Saturday, October 29, 2011

Breakfast Farrotto with Apples

1 cup apple cider
4 cups water
2 bags of herbal apple cinnamon tea
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup farro
2 small apples, unpeeled, diced
dash ground cinnamon
maple syrup for sweetening, as desired

In a small pot, brew tea and add apple cider. Keep warm but turn the heat down to low.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add the farro and saute for a few minutes at medium heat until each grain glistens. Add the wine, stir and then let the liquid cook down. Using a ladel, add one cup of the apple liquid to the farro. Even out the grains and allow the liquid to cook down completely. Repeat until the liquid is completely incorporated and the grains are soft. Add apples and cinnamon, stirring them in until everything is hot. Add maple syrup to sweetened if you like. Serves two.

Farro with 1 cup of liquid

Top: Apple liquid; Bottom: farro with liquid cooked down.
Two small apples

Farro with apples and cinnamon

Ta da!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cruise in the Caribbean on the Disney Magic

Max and I just got back from a 7 day cruise. We had such a good time!  The ship left from Port Canaveral and went to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay (Disney's private island). St. Maarten was a little grungy so I probably wouldn't choose to go back there - or would just stick to the beach by the boat if I did. Bought a pair of earrings with larimar, the Caribbean gem.

St. Thomas was much nicer! Plus the ability to use my cellphone and go to the U.S. post office really nice. We went on the Captain Nautica's Ultimate Snorkeling Expedition to Buck's Island. Got to see some turtles eating sea grass and then going up for air, sea urchins, a sea fan, fire coral, brain coral, and a conch walking around on the ocean floor.

Castaway Cay was my favorite stop. As Disney's private island, everything on it was theirs. From the ship, we walked to Serenity Beach (for adults only) and explored the shore looking for shells. Max found a conch shell and it was completely intact! For lunch there was a BBQ. In the afternoon, Max sat on the beach reading his book and I went snorkeling again.

Service on the ship was top-notch. Loved our assistant server, Michelle (from New Zealand), and our stateroom hostess, Nicol (from Slovakia). Tea (from Switzerland), the acupuncturist at the Vista Spa really impressed me with her professionalism and I felt very comfortable with her. In general, all the cast members were great... friendly, smiling and helpful. And that's why we love Disney so much.

The food on the ship was fantastic - and not too much. All the seated dinners had very reasonable portions and we never left the table feeling stuffed. Or hungry.

Beautiful bread display at Parrot Cay welcome lunch buffet

Cove Cafe treats

Blue cheese souffle with parmesan crisp

Beef Wellington


Pineapple filled muffin

Tuna Tartare

Brulee Cheesecake

Grilled pineapple and banana in coconut

Shrimp, scallops with spaghetti in a creamy tomato sauce

Mushroom risotto

Wild mushroom soup - Best Dish Award

Chocolate molten cake with vanilla ice cream

Celebration cake

Apple crumble
And there was so much to do onboard! The live musical shows were good - and two of them were really great (Dreams and Twice Charmed). We went to a great presentation about animation by the VP of Production at DisneyToon, Sean Lurie. An adults-only swimming pool and coffee house. Comedy shows with magic and juggling. We watched three movies in the Disney Theater: The Help, Cars 2, and Real Steel. Also watched Hop in our stateroom. Plus there were tons of character meet and greets.

If you're looking into going on a cruise, whether you have children or not, I highly recommend that you go on the Disney Cruise Line!