Month: March 2015
Today my Sweet Darling and I flew from LAX to Denver, then Denver to Panama City. We tried to stuff everything we possibly could into 4 big pieces of checked luggage, so we could leave it on the boat.
Danny is the absolute best travel companion. He thinks of everything and is so sweet and patient. Tomorrow morning we’ll continue on, beginning at 5am, and fly into Bocas, then take a 10 minute water taxi ride to the boat. We are beyond excited!
This morning when I woke up, I moved the blinds aside and opened the sliding door to the balcony off our bedroom, and the scene was so picturesque. Peaceful, misty and so quiet. Like I had stepped into a watercolor painting. We have loved our home, and will definitely miss it. (But are so excited for the next adventure) The kids were out swimming at 9:30pm a couple nights ago, and started again at 8am. As soon as the twins are done with their school work during the week, they are off kayaking, building ‘starfish sanctuary’s’ and paddling around the waterways on their surf boards, and Hannah is happiest on her sailboat. We are a bunch of harbor brats. Life is good, and I am so grateful.
So, tomorrow Danny and I will be on our way to Panama for a week. We will be beginning the instillation of our radar system and making sure that the work that had to be done on the engine, is completed. It’ll be my first time stepping foot in/on our new home. I’ve been on ones just like it, just not Tanda Malaika. We have purchased a dive compressor which we will box up and ship down soon too. We have many oceans to explore 🙂
One of the things that bring me the greatest joy in life, is cooking, and in particular, trying new recipes. I especially like to try recipes with ingredients that I’ve never heard of before so that I can learn new tastes and flavor combinations. What makes me even happier than cooking, is to see people REALLY enjoying what I’ve cooked.
My sweet Father in law is Greek, and I love to try cooking Greek dishes for my Darling – since his Mom used to do that for him. Today was my first attempt at making Dolmades. If you haven’t had them before, they are a meat mixture (most often lamb or a combination of lamb and beef), wrapped in a grape leaf, steamed and served with an avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce .
Here’s what I cooked up today, give it a try…
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2/3 cup long grain rice
2/3 cup chopped pine nuts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp chopped mint
1 (8oz) jar grape leaves
1 1/2 cup water
Mix all the ingredients together and place a tablespoon full in the center of each grape leaf.
fold the bottom over the meat, fold in the sides, and roll into a tight cylinder.
Place all your cute little grape leaf cylinders nice and snug together in a skillet – seam side down, and then pour the 1 1/2 cups of water over the top.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for 50-55 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if needed.
When they are cooked, serve them with some Avgolemono sauce over the top:
2 eggs separated
1 Tbls water
juice from 3 lemons
broth left from the Dolmades
Beat the egg whites till foamy, add in the yolks, lemon juice, water and then also the broth. Whisk it all up over a little heat, making sure the egg doesn’t get funky on you.
It made me SO happy to see Danny and Hannah’s reaction when they ate it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
P.S. A couple things I might do differently…I’m going to add a little more mint next time, and less meat on to each grape leaf. I placed more than a Tbls worth on each leaf, but all that did was not allow you to taste all the flavors in the correct quantities to balance out the amazingness in your mouth.
Several people have asked for a photo of our boats layout. As you can see, as you enter the main salon area from the stern, the galley is to starboard with salon seating forward. There is lots of storage under the salon seating. This is also a navigation station starboard of the salon seating. Going downstairs to port, turning aft there is a head with toilet, sink and shower, and farther aft is the double berth. Moving forward, is another head, (all heads in port and starboard hulls are designed the same), and forward of that is another double berth. There is a doorway that leads from that double berth to the far forward single berth, which also has hatch access above it. The starboard hull is the mirror image, except that the single berth in that hull is only accessible from the hatch. That single berth also has a head.
Danny and I are flying out to Panama early on Monday morning, to install the radar system on the boat, and when we get there I will post photos of the boat.
Now it’s time for you all to get your passports so you can come visit us!!
Mycah wins again!
We are so proud of Mycah, who has become such a wonderful athlete. She just won the breaststroke at a swim meet, even though her rotator cuff was aching. The greatest part about watching her, is witnessing her good sportsmanship. She is so supportive of her team mates, and is friendly and encouraging to her fellow competitors. Great job Goo, keep it up:)
After 2 1/2 years of endless paperwork, emails and phone calls, our sweet son, Jonathan, was sworn in as a US citizen today! We are so proud of him. We drove him down to US Citizenship and Immigration in LA, where he raised his right hand to the square and swore an oath of commitment and loyalty to the United States of America. We adopted Jonathan from an orphanage 14 years ago, from Ecuador. He is such a wonderful part of our family and we feel humbled and grateful to be a part of his life.
It all brought back so many feelings and memories of when my parents and I went through the same process about 22 years ago. Giving up our South African citizenship was a bitter sweet feeling, but we were filled with such intense pride and gratitude to become citizens of this great country. I am SO grateful to have been able to raise my children in this beautiful land. Thank you, America!
Hannah’s English Muffins
Hannah decided to try making English muffins, and the outcome was scrumptious! Give it a try:)
3 2/3 cups flour
1 Tbls yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup plain yogurt
cornmeal for sprinkling
Whisk all dry ingredients together. Add the water and yogurt and mix into a soft dough that is smooth. Let it rest for 5 min. Spread some cornmeal onto cookie sheets and roll the dough to 3/4″ thickness. Cut circles using a glass, you should be able to get 12-16 muffins out of it. Place them on the cookie sheets, sliding them around in the cornmeal. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for an hour. Heat a flat griddle then brush with oil. Add the muffins and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 6 min on each side until firm and golden brown. Enjoy them with fresh whipped butter and honey. Yum!!
One of the big adjustments to living on a boat, is making better use of small spaces. Working as a scuba instructor at Jacks Diving Locker in Hawaii, one year our boss gave us microfiber towels as Christmas gifts, and I LOVE them! They take up no space at all, dry really quickly, and work as well as any other towel. In my photo you can see the difference, and both towels are about the same size (35″x62″). The company my boss ordered them from is ‘Outgo’, I’m going to shop around and see where I can get the best deal and stock up on them.
Update on Waldo
I’ve had several people ask me to give them an update on Waldo, the baby pigeon we rescued from a seagull and crow a week ago. He is doing beautifully. I took this photo of him this morning, after I’d fed and bathed him. He was drying his wings in the morning sunlight. I feed him “Exact” baby bird formula about 4 or 5 times a day. Once prepared it has the consistency of ketchup. I cut the end of a syringe off, placed a piece of surgical glove with a slit in it over the opening, and he sticks his beak through the slit ( imitating his mothers mouth), and eats to his hearts content. When he hears my voice he calls for me, and loves to snuggle up against my neck. I love the little guy so much.
I’d never made Strawberry Bread before, in fact I’d never heard of it. This afternoon I was visiting my sweet friend, Kasia, and she told me that her mother used to make Strawberry Bread, and since I love making breads, I thought I’d give it a try. It was delicious, moist and so easy to make. Give it a try…
Heat the oven to 350 and have a greased bread pan ready.
Toss together: 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cinnamon
In a separate bowl, mix 1 egg, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
Add the wet mixture to the dry, and pour into the pan. Bake at 350 for 55 min. (Check it since ovens vary on cooking time). Once removed from the oven, pour a basic glaze over it. (1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbls milk )