On and Around an Island

January of 2012 was a busy month for Tina and I. We were itching to get to South Florida and start a new life together. We managed to pull it off – we got a decent condo, packed our belongings, and Tina transfered within her company – and just like that we now live in Palm Beach.

One of the perks of being here is that both her parents and mine have recently bought homes in Florida. My parents landed in Key Largo and hers in Daytona Beach (due to a complicated series of events – check out http://www.graceunderway.com). We’ve made multiple trips down to Key Largo to hang with my ‘rents and we recently returned from Daytona Beach. I’d like to share some stories and photos of both adventures, so here we go!

 Key Largo, Florida

On our most recent trip we had the pleasure of taking out my parent’s boat, “Reef Seeker”, and doing some snorkeling and fishing in the Atlantic. For the second time, I got to check out the Christ of the Abyss statue off Key Largo. The reef was full of life with schools of Parrot Fish, Sargent Majors, and Grunts everywhere. This was Tina’s first legitimate open-ocean snorkeling experience and I think she thoroughly enjoyed it. She was terrified of the concept of swimming with sharks until it actually happened…we were in the water for no more than two minutes before she spotted a shark on the reef and shouted out to me “is that bad?”

I just smiled and tried to catch up to the shark.

Later in the day, we dropped Tina and my mom off at the house (they’d had enough) and went back to the ocean for some Mahi fishing. We could see big fish swimming all over the place but we couldn’t get them to take our bait. Nonetheless, it was a great ride and I think Roger enjoyed his first big-game fishing experience aboard the “Reef Seeker”.

Daytona Beach, Florida

As I mentioned above, Tina’s parents also bought a house a few hours from us. We recently made the Northbound trip to Daytona Beach to visit with them. We arrived in the afternoon and reunited on Grace, a 46′ retired Lobster boat that her parents own. Last fall they piloted the boat from Virginia Beach to Daytona Beach in an epic adventure of their own. We spent the evening and the next day exploring Daytona and checking out their new house that’s only four blocks from the marina.

Notable happenings in Daytona:

  • ¬†Apparently, Tina is the only able fisherman among us. After hours of fishing from the docks at the marina, she made the only catch with a ~14″ catfish.
  • Tina is now driving “Dora the Ford Explorer” around Palm Beach County. WATCH OUT if you’re in the area.
  • Silvana makes the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever had. Definitely.
  • When you see a man pull down his pants in public, in the street, in Daytona, at night … he most likely is homeless and needs to go #1.

I know…it’s amazing, but I didn’t snap a single picture of Smelly Melly. Daytona was great (other than the peeing-hobo incident described above – I would have been OK without that) and we can’t wait to visit later in the summer when the whole family is in town.

Stay tuned for lots more adventure photos. It’s only going to get better! Chao!

A Manatee at the PPP

A manatee recently visited my parents house (the Pink Pelican Palace) in Key Largo. Here are a few pictures that Tina snapped of the friendly creature attempting to get a drink of fresh water. I wish I could have seen the manatee in person, but I was personally too busy [not] catching Mahi at the time.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

Ingredients

1 Roll Pre-made Pizza Dough
1/4 Cup (or more) Ranch Dressing
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
1/4 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
1/4 Cup Chopped Cooked Chicken
1/8 Cup Crushed Cooked Bacon
1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
1 Tsp Garlic Salt

 

 

  1. Preheat your over at 425^F.
  2. Grease a 9×12 cookie sheet and spread the dough the full area of the sheet.
  3. Pinch the edge of the dough all the way around to create a small crust.
  4. Sprinkle the garlic salt evenly over the entire pizza.
  5. Add the cheese, followed by the other toppings, then sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the top.
  6. Bake for 14-20 minutes and then serve.

RECIPE TIPS: For a crispy crust, remove the pizza from the cookie sheet halfway through cooking. Also, to help hold the topping together, add a very thin layer of cheese after the other toppings.

Sweet & Sour Green Beans

Sweet & Sour Green Beans
Sweet & Sour Green Beans

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
2 Cups Fresh Green Beans
1 Medium Onion
Juice from 1 Lime
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

 

 

 

  1. Chop the onion into 1-inch slivers.
  2. Combine and heat the oils over high heat in a large wok.
  3. Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion for one minute.
  4. Add the beans, soy sauce, and lime juice and saute for 5-6 minutes or until the beans are cooked to desired doneness.
  5. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve hot.

RECIPE TIPS: Keep the heat high throughout the entire process, and add the next ingredient to keep the temperature steady. When all of the ingredients have been added, keep the mixture moving so it doesn’t burn. Add a small amount of water if necessary to keep the juice in the bottom of the pan liquid. You can also try substituting the beans for broccoli. Makes 4-servings.