Flower Power

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

Luther Burbank

I’ve been snapping more flower pictures than normal and I must say that I’ve fallen in love with my new muse. While only one photo, the pink hibiscus, is heavily edited (just my personal preference), the rest of the bunch are natural and just as lovely.

Prickly Cuties at the Nursery

(Colorful Cacti)

 

1493944631_tmp_PicsArt_05-04-08Pink Hibiscus

 

Professional Arrangements

 

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Lilies

(My personal fav, they always make me smile)

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C-Day

C-Day

12/25/2016 

It’s here. The day for which I thought I was prepared.

Now that I’m living in this moment, I’m kind of hoping the end is near.

Ok I bought some gifts and baked a cake; even wore my brand-new Santa hat.

I made up an e-card and sent out some texts, must I really give more effort than that?

Maybe if the weather was a little bit cooler, then I may get more into the spirit,

Look, I know I live on a tropical island but eighty degrees in December is a bit ridic.

Too much family time, too many hugs. I’ll suck it up, but this food better be worth it.

I long to be locked away in silence, with a bottle of Jack Honey. Now that, is my idea be perfect.

Maybe next year I’ll be able to hide my Grinch side a little bit better. Make a mental effort to get closer to the norm.

Who am I kidding? Next year I hope to be on a December vacay, where no one can judge my tequila breakfast on Christmas morn.

Summer 2016 (Part 1)

My favorite season is finally here….summer! Not that I need an excuse for my beach bum lifestyle. This time of year just always feels particularly different. Yes there’s the obvious change in temperature that makes most people want to hibernate in their air-conditioned fortress. There’s also more outdoor events with much less clothing involved.

However, there’s something else that makes this season different. Something that’s somewhat difficult to explain but clearly understood by those with a particular mindset. Dare I say, some persons feel that this is the season of the young,wild and free. Even if you don’t normally think you fall into one of these categories, by time the summer months hit, you will find it hard to resist the urge to be pulled in.

Summer Drinks

Summer heat can be no joking matter. Persons can develop heat bumps and rashes, endure fainting spells and adopt your shower as your new best friend. Therefore, it’s super important to stay hydrated. I personally, travel with my own bottle of cold water and also stop for additional bottles while on the road running errands. This is the most sensible thing to do.

Once that’s out the way, feel free to grab another beverage that will satisfy your taste buds though it does very little to quench your thirst.

Daiquiris are always an obvious option. Living in the Bahamas, these drinks are not hard to find and are sold at many different establishments for a low as $2.00! While sugary and sweet, this frozen drink at least helps to cool down a warm mouth and provides quick relief for a dry throat.

Strawberry and Miami Vice Daiquiris

 

Cocktails

If you’re like me and not a huge fan of frozen drinks, there’s always other options that are great on any day.

Blue Long Island Ice Tea

 

‘Gussie Mae’ 50 oz Goblet

‘Bahama Mama’ 50 oz Goblet

Ginger Martini and Rum Punch

Of course I personally, sampled all of these beverages for the sole purpose of writing this blog post 🙂 Keep an eye out for my other summer posts.

Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2016

In early May 2016, the Bahamas celebrated our second annual Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. Some of you may already be familiar with our Junkanoo festivals that are held in the winter. You will be happy to know that this new event doesn’t differ too much from what you’re used to.

 

In all honesty, I have never attended Carnival in another country so I can not compare what is typically done elsewhere to what we are currently doing in the Bahamas. However, I can say that quite a bit of locals seem excited to have a new activity in which they can partake and have fun. The Carnival parties (known as fetes) are endless!!!!!! Hosted mostly by private groups or sponsors, these events usually occur in the weeks leading up to Carnival as a way to build the public’s interest and of course, have a great time. Many of the events can go well into the early hours of the morning with some of the functions actually STARTING after midnight and ending at sunrise!

Additionally, there is a music competition which allows local artists to showcase their talents as they compete for the new Carnival song of the season (as well as $10,000 :)). It’s a pretty sweet deal for serious artists looking for some major publicity. As a music connoisseur, this is personally my favorite part of all the festivities. I only really look forward to attending the concerts and getting to see some of my favorite local entertainers. Below, I’ve posted some clips from the official Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Facebook page for anyone who is interested in checking out some of the music which debuted this season.

Although I must admit, my interest in the overall aspect of Carnival is very limited. I’m not a big partier and you certainly won’t find me dancing on anybody’s street in my favourite sparkly bra. While this is certainly a fun idea for some, this particular festival has always been very popular in OTHER Caribbean countries and I’m still trying to figure out how the government is trying to blend this with traditional Bahamian culture. However, that’s a story for another day (sigh). Let’s turn our attention to the main event; the Road Fever Parade!

This is the part of Carnival season that most people are excited for mainly because it allows a high level of public participation. Persons would have signed up to join Carnival groups weeks (and sometimes months) in advance. Each group would have their own theme, music and style of costume. The parade begins around 10:00 a.m. and goes on for several hours as the groups travel a few miles until they arrive at their final destination at the Carnival Village. Of course, in true party fashion, there’s nothing but great music and cold drinks along the way. I can personally say as a bystander, I simply went with my sunscreen and a bottle of water as I patiently waited for the groups to pass my street. However, within minutes I had people offering me free beers and tourists asking me to show them the local dance moves. Although we bystanders may not be registered participants in the actual parade, everyone shared the same level of excitement and the same feel-good spirit.

Will I be registering for next year’s parade? Probably not. However, I truly believe that this colourful festival will eventually find its position within Bahamian culture and I look forward to seeing its transformation in the years to come.

Conch salad

This beautiful sea snail is a local Bahamian delicacy. Though there are a few different species, the Queen Conch is the one that is most commonly found in our waters. It’s safe to eat raw or cooked… once its been de-shelled and cleaned of course.

I had an opportunity to attend a conch salad making demonstration and it was equally informative and yummy 😋.

 

 

 

Food: Luciano’s of Chicago

Totally yummy lunch spent with my family for my Mom’s birthday.

 

From the bottom right moving counter clockwise:

Romaine salad with walnuts, grilled conch and blue cheese;

Grilled boneless chicken breast, Lamb stuffed with Swiss chard and cheese, Grilled tomatoes, carrots and zucchini, Potatoes in Alfredo sauce;

Guava pudding in caramel rum sauce, cherry cobbler and one scoop of vanilla ice-cream

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The best part of going out to eat on a Sunday is not having to cook which makes for a great lazy day. The worst part of going out to eat on a Sunday is when reality sets in that there are no leftovers to take for lunch the next day so you still have to cook at some point lol 😞😞😞  #foodieproblems.

 

 

 

Conch Fritters & Wings

 

PicsArt_1430877804290Chicken wings!!!!! Need I say more? It’s the ultimate go-to appetizer. Breaded, un-breaded, honey BBQ or lemon pepper. There are so many different varieties its hard for anyone to not want to explore them all until you find your fav. Trying a new restaurant for the first time and not sure what the food will be like? No problem, try out their wings and it should be easier to take on the rest of the menu from there. Headed to happy hour after a long day at work? Cool, your co-workers can order a set of wings for the table while you try to find good parking. You guys can argue about sauces when you get inside. Hosting a small shindig for an upcoming sporting event? Sigh, don’t even get me started 😞😞😐. The point is, wings are simple and easy and go with pretty much anything. You can buy them at any restaurant or you can be like me and prefer to cook them yourself. That way you can experiment with your own special mix of rubs and sauces.

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Then there is the Bahamian equivalency of chicken wings, fritters. Conch fritters are a local Bahamian appetizer that are always a crowd pleaser. Like any other type of fritter, it is made mostly from flour, seasonings, herbs and obviously conch. Though there are lots of persons who don’t care for conch (such as myself) for whatever reason, there is no need to worry. Nowadays people have gotten creative with this local favourite by substituting the conch with lobster or shrimp. Got a seafood allergy? It must suck to be you 😝. However, more and more restaurants are offering completely meat-free fritters with nothing but deep fried flavour and that awesome dipping sauce 😋. Let’s be real, once most people hear the words ‘deep fried’, the cooks could stuff the dough with sand and people will still attempt to at least taste the crispy exterior lol. However, with this appetizer, the deep fried yumminess only accounts for part of its greatness. Just like with wings, these are quick to prepare and very easy to eat.

Now what to drink?

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For both of the above options I would suggest getting a bucket of your favourite beers and just have a good time. I am certainly not a big beer drinker. However, when it comes to these particular finger foods, who wants to be bothered with complicated mixed drinks or getting honey sriracha finger prints all over your wine glass. A cold beer with lower alcohol content can help douse the fire in your mouth when eating your favourite buffalo wing sauce. The point being that the lower alcohol content won’t accentuate the heat from the flavours your tongue is battling.

Additionally, the dough from the fritters can serve as a filler to help cut back the impending bloated feeling that can occur after a few beers. Both of the mentioned food options may be higher in calorie content (due to the breading and sauces) but that issue can easily be balanced with a light beer that can still give you a feel-good buzz with less than 200 calories.

Let me know below what you think about the above mentioned combinations and stay tuned for my next post.