Home… I am HOME

Well, for those of you who aren’t with me on social media, you may not know: we are now in Guam! Yep, thanks to Food Fighters, we are home. (If you didn’t catch the full episode, you can watch the final round HERE.)

We arrived late last night after four days in Tokyo… and Tokyo was amazing. (I’ll have to post that later… there’s too much to cover here.)  We visited a Japanese onsen (which I think will go down as the coolest thing we’ve ever done together as a family to date), ate more ramen than you can imagine, and walked more miles in four days than we’ve done in the last year. The Japanese culture is wonderful… and we had a total blast.

As for Guam, we arrived late last night and  started today at 7am with toes in the sand – and a rainbow!

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Tumon Bay outside the Outrigger Hotel

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Me and my man, Tumon Bay

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From the beach we put plumerias (my favorite flower on earth) in our hair and spent a full day with my dad and family…

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with auntie bobby

Here we are with my dad and my sweet Auntie Bobby.

then ended our evening with a gorgeous island sunset….

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Overlooking Tumon Bay from the top of the Outrigger Hotel, Guam

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View from atop the Outrigger Hotel, Guam

while our kids enjoyed the GoPro and the warm pacific ocean…

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Now that I’m sitting in my bed processing the day, I’m in awe. First of all, I can’t believe we’re home. Seriously? Did I seriously compete on an NBC game show and win the money to allow for this amazing family vacation? And, how can it be that I was raised here? Here? Really? On this little rock of paradise in the middle of the pacific ocean? How can it be that I knew these beaches before the mega hotels and beach bars and millions of tourists? How can it be that these waters raised me? How can it be?

Being back home and watching my kids take joy in the warmth and beauty blesses my heart beyond belief. All I keep whispering to myself is, “Thank you, Father”. What a gift… what a gift.

I can’t wait to share more of my beautiful island home and our family adventures with you – including local food and recipes! Stay tuned – and connect with me on Twitter,  Instagram and Facebook if you can! This is gonna be quite an adventure.

Fleeing the Dark Side With A Smoothie In Hand

If you’re with me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, then over the last week or so saw photos of a spattering of our adventure highlights through Montana and Idaho:

  • A drive through Spokane, Washington where spots we frequented in college had me feeling nostalgic;
  • A visit to my brother-in-laws art studio;
  • The Montana Folk Festival (which we didn’t spend nearly enough time at);
  • Gold panning (where we worked really hard for specks of gold in one of the most beautiful, secluded spots I could have imagined);
  • Breakfast at Butte’s Hummingbird Cafe where we took over the outdoor patio; and,
  • Dinner at THE BEST place we ate the entire vacation: Casagranda’s. (I must add: if you are ever in Butte, DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE. They serve happy cows, and even consider kids real people who eat real food, which was evidenced by their kids menu that offered steak and potatoes in a kid-sized portion, and even a chicken breast with vegetables!)

We ended our adventures with two days totally unplugged in a remote river-front cabin in Idaho. It was idyllic – a real throwback to days before television and cell phones. The kids did ‘kid’ things, like poke at the fire, make smores, whittle, throw ninja stars against trees, read magazines, fly along the zip line, and learn to skip rocks. I woke up early each day and, and was rewarded with a glimpse of a moose tromping up the river about twenty yards from me as I sipped my hot, rich coffee.

In spite of the great adventure and the joys of our vacation, unfortunately… there was a dark side.

A dark dark side… a side we’ve since escaped, but we are still recovering from.

You ready?

The dark side of fake food.

Fast food. Gas station snacks. Grocery store packages. Ready-to-eat ‘meals’. Crackers. Chips. Hotel continental breakfasts with muffins, and little boxes of cereal, and bagels, and toast, and flavored-yogurts-so-full-of-sugar-we-might-as-well-had-a-candybar.

UGH.

We tried to keep it together. We made stops at grocery stores for fresh fruits and easy to eat veggies. We ordered eggs off the hotel menu (only to have the kids say the scrambled eggs were hard and didn’t taste like eggs). We tried to stop at the ‘good’ fast food places, and we drank lots and lots and LOTS of water.

None of it mattered, though. The ‘ease’ of the processed food and necessity of eating out and depending on others to ‘nourish’ us took us so far down that a peach or apple here or there couldn’t save us… and, by the end, we were hurting.

Battle worn. Sickly. Bloated and lethargic and flat-out gross.

I longed for my kitchen… longed for quinoa, raw nuts, fragrant herbs, dark leafy local greens, and berries off our Oregon bushes. Even my kids we begging when we were just a few hours out from home: “Mom, when we walk in the door can you cut me up some fruit and make me a smoothie?”

Oh, how I love them… and, you bet I obliged.

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Fresh. Clean. Green. Delicious.

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We fled the dark side with a smoothie in hand… and it was a glorious return to freshness.

If you’re not in the habit of doing smoothies at home, can I just tell you: you are missing out.

And, can I just encourage you: get to making them.

Here’s our favorite basic (that make with our Magic Bullet):

  • ice
  • frozen fruit (you can use fresh fruit, but using frozen fruit adds to the iciness)
  • sliced banana (gives creaminess)
  • raw spinach
  • water
  • ground flax
  • protein powder (the type bodybuilder’s use – we buy ours at Costco)

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That’s it! Throw it all in a blender and blend til smooth.

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Here’s a couple of tips:

1) Don’t overdo the ice when you’re using frozen fruit because it will end up too thick. Start with just a couple cubes of ice – you can always add more if you need to.

2) You don’t need juice for flavor. Juice you’ve juiced yourself is exceptional; juice we buy at the store is not. Don’t bother with it when you’re making smoothies – let the real fruit be your sweetener.

3) Proportions? I’d say about 1/2 cup frozen fruit, a small handful of raw spinach, 2 TSBP flax, 2 TBSP protein powder, 2 ice cubs, 1/2 diced banana and just enough water to allow it to blend.

Let me know if you make it… or, better yet: let me know what your favorite smoothie recipe is!

Cheers!

DSC07513(Now off I go to whip up some quinoa… I have a long way to go to feeling like myself again.)