Paper-Source + west elm Craft Night at the Summit!

The next Birmingham Craft Night has officially been announced, and it’s going to be a good one, crafters. I’ve been talking with west elm Birmingham about what a collaboration with another fun Summit store would look like, and Paper-Source was such an obvious choice. The wonderful people at Paper-Source have generously donated rolls and rolls of crepe paper, and we once again have our local west elm to thank for opening their store to us to make this happen.

I love these crepe paper flowers, off the top of my head I can think of 100 ways to use them. They made great gift toppers like you see below, but how about incorporating them into your next sit-down party and using them as place cards or a centerpiece? Or stringing together a dozen or so for a festive garland? At this craft night, you’ll learn the basics for constructing these flowers, and I’ll also teach you some fun techniques using scissor work and watercolors to give each one its own personality.

crepepaperflowersAnd did I mention? Thanks to our generous partners, west elm at The Summit and Paper-Source, this event is free. F-R-E-E! Spots are limited, so hurry over to our page at Eventbrite and save your seat, and we’ll see you at The Summit Birmingham on August 27th!

(8/14 Update: even after opening 10 more spots, I’m so sorry, we are sold out! But be on the lookout for more Craft Nights to come!)

{Morocco} Inside the Medina

After a night on the floor of the Geneva Airport and a quick cheap flight over the Mediterranean, we arrived in Africa. Our first visit to the continent, which would have been our 2nd if the Egyptians hadn’t overthrown their president when we planned to go in 2010! The airport was bright and modern and the immigration line moved pretty efficiently, and I was surprised to see that he stamped the next to last page in my passport instead of at the front…until I remembered that Arabic reads from right to left! Fun fact for the day.

We arrived at our beautiful Riad a little while later, tucked a few alleyways deep in the east side of the Medina, near the Bab Ailen gate. Riads are old mansions turned small hotels, and it’s the only way to go if you want an authentic experience. 
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The housekeeper, Namja, was a highlight of our stay. She made wonderful food, taught me some words in Arabic to help get us around, walked us to the main street so we didn’t get lost, and was always there to greet us with tea after a long day of exploring. When I messed up our airline reservations, she literally held me while I cried in frustration and exhaustion!

How beautiful is the traditional breakfast they served us every morning! Fresh baked bread and Moroccan pancakes served with honey and jams, and fresh squeezed juice and coffee to wash it down.


Riad Ailen is new to the competitive riad scene in the Medina; it was a great price and the hospitality can’t be beat. You can read my review on here, and I meant every word I wrote!

After settling in at the Riad and securing a handmade straw hat, we set out on a mission to wander around the Medina. It’s tough to know where to start. The Marrakesh Medina is a 12-mile walled circuit that was built in the 12th century, and inside is a dizzying maze of streets and alleyways of shops, artisans, amazing food, weird smells, awesome smells, lots of shouting, museums, and more. The centerpiece is Jemaa el-Fna, the large open square that is hub of the city and a living, breathing UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Btw, this post will focus only on the Medina and isn’t necessarily chronological like the rest of my travel posts.)


I really had one thing on my Marrakesh shopping list, and the rest of the things I picked up were just details. Again, an adoption budget doesn’t leave you with a lot of room for shopping. But I have wanted a Berber wedding blanket since I knew what they were. My precious mother handed me $100 the night before we left on our trip and told me she wanted me to get one. What an amazing lady who understands me so well!

What is so amazing to me about these blankets is the almost incomprehensible detail, all done by hand. Berber tradition holds that a woman, leading up to her wedding day, would arduously create patterns of sequins on one side and weave traditional Berber patterns on the other. When she was happy with her husband and all was well, she’d wear the blanket with the sequins facing out to shine in the sun. If she was upset with her husband and wanted him to know it, she’d wear it with the woven patterns facing out. It’s very easy to spot the authentic ones from the new, mass produced ones. The reproduction is the one next to my right food that is bright white and machine-made of cheaper cotton, whereas the authentic ones are handmade of a thick wool and are darker shades of off-white and tan. Some other dead giveaways to a reproduction are the strips of Berber weaving that traditionally are on the back are instead on the front, it’s lightweight instead of heavy and bulky, the patterns of sequins and tufts are too symmetrical, and it’s missing the two black pieces of twill that the bride uses to tie the blanket around her shoulders.IMG_8743

Let me tell you, I can haggle a price. And I love doing it. After popping into several shops, I struck up a great relationship with this man, Fouad Mejbar. He had a great sense of humor and we had a lot of laughs throwing prices back and forth at each other. Two days later I happened to walk by his shop again, and he immediately remembered me and came out and gave me a hug (and of course told me to come back and shop!) What I also loved about Fouad is that he didn’t try to pass off the new ones as the old ones, even if he gladly would have sold me a reproduction!Maroc4 I reigned victorious with this beauty, and for just $80, which I thought was a totally fair price. IMG_8744Below is a photo of his shop, Chateau Berbere. He is located at 4, Rue Moussaine and you can email him at IMG_8745We shared a cab one day with some lovely British folk who later walked us to Souk Zrabi and suggested tea on the roof of cafe they had really enjoyed. Sure the souk is touristy, it’s what it’s basically there for these days after all, but it’s wonderful.


The view. Dang. Maroc45 Sometimes you just have to sit and look.Maroc44The iconic spice pyramids of Morocco!
Maroc50 And some escargo for your dining pleasure.

A few more of my favorite daytime Jemaa el-Fna photos before we change gears to night time at Jemaa el-Fna:




Gotta love that you can’t swing a dead cat in the square without hitting an orange juice stand or a place to get a big dish of tagine.
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And then there’s Jemaa el-Fna at night. It’s when this place really comes alive. Dozens and dozens of restaurants pop up with traditional Moroccan food, calling to you in whatever language they think you might speak.

Pastry carts are pushed by peddlers who practically shove tongs and a box in your hands for you to pick out your favorites. Henna artists get a little more pushy, snake charmers play their flutes a little louder, and the history of the Berbers stay alive with storytellers passing down centuries-old legends.


In addition to securing my wedding blanket, I also really wanted to get a henna tattoo. I wish I could have opted for one that covered my whole arm, and maybe I could have haggled down to a cheap price for a big one, but there was something about this artist that made me want to just let her have the price she first asked for. Or maybe I was just too tired to bargain. A little of both probably. There are dozens and dozens of henna artists all around the square, and with us being a slow time of year, I was happy to pay her full price.

Maroc28When it’s time to find a place to eat, there are SO. MANY. CHOICES. And if I can just say, don’t be one of those people who is scared of eating street food. First, it’s tradition and you’re not really doing Marrakesh if you don’t eat here at least one night. Second, if these restaurants were making people sick, do you really think locals and tourists alike would flock here every night?

Each stall has a designated employee whose sole job is to wave menus and try and get people to sit down and that their stall, and not one of the other 60 stalls serving the same thing. “Same sh*t, different stall!” they say. After wondering around trying to make a decision, we decided on stall #100. The guys who work here were so nice and we loved talking to them about their city. I wish I could remember this guy’s name, he had us laughing so much that we came here two of the three nights were in the country!

IMG_8883He jumped into most of the photos we took, or just snapped a selfie. Like ya do.Maroc33Maroc30A

This delicious spread, plus a complimentary glass of mint tea at the end of our meal, set us back about $8.

They insisted that we stand up here and get our photo with them, the chef even plopped his hat on my head. I hope we can make it back one day to see these guys again; even if they don’t remember us, they are great ambassadors for their city and we won’t forget them! 

Of course we ended dinner with a box of pastries from one of the passing carts! And goodness I loved my henna. She sprinkled glitter across it when she was finished. We basically speak the same language.
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Maroc56So, the Marrakesh Medina. It is awesome, as you can tell. I pray that I can go back one day when I’m not on an unfortunately tight budget so I can shop myself into a coma.


To keep this post realistic, I also have to say that before you go, make sure you read up on ways to keep yourself safe while you’re there. Petty theft and scams aimed at tourists are rampant. Even as savvy as we are, we almost got into trouble one night when we got turned around trying to get to the Square and a kid started following us, insisting he was personally walking us confused tourists to our destination, then threatening us if we didn’t pay him for his troubles. But a little common sense goes a very long way, and as long as you don’t act like a moron, you’ll be safe and have a great time. Insist that an employee at your hotel or riad walk you to the Square at least once, and take photos of landmarks between your hotel and the Square to reference; it’s inevitable you’ll make at least one wrong turn!

Stay tuned for the next post from our time in Morocco, which will be about our day trip to the beautiful Ourika Valley!

Try The World Box: France

My parents got the best birthday gift for me…a subscription to Try The World, a bi-monthly box filled with culinary goodies from allover the world. While the actual box was for Japan, I got the France box as a bonus and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. I was able to take most of the products from the box and incorporate them into the easy three-course meal you see below. Read on for the recipes, and a video of the unboxing at the very end. (Which is kind of silly and something I’ve never done before, but I was having a good hair day.) If you’d like a code for $15 off of your subscription, please email me at and I’ll get it right to you!

TryTheWorldappThe first course is kind of complicated so try to keep up! You’ll need a wedge of Brie cheese, a big smear of the Peach-Apricot Jam, and a crusty baguette as the vehicle for getting the French goodness into your face.


This easy dish preps in 5 minutes and requires almost no clean up.

Chicken Paillards with Whole-Grain Mustard and Sea-Salted Roasted Tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for covered the tomatoes
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
A splash of apple cider vinegar
A couple pinches of sea salt, plus more for the tomatoes
2 chicken paillards (a chicken breast cut open like a butterfly)
1/3 cup of bread crumbs (make some from stale bread by whizzing them in the food processor)
3 or 4 tomatoes, quartered
Fresh chives, chopped

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a shallow baking dish; gently stir with a spoon until it comes together.
Add the chicken and coat with the mustard mixture.
Allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly across the top.
Add the tomatoes quarters; brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt
Bake at 450 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.
Garnish with fresh chopped chives.


If you watch the Unboxing video below, you’ll see that the lavender honey was the product I was most excited about, and it was as great as I thought it would be. To make this, I simply softened some vanilla ice cream and added the honey. Be sure to add the honey in a slow, thin stream or else the ice cream will harden it into a lump. After mixing the two ingredients thoroughly, pop it back in the freezer to firm. If you don’t want to wait, I’m sure it would be just as delicious drizzled on top! Since the Palet shortbread cookies were a little crumbled upon arrival at my front door, I decided to just crumble them a little more and eat them as a topping.

The only items I didn’t use were the tea and butter caramels, but only because they stand on their own! Follow along with me on Instagram for a sneak peek into the Japan box that will be here soon! And don’t forget to email me at for $15 off!

Golden Flake Photo Shoot

Earlier this month I collaborated with Golden Flake on a shoot for their social media campaigns. Golden Flake is a famous brand of potato chips and snacks, made right here in beloved Birmingham, and there isn’t a kid in town who didn’t go to a factory field trip in elementary school. Local photographers Noah and Rachel Ray captured the youthful, modern vibe of the shoot just perfectly. I had a blast working with them and hope to be able to again! I also loved working with Golden Flake’s social media gal MaryJane Carney, who sent us off with the BEST parting gifts ever: huge tote bags stuffed full of chips. As far as I’m concerned, GF Dill Pickle and Buffalo Ranch chips might as well be currency.

Here are just a few of my favorite photos from the day! Follow Golden Flake on Instagram and across social media for more (or just because why wouldn’t you follow the South’s best potato chip?) Huge praise-hand emojis to our four models, they were professional and fun and brought our little urban picnic to life. Also have to give some praise-hand emojis to our local West Elm, who let me raid their store for the perfect props. That polka dot picnic blanket and those enamel plates, though.

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{Switzerland} Lausanne

Our last day in amazing, magnificent Switzerland was spent in the French-speaking town of Lausanne. (That’s pronounced lo-ZAHN by the way, and you better make sure you’re saying in right!) We had been planning to go to Bern, but a quick read in Rick Steves’ book made me change my mind at the last minute, the clincher being that THE OLYMPIC MUSEUM IS THERE! Did you know we are Olympic fanatics?!

I spent most of the great train ride through the western Swiss countryside trying to brush up on my conversational French and Zack spent most of his time catching up on Go Call Saul.

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A couple hours later we were stuffing the lockers in the train station with our backpacks and taking the local public transit down to Lake Geneva. Literally, down. Lausanne is a steep lakeside town and once you get on their public transit at the main train station, you are halfway between “uptown” and “downtown.” It’s kind of disorienting to be standing there, because the train is actually on a slant. So weird but very cool! Like most other Swiss cities, your Swiss Pass covers your public transportation.


We decided to go “down” town and grab a bite before heading to the Museum. The lakeside is just beautiful! Full of skateboarders, people playing on huge chess boards, and little food stands selling gelato and sandwiches. It kind of has a boardwalk feel, but in the way that a town that straddles France and Switzerland only can feel. From what we would tell, the food stands are definitely the cheapest lunch in town, but there is a Co-Op grocery store a block down where you can grab some picnic provisions. We had a couple of Caprese sandwiches and they weren’t too bad at all!

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And there is a countdown clock to the Olympics! Oh my goodness, I can’t wait for Rio!Swiss51

And then: The Olympic MuseumLe Musée Olympique. There was much rejoicing. We. Love. The. Olympics.

Admission to the museum is included in the Swiss Pass, although just walking around the grounds is inspiring enough. The steps and columns are engraved with the city and year of each Olympiad.

You can even take in some beautiful artwork while trying your hand at the 100-meter dash!
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The statue of Pierre de Coubertin overlooking the eternal Olympic flame and Lake Geneva is pretty awe-inspiring. It was cloudy the day we were there, but on a sunny day, he must have a great view of the French Alps! IMG_8723

To enter, you walk under a high jump bar that is set to the height of the men’s world record.


The inside is filled with beautifully curated memorabilia, a living history of the games, and even hands-on exhibits and activities.

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Upon seeing the autographed basketball from the 1992 Dream Team, I decided to record the following for hometown celeb Charles Barkley:

Anyway, of course Atlanta was our favorite Olympiad! I was in middle school when the next city over from ours hosted in 1996. I remember taking a field trip to Atlanta in the 6th grade and seeing them finishing up all of the venues. We even went to the Japan-Italy Mens game at Legion Field here in Birmingham, since the soccer games were played here. I also vividly remember a men’s soccer team walking around the Galleria shopping mall one while I was there with my best friends for my 12th birthday. I don’t remember what country they were from, but I remember gaping at them as they walked by and the smiles we got in return. Whew.


If you’re anywhere near Lausanne while in Switzerland or the Swiss-French boarder, then GO TO THERE! You will love this charming little lakeside town and all the fun that comes with it being the home of the International Olympic Committee.

Au revoir Olympic Museum, and thanks for a wonderful afternoon! Can’t wait for Rio 2016!Swiss57And au revoir Switzerland!

LS15We took a late train to the Geneva Airport, got there about 11pm, and napped on the floor until 4am when we could check in for our flight to…Marrakesh! “A right bonkers vacation,” as a British lady we met in Morocco who lives in Lausanne told us! (And we’re quite proud of that!) LS8

I also want to give a shout-out to my TOMS Nepal boots, that kept my feet warm and toasty in the Swiss winter weather! (Good travel tip: waterproof your shoes before you go so the snow doesn’t get your feet wet!)

Sadly I have no photos of our time on the floor of the Geneva Airport, but I really wish I did, because it was quite the experience! (To sum it up in case it could be good advice for anyone else: we are pretty rugged and cheap when we travel, often opting for hostels and picnic lunches when we’re abroad. RyanAir had a cheap flight from Geneva to Marrakesh so we knew we were going to fly out of there to get to Morocco, but it left first thing in the morning, and to stay in Geneva for the night would have meant getting an expensive hotel room in France and paying a hefty taxi fee to pick us up around 3:30 am and take us back across the boarder. Not to mention that our rail passes only covered Switzerland, so we would have had to pay for a taxi from Geneva into France late at night too. What’s 4 hours on the floor of an airport when the alternative is 3 hours in an expensive hotel room the next country over? It would have cost us something like $225 when it was all said and done, and we just couldn’t justify that at all! The Geneva Airport is closed from midnight to 4am by the way, so it’s nice and quiet, and filled with other budget backpackers who are doing the same thing. Get there a little before midnight, grab a quick snack, brush your teeth in the bathroom, and a few hours later you can rest up at your next destination!)

Anyway, to wrap it all up, Switzerland was amazing, clean, friendly, filled with wonderful history and beautiful scenery, and worth the expense it costs to stay there, even for a few days. And I hope these blog posts have helped give some ideas on how to save money while you’re there! Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions at all and I’d be so happy to help! And feel free to check out my posts on Zürich, Mürren and Gimmelwald, and Lauterbrunnen,

Icebox Coffee Waffles & Blueberry Topping

It’s getting to the point that I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t live in Birmingham. There is a creative community here that is bursting at the seems with talent, and I’m so happy to be part of Birmingham Bloggers. (Even if WordPress won’t let me add the BB badge over on my sidebar….can someone please help me with that?) And we also have a food scene that rivals any big city. One of my new favorites is Icebox Coffee. I love cold-brewed coffee, and I really love that I can grab a ready-to-drink bottle anytime I’m near Whole Foods or a Piggly Wiggly here in town, or wash down whatever I’m feasting on at Pepper Place with a big cup of it.

Currently Birmingham Bloggers and Icebox Coffee are hosting a recipe contest, and I thought it’d be fun to see what I could come up with. I spent the better part of a week tossing ideas around before finally settling on coffee waffles…because breakfast food is everything to me.

As I was testing the recipe, the first batch, while it had a good coffee bite, didn’t have that rich, breakfast-y flavor that I wanted. So I threw some blueberries that I had in the batter…good flavor but still not quite right. The second batch I made with buttermilk and they turned out great (no surprise I guess), but I still thought it needed a little more of a coffee kick and little more of a breakfast kick. Which is how I came up with the blueberry topping. I really wasn’t sure how that was going to come together, but I ended up loving it. If you’re more into sweet and less into coffee, definitely throw some maple syrup on top :)

Icebox2 copyIcebox Coffee + Buttermilk Waffles
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
½ cup Icebox Cold Brew Coffee
½ cup buttermilk
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste, or scraped vanilla bean, or even a dash of extract will work

Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and then add the coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.

Spray your waffle iron with non-stick spray and spoon in about 1/3 cup of batter. That’s it!


Coffee-Blueberry Topping
½ cup Icebox Cold Brew Coffee
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or scraped vanilla bean or vanilla extract
½ tsp granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan. Stir gently while the mixture heats up, but do not let smash the berries or let them burst. Spoon topping over waffles and serve warm.

Thanks Icebox and Birmingham Bloggers for the fun challenge! Next Thursday night there will be a big Icebox-BB party at Innovation Depot at 6:30, I look forward to seeing some of you there!

{Switzerland} Lauterbrunnen

I don’t know how to put the beauty of this place into words, so I’m going to copy and paste this excerpt from the Wikipedia page on Lauterbrunnen:

J. R. R. Tolkien hiked from Interlaken to the Lauterbrunnen Valley while on a trip to the Continent in 1911. The wonderful landscape of the valley later provided the concept and pictorial model for his sketches and watercolors of the fictitious valley of Rivendell, the dwelling place of Elrond Half-elven and his people. Furthermore, Tolkien gave the river flowing through the valley of Rivendell the elvish name Bruinen, meaning ‘Loudwater’.”

Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher have been holding really strong as my favorite place in the world for about 5 years or so now, and I told Zack that being here made me feel like I was cheating on them.

I think this was the first photo in my last post, so sorry if you’re seeing it again, but it bears repeating. This was the view from our hotel room! I was still so jet-lagged the whole time we were there, but seeing the sun rise in the Valley is worth having your internal clock completely reversed.

LB4And speaking of our hotel, we stayed Valley Hostel, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! The guy who works there is so nice, and is so proud his town. (Rightly so, look at this place!) He also runs their Facebook page and posts photos almost daily of the village and surrounding areas, and it’s been so lovely to continue to see this place pop up on my newsfeed since we’ve been gone.

The red-shuttered building on the left is Valley Hostel, and the room on the lower left was ours. The rooms are totally affordable by Swiss standards, and each room gets designated space in the community kitchen for their groceries, which is great since it costs a small fortune to get even a simple lunch in this country! LB1

We spent our second full day in the Valley taking it easy; we had no agenda at all! We slept late and went to Airtime Cafe for breakfast where I sat in the window seat, drank a flat white, ate a homemade muffin that was baked in a flower pot, and translated a German newspaper for the fun of it.


After breakfast, we went down to the small grocery store in town and loaded up on provisions for our hike to the waterfall and around the valley floor.

When I say “hike,” I mean more “let’s just walk in this direction till we feel like turning around.” This was our relaxing day of our vacation, after all!


Zack also threw more snowballs at me, because again, we’re Alabamians, and we only get to throw snowballs like once every 3 years. Swiss46

The closest waterfall to Lauterbrunnen, the one we could see from our hotel window, had slowed to a trickle by time we got there. Which really just didn’t take away from the experience at all, because as you can see, this place is heaven on earth.

LB12I also found a cat and had to pet it, because like I said on my last post, this is just what I do when I travel. Full disclosure: this is bad travel advice; I do not suggest petting and/or holding unfamiliar animals while abroad. Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 3.53.58 PMWe liked this car…Swiss48…and this church. Yet another Reformed Protestant Church of Switzerland with an incredibly modest interior! Which after seeing the grand cathedrals of Ireland, England, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain, was still a little weird for us. Gotta love that Swiss Protestant Reformation…I guess?Swiss49

For lunch, we stopped right here in front of the waterfall…

LB2…and feasted on a homemade muesli (made by Danielle at Airtime), fresh bread, and some Alpen Käse that we picked up from a local’s cellar in Gimmelwald the day before. For dessert, a fresh cookie (also made by Danielle) and of course my sweet husband had to grab a chocolate bar at the Co-Op grocery store. We chilled our drinks (another Rugenbrau for him and a can of Prosecco for me) in the snow! We had a late breakfast and had plans for a big dinner, so this little picnic lunch was just the thing.


We hiked back into town and while Zack napped, me and Rick Steves headed back to Airtime to get some tea. At that point we were planning to go to Bern the next day and I hadn’t really read up much on it. While I was there, I struck up a conversation with a nice gentleman from with a British accent. About 30 minutes later I had abandoned Rick completely and we were deep in a conversation about the history of India and how that tied in with British history. Eventually our talk came around to my husband being a youth pastor, and he brightly said, “my friend is becoming a lay minister with the church of England, you have to meet him, he’ll be here in a minute!” About the time his friend joined us, so did Zack, and a few minutes later, Zack and I had an invitation to join them for dinner that night.

This is what we LOVE about travel. The world is full of so many wonderful people just like it’s full of wonderful things to see, and if you don’t get a good ways from home every now and then, you’re going to miss out on what the world has to offer you.


So for 3 hours that night, we ate a delicious meal that was made from ingredients that Sean (a negotiator with the London Met Police) and Tony (retired IA London Met Police) picked up in France on their drive from London to Lauterbrunnen. Sean bought this little cabin a few years ago from an elderly gentleman and “holidays” 4 times a year to ski and enjoy the amazing scenery. Tony loves to visit the town because his parents brought him there in the 1960s when the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was being filmed at the Schilthorn, and he has fond memories of the one-legged cameraman dangling from a helicopter. We also talked a lot about some of the deep-rooted problems they have experienced in London first-hand as a result of youth crimes and gangs, and you can imagine that with Tony and Zack both being in ministry, there was much to discuss! We also talked about: Tony’s vacation home near Mont St. Michael, Sean’s daily bike commute across London, places we’ve traveled, the differences between the US and England, and what makes good whiskey. (Or maybe Tony just kept pouring good whiskey for Zack more so than talking about it?). It was such a great evening and truly one of the brightest highlights of our entire trip.

We exchanged email addresses and Tony was so nice to share the recipe for what he made us for dinner that night. His wife and daughter are vegetarians and it’s one of their favorite dishes at home. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind one bit if I shared it with you all, it was absolutely wonderful! And a nice break from the carb- and cheese-heavy Swiss cuisine!

Black Eye Bean & Leek Hash
Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 25 mins
Serves 4
Per serving 303 calories

2 tbsp vegetable oil
450g potatoes, cut into small chunks
350g leeks, sliced
400g can black eye beans, drained & rinsed (can use less)
50g grated Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped parsley, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for 10 mins until half-cooked. Add the leeks and continue to cook the mixture for 5 mins, stirring, until the leeks have softened.

Stir in the beans and grated cheese, and cook over a medium heat until a crust forms on the bottom. Stir the mixture to allow the hash to brown throughout.

Turn the hash over and pat it down to form a cake. Cook until a crust forms on the bottom. Sprinkle the hash with parsley and serve straight from the pan. A green salad and tomato ketchup make good accompaniments.

We were so excited to head to the next stop on our trip, but it was genuinely sad to leave this little town. I cannot think of one thing I didn’t love about being there. We took one last trip up to see Danielle at Airtime, as well as some other friends we had made in our short time there. May is an Airtime employee, sweet and cute as she could be, and John is a native Bostonian through-and-through who rides motorcycles across Europe but particularly loved Lauterbrunnen. (Because who doesn’t??)

LB10We also had a good laugh with Danielle about her write-up in Rick Steves’ guidebook. There is a funny story about his visit there, but I promised her I wouldn’t repeat it! After our goodbyes (and me almost leaving my Swisspass in our room), Danielle packed up one of her famous chocolate brownies for us to enjoy as we rode the rails to Lausanne.

AirtimeLauterbrunnenSeriously, please don’t tell Ireland I’m saying any of this: up until our time here, I never thought I’d see a place more beautiful or meet people more friendly than what we experienced in Ireland in 2010. Lauterbrunnen and our time in the Jungfrau Region will forever be some of the best days of my life. Thanks so much to Valley Hostel, Danielle, May and John, and Sean and Tony for showing us a great time!

Next stop: Lausanne!