Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Nautical Stuff and Another Spice Blend

I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that we were on the boat again. Our to-do list currently has 78 items on it. Thankfully many of the items are small and 17 have already been accomplished. Still… there is a lot left to do. It is funny somehow when you enjoy sail you only remember the part you love and not the work. However I will say that the good definitely outweighs the bad when it comes to sailing.

Monday night after work Dan replaced the pump on the toilet. I went to the boat with him for moral support. Talk about a dirty smelly job. No wonder he had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a plumber. :-P Can’t I say I blame him one bit after being onboard while he was doing this plumbing job. Here is the new pump in place.  Next up... breaking out the steam cleaner.

After he had his job taken care of it was my responsibility to clean the head (nautical speak for boat bathroom) and the bilge. We get all the fun don’t we? ;-) We could have paid someone to do this stuff but really that just seems incredibly wasteful and lazy to both of us so we did it ourselves. Sometimes I think neither one of us has good sense. LOL

Sorry I haven’t been posting much but the wifi speed at the marina is not the best. I have been calling the wifi provider and hopefully they will do something about it soon so that I can get back on a regular schedule. I tried uploading a few photos to Facebook on Tuesday and they timed out. *argh* The slow connection is extremely frustrating. I am trying to just go with the flow but I can honestly say I feel a little odd being so out of the loop electronically. On the bright side our friends Christine and Tim also had wifi problems and those have now been resolved so I am hoping that ours will also be resolved quickly.

The food recently has been nothing much to speak of. We have been eating leftovers and quick meals, nothing really worth sharing. I do need to get back into the kitchen soon and make something interesting if for no other reason so I don’t get bored. Dan will eat anything as long as it tastes good and doesn’t mind repeats one bit. I am the one who needs to change things up in the food department.

What do we eat when I am not in the mood for cooking? Since there is definitely a pattern to what I do I thought I should share it with you. We almost always have a salad with both lunch and dinner. These can be anything but I typically combine: raw greens, veggies, fruit and nuts or seeds and sometimes quinoa.

I also gravitate to soup a lot since that is easy and reheats extremely well. Beans make a very filling and nutritious addition to soups and stews. If you want to make it more hearty you can serve the soup/stew over quinoa and not only it is more filling but you have then covered your bases in terms of essential amino acids. I just love quinoa which you probably guessed based on how often you see us eat it.

Dinner on the boat was a simple meal that I could make easily given the limitations of using a propane stove. I brought cooked quinoa, a sweet potato and kidney beans from home. I made the Mexican spiced tomato and bean sauce on the boat. Cooked a small spaghetti squash in the oven. Our dinner was spaghetti squash and quinoa topped with the Mexican tomato and beans to which I added diced sweet potato. This was easy to make because I now also keep a Mexican blend of spices on board that includes: dried minced onion, powdered garlic, no-salt seasoning, cumin seeds, paprika, oregano, cinnamon and cocoa powder. With the spice blend and little hot sauce dinner came together quite quickly.

Next I am going to make an Indian spice blend to keep on board and I should be able to make a decent variety of meals from standard pantry items. At least that is my plan we will see how well it works on in practice. However so far the Southern Italian and Mexican spice blends have been very handy as well as not taking up much room which is very important on a boat.

After dinner we lounged around the boat for a little while and then cleaned up and headed for home. We have been spending almost every night on the boat. It is fabulous being about to sit in the cockpit every night and enjoy the lights twinkly on the water. Now I can’t imagine why we ever had a boat that was over an hour away from home. What the heck were we thinking? ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

• The boat smells much better since the toilet has been fixed. Dan got major points from me for resolving that problem so quickly.   Having scented candles on board also seems to help.

• We are making good progress on our boat to-do list. While we would rather be sailing than doing work be both also want to get everything taken care of sooner rather than later. Not to mention it is incredibly relaxing being at the marina. We both love sitting in the cockpit, sipping tea and looking at the water. Additionally we have nice boat neighbors and that helps make the work part a lot more palatable.

• The fur children are starting to get used to mommy being gone more during the day and are much less panicked when I get home. This makes me feel less guilty about leaving them home. Realistically I know that they spend most of their time sleeping during the day but I see feel bad leaving them by themselves.

• The weather on Tuesday was absolutely magnificent. We had temperatures in the upper 70’s with a gentle breeze. It was one of those days where you just couldn’t get enough time outside.

Signing out:

Now I need to get productive. I have lots to do at home before I head back to the marina to meet Dan for dinner. Oh yeah, I also have more work to do on the boat but that doesn’t even bother me since I will be on the water. Talk with you again soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Great Weekend and a Few Recipes

Saturday was for sailing:

Time has been flying by recently. We have been getting a lot accomplished but very little of it has been at home. I have gotten pretty good at making food that is portable or taking the ingredients with me and whipping things up on the boat. I will need to write a post about that soon so I can share what I have learned with all of you. There are definitely some tricks that I have picked up.

Saturday we had good wind and took advantage of it to figure out what the boat would do. Did we have a good time? No doubt about it! When we left the dock the wind was about 5 knots but it reached 13.6 knots so we had a great day to try things out. We got rid of the prior boat over a decade ago so we really needed to “get our feet wet” and it was the perfect day for it. We had the boat moving at 7.6 knots which wasn’t bad for our first trip out. I was pleased with how she handled which was a little bit of surprise. Since the last boat was a racer I assumed she would have been much easier to handle but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Here is Dan behind the wheel.

This is me trying my best to see over the cabin. The world is just not made for short people. ;-)

I loved this picture of the Inner Harbor as we were coming back to the marina.

Here are a few more shots I took while we were out.  Sailing out of the inner harbor is definitely different from having the boat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

We go right by Fort McHenry on our way to the bay. It is great be surrounded by history. It isn’t like being in Italy but we have our share of American history at least. ;-)

While we were underway I made us a salad of: tatsoi (an Asian green), quinoa (which I cooked at home), marinated mushrooms (also made a home), tomatoes and pine nuts. I was able to toss this together while Dan took the wheel.

We sailed for about 4 hours and it was getting cold (temps in the mid 60’s and a lot of wind), and we weren’t really dressed for it, so we headed back for the marina.

I couldn’t get warm so I made us some hot green tea. When that didn’t do it I decided a mostly raw dinner was out of the question. Thank goodness I had stashed some of the Tasty Bites packaged vegan food on board. See even we eat “packaged” food sometimes. ;-) I am sure you know me well enough to realize that I didn’t eat it as it came out of the package though. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tinker with it now would it?


We started our morning at the farmers’ market like always. Fall is definitely fast approaching as the winter squash is plentiful now. *boo hoo* It is always sad to see summer end. However I am consoling myself with the good wind we always have in the fall. On the Chesapeake sailing is better spring and fall than it is during the summer. Additionally the powerboats don’t seem to come out as much and that makes for less dodging them since many of them don’t seem to understand the “rules of the road”.

Here are some of the fun hummus flavors I picked up at the market on Sunday.

After the market we came home and lounged around for a while since neither of us got much sleep last night. There was a new episode of Dr. Who on so you know Dan couldn’t go to sleep. I am not sure what my excuse was for getting into bed so late, but I am going to blame it on Dr. Who keeping Dan up. ;-)

Dan ran out to the hardware store to pick up some materials to make a device to hold the spring line up at the marina so that it will be easier to dock. Good thing one of us is handy isn’t it? As you probably guessed I am not the handy one in our family. ;-)

While he was gone I made another batch of curried split pea soup because it travels really well. I measured this time so that I can share the recipe which you will find at the end of this post.

Since it was so cold last night I thought some hot chocolate would be nice to have on the boat and whipped up a batch of almond milk and part of that became hot chocolate. This recipe will also be at the end of this post.

I also wanted to make a sweet and spicy pickled salad of sorts. I had something similar at Jesse Wong’s a few months ago and knew I could make it my own, and dare I say improve on it from both a nutrition and taste perspective. I have also shared that at the bottom of this post.

When we got to the marina it was much later than we had intended it to be. I got busy stowing everything on board so that we could go out if we decided to. Dan took care of installing his new device on the dock. While he was busy with power tools I took a little time to write this post and get some veggie chili with mushrooms in the crock pot. The boat came with a crock pot on board so I wanted to test that out and see how it would work on board since that was a new idea for me. For some reason I never used a Crockpot on the prior boat. Since it seemed to work fairly well on high I may start making more meals in the Crockpot on the boat.

Before I forget Dr. Greger is looking for unpaid interns for his site to help spread the word about the health benefits of a whole food vegan diet. As you have probably guessed I don’t have a huge amount of free time but helping Dr. Greger is a fantastic cause so I am thrilled to be able to lend a hand. If you can spare 10 hours a week for 10 weeks please join me in volunteering for Dr. Greger. I am sure you will find it very rewarding. I hope to see you there soon. :-)

Recipes from this weekend:

Curried Split Pea Soup
Serves 8


2 cups Bob’s Red Mill “Vegi Soup Mix” (green and yellow split peas, barley, lentils, and whole wheat alphabet pasta)
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and minced
32 ounces homemade canned tomatoes (or 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes no or low salt)
2 tablespoons garam masala
½ - 1 tablespoon turmeric (this can be bitter so start with less how much you need will depend on how much is the garam masala you used)
½ tablespoons fresh ground black pepper (to make the curcumin in the turmeric more bioavailable)
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
fresh lime wedges to finish


Combine the water, bean mix, and bay leaves in your pressure cook and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Use the quick release method, remove the bay leaves and add the remaining ingredients, except the lime and cook until the onion is tender. Serve the soup with wedges of lime to bright the flavor.

Almond Milk Hot Chocolate
Serves 2 – greedy vegans ;-)


3 cups homemade almond milk, with the oats to thicken it
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of mace
stevia to taste, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have


I combine this in Mason jar and shake well to combine. By doing that you can shake the jar and pour out the amount you want to heat and store the remainder in the refrigerator. Also it travels well this way.

Spicy Sweet and Sour Salad of Bok Choy and Carrot
Serves 6


1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
approximately 10 whole cloves
whole dried chilis (like you see in Asian stir fry), add these to taste depending on how much you like heat (I used 15 or so but I love heat)
2 carrots, cut into sticks
4 cups shredded bok choy
¼ cup golden raisins
sesame seeds for garnish
spicy greens to be a bed for the salad (I used tatsoi)


Combine the water, vinegar, spices, and heat on high until the liquid is just beginning to bubble. Now add the carrots so that they will begin to soften. Once the vinegar has cooled add the bok choy and raisins and store the salad in a jar in the refrigerator. Periodically turn the jar over to distribute the marinade. To serve place the salad on top of the greens and dust the salad with sesame seeds. Don’t forget to tell your family not to eat the hot peppers as they are very hot.

Happy Thoughts:

• It was another fantastic weekend for us. Dan didn’t spend any time at work so we had lots of face time and you know we loved that. ;-) We had a great sail on Saturday and a very relaxing dinner on board on Sunday.

• I have a new little feathered friend at the marina. The most adorable mallard has decided that she needs to greet me every time I come down the boat. I am sure it has nothing to do with my feeding her the leftover pancakes that the delivery crew left in the refrigerator. ;-) Thank goodness Michelle can to the rescue to tell me what I should be feeding the duck. My little friend (who I now need to name), hung around with me for an hour under Sunday after I gave her the end of the pancakes on board. I swear one day I am going to arrive at the marina and she will be waiting for me on the boat.

• I have a new human friend at the marina as well. Chris, two slips away, and I are really hitting it off. We both love to cook, and talk and have been spending a lot of time together. It is very nice to make new friends.

• The wind has really started to pick up on the Chesapeake which is fantastic. After all sailing is no fun when you don’t have wind. ;-)

Signing out:

I have been spending so much time at the boat that things at home are now out of control. Time for me to get busy and get some things done at home so that I can relax at the boat. Talk with you again soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lots of Harbor Time

I have been spending as much time at the harbor as possible this week. There is so much to do it hard to know where to start. However I think I have most of those tasks now documented and on our to-do list. At last count there are 34 items on our list. Now it is just a matter and getting them accomplished and crossed off. We will get them all done though, it just won’t be as soon as we would like … because it never is.

Spending so much time at the marina we are getting to know all our neighbors. Rubin (who is in the slip just to our north) is a radiologist and we know some of the same people because of where he works and I used to work. Jack and Amy (in the slip to our south) live in Pennsylvania and own a vineyard in Napa. Little do they know how lucky they are that we don’t drink wine like we used to. Those of you who have had dinner with us know that I am not kidding. ;-) Then there are Christine and Tim who we have seen the most. They are both great and I can tell we will be spending a lot of time with them. Chris was an accountant and Tim a flight nurse but they now have their own business painting advertising on barns. They have the cutest little dog, Peyton, who is a Woodle (a breed I had never heard of previously). I am sure pictures of Peyton will be showing up on the blog because his personality is adorable and I know it will show in pictures. Can you tell that we have been really enjoying our time?

Food this week has needed to be very portable. Here are some of the things we have been eating.

Ian cooked one day and came up with this vegan menu.

The okra salad was phenomenal. I certainly didn’t expect the okra to be in julienne strips and that just made this dish. The cilantro and dressing was perfect in this.

The curried veggies had a touch of coconut milk that made the sauce very luxurious but not too much to make it fatty.

We picked up take out veggie spring rolls from Me Kong Delta. These are really good if you are in Baltimore. Ask for some sriracha to spice up the dipping sauce if you like heat like we do.

I made a quinoa salad with sliced almonds, dried unsweetened cranberries, golden raisins, wine vinegar and cilantro. This was served with portabellas that I roasted with pomegranate molasses and then topped with sesame seeds. This was inspired but the dressing on the okra salad that Ian made. To go with the quinoa salad I made a curried cilantro and lime sauce with raw cashews that we used as a dip for our crudités. This sauce was also inspired by the sauce Ian serves with his version of samosa. See, I really am telling the truth when I say I am a better cook because of eating Ian’s food so often. We love Ian. <3

Another night I made a curried split pea soup with barley and tomatoes.

I served that with a green salad consisting of: baby lettuce, cucumber, tomato and avocado. I used the curried cilantro and lime dip to make a dressing but whisking in a little water. This sauce is very versatile and I love things like that.

It appears the trick to portable food is a little at home prep, either cooking, cleaning or chopping depending on what I am making. So far it hasn’t been too much of a problem but then again it has only been a week of portable food. We will see if I am still saying this in a month.

My pizza flavored almonds have been very popular so far. They went over well with Walid, Jackie, Nadia, Aimee, Michael and Chris. I made three more batches of them this week and will be posting that recipe soon.

Happy thoughts:

• It is wonderful to be spending more time on the water again. I had not realized how much I missed it. We are both enjoying relaxing in the evening and watching the sunset over the harbor. It is the perfect way to spend the evening winding down. We both love our “second home”.

• The wifi at the marina is incredibly slow, more specifically it is painfully slow. So slow in fact that can’t upload from there. Initially I was annoyed but this but then I realized there is an upside. Without internet access I am finding more time to relax and just enjoy my surroundings. Sometimes it is good to not be too connected. However Rubin just installed an antenna and signal booster on his boat and said it worked very well in terms of increasing his speed.

• We have really great neighbors at the harbor. Everyone has been so friendly. It is always wonderful to make new friends. :-)  Not to mention it is good to break out of your comfort zone which I am sometimes all too ready to stay in.

• Speaking of new friends this is my little mallard friend who has greeted me the last few days. She has figured out that I feed her and she seems to wait for me. One day I expect to find her sitting in the cockpit. I hope I don’t make her too tame and reliant on me for food. Isn’t she precious? I think ducks are so cute.

• Who wouldn’t love a change of scenery? Even though I have been extremely busy these past 9 days it has been wonderful too. I am really enjoying doing new things and breaking out of my rut. Even though my life was healthy I think variety and new experiences are good for all of us.

Signing out:

As I am typing this I am sitting out in the cockpit enjoying the fresh air and the gentle bobbing of the boat. This really is the perfect way to start the weekend. A girl could get really used to this life…I have and it is only been 9 days. Talk with you later. :-)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Food Fit to Travel

In the midst of the storm system that turned into torrential rain and flooding our ship literally came in. Given the raising water in Baltimore it was nice to know we could float away if necessary. ;-) 

There were a lot of raw meals on board because I was trying to get prepared for the Crazy Sexy Detox which I started on Monday. It would be nice to say that I am totally prepared but that would be a lie. You know me I will wing it as I go along.

The first day on the boat I brought very little food with us and fortunately I was able to find food that Robert (the captain) left onboard which I could turn into something to feed us. There were cans of tomato soup which I seasoned with curry powder and finished with peanuts and it was delicious. He also had tea bags on board we had trail mix, seaweed and flax crackers so we didn’t starve.

There were many mugs of tea enjoyed outside.  What a great way to spend the weekend.  :-)

We went home overnight which gave me an opportunity to whip up a few things. One of them was a Southern Italian spice mix. This one contains dried minced onions, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, freshly ground black pepper and hot pepper flakes.

This is a dish I concocted from food from home and what was on board. It took canned tomatoes and added Southern Italian seasoning referenced above, cannellini beans and diced bell pepper that I added at the end to minimize the destruction of vitamin C which is sensitive to heat.  I finished the dish with some nutrition yeast which I will also be keeping on board.

Here is a cucumber salad I made which includes chunks of cucumber, shredded carrot, shaved onion, raw sunflower seeds, sherry vinegar, and cilantro.

We also had crudite, caramelized peach and habanero hummus and flax crackers made from the pulp of vegetable juice and almond milk. I added a bunch of no-salt seasoning for flavor, some ground flaxseeds to bind it and enough water to make“dough”. They dehydrated for 24 hours to make them extra crispy the way Dan likes them.

We had some diced cantaloupe also.

I also made fresh veggie juice at home to take with us each morning.

Then there were pizza flavored almonds which turned out really well. I will need to make those again since we both liked them.

Here is another meal of flax crackers, the same caramelized peach and habanero hummus, pizza almonds and a kale salad that I marinated in sherry vinegar, raw garlic and smoked paprika. I topped the salad with diced tomatoes that I packed separately.

No matter where we are Dan and I always try to eat as healthy as possible.

Happy Thoughts:

• It is wonderful to have the boat in Baltimore. We have not been as productive as we could have been but we have done our share of relaxing which was sorely needed. Additionally we also have gotten a lot done on the boat which is excellent. We are slowly but surely figuring out the boat which makes us both happy.

• We have met quite a few of our boat neighbors which is nice. There are a few live-a-boards on our dock which makes us both really happy. It is always nice to have people on your pier to keep an eye open on things.

• The mallards at the marina have figured out that I am a crazy animal lady and having been hanging around by our boat. At one point we had 8 ducks visiting with us all at once and I wasn’t feeding them….yet. ;-) Dan thinks that they sent out a message that there is a sucker in the neighborhood (that would be me not Dan BTW).

• I have been playing around with some new recipes and feel ready for the Crazy Sexy Cleanse to start which I am looking forward to. Let’s hope that it is as easy as I am expecting it to be. I will tell you how it goes for me and what I am eating in case you want to do it too.

• There are many photographic opportunities from the marina. Expect to see a lot of nautical shots for a while. I expect to take my camera with me each time I go to the boat. Here is a picture I love of three older people heading to their boat with the “crazy pirate” ship in the background. I loved the story that this picture told.

Signing out:

Monday is going to be another busy day all day. I have a very busy day planned and we may end our day at the boat since it is so nice to have dinner out in the cockpit while listening to the water. Talk with you again soon.
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