Bermuda – Tropical Island Paradise

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Bermuda Island

The beauty of this United Kingdom Island in the Atlantic Ocean is beyond measure. Discovered in 1503 by Juan de Bermúdez when the 16th Century Spanish navigator sailed from Haiti, then called La Española( Spanish ) back to Spain for a provisioning voyage. Settlements began on this remote island in 1609.

Pirate ShipBermuda first was famous for its piracy. During the 1700’s, it was discovered that the island was rich with sturdy cedar trees that grew all over the island. Building and shipping naturally evolved.  Along with industry came civilization and people and of course, privateering – or in other words, piracy.

The Isle of Devils, as it was called, was a strategic location. Ships sailed from England, Spain, and France to the Caribbean and the New World in North America.

Pirate Ship-2Bermuda pirates were legendary for not only capturing merchant ships that made the misfortune of sailing into their local waters, but they also plundered all the way from North America to the Turks Islands and Bahamas. Privateering died out in the early 1800’s due to strong militaries interventions.

We visited Bermuda while sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line. Embarked from Boston Harbor, enjoyed a fun day at sea.

Bermuda Royal Naval Dockyard -1024x360Our ship docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard, in Bermuda where we spoiled ourselves with  four glorious days of the most beautiful and scenic tropical adventures we can ever recall.

During our heavenly vacation we explored the picturesque island several ways, from the Dockyard, we enjoyed a scenic ferryboat ride to the charming city of Hamilton, the capital. We sailed across the Great Sound and enjoyed a spectacular ocean view of the rich and famous’ residences. A narrated aquatic tour that was both fascinating and informative.

Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas, Bermuda House

We saw Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas’ Bermuda House

Rich Homes

Multi-billionaire’s homes

bermuda homes and boats

Beautiful Bermuda homes and boats

bermuda-open-air-trolleyWe also enjoyed learning interesting facts about the island while riding an open-air trolley. One result of the high permeability of soil and rocks is the absence of freshwater streams and lakes. There is almost no fresh water on Bermuda.

The first Bermuda houses were similar to those in England, but construction quickly adapted to indigenous materials of cedar and limestone. The strong European influence in architecture is unmistakable. The houses are painted in soft pastels with white, limestone, roofs.

Military House on BermudaA unique feature of Bermuda roofs is their role in catching and containing water. Until the 1930s, rain water provided the only source of fresh water. Water was collected on rooftops, where wedge-shaped limestone, glides, were laid to form sloping gutters on the roof’s surface, funneling rain water into vertical runners and then into storage tanks. In this photo of a military home the unique roof design is apparent.

Early storage tanks were rum puncheons or cisterns made of cedar, while others were made by excavating rock and sealing with mortar. Before the 20th century, tanks were located at the rear of dwellings outside, partly or entirely above ground. Water was removed by bucket or hand pump.  Later systems, hand pumps transferred water to elevated indoor storage tanks. Today’s systems with storage tanks under buildings use electric pumps and pneumatic tanks. Most households today are provided with piped indoor water supplies.

For Bermuda residents, tropical storms and hurricanes are a much-needed source of fresh water to fill their underground storage tanks.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef-2

Diving in Bermuda

Bermuda Island is a coral reef island. Bermuda’s coral reef is mostly made up of organisms  from the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida via the Gulf Stream. The same Gulf Stream that carries the warm current that has created this tropical paradise in the Atlantic Ocean. The waters are so clear and shallow snorkeling is accomplished in some areas offshore Bermuda for up to seven miles into the Atlantic, a paradise for snorkelers, less for ship captains.

Bermuda triangleDue to the colorful homes, soft pastels with white limestone roofs, and the vastness of Bermuda’s coral reefs, as planes fly over the island low at night, the island and surrounding ocean is almost gemlike for the pilots. From space, the island glows.

Bermuda pink beach 2

Pink Sand beach in Bermuda

Bermuda-6

Bermuda Horeseshoe bay

The famous pink sand beaches are a result of dark red skeletal animals that grow on the underside of Bermuda’s coral reefs. When the red animals die, the skeletons plummet to the ocean floor. Wave action erodes the forams. They become mixed with other debris on the seabed such as the white shells of clams, snails and sea urchins then form sedimentary sand. This is what causes Bermuda’s white sand to take on its pink hue. It’s simple beautiful.

Royal Navy Dockyard

Anchor in Bermuda

On our final evening, we toured the Royal Naval Dockyard. We enjoyed visiting the fort and learning more history. Many of the artifacts were reclaimed from the sea, badly rust decay but authentic.

The next morning was a sad day as our ship sailed away from the tropical island oasis in the Atlantic, supported by the Gulf Stream.

We enjoyed two fun days at sea while sailing back to Boston Harbor.

The island of Bermuda is one of the most beautiful places on earth beyond a doubt. The picturesque European homes, sparkling coral reefs, pink sand beaches, and tropical island aura.

Moped Scooter RentalThis cruise allows ample time to explore the United Kingdom island in whatever manner one chooses. There was no shortage of bicycles and mopeds available for renting. Cars drive on the left side of the road.

Bermuda-7Bermuda is unique with its dream-like beauty, fascination history, and topography. An island oasis in the Atlantic Ocean, fed by the Gulf Stream, a tropical island paradise  that I recommend everyone places on their want to visit someday list.

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

Herb Baked Whole Chicken

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Here’s a chicken recipe you’re sure to like for a special meal.

Ingredients:

One fully thawed 6 to 8 lb. whole chicken

The herbs; garlic, paprika, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed parsley, thyme.

Two tablespoons of canola oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wash and dry; then spray a large, deep oven baking pan with extra-virgin olive oil non-stick spray. Remove chicken from the grocery store shrink wrap. Cut off any excess skin, fat, and remove the internal organs—plus neck. Rinse the chicken very well with cold tap water and pat dry. Place in the prepared baking pan. Apply two tablespoons of canola oil to the top of chicken and rub well. Next apply the seasonings and any others you prefer.

Herb Baked Whole Chicken

Herb Baked Whole Chicken

Bake on a higher rack for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cut the skin only, no deeper, at the leg quarters to vent from the torso; this allows for faster cooking and a juicier chicken.  Bake for 30 more minutes and check. The juices should run clear; no blood. Here’s a picture of what my Herb Baked Whole Chicken looks like on the cutting board—ready to carve.

My family loves this meal especially on Sundays; we have it often. A hint; when carving, leave a little meat on the bone for what I call Carcass soup. Two to three chicken carcass’ makes a delicious pot of chicken soup. Just keep the remains in your freezer until its soup day. Yummy!

Thanks for stopping by. J. A. Ireland.

New York City; The Big Apple

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Travel Fans,

New York City and Lady Liberty

New York City and Lady Liberty

I still remember circling New York City, while in a holding pattern before landing at LaGuardia airport. I was so excited when I saw Lady Liberty from the air. We’d never been to NYC before. The excitement I felt was in indescribable.  It was like nothing we’d ever seen—anywhere. Soon, we landed and began our long anticipated adventure.

New York City

Downtown New York City

Riding in a New York City cab was wild; there’s no other way to describe it. I’ve never been in a car when the driver did a U-turn in the middle of heavy traffic—crazy! From the airport, we grabbed the cab that proved to be an exciting and rather heart pounding adventure. During the driving into the city, we zipped past tunnels, overpasses, and underpasses. When we were stalled in traffic, our “cabbie” made a 180 degree maneuver and drove us down another side street to get to our destination. “Oh yes he did!” I think he was yelled at, honked at, and “got flipped off” at least 100 times on our journey. Overall it was a noisy and thrilling ride. I’ll just say, “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” We booked a moderately priced hotel in midtown Manhattan, the Holiday Inn Midtown. It was located very close to the Manhattan cruise port for the next morning’s embarkment. It was the taxi drivers job to get us there from La Guardia.

English: Broadway show billboards at the corne...

Seeing The Sights Of Times Square

Our hotel was located on 57th St, close to Broadway, Columbus Circle, Times Square, and the south side of Central Park. Our evening plans were to do some exploring, walk down Broadway to Times Square, and eat some original New York Style pizza.

Broadway -NYC

Broadway -NYC

This was a fun, very memorable evening. We found New Yorkers to be very friendly and helpful; some were quick with directions. We looked like we needed help finding places, thus our maps.

We felt quite safe walking around this area in the evening, even though my family stood out like complete nutty tourists. We happily marched down Broadway, wearing our matching “I love New York T-Shirts”; we looked like a chorus line. Under the circumstances, this was a very unwise thing to do, as tourist books suggested that you try not to stand out while in New York. Oops!

We concluded our evening by swimming in the roof top pool of our hotel with all of the towering New York skyscrapers surrounding us. It’s a fantastic memory that will last a lifetime.

New York City  Sky line

New York City Sky Line

The morning of our cruise, we opened our curtains to the New York City skyline, a bustling city below us, and looked out over the Hudson River, trying to spot our cruise ship. We were just a short cab ride to the Manhattan Cruise port where we boarded the Carnival ship.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

After the muster (safety) drill and the ship set sail, we stood on the deck, watching the Manhattan Skyline pass by. We sailed past lower Manhattan, Wall Street, and Battery Park. We couldn’t imagine what life’s like for the eight and a half million people who live and work here in NYC.

We sailed into New York Harbor, filled with many ships, past Ellis Island. We spent some time talking about the more than 12 million immigrants who first stepped out on land there. They all arrived in hopes of finding a new life, in a new country.

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Isl...

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island

Finally, we sailed past Liberty Island and gazed upon the wonder; the Statue of Liberty. A gift from the people of France; she bears a torch and tablet inscribing the date of the Declaration of Independence signing.  She’s an icon of freedom of the United States; a welcome signal to immigrants arriving into this land. This brought tears to my eyes. It really was something I’ll never forget.

New York City was everything, and more that we imagined; crowded, noisy, somewhat grimy, Broadway, tourists, great Pizza, and very emotional moments. A place will just draw me in. After a visit to this incredible city, I’ll say, “I love New York.”

We had a wonderful visit to a fantastic city on a very memorable Carnival Cruise line trip. We sailed from New York City up the east coast to Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John’s New Brunswick, Canada on a 5-day cruise on the Carnival Triumph.

On my next article I’ll write more about this amazing vacation up the eastern coast line of America on Carnival Cruise Line.

Thanks for stopping by. J. A. Ireland.

 

Healthy Country Blueberry Cobbler

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This is a healthy blueberry cobbler that’s easy to make and delicious. Everyone loves it when I make it.

Ingredients:

¼ cup canola light butter, melted; a bit more will be needed to grease the baking pan.

One and ½ cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup low fat butter milk

2 pints fresh blueberries

Healthy Country Blueberry Cobbler

Healthy Country Blueberry Cobbler

One 6.5 oz can fat free Reddi wip Dairy Whipped Topping for serving on top

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously grease an 8×11 deep, baking pan with canola light butter; then generously flour, covering the entire pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 and ¼ cups sugar, the self-rising flour, low fat buttermilk, melted canola light butter. Whisk well and allow the batter to set briefly.

Rinse the blueberries using a collider and pour on paper towels to absorb excess water.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the batter. They will sink into the batter; that’s ok. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar evenly over the blueberries.

Single Serving Of  My Healthy Country Blueberry Cobbler

Single Serving Of My Healthy Country Blueberry Cobbler

Bake for 35 minutes on a higher rack; then remove from oven. Spread 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the cobbler and bake for 10 more minutes.

The edges should be golden brown; if not bake a few more minutes until done. Cobblers are best if allowed to set and cool for 20 minutes.

When serving, top with fat free Reddi wip Dairy Whipped Topping; then top with more blueberries. Here’s a picture of what my Healthy Country Blueberry Cobbler looks like when the pan came out of the oven and what a serving size looks like.

A simple frosting recipe for the cobbler:

3 cups powered sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/4 cup chopped fruit (your choice)

Mix well with spoon(If thin, add a little more powered sugar to thicken) then refrigerate. Apply to top of cobbler when cobbler is cool.

Jack Ireland

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Blueberry Cobbler with Strawberry Icing

Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs

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Here’s a delicious chicken recipe. It’s easy and fun. Hope you like it.

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken thighs

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon cilantro

2 cloves garlic – chopped finely

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon thyme

1teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon parsley

½ lemon juiced

fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons canola butter, melted

save for later – ½ cup honey for glaze

save for later – sesame seeds for garnish

save for later – fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together except honey, sesame seeds, and fresh parsley in a medium mixing bowl then put the marinate in fridge. Next remove the skin and fat from chicken thighs before rinsing well with cold tap water. Place the cleaned thighs in a large, deep oven baking pan; then spread evenly. Remove the marinate from the fridge and spoon over the chicken evenly covering each piece generously; using all the marinate. Place in fridge for 6 hours to allow the chicken to absorb the flavor.

Tic Tock Tic Tock

Six hours later. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Remove chicken from the fridge. The marinate should still be on top of the chicken; if not use a spoon and spread back onto top. Bake for 30 minutes on a higher rack.

Tic Tock Tic Tock

After thirty minutes. Remove the pan from oven. Using tongs, remove each piece of chicken and place on a plate for a moment. Carefully pour the marinate into a metal bowl; use oven mitts for safety. Place the chicken back in the oven baking pan with the other side up. Next poor or spoon on the marinate over the top of the chicken; cover all pieces generously using all the marinate. Place back in the oven and bake for 30 more minutes on the higher rack.

Tic Tock Tic Tock

After thirty minutes remove chicken from the oven. Using tongs, remove each piece and place in a large frying pan. Pour the ½ cup of honey over the chicken and cover. Cook on medium/low heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover and turn chicken over; then cover again. Cook  on med/low heat for 10 minutes again.

After 10 minutes, remove from heat and leave in pan covered until ready to serve. The honey will continue to glaze as long as you turn the chicken over every few minutes and keep covered until ready to serve.

When serving, garnish with sesame seeds and fresh parsley. Here’s a picture of what my Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs looks like. There’s an exciting new flavor that you’ll just love; it’s something different.

This recipe can be used on chicken legs, thighs, and wings.

The leftovers can easily be frozen for later meals.

I hope you enjoy my Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs recipe.

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland.

Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs

Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs

My Heart Healthy Baked Alaskan Salmon with Crunchy Pecan Topping

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Heart Healthy Cooks,

Here’s a recipe for baked Alaskan Salmon that my family just loves. It’s teaming with Omega 3’s.

Ingredients:

Heart Healthy Baked Alaskan Salmon with Pecan Crunch

Heart Healthy Baked Alaskan Salmon with Pecan Crunch – Two pieces of my delicious fish

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons canola oil butter, melted

5 teaspoons honey

½ cup Italian bread crumbs

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans; leaving some a bit large

3 teaspoons fresh parsley chopped

7 ( 8 ounce ) fresh Salmon fillets

fresh ground pepper

lemon wedges

Prep work:

In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard, melted butter, honey, parsley, and freshly ground pepper.

In another bowl, mix together the Italian bread crumbs and pecans.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with extra-virgin olive oil non-stick.

Remove the fresh Salmon from the seafood deli counter wrapping. Remove scales and rinse well with cold tap water. Check for any remaining scales. Rinse again.

Cut your Salmon into desired fillets and place each on the baking sheet skin down. Spoon on the sauce. Cover each piece generously. Use all the sauce. Next cover each fillet with the crumbs / pecan mixture by spooning as well. Use all the crumbs to cover generously.

For baking. Ten minutes per inch at the thickest part of the largest fillet is the usual baking time. The salmon should flake when tested with a fork. If not, bake two or three more minutes. My family likes our fish more crispy than most. A rule for us is always to bake five more minutes. I baked my Salmon for 15 minutes. My family went crazy over this dish. Salmon is a very heart healthy protein; it’s high in Omega 3’s. Also, the Dijon mustard compliments the Salmon so well you won’t believe it. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading. J. A. Ireland.

A Western Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Fantasy

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Greetings fellow cruisers,

If a Western Caribbean Cruise is in your future, you’ll enjoy reading this article. We sailed on the Disney Fantasy to Costa Maya, Cozumel Mexico , and Grand Cayman. We had a wonderful cruise; so many highlights to write about.

SatelliteFallsDisneyFantasy-300x212

Satellite Falls on the Disney Fantasy

For us, the Disney Fantasy is a breathtakingly beautiful ship, with unbelievable wonders.  The service was impeccable, our food and dining experiences were delicious, as with all our Disney cruises. The entertainment was pure Disney “Magic” as well. In all, we had a wonderful time.

Our ship was filled to capacity; as usual. Although, it seemed crowded on the open decks, and at Flo’s, the quick service eating areas, we found some special ways to escape for some adult only experiences. We discovered a lovely, quiet, hideout called Satellite Falls. There is a beautiful waterfall were a person can sit in the water and read; a lot of people were reading their Kindles. There are multitudes of fold out chairs that are covered by an awning for shade. You can see the waterfall and the chairs with awning in the picture. Also, the view of the sea from there is out of this world. This picture shows the blue waters off the shore of Cozumel Mexico. We enjoyed the day at Satellite Falls as the Disney Fantasy parked at the dock at Cozumel.

Cozumel Pier and Disney Fantasy

Cozumel Pier and the Disney Fantasy

Many people exited the ship and explored Mexico for the day. The dock makes it incredibly easy to come and go as many times as you want.  The food, shopping, and spirits in Cozumel are not to be missed. Señor Frog’s is close by.

The beaches are restful and breathtaking.  In the past, we’ve spent the day exploring  the beautiful city and relaxed on the tranquil beaches. Cozumel is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Today we relaxed and enjoyed the day at Satellite Falls; and the incredible view. The view really was spectacular; as you can see.

I have so many memorable highlights to share of our week aboard the Fantasy.  Another fantastic memory is the Spa.  Part of my family enjoyed spa treatments at the luxurious Senses Spa, and enjoyed  spending time in the Rainforest room. The treatments were relaxing and spectacular;  the Rainforest room was relaxing and entertaining. Disney brings spa treatments to a whole new level; of course they do.

senses spa

Senses Spa

Mickey's Pirates of the Caribbean

Mickey’s Pirates of the Caribbean

Our evening of dining experiences were exceptional in the character dining rooms.  One of the best meals in the regular dining rotation was Pirate Night. Many families, along with all the staff, dressed as pirates for the fun dinner. The menu is Caribbean.  We thought the Caribbean Jerk Ribs were yummy. “Rrrr me maatee!”

The Pirate Party later on deck is a spectacular, not to miss show and fireworks. Disney is the only cruise line that has fireworks at sea.

We also enjoyed reservations at the Italian inspired, Palo restaurant, and the elegant French restaurant, Remy, enjoying a three-hour dining experience.

At Palo, we particularly enjoyed the variety of fresh breads, cheeses, and seafood at the buffet. That’s only the beginning; the food keeps coming to the table. Every time we finish one item our server brings us something else. There’s also Italian Pizza; yum. For the main course I ordered the lamb. Every time we eat at Palo I order the lamb; it’s heavenly. Also, Palo’s wine and champagne list is exceptional.  The servers are truly Italian and love to talk about their home country; Italy. Our dining experiences at Palo are so memorable that every time we sail on a Disney Cruise, we make a dinner reservation at Palo. One point to make; for men, a blazer is required. Also, there is an additional charge.

Remy on the Disney Fantasy

Remy on the Disney Fantasy

Palo Seafood Buffet on the Disney Fantasy

Palo Seafood Buffet on the Disney Fantasy

Our  evening at Remy was exquisite. We enjoyed a small room to ourselves  where the French servers brought us one sample after another and explained the meaning behind each dish. The French delicacies kept coming along with their names and explanations.The wine and champagne list here is exceptional as well. Finally, when we were over stuffed, our French server rolled in the cart that was full of french chocolate and cheeses. The samples were so delicious we couldn’t resist even though we had no room left. We had never tasted so many rich flavors. The meal lasted the entire evening as advertised and was romantic; also as advertised. If we sail on a Disney Cruise Ship that has a Remy restaurant, we always enjoy an evening of dining at Remy. Also a point to make; there is an even stricter dress code and an even higher extra cost for this exquisite French restaurant.

Buena Vista Theatre on the Disney Fantasy

Buena Vista Theatre on the Disney Fantasy

We enjoyed all the Disney Broadway style musical production shows of Aladdin, Wishes, and Believe. Our family’s favorite was Aladdin.

We attended many of the movie showings in the Buena Vista Theatre; it was beautiful, as you can see.

There were six movies showing on a random schedule, including Iron Man 3 and Oz The Great and Powerful.  We particularly liked this one.

Aqua Duck

Aqua Duck

On our last day we rode the Aqua Duck; as it took me that long to get up my nerve and the lines were short. This was the first time during our sailing that the wait to ride was less than ½ hour. It was a very entertaining and thrilling ride, sailing high over the deck and ocean, in individual rubber rafts.

There is so much to write about; several articles on our various highlights will follow.

This vacation was wonderful, the weather was beautiful, and we had a fantastic time.

We smiled as we left the ship, walking past the cast members and Mickey Mouse waving us off the ship, saying “See Ya Real Soon.” I’m sure they will. I thought as I inwardly cried. I wanted to fork out my card and sail for another week. It was so much fun. Writing this article makes me want to book another cruise. I hope you book one too.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy cruising. Ja