Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Golden Turmeric Milk Tea {Immunity Booster}


It seems like everyone I know has had the sniffles this past month. Some how I have miraculously escaped the seasonal bug this year…knock on wood. I have been drinking lots of veggie juice and many cups of this wonderful “Golden Turmeric Milk Tea.”

Turmeric, in recent years has attracted a lot of attention for its healing properties and various health benefits. It is a well known home remedy for headaches, colds, chest pain, sore throat, toothaches and many other ailments. It has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants galore. Recent studies have even claimed it aids in preventing and treating diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. It’s undeniably a magical spice. You can drink it daily or whenever you need an added immunity boost. It sounds odd but tastes amazing -- similar to a vanilla chai.


Ingredients

2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 inch of fresh ginger root chopped
2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon grated cardamom
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 aniseed star (optional)
3 threads of saffron (optional)

Directions
Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir to prevent the milk from scalding. Heat until little bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Do not boil. Strain and serve warm. *I like to grate a bit more nutmeg on top or float star anise.




Monday, January 12, 2015

Sailing the British Virgin Islands {Part One}



10 friends, a boat and a map
{part one of three}

A few weeks ago, Dan and I went on a trip of a lifetime…. literally I can’t imagine a more amazing trip. I’ve been posting along on insta. We sailed the BVI’s on a 50ft cat with 10 of our best buds. I found myself relaxing in the bow net thinking, “Wow, how are we here right now? How did this happen to us?” I believe my favorite day included scuba diving a 150 year old shipwreck, climbing to the tippytop of our cat’s mast and cracking open fresh coconuts found on shore. We were adventurers, semi-sloppy "wine connoisseurs" and wannabe pirates for 9 beautiful days. We were free as can be! Each night I would watch that sunset and count my lucky stars. Thanks Evan and Mon!

I’ll share my journal with you day-by-day, in a 3 part post and give you all the ins and outs if you want to see the same sights and sail the same route on a trip of your own some day.

- Day One -
We landed in St. Thomas along with our friends and took a cab to Charlotte Amilie’s “Fast Ferry” to catch a boat to Tortola, BVI to pick up our Catamaran from Voyage Charters. Three or so of our friends graduated from Cal Maritime, so no need to hire a captain. Our friend Evan sent in his resume and the company approved him the rental. Yahooo. 10 friends, a map and our own boat!

After an hour or so ferry ride, we arrived in West End Tortola and went though customs. We took a taxi to quaint little Soper’s Hole in Frenchman's Cay to pick up “Knot Bad”.  We ordered our groceries from a market in town and they delivered them to our boat. Well that's convenient!

It was a beautiful night with big fluffy clouds and a warm breeze. I loved listening to the jazz music playing at the restaurant in the distance as we unpacked all the groceries on the boat. Huge tarpon fish swam below our boat in the glowing blue water. I went to bed with a smile on my face. "We’re actually here!"

-ferry ride to tortola-


-our home for the next 9 days-

-fluffy clouds and tarpon-

-miss mon's blurry head and a beautiful night sky-

- Day Two-
We departed from Soper’s Hole and sailed to Beef Island to join the Full Moon Party. All the moorings near the island were full so we anchored at Little Camanoe (a deserted island) nearby. We spent the day snorkeling for shells and relaxing on the beach. The boys hooked up a hammock to the boom and we’d take turns lounging in it. Our friend Monica made Painkiller drinks and we all slipped into a state of  complete happiness. That night we ate family style - all 10 of us around the dinner table and feasted on BBQed pork, tofu and veggies.  After dinner we crammed everyone into our little dinghy and ventured off into the night, crossing the channel to Beef Island. I must admit I was a tad nervous with 10 people in a struggling dinghy motoring further from land than one would want to swim at night.  But alas we arrived safely and I learned to trust my seafaring sailors…we made it to the Moon Party.
It was cool…a bit of an older crowd (40-50's) but still cool. Long Bay on Beef Island is a mile or so stretch of beach with fun bars and hippy-dippy pottery shops. We drank rum punch and danced with Moko Jumbies and fire dancers all night.  They even had an aerial silk dancer that hung from a crane! 

* Tip: Stay with your group and keep away from shading looking characters and you’ll be fine. I was approached by a scraggly looking man trying to sell drugs…someone from my group saw stranger danger invading my space and came to my rescue. So beware of riff raff. Don’t bring loads of cash or anything dumb like that, just some flip flops and a few bucks to buy drinks or local art. It was a safe place minus the one un-savory fellow. I even saw multiple families with children.

-coffee and some journaling-


-floating at little camanoe with beef island in the distance- 



-diving for shells-

-sandcastle playdate-


-happiness in a hammock-



-fire dancers and beach bonfire-

-moko jumbies-

-my love-

-Day Three-
We sailed to Great Dog and anchored near the Coral Gardens Plane Wreck. Dan and I had never  been scuba diving before, but four of our friends were certified and they talked us through the whole process. Oh my heart was racing! I had always wanted to learn how to dive! I think I was more nervous about Danny diving than I was. I have a rather vivid imagination and sometimes it gets the best of me. But when would we get a chance like this again? Seize the moment right!? We were in good hands…the best of the best. Danny and I each went with a friend equipped with a dive watch and fancy diving goodies. Wow what a feeling! Breathing underwater is so amazing…it felt like a whole new world was opening up. Now I have dreams about breathing underwater. I’m hooked. I want more! Thanks for taking us Jeff and Cole! You guys are the best!

We had a fun time exploring an Atlantic Air BVI plane that crashed after takeoff in the 90’s (no one was hurt), the plane languished in a hangar for some time prior to being dismantled for scraps. The BVI dive operators were able to persuade the owners to give the fuselage over for use as a dive site. It was sunk in about 45ft of water east of the dive boat moorings on Great Dog Island. It was beautiful and amazing! I even managed to swim inside the cockpit while Cole took a picture! Unreal!

And that was just the morning…after the dive we sailed to Anegada Island and radioed-in a reservation for the Anegada Reef Hotel restaurant. 10 freshly caught lobsters were awaiting us. Sailing was long today about 4 hours between Great Dog and Anegada. It was nice though, most of us took advantage of the time by lying out in the nets or reading and I took to making coconut-iced coffee for everyone. Aww this trip is a dream.

Upon arrival at Anegada we moored the boat and explored Pomato Point - walking along the white sand beach with turquoise water.

That night we bobbed in our floaties, watched the sunset and ate like kings.

-my babe and our morning snorkel at great dog island-


-snorkeling with jeff and ry. checking out the reef-


-suited up for my first dive. crashed my plane ;)-


-mooring at anegada-


-a view and a yumi-

-a cute man in a doughnut and coconut iced coffee-

-danny and me time-



-dive baby dive-

-friends-

-anegada reef hotel dinner-


-love this man-


Days 4,5,6 (part 2) and Days 7,8,9 (part 3)
to come.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Yema {Crunchy Caramel, Gooey Custard Treats}




Yema are luscious little Filipino candies with a creamy custard center covered in a thin crunchy caramel shell. I made 20 or so for a party tomorrow and I've already eaten 6...oops. I would best describe them as baby crème brûlée with a slightly denser custard. These decadent treats will melt in your mouth and be gone before you know it! 

Ingredients

Custard
10 egg yolks
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbs. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice

Shell
1 cup sugar

Tips & Utensils
*Coat your fork with canola oil to prevent caramel from sticking when retrieving the custard ball.
* Freezing the egg yolk mixture will make it easier to shape. If you don't want to wait, you can put a little bit of cooking oil on your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking.


Instructions

1.In medium sized bowl, combine egg yolks, condensed milk, zest and lemon juice. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.

2.In a non-stick pan over low heat, pour the egg yolk mixture. Use a heat resistant spatula to stir the mixture until thick enough to hold shape. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of pan to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Stir mixture until lumps have smoothed. cool. Shape into 1-inch balls.

3.In a pan over medium heat, add sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent the sugar from burning. Sugar will start to melt, clump and then liquefy. Remove from heat when the sugar has caramelized and the crystalized lumps are gone.

4.Tricky part! Carefully drop custard balls one at a time into the caramel pan, turning gently with an oil-coated fork. As you can see...I haven't mastered this part yet ;). You'll want to achieve an even and complete coat of caramel around the ball. Remove the caramel coated yema with forks and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Allow to cool and wrap them individually in cellophane.