I'VE GOT THIS BAKING THING GOING ON, BUT IT'S A SLOW START-BAKING MY WAY AROUND THE WORLD CRUISE!


The oven has been ordered and will be here within 2 weeks. Went with a GE Electric Double Oven Range. Though GE is now owned by Haier, a Chinese Corporation, the product is still made in the US in Kentucky & Alabama. It cost a little more (about $200,) but I bought an American made product. Something we all need to start doing.


So, with the oven that I have, I can still bake, but it takes an hour and a half to preheat and twice as long to cook. I'm going to try using my toaster oven to test some new recipes.


Today, I made Keto Crockpot Fudge, with each piece being 3 net carbs. Using very expensive sugar free chocolate chips, this may be a hard sell due to cost, but it smells wonderful. I guess I will have to see who really is desperate for a pan of fudge. Alert: the $15 fudge was horrible, it went right into the trash. What a waste of money.


8 Bite-Sized Trader Joe’s Appetizers That Are Perfect for Safe Holiday Hosting

Skip the (double) dip and grab some of these irresistible frozen appetizers instead


I don’t know about you, but hors d'oeuvres and small bites are my favorite part of any holiday gathering. And while I usually love to make a big charcuterie board and savory dips, the good news is, Trader Joe’s has endless options that are easy to grab and devour without everyone getting their paws all over them. From classic finger foods like pigs in a blanket and mac & cheese balls, to vegetarian options like crispy wontons and French onion soup bites, Trader Joe’s (as always) has something for everyone.


Parmesan Pastry Pups

No holiday gathering is complete without a tray of pigs in a blanket, and TJ’s version is next level delicious. The combination of savory beef franks with flaky puff pastry and sprinkled parmesan is *chef’s kiss*


Crispy Vegetable Pouches

Whether your guests are vegetarian or not, these crispy veggie wontons are an absolute no-brainer. They’re packed with a variety of vegetables like jicama, taro, cabbage, carrots, onions, shiitake mushrooms, and accented with flavors of garlic, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and red chili.


Hold the Corn!

Warning: these little corn cones will be gone seconds after you put them down on the table. They’re hand-packed with delicious ingredients like sweet corn, water chestnuts, green onions, and wood ear mushrooms. And I kid you not, they look and taste homemade.


Mac & Cheese Bites

TJ’s Mac & Cheese Bites have been around since 2010 and it’s no wonder why: they’re still one of the most popular frozen appetizers. The ooey-gooey cheesy blend of cheddar, havarti, swiss, and gouda are so delicious and comforting, you’ll probably want to stash a box in the freezer for late-night munchies.


Crispy Rice Salmon Bites

If you’re looking to serve your guests something a little less traditional, these Crispy Rice Salmon Bites are just the thing. They’re savory and salty and come with a creamy, spicy dipping sauce. Think of them as bite-sized fish and chips but with Atlantic salmon instead of a flaky white fish.


French Onion Soup Bites

Every party needs a fun appetizer, and these French Onion Soup Bites are it. Perfect for a chilly evening or wintry holiday, your guests will get cozy with these spoon-less soupy apps. They’re made with savory caramelized onions, rich and creamy Swiss cheese, and seasoned with a savory vegetable broth base.


Spicy Shrimp Appetizer Duo

Why serve just one shrimp appetizer when you can serve a duo? Your family and friends will go crazy for crispy Kung Pao shrimp spring rolls and tasty lemongrass shrimp wontons.


Pastry Bites With Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions

A sweet and savory mix of tangy feta, jammy caramelized onions, and puffed pastry, these little guys are so good, it's impossible to stop at just one. (I've even been known to eat them as a meal on occasion—shh, don't tell anyone.) Pro tip: Pop them out of the plastic container they're packed in and bake them in a mini muffin pan instead for a perfectly crisp shell.



ROYAL CARIBBEAN'S TEST SAILING! More than 100,000 have signed up!




More than 100,000 people have signed up to take part in Royal Caribbean’s test sailings just days after the cruise line put out a call for volunteers.

The cruise line, which plans to run simulated trial sailings as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirements to begin "phased resumption" of sailing asked eager cruisers to fill out a form online to show their interest, which Royal Caribbean set up alongside its "Volunteers of the Seas” Facebook group last week.

“And just like that...100,000 people have volunteered. We can’t wait to start this next phase with you all!” Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO, wrote on Facebook.


These simulated sailings may look like a typical cruise on the surface (including testing out shore excursions on private islands), but will also include COVID-19 quarantine drills as well as standard muster drills.


Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and show a medical certificate.


The Scariest Places in the World


THE TOWER OF LONDON PART 1

Espionage, torture, decapitation—it was all run-of-the-mill stuff during the 17th century when the Tower of London was used as a prison for those accused of treason. Among its most famous residents were Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, and the "Nine-Day Queen" Lady Jane Grey. Both were beheaded on the Tower Green and buried in the chapel, and it's said their headless ghosts roam the halls to this day. The Bloody Tower is thought to be the spot where the young sons of King Edward IV were murdered on orders from their uncle, while the Queen's Tower is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Arbella Stuart, the cousin of James I who was imprisoned and later murdered here.



Ilha da Queimada Grande

São Paulo, Brazil



Ophidiophobes, this is your worst nightmare. Ninety miles off the coast of São Paulo, Ilha da Queimada Grande aka "Snake Island" is home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers (the largest concentration in the world). Legends loom large around these parts: two fisherman were once bitten here and found dead in a pool of their own blood, and a third was never found. The island is now off limits to everyone except the Brazilian navy who visits once a year to check up on the lighthouse, which was automated in the 1920s after the last keeper was also killed by a snake.



Capuchin Catacombs

Sicily, Italy



Built as a cemetery for the Capuchin friars in the mid-1500s, this catacomb became the eternal resting place for aristocrats in the 17th century, when it was discovered that bodies buried here had naturally mummified. It was believed to be an act of God, so the corpses were hung from the catacomb walls like relics. Today, five subterranean limestone corridors are lined with 2,000 skeletons, each with a label marking the name and date of death




This is still available through the American Queen Steamship Company-check for dates!!




This is the best recipe-you need to try it. It's wonderful!!





I hope to be sailing off into the sunset soon. It can't be soon enough. Tired of my land time at home. Need the salt water spray in my face.



Till Next Time.

Val Brown


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