Training & Repair Days on Virus: Chapter 2

This was our training and repair trip.  YIKES… I thought retirement was for lounging, cooking and cruising. Andreas and Lutz are both a little, well, anal obsessive compulsive… but perfectionists sounds better. They both are engineers and my style of sanding and painting just didn’t cut it. I ended up as the cook and bottle washer…suites me fine. It gave me more time to read and marinate the meat for Tandoori Chicken on the grill! 

Now I will practice my German for you all by translating Lutz’s message:
Preparation #2
Now to work, Andreas my captain friend from university times has come for 10 days and is welcomed according to his status with a toast. It’s important to have our meals! The grill had to be set up perfectly so Melinda could start cooking. During the rainy weather we crept down in the bilge to figure out the drying, cooling system, water, gray water, and electricity…Melinda has made up the captain’s cabin. We also had sunny days, and the old boat number had to be taken off, and we had to fight the rust––patiently working at sanding, taping and painting.

Cook’n & Cruis’n the Canals: Chapter 1

It’s time to hit the high seas, ok, well, the high canals! Raise the anchor and get ready to do some Cook’n & Cruis’n. We’ve made several trips to pack our boat, Virus. As you can see, our small 500 FIAT, Bella, was loaded to the top. But after 3 trips to and from the boat we are ready to hit the canals and rivers of Belgium and Netherland.

Yes, Virus. We inherited this name and are sticking to it since both Lutz and I have a, VIRUS for the sea. It kind of grows on you if you know what I mean.

Stay tune for some adventures as we travel and share exciting hot spots. I’ll be sharing some awesome gluten, soy and dairy free yummy recipes while on our voyage. The kitchen is small and no stove, but we have a grill and a lot of creative gadgets and ideas, plus inspiration from neighboring villages and local folks!

I’ll do my best to recap the German that my husband has written below…my German lessons for the summer:

Lutz shared that many of his relatives were professional boaters. As a child he recalls adventurous days motoring through the rivers and canals in Germany. In 2016 he spent a few weeks with a close friend, Andreas, on his boat motoring the Rhein and canals in Germany. Lutz said “I got sick and caught the ship ‘VIRUS’ and decided to buy a boat for myself .” The lifesaver in the picture below was on the boat Friede (Peace) that belonged to Lutz’s God Father. We celebrated our second delivery of goods to the boat with a glass of Champagne!


Wishing you a VERY Merry Christmas!

I know you’re all busy with family and friends today, but I just wanted to send a “thank you” for supporting me in my cooking endeavors. It’s been a privilege to cook along side many of you during our classes at the Wallonenhoff, or in your home. I have learned so much.

I also wanted to share with you what Santa brought me from Tchibo! This store is the best. Reminds me of the Tuesday Store in USA. It’s the kind of store that when you go in, you find things that you never knew you needed! Plus I wanted to share with you my two favorite vendors at the Saturday Market. Many of you have asked me where I get my organic produce, beef, pork and poultry. Well here you go!

The best to you all and may the new year bring you joy, peace and happiness.

Sincerely, MelindaThis is the COOLEST! A meat thermometer thats a carving fork as well and my Fat Jar. It is made of blown glass and separates the broth from the fat! Doug’s Farm is where I get my meats. They make the best bratwurst. My husband, Lutz, says they are the best he’s eaten––and he is German. The chicken breast are HUGE. He also sells eggs from his free-range chickens. I suggest calling and placing an order so you can be sure to get what you’re looking for. He usually runs out early on Saturday mornings and is not there on Thursday.

I am a little embarrassed about this but I forgot the name of the organic produce folks, but as you can see, they are right next door to Doug’s stand. Very fresh produce and the people that work here are so helpful and kind. Check out that purple Kale. I just had to buy it. Plus it is DELICIOUS with my Field Salad Bacon Dressing!

Time to head home…Week 18

Lutz had to get one last hike in before leaving Borrego Springs. He said the hike was rough, but the springs were similar to the springs in Joshua Tree. Sure looks beautiful. As I said in another post, the vegetation in the dessert can be surprising. Even the wild life and dust storms seem to compliment this rough terrain. To see the birds fly in uniform reminded us that we too were heading home soon to Germany.

We finally arrive back to where we started…Admiral Baker in San Diego. A great campground for kids and grand-kids and for sitting in the sun reading! We spent 3 days trying to catch a mouse that my son’s dog, Hank, had detected (which we finally caught!) and 2 days winterizing our RV and truck. It was a sad farewell to Johnny (our truck since is is a good old boy) and Cash (since we spend quit a lot of $ on repairs for her). We will return next year, but for now, our adventures are leading us to our new boat in the Netherlands. Stay tune for Cook’n & Canal Cruise’n!

Thanks for following me and my Cook’n & Camp’n adventures this summer. I look forward to seeing all my friends and creating a cooking class for 2017! Happy New Year to you all!



Off to Borrego Springs…Week 17

After 5 days in Joshua Tree, we headed to Borrego Spring for Thanksgiving, a family tradition that I finally got to participate in! We filled half of the Palm Dessert Campground with friends and family. Once again, I got to visit with my grand-daughters. Of course, we had to practice swimming and get to cook’n. We made a delicious Cranberry Tangerine Cake for the big day!

Naturally, hiking was at the top of everyones list, and off they went as I nursed my knee. My previous days of hiking had wrecked havoc on my torn meniscus. What is a trip to the desert without off roading a bit? We set out to explore the cool iron art work of Ricardo Breceda when we heard the air quickly escaping our back right tire (we had replaced all the tires when we first landed in San Diego). Ruby and Eva sang all the songs they knew while waiting in the dark for the repair truck to arrive.

Evenings were great with family and friends under the stars. My son even drove down from Washington to enjoy this family tradition and for us to have one more hug.