Saturday, March 24, 2012

LIberty of the Seas

Jim and I just got back from our first cruise and I think we are in love. Neither one of us wanted to get off the boat. We sailed on Royal Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale and went to Belize and Cozumel (details to come in posts later this week). Right now, I want to talk about the boat. The Liberty of the Seas is one of the largest ships in Royal Caribbean's line and there is something to do for everyone.

We boarded at about noon on Saturday and because the staterooms would not be ready until about 1:00, we headed up to the Windjammer Cafe, the casual buffet, for some lunch. When we were finished eating, we went down to deck 7 to see our stateroom. We had an interior room, which was fine, but next time (yes, I'm already thinking about next time) I really want an exterior with a balcony.

From there, we went straight to the pool since the luggage hadn't been delivered yet. We spent most of our pool time in the Solarium pool, since it was adults only. At 4:00, there was a mandatory muster drill to give important information in case of emergency and then we were off. Jim and I went back to our room for a nap, since we had gotten up so early to get to the airport. When we woke up, our luggage was there and we went exploring the ship.

I'll start at the top and work my way down. Deck 13 is the sports deck, with the FlowRider, rockwall and mini-golf. We played mini golf one night at 11:00 in 45 mph winds. It was hilarious watching me try to putt and hold my dress down at the same time.

Deck 12 has the arcade, teen night clubs and kids activities, a jogging track and a Johnny Rocket's restaurant. Deck 11 is the Windjammer, the specialty restaurants, all the pools and the gym, which we never set foot in.

Decks 10 - 6 are staterooms. We were on Deck 7, which is also where the library is located. Deck 5 is the Royal Promenade, which is shopping, bars and places to eat. It's also where they have the Dreamworks parades and some of the evening parties, and The Sphinx nightclub. The casino and several bars are on Deck 4. The Platinum theater, ice rink and On Air (karaoke) bar are on Deck 3. Also, the main dining room is a three level room on Decks 3, 4 and 5. Finally, Deck 2 is the Screening Room movie theater.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi(e) Day!

Today is Pi(e) Day. Get it? March 14th. 3/14. 3.14. Math joke. I'm a nerd and I know it. I embraced my dorkiness a long time ago.

Anyway, after all kinds of pie talk on Facebook today, I decided to make a pie when I got home. This is a basic blueberry pie right from the Betty Crocker cookbook. Every summer when blueberries go on sale, I buy a ridiculous amount and freeze them in 2 cup bags so I can have them all year long. This used up almost all the blueberries in the freezer, but it was so worth it.

Honestly, I've made dozens of pies over the last 20 or 25 years and I still am incapable of crimping the edges and having it look right.

That said, no matter how wonky the pie comes out looking, it always tastes fantastic!

Blueberry Pie

Pastry for a two-crust 9" pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired
6 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll one round of pie dough into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/2 cup flour and the cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over blueberries. Cover with top pastry that has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours.