Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sheet-Pan Salmon


Melted butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and herbs are only part of what makes this meal magnificent! Even if you don't like to cook, this is so easy it will make your family wonder if you've been taking cooking classes. :) 


- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 pound baby red potatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 Tbs melted butter
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 pounds of fresh wild caught salmon, skin on
- Old Bay seasoning to taste, optional
- fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a sheet pan with cooking spray. Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle remaining olive oil over asparagus and season to taste with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and lemon juice. Place salmon in the center of the pan and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning (optional). Surround salmon with baby potatoes and asparagus. Drizzle butter mixture on top of salmon (and a little on the veggies). Place in oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and add fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Throw kindness around like confetti." - Anonymous

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pineapple Turkey Brats with Cilantro and Jalapeño


These are not your ordinary brats. With a little jalapeño for a spicy pineapple taste, along with purple cabbage to brighten the whole dish, make these ordinary brats eye-appealing and very flavorful!


- 3 turkey brats
- 2 Tbs soy sauce
- 3 Tbs Russian dressing (or Thousand Island salad dressing)
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups diced pineapple
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. diced jalapeños (add to your liking)
- 1/4 cup purple cabbage
- 2 sliced of cooked bacon, crumbled
- 3 Tbs fresh cilantro

Preheat outdoor grill. Grill turkey brats for 10 minutes or until done. 

In a bowl, combine soy sauce down to jalapeños. Place brats on buns and top with pineapple mixture. Sprinkle each with cabbage, bacon, and top with fresh cilantro! Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Be a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown, and 
be sweet on the inside." - Anonymous

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Skillet Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce


Turn a dish into a "creamy" meal and you'll always have my vote! This smooth sauce with fresh herbs makes this dish taste like it came straight from a top restaurant! "Laura's Restaurant"! 


- 3, 6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 1/2 Tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/3 cups + 1 Tbs chicken broth
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) - finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- 2 tsp. corn starch
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Place a long sheet cling wrap on top of a cutting board. Place chicken on top of plastic wrap and lay another piece of wrap over the top of the chicken. Pound chicken to an even thickness using the flat side of a meat mallet (or in my case, a cast iron skillet). Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side (until chicken is cooked through).  Transfer to a plate and place another plate over the chicken to keep warm. Set aside.

Turn heat down to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute longer. Pour in 1 1/3 cup chicken broth, while scraping bottom of skillet to release browned bits. Place sun-dried tomatoes and 1/4 cup basil in a blender and blend until tomatoes are chopped fine; or you can chop tomatoes and basil with a knife. Add mixture to the skillet and stir. In a small bowl, mix remaining 1 tablespoon of chicken broth with corn starch. Add to skillet, stirring constantly. Add cream and parmesan, stirring until cheese has melted. Remove from heat, and add chicken to the skillet mixture, spooning sauce over chicken. Garnish with more fresh basil and ENJOY! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Count your blessings, not your troubles." - Anonymous

Monday, April 24, 2017

Shrimp Foil


A little play on "shrimp boil", this tasty seafood dish has an incredible flavor that is magnified by the addition of smoked turkey sausage, potatoes, and a spice I cannot live without, Old Bay Seasoning! A very easy dish to make, with a preparation time that only takes a few minutes.


*- 1 lb. medium shrimp, shells on (see below for an alternative that I used), divided
- 1/2 lb. fully cooked smoked turkey sausage, sliced, divided
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed, divided
- 6 frozen corn on the cobs, half sizes (or cut 3 regular sized in half)
- 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- Old Bay Seasoning to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Tear off 3 long sheets of aluminum foil. Spread each out on a counter and place equal amounts of the shrimp, frozen corn, potato cubes, and turkey sausage on top of foil. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Seal foil on all 4 sides. Place on a baking sheet and place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

* For my shrimp, I used a 12 oz. bag of fully cooked, peeled, and deveined, salad shrimp. Instead of adding the shrimp to the foil, I tossed the shrimp in a skillet with 2 Tbs butter and Old Bay Seasoning. I added it to the rest of the ingredients after they came out of the oven.

Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Be a Light for All to See!" - Anonymous

Friday, March 3, 2017

Baked Mahi Mahi over Creamed Spinach


With these easy-in-find ingredients and a few minutes to throw it together, your family will enjoy an amazing dinner that will leave you looking like a true chef!


- 1, 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 pound fresh or frozen Mahi flillets (thawed if frozen)
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 green onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 6 to 8 halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tbs parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line spinach in an 11" x 7" baking dish. Place Mahi fillets evenly on top of spinach. In a medium sauce pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add green onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour in the pan and gradually add milk, whisking to combine. Cook until mixture begins to thicken. Pour mixture over fillets. Add tomatoes, and sprinkle evenly with parmesan and paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Don't worry, God has gone before you and prepared the way. 
Keep walking." - Anonymous

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Crockpot Bourbon Chicken


All of the ingredients in this magnificent meal meld together to bring a robust rich savory flavor that will appease your palate and keep you coming back for more!


- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup sugar free or low sugar apple juice
- 3 Tbs honey (raw organic if you have it)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup (good quality) Bourbon
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Place chicken into your crock pot. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a bowl then pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken and shred it. Return chicken to slow cooker and cook on low for another 10 minutes. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Life is only as good as your mindset." - Anonymous

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lenten Appetizer and Entrée Recipes


No-stress delicious Lenten appetizer and meal recipes for you 
to enjoy and share!

- Mini Quiche(minus the bacon)

Chickpea Vegetable Stew


This hearty warm stew only looks like it's packed with fat and calories. Instead, it's packed with lots of vegetables, nutrition, and wonderful taste!


- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 6 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 Tbs white miso (fermented soybean paste. Most grocery stores carry this.)
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower
- 1/2 cup chopped turnips
- 1 small bunch of kale, optional (I made mine without)
- Salt and pepper to taste, or your favorite seasonings. I put a little Creole powder in mine to give it a tiny "kick".

Add olive oil to a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the onions and celery. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chickpeas, broth, and paprika. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Let simmer 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Place miso in a small bowl and add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the hot broth. Stir or whisk until miso has melted and add to the stockpot. Use an immersion blender to puree; or place half of the soup into a blender and puree. Pour into a bowl and add remaining soup from stockpot into the blender. Once smooth, transfer both back into the stockpot, turn heat to medium and add carrots, cauliflower, and turnips. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add seasonings to taste and ENJOY! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"A good deed brightens a dark world." - Anonymous

Monday, February 27, 2017

Coconut Almond Energy Balls


These brightly flavored balls, made with lemon juice and zest, are a great pick-me-up for a quick and healthy energy snack.


- 3/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- zest from 2 lemons
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbs raw organic honey
- 1 Tbs melted organic coconut oil
- 1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. flax seed or flax powder
- coconut, pepitas, walnuts (or anything that sounds good to you), chopped very small in a food processor or spice grinder, for rolling balls in.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer to a bowl and roll mixture into balls. Roll balls in coconut, walnuts, etc. Store in fridge, covered, for up to 10 days.

If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe Click Here.

"Celebrate every tiny victory." - Anonymous

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Torn Chicken with Bok Choy and Miso Vinaigrette


This addictive dish, full of greens and proteins, is one for the books! The miso vinaigrette takes this dish to a whole new level of flavor. A definite "must try" recipe!


- 4 cups cooked Jasmine rice, (2 cups dry rice)
- 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 3 small bok choy, halved lengthwise
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs miso vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, or baked chicken breast
- Basil for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup cooked rice with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy, cut side down, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.

In a bowl, toss the crispy rice with the remaining 3 cups of cooked rice and 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Transfer to shallow bowls and top with the bok choy and chicken. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the chicken and bok choy and garnish with basil. Enjoy!



- 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 Tbs white miso, optional
- 1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well.

If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"You can preach a better sermon with your life than 
with your lips." - Anonymous

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Korean-Style Pork and Rice


Great taste! Easy to make! Savory gochujang adds a deep flavor with a mild heat taste. Look for it ion the Asian Food aisle. 


- 2 Tbs Avocado oil (or sesame oil)
- 12 oz. lean ground pork
- 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 4 garlic gloves, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 to 2 Tbs gochujang sauce (to your desired heat level)
- 2 Tbs soy sauce (or soy-free Coconut Aminos)
- 1 Tbs light brown sugar
- 2 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbs rice vinegar
- 1 package Uncle Ben's precooked brown rice
- lime wedges

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion, green onions, and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes. Add water and cook for 1 minute, scraping the skillet to loosen the brown bits. Remove from heat and add gochujang sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, and rice vinegar. Heat rice according to packaged instructions and serve pork over rice. Garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"... and I say to myself, what a wonderful world." - Louis Armstrong

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lobster Roll Tacos


"I'm already looking forward to having these again" was my husband's response after he finished his lobster roll tacos. These magnificent tacos have a taste can only be magnified by the seasoned butter sauce that is drizzled on top, sprinkled with fresh cilantro. Superior taste that is fresh and flavorful!


- 2, 5 oz. lobster tails
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- juice from 1/2 of a lime
- 1 Tbs minced shallotss
- 2 Tbs scallions, chopped
- 2 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large sauce pan, add enough water that will cover lobster tails. Add vinegar and heat water over medium-high heat. When water comes to a boil, place lobster tails in pan. Let boil for about 6 to 7 minutes, until shells turn bright red and meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove tails and submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking, for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove meat from tails and cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter and Old Bay seasoning over medium heat. After the butter is melted, add lime zest, juice, and shallots. Cook for 2 minutes or until shallots are tender. Add lobster to skillet and gently stir until lobster is heated through. Remove lobster with a slotted spoon and place in taco shells. Top with desired amount of butter sauce and sprinkle each lobster taco with scallions and cilantro. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Life's a beach! Relax and eat more lobster." - Anonymous

Friday, February 17, 2017

Skillet Meatball Lasagna


Think lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza all combined into something that leaves you feeling so completely satisfied that there's just no way it can also be a healthy meal for your family to enjoy! Substituting ground beef for ground turkey (if you're making your own meatballs) and penne pasta for organic gluten-free brown rice penne pasta, this recipe will get two-thumbs up from your family and friends!


- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tsp. Italian dry seasoning
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like spice)
- 1, 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1, 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 32 ounces organic vegetable broth
- 1, 16 oz. package penne pasta (I used Organic gluten-free brown rice pasta)
- 16 oz. mini meatballs (you can buy these frozen, pre-made, or make homemade. Mine were homemade from ground turkey. If you buy frozen, thaw before using.)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large deep, oven-proof, skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and vegetable broth; and bring to a low boil. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done (about 12 minutes). Preheat broiler to high. Add pre-made meatballs to skillet and sprinkle with mozzarella and ricotta, and broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts and starts to become golden. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Eat a salad everyday. Bean salad. Coffee bean salad. Coffee. 
Drink coffee everyday." 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicken Piccata


Altering this recipe just a tad made this dish healthier without losing any of it's fantastic flavor. In our opinion, just as delicious as the Italian restaurant we frequent...with fewer calories. Can't beat that!


- 6 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta (I used gluten-free whole-grain spaghetti with quinoa)
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf chopped parsley, divided
- 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1 lb. chicken breast cutlets
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flour, divided
- 2 Tbs diced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups organic chicken stock
- 2 Tbs capers, drained

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Place in a bowl with 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; toss. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place 3 tablespoons of flour on a plate and dredge chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. 

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until garlic is crisp and golden. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high and add chicken. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until done. Remove chicken to a plate, and add remaining tablespoon of flour to the skillet along with 1/4 cup chicken stock. Stir with a whisk. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups chicken stock and capers; bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes and then add the remaining parsley, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper (optional). 

Plate pasta with chicken on top. Drizzle with sauce and top with bits of the golden garlic. Enjoy!  If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Kind people are my kinda people." - Anonymous

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lobster Cup Sensations


If you have a package of Uncle Ben's brown basmati rice on hand and some cream cheese, all you need is a few lobster tails and you have got yourself one sensational appetizer or entree. 


- Phyllo Dough Pastry Sheets
- 2, large lobster tails
- Uncle Ben's brown basmati rice (microwavable package)
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- pinch pepper
- 1/4 cup half and half
- cilantro (for garnish)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Taking 2 sheets at a time, cut phyllo dough into squares large enough to be placed in a cupcake baking pan. Brush dough with melted butter and place in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until dough is golden brown. Remove and let cool. 

Fill a large pot or sauce pan with water. Heat on high until it comes to a boil and submerse lobster tails into pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and let boil for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lobster shell turns pink and lobster meat is cooked. Remove and let cool a few minutes. 

While lobster tails are cooling, microwave rice according to instructions on the package. Pour rice into a large bowl and add cream cheese, Old Bay, onion powder, pepper, and half and half. Stir until cream cheese has melted. 

Cut lobster in half, lengthwise, and remove meat. Chop meat into small cubes and add to rice mixture.  Spoon mixture into baked phyllo cups and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Today, be a blessing!" - Anonymous

Saturday, January 28, 2017

My First Caribbean Sailing Experience


"It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind, that determines which way we will go." - Jim Rohn 

Sunday, January 15, 2017 -
For my 50th birthday, Ken blessed me with a seven-day catamaran sailing trip! Not only was this a special trip for me, but also a very exciting one for Ken as he was not only relaxing on this trip, but also taking instructions to be certified to sail his own sailboat or catamaran someday. 

I was so excited, but nervous, about this trip. I had to wonder what was in store for this woman who can get motion sickness watching somebody rock in a rocking chair too fast. After we landed in St. Thomas and got to the marina, I decided I should definitely be able to handle the motion sickness if I could handle the taxi ride from the airport to the marina! If I was going to get sick, it would have been then.

Captain Steve met us at the marina, helped with our luggage, and gave us a tour of his catamaran which was equipped with all the necessities one could hope for. A small, but very workable kitchen (galley) with just enough counter space for us to utilize one at a time. I volunteered to do all of the cooking so for a week, I laid claim to the galley. 

After welcoming us with a fruit and cheese tray along with champagne, the captain took us, by dinghy, to shore so we could buy provisions for the week. Located very near the marina was a small grocery store that had everything we needed and more. The difficult part was determining how much to buy for seven days that would also fit into a very compact refrigerator. 

Being on the catamaran that first night at the marina was so smooth, very comfortable with breathtaking views. I think I'm going to be just fine... at least until we set sail tomorrow!

Monday, January 16, 2017 -
There's just something about waking up on a boat in the Caribbean to the smell of coffee. Even better is having that coffee while staring at the most beautiful turquoise water you've ever seen. My birthday week is starting out beautifully! 

We pulled anchor and took a short sail over to Christmas Cove, off of St. Thomas. The gentle breeze kept me comfortable and content. 

While this was vacation for me, it was only part vacation for Ken as it was also an opportunity for him to complete additional American Sailing Association certifications. Over the past six months, he has passed their Basic Keelboat, Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, and Cruising Catamaran courses. Love listening to my husband answering as a student. That is something I'm not used to since this whole family goes to "Dad" for instruction and solutions to most all of our problems. 

After anchoring in Christmas Cove, I decided it was time to jump in and see what I could find. Low and behold, I FINALLY saw my first sea turtle!!  Those of you who know me well know my love for sea turtles. You also know that regardless of how many times I've been to the Caribbean, snorkeling, and specifically going on sea turtle excursions, I had NOT ever seen a sea turtle before. Yes... my birthday week is starting out quite lovely.

Pulling anchor tomorrow to see where the wind takes us. 

Tuesday, January 17 -
I jinxed myself! Today we ventured from Christmas Cove to Jost Van Dyke. I think we were supposed to sail farther but two nice men took pity on me. A little more wind today had the boat full speed ahead; but unlike a car, even though I was sitting still, my body was moving up and down, side to side. Mistake #1 was trying to journal through feeling like this. Put my pen down and tried focussing on the horizon all the while practicing my deep breathing. I brought some oil called Motion Eaze that you put behind your ears but since the first few days were a breeze, I didn't bother getting it out of my bag. When I started feeling a little sea sick, I went below to my cabin to search for the oil. Mistake #2. Don't go below when you're already feeling sick. Not only do you get tossed about, but you do so without any breeze to refresh you. Quickly and unsteadily, I came back up and remembering the instructions of the captain, grabbed an apple, went up to the helm to sit by Ken where the breeze was very welcoming. I made it to Jost Van Dyke without getting sick! It's amazing how much better you feel after you're done sailing and anchor for the night. Feeling refreshed, we left the boat and took the dinghy to dinner at a quaint little spot on Jost Van Dyke called Corsairs.

Now it's time to crawl into bed and get my beauty sleep, which is harder to achieve with no make-up, hair dryer, or straightener. Thank goodness for head bands and ball caps! :)

Wednesday, January 18 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
The big 5-0! Not only is it wonderful waking up to the smell of coffee the captain made every morning, but also to the smell of freshly made brownies! Our captain was busy baking before I got out of bed. So awesome to walk out in the galley to see Ken and Captain Steve, waiting for me with birthday greetings, birthday brownies, and a birthday gift (beautiful necklace from Ken). This is going to be a GREAT DAY! 

Pulled anchor from Jost Van Dyke and set sail for Cooper's Island. The new, 50-year old me, was wise enough to use my Motion Eaze oil before we set sail! And did it work? YESSS! It made for a truly pleasant 5-hour sailing trip while watching Ken take instructions, raise the sails, take the helm etc. He's passed one test already, two more to go!

For dinner, Ken and I set off in the dinghy by ourselves for a little birthday dinner celebration at the Cooper Island Beach Club restaurant. It was fantastic! As an added birthday bonus, we were very exited to learn that one of our sweet friends, Meron, who used to work in Virgin Gorda, but started working on Cooper's Island 4 years go, was working that night. What a sweet reunion we had with her, catching up and sharing the good news of me seeing my first sea turtle. It's been about 10 years since I went on an excursion to specifically see a sea turtle and Meron was the lovely tour guide who guaranteed me I would see a one on that excursion. By the end of the day, she called me a jinx. ha! She was overjoyed my dream finally came true and even helped us celebrate my birthday by sending us back to the catamaran with a bottle of champagne. xo

Where will we go tomorrow I wonder?  Wherever it is, I hope to be greeted by another sea turtle surfacing to say hello. 

Thursday, January 19 -
You wake up with a gentle swaying of the boat, climb out of bed and look out your little porthole to see other sail boats waking up to the same gentle rocking. A sea turtle comes up for air and sticks his head out of the water as if he's telling me good morning. 

I was put to work today helping Ken unhook from the mooring ball while Captain Steve got the french press ready for our coffee. Life is good. 

I have enjoyed playing "chef" on this trip, keeping these men's bellies satisfied and full. After breakfast we set sail for Virgin Gorda. Arrived at the Bitter End Yacht Club around 3:00 p.m. and anchored for the night. Took the dinghy to shore and enjoyed a nice refreshing lemon crush on this hot humid day. 

Dinner tonight at Saba Rock, one of my favorite restaurants. I remember bringing the kids to this same restaurant over 10 years ago. Time sure does fly. But many things stay the same... like the tarpon swimming around Saba Rock waiting to be fed. 

Ken passed Test #2 with flying colors! One more to go!!

Friday, January 20 - Inauguration Day! Welcome to the White House President Trump!

Staying anchored at the Bitter End Yacht Club! Took the day off from sailing (well, I took the day off from relaxing while we sailed) and spent it learning how to paddle board. Ken grabbed the camera, eager to capture me wiping out. I showed him! I was very proud of myself for staying upright on my first time doing this! A little later, Ken and I later took the dinghy over to Prickly Pear Island for a few hours of snorkel time. Beautiful day that ended with a fantastic dinner at the Bitter End Yacht Club. (It's easy to be a chef on a boat when you take the dinghy to a restaurant every night.) HA! Those times Ken and I did enjoy going out to eat, the Captain would sometimes accompany us and if not, I always made sure he had something to enjoy as well. 

Call him Captain Ken! He has passed his 3rd and final test! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, January 21 -
Good bye Saba Rock. Good bye Bitter End Yacht Club. Good bye Virgin Gorda! We are off for a full day of sailing. Well, since there was hardly any wind, we had to use both sails and engines to get where we're going. Headed back to Christmas Cove, the first place we anchored on our trip. Sad this will be our last night on the boat but happy the vacation isn't over. Staying at the Marriott in St. Thomas for 3 days, relaxing, getting our land legs back. But first... pizza for dinner from Pizza Pi! An adorable young couple turned their sailboat into their business. Order your pizza, jump in the dinghy, and motor over to their restaurant to pick up your pizza from their drive-through window. What a fun experience! 

Sunday, January 22 -
"Permission to hug the captain good bye?" Captain Steve has been sailing for over 40 years. Kind, patient, down to earth, generous, and very intelligent. Ken couldn't have asked for a better instructor. Because of Steve's knowledge and great teaching skills, Ken can now captain his own boat! Our future vacations just got more exciting!

This whole experience was truly amazing and I am told the more you sail you get used to the motion and stop having problems in that area. I am banking on that, because we are looking so forward to this spring/summer when we not only can go relax on the Chesapeake Bay but now have the option of renting a sailboat for the day and/or weekend. 


Laura's advice, tips, and tidbits of information (mainly for women) if you are going to sail:

Hair - The best way to pack all of your hair products you use at home is not to!!! Leave them at home. The first day on a sailboat you will try to look semi-stylish. By the 2nd day, it's out of bed and throw a ball cap on. Brought my blow dryer, and used it once (before going out for my birthday dinner) but the captain had to turn on the generator for me to do so. After that, I decided it just wasn't worth it. 

Showers and shaving - Your daily showers will turn into daily dips... in the ocean. And since a bunch of salt water isn't good for "inside" the boat, the captain had a fresh water hose ready for you when you are done with your dip or snorkeling adventures. He also had shampoo and soap (all in one) at the end of the boat (stern). The boat does have a tiny shower in the bathroom where the "head" is (toilet). I used the shower twice in 7 days, using the nozzle from the sink that pulls out and barely reaches you. It's a constant on and off with the water so you don't waste a drop. Forget shaving until you get back home (unless you're living on the boat, then I would suggest you find a way to do this once every few weeks). Rinsing off at the stern sitting on the transom (steps) just tends to be easier. 

Cooking - Although it depends on the size of the boat, if you have a nice size cutting board, envision that as your work space. Bonus space if you have a small table in the kitchen (galley). On this boat the captain has a nice little gas stove/oven and a very small refrigerator. We bought all of our provisions before setting sail, so calculating what you need for a week is tricky. Luckily, we anchored at several awesome islands that had great restaurants, so this enabled us to stretch our provisions. You don't want to plan or prepare meals that have you in the kitchen for a very long time unless you can cook while swaying. The catamaran is so much more stable than a monohull, thankfully. You learn what is precious and worth saving such as paper towels or water. Since this captain has sailed for 40 years, and is a man, he can use one towel and one wash cloth for the week. And so that's what we got. One towel, one wash cloth, for the week. I'm sure I could have requested another set during the week but decided if I wanted the experience what living on a boat would be like, I would deal with it. But I gotta tell ya... this is another reason you prefer dips off the boat and rinsing with hose by week's end. You can just air dry and you're good as new. I had to wonder if all of this would have been different if we had a woman captain. Maybe not. I follow an all women's sailing group on Facebook and some of those women sailors are hard core. Stopped shaving permanently, did not have hardly any fresh water, had row boats instead of dinghy's with motors, and one of the women I met through that sailing site is 38 weeks pregnant and climbs in her row boat to head to shore for provisions. 

Sleeping quarters - If you're looking for a king-sized bed you can walk around on all sides, equipped with bed-side tables, you need to have a lot of money. The bedrooms are truly for sleeping. No other room to do much else; and as I can attest, you don't want to go down below, where the air is a lot thicker, when you start getting sea sick. Trust me.

Someday, maybe we will set a course for a lot longer sail, but if you're interested in seeing our route, see below:

The captain and his first mate wish you fair winds and following seas!