September 2018 Cook’n & Cruise’n the Canals of France


Last month’s report I sandwiched in Ghent and Brugge with visits from family and friends. These last few weeks we’ve left Belgium and started toward our main destination, Dunkirk, France. Leaving Belgium and entering the canals of France was greeted with massive green algae due to the heat.
    

The Dunkirk museum was well worth the trip and very insightful. Small but filled with lots of information. Be prepared to do some reading. Every exhibit had quite a dissertation on the subject. It’s crazy to think that in 1940 this same beach was filled with death, fire, ships at sea and destruction. Looking over this same beach today you’ll see windsurfers, modern bridges and further to the right and left, shopping, cafes, and vendors.

       

Of course, a tour through the town of Dunkirk was in order plus a visit to a large old training vessel museum.

              

We were fortunate to have been in the harbor when a newer training ship came in with a group of young trainees. It made a beautiful sight watching them train. Especially in the evening.

So Far we’ve had good luck with our boat Virus but sometimes luck runs out or old parts just break! The cooling pump broke and the water stopped cooling the engine. What a fortunate place to break down, Dunkirk! Harbors everywhere and repair shops on each side of the dock. Got the part but needed expert help and tools to replace it. Ha!…all workers were on vacation. Thank the heavens above for Wem. He is our mechanic in Ophoven and was there the next day (2 hours by car, 8 hours by boat).

That evening we had the biggest thunderstorm I’ve ever been in. Thunder hitting all around us!  I made a video but am not skilled enough at this point to embed it into my newsletter. I tried but it doesn’t play so just check out the pic and imagine. Holy Moly!

Our motor was ready and our time in Dunkirk was slipping away as well as our summer. We had planned to head south on the Maas River to Trier to leave our boat this year. Unfortunately, lack of water in the canals due to the heat prevented us from fulfilling our original plan…but as fate would have it something else was in store for us this trip.

We headed back to Ophoven by way of Seneffe. This time ascending instead of descending the huge lift. Pretty amazing engineering if you ask me.

We arrived in Seneffe and met up with two other families heading our way through 10 locks to Namur! Best to travel in a group for this long adventure. The lock keepers are not really excited about opening a huge tanker lock for one little travel boat so we made good time and good friends.

What a fun trip back. Our wrong direction turned into a great direction with lasting friendships. We parted in Namur after 4 days of sharing food, fun, and company. With our new friend’s suggestion and time on our hands, we headed to the city of Dinant, Belgium, one hour by car, 4 by boat! What a treat. This little city was filled with history and beauty. The harbor was on the main canal and cafes, shops, museums and just a great place to spend some time. The Citadelle (museum) built into the rock at the top was so amazing. A tram ride up and 408 steps down I went!

Our trip is slowly coming to an end and now we are in Maastricht. My “happy place” with the best Belgium Fries around! Plus the coolest harbor in Belgium.

We’ll be celebrating this Labor Day weekend on our boat with Terri Kriner, a truly good friend. She’s taking us home!!! I’ve planned a meal just for us and will be making my fresh Quinoa Tabbouleh and using my homemade Rub-a-dub-dub on our flank steak. Try them both this holiday. I promise you won’t regret it and neither with your guest!

Resources and More: Barlow Herbal

Are you interested in herbal healing treatments and research? You’ve got to check out this new site I found. These folks are real people and have taken over their botanist fathers business when he died. All their supplements are gathered and produced themselves. Click here for more info on this fabulous site!

 

Resources and More: Barlow Herbals

Are you interested in herbal healing treatments and research? You’ve got to check out this new site I found. These folks are real people and took over their botanist fathers business when he died. All their supplements are gathered and produced by themselves. I happen to have ordered a specific supplement from them and they were amazing helping me through the whole process of purchasing to delivery and asking for results. I will report back to you all in one month and let you know how it worked! Check out their site and watch the little video about their family and history. Click here for more Barlow Herbal

August 2018 Cook’n & Crusin’n The Canals of Belgium!

Well, folks, I’m back in wifi and thought I’d get August post ready to roll. We said farewell to Terri and began our 2-day trip to Ghent. We took a 2-hour ride through a small canal that basically drove through the backyards of some of the most elegant homes in Belgium.

We ended our day in Beernem a very cool harbor with an exceptional restaurant and a lounge for watching the end of the soccer tournament. Plus they had a washer and dry, which we were in desperate need of.

This harbor was so nice we decided to stay for a week and enjoyed touring the area by bike and checking out more castles and museums.

After a week of lounging in Beernem, we made our way along the canal and landed in Ghent before 3 pm. We choose the inner city harbor which was perfect and so well maintained. Brand new bathrooms and showers, yeah for us (Terri eat your heart out)!

Ghent is a great city filled with museums, shops, and food! One impressive thing about Ghent is the care to which this city takes in maintaining original facades of the homes and shops. They are so detailed and beautiful.

In addition, many of the unused churches, which there happen to be tons of, are used as art museums.

One super thrill was a 4-day visit from Lutz’s oldest son, Philip and his wife Anne and their two amazing boys, Fredrick 3 years old and Alexander 1-year-old. It was so great to have them on board. Super visit and great horsedrawn buggy tour around Ghent. It was sad to see them go.

We headed to Niewpoort, Belgium and did some cleaning and washing and of course a bike ride to the sea, just to check on my dad! He died in 2000 and his ashes were spread in the sea in Del Mar Beach in California where he was the Captain of the Lifeguards since 1965. At every new river, sea, lake, steam I have a chat with him about the water and his travels.

Then we took a 2-day trip to Diksmeide, Belgium with some friends, Marcus and Annelisa, from Kaiserslautern who happen to be nearby. We stayed in the harbor for a couple days after they left us and took a tour in the museum which was 22 stories high and housed relics and had an amazing digital history of the war between 1914-1918.

You can see our boat from the top floor. We are the fifth boat from the left. Diksmuide played a heroic part in stopping the Germans advance by opening all the canals and flooding the area.

Back to Niewpoort for a few days to collect groceries and wash, then off we went to Veurne, Belgium. A Very beautiful little town with more museums of the war and a quaint center of town that overnight turned into a circus…literally! The two-night stay was enough for us.

Then it was off to Brugge! Where the homes and facades in the city greatly resembled Ghent but less tourist. Plus, my wonderful husband surprised me with an herb garden for our anniversary. He’s no fool, he knows where his next meal is coming from! If there is a will there is a way and so I am finding my way in the kitchen with a mighty will. 

Oh yes, for sure I’ve been cooking! One thing I’ve got to say is that if I can create these yummy meals using a toaster oven and an emersion blender, with the attachments, you can manage these recipes in a snap with your fancy gadgets and real ovens (which I also have at home)! I needed a rolling pin for one recipe and ingeniously came up with my own bright idea…yes a bottle of wine, full is better but if all you have is an empty one, fill it with water and roll away. Pretty cool trick right? 

So as a farewell to Belgium I’m posting three of my delicious raspberry roll recipes that I created in this beautiful country. Remember, if I can do this with minimum tools and appliances I know your creation will be just as delicious or better!

Raspberry Medieval Compote
Raspberry Belgium Sweetie
Raspberry Cassava Crapes

Resources and More:
One more amazing site to share with you. I made one of Sonia’s recipes from her last post…want to see which one?        Click here

Resources and More: The Healthy Foodie

I discovered Sonia’s site, The Healthy Foodie, when I first started out on this adventure in 2013 and even bought her cookbook, which I recommend highly: Paleo Home Cooking.

Sonia has branched off into other healthy food recipes adding a few organic dairy products here and there even a super decadent dessert site. All in all, I love to read her recipes.  She has some amazing ideas and when I received her last post for Chunky Tzatziki Sauce I knew I had to use my once a month dairy allotment to whipping this up.

I highly recommend you check out her site and especially this recipe if you’re experimenting with adding dairy back in your lifestyle. As I said, I will eat dairy maybe once a month but it causes too much inflammation for me. This one I just had to try and boy was it good! Maybe I’ll experiment with Kefir.

Resources and More: The Essential Thyroid Cookbook

I was asked to read their cookbook, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook and got more than I bargained for. This book has a plethora of concise, easy to understand research that makes SENSE! Plus Jill and Lisa are experts and have personal experiences in the healing power of food! Check out their site and be sure to read their chapter on gains and legumes…this will surprise you. It sure surprised me.

The Essential Thyroid Cookbook

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