Snow Day

Winter is not my jam. Snow, cold, rain, wet, all of the above, I don’t love….you know? However, the girls are fond of the rain and especially the snow. So to get it out of their systems, we had a snow day.

We drove far enough East until we hit snow and we let them run free.

After some snow angels, little snowmen and a lot of exploring….

A couple of hours later, they had had enough.

Perfect little snowy escape.

I much prefer to sit in the sun with a book…cat sometimes included.

Oh and off topic, if you are looking for a new cookbook that you’ll want to cook your entire way through, this is it.

Another one that I am obsessed with right now is this.

The girls are on a Korean BBQ/Bulgogi/dumpling kick so this book has done the work for our weekly dinner plans.

I am making a few of Jet’s recipes this week, I will report back.

46

Consistency is not my strong suit when it comes to this blog, I’m sorry. I have excuses, are they good, probably not so I wont bother with the whys.

I went to an ECE (early childhood education) beach retreat and it was a really great experience. There is no end in learning how to create new and challenging learning environment.

I also had a birthday, sigh. Turns out I am older than I thought. 46 WTF?

I was spoiled with pressies, cake, balloons….and tacos!

We went out to dinner and had a nice meal, cake pop for the win!

Not about food:

The girls are new aunties to two pups. Let me introduce to you Tony and Frankie, brothers rescued from TJ who now live their best life in Coronado.

And have dog sitters willing and waiting.

Gosh, aren’t they getting too big? Make it stop!

Crispy Baked Boursin with Hot Honey

Has this recipe been taunting you on social media like it has us? Hello food porn. Boursin, good…crispy, good. hot honey, gooood…all together, sensational!

Super simple to throw together, this would be perfect for a quick appetizer, or for dinner. We had it with sliced French baguette, some toasted with evoo and some not. It was delicious.

Hot honey can be found on shelves anywhere these days, because it’s so good… on everything. But for this I just heated up some honey and red chili flakes so I could control how spicy I wanted it and I wanted it HOT!

Ingredients

Boursin cheese (garlic and herb)

2 Tbs flour

1 egg, beaten

1 cup panko breadcrumbs (seasoned with salt and pepper)

salt and pepper

TO SERVE-

Hot honey

Bread or crackers of your choosing

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place the flour, the beaten egg and seasoned panko breadcrumbs into three separate bowls.

Coat the Boursin first in the flour, and make sure that the cheese is completely coated. Dust off any excess flour and then dip in the egg, once again ensuring it’s well coated. Finally coat in the panko breadcrumbs.

Place the crumbed cheese on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place in the preheated oven and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

While the cheese bakes, make your hot honey with honey and diced chilies, or honey and crushed red pepper or your favorite store bought hot honey. Whatever way you go, just heat it up in the microwave or a small sauce pan. Also, prepare your French bread for serving. Thinly slice the baguette and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until crisp and golden on both sides. 

Once the cheese has baked and looks golden brown, remove from the oven.

Serve on a plate, drizzle with the hot honey and toasted bread. Serve additional honey on the side because you will want more!

Enjoy!

Ensenada

Our final day of the trip was spent on the beautiful streets of Ensenada.

Definitely not beautiful.

We didn’t get into town until noon or so, we were all watching the docking process from the decks above. Eagerly wanting off of the rocking ship.

This guy here was the best. Alvin was the assistant cruise director and he was a hoot!

We hopped on a bus that took us to the main drag of town. We just wanted lunch and drinks, nothing special on our minds.

Clever name huh?

We were heading to Hussong’s, apparently the oldest bar in Ensenada when we took a wrong turn and was coerced into a bar with free shots, blue shots.

It was a little iffy but the guy promised us that we would be ok and why would he lie to tourists? We really need a sarcasm font.

After our drinks we found our way to Hussong’s, imagine that.

I wanted to pop into this place when I learned that it was established in 1892. It’s also apparently where the margarita originated and it’s still standing. Did I order a margarita? No I did not, but Shawna did and it wasn’t great. Just a basic lime margarita.

I went with the timeless favorite….

The place was a tourist trap, it wasn’t as crowded as the other chain, Papa’s and Beer, that place was PACKED.

The bathrooms were interesting. The toilet paper was meant to be grabbed before going into the stall.

Very sanitary.

One drink and we were out. Then I found out that there is a Hussong’s in Vegas, WTF. We could have found a way dingier dive bar had we known that, sigh.

Time for lunch. We chose El Corralito for no particular reason than it was there and some people eating, that’s always a safe bet.

(One time long ago I got really sick after a day in Ensenada and I have some major PTSD).

You guys, the food was INCREDIBLE. Probably the best meal of the trip, aside from my Indian dishes. The sad thing is, we ordered what we normally do at our local Mexican places at home, ha. Cheese enchiladas, crispy chicken tacos, rice and beans. Can’t go wrong with those..Oh and mango margaritas…Why are they so good?

After lunch we hit the 7-11 for M&M’s because one can only try so many bad desserts in a row. Then went back to the ship.

Last dinner, last late night of mediocre entertainment.

I don’t think we ate dinner that night, but I could be wrong. I know that we went back to the martini bar for two last espresso martini’s.

We listened to some music and said goodbye to new friends and the best server in the lounge.

Then we played Roulette and probably ordered room service one last time because we didn’t eat dinner.

And that’s it, that’s the end. Well almost. We kept our luggage in our room so Saturday morning we just woke up, got dressed, grabbed our shit and walked off the ship. Our car was waiting for us and we were home by 9:30.

Reflecting on our trip, I don’t think there is any need to sail with Norwegian again. Next time we want to try Princess or Celebrity, advice welcomed. I would also like to hit the Panama Canal or Western Caribbean.

Until then, the end.

Onto the Next

We woke up Tuesday morning to a Royal Caribbean ship docking right next to us in Puerto Vallarta.

Our plan for the day was to get to Los Muertos beach, eat lunch and lay in the sun.

We walked around until we found a place that had some open chairs on the sand and that place ended up being Burros Bar.

We ordered margaritas, I had a Cadillac and my babe got the mango, and apparently it was two for one.

For food we ordered the shrimp aguachile to share, a shrimp quesadilla and a shrimp burrito. Her burrito was the best and I really wish had ordered the snapper, food regrets are the worst.

After lunch we walked down to the beach and laid out for awhile.

After a couple of hours we found ourselves ready to head back to the ship where we could lay by the pool and the drinks were already paid for.

We stopped for some ice cream at one of the ports shops, dropped our stuff in our cabin and situated ourselves by the pool.

Before heading back to our room we watched the Royal Caribbean ship depart port.

After dinner we decided to watch a show called “Rock you Tonight” It was bad, if we were watching a high school performance then it would have been pretty good, but for cruise ship entertainment it was really not good. The entertainment in general was poor. I ended the night not feeling very hot so we went back to the room and said goodnight to Tuesday.

Wednesday was Mazatlan and sadly we were only there from 7:00 to 2:00. We got off the ship around 9:00, took a cab to a beach somewhere, and then we just walked until we found a man who offered us a couple of lounge chairs for a small fee.

As we were lounging in the sun wishing for a drink, a man with a menu appeared. He claimed that him and his mom were from Cabo and that they are making drinks in the alley. Shawna and I glanced at each other questionably and then said “ok, why not?”. My babe was braver than me and she ordered a very large mango margarita…..I ordered a Tecaté, playing it like a wuss. Her drink was really good and once again I had a drink regret because the nice man never came back, sigh.

We had an alarm set to make sure we allowed time for lunch.

We walked back down the beach until we hit Joe’s Oyster bar and popped in there.

Once again we ordered ceviche and shrimp tacos.

The shrimp in the tacos were fried, and they were SO DELICIOUS!

Our time was up so we went back to the ship and to the pool which was already crowded. We spent the afternoon swimming, drinking and meeting new people.

We took that night off, brought dinner down to our room and just watched a couple of movies. Oh, I forgot to mention the food at the buffet. It was set up by different stations, salad, pizza, entrees, desserts etc. But every day one side of the entree station had four or five Indian dishes, plus condiments such as chutney and raita. You guys, it was the best thing on the ship. Every dish, each day was phenomenal. Anyhow, that is what I had dinner that night.

And just like that it was Thursday which was our last day at sea. When we woke up we were rocking and rolling, we peeked out our window and this is what we saw….

Obviously, we wouldn’t be outside so we looked at the daily schedule of events to try and plan an inside day. Norwegian didn’t have as many fun ‘at sea’ activities as Holland America did. I am not sure if it was the actual games, the cruise staff or the guests, maybe all of the above, but it was all just blah.

We wandered around, popping into the bridge.

Played a little basketball in the arcade.

We watched a dance class from the safety of the back of the lounge while sipping Dirty Shirley’s.

Then we saw the sun really making an effort so we bundled up, grabbed our books and went to the pool deck.


But we couldn’t hang. The wind was ICE. So we took that as a sign to just go read in the room until dinner.
We had reservations at Le Bistro that evening.
I opened last years birthday gift to enjoy while getting ready.

It was DELICIOUS!

We both ordered the Escargot Bourguignonne, I got the Coq au Vin and my babe got the Duck de Canard. I guess I only took one photo and it was of the escargot, so voila!

The dinner was pretty good and after we headed to Bliss lounge to watch Karaoke and that was a lot more entertaining than the rock show, that’s for sure. The next day was our final day and we spent it in Ensenada.

Bon Voyage 2022

We said adios to 2022 while cruising down to Mexico. The cruise deals lately are phenomenal, I highly recommend taking advantage if you can. Most cruise lines are now offering unlimited drink packages which are really hard to beat, if you like that sort of thing. Since flying anywhere lately is not only expensive but also a shit show, we decided to go back down to the Mexican Riviera but on a different cruise line. We were really spoiled with our Holland American cruise last year, very few people, ZERO children and great musical entertainment so there were big shoes to fill. We decided on Norwegian because it was a first for both of us, the dates worked out and the price was really easy on the pocketbook.

The itinerary had us leaving San Diego on New Years eve and hitting Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Ensenada, then back to SD.

We arrived at the port mid day and had a very simple embarkment. Unfortunately, new years eve was a cold and drizzly day, not an ideal way to start the trip. Pool deck activities don’t hit the same when it’s cloudy and cold, but we still gave it our all! Once we found our cabin, we hit the Lido deck for lunch, took a stroll around the ship, grabbed a couple of adult beverages and snagged a couple of pool loungers for people watching.

Norwegian’s selling point seems to focus on freestyle cruising. That means they give you more freedom from the OG of cruises. Instead of fancy dinner attire in the dining room at either the early seating or later seating, they have multiple dining rooms where you can go eat at anytime. While you can’t show up in board shorts and flips, you can wear pants and a t-shirt. However, I feel like most cruise lines offer that now, on Holland we went to dinner when we wanted to not at a certain time each night. Besides the two main dining rooms, there were also a handful of places to eat that were included. A buffet on the pool deck along with a poolside bar and grill. There was also an Asian restaurant and a 24 hour diner type place called O’Sheehans. It looked like a Hennessey’s but the food wasn’t great. The 24 hour part was exciting as we really needed that on our last cruise, but it turns out we didn’t need it on this one.

The view wasn’t bad.

These days the cruise lines have a few extra restaurants that you can dine at but for a price, some may have a fixed price and some are priced by entree. The Jewel, which was the name of our ship, had six to choose from. Italian, French, Sushi, Teppanyaki, a steakhouse and a Churrascaria. When we booked the trip, our package included all beverages $15.00 and under, wifi, one excursion and one alternative dining choice.

The captain pulled anchor at 4:00 and… we were off like a prom dress. Then the wind kicked in, so we bid a farewell to the pool deck and went to see how the casino was doing. Maybe we played some Roulette, and then we went to get ready for dinner and some dancing.

There were two dining rooms to choose from and honestly neither of them were anything grand and sadly, either was the food.

After dinner we chose to go to the Spinnaker lounge where the house band was playing top hits and then a DJ was going to count down the night. This would be the place we went to end each night, sadly it wasn’t anything great either.

We woke up to a new year but the weather was still in 2022.

Knowing that the sun was in our future, we spent the day playing Battle of the Sexes, Majority Rules and Bingo.

We tried the other dining room for dinner and this was a clear look into Norwegian’s “free-style” dining. Some guests did not care about what they wore, ordered or acted at the dining room. Classy is the opposite of what we saw. The night ended the same but we ordered room service and watched whatever we could find on the tv until we fell asleep.

We woke to sunny skies in Cabo San Lucas.

We were excited to head back to Medano beach and just lounge with food and drinks with our toes in the sand. That was all we wanted to do in each port. We walked around the marina, stopping for a couple of margaritas.

Then we walked through town to Medano beach seeking out The Sand Bar.

The beach was packed so we weren’t going to be able to lounge on the beach, the holiday brought ALL of the people. We were lucky enough to find a seat at the Sand Bar but then we proceeded to wait forever to be served. Sadly they were out of the octopus so we ordered a spicy shrimp ceviche, fish and shrimp tacos. Nothing was memorable aside from the view and the weather.

When we were finally able to wrap up our meal, we hit the street and got a cab to take us back to the main drag. We were going to pop into Cabo Wabo (don’t be judgy) for a drink but with three cruise ships in port, that was a HELL NO. So we asked around for a place with a good margarita and we were sent to The Monkey Bar.

This place was literally just an outside bar with about eight bar stools and a handful of tables. We chatted up a couple who just moved to Cabo and met a man who was a tour guide. We got his card for when we head back in June, hopefully he can hook us up with some fun activities.

The margs were pretty good.

When our glasses were empty we hopped on the tender and went back to the boat. We soaked up some sun at the pool, had dinner and then tried our luck at the martini bar.

Two days into the trip we knew that this cruise wasn’t going to live up to our Holland American cruise, sadly.

Thai Chicken Curry (Gang Gai Khao Mun)

I made curry paste, from scratch. Gourmet as hell you guys! It took a few stores to find all of the ingredients for this recipe but between H Mart and Ranch 99, I was able to get it accomplished. This recipe for the curry paste makes more than you need for one batch, which was about six servings, so I threw what was leftover in the freezer for next time.

From what I read, this comforting Thai dish is a staple at street food stalls, house restaurants and is a popular take away dish. It seems that they serve the curry sauce over boiled chicken and steamed rice, opposed to simmering the chicken in the sauce. Since I am not a food stall, I made it Bon Appetit style.

Ingredients for the Kalaya Curry Paste

⅓ cup trimmed and thinly sliced lemongrass (from 2 large stalks)

⅓ cup thinly sliced shallot (from 1 large [1 1/2-ounce] shallot)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper (about 1 1/2 ounces)

¼ cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh turmeric root (from 1/3 cup whole turmeric)

2 tablespoons paprika

1 ½ tablespoons black pepper

1 ½ tablespoons ground white pepper

1 tablespoon peeled and thinly sliced fresh galangal

½ tablespoon ground turmeric

8 garlic cloves

5 makrut lime leaves

3 to 4 fresh red Thai chiles

¾ cup water, divided

Directions:

Combine the lemongrass, shallot, crushed red pepper, sliced turmeric, paprika, black pepper, white pepper, galangal, ground turmeric, garlic, lime leaves, and Thai chiles in a food processor, and process until vegetables and herbs are very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water; process until mixture looks creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Scrape down sides of processor bowl, and stir mixture. With processor running, pour remaining 1/4 cup water through food chute, processing until mixture is smooth but slightly gritty and paste-like, about 2 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup Kalaya curry paste in a small bowl.

Store remaining paste in an airtight container in freezer.

Ingredients for Chicken Curry

2 tablespoons palm sugar

1 tablespoon shrimp paste

1 (13 1/2-ounce) can coconut cream, divided

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs), cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk, well shaken and stirred

¼ cup fish sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

3 makrut lime leaves, plus more for garnish

2 fresh green long hot peppers sliced (I used jalapeños) (about 1 cup)

Directions

Heat a medium-size heavy-bottomed pot or a Dutch oven over medium-low. Add palm sugar, shrimp paste, reserved 1/2 cup Kalaya curry paste, and half of the coconut cream (about 3/4 cup), and cook, stirring often, until curry sauce is fragrant and bubbly and palm sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chicken pieces and coconut milk. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers at least 165°F, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in fish sauce and salt. Stir in remaining half of coconut cream (about 3/4 cup). Remove pan from heat. Stir in basil and makrut lime leaves.

Garnish curry with jalapenos, basil and lime leaves.

Christmas

Hello strangers, happy new year! I hope everyone had a great one and isn’t sick or drowning in rain…or both.

I left you with the best snickerdoodle cookie recipe and then ghosted you for the holidays.

Christmas eve had us cookie decorating, baking and prepping for Christmas day feasting.

The kitchen was busy, we made an eggnog cake, the ‘can’t have Christmas without sherry cake’, and creme de menthe brownies.

I also made this farro salad with apple, parmesan and arugula. You guys, this salad really is the best.

The girls had to wait until 7:00 AM on Christmas morning, how terrible of us huh?

Once we were cozied up and had coffee in hand, we started the festivities.

Halfway through the carnage we broke for breaky. and then we continued with the mayhem.

Out of everything Kaili opened, I think this was her favorite, sigh.

Her relationship with spicy chips is on another level.

Later that morning the family came over….. and with a baby black lab in tow.

This is Pluto, isn’t he the cutest?

Casey and Aileen were puppy sitting for a friend, and I can say that Pluto gave us all dog fever, well everyone except Shawna, pfft.

We spent the day opening more gifts, eating, playing games and saying “no” to the girls asking for a dog every other minute.

My dad and Casey put together Averi’s new Rainbow High doll house.

We played Right Left Center and Kaili won.

It was a great Christmas spent with all my people!

Those five days between Christmas and New Years is big question mark. No one knows what day it is or what they are supposed to be doing, it’s like existing in confusion.

I took the girls to Coronado for an afternoon.

We had a delicious lunch, enjoyed a walk along the water, more puppy love and some swimming.

The weather was perfect until the sun went down, and then it was time to head home and warm the bones.

Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Snickerdoodle’s are not my favorite cookie, not even in my top five. So when I made this recipe, I did not think I would want them for breakfast, however paired with cream cheese frosting, they are suitable for any time of the day. With Christmas a short few days away, these are perfect to have out for little and big hands to grab.

I made these a few times, once from scratch and then I used a sugar cookie mix as a short cut and it’s just as good. Since time is minimal these next few days, get the mix and make it easy on yourself. But you do have to make the cream cheese frosting, that is a must.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of sugar cookie mix

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line backing sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the cookie dough according to the package directions. Using a 1/2-inch cookie scoop or spoon, scoop cookie dough and roll into balls. Roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar and then place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let cool completely.

While the cookies bake and cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

In a stand mixer or a bowl with a handheld mixer; beat cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add salt and then gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until smooth.

Once the cookies are cool, spread frosting on the bottom half of the cookies, top with remaining cookies and press gently together so the frosting spreads to the edges.

Store in an airtight container. They are good out of the fridge too!

Wake up, It’s December

This year we made reservations instead of recipes for Thanksgiving dinner…in Vegas. The next morning bright and early, we headed to the Las Vegas American Outlaws chapter bar to watch the US play England.

The vibe was phenomenal.

What happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas because we both got colds while we were there, the drive home was so much fun (insert sarcasm font).

About a week later we had our yearly visitor.

Everyone this is Tipsytoes Bellshire.

Casey and Aileen took the girls for a day of Coronado fun. They made ornaments and cookies with Santa, explored the Hotel Del and went out to lunch.

They came home happy and hyper, it was a fun holiDAY!

(Why didn’t anyone brush Averi’s hair that morning?)

I was unsure of how the World Cup would look during the month of December but I gotta say that I dig it. Waking up to soccer every morning has been wonderful.

We are about a week out from Christmas and I am happy to say that I think I’m ready for it.

Cold nights, toasty fires, eggnog espresso martini’s and the WC final match….not a bad December.