What is GO Time? According to the Urban Dictionary, “go time is a phrase to say when it is time to undergo a task and get serious about doing something.” It’s time for Aaron and Heidi Stagg to get serious about leaving the safety and security of being tied to land and venture out on Sonho to Live Our Dream on the open ocean and in foreign coves of warm, turquoise water.
For us, “GO” is also short for “GET OUT” as in “Get Out the Golden Gate!” We bought Sonho for the sole purpose of living aboard and crossing oceans and are determined to see that vision become reality.
In January, it’s cold and feels like a very long time until my favorite season of fall. It’s a little over 7 months and precisely 232 days from today (January 29, 2022) to September 18th. We’ve lived aboard for almost 13 years now, so you’d think we could just throw off the docklines and head to sea. It’s not that simple.
Life at the marina includes readily available water, electricity and garbage service. We simply plug in for energy needs and pull the hose out to fill our water tanks. We take our trash and recycling to shared refuse cans and someone else hauls it away. A pump-out boat comes to our slip, sucks out and disposes our toilet/head waste. And if we forget an ingredient or get a hankering for a particular food, we drive to any number of stores with a myriad of choices. We can easily call specialists with help for our systems or visit a chandlery for specific maritime needs. What we can’t find locally, we can order online and have delivered to our postal box in a matter of days.
Life onboard can be challenging enough, but surviving a virus during a pandemic and having to isolate for 10 days meant for lots of patience and biting of the tongue a time or two. I’d say that our marriage is unbelievably strong at this point … we spent a month on a 46 ft sailboat with our friends and then came home to catch Covid and went into lockdown on our own 42 ft boat. All the anchors are still attached and no one is missing, so I’m calling it a success!
We’d both done a lot of reading about the virus during the course of the pandemic. But when one contracts a deadly disease, so many questions arise. Perhaps the most disappointing thing has been the lackluster communication from our health provider, Kaiser. I know that doctors are overwhelmed with emails these days, but taking days to answer about symptoms and then answering with canned replies after we tested positive isn’t very compassionate. I’ve still not talked to my doctor; an associate reached out and I finally had a call from their Covid team as I was on the road to recovery. I did get a call from a doctor with the offer to receive a dose of a medicine that helps to lessens the symptoms; but since I was on the tail end of my infection, I was no longer eligible. I sure would have loved that opportunity early on!
Seriously? There must be some mistake. I am Queen of Covid Avoidance and have followed all the CDC guidelines to stay healthy in this pandemic. I’ve been known to chide others to wear masks and stay socially distanced, and I avoid those who are unvaccinated like the plague that it is.
This result was from a Rapid test and was followed up by a call from a nurse at the testing site who recommended we both get a PCR-24 hour test as soon as possible as it is more accurate. I had already gotten a PCR test at Kaiser upon the advice of my doctor and Aaron suggested driving through the airport Rapid test site on our way home. As soon as I got the Rapid test results, he went and got a PCR test. His results came in before mine and he is positive. So there’s now no doubt that we are both infected.
This is no joke. My symptoms went from lethargy and a mild cough and low grade fever to a hacking/wheezing cough that leaves me completely exhausted, whole body aches and a raging headache. All I want to do is sleep. Oh, and I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell! I realized this when I put a drop of pure peppermint essential oil under my tongue to help with my congestion and didn’t taste a thing. I won’t go into detail on the stomach issues after eating a fast-food cheeseburger. Oy vey!
Macaroni and cheese is one of our favorite comfort foods. I’ve made it a kazillion ways using different varieties of cheese, baked, straight from the pot, with a bread crumb topping, and without.
This recipe was invented because I had a half cup of Alfredo sauce in my fridge and didn’t want it to go to waste. I figured it would meld well with the other ingredients I had on hand, and I was right! It was ooey, gooey cheesy and so easy to throw together.
Variations: Choose your own cheese blends and try different flavors of creamed soup and Alfredo sauce. (The sauce I had was garlic flavored; otherwise I would have added a couple of minced garlic cloves as we are garlic lovers.) Add a diced jalapeno pepper or a dash of cayenne if you like it spicy. Use different pasta shapes, but I suggest staying with one that will hold the cheese, such as shells, elbow or penne.
Sometimes my recipes are created out of necessity, as in this case. I bought a 4 lb pork loin that I thought would be great for my hubby to smoke. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no clue as to the fine art of barbecuing, grilling and smoking. He mentioned that this cut might dry out but went ahead and brined and smoked, spending all day tending to our main course for the evening. And lo and behold, he was right. It was far from tender and juicy and instead almost inedible.
I come from a long line of thrifty cooks, so wasn’t going to throw away the whole loin and thought long and hard hard to bring moisture back to the protein. (Although, I did pick this up from our local Grocery Outlet for a bargain price!) I knew I needed to simmer it in a liquid and with fall just beginning, our evenings have been getting cooler so a soup came to mind.
Hubby has been doing a ton of meat smoking since we were gifted with a mini-Traegar barbeque from his Dad. We’ve done salmon, whole chickens, corned beef (which makes pastrami), and beef and pork roasts. Roasts end up in recipes for two or three meals and I try to be creative in changing up the flavor profile so we aren’t eating the same thing every night.
This was a 6 pound lamb roast that started with a nice fat cap, making the meat tender and juicy. After serving it sliced the first night, I cut the leftovers into bite-sized cubes and made a stew for my daughter with potatoes, celery and peas, Shepherd Pies for us and finally this curry served over jasmine rice.
Chicken wings don’t have to be a guilty pleasure. I’ve found that baking them is as delish as deep frying, and far more heart-healthy (not to mention less messy).
You can take the easy-peasy route and simply make a batch of basic wings and then serve a variety of dipping sauces on the side. Or you can go a bit more fancy and flavorful by tossing them in one of the sauces below near the end of the cooking time. I usually serve with a platter of raw, cold veggies.
Variations: Recipes for my basic wings and two favorite flavors are below: Buffalo and Ginger-Soy. You can toss the wings in a multitude of sauces of your choosing and finish in the oven. Oil based salad dressings are a good option. Stay away from cream-based sauces as they will burn; offer them for dipping instead (ranch and bleu cheese are a favorite). An easy way to create your own dipping sauces is to start with a base of 1/4 cup sour cream and simply stir in herbs and spices of your choosing.
A dear friend gifted me with a literal armload of fresh herbs from her garden. I used them in daily recipes for a solid week, keeping them wrapped in damp paper towels in the fridge, and then needed to find another use before they turned brown. There are a plethora of ideas such as tying them in bunches, hanging by their stems and letting dry, making pesto or chimichurro sauce, and freezing in ice cube trays. I opted to make simple syrup, compound butter and infused oil.
Simple Syrup … the name says it all. It takes all of 5 minutes to make and the result is a thick, sweet syrup. Herbal infused simple syrup adds a gourmet flair to cocktails and desserts and lasts for about two weeks when stored in a sterilized glass container in the fridge.
Compound Butter … Another easy way to add flavor to everyday meals with a pat of herbal butter on warm rolls, rice, mashed potatoes or veggies. It is also incredibly delicious served on a steak hot off the grill or pan. It can be frozen for up to six months or about a week in the fridge.
Olive Oil … Store-bought infused oils are expensive, especially when they are so easy to make! The big difference is that manufactured products have a longer shelf life than homemade versions. So you’ll want to make these in small batches and use within two weeks. Use the lightest olive oil you can find so the flavor doesn’t compete with the herbs. You can use the herbs that are strained out in future recipes. The rosemary and garlic gets nice and crispy and is wonderful added to soups and stews.
Kugel is a well-loved staple of Jewish family meals and can be made sweet or savory, with noodles or potatoes. Although I’ve seen some fancy schmancy recipes, traditionally it’s a baked pudding or casserole with simple ingredients, served as a starch side or dessert. It can be made in a regular casserole pan but I like the presentation of a round pie dish.
Potato kugel is made with grated potatoes, but when I’m making a special holiday dinner with many components such as Passover, the use of frozen hashbrowns makes for an easy side that can be prepped in the morning and popped in the oven an hour before serving. It can also be baked, cooled, frozen and reheated if you want to pre-make it.
I live aboard a 42 ft Tayana Vancouver sailboat, hull #5 laid in 1979, with my husband and little dog. We are preparing to head to Mexico in Fall 2022 and I enjoy blogging about our preparations for our journey, cooking in my tiny kitchen and writing short stories.