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In 1977, the show "The Love Boat" premiered on TV. I was enthralled with the idea of cruising. My first cruise was on my honeymoon in 1982.

Years later my husband, Bill, and son, Chris, also were bitten by the "cruise bug." Through the years, when friends were heading to the New Jersey shore, we decided to cruise; especially when it was less expensive than going to the shore points. It's a deal when everything is included in one price except for alcolic drinks, soda and shore excursions. Great deals can be found on the Internet using the cruise company website or other sites such as Smart Cruiser, Costco, Vacations to Go, Cruises.com and Avoya Travel.

We went on a Carnival Cruise this year, and decided to do one excursion on our anniversary. It was titled "My Bahamian House." It sounded like a fun way to spend the early part of the day while in the port of Freeport. We traveled by van with about 22 other passengers to a private Bahamian-style house complete with all amenities including a chef, bartender and friendly host for a very relaxing day of sun, fun, great food and cocktails.

The house was near the beach, and the Grand Bahama Waterway where guests could swim, kayak, snorkel or paddleboard.

The bartender Darrow Bullard made a delicious drink called the Bahama Mama. Guests could choose many different non-alcoholic or

alcoholic drinks from the open bar throughout our time there.

My favorite part of the day was joining professional Chef Katina Lockhart and her assistant Chef Robin Gibson in the kitchen as they prepared our traditional Bahamian lunch. The recipes were shared, and now I can share them with you. The appetizer was Conch salad served on a shell. The main course was a choice of Chicken kabob with Guava Barbecue sauce or Banana wrapped Snapper fillet. Guava nectar can be found in the aisles at Giant or other grocery stores.

Since we don't have access to banana leaves, parchment paper can be used. The side dishes were coconut rice and vegetable coconut curry. Dessert was banana fritters which tasted similar to a fried version of banana bread.

As you can see the theme of the islands is evident with coconut, banana and guava. The meal and the experience were well worth it.

Conch Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 conchs, large chunks, raw

2 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, fine diced

1 bell pepper, fined diced

2 lemons

2 limes

Half an orange

2 teaspoon Celery salt

2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Mix cayenne and celery salt together set aside

2. In a large bowl mix chunks of conch tomato onion bell pepper lemon lime and orange, add salt to taste.

3. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes

Chicken Kabob

Serves 8

Ingredients

8 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes

1 cup chunks of pineapple

2 onions, chunks

3 medium green bell peppers cut into chunks

(Season to taste with salt, pepper, thyme and lime)

16 Skewers

Guava barbecue sauce (see recipe)

Directions

1. Place peppers onions pineapple and chicken in a large bowl season with salt thyme lime and pepper

2. Thread on skewers

3. Grill on high on both sides for 3 minutes each side

4. Remove and put in large pan, glaze with guava barbecue sauce, cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees

Guava Barbecue sauce

Serves 12

3 cans of guava nectar

1 Jar of guava jam

1 ½ tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1. Pour guava nectar in a saucepan on medium heat and reduce by half.

2. Melt in guava jam, add vinegar and salt.

3. Continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes on medium high heat, allow to cool.

Banana wrapped Snapper fillet

Serves 8

Ingredients

8 6oz mutton snapper fillets

8 pieces of banana leaf (or parchment paper)

2 medium onions

2 red bell peppers, green peppers

1 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)

1 clove garlic

3 lemons

3 limes

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

(Salt to taste)

1 ¼ sticks of butter

Directions

1. Melt butter in a saute pan, cook onions pepper ginger thyme garlic on medium high heat in butter until soft ( allow to cool)

2. Squeeze the lemon and lime juice over fish fillet season with salt

3. Place sauteed vegetables on banana leaf top with fillet and wrap the leaves

4. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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