Then came the years of settling down and getting serious about life. The 30-Something’s brought me a marriage, a baby and the process of making a house a home. I thought I had it all. I thought I had done it all. But I had forgotten about going through the big “D”. After going through a divorce and trying my hand at being a single parent, I then decided that, now….I have done it all. Now, I’m 40-something and I’m thinking about making the last laps of life and heading across the finish line. My thoughts are filled with pushing my baby bird out of the nest (yeah, right), grandchildren (but not too soon), and retirement from my job so I can do all the fun things that I want to do.

But then what?

This is where my “Before I Kick The Bucket” list comes into play. I am very concerned that my bucket list is not very long and I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. In a way it could be good because, like I said earlier, I have been blessed to do many things in my life. There was never a question of if I could do them, I just did them. But, in a way, it could be a bad thing. This short list could tell me that I am in for a boring last few years.

One of the things on my bucket list is to go on a cruise. I would love to go to Jamaica, see the famous Dunn’s River Falls and shop in Ocho Rios. I want to eat real Jamaican food while being serenaded by locals playing Reggae music. The closest I have ever been to my trip to Jamaica was when I was in college. I discovered a restaurant in Nashville called Rainbow Key. I fell in love with Caribbean cuisine while enjoying my conch fritters amongst the fake palm trees, stuffed parrots and Jimmy Buffet music being piped through the speakers. Rainbow Key has long since closed it’s doors, but I can still remember the wonderful times my roommates and I had there.

Jerk Chicken. Jerk Pork. Conch Fritters. Coconut Shrimp. Hey…..it’s five o’clock somewhere. Put on some Jimmy Buffett music and enjoy these Jamaican recipes.
 
EASY JERK PORK

Ingredients
•2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
•3 scallions, chopped
•4½ tablespoons freshly ground (1 ounce) allspice
•½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
•½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
•1 teaspoon salt
•½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
•1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
•4 bay leaves, crumbled
•2 tablespoons peanut oil
•2 pounds pork chops, pork steaks, or sliced boneless pork butt
 
Mix peppers, scallions, and all the herbs and spices to form a paste. Add the oil and mix until smooth. Rub on both sides of the pork and let stand for 30 minutes. Grill on the barbecue.

SIMPLE JAMAICAN RICE AND BEANS

Ingredients
•2 15 oz cans red kidney beans
•1 13 oz can coconut milk
•2 cups long grain rice
•1 small onion, chopped
•1 clove garlic, chopped
•1/4 tsp dried thyme
•1 T oil
•1 scotch bonnet pepper or habenero
•water

Drain liquid from can of beans into a measuring cup and add the can of coconut milk and enough water to make 4 cups of liquid. Place liquids in pot with beans,onions,garlic,thyme and oil,bring to a boil. Add rice and stir for one minute. Reduce heat to med-low. Place scotch bonnet on top of liquid and cover tightly for 30 minutes or until rice tender. Remove scotch bonnet/habenero before serving.

JOHNNY CAKE 

Ingredients
•2 cups flour
•2 tsp baking powder
•1/4 tsp salt
•1 cup water
•2 tbsp butter or margarine
•Oil for deep frying

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Cut in butter lightly. Mixture should look like crumbs. Gradually add water, kneading until a smooth, firm dough is formed. Divide dough into balls, about a tablespoon in size. Knead each one lightly. Flatten each ball slightly, then fry in hot oil. Serve hot. Can be eaten whole, or cut in half and spread with butter or margarine. Great side for jerk chicken/pork.

NEXT WEEK—Coming Out Of Your Ears

Remember……Life is short. Eat Dessert first!!

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