, and a colorful green salad with blackberries that I topped with the chicken taco meat, which was perfect for me.

There were party gifts, root beer on tap, canned beer for the adults, and plenty of added decor to highlight the graduation theme. Most likely, about 60 people joined in on the festivities, including several Lyman family members, Vincent’s birth dad and family, and other family friends.

This is a “walking taco” in a large-sized Frito bag. Everyone seemed to enjoy them.

Minnesota’s notorious barrage of mosquitos attacked me a few times, but when I didn’t have to be concerned about malaria, I didn’t think about it much. I wore socks to protect my vulnerable ankles, long pants, and a shirt with sleeves. Alas, the nasty little buggers bit my hands, my only exposed skin.

We arrived promptly at 5:00 and headed out around 8:30 to return to our hotel to spend the remainder of the evening relaxing before retiring for the night. I awoke at 5:00 am to the sound of hotel room doors slamming as guests were checking out, stayed awake for about an hour, and finally drifted off again, somehow managing to sleep through a lot more noise in the corridor, which continues now as I write here.

Getting back to food trends from the past decade, here are the remaining items from the story we started yesterday for Part 2:

Latte art made a splash as coffee culture intensified. Latte art, or art made using espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk to create images in foam, took over social media for a spell in the mid-2010s. 

Latte Art
Latte art. Not our photo.

Hard seltzer will go down as one of the biggest trends of the 2010s, with consumers flocking to the lower-calorie boozy beverage. The summer of 2019 was the summer of hard seltzer. The boozy beverage was so beloved that there was even a national shortage of White Claw, the most popular hard seltzer brand. 

The fast-casual explosion hit its stride with chains such as Sweetgreen and Shake Shack. Fast-casual restaurants lie somewhere between fast-food and full-service, meaning they usually don’t offer table service with a waitstaff but are generally regarded as having higher quality food than the average fast-food restaurant. 

Soylent and other meal replacement shakes got a face-lift in the late 2010s. With its modern, minimalist branding and marketing, Soylent caters to a younger crowd looking for quick, on-the-go meals. 

Though they’ve been around for hundreds of years, macarons were popularized in the States in the 2010s. The French cookies use whisked egg whites and sugar to make meringue, the main ingredient in macarons. 

macarons french
Macaroons are still popular. Not our photo.

Food trucks have become hotbeds for chefs who might not have the resources to open a brick-and-mortar kitchen. The mobility of a truck allows entrepreneurs to reach a large audience and announce their location on various social media platforms. 

Kale, a nutritious leafy green, became a popular smoothie on social media. Leafy green became so popular that Beyoncé was even seen wearing a “kale” sweatshirt stylized in the collegiate format of Yale University. 

Edible gold leaf has become a widespread decoration for fine-dining dishes. From a $2,000 gold-covered pizza in Manhattan to an Australian burger made with 24-karat buns, the fancy ingredient has become an over-the-top addition to various foods. 

Natural Wine has both divided the wine community and spurred various young enthusiasts. Natural wine, a broad term for wines produced with minimal intervention from the winemaker, has become popular in recent years. 

Juicing fruits and vegetables has become a popular trend in the wellness scene. Juicing vegetables, including celery, carrots, and beets, made raw vegetable consumption cool and easy. However, home juicing has lost a bit of steam as many fast-casual restaurants and grocery stores have started offering pre-juiced vegetables in bottles. 


A juicing machine churns out some kiwi-lemon juice. Shutterstock. Not our photo.

Cold brew coffee is everywhere nowadays, as iced coffee lovers flock to the highly caffeinated coffee beverage. Cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee with highly caffeinated, creating a coffee “concentrate” that often has more caffeine than your average cup of joe. 

Negronis made a comeback as cocktail lovers have embraced the bitterness of various Italian liqueurs. The Negroni is made with gin, vermouth, and the bitter Italian liqueur Campari. It’s also the staple cocktail of the world’s best bar of 2019

Though smoked and cured meats never go out of style, charcuterie boards dominated the 2010s. Charcuterie boards often feature a selection of smoked or cured meats, various cheeses, and a sweet component — whether it be dried or fresh fruit, honey, or sweet vegetables. 

jamón ibérico and charcuterie platter
Charcuterie board. Not our photo.

Session beers, or beers brewed to have a lower alcohol content, are becoming popular for their dri. Low-ABV session beers are meant to be enjoyed in larger quantities. The lower alcohol percentage allows people to drink more of them in a “session” without getting too intoxicated. 

Mocktails and nonalcoholic beers, such as Heineken’s 0.0, also made a sober splash in the 2010s, as more consumers sober-curious” or give up booze altogether. Mocktail bars are also opening nationwide to cater to customers looking for a way to socialize at bars without alcohol.

Untitled 2019 11 20T112128.817

Founder’s All Day IPA, a low-ABV session beer. Founders. Not our photo.

Fermenting foods made a significant impact on small and large restaurants. Fermenting food, or allowing bacteria and yeast to break down carbs to preserve food, became a huge trend in the 2010s as fine dining establishments and mom-and-pop locations went into practice. The Noma Guide to Fermentation, a guide to fermenting pretty much everything, was also released by the team at Noma

Farm-to-table restaurants, or those aiming to shorten the distance between ingredients’ sources and the restaurant, were popular. Though its actual meaning is often hard to define, farm-to-table became a popular phrase in the 2010s as consumers tried to eat more locally-grown, organic products.

Zero-waste cooking has become a trend as professional chefs and home cooks try to lower their carbon footprints. Cooking with as little waste as possible — leftover food or plastic packaging — has become a goal for many restaurants as the industry becomes increasingly conscious of its environmental impact.”

Thanks to Business Insider for this great article, which can be found here.

Thanks to Tammy and Tracy for Vincent’s fantastic grad party!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 8, 2014:

A long set of stairs, without handrails, up a steep hill in Madeira. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Graduation party tonight…What is a “Walking Taco?”…30 food trends from the past decade…

Avocado toast.
Avocado toast. AlexPro9500/iStock. Not our photo.

Tonight is our grandson Vincent’s graduation party. I can’t recall the last time we went to a grad party. But a lot has changed since we left Minnesota almost 12 years ago, including food trends, many of which we haven’t been exposed to in our worldwide travels.

As always, the US is a trendsetter in many ways. We thought it would be fun to explore some of the changes we’ve encountered the longer we’ve been in the US, especially when dining out and attending events.

Vincent’s grad party is no exception when the primary food offering will be “walking tacos.” I giggled when I asked Tammy what was being served to see if I needed to bring something that would suit my way of eating. Since it is an outdoor party at a park, it wouldn’t be weird if I packed something for myself.

matcha green tea

A matcha latte. Pixabay. Not our photo.

Of course, I wouldn’t embarrass myself by bringing my food to a restaurant or someone’s home other than family who don’t care what I bring. Besides, most restaurants can accommodate me when I eat meat, chicken or fish, vegetables, and salad. Every restaurant can serve these without sauces and crumbed coatings.

After Tammy described a walking taco, I looked it up online to find it’s a popular item served at parties in the US that has become popular in the past decade. What is a “walking taco.” I found this perfect description that explains it better than I would have:

“So-called for how easy it is to wander around with them in hand, Walking Tacos are bags of snack-size Fritos—and/or Doritos or any kinds of chips, really—that are garnished with a variety of taco or nacho toppings. The garnishes, ranging from meat to cheese to guacamole, are added right in the bag.”

I don’t suppose the meat and garnishes are added ahead of time since the chips would become very soggy. Also, I imagine they are served with a fork since it would be too messy to tip the bag’s contents into one’s mouth. Nonetheless, I will take photos tonight and post them tomorrow. It’s quite a cute idea for casual events.

GettyImages 623892482
A smoked cocktail at a bar in Portland, Maine. Portland Press Herald / Contributor. Not our photo.

Here are food trends in the past decade found in this article:

Rainbow bagels and pastries changed how we eat desserts. Instagram and other social media platforms have opened the doors for more photogenic foods — nothing is more photogenic than a rainbow-colored bagel.

Avocado toast has become synonymous with the 2010s and millennials. Avocado toast is exactly what it sounds like — simply smashed avocado spread on toast. It often comes with eggs and spices. 

Milk alternatives such as oat milk, soy milk, and various nut milk have spiked in popularity.

Acai bowls topped with granola and fresh fruit became a popular wellness trend. Pronounced “ah-sah-ee,” the acai bowl craze spawned the popular chain Playa Bowls, which now has 65 locations. 

Kombucha has cemented itself as a popular health drink. Kombucha is made by fermenting tea, often infused with other flavors. In fact, because of the fermentation process, kombucha is slightly alcoholic, coming in at less than 0.5% ABV. 

Activated charcoal turned everything from ice cream to cocktails black. .At one point in the 2010s, foods made with activated charcoal began to replace those popular rainbow items. Everything from ice cream to cocktails was made with the ingredients, and it was even the center of the “50 Shades of Charcoal” festival in the summer of 2018. It has since been banned as a food additive in New York City. 

ktWlmr 4
Milkshakes from Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. Not our photo.

Matcha, a specific kind of green tea, is known for its health benefits and vivid green color. Matcha has been around for centuries, but the fad food began taking over menus and Instagram feeds around 2016. The flavor was soon incorporated into everything from candy to baked goods

Poke bowls usually feature raw fish, rice, and various vegetables. The dish was everywhere in the summer of 2016, with Hawaiian restaurants all over New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and several other cities. 

Elaborate cocktail creations, including smoked cocktails, also hit the scene across the country. Many mixologists impart a smoky flavor into their cocktails by burning different herbs and wood chips in or around the glass. 

Meat alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat burger, have turned the fast-food industry on its head. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper and Dunkin’s Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich are examples of fast-food companies shifting to plant-based meat alternatives due to increasing consumer demand. 

Coconut oil — as a cooking ingredient and as a wellness cure-all — became a popular alternative to other cooking oils. Though coconut oil contains lots of saturated fats, it has roughly the same amount of calories per tablespoon as olive oil and is often found in moisturizers and hair-care products.

poke bowl
A poke bowl with red onion, cucumber, salmon, masago, edamame, and sesame seeds. Not our photo.

Wild, over-the-top desserts also made a splash. Massive milkshakes, giant sundaes, and elaborate waffle creations made waves in the 2010s. 

Latte art made a splash as coffee culture intensified. Latte art, or art made using espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk to make images in foam, took over social media for a spell in the mid-2010s. 

Hard seltzer will go down as one of the biggest trends of the 2010s, with consumers flocking to the lower-calorie boozy beverage. The summer of 2019 was the summer of hard seltzer. The boozy beverage was so beloved that there was even a national shortage of White Claw, the most popular hard seltzer brand. 

The fast-casual explosion hit its stride with chains such as Sweetgreen and Shake Shack. Fast-casual restaurants lie somewhere between fast-food and full-service, meaning they usually don’t offer table service with a waitstaff but are generally regarded as having higher quality food than the average fast-food restaurant. 

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with the next 15 food trends of the past decade and photos of a “walking taco.”

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 7, 2014:

There were puffs of fog on the road to Funchal, Madeira, as shown in the left lane. For more photos, please click here.

Too much time indoors?…

A beautiful white lily in the garden of our holiday home in Campanario, Madeira.

There’s no doubt about it: we’re spending a lot of time in our hotel room. It’s somewhat like an apartment with a living room, bedroom area, kitchen, and roomy bathroom, with the convenience of daily maid service. All we have to do is dishes, using the full-sized dishwasher, and do our laundry every Friday.

Our free time is abundant without a garden, lawn to mow, house to maintain, oil changes, and shopping for household goods. Monthly, we pay off our credit cards online, review retirement financials, and annually, prepare expenses for our accountant in Nevada to do our taxes.

We never go to Home Depot and seldom visit Costco when buying in bulk is not in our wheelhouse. On July 1, Tom has a hearing aid appointment at Costco, but other than that, we had little reason to visit the crowded warehouse store packed with items we didn’t need.

These days, while waiting for my upcoming appointments at Cleveland Clinic at the end of August, we have little to do other than shop for a few groceries here and there and get together with family and friends. I have no interest in shopping for clothing, knowing I’ll only be wearing pajama bottoms and button shirts for months after the surgery. I’ll purchase the items I’ll need from Amazon when the time comes, never having to go to a store.

As a result, we have little reason to be outdoors right now. It’s been raining most days since we arrived. As much as I’d like to walk outdoors, the uneven pavement presents a tripping hazard for my unsteady gait. Instead, I do steps indoors in our room, often standing in place, setting my phone timer to remind me to get up from sitting for extended periods.

We cringe when we talk about how much time and effort it took to get our home ready for spring and winter in Minnesota and how doing so monopolized most of our free time. I recall the angst I felt over knowing I had to get down on my hands and knees and plant flowers each year when it wasn’t ever an interest of mine.

Tom worked 12-hour days with two hours of driving time, leaving little time and energy for home projects. But, he, too, lived up to the responsibility of outdoor home projects while I handled the indoor tasks, washing windows, keeping the house clean and free of clutter, and on and on.

I know many enjoy doing all the tasks and have done so with enthusiasm. But that type of enthusiasm was beyond our reach, although we were both relieved when the tasks were done. We did them all. Now, having the freedom we’ve had over the past 12 years has fulfilled us in a way that is hard to explain.

We commend and recognize those who accomplish these tasks with joy and dedication and are proud of their finished work. We have always longed for more time to enjoy our home and its beautiful surroundings freely. Instead, now and especially over the past years, we’ve cherished our free time and our surroundings, but on a much larger scale…the world.

We are grateful for our experiences in all areas of our lives, including those before we began traveling and time spent with family and friends, which will remain constant. But, for now, the simplicity of our nomadic lives, whether indoors on a nice day or not, continues to be fulfilling in many ways.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 6, 2014:

This was the remaining tuna the truck fish guy in Campanario, Madeira, cleaned and cut for us after we gave Judite, our housekeeper, a good-sized bag, some of which we’ll cook over the next few nights. We sealed the remainder in Ziploc bags and froze them for future meals. For more photos, please click here.