Tortilla soup

What to make when given a box full of avocado to play with?  While in New Zealand I had time to experiment and enjoy some of my favorites. 

Guacamole

(Serves 2 to 4)

1 Avocado

1 large tomato (seeds taken out)

1 small garlic clove crushed

Tbs fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ juiced lemon

Chicken Tortilla soup

(Serves 2 to 3)

2 slices of bacon

32 oz chicken stock

1/3 corn meal

1 cooked chicken breast chopped into bite size pieces (seasoned with S&P and Cumin)

Dash of Cheyenne pepper

½ tea of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded cheese optional

To make the Guacamole:  In a mixing bowl add the avocado and juice lemon over the top.  Add chopped tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and mix till desired texture is reached.  I like mine a little on the chunky side.  Add seasoning to taste. 

Chicken Tortilla soup:

This is a spin off one of my favorite recipes.  It was rough out and I decided to thicken the soup a little to make it easier to handle in a bowl.  It very simple and quick to make but packs a ton of flavor. 

Render Bacon till its golden brown on medium heat and then add the chicken stock.  Lower heat to low.  Before broth gets too hot sprinkle the cornmeal while stirring constantly with a whisk.  Simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cornmeal is fully cooked.  Add chicken and seasoning to taste. 

I top my soup with shredded cheddar or what ever I can find and a hearty dollop of Guacamole and chopped cilantro.  Serve with Tortilla chips and salsa.  Enjoy!

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Dog Bowls?

I asked the question on my facebook page, “Dog bowls? Can anyone tell me why someone would have these on a boat with no dog???” 

  

We would often say, “It’s a dog bowl night” when it was really rough out.  Why use a dog bowl?  Well, for starters, they have a fantastic rubber bottom to prevent sliding, they come with a great natural hand grip, and the sides are high.  The natural grip is a blessing because on cold nights there is nothing better than something hot in your bowl.  In a normal bowl you wouldn’t have the extra rim to hold on to like a dog bowl has.  You would have to hold it in your hand and IT’S HOT!  I saw some cute dog bowls at my local pet store and had to send two to a friend.  I chose the pirate design, of course!

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Paw Paw anyone?

After spending the last three weeks in Bora Bora and a few days on one of the ugliest passages we’ve had in a long time, we were ready to arrive.  Destination Aitutaki, Cook Islands.  On a cruiser budget, life in Bora Bora can reduce you down to a ration of MERE 2 baguettes a day.  Everything on this island is triple the price of the already expensive Society Islands.  Luckily, baguette prices are regulated!  When we arrived in Aitutaki, we were happy, first of all, to have been able to enter into the narrow shallow pass, safely into the small harbor and that there was room for us since this very tight area only holds about 4 to 5 boats tied stern-to.

Because the food was so expensive in Bora Bora Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard had gone bare. Aitutaki wasn’t exactly known for provisions but I knew we wouldn’t be paying $20 for a package of sliced cheese.  Ha! Turned out they just don’t have cheese at all!  But, just as good or better, what they have is fresh fruit falling from the trees. 

We made friends with a local woman named Mi’e and shared a couple of lazy days eating Aitutaki Caviar (more on this later) and chatting about life.  On the day we were to depart we heard her yelling from the shore, “Paul” (Sounded more like Pou’l.)

Seemed she didn’t want us to leave just yet. The feeling was mutual and if I had my choice we would have settled in nice and easy and let the anchor just grow roots there…

She insisted we wait about 20 minutes; her  and her husband would be over to the boat in their skiff.  When they arrived 20 minutes later they had about 4 potato sacks full of Paw Paws (aka Papaya), pamplemousse (grapefruit), star fruit, guava, passion fruit, cashews, lemons, limes, sour oranges, brown and green coconuts and a large stalk of bananas.   All were a most welcome treat! It was a challenge to find space for all the fruit.  In these pictures are just 1/4 of it!

This glut of fruit and my personal distaste for waste, made me suddenly more creative in the kitchen. I made guava jelly, star fruit chutney and finally invented Paw Paw Bread, a now-famous family specialty. 

We are temporarily aground (I sincerely hope!), living back on land in the U.S. again. When I came upon a beautiful papaya specimen this week in my local grocery store, I decided to make it again. Just picking up a big Paw Paw will always bring memories of Aitutaki roaring back. 

So here’s to you Mi’e! May we someday meet you again. 

Paw Paw Bread

(Makes 1 large loaf or two small loaves)

2 cups flour

2 tea baking soda

1 tea cinnimon

1 cup sugar

¾ cup shredded coconut

2 cups of Paw Paw mashed and drained of excess juices

½ lemon juiced

2 eggs

¾ cup oil or fresh coconut oil from the market it available.

2 tea vanilla

Pre heat oven 350 degrees (180 C or gas mark 4)

Mix all dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl or make a well in dry ingredients and add remaining ingredients and mix in till all is incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Bake one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Sometimes I would split this recipe in half between two loaf pans to cut back on cooking time and also to avoid burning my bottom.  All boat ovens react differently so use what method would work best for yours.

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Coming 2-C-Us by: J. Rouse

We welcome our friends and family, and encourage you to contact us to check our current port of call, planned length of stay and availability for visitors. Also before you plan your visit, please refer to our “visitor guidelines” which follow.

We want to make sure that we do our best to prepare you for an enjoyable time visiting with us aboard S/V BeBe. We can’t guarantee you a good time – you’re on your own in the attitude category – however, we will do our best to give our landlubber friends an outline of expectations and overview of living aboard so that you arrive as well-informed as possible.

This isn’t like staying in a hotel, but it isn’t quite camping either. It’s just a little different.

Plan on nothing dressier than casual and heels no higher than “tennis shoes”. You really don’t need jewelry, resort wear or “bling” to vacation with us. This is a time to get away from all that. If that is not what you seek, we are not the get-away for you. If there is a restaurant in the area or a local yacht club that we will be patronizing, we will let you know before you start packing; otherwise, leave the hair gel, the curling and flat irons and the glam at home. If you are American, those appliances won’t work aboard S/V BeBe anyway. Our yacht is 220v and the bathroom you will be using is equipped with the appropriate type hair dryer.

First of all, here is the scoop on what to bring and what to avoid when packing for your journey.

  • Make sure your passport is up to date, and that it is not within 6 months of Expiration.
  • You might want to bring along some cash in either USD or the local currency. Some places take credit cards but many require cash only. We use ATMs to obtain local currency worldwide, and you might find this the easiest manner to obtain foreign currency.
  • PLEASE NO HARD SIDED LUGGAGE OR SUITCASES. Use collapsible luggage (duffel bag, back pack, etc.). We have no room to store suitcases on the boat. Rolling luggage is fine; but unless it breaks down flat you will be sleeping with it. We use rolling duffel bags that collapse flat for easy storage.
  • Pack light so you can easily hoist your bag. You don’t need much anyway: For daytime: shorts, capri’s, bathing suit, t-shirts, cover-ups, etc. For nighttime, blue jeans, sweat shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, lightweight jacket, etc. We will not generally have a reason to “dress up”, by this we mean fancier than very, very casual.
  • Remember a hat or cap and good sunglasses.
  • SHOES: One pair to wear on the boat.
    • Your boat shoes should have a non marking, non slip sole.
    • If the boat shoes you bring are ones you are wearing now, be sure to thoroughly clean the bottom so the gravel and rocks in the grooves will not scratch the decks. Be aware that the brown fiberglass “faux teak” decks on S/V BeBe get extremely hot in the tropics. You will not go barefoot aboard S/V BeBe as you might on other boats.
    • Your other shoes or sandals should be comfortable for walking and for wearing on the beach, etc.
  • Bring your preferred brand of insect repellent and whatever suntan lotion you generally use.
  • Bring your personal toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, shaving items, deodorant, etc), however; we will provide bath soap. And seriously, don’t bring a bunch of electrical gadgets. Remember that your 110v appliances normally will not work on our 220v system. Electric shavers and computers are often exceptions and might work on 220v. Check and confirm yours are 220-240v compatible before lugging it along.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness we encourage you to bring the appropriate medication or personal treatment that best suits you. We do keep a supply of Scopalomine patches and Scopace pills on board; but if you prefer different medications, please bring it.
  • Do not bring any food that is not sealed by the manufacturer, and please no cardboard containers, they are a haven for bugs to lay their eggs. We don’t want them hatching in the middle of the ocean.
  • If you prefer a particular brand of liquor or think you might want to enjoy a bottle or two of your favorite bottle of wine while visiting with us, please feel free to bring what your luggage and the visiting country laws allow. If you want something special, a visit to the duty-free shop at the airport might be in order.
  • If you have visited us on board previously as a ‘couple’ and we assigned you the rear cabin, please be aware that any future visits by couples will NOT enjoy that comfortable bed in the back. We now have so much stuff on the boat that it is too much work to empty our clothes from the lockers in the rear cabin for your visit. In the future, all guests will be accommodated in the forward cabin and the passage berth and pilot berth. We can accommodate 5 guests comfortably, and we will not be giving up our aft cabin any more.

Now, a few living-on-board pointers for those of you not familiar with sea life.

Equipment on a boat is more delicate than one might think, and is much more expensive to replace or to repair than the average home items, and replacements parts are often hard to find; therefore, we have a few HOUSEKEEPING RULES. Violations of rules may result in one of the following: confinement to quarters, “WALKING THE PLANK”, food rationing, guests being Hung, Drawn and Quartered, etc. Get the picture?

  • NOTHING GOES IN THE TOILETS BUT WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR BODY and the appropriate toilet paper. – no feminine products, gum – not even a matchstick. And, most importantly, NO HAIR…….not one single strand!!! Our toilets are equipped with a macerater (kind of like a tiny blender blade) that is activated every time the ‘flush’ button is depressed. The macerater cuts all waste matter and paper into tiny bits before it is dumped into the holding tank. It is very important to depress the ‘flush’ button for a minimum of 12 seconds. Our toilet system flushes with sea water. Urine and salt water combine to form rock-hard ‘crystals’ that will block the discharge hoses; so it is very important to flush long enough to evacuate all urine from the discharge hoses and into the holding tank. Strands of hair wrap around the macerater blades and stop the flushing action. This is a very nasty job to clean and will break the macerater. Bill will not be very happy with you if he has to take apart the sewer line to clean up your mistake.
  • Nothing but liquid goes down any sink drain. Our kitchen sink drains into a deep container that is automatically pumped overboard when the contents accumulate to a certain level. To avoid smells developing in that bilge area, we pour no food liquids down the kitchen sink. Please discuss with Judy if you have any questions and she will show you how to handle food waste disposal.
  • Refrigerator and freezer doors should be closed quickly and not left open or unlatched. The freezer is not self-defrosting.
  • Another boat thing: When using the shower, turn WATER ON and wet yourself and your wash cloth or shower scrunge thoroughly, TURN WATER OFF and lather up, AND LAST TURN WATER ON AND RINSE SOAP OFF. A side note from Judy for women visitors: I have found that it works well to wet myself thoroughly; shampoo my hair; rinse and apply conditioner; then open the rear side of the shower curtain and use the toilet seat to prop my foot upon when shaving my legs, using the sink faucet to rinse the razor as needed; close the shower curtain; rinse out hair conditioner; then scrub down body and rinse overall. Trying to shave your legs while balanced on one foot inside the closed shower curtain on a boat is just asking for a fall. Even tied in a marina slip the boat does move a bit and might make those not familiar with this movement to lose their balance inside the confines of a closed shower.
  • Cooking, cleaning and general clean up are shared duties among the entire crew. Feel free to step right in and offer your assistance or to prepare your own cups of tea or coffee or snacks.
  • Try to be mindful of leaving lights on when not occupying a room. We make our own energy and try to conserve whenever and wherever prudent to do so.
  • Please use coasters under your drinks inside the cabin. Or use absorbent coozies on your cans of soda or beer.
  • Don’t take food into your cabin to eat. Food and snacks should be consumed either topside or within the galley and/or salon areas.
  • Please treat our home with the respect you would your own home. Or if you don’t treat your own home with respect – treat ours like you would your mother’s home when she is watching.

Finally, if you are unsure of something – please ask. We won’t be too hard on you if it’s a stupid question; although we may run you up the mast and let you hang for a while if you have a question that you don’t ask, hence committing a grievous infraction.

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Dijon crusted Salmon

On the south island of New Zealand we happened upon a salmon farm that made us hungry.  There are two things we could easily pick up anywhere in NZ, mussels and salmon.  I had a few simple and easy recipes but we grew very bored of them.  I have two new favorites I have cooked up and will share my first one with you. 

Dijon crusted Salmon

3 Tbs Dijon mustard

½ juiced lemon

1 Tbs of fresh Thyme or 1 tea of dried Thyme

Salt and Pepper

3 Tbs olive oil

1 heaping cup of panko bread crumbs or Club/Ritz crackers roughly crumbled.

One whole filet of Salmon or Steel head

Mix Dijon, lemon juice, Thyme, oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add the bread crumbs and toss to combine. 

Preheat oven to 450 or as hot as you can get it.  Put the salmon, skin side down, on a lined baking dish.  Sprinkle the salmon with a touch of salt and Pepper and then add the seasoned bread crumbs on top.  Bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the fish just cooked.  You can opt to put the broiler on for a few minutes if you want the topping crispy. You can serve this over a salad or with veggies.  The next day I make sandwiches: I layer pan toasted bread with the salmon, arugula and mayo.

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Ciguatera can even poison paradise

It seemed like we hit the jackpot.  We were anchored in a bay we nicknamed ‘Manta Ray Bay,’ since a group of manta rays seemed to appear as we arrived and hovered around us eating plankton for days.  We didn’t want to leave. We were surrounded by everything we ever dreamed cruising could be. The fishing was incredible, we swam with the mantas all day, and we had a perfect view of the sunset every night.  We’d set out in the dingy and, within 20 minutes, be headed back to start cooking up the large snappers and groupers we’d caught for lunch. 

One night, Seanna began crying her leg hurt her.  We didn’t quite believe her since she kept changing which leg hurt and the location of the pain.  We thought it was a tactic for her to get to sleep in our bed, since it’s something she gets to do on passages.  Little did we know it was not a ploy but rather the beginning of our tropical reef torture.

We had contracted ciguatera, an illness caused by a toxin found in some tropical fish that inhabit waters near coral reefs.

All of our symptoms varied.  Seanna suffered the least since she ate the least.  Merric, on the other hand, LOVES fish and ate about as much as Paul did.  The next morning, after being up all night dealing with Merric’s nightmares, I could barely stand for more than 5 minutes without having to sit down.  I hadn’t even the energy to get milk from the fridge.  Wow, I really overdid yesterday’s beach exercises I thought at first, but when Paul complained of the same issues we knew something was wrong.  I remember drinking my coffee with an eerie sensation in my mouth.  The coffee wasn’t hot but not quite cold. 

The most significant (or common) symptoms are temperature reversals and muscle aches. The illness usually begins with gastrointestinal symptoms, but the toxin chiefly acts on the nervous system. So while the nausea and vomiting will usually subside in a few days, neurological symptoms may linger for weeks to months and, some people even report for years.

The toxin is found in algae blooms that blanket coral reefs. The alga is eaten by small fish, which in turn are eaten by carnivorous fish like grouper, snapper, barracuda, hogfish and kingfish. Those fish, particularly the larger ones, can then accumulate enough of the toxin – it doesn’t take much – to make humans sick when they in turn eat those fish.

Meanwhile, people with ciguatera seem to do better if they avoid alcohol, fish of any kind, as well as caffeine, chocolate and nuts. No one really knows why those products seem to aggravate the condition.  We used Ibuprofen to ease the pain in our muscles and Benadryl to help with the itchy palms and feet.  But really, the only cure is time. 

Prevention is the best defense. The toxin does not affect taste of the fish, is not the result of improper food storage or preparation and cannot be killed by cooking.

The key to avoiding ciguatera is before you eat or serve a particular fish, first ask a local. We have stuck with pelagic fish afterwards since we didn’t want to take the chance of catching ciguatera again.  Of the four of us, Merric suffered the worse.  Even two years after the incident he was still pursued by nightmares we couldn’t shake him out of.  The toxin can stay in your body, just continue to build up and make a second episode that much more intense. 

It was a hard lesson we learned and if I can help out one family avoid this syndrome I will be happy.  We later learned that one of our good friends had anchored in the same bay a month before and experienced the same distinctly unpleasant fate. Worse, they even had a visiting guest on board.  This is why being in touch and passing the word is so very important. 

The toxic fish we encountered were in Tahuata, Marquesas, a small island located just south of Hiva Oa.

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It’s a Pita Party!

Can anyone here raise their hands if they don’t like the smell of fresh baked bread?  No One?  That’s what I thought.  There were plenty of times when we were out of touch with civilization for weeks and our bread supply would run out.  Once in a while you would stumble upon a village where one of the locals would bake bread for the yachties.  This was always a treat and a way to save on propane.  But, often times, on long passages, with nothing better to do or when we just plain ran out, I would start to bake bread.  It never once failed to put a smile on my gangs face.  I always had to double my recipes since the first batch constantly got eaten right out of the oven.  The following recipe was our favorite.  It’s simple, it’s easy and YUMMY!

Pita pockets, pita pizza, pita chips, ECT….

4 cups White flour (whole wheat optional 50/50 or less)

2 t. Salt

1½ cups Water

1 t. Yeast

2 Tb.  Olive oil

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.  I typically add on cup whole wheat and 3 cups white flour but keep in mind the more whole wheat you add the denser they will become.  Add yeast to water and dissolve then add oil.  Gradually incorporate the liquid into the flour and mix, and then knead to make a soft dough.  Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.  The dough should not have the ripped look to it.  Place in a large clean bowl, slightly oiled and cover.  Let rise in a warm location for about 1 hour until doubled in size. 

 Knock back the dough to release all the air on a lightly floured surface and cut into sections.  This will depend on how big you want your pitas.  A 2/2 inch square will give an average store bought pita.  Roll into balls and set aside for 5 minutes to rest, covered. 

 

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to as hot as it will get.  Pitas can be cooked at 450’f (230’C) and higher.  

Roll out each ball to make an oval or circle at about ¼ inch in thickness and place on cookie sheet, not touching.  Cover and let rest (10 minutes).  You can continue to roll out the remaining pita and set aside, covered, until ready to cook. 

 Cook the pitas for 4 to 6 minutes or until puffed up.  They do not need to brown unless you want them slightly crispy.  If your pitas do not puff up, your oven is not hot enough.  Usually, on the boat, my second batch puffed up better than the first.  By far, you will use less time in the oven making pitas than baking a loaf of bread.  Store in an air tight container or plastic bag once cooled.  Freeze if you have space or luxury.  Pitas will collapse once cooled. 

The pitas that didn’t puff up are the best to cut up for dipping or pizzas.  I would cut up some pitas and add seasonings, olive oil and salt and cook till crispy and make pita chips.  These are always a hit when you have guest on board.  I could go on and on about what you can do with these pitas but I will save if for another posting.  Enjoy!  Feel free to email me or comment if you make them.  I would love your feedback.

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Cost of Cruising – By J. Rouse

Money — that topic no one likes to talk about. Someone needs to tell the truth.

Like many cruisers and sailors, I follow a number of online sailing groups. The question of how much it costs to cruise is frequently asked by those contemplating casting off the dock lines. It seems that most people think this can be done on a tight budget. And I guess it can if you don’t mind living without any conveniences on a spartan boat and eating like you are in 1850 in the mountain backwoods. And not doing any land travel at those exotic destinations……which seems to us to negate the entire concept of sailing around to different countries. The old adage is that it will cost as much as you have to spend……which does seem to be true.

Bill and I do not live an extravagant lifestyle. We did that back in our thirties and are SO over living in that manner. We live pretty simply on the boat. I enjoy cooking and baking, and Bill enjoys the dishes I create. But we also enjoy occasional treats at nice restaurants. Bill drinks 2 beers daily but I rarely drink alcohol.  We both enjoy a bottle of good wine with certain foods. We prefer a beautiful quiet anchorage over a marina most of the time; although it seems we have spent an inordinate amount of time in marinas in New Zealand, Australia and now Malaysia. We do try to make an annual trip back to the States to visit family and friends. That is a splurge for me, but Bill must make an annual trip home for medical visits to the VA hospital for check-ups. We wear the typical sailor clothing; gave up being clothes horses long ago.

That description should provide you with a good idea of our cruising lifestyle. Not extravagant but also definitely not basic. We do carry insurance on our boat since it is our home and does represent a substantial financial asset. And learning of all the boats lost in the South Pacific over the past couple of years has reinforced our decision to continue to carry full insurance on the boat. We do realize that if the boat is damaged then we are responsible for paying for the environmental damage that might result, especially from diesel carried in the main tank. The cost of that alone is enough to make us realize that in today’s world boats definitely need to be insured.

Most people we have met out cruising only have a vague idea of how much they are spending to cruise. We haven’t met anyone who truly tracks all costs.

We do.

I write down what we have spent every single time we return to the boat from an outing. This only takes a moment and quickly became a habit when we first moved aboard. After all, I did accounting for decades and was accustomed to keeping track of money. For example, Bill went for a walk this afternoon and brought back an ice cream for me. (I know; isn’t he sweet!) The ice cream cost only 2.5 ringitt. I converted that to US dollars and recorded 77 cents in my ‘budget’ book. At the end of each month I tally everything spent and transfer the data to an Excel workbook. I have done this since the first day we moved aboard. If you track every penny spent, it adds up to more than one might guess.

Before we started cruising, we had hoped to do this minimal lifestyle for $35,000 per year. People in the online sailing groups thought that was way too high. But I knew it actually was less than realistic and would require cutting corners as tight as possible. I figured a more realistic figure would be in the neighborhood of 50 to 60k annually. Another old adage is that once you have compiled a cruising budget; double it; and that will be about what you will actually spend.

We recently celebrated our 4th anniversary of living aboard full-time. Today I decided to compare the percentages of where our money has been spent during that time. Blogger does not allow me to upload an Excel spreadsheet, so I have uploaded a screen shot of the totals. Click on the image for a larger view. Haul-outs are not included in the percentages of annual expenditures of each category. We prefer to look at the percentages of monthly expenditures and keep haul-outs separate because we plan to do haul-out bi-annually in the future. The grand totals include our haul-outs. That explains why the total spent is 110.4%. The negative amount shown in year 4 for charts, etc., comes from the sale of used guides when we finished the Pacific. We did make a trip home in Year Three, but the cost was not separated from the Tours and Sightseeing that year. I decided it was not worth my time to dig back and separate those costs since both involve air/land travel.

Others might be able to cruise on less money, but we are pretty careful and these have been our true costs. The Entertainment category includes all restaurant and bar visits. Customs and Fees was the category that surprised us. We had no idea before we started this venture that it would cost so much for clearance fees. And we handle clearances ourselves in all countries that do not require the services of an agent. If we used agents at every country then those costs would be considerably higher. The category of Boat Supplies and Maintenance includes every last dime spent to maintain the boat. This includes filters, boat soap, wax……every little expense…..not just the replacement parts that most sailors consider maintenance costs. Those water filters and that little bottle of polish to keep the stainless steel gleaming are just as much costs of boat maintenance as replacement pumps or a new radio.

And, when you gasp at the total spent for routine maintenance……….remember……….this is for an excellent Amel Super Maramu 2000 yacht in perfect condition that was built and left the factory in January 2003. And Bill does all the work himself except for the occasional wash and wax in lower cost labor areas such as Malaysia. Maintenance on an older boat or different quality construction boat will likely cost more. Or if you must pay professionals for their labor instead of acting as your own mechanic, refrigeration specialist, electrician, rigger, plumber, computer consultant, etc.

If you are going to be a cruiser, you must be prepared to wear a lot of hats! 

Posted in Blue Jobs - Repairs and Maintenance, Customs and Immigrations, This and That | 2 Comments

It’s a Berry good day!

As I walked into the grocery store a big display caught my eyes.  BLUEBERRYS!  As I sat in front of the abundance of blueberries before me I remembered the time we arrived in New Zealand for the first time back in ’08.  After the dreaded passage from Tonga to our first stop in Civilization, in I don’t remember how long, we headed straight to the grocery store.  I know I am not the only one of us cruisers out there that has shed a tear upon entering a modern, fully stocked, grocery store.  Thinking my kids would run over to the chips and candy isle, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard squeals from my kids in the fresh produce section.  “Mom, Look Apples!  Are they too expensive?” said Seanna.  “Mom, BLUEBERRYS!” shouted Merric.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE can we get some!  Of course my answer was “YES!”  After eating bananas and papaya (paw paws) for the past year we were desperate for something different.  Luckily for me the Kiwi’s understood what we just experience and didn’t look at me crazy for the way my kids were behaving over fruit.  To make matters even more shocking; I even had Merric running down the isle with a fist full of broccoli screaming his excitement.  So, as I stood in front of this display of blueberries I had to pick up a few containers and make a little treat for the kids.  It is happy Friday!  Thanks for letting me relive the moment with you.

Recipe:

Blueberry Pounds!

1 Pound cake

1 medium container of Blueberries

1 lemon (Zest and juiced)

3 Tbs. Sugar

Whip Cream

In a small sauce pot add sugar and ½ lemon juice till dissolved.  Start preparing by slicing your pound cake into ½ inch slices and cut into circles using a cookie cutter or I used a small wine glass.  Two slices per serving.  Start with pound cake and with a small spoon drizzle a little of the lemon syrup on the cake, add blueberries and top with whip cream.  Repeat one more time and top the whip cream with blueberries, lemon zest and the a bit more of the lemon syrup.  Now it’s time to eat.  Enjoy!    

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What’s with the yogurt?

Here is a question from a cruiser and one that I have had long discussions about:

I was looking for an easy way to make yogurt without having to buy a ‘yogurt maker’. I found several suggestions on the internet, including using a heating pad, or a slow cooker (e.g., turn on low for 10 minutes every hour), etc., but they just seemed complicated. The one most appealing was to simply pour the heated milk and yogurt culture into a pre-warmed wide mouth thermos and let it sit for 6-8 hours. This works GREAT! The hardest part for me was finding a wide mouth thermos that held at least 4 cups. (I didn’t have any wide mouth at all and wanted this size instead of the more common 16 oz. versions.)
I found several descriptions on the internet for making the yogurt but they are all pretty much the same. Heat the milk to just below boiling (a thermometer really helps) and keep it there for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Then let it cool down to ‘warm’ (I use 110 degrees). Then mix a few tablespoons of yogurt with active cultures with a cup of the warm milk and mix well. Then pour this back into the larger portion of the warm milk and then pour into the thermos.
Next, I’m going to be trying some of the dry yogurt culture just in case we run out and can’t find any active yogurts wherever we travel.

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