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!


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

July 2018 Cook’n & Cruise’n the Canals of Belgium

What a great month of traveling.  This month we had another guest along for a ride through Tournai, Belgium. Terri hopped on board and spent four super days exploring the area.

Together we cooked (cassava flour Flammkuchen)…

Toured (Tournai Castle)…

Almost bought a time share (Natural Forest of the Duke of Tournai Castle)…

Bathed (yes in the street)…

and relaxed (on Virus our boat)…

Oh yes, our captain, Lutz was with us all the way. Hated to see her leave but time moves on for us all.

We’ve landed in Gent and plan to tour the city. If you’ve been here before, send me a note as to what we should see, eat and do while here. I’m looking forward to this weekend. The Gent Jazz Festival is happening! Hope I have some good suggestions for your next music selection in my next months post.

By the way, July is upon us! It’s hot and sticky here but I’m not complaining. I’ve got my go to meal already while I’m off touring. Check out these two ridiculously easy 4th of July delights! Belgium Ribs in a Tub and Coconut Raspberry Lemon Cake.


June 2018 Cook’n and Cruise’n the Canals of Belgium

What a great start to another adventure on the canals of Europe. We began our tour the middle of May 2018 and cruised from Maastricht NL to Liege B, Huy B, Namur B and now we are in Sennefe B.  Once again I’m learning the lesson of being at peace. Our pace is rather slow, 10 miles per hour, and nothing is done in a hurry. Lots of meditation and gratitude prays fill my days.

Oh yes and cooking! Of course I spend a lot of time inventing new and different meals for our time on the boat. Check out the new recipes I’ve posted at the end of this June 2018 Cook’n and Cruise’n post.
We had some of the most beautiful spots to anchor and for a few days we were blessed with sun!

Many of you know that I decided to learn how to drive this boat so I could avoid dealing with the disgusting walls of the locks…yes, your restroom habits are disposed into the canals! But as you can see some of the driving can be a little tense at times, yes that’s a bridge and we had to take the windows down as well to make it to our harbor!

We also entertained guest! Lutz’s cousin, Uli, came aboard for a few days and we so enjoyed having her. I’m sure it was memorable for her as well since she learned the lesson “keep your phone on the dashboard”. She slipped it into her pocket that was not stitched and it fell straight into the canal! “Call me Uli when you get your new phone please!”
Every 3 or 4 days we’d ride our bikes to replenish our food and water supplies or just take off and check the area. Like the day we road for 2 hours one way to our next lock and back home.What surprised me most with Belgium and Netherland bike people is that they use electric bikes and say they’ve exercised. I find it strange since this land is pretty flat!

So far we are enjoying our days on the canals and especially when we can talk about the sites, read and just spend time together.
Check out the many new recipes I’ve posted on my site. Here are two super easy ones which can be created without electricity or an oven! Thanks for staying with us on our Cook’n and Cruise’n the Canals 2018 tour! See you next month with more adventures and creative cook’n.

Dark Chocolate Covered Sunflower Truffles

South of the Border Slaw

Back from the other side of the pond!

What a super seven months in USA. I got my fill (Lutz’s as well) of family, grandchildren, friends and camping. Just when I thought I had enough, the minute I landed on this side of the pond I missed them all and our beautiful campsites. So many memories and good times. I took tons of pictures and so this post is a visual tour of some very special moments and events during our USA 2017-2018 trip in USA. Please scroll through, and at the end are some very delicious recipes I discovered while creating something new each day! Enjoy the “verb” al- tour…

Visiting Family:


Visiting Friends:




Protesting & Marching:


Hanging out:
















Working & Repairing:




and Cooking:


Plus we made sure we practiced “Creating something new each day…and tried cooking!” I’ve added several new recipes to my site. Here are a few new creations I’ve posted. Please try them out and leave me a note. I’d love to hear from you.


Better Beets                                     Buttery Biscuits and Gravy                                Italian Zudooles