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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
Barracuda Tang
November 30, 2007, 6:43 am

Marianna's best find while swimming in our beautiful blue backyard was a very nice Dive Knife.

It had minor corrosion but nothing a little action with a Miracle Cloth wouldn't clean up.

So has the intrepid explorer had to use it to fend off any Sharks, or heaven forbid! Barracudas???

No, the task it is used for most frequently is carving mangrove roots into bows and arrows!

Food for Braces
November 28, 2007, 1:01 pm

We are becoming quite the soft foods connoisseurs on this boat, Smoothies for Breakfast, Mac and Cheese for Lunch and Soups for Supper!

We've tried many soups and stews in our quest to find satisfying suppers for all, those of us with braces and those without. The best chowder we've sampled so far is a highly adaptable one from Better Homes and Gardens.

1 cup celery, thinly sliced and leftover from Thanksgiving relish tray
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup flour
2 14-oz. can veggie broth
1 lb. refrigerated diced potatoes with onions
3-1/2 cups milk
* 12 oz crabmeat
* 14 oz artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
* Handful of fresh basil

To make the basic Chowder, cook up the celery in the butter and oil, adding flour gradually after celery is tender. Slowly add broth stirring constantly to avoid a lumpy chowder. Add the potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in milk and add the crabmeat and artichokes. Just before dishing out stir the fresh basil in.

Now rather than the last three *star* ingredients the original recipe suggests adding 8 oz of cooked salmon, one red sweet pepper and a dash of dried red pepper flakes or 8 oz of cooked chicken and 1 cup of peas and carrots with a handful of oregano or tarragon.

Marianna and Veronica are driven crazy by the fact that I use a recipe as a point of inspiration more than a rulebook, unless I'm baking, of course! I kinda see what they mean here, I tried really hard to write down the chowder as I cooked it last night and comparing it to the BH&G recipe you'll find it slightly different. I didn't go crazy adapting this time, just increased the broth and milk and so the flour, too. Added olive oil to the butter to prevent overbrowning of the butter (my theory), doubled the potatoes to correspond to the increased liquids, besides who wants half a pack of potatoes kickin' around the fridge? I'm still trying to clear out the fridge from Thanksgiving!

On that note, I'm thinking of putting all the leftover turkey in the bottom of the crockpot with the gravy splashed over it. Then topping it with a layer of corn and sealing it with a batch of mashed potatoes for a Shepherd's Pie a la Slow Cooker. This is one of Marianna's fav dishes now too, so easy to eat! I never thought about how many foods would be so very difficult to eat with braces, even sandwiches and wraps are out since she can't bite! She has developed a very dainty rip-it-to-pieces-with-my-bare-hands technique though because there are certain foods where a knife and a fork just won't do.

So she tells me.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Last Autumn Gasp
November 27, 2007, 1:49 pm

On this beautiful Autumn evening I wanted to post what may have been the best thing we baked for Thanksgiving - Acorn Cookies!

A little more complex than many of my recipes in that you'll actually need an oven, if you can believe it! But still worth while, really! I promise it is totally worth borrowing an oven at a friend's home or even heating up your very own kitchen for these delectable treats.

Roll out your chosen Sugar Cookie Dough, ours came in a tube from the grocers, so much easier to carry a tube to a borrowed oven rather than Flour+Sugar+Baking Soda+Salt etc...

Grab a plastic cup. Give it a squeeze to shape it from a circle to an oval. Cut out oval sugar cookies.

Roll out Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. Continue with the squeezing and cutting of ovals but this time slice those PB Cookie cutouts in half and place them on top of the Sugar Cookies.

Use a fork to mash a little texture into the PB Cookie Caps and bake till golden. We thought an almond would make a terrific stem on the cap but then remembered Marianna can no longer eat nuts with her braces. If you have a Braces-Free Household though, I think an almond stem would be the perfect finishing touch!

And you better make them quick. I'm calling Autumn over on Sunday. That'll be our official start to Winter which will probably run till Valentine's Day. Maybe.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Happy Thanksgiving!
November 22, 2007, 1:15 am

Gratitude is the heart's memory.

~ French Proverb

Thanksgiving Week
November 13, 2007, 3:17 pm

Can you believe it is Thanksgiving Week already? I'm in shock.

Kids are off school down here, our local Jr. ROTC high school girl stopped by the boat today trying to drum up money for a future trip to D.C. to visit the Ro-toon-da. I asked her if she knew what that was and she said no but could I hire her anyhow? She'd wrap presents for $14.46 an hour.

So there is the first thing I'm thankful for this week, no fundraisers to visit places I can't pronounce!


I thought the above might sound a little snippy, rather than a little funny as I hoped so I ventured off into the depths of the Internet to find something else...something uplifting, you know. Blogthings came through once again with eeirily accurate results for this Irishwoman today.

You Are The Cranberry Sauce

A little sweet, a little sour - you've got the flava!

What Part of Thanksgiving Are You?

So there you have it. A little sweet, a little sour (!) but never bland!
Messing About in Boats Stole
November 7, 2007, 2:40 pm

"The mole and the water rat had been up since dawn very busy on matters connected with boats and the opening of the boating season; painting and varnishing, mending paddles, repairing cushions, hunting for missing boat-hooks, and so on . . ."

"In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter.
Nothing seems really to matter,
that's the charm of it.". .

"There is nothing- absolutely nothing-
half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats."

If you would like your own "Messing About in Boats Stole" take one long rectangle of a scarf and whipstitch along one side, approximately 1/3 stitched, 1/3 open for the neckline, 1/3 stitched. The second open side could be whipped closed but Marianna prefers hers open for ease in rowing.

Add one small rowing skiff, two oars and a dash of water for the perfect Kenneth Grahame inspired stole.

Please visit Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight for more Lovely Handmade Gifts inspiration!

All Hallow's Eve, the real photos
November 7, 2007, 7:37 am

Hurray! We have the photos from camera number 2 this morning! To continue documenting a fabulous All Hallow's Eve we'd have to start with Elizabeth of Hungary (hungrily) in the Kitchen.

She distributed delectable caramel brownies to poor starving Chief Petty Officers at the Mess. Yum!

While Veronica the Glamorous challenged them to vigorous games of Shuffleboard and Ping-Pong.

This photo is so Maid Marian of Robin Hood, who is playing Lady Cluck, I wonder?

And finally the photo you all have been waiting for - the pumpkins aglow!

Quick and Busy Update
November 6, 2007, 1:18 pm

I seem to have little time to write these days, work and 4 people in a tiny space suck that spark of coherent thought right out of me but I thought I'd share a few photos from last week, busy week that it was!

Pumpkin carving went swimmingly well as DOLPHINS were sighted while the carving was going on. They were uninterested in the sprinkling of pumpkin guts cast inticingly upon the waters though.

A self portrait

Mass with the Bishop in the Grotto Cemetary on All Souls Day. Our favorite part of the Mass? The homily where he was retelling the story of Bernedette at Lourdes and it began to mist rain (liquid sunshine, you know) right at the miraculous spring portion of the story. Lovely.

Then we were off to volunteer at the Tropical Gardens where the Autograph Trees are at their most spectacular right now.

There. A brief journey through one week. Many parts are missing, photos of the pumpkins lit and the costumes on, for instance, and the fact that Key West has been invaded by Parrotheads with lots of great free concerts and 5 Squadrons are flying incessently, but the fact is I have to hurry up to the Bathhouse for a shower and get to work SOON.

Stop by for a Cuba Libre if you're in town! I'll fill in the details...

Duo of Autumn Photos
October 26, 2007, 6:21 am

First up, the new and shining braces that are now an integral part of Marianna's life.

The late afternoon treat on the first overcast day of Autumn. We three can now highly recommend

*Pumpkin Spice Latte (Pumpkin pie in a cup)
*Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (yummy but hot for that little bear)
*White Hot Chocolate (like marshmellows without the bother of

chewing for Goldilocks)

Do you have a small change of season treat or tradition you look forward to?
Autumn Analyzed
October 13, 2007, 9:39 am

A meme for a rainy day. We are under a flood watch with more rain coming up from Cuba. This grand meme is from the ever creative Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight. Marianna's answers are in italics, mine are not.

When does fall begin for you?
Autumn begins around October 1 for me, the nights are cooler, the storms that blow across the islands are spectacular. I have the urgings to light candles again as the sky darkens and the lightning flashes.
Autumn begins when the days get cooler and more wind and storms come through.

What is your favorite aspect of fall?
I love so many things about my favorite season: the changing leaves, the crisp air, the shorter days. And I really love the return to routine after the summer.
Down here we don't get the changing of leaves, which is really sad, so I like all of the family time and baking when we find an oven. The smells of Autumn too are a favorite part of mine too.

What is your favorite fall memory?
Clambering on the rocks at Castle Crags in Colorado, a perfect Fall day under that blue Colorado sky.
Baking with family or just hanging around talking about last year and the year before that and such things. Especially when they are tales of your parents and grandparents.

What do you like to drink in the fall?
Apple Cider is the perfect Autumn drink, hot or cold. I have relatives who'd throw a cider making party every October and nothing tastes so good as a cup of the freshest of ciders you just helped press.
Hot Apple Cider! Mmmmm. Delicious!

What's your favorite fall food?
Chili and candy corn!
Thanksgiving - all traditional.

What is fall weather like where you live?
Hot and humid, lots of rain with the occasional cool breeze after a downpour.
The lowest temperature we have ever gotten down here in the Keys that I remember was around the lower fifties, upper forties and that was in December I think.

What color is fall?
Earth tones with highlights of vibrant oranges and reds.
Greens, blues, and yellows. ( Plants, ocean, and sand!)

What does fall smell like?
Spices, crisp apples, woodsmoke when we cross bridges.
Cinnamon, baking, and the occasional chiminea burning merrily!

Holiday shopping in fall: yes or no?
No! I'm a wait for the very last moment shopper as the recipients of my presents can attest! I really should change that but I'm afraid that my entire family would have a simultaneous heart attack if packages arrived right after Thanksgiving.
Depends. We do our shopping in bits and pieces.

If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go?
Colorado, the plains for cottonwood leaf piles to jump in and then a drive through the mountains culminating in a picnic on Rabbit Ears.
Kansas City to see Michelle again.

What is your favorite fall sport?
Sports? I am so un-sporty. Do they have competitive level yoga under a blazing maple tree?
Horseback riding, and hiking.

Do you have a favorite fall chore?
We don't really have a chore that we only do in Fall.
What she said.

What is your least favorite thing about fall?
I miss the warm feeling of flannel shirts under the sun.
I don't have one.

What is your favorite fall holiday? Thanksgiving Day, such a wonderful day for family, food and fun!
All Hallows Eve. The day before All Saints Day.

What's your favorite kind of pie? pies of all kinds! Deep dish, thin galettes, apple pies with raisins or cranberries. Yum!
Apple, Pumpkin, and rhubarb!

What was your favorite Halloween costume?
A slithery green mermaid with ropes of pearls caught by my hard hat diver of a husband.
Of all that I've been my favorite would have to be when I was a Black Puma.

What was your favorite Halloween candy?
Since I consider chocolate a primary food group, I'd have to go with candy corn!
Dark Chocolate! Preferably Dove.

What was your least favorite Halloween candy?
Bit O'Honeys always enticed me in as a kid - oooh! Honey candy! Immediately I'd find my jaws sealed together, utterly gross.
Everything but dark chocolate. Ick on it all!

Which do you prefer, the Farm or the Fair? Fairs seem like a summer thing to me being from the West, so I guess I'd have to go with the Farm though I'd much prefer an option like the Woods as my favorite Farm memories are away from the icky barnyard and out in the Woods.
The Farm

Do you have a favorite fall book?
Blossom Culp books by Richard Peck are a must read right before Halloween. One of the first books I recall making me howl out loud with laughter!
Tasha Tudor. She has done some incredible books!

How about a favorite fall poem?

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights
around the shore.
(Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!
(Thomas Hood)
I think that is the funniest thing I've ever read! It makes me laugh everytime.


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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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