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, Wyoming
Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Jul 30, 2010

My Daughter Is A Triathlete ~ Call 911

She did it!
So—my daughter—the one who is prone to having seizures on the treadmill, tells me that she is “training for a triathlon”. There is nothing like those four words to strike fear in the heart of a mother who has a daughter with a seizure disorder. It’s not the running or biking that scares me, it’s the swimming. Minor road rash isn’t likely to be fatal, but have a seizure in a lake and it isn’t going to be pretty. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with this news.
     First off, I have never understood why people run. I mean, for no reason. I’m not stupid, I can see running if someone is chasing you…with a gun. But if no one is, then c’mon, seriously people, why would you run??? I’m not knocking it without having tried it. I did it once when no gun was even involved and I’m here to tell you that my knees and my boobs didn’t like it one little bit. The truth is I have no desire to break a sweat unless Macy’s is having a clearance sale. 
After the bike race
     So let’s talk about biking—the kind you pedal. I love biking—just not the kind you pedal. The Big Guy has a Harley, so I can honesty say that I have actual biking credentials, such as a helmet. The down side to my kind of biking? A bad hair day. The up side? No spandex shorts with a maxi pad sewn in the crotch. Nuff said?
     Swimming. Ahhh, yes, at last a sport that I can get into! I happen to have my very own personal flotation devices and am quite comfortable in the water. Especially if the cabana boy brings drinks around every hour or so.
     So, when Sierra told me that she WANTED to do a triathlon and there was no gun or blackmail involved, I could only assume that her last fall off the treadmill had caused a head injury.
     Before I went into panic mode, I decided to assess the situation and see what I could do to put the brakes on it. The short answer—not a damn thing. 1. she is too big to spank; 2. I can’t take away the keys to her car (something about the title being in her name); and 3. because she is 27, the statutes of limitations for grounding have run out. So I did what all desperate mothers do—I cried. Then I suggested shopping, cooking and wine tasting as a nice alternative to triathlons. I mean there is some running, lifting, and discipline involved. Still, she wasn’t having any of it. I got the memo…shut up mom, take a valium and just show up to cheer me on.
That's her, in the purple cap
IT'S THE BIG DAY! Sierra is ready, looking all fit and triathlonish. I discretely try to get the attention, by wolf whistling at one of the kayakers (aka spotters) in Lake Loveland, to let him know that he should keep an eye on my daughter; the one in the purple swim cap and unflattering black wet suit. In doing so, I just described approximately 100 other women in the third heat. Ruh-roh. I’ll just have to watch her myself, I decide. And I do, for about three strokes…then I lose sight of her. All those flapping purple headed women look a lot like ducks having grand-mal-seizures, so I just keep my thumb on the 911 speed dial for the next twenty minutes. My heart is racing and I want to throw up as I watch purple caps coming out of the lake…waiting…watching…praying that the next purple head will be Sierra’s. And finally there she is, looking like she wants to throw up too.                                             
Sierra, 2nd from left, no, 3rd
 from center, wait, 4th from
right, uhhh, in there somewhere... 
 She then has to run a ¼ mile to the transition area where she  put on the aforementioned maxi-pad shorts and some funny little shoes that hook into her bike pedals. I can’t imagine who the boy genius is who came up with that design, but talk about a face plant waiting to happen. (and see it happen I did-twice) Off she goes, looking like clamping your feet to your bike pedals and riding down the highway makes good sense. She knocks out 14 miles before I can finish doing the mental math to figure out if a bicycle can fit into an ambulance. I needn’t have worried—that girl can peddle her moneymaker with the best of them!
     Back to the transition area we go to change clothes and shoes again. (Come to think of it, this triathlon business is a lot like shopping—you change into several outfits, most of which you find unbecoming.) So, she shucks the uncool shoes, laces up the tennys and puts 4 miles behind her in less time then it takes me to decide what to fix for dinner.
     I am one proud, nervous, wreck when she crosses the finish line for the final time, completing the triathlon in 1 hour and 44 minutes, which is well under the 2 hour time limit that she had set for herself! No paramedics, no ambulance ride and no CAT scans were necessary! I’m happy to report that I made it through the entire race without needing any of that.
A few hours after the triathlon
     Now I’m just hoping that she has this triathlon nonsense out of her system because just thinking about her doing another one causes me to break out in a rash. So...I’m pulling out the big guns. I’m putting a bow on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, grabbing a nice bottle of wine and a hefty gift certificate to Macy's and then I am going to try my best to sell her on my idea of a triathlon. Girlfriends, arm yourselves with credit cards and stand by—I may need to call for back-up!

This is a recipe for a Tri-Color Pate. (get it? "tri") It's a fabby little appetizer to take to a dinner party or prepare for a crowd. This pate comes together fast, (no ducks were harmed in it's making) and it can be made ahead of time.  Any home cook worth her sea salt will have all the ingredients on hand. Go to the "Appetizers" tab at the top of this page to view it.

Jul 19, 2010

Free Ingwe: The What's Not To ♥ Boat!

It was raining, I was tired and The Big Guy said, "watch your step honey,” which immediately put a hex on me. I swear that I wasn't drinking (well, maybe one); I just didn’t have my sea legs yet. Anyhow, I slipped and fell on my keester as I was getting off the ferry in St.John. Mr. Big and I, the Lexuses and the Langfield’s had barely stepped off the red-eye from Denver, when I decided to show a bunch of strangers just how uncool I am. Hey, I didn’t really need that tailbone anyway. I picked up what was left of my dignity, my dog and my Bushwacker and headed off in the general direction of the Tamarind Court. Because my honey and my friends love me, they fussed over my aching butt and grimaced appropriately over the bruise that was definitely going to interfere with my tan lines. We took the edge off my hurt with a Painkiller before we headed to Rhumb Lines to have dinner. (order the Pad Thai or the salmon)
    The next day was the beginning of our week long charter on board Free Ingwe, a 45' catamaran, owned and operated by Matt and Mel Neidlinger, THEE best Captain and Chef in the entire Virgin Islands. We know this to be a fact, because The Big Guy said so. We settled in, then had a tasty lunch of tropical chicken salad, before going to Tortola to clear customs. The Brits had been forewarned that Elvis was "in the building" and for ten bucks, Matt bought their silence. We then had a nice, relaxing sail to Norman Island, where we tied up for the night and enjoyed Mels to-freaking-die-for Coconut Crusted Basa with Mango-Lime Ailoi.
Matt wanted to see what we were made of, so he took us to Willy T’s, a floating bar forever moored in a cove known as The Bight. Island music blared; white dudes bit their lower lips and mimicked the moves of the brothers, who grinded up against the whites dude’s women. We learned about “the posh-in” from a local, who was channeling Dr. Phil, and who definitely was not practicing what he preached. Being the fun-haters that our men are, they declined to partake in the body shots, which looked more like a free-for-all-booby-buffet. To whoops and hollers, us girls may/or may not have hiked up our skirts and/or pulled down our tops for a pirate tattoo, given by the bartender. We partied like rock stars on that rickety old boat! Thank God the kids (what kids?) were home in bed. 
    The next morning, as we were headed to Angelfish Reef for a dive, we got into an actual game of chicken with another boat that was trying to take a mooring ball that we had been waiting on. As we both raced towards it, it became clear that we were on a collision course. Our Captain was ready to open up a can of whoop-ass, as he told the other guy, in no uncertain terms, exactly where he was going to put that boat hook if he tried to steal our mooring ball! We cheered Matt on, and I can say that I personally shot my best stink eye at the Losers while the rest of the Free Ingwe crew smugly gave their adult best, “Our Captain Can Beat Up Your Captain” look. This exciting encounter gave new meaning to “Chicken of the Seas”!
    After all this excitement we just needed to do some chillin. A spa treatment at Peter Island Resort was just what the doctor ordered, so Mrs. Lexus, the Langfields and I had a relaxing afternoon being rubbed, scrubbed and wrapped. Big, Dr. Lexus, Elvis, Matt and Mel, all sailed over to Trellis Bay to look at a catamaran that was for sale. It was more than our combined credit card limit, so at the end of the day, we were still all one, big happy family on Free Ingwe.
    The next day Matt took us on a dive of the RMS Rhone, a 310’ mail steam ship that sank during a hurricane in 1867. It was a thrilling dive with stunning sea life and abundant coral. As we entered the hull of the ship a giant sea turtle swam right past each one of us, and inside, schools of fish danced to the rhythm of our flashlights. We saw Fang, the giant killer barracuda (you shhhish, Matt) who lives on the Rhone, and finally we rubbed the porthole of the stateroom of the only surviving passenger. That afternoon we sailed to Virgin Gorda, where we snorkeled and hiked The Baths.
    The next day we dropped anchor at Great Camanoe and dingy-ed over to Litttle Camanoe Island where the Langfield’s became unlawfully wedded by Captain Matt. Big and I stood beside the happy couple and served as Matron of Honor and Best Man. Mr. Lexus wore a smart twinset (and was dapper, I might add—in an Old-Folks-Home-kind-of-way) when he walked the bride down the sandy isle. And speaking of the bride—she was positively pure looking (wink, wink) in white. The groom was handsome in a white linen shirt and bright red sunburn. Mrs. Lexus, always a bridesmaid and always a fashionista, was stylish as ever in her floral cover up and a 1980's sun visor. Mel snapped pictures and popped open the bubbly. We left the newlyweds to, ahem, honeymoon and us old folks went back to the boat where Mrs. Lexus wowed us with her water skiing abilities. Who knew? We had her pegged for a snow bunny.
    The rest of our week was filled with more great food and wine, picture postcard sunsets, awesome diving, smooth sailing, fun in the sun, and relaxing with great friends. Matt and Mel spoiled us in a manner that we could have become accustomed to! Mel put her Dive Instructor skills to good use and got the Langfields certified while on the trip, allowing us all to do a dive together at The Playground, a site just off Jost Van Dyke. It was a spectacular dive and we saw a huge shark! (Mel-you shhhish!)
     And speaking of JVD, we had lunch at Foxy's, a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar, and then spent the evening sipping one of Matt's famous concoctions while in absolute heaven over Mel’s dinner of Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Plantain Mash. (This trip she had the foresight to hide the plantains from The Big Guy, lest he mistake them for bad bananas again.)
    On our final night we had a drinks and dinner at Havana Blue on St.Thomas, one of my favorite dining spots in the Caribbean.
     The following day we were sad to leave Free Ingwe, but we were taking with us memories that would last a lifetime. As we walked out on the tarmac at the St.Thomas airport and began to board the plane, I was feeling pretty good. I mean, I had a decent tan, a cute sundress, new earrings from H. Stern and barely a bruise left on my butt. Feeling pretty good about myself that is, until The Big Guy said, “honey, watch your step.”

This is part 2 of 2, of a post about Free Ingwe--the trip of a lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Book a trip with Matt & Mel this fall. The offer for the free Willy T tattoo is still good, if you drop my name (see Part 1). And just to tempt you, Mel is sharing her recipe for Coconut Crusted Basa with Mango-Lime Aioli. Go to the "Seafood" tab at the top of this page to view it, then go directly to the Free Ingwe website to book your trip. You'll thank me later! 
(Above right: Elvis, looking longingly at Free Ingwe)

Jul 8, 2010

Free Ingwe: Not Your Granny's ♥ Boat

     In the yesteryear of cruising, ships were filled with blue haired ladies in gold lame and floweridy prints (think Lilly Pulitzer on Boniva) and old guys in tuxedos, polka-dancing, pinching bottoms and pulling all-nighters (think Lawrence Welk on crack). Days were for playing shuffleboard and standing in a buffet line and nights were for fancy clothes and formal dinners.    
   Since the 21st century cruising has become family friendly. Cranky babies, whiney toddlers and sullen teens with uncool parents are all welcomed on board. Corona and Captain Morgan have replaced champagne as the drink of choice and pizza, nachos and chicken wings are de rigueur on the 24-7 buffet. The splash pool still gets peed in but it’s not just for the geriatric set dozing in wheel chairs anymore. The big cruise ships have become so economical that the whole fam damily can afford to go—so it’s still a great way to vacation, right?
     HAH! I know something that the people with Royal Caribbean luggage tags don’t! To see the Caribbean, you don’t have to spend a week with 2800 annoying people, standing in lines, plotting excursions in advance and on marathon duty free shopping sprees.
     Nosiree, I know this wonderful little PRIVATE charter that will allow you to get up close and personal with the islands. Free Ingwe is a 45’ catamaran with better amenities then its much larger brethren. 
For starters, the food is made fresh and served minutes after coming off of the stove! No buffets, no MSG, no chicken wings (unless requested of coarse). Dinners are 5 star quality and served when YOU want them. Mel is an amazing chef and she can please even the pickiest pallet. (I won’t name names, but I happen to know a couple of people who think frozen burritos and hotdogs are two of the food groups). That said, even Savannah and Shane loved the food. No dressing for dinner here. Swim wear is perfectly acceptable attire.
     Second, there are NO LINES, unless you count waiting your turn to water ski or wake board, which means that you could have to wait for a sec while 1 or 2 other people get in the dingy.
     But wait, it gets even better! Captain Matt knows all the best spots for snorkeling and scuba diving and has tanks and gear on board. There is no looking up a dive shop, catching a taxi, standing in line and filling our paperwork, fitting gear and then waiting while it all gets loaded on the dive boat. You barely have time for one quick dive before you have to get in the long line of day trippers waiting to get back on the big boat. On Free Ingwe diving/snorkeling is like this: hmmm, I think I want to dive/snorkel today. Within minutes the boat is at a site and you are ready to take that big step off the platform. Don’t know how to dive? No problem, Mel is an instructor and she can certify you during your trip! You will find beaches so secluded that no one else will even be there. If anyone dares to have the nerve to invade your private paradise, Matt will find you another one. 
     Another thing, the big boats dock at the big ports of call, meaning you will be dumped off in a TOURIST TRAP (don’t forget…with 2800 of your new closest friends). On Free Ingwe you will be able to snorkel and/or hike The Baths on Virgin Gorda, have a spa treatment on Peter Island, go to Anegada and eat the best lobster in ALL of the Caribbean, kayak at Guana Island, water ski at Great Camanoe and do the bar crawl on beautiful Jost Van Dyk. 
     I can hear you now…but you like nightlife, maybe even a little show. Well it’s your lucky day buddy because Matt and Mel know the places where all the cool kids go. They can take you to a touristy trap like Willy T’s (there is always a “show” there), or a place where all the locals hang out, like Willy T’s or even a world famous place, like Willy T’s. Let me tell you, those crazy kids know how to par-tay! If that’s a little much for you, there is always the spectacular nightly show of the sun setting and the moon rising over the Sir Frances Drake channel. You can relax with 5 of your best friends (or favorite kids) and enjoy one of Matt's specialty cocktails. No trying to flag down a bartender here, no ticket to sign and no surprising bar bill at the end of the week! On this cruise, drinks are FREE! You heard me right--ZIP, ZERO, NADA!
     So if you are a mega-cruise-ship kind of gal, go ahead and bring your floral muumuu, your gold lame sandals and your straw beach bag, if you must, but under no circumstances will Grandpa be allowed to pack his penguin suit.
     TRUST ME, when I tell you that this is THEE way to cruise. And feel free to drop my name when you book your trip, it’s good for one free tattoo at Willy T’s.

Mel is sharing her recipe for Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon with Port Wine Sauce.  I had it when I was on board and I can vouch for its delish factor. Go to the "Beef-Pork-Chicken" tab at the top of this page to view it. (Photo above  right: Your hosts-Captain Matt and Chef Melissa)
This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Blog about Free Ingwe, so stay tuned!