We've been gone for a few weeks on a cruise through the western Caribbean. Since my husband planned it I only had a rough idea of where we were actually going until we got on the ship and I read the itinerary. It was kind of nice that way, letting him plan the whole thing. We went on board in Miami, then on to Key West, Cozumel, Mexico, Guatemala, Roatan, Belize and Grand Cayman. It was a wonderful trip visiting Mayan ruins and meeting locals, plus we took advantage of the area's famous sport fishing and the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world. The weather was great, the ship was fantastic, the people on board were super friendly, and I found a whole new sub-group of people that I didn't know existed: Cruisers; retired people who spend up to half their lives on a cruise ship! They go on back to back cruises and may not even get off the ship for weeks at a time as they love the ship so much! Three month cruises and around-the-world cruises were popular, as were repositioning cruises. All of these people were friendly and outgoing, and none seem to have strong ties at home. No pets nor garden to worry over. They certainly didn't worry about any dinner invitations to extend or accept or care a bit about missing any golf games or missing their church family, let alone their own families. I heard several times, "they know how to get a hold of me in an emergency!" Of course they were all retired and most likely very wealthy, I couldn't help but think how very different I was from them. I missed my routine, and while I loved the break, I was looking forward to getting back. On one hand I envied their lighthearted attitude, they seemed so nonchalant and carefree, but I know that's not really me. I do realize that most of these people are coming from very cold weather places and were absolutely delighted to be in sunny weather. But me, coming from California, I couldn't wait to get back home and see my garden, I missed it so much! And the weeds are not going to pull themselves, are they?
We came home late at night and fell exhausted into bed. The last thing we said to each other was, "I wonder what the garden looks like?" The next morning I let out a scream when I saw the peonies. I counted 52 blossoms on just 3 bushes, all the size of a dinner plate. (I stuck my hand in one picture so you could get an idea of just how big they are!) I picked a bunch as mother was coming over for dinner. A dozen peonies completely consumed my largest silver bowl! Mother almost fell over when she saw them on the table!
Peonies...sigh, I just love that they look like ballerina's tutus.
Both perfect in their fussy, overblown and overdone way.
No food in the house, so dinner the first day back was going to have to be from the garden: a simple leek and potato soup and salad. My vicchyssoise looks more like pea soup as I use the light green part of the leek, not just the white. I don't know why recipes tell you to toss it. I like to first roast my leeks and potatoes in the oven for about 10 minutes tossed with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Next, I put them in a pot with a quart of chicken stock and simmer for another 10 minutes or until soft. I use an immersion blender to puree and add milk to thin if necessary. Then, for a kick, I stir in a good spoonful of prepared horseradish. When serving, a little dollop on the top to finish looks pretty. Sometimes the most simple dinners are the best and this tasted so good. We were feeling a bit shaky after two weeks of rich food. It's been almost 48 hours since I've had any caviar or fois gras so an adjustment needs to be made ;)
Oh, there was lots of knitting done on the ship too. I brought along 3 projects and worked on them all and finished none. April will be my finishing month because now I have about a dozen more I want to start!
Thanks for stopping by. I have some great posts planned so come back soon!