Posted at 9:42 am , on April 16, 2019
Today is a significant date. First and foremost, it is my husband’s birthday. Aaron, the Captain of my boat and my heart, was born in 1964 and is 55 today. He is the most unselfish person I have ever met, giving of his time and talent, and most of all, Love, to his friends and family. He is completely devoted to our three Grands and, with his retirement, he spends more time with them than any of the grandparents, including me! He coaches Little League, builds props for my daughter’s photography business, and shows up just to cuddle our little princess when mommy needs a break. This from a guy who never had children and became a step-father when my kids were teens! We are blessed to have him in our lives and will celebrate with the kids after he coaches a baseball game this afternoon.
Posted at 6:41 am , on April 10, 2019
Dawn arrives with a familiar ache.
One year, a decade, a lifetime
It never changes
You are missed so much.
You have missed so much.
Birthdays and graduations
Weddings and babies
Kids, grands, great-grands
I feel you still.
Whispers in the wind
Light playing on wave crests
The sway of my own boat.
Sail on, Sailor.
I’ll walk the beach
You’ll fade away
Until next year.
Footprints in the sand.
John Benson, May 9, 1942 – April 10, 1982
- John Benson (in orange jacket) sailing Belfast Lady on Opening Day on the Bay, circa late-1970s.
Written for the To Live and Write in Alameda 2019 “Flash Lit February” Challenge 6. We had three days to write a poem or short story (of 500 words or less) or draw a piece of art to the theme “Footprints in the Sand” and submit.
Posted at 5:06 am , on April 9, 2019
My dear friend Kat Ott Davis passed almost two years ago, but she is always in my thoughts and heart when I cook. She was an exquisite artist and designer … painting, jewelry, displays, clothing … and brought that creativity to her cooking. Anyone who had the honor of being invited to a meal or gathering at her home was treated to so much more than just “food.” It was always a journey of flavors and aromas as Kat explained the history of the ingredients and why she chose the combinations of herbs and spices in each course.
She taught me to make these sauteed mushrooms and they are so good that I could eat them as is, in a bowl. Usually, I smother a piece of beef with them, but they would also be absolutely delish served over sauteed greens such as baby bok choy or swiss chard for a vegan dish. They can’t be rushed … it’s all about the slow cook so the liquids thicken and the ‘shrooms carmelize.
These simple ingredients are always available at Alameda’s Grocery Outlet and total cost is about $5.00 (not including the wine … which happens to be on sale during their huge 20% off promotion!). It should serve four, but if you love mushrooms as much as hubby and I, then it’ll barely feed two.
Posted at 3:37 am , on April 2, 2019
This ain’t my mother’s meatloaf! My mother was not a great cook, as I’ve mentioned before, and meatloaf in my childhood was dry, bland and smothered in ketchup. Not this one. My husband and father-in-law are major meatloaf connoisseurs and I’ve made many versions over the years. One of my fav’s was a recipe from my ex, who wrapped the ground meat around a sausage before baking. It was always moist and delish! But this meatloaf was absolutely the best ever, according to the men who know and love their meatloaf. I served thick slices with fresh green beans sauteed in lemon infused olive oil and sea salt and Yukon gold potatoes boiled and rustic mashed with skins on and lots of butter. Comfort food at it’s finest!
Our local Grocery Outlet keeps all of these ingredients in stock, with a nice variety of the ground meat to choose from. Man Cave and New York Style Sausage Company both other 1 pound “tubes” of seasoned ground meat: beef, pork and a combination, with spices already mixed in. This cuts out tons of prep time. If using unseasoned ground meat, I’d add chopped onions, garlic and bell peppers. Not for this easy recipe.
Wrapping the loaf in bacon seals in the juices and adds a smokey flavor and also holds it together nicely for clean slicing. Don’t use thick slices as the bacon won’t cook as well.
Posted at 4:35 am , on March 26, 2019
My weekly menu always builds upon like ingredients in the meals to save space and waste. So when I buy a bag of spinach to use 2 cups for one recipe, there will be other recipes using spinach a well, until the bag is gone. This way I can buy in larger quantities for the week and save some money. (Hubby’s not so thrilled when I buy a big bag of carrots, but they add color, crunch and get hidden in most recipes.)
Alameda’s Grocery Outlet keeps all of these ingredients regularly stocked, with the exception of the turmeric and dried ginger. The mint is in the organic veggie section, along with a nice assortment of other fresh herbs. I baked tandoori chicken thighs to go with, but it would make a full vegan main dish on its own. Total cost was $14 for just the stew; $21 with the chicken. It comes together quickly, but simmering for at least 30 minutes thickens the consistency and brings out the many exotic flavors.
Posted at 4:21 pm , on March 9, 2019
Sonho on the mooring balls at Angel Island. Photo by HBS
It still pains me to say it and I haven’t had the heart to change the countdown on this blogsite yet. It’s not a secret and the choice was made with love, but it doesn’t make it any less hard.
We are not cutting the docklines and starting our circumnavigation on April 16, 2019 as we had planned for so many years.
The reason? Our grandchildren. We adore those three more than anything in the world and we can’t, in good consciousness, leave them alone with their mommy while daddy is away for almost five months. It takes a village to raise that crazy clan and we are needed here to help keep Meghan sane and the kids alive. LOL.
Posted at 5:58 am , on March 5, 2019
I’m a big fan of one-pot meals. Living on a boat, I have very little counter space and the dishwasher is me for the most part so the less items, the better. My prep surfaces are on top of the sink, stove and fridge so I need to stage all ingredients, chop and measure, and be ready to go. This recipe comes together in about 20 minutes and thickens as it sits: serious comfort food!
Our local Grocery Outlet has a nice assortment of gnocchi and I’ve tried several and don’t have a favorite. I’ve made my own gnocchi but it is a pretty big mess and takes time and just the right amount of kneading and boiling to get them just right. And honestly, once you cover those little dumplings with sauce, it’s all good!
The secret in this dish is definitely the roux. It’s important to get the butter-veggie-flour combo smooth, adding the flour slowly and stir, stir, stir to avoid lumps. This creates the base for the meal.
Posted at 7:18 am , on February 26, 2019
Backyard barbecues and potato salad just go together. Everytime I make it, it’s slightly different depending on the guest list, and this is the basic recipe from my Nana. During the warm summer months our family spent many lazy afternoons in their backyard, with Papy barbecuing chicken and hotdogs and Nana making the side dishes and setting the picnic table while my sister and I played on the grass or on the beach. All of these ingredients are stocked at our local Grocery Outlet and you probably have on hand.
Most potato salad connoisseurs will tell you it must be made the night before and allowed to sit to really meld the flavors and I agree. But that’s where the agreements end. There are strong camps for using mayonnaise versus Miracle Whip and certain potato varieties. And then the additions: onion, celery, sweet or dill relish. All I can say is that this recipe is universally loved!
Posted at 6:36 am , on February 19, 2019
Sometimes the simplest meals are the most delicious. It’s all about using fresh ingredients that pair nicely together. Our local Grocery Outlet features a variety of seasonal seafood and I snagged these nice ocean-caught lobster tails to serve with New York strip steaks. I didn’t have time to make homemade gnocchi but a package of good quality butternut squash topped with homemade Alfredo sauce rounded the meal out beautifully. The total cost was about $25, a third of the cost of going out to eat and it impressed the hubby with both taste and presentation.
For the steaks, I let them come to room temperature then brushed with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkled with Montreal seasoning. For medium-rare, they take about 15 minutes on the grill so I start the sauce when they go on, followed by the ravioli’s and then the lobster tails. While the meat rests, I am doing the final tasting and ready to plate within five minutes. The key is to have the ingredients chopped and measured out so it comes together quickly.
Posted at 7:37 pm , on February 12, 2019
It has been brrrrrrr on our little piece of the Alameda Riviera in Northern California this week. We rarely dip below the mid-50s in the winter and we were seeing low-40s … This weather calls for soup! This meatball soup is inexpensive and easy to assemble. Our local Grocery Outlet always has these ingredients in stock with the whole meal costing $12. I simply added sourdough bread and butter on the side and it was a filling meal with leftovers for lunch. And any time I have the opportunity to make a meal in my Nana’s Dutch oven makes me so happy … extra love in every bite.
Variations: I used hot Italian sausage because Hubby and I both like spicy food. You can use the mild if you prefer. This particular brand is seasoned nicely and I didn’t need to add a single spice, other than a parsley garnish. I used chicken broth as it’s what I had on hand. Beef or vegetable broth would be good as well. I had a can of white chili beans that were already seasoned with onion, garlic and jalapeno, which also added to the flavor. You can use unseasoned white or great Northern beans instead and then gauge the seasoning level before adding the spinach.