Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lanna Sabai Thai Cocktail

While I don't care too much for a Mojito (it's just too minty for me), I DO like basil A LOT.
This Lanna Sabai cocktail is tangy with lime, a little sweetness from the rum and some great flavor from the basil.  
I wholeheartedly recommend it. 

Sabai means "relaxed" in Thai.
Apparently Sabai, Sabai means something like a combination of "Hello" and  "Chill, baby"
maybe even "It's all good" - - The "Hang Loose" of Thailand.
And Lanna?
Just means it's from Northern Thailand.
SO, here's a relaxing little number from Thailand to share with you.

I'm cheating a little, as I did not make this cocktail (to the left).
As if you couldn't tell from the photo above, hahaha.
I did pay rapt attention to it's making, in order to record it for posterity.

(UPDATE- I did make this when I got home, so the picture at the top is mine, plus the ingredient shot below)

Sang Som is a rum from Thailand, distilled from sugarcane. I don't expect you to have heard of it, while it's very popular in Thailand, less than 1% is exported.  I think I might have to do a little exporting...

Serves ONE

2 oz. Thai Rum, or any golden rum will work
2-3 leaves of Thai basil, fresh 
1 oz. Lime Juice 
1 oz. Simple Syrup (lemon)
Splash of Club Soda

Rip up the Thai basil leaves and put in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.  Add the simple syrup, lime juice and rum. Add some crushed ice.  Shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice, top with a little club soda.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stockholm, I'm coming back!!!

This is the view from breakfast on the cruise ship as we arrive into Stockholm, 
not bad to enjoy with your Eggs Benedict, eh?

Okay, this is a short post.
I just did NOT get enough time here.
It left me wanting, and planning for a return trip and that is not a bad way to feel about a place you’ve visited, right?
A couple of people others told us their favorite city was Stockholm.   
Favorite City in the world? 
That’s a tall order…. 
I’d be hard pressed to chose ONE… but now I know that Stockholm would have to be in the top 5 for me too.

We had only one day to enjoy the city, so unfortunately chose a “Hop On, Hop Off” bus in the city…. It was a dreadful mistake as the buses in were few and far between and the recorded commentary was, frankly, boring!  However, after deciding to ignore the droning in our ears and instead just sit and watch the sights of the 7 islands that make up Stockholm pass by us.
First stop?  Vasa Museum… 
Yeah, I struggled with pretending to be interested in visiting an almost 400 year old sunken ship. Yawn. However, my husband is unfailingly enthusiastic (or at least patient) about seeing what I wanted to see, so GO I went with a smile plastered on my face.  It doesn’t take long to gain excitement for the intact ruin of a Swedish “Titanic” that only sailed 40 minutes before sinking in a deep harbor outside of the city. It was designed too narrow and too tall for the king of Sweden, who insisted on the doomed dimensions.   

What makes this artifact so amazing is how intact it is after so many years.  The cold water that is not too salty off the coast (salty waters have more timber crunching microbes apparently) left his beauty in tact.  It has hundreds of ornate carvings befitting to a royal vessel and many cannons and other artillery.   Left- Is a reproduction of a dog and lion carving repainted in the original colors. We could see the real one still intact on the back end of the boat.  They found traces of paints still attached, so were able to recreate a wall of all the carvings.

Most interesting to me what the human remains, including bones and tatters of clothing (!!!) that had been recreated by forensic artist/scientists to show how they must have looked   

I also got some great pictures of the cooking arrangements for the ONE cook for the crew of 445!  What a job… I sure hope there were some scullery maids/dudes to help. 

Look at how cool these almost perfect dishes are, after almost 400 years in the cold water of a Swedish channel.


Outside the boat museum, we waited and waited for the bus, finally deciding to hoof it towards the city on our own feet,, at least we’d get to see something that way, right?

We walked and enjoyed the sunshine, churches and fountains, finally catching the silly bus at a later stop.  

We disembarked at the Old Town “Gambla Stan” and walked through the crooked, cobbled streets checking out the shops, the sights and maybe a pub too.   

Okay, so the pub shown below maybe a English, but it had the prerequisites for travel fun; timely, cute, outdoor seating on a beautiful day and local beer!

We didn’t see everything, but we enjoyed the sights and agreed that we needed to come back again to enjoy this city at a more leisurely pace.

One other thing about leaving Stockholm that day was the absolute beauty of the small islands as we left port.  It reminded me of the San Juan's in Washington State, so beautiful!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greek Party Themes

Above- Baklava

Healthy, tangy bright flavors.  I just love Greek, or Greek-ish, food.  
Some of you may say (and you're probably one of my sisters...) 
"Hey, that's not Greek!" 
But, maybe, just maybe it's almost Greek-like.  

Greek food is one of my all time favorites, but I often hear people say they really don't know too much about it. So, I started thinking of all the Greek recipes on my blog, and how I might organize them into some menus or party ideas.

The weather has been so nice lately, it's the perfect summer time to have a party to celebrate Greek flavors, but heck, any time of the year is fine for me with Greek food.

Below are some ideas for Greek Dinner for friends or family:

The Classic Greek
Chilled Cucumber Feta Soup 
Greek Tzatziki 
Grilled Greek Potato Salad
Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce

Fall Game Day for a Crowd
Artichoke Olive Cheese Bread
Spicy Feta Dip/Spread 
Lemon, Onion and Cucumber Salad 
Baked Orzo, Spinach, Bacon and Feta   
Baked Greek Chicken, with Tomatoes and Feta 

The Winter Feast  
Greek Spinach Pinwheels 
Avgolemono- Greek Wedding Soup
Farro, Green Olive and Feta Salad
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew 

Spring Healthy Dinner
Artichoke and Roasted Cumin Dip  
Honeydew, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Garlic Spinach Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti Squash

Index of Greek (and Greek-ish) recipes from my Blog:

Artichoke and Roasted Cumin Dip
Artichoke Olive Cheese Bread
Greek Spinach Pinwheels
Greek Tzatziki 
Spicy Feta Dip/Spread
Spicy Fried Garbonzos

Farro, Green Olive and Feta Salad
Grilled Greek Potato Salad
Greek Panzanella Bread Salad
Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad
Honeydew, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Lemon, Onion and Cucumber Salad 
Watermelon, Arugula and Feta Salad

Avgolemono- Greek Wedding Soup
Chilled Cucumber Feta Soup 
Creamy Artichoke Soup, Fast & Easy

Side dishes, or Vegetarian Options:
Black Lentils (spiced) with Yogurt & Mint
Feta & Spinach Strata
Stuffed Peppers with quinoa, spinach and feta
Spinach Artichoke Bake  
Baked Orzo, Spinach, Bacon and Feta 
Pasta with Pepperoni, Pepperoncini and Peppers
Toasted Orzo
Main Dishes:
Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce
Baked Greek Chicken, with Tomatoes and Feta
Beef Kebabs with Chimichurri Sauce
Lamb Burger with Goat Cheese and Onion Jam
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew
Baked Prawns with Feta and Orzo Pasta
Garlic Spinach Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti Squash
Greek Fish, baked in Parchment
Prawns al Fresco
Salmon, Spinach & Garbonzos baked in foil
Baked Orzo, Spinach, Bacon and Feta 
Pasta with Pepperoni, Pepperoncini and Peppers
Toasted Orzo


Other Stuff that "lend" themselves nicely to Greek Stuff:
Aioli-  Sauce Variations & Ideas to Improve Almost Anything!
Drunken Fig Jam 
Honey and Lemon Jelly 

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Some people say the Little Mermaid is overrated.
That’s not nice.

Everyone seems to love the Little Mermaid while in Copenhagen; 
 it’s just what you do! 

I was surprised at how big she is, because all of my life, I’ve been seeing the replica in Stanley Park in Vancouver BC. This gal is definitely life size. I know I look a little large in comparison in this shot, but its all about perspective. I'd have gotten up on the rock with her, but peer pressure kept me behaving.

We’d walked for miles to get the canal side park where the bronze sculpture perches on the rocks on the outskirts of the downtown core of Copenhagen.  By the time we got there, we were tired and sweaty in the brilliant September sunshine.  After taking our obligatory photos with the mer-gal, we needed some sustenance.  Luckily, there was a great little place right near the park to stop and enjoy the day while having a refreshing beverage outside in the sunshine.

A Danish beer, a yummy Riesling and some delectable sliced meats, with brown bread and a mustard aioli, it was just enough to keep us going for another round of sightseeing in the afternoon.   

Sitting there watching all types of international people go by, with the boats on the canal putting by was so much fun.Even though this restaurant was a take-out kind of style, the presentation and quality was amazing.  Plus, I thought the prices were really good for such an expensive city. If you go out to the Little Mermaid, I’d suggest you plan on a stop here.

Rosenborg Castle
Denmark has the world’s oldest monarchy, over 1300 years.  The Danish royal family is intermixed with all the monarchy's of Europe.  The current queen of Denmark’s sister is the queen of Greece, while their other sister is just married to a German prince.  Nice, huh?

Makes me wonder if my sisters and I weren’t ambitious enough. LOL.

The castle and garden is beautiful, not the biggest castle out there, but truly delightful place that was so enjoyable. 

In 1849, Frederick the VII decided that a constitutional monarchy was the way to go.  Like England, the royalty no longer gets involved in politics and making the laws, but let’s the public vote officials for that.  Smart guy, I say, why put all that pressure on the King or Queen.
The Royal Danish treasury collection was in the basement of Rosenborg Castle. There were lots of beautiful jewels, gold and ivory objects.

I decided this crown was just my style.

Tivoli Gardens

No trip to Copenhagen is complete without a trip to Tivoli Gardens.  It’s a kitschy and wonderful Danish Disney land that’s been there for over 100 years.  I’m an unabashed Disney fan so I LOVED it at Tivoli.   Famous for thousands of lanterns at night.  The lanterns above are my favorite!
 We even went twice in the three days that we were there as our hotel was so close to the park.  Apparently Walt Disney visited Tivoli in 1951 and was more than a little inspired for his Disneyland plan.  In 1955 Disneyland opened, and many of the elements you see at Tivoli are part of the Disney parks; the Storybook Land whale mouth, the “Small World” type ride of Hans Christian Anderson’s stories ad so much more at familiar to us at Tivoli.
Tickets into Tivioli without rides are about $15, and with unlimited rides are $45 each.  Not being huge ride people, we elected the cheap ticket.  We did buy individual tickets to go Hans Christian Anderson Storybook land ride. I will give my guy credit, he never complained about going on the Small World-esque ride and spent 100dkk ($15) for the two of us to go.  Not sure the ride was really worth $15, but still, I was delighted and had a blast. I think my hubby didn't complain because there was no annoying "It's a Small World after all" song. There are plenty of good restaurants in the park with interesting food that are pretty good, and more formal than Disney too.

Bikes are everywhere is Copenhagen.  Amsterdam may be more famous for their colorful bikes, but there seemed to be as many bikes in Copenhagen.  We were able to rent them at our hotel, nice automatic shifting “city” bikes with big seats and cute baskets.  For about $20 each, we put a good ten miles on the bikes that day, even revisiting the Lil Mermaid.  I felt very safe riding through the city, especially since there are large bike lanes that are curbed from the main rode, and even separate bike lane signals so that you can cross busy city intersections safely.  So much fun.

Christiana is a funny little hippy community not too far out of town.  We rode bikes over bridges and canals to get to the “community”.  No pictures are allowed in this artist community filled with quirky restaurants, artist booths and more… the “more” is the reason for no photos as people are openly selling pot and smoking it too all from very civilized little booths set up under camouflage. Not too shocking for a girl from Washington state where you can now buy it in stores.  Christiana was started in the 1970’s in a formal naval base that had been abandoned and the squatters moved in and took the place over.  A very organized community with rules on behavior and now they limit how many people can live there, when someone moves out, they vote to see who is allowed to move in.  Kind of mainstream establishment kind of rules for a squatters community, huh?.  I bought a cool necklace from an all females blacksmith shop where the gals were listening and singing along to ABBA. Yep, I loved that. 

Canal boat ride and Nyhavn "New Harbor"

In the late afternoon of our last day, we locked up the bikes in Nyhavn and had a beer ...
...and a Danish hotdog and sat in the sun taking it all in.   Don't you love the bun to meat ratio with this one?  Pickles, fried onions and sauerkraut made it awesome.
The weather was still glorious on day three of our trip , so we opted for  tickets for a canal boat tour, might as well do all the touristy thing, you know?.  Nyhavn is so darling filled with colorful tall row houses and a small canal that stretches into the city from the main waterway canal.  For only $10 you get a hour long trip around the city’s waterways, seeing a different perspective from the water.  The lil Mermaid again, Christiana from the water, Castles, modern building) and fountains from the water. Nice.

Danish guards at Amalienborg Palace (that's where the Queen lives now...)

This is about as close as you can get without getting in trouble...