Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)

British Virgin Islands
BVI
The 3rd and final post of the BVI trip — I blame the severe lateness of this post on Captain Evan for holding his BVI pictures hostage….and maybe me for being a bad blogger. But guess who just gave me a little sailboat memory stick full of priceless pics!? Thanks Ev and Monica. These are amazing! And without further ado…here are days 7, 8 and 9 of our British Virgin Islands Trip. If you are new to A Bit of Bees Knees and want to catch up, here are parts One and Two.
BVI
Day 7
We sailed away from Norman Island that morning and started our way to the east side of Jost Van Dyke for the Bubbly Pool. I woke up to the rocking of the boat and Enya’s Caribbean Blue being played on the loud speaker. My jam! I climbed out of the bedroom hatch and a plate of eggs Benedict was waiting for me. The Wannamaker’s don’t mess around – vacation perfection. We moored the catamaran and motored the dinghy to the dock. The hike to the pool is about a mile, it’s fairly easy, but beware of the poisonous plants along the trail. If you stay on the path you’ll be fine. It’s a wildly fun spot (I wouldn’t suggest it for the kiddies), at high tide it can be dangerous, so make sure you don’t go beyond the funnel or stay high up on the rocks if you want to venture further. When a big wave rolls in, it will burst through the narrow passage leading to the pool. There are a few rocks that you can hold onto while the wave passes overhead. Please be careful that you don’t let the current pull you out to sea. Hold on tight! It can be a blast if you’re smart about it.
BVI 8

Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Doing what I do best ^^^
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
After the bubbly pool we crammed everyone into a dinghy and ventured out to a little island called Sandy Spit  (18°26’59.83″N 64°42’31.46″W) just off Jost Van Dyke. The whole island is less than 1/2 an acre with a ring of white sand, a few plants and palms – the most picturesque deserted island you could ever dream of.
Sandy Spit, British Virgin Islands
^^^ Dan jumped out of the dinghy and swam the rest of the way. He wanted the island all to himself .
BVI
BVI
Slightly ecstatic crew 😉 Funny thing… we meet a group with @natgeocreative on assignment in the BVI’s at Willy T’s the night before. Nat Geo’s can party ;)! They followed our route a day later and took some fantastic pictures of the island from above. Check them out here.
BVI
BVI
That night we moored off Jost, made garlic shrimp for dinner and sipped on OJ, cream of coconut and rummmmm to our hearts content.

Day 8
We sailed to Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke for ice cream and walked the beach, put our reservation in for Vinny’s that night. Then sailed to White Bay just around the point, swam, checked out The Soggy Dollar, napped on the boom (Ry’s favorite sleeping spot) and watched the sunset. We sailed back to Vinny’s and had conch fritters for dinner. I wrote our names inside the E of “Be Happy Don’t Worry” on the back wall of the restaurant. Lots of visitors leave there mark here – for future travelers to read or with hopes to revisit someday. We danced the night away at Foxy’s and enjoyed our last night on the boat.
BVI
BVI
White Bay, BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
^Bruised up, bit up by skeeters and still loving every second.
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands | White Bay
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
Day 9
We woke up early around 6:00AM to sail back to Soper’s Hole on Tortola to return the boat. We grabbed some coffee and breakfast at D’Best Cup Coffee Shop and stocked up on Harbor Market’s ginger hot sauce and fresh nutmeg for family back home. We took a ferry back to St. Thomas for our flight to NYC for the weekend before flying back home to California.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
^^^Dan walking the streets of Charlotte Amalie. Lunch at Glady’s Cafe –  stewed oxtails, w/ peas, rice, plantains and sweet potato.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
BVI
BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
The last hurrah. I could get used to vacations like this. A once in a life time trip with the best crew of buds.
Daniel BVI
What a fantastic trip! We prepared to switch weather from 85F to 35F and population from 10 to 8,500,000…off to NYC for a few days! Bye bye BVI’s you were so good to us!
BVI


Indian Butter Chicken

FullSizeRender (3)
Last week marks 1 year since our wild trip to India! I’m hankering for another adventure! We’re currently hashing out the details of our next trip (new destination). I can’t wait to share it with you when everything is finalized! For now, I’ll spend today reminiscing about this magical place. I give you Indian Butter Chicken at it’s best!  It’s just like the one we had in Delhi! So many lovely spices.

Ingredients
6 tablespoons butter (cubed)
2 lbs chicken breasts (cut into bite size chunks)
1 sweet onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (pressed)
3 tsp garam masala
2  pieces Cassia Bark (regular cinnamon sticks will do just fine too)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
14 oz tomato sauce
2 cups cream
salt & pepper
cilantro

Instructions
  1. Use 2 tbsp of your butter to brown cubed chicken in a skillet. Cook until the outside is golden and the inside is still pink. Scoop out the chicken into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using the same skillet as before, add another 2 tbsp of butter to the rendered chicken fat. Add diced onion, and cook until caramelized. Add all the dry spices, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute until the spices become aromatic. Add tomato sauce. Stir. Stir. Stir.
  3. Let simmer for five minutes before adding the cream. Stir again. Add the partially cooked chicken and let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Cover with lid (that sauce will stain)!
  4. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Serve over jasmine rice, top with fresh cilantro

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender (4)TajTaj Delhi IndiaKerala IndiaKerala India
A few of my other posts from India if you care to read more…
How was India
How to Book a Rice Boat
Kolkata and a Beautiful Indian Wedding


Valentine’s Day Edition: Ladurée French Macarons

Ladurée French Macarons
A few years ago, I posted a recipe for Ladurée macarons that seemed to be a big hit with readers. I thought making a special Valentine’s Day edition would be fun. Same recipe with a cute Valentine’s Day Twist. Just grab some edible markets from Amazon and turn these classic treats into a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

This is a macaron shell recipe from Ladurée — the crème de la crème of macarons in the world! And I whipped up the filling recipe myself…

Makes approximately 50 macarons
Bake at 300F
Macaron Shell Ingredients
2 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp (275 g) fine almond flour
2 cups + 1 tbsp (250 g) confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
6 +1/2 egg whites (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp (210g) granulated white sugar
3 drops of whatever food coloring you desire
Directions for Macaron Shells:
1. Combine the ground almond flour and the confectioners sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a fine powder {do not over mix or you will end up with paste! Nooo!}. Sift through a sieve to remove any lumps.
2. In a large bowl {I use my KitchenAid}, whisk 6 egg whites until foamy. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar {precisely 83.3 oz}. Whip until the sugar has dissolved. Add another third of the sugar. Whip for 1 minute. Add the last third of the sugar and whip for one minute. Egg whites should be glossy and hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, delicately fold the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add it to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the macaron batter.
3. If you only want to make one color of macarons, then add your desired food coloring to the batter bowl. If you want multiple colors, divide your batter into separate bowls and add coloring to each. Try not to over mix.
4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag {you can also use zip lock bags with a cut corner}. Pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a  lined baking sheet. I like to line mine with a silpat or this fancy macaron mat. Parchment paper will also do. Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release any air pockets. Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes, so a thin dry coat forms on the top {you should be able to gently touch them without the batter sticking to your finger}. Now they are ready for the oven. Only bake one tray at a time. Bake at 300F for approximately 15 minutes or until they form a smooth shell and little foot.
*You can prepare the next tray while you wait for the first batch to bake.
5. Ok here is where you’ll need to be extra patient. Wait until the macarons have completely cooled before peeling them off the mat. If they stick, they are not ready. * My method {because I’m impatient} to speed things up, try placing the hot baking sheet on top of cold damp dishtowels. This can cut your waiting time in half!
Macaroon Filling Ingredients
8 tbsp jam
4 tbsp soft butter
splash of whipping cream
Fills approximately 50 macarons
{If you want to make different flavors on a smaller scale just measure 2:1 ratio for jam and butter}
Macaron Filling Instructions
Easy part!
1. You can use any flavor you want. For these macarons, I made different flavors for each color — peach, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. Mmmmm. My friend gave me some amazing homemade jams that I mixed with butter and a splash of whipping cream.  Your measurements will vary depending on how much filling you want for each flavor. Just mix jelly, butter and whipping cream until you reach a semi-solid consistency at room temp. This one is pretty hard to mess up.
*I used Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut filling.
Good luck my friends!
Ladurée French Macarons
Ladurée French Macarons

Fiddle Leaf Fig Inspiration and 15 Pretty Planters

Fiddle Leaf Fig
I have a love/hate relationship with these green beauties. I love them and they hate me. 😉 No really. I’ve had three plants now and they keep dying, despite my tender loving care – scheduled waterings, a sunny spot next to the window and a gentle leaf polishing with coconut oil. I’ve tried everything. Maybe it’s my house…maybe it’s not enough sun. Who knows? Some day I’ll figure it out, until then these pictures will keep me dreaming.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig

And here are some fun potting ideas too! I stick mine inside a ceramic pot and woven grass basket at home. These cute planters extend beyond the fiddle leaf fig…think snake plant, cacti, rubber trees, palms etc. There are lots of indoor plant options that would look stunning in these pretty planters.
Pretty Planters
1. palazzo marbleized planter / 2. glisan hanging planter / 3.fiddle leaf fig ceramic planter / 4.cement planter / 5.brass planter /  6.riviera pineapple copper planter / 7.mamba basket / 8.drum white planter/  9.blue swirl planter  / 10.drip pottery / 11.zen white planter / 12.napa round planter / 13.conway basket /14.Joya Basket / 15.danube planter grey marble

Pictures: grancedore, theinspiredroom,  dominoheatherkincaiddomino 2


Oregon – Over the River and Through the Woods

A few weeks ago, my mom, brother and and I flew to Oregon to spend a long weekend with my Grandmother. We arrived in Medford and drove through the redwoods to Brookings where my Grandma lives on the coast. We spent most of the time talking, watching her favorite shows and looking through old pictures of when she was young. Brookings is a bit of sleepy town, but the slower pace was welcomed break from life at home. My brother and I went for a morning run everyday. It was nice to spend some quality sibling time together…even if he ran ahead of me (too cool to run with his little sis). We watched the waves, drove out to Lobe Park to skip rocks in the calm river, ate burgers at Fely’s Cafe and spent some time at the public library. It felt like a weekend from the 90’s and I loved it.

Flying over Mt. Shasta in all its glory.

I went for a morning run on the beach infront of Grandma’s house. She had a big storm roll in few weeks prior and massive waves brought giant logs onto the beach….just a 100ft or so from the houses along the beach.

OR Run
Morning runs with my brother. That tiny black figure on the road in-between the trees is Bran. I can’t keep up with the speed demon (or I’m not cool enough to run with). He amazes me how fast and far he can run without taking a break. He showed me McVay Rock, a place he would run to when he live up here. I loved this moment… me and my bro running on that long stretch of road – cows and grassy fields on one side and the foggy Oregon coast on the other.
Brookings, Oregon
Red pyracantha
Brookings OR coffee shop
The Bell & Whistle Coffee House
We picked up some coffee-to-go before we drove out to Loeb Park. It’s a cute little coffee house near the docks in Brooking harbor. I tried the toasted coconut mocha and Grandma had the kahlua latte. Both were fantastic.

Loeb Park ^^^The park is nestled in a grove of myrtlewoods and evergreens, many of which are well over 200 years old.  The icy blue Chetco River run through it – crystal clear and prefect for skipping stones with Grandma 😉

^^^Back to Grandma’s beach to enjoy a sunset walk with mom.

^^^My mom admiring the view of the mossiest tree we ever did see. We were on our way back to Medford, when we pulled over to check out a little trail leading to the river. We found this beauty at the bottom of it.