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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
It's Four O'Clock, Do you know where your dinner is?
January 25, 2007, 7:01 pm

A frequent entry in my New Year's Resolutions usually reads like this:

I will not wait untill 5pm to plan and buy dinner as leads to evening focused entirely on food, but rather will plan, buy, and even prepare, food earlier in day.

I think this may be a common refrain for many people and Meredith at Sweetness and Light has decided to do something about it! A Menu Planning Carnival is in the works to help bust us out of our usual meal ruts.

I'm trying to eat out of our pantry more, use up some of that stuff and give us more room for planning for our voyage to Key West. So let's see what I think I could make this next week.

Sunday: I have three chicken breasts that need to be eaten so I think I'll make a foil packet for the grill with onions and either green peppers or yellow squash and zucchini over the breasts with Greek Seasoning sprinkled heavy over all. A side of mashed potatoes from the pantry will make this meal super easy.

Monday: Since I won't eat a whole chicken breast most likely, I'll take the leftovers and turn them into enchiladas today. Mix chopped or shredded chicken with refried beans and black beans (both from pantry) spread on wrap, roll up and top with Mole sauce (canned, in fridge, must use up because if it falls on my foot one more time it is going to be fed to the fishes.) Heat to bubbly then top with shredded cheese and heat till melty. Fresh Pineapple would be nice with this.

Tuesday: Pasta and clam sauce from pantry. Cook pasta, heat spaghetti sauce, add can of clams with juice (extra flavor!) and heat gently. Spinach salad with honey dijon dressing and cranberry-walnut topping. (from one of those autumnal salad packs that we didn't use the included dressing/toppings, get it out of my fridge!)

Wednesday: Spinach Salad with strawberries, apricots, and canned chicken (again with the pantry cleaning) and poppy seed dressing, hopefully using last of the jar of dressing!

Thursday: My famous camping soup. Take one can whole corn, drained, one can black beans, drained, one can diced tomatoes, not drained. Heat and eat. Top with sour cream or jalapeno cheese dip or green onions or shredded cheese or crushed chips...

Friday: Cocktails under the Tiki Hut: Shrimp cocktail would be lovely. Buy already cooked shrimp, Marianna will hang them about the edge of the martini glasses with an extra spicy cocktail sauce. Everyone brings something, perhaps Brushetta, or Veggies, Crackers or Chips and Dip, Quesadillas - yummy stuff to graze on!

Saturday: Our famous Bleu Cheese Burgers! Only with bacon too! And mine will have spinach on it as well, yum!

So there is the for the execution!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Marianna's Strawberry Delights
Drizzly rain in the evening, very warm - 80's.
December 23, 2006, 10:39 am

A very successful treat Marianna makes every holiday season is also a very simple, very quick, no bake delicacy. Therefore, very boater friendly!

Spread cream cheese on top of White Fudge covered Oreos. Top with a sliced or fanned strawberry.


I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Key Lime Snowballs
December 3, 2006, 9:37 pm

Living aboard the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen is a grand adventure. It does however, come with it's own particular quirks and one of these is a lack of an oven. It is rarely missed and I have adapted many a recipe to the grill! Cookies, however, are sorely missed during the holidays. Marianna and I are slowly building up a collection of no-bake cookies. Some are stovetop oriented while others are chilled. This year's favorite (so far!) are Key Lime Snowballs - delicious!

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 4 sheets, crushed)
6 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (fat free works, too)
1 Tbsp grated Key Lime rind (must buy new grater, X-Mas list perhaps?)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh Key Lime juice (if Key Limes are unavailable, use Persians.)
1 tsp vanilla (when did vanilla get so expensive?)
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, divided (with a good grater I might - I said might, Marianna! - try a fresh coconut but then additional sugar or maybe flour for thickening may be needed)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (the snow portion of the snowballs, I suppose)

Combine crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, rind, juice, and vanilla. If you are of Marianna's frame of mind, you'll use your hands, if you are like me this is why wooden spoons were invented. Add 2/3 cup coconut and beat briskly for 1 minute. It should no longer feel 'grainy' but will give the appearance of mittens if you are still using your hands to mix. Add remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating until well combined, or dough pulls away from hands and is able to form a large ball. Cover and chill 20 minutes.

Roll dough *using hands now* into balls about the size of quarters. Roll in remaining 1/3 cup coconut and additional powdered sugar if balls feel wet.
Makes 24 Snowballs.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Bleu Cheese Burgers at Sea Recipe.
Marianna wrote this!
November 22, 2006, 6:40 pm

We had wonderful burgers tonight. Dad has found a way to cook them to perfection.
Step one: Buy the cheapest hamburger, ( $1.19 at Winndixie very fatty.)
Step two: Get the flame going and turn the propane off.
Step three: If it is fatty the grease fire will start and you don't have to cook them long!
Step four: Enjoy!
It was wonderfull!!!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Coda to Cole Slaw
October 19, 2006, 8:44 pm

As a secondary recipe involving that yummy poppyseed dressing, this one cannot be beat!

Inside tinfoil packets place chicken and veggies.
I used boneless, skinless breasts and yellow crooknecks, zuchinni and an onion tonight.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, heavy on the pepper if you are a member of my immediate family. ;)

Drizzle a bit of the poppyseed dressing over the top of the chicken.

Roll the foil edges together to create a packet, toss on the grill on low and come back for dinner an hour later!

Couldn't be simpler and I keep meaning to make these ahead of time to pull out and grill when anchored out for a weekend. They'd be great for camping trips too. But seriously, don't wait for a special occasion and do give the poppyseed dressing a try. This packet meal is too good to miss!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Grandma Lou would love this Slaw!
October 15, 2006, 7:32 pm

My Great Grandma on my Mom's side was the loveliest, tiny, dear lady who homesteaded on the Western Slope of Colorado nearly a century ago. This, coupled with the fact of a few World Wars, lead her to perfect the art of not wasting food, much to her great granddaughters chagrin!

It had been rumored that Grandma Lou had been known to carve up the broccoli stalks to resemble celery and pile them up on the ubiquitous relish tray. I never could decide if Uncle Donald was pulling my leg on this topic or not and usually decided to stick with the carrots sticks just to be safe.

Well. She would have loved this Slaw mix I fould in the store the other day! Shredded up broccoli stalks - who decided this was a good idea? Though in fact it is just that - a great idea as it tastes wonderful and fills the void that spinach has left in the produce section!

My favorite way to serve Grandma Lou's Slaw so far is to mix up
1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw
1 Can Pineapple Tidbits
Slivers of Onion
Poppyseed Dressing

Deliciously crunchy!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Baked Goods
Baked by Marianna
July 16, 2006, 2:03 pm, Cat Sitting in the Big House

Mmmm...Marianna has been inspired by the oven in the house we are watching this week and has turned out something yummy everyday. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, gingersnaps, apple pie and butter cake with chocolate frosting!

Now this cake was baked using our new favorite bakeware - Silicone! Hurray for pans one can wad into a ziplock bag and stuff in the dark corners of holds! I've had a silicone muffin pan for a few years and loved it, so the other day when I spied this lovely 'Fish Mold' pan (what a name!) I had to have it. So we experimented with half the cake mix in the new pan and half in a basic round pan. The new pan took 10 minutes longer to bake, which is fine by me as I do not plan on actually baking in the silly pan too often. But Jello Molds, on the other hand, should be delicious! And oh so retro…

At the Friday Night Cocktail Hour under the Tiki Hut, Marianna wanted to bring her Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies which we hadn't had in years, so she planned her baking so they were hot and oh so yummy, but the funniest thing was another cruiser brought Oatmeal Raisin cookies so we were able to fulfill any oatmeal cookie desire, sans nuts! So after pigging out on cookies and pierogies (pasta stuffed with mashed potatoes and either fried hard or sautéed soft in butter) from the Purrfect Puss, we came home to apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream, mmmm…

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Partake in the Feast!
77' very light breeze
May 11, 2006, 9:56 pm, Tavernier, Florida

There has been a great discussion on the 4Real Learning Bulletin Boards (scroll down the page and select the Bulletin Board Format for a wealth of information) on cooking with children today. Cooking is something that Marianna and I love to do together and with Daddy even better! Our style of cooking changed drastically when we moved aboard, with no oven, no stovetop, two grills and a microwave in port only, our recipes undergo a rigorous pre-cooking examination and/or adaptation. Some items change over easily and yet we find that we do not care to eat them as much as we used to.

For instance, meatloaf, that ultimate comfort food, can be easily cooked on the grill in a disposable pan but it is a hot, heavy food not well suited for life in the tropics. It is brought out on cool days in January when huddling around the grill for an hour as the sun sinks warms one physically and emotionally. Never the less, meatloaf was one of the first dishes Marianna wanted to learn to make. As she explained it to me, there was no way I could refuse. In her mind meatloaf is connected with her family and is a dish that has been passed down for generations, I make it, Grandma makes it, her Mother made it, and now Marianna can make it. It comforts her to trace this lineage of meatloaf and know that each time it is served, it appears with scalloped potatoes and green beans. It is tradition and I really don't think it would taste quite right with any other sides.

With a recipe this special it needed to be copied down very carefully, and is now stored in her unique recipe folder that she has adapted from a coupon holder with similar recipes, Aunt Joyce's 7-Layer Dip, "The Girls" Strawberry Pretzel Jello, and Carol's Buttermilk Pancakes. All special and each and every one connected with a story in Marianna's mind. Of course, she also has recipes included that we have not made yet but she really, really wants to! Check out the very carefully trimmed Kitty Cat Cupcakes, a memory in the making!

Cooking is a very important part of life and as such it should be incorporated into life daily. Planning, shopping, cooking, eating, all happen on a daily basis. Therefore we have a daily pattern that can be utilized to apply education to real life and bring families together while doing so. Have your children choose the tomatoes for the tomato-basil salad or the potatoes for broccoli cheddar baked potatoes. After cleaning and slicing or baking, the sense of pride when the children can bring a dish to table is poignant to see.

The history in a dish that you learned to make at your mother's side and are now teaching to your children should be shared, tell those stories that might have taken 10 years to be funny but now are worthy of rolling on the floor laughing! Play 'Do You Remember?' Mom, do you remember when I launched the lid to your wedding Corningware across the table like a bowling ball, shattering it against the wall when the pot holder slipped? I sure do! And I remember that lesson quite well and always securely grasp lid and bowl now. Haste makes waste. Cooking is fun! Share the adventure! Go ahead and call Grandma to confirm that story and after chatting maybe make a few notes on the recipe card to prompt the story the next time. Memories are very sweet. Savor these recollections like a rare delicacy, or gorge like it is common popcorn, the point is to partake in the feast.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
The Adaptation of a Recipe
Upper 80's Sunny
May 9, 2006, 11:09 am, The Boat

In thinking of ways to remember and honor Mary during this month of May, we knew we'd like to do something with food. For the Assumption we'd made cream cheese Lily cookies and might again this month if we have access to an oven. But with no oven available at this time and the muggy heat that has descended on the Keys this month, a cool refreshing dessert was in order. First thoughts ran toward Key Lime Pie, our favorite is light and frozen, not cloying and heavy. But we wanted to make, not buy, our special dessert. A second favorite local dessert is a towering Coconut Cake. The homemade cake part is out, but coconut is white, a symbol of purity and used in Crème Pies, which bear resemblance to fluffy clouds, a classical reminder of heaven. A visit to the store was in order now that we had our inspiration.

Standing in the pudding section I was hoping to find an instant coconut pudding but the only coconut flavored pudding was a stovetop version that I knew I would lumpify. So I picked up a box of cheesecake flavored instant pudding and cute little graham cracker tart shells.

Back at the boat I felt that we'd need more flavor to follow through with the coconut inspiration behind this dessert and briefly considered sending Marianna out for a fresh coconut and either mixing the water in the pudding or grating it over the top of the finished tarts. Anyone who has ever dealt with fresh coconuts from a tree knows this is not a decision to be made lightly as big heavy tools and an audience will be acquired.

Instead, I reached for our bottle of Pina Colada Mix and added ¾ cup Mix and 1 cup of milk to the box of pudding. I set Marianna to swirling it together and began setting out the tart shells and some leftover sliced almonds for decorations. Marianna called me back as she said it looked funny and boy, did it! Lumps everywhere! A new discovery, forks do not always work as well as a whisk. So, if there is no whisk available, pull out the blender! If it can make coladas out of ice, pineapple or mango and mix, it can surely take out pudding lumps, right? Not only did it take out the lumps, but it aerated the pudding much more than a simple fork, nearly doubling the volume. After pouring the pudding into the tart shells and adding a few almonds, we chilled them in the fridge.

Later that evening we pulled out our new favorite dessert, cool and creamy and refreshing. Deliciously delicate, piled cloud-like around a brilliant blue daisy, a towering triumph, reminding us of Mary's quiet accomplishments.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!

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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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