It is April 15 2020 and if feels like the entire world is in a state of upheaval. The way we have lived up until now has been upended; schools are out, classes are online, more of us a working from home, we’re wearing masks and joining lines to get into supermarkets. People have lost jobs, businesses have folded, whole sectors are in jeopardy of collapse. And most of all, people are dying…have died. This virus seems to have appeared out of nowhere and with no cure or vaccine in sight, it’s hard to ensvision how this ends and what our world will be like when it does end. This is an unsettling and uncertain time, and many are turning to food for comfort. But now is not the time to binge eat those foods that make us more susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19. Here’s a budget friendly, creamy, low-carb soup that will satisfy that need for warmth and comfort.Continue reading Creamy Callaloo Coconut Soup: Keto Comfort
De-stressing in Jamaica
To say that the last 2 weeks have been stressful is an understatement. So, not one to wallow in unhappiness and stress and strain, I hastily planned a weekend doing some of the things I enjoy best! The yells of joy when I informed Little Master and Miss World confirmed that I had made the right decision.
ROAD TRIP! Yep, I absolutely love a good drive out, and the state of our roads notwithstanding, the Jamaican countryside is soooooo beautiful. I decided to head west to my all time favourite place on the island: Negril. Here’s the thing about Negril: that 7 mile stretch of white sand and clear, blue water and the absence of the more commercial, high-rise complexes and the way Jamaicans and tourists quietly co-exist make Negril’s vibe relaxing and therapeutic. There is never loud music offending you, but always the quiet, low throbbing of a comfortingly familiar reggae beat, gently lulling your soul into a state of rest. The beaches are shallow and waters calm, allowing for children to frolic safely and allowing you to paddle and soak and just be. And when the sun sets, there are no words. The beach comes to a standstill for a few minutes while everyone basks in the awesome sight of the sun dipping below the horizon. Negril sunsets never, ever get old.
I have been staying at a modest hotel right on the beach for the last decade or so called Negril Treehouse Hotel. This is where Stella got her groove back! Well, before she discovered that her groover was bisexual/gay/whadeva…Oh well, Stella aside, I ALWAYS enjoy my stays there. The rooms are modestly priced and modestly outfitted. But really and truly, when you are in Negril, you really only need the room to shower and sleep. All waking hours are best spent on the sand which is literally footsteps away from your room. I walk with my igloo and my beverages of choice (woohoo!!!!) and set up camp under a huge almond tree and happily pass the hours away there. Negril Treehouse is owned by the Jacksons (Mr. Jackson passed away late last year…may he rest in peace) and you can feel the impact of these owners/managers throughout your stay. There’s a real family feel there.
But before I got to Negril, I had to drive four hours to get there from Kingston. We departed at 6:30am, a cool, clear Saturday morning. It was an uneventful, enjoyable drive. The ubiquitous speed traps were largely absent and the radio station of choice was on point with their selections. We enjoyed lots joking and laughter and singing and even some quiet time as at one stage I was the only one awake!
|Bamboo Avenue, St. Elizabeth|
I decided to stop in Middle Quarters for “peppa swims” (read: peppered shrimp). The shrimp are prepared in the shell with lots of salt and a whole heap of hot pepper, stuffed into small plastic bags and sold by the roadside.
Eating the spicy treats was an adventure, but being the prepared traveller that I am, bottles of Catherine’s Peak spring water were quickly deployed to deal with the burning! Apart from the spice, beware the spiny claws and other appendages on the shrimp. They stick…hard!
|Peppered Shrimp from Middle Quarters|
Negril was just what the Doctor ordered…the kids played, I relaxed, I napped and I really enjoyed having what I thought was great conversation with Rachie and it was just, well…perfect…
|Negril Tree House|
I should mention that Negril Tree House serves a great breakfast that is included in the cost of the room!
|Callaloo, ackee & saltfish, johnny cakes, ham & cheese omelette and pineapple|
Yes…it was a well needed break. Sometimes you just need to put down the load for a while, regain some strength and then you can take it up again once you’ve rested a while. I put down my load this weekend for sure!
|The view from between my legs 🙂|
Reluctantly, we packed up midday Sunday morning. Sigh…back to life, back to reality. Cho man…
It was a great day for driving and at Miss World’s request, I decided to drive back via the North Coast. That’s a 5 hour hop!
|Road Warriors on the move|
We stopped for cold coconut water in Trelawny and for soup at Scotchie’s in Drax Hall.
Thank God for a moment of fun in the middle of living. Tomorrow is another day. And we will continue the struggle having rested a while. “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow”.