Archive for the 'family road tripping' Category

Nor Cal Ren Faire

Don’t forget to get yourself to the Northern California Renaissance Faire if  ye is up for a good time to eat, drink and be merry…

jousting- "to the death" my son noted

this is why we love the ren faire... "living history"

ah yes, could not forget the Queen!

Have fun!!

opps… and some road trippin’ fun!

So I really did mean what I said, but I guess it really doesn’t count if I don’t publish … Really,  I have started so many posts from homemade laundry detergent, sushi, honey candy to stories about our most awesome eurovan and camping in the National Parks this summer.  Really, really interesting stories, but all without endings… I know I have  to take baby steps back to my blog routine, because as I look back,  I like what I have written as a time capsule of what our family has been up to.

So tonight’s the night that I will tell about some highlights of our super duper southwest road trip:

This summer has been incredible, really super incredible. It started out with an amazing 16 day Southwest road trip that was the best one yet.  We really didn’t have a solid plan but just knew our general direction.  We were able to hit Zion, Bryce,North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arches, Mesa Verde National Parks in addition to some other magical places ( Calf Creek Falls in Utah) along the way.  Our national parks are such treasures and I would highly recommend visiting them and experiencing the true splendor that they offer. Every place we went had a different strength that made them each unique.

In Zion,  it was the high walls, the hanging gardens, the wild Virgin River that was at flood stage that made the Narrows impassable.

beauty in Zion

In Bryce, it was the sunrise to sunset trail that took my breath away. The raw beauty of the “hoodoos” honestly made me cry.

hoodoo magic

It was a treat to take the kids to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon at Sunset. The colors were unreal, and the magnitude was indescribable.  It was extra special to rub “Brighty’s nose” in the lodge because we were in the middle of reading , Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Margaurite Henry.

Brighty of the Grand Canyon

At Mesa Verde I was humbled by the civilization that had occupied these cliff dwellings  more than 1,000 years ago.

the possibilities...

And at Arches…(well Arches is my favorite,) … So alive with creation,   wind and water,  that is all it is… ( well,  and camping on the blm land on the Colorado River wasn’t too bad either.)


There were so many other places that we stopped along the way that made impressions on us, but I would have to say it was the National Parks that really came through for our family on this road trip.  I was so inspired I wanted to write a letter to Mr. Obama thanking him and his predecessors for our National Parks.  That is how wonderful!!!!!!

Part 1 of a very good story…



December 26, 2006, somewhere in the middle of Laguna Salada, Baja Mexico.  We are not “lost” yet. No, our oil pan hasn’t dropped yet, our van hasn’t stopped working just yet. We are still trying to get to our destination, Guadalupe Hot Springs.  Little did we know that we got severely off track and somehow managed to get on the Baja 500 loop.  And the story continues…

Food Choices On the Road

Healthy Choices on the Road

Healthy Choices on the Road

What would you eat??  2500 miles from Santa Cruz County to Whistler, British Colombia, and this was a most common site through three states.  S.A.D.  makes me sad  —This brief post was inspired by Cheeseslave, one of my favorite foodie blogs.

REAL FOOD Road Tripping

When one is dealing with an illness, going on the road does not seem like a good idea.  Truth be told, it is not.  I was on the road for a month, and now I am feeling the consequences.  I would not change my decision for our family of five to be on the road, for we had a most wonderful incredible time.  However, the lack of routine did take its toll.  It is going to be a challenge to find a balance of what makes me happy (traveling with my family) and what is best for my health.  I am relatively young and healthy which allows me a bit more flexibility to bounce back, but I want to be strong and not at all feel compromised.  

I think the answer is FREEZING  and DRYING real food.  Here are some ideas:


  •  NUTS:  soak nuts in salted water for 4-8 hours and then dry for 24-48 hours in a dehydrator
  • FRUIT:  slice in season fruit and dehyrdate until you like the hardness
  • JERKY:  have your butcher slice up flank steak, marinate, and then dehydrate  
  • KALE CHIPS:  take kale leaves off stalk and marinate in a tahini, acv, salt, nama shoyu, water, blend and dehydrate
  • FLAX CRACKERS:  soak flax seeds for four hours, and then put half in a blender with a tub of salsa and possibly some extra garlic, celery stalk.  Blend and lay out and dehydrate.
  • GLUTEN FREE RAW GRANOLA:  soak nuts for 4-8 hours, such as pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, seasame seeds, pumpkin seeds, (use all or few) and then add to blended dates and water (w/o seeds, i learned the hard way). Mix with you hands and spread on sheets and dehyrate for at least 30 hours.  I also sometimes add ground cinammon, vanilla to the date mixture

Most of these quickie recipes are for people familiar with a dehydrator.  If you need more instruction just email me, and I will give you specifics.  As for freezing I did about five batches of soup.  Yes, that did take me some time, but it was such a great feeling to have an easy, ready, home cooked meal when we were camping or in a rented kitchenette on our road trip. Use some of your favorite soup recipes to bring on the road.   Here are some of my abridged quickie soup recipes ideal for freezing:

note: you can also use these soups as bases and add on the road.  You could also add the creme optionally or on the road. I just do it for good fats!!


#1 My Tomato Basil

saute onions, sliced carrots, ( I sometimes add sliced beets too) and garlic in butter

add two 15 oz. cans of Muir Organic diced tomatoes

simmer and add chopped basil (here, I sometimes add spinach as well)…simmer

blend in a blender ( remember heat expands!)

return to pot and add creme fraiche!

s&p to taste

place in mason jars, NOT TO THE TOP,  and freeze

#2.- Potato Leek

Saute 2 shallots with 4 leeks in some butter

add homemade chicken broth

add potatoes

simmer until potatoes are cooked


add creme fraiche

s&p to taste

Put in mason jars…

# 3 – Simple Lentil Soup (or split pea)

Cook bacon (2-4 pieces) in large soup pot

saute diced onions/carrots/ and celery in bacon grease

add homemade chicken broth and soaked lentils (just split pea)

simmer for a few hours

add a can/fresh diced tomatoes

add tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

s&p to taste

Put in mason jars…

The above recipes are my stand -bys.  These are made often… with love.  

Hope you give one or some a try and let me know how they turn out.  

p.s.- don’t forget the beauty of the hard boiled egg!!!!

Life on the Road- Part 1 of a Northern California Family Road Trip

We had the best time!!! We want to stay on the road, seriously, we do it sooo well.  We loved that we had no attachments, just to each other, the five of us.  We worked so well together…New experiences and sights everyday kept it interesting for everyone.  Of course, the perfect weather also helped, including the record breaking hot day in Seattle.  

Jumping in Lake Washington at 7:00 P.M. ... good times

Jumping in Lake Washington at 7:00 P.M. ... good times


We spent 18 days on the road.  We had two places to meet people in the beginning, Juniper Lake, and in the middle, Bowen Island, and  the rest was up to us to see where the wind took us.  We drove miles when it felt good, and spent an extra night when we needed to as well.  We started the trip with a four day camping trip at Juniper Lake, in Mt. Lassen National Park.  We have spent quite a bit of time in Lassen, but this was our first trip to Juniper.  I love mountain lakes!!  Lassen  is the type of park where there is always something new to experience.  We have a love affair with it, similar to Sunset Magazine.  Every summer they mention different areas of Lassen National Park in their summer issues.  I was actually a little peeved this past month when  they mentioned Juniper Lake.  But it’s not for everybody, and those who journey there should bask in it.  Except for the mosquitoes(mid July) and pit toilet,  the swimmable mountain lake make it all worth it.        


Our next stop was a night in Mt. Shasta, at the Swiss Holiday Lodge, where our hosts allowed us to hang our laundry, on a clothes line on the front lawn. Oh, I wish had a picture!!  We had a nice clean room and were allowed to use a communal kitchen to make dinner.  It was a good respite after a few days of camping.  Onward and upward we drove into Oregon.  We did a long driving day, and made it to Salem, Oregon and chose a hwy 5 side KOA campground.  We were distracted by the old amusement park, actually old attractions are for sale, in front of the campground and the “fairyland ” attraction next door.  We actually were pretty stoked being there because it had a pool and a fishing pond and a nice camping spot away from the r.v.’s. No, not recommended tent camping spot, but very convenient for R.V. campers. The next day we hit a Silver Springs State Park and did mild hiking on top. It again was in Sunset magazine.   I definitely get a lot of travel ideas with Sunset.  I also, knowing we were heading on a road trip in this area, sent away to the Oregon and Washington Tourism Bureaus. ( word  i missed in 7th grade spelling bee) That was actually the first time I did that, I would highly recommend those as well. 


This is how we do it...Heart O' the Hills- loved it!!

This is how we do it...Heart O' the Hills- loved it!!




We drove until we needed to stop, only one bathroom break (fairy building),  mini-hike (silver springs), and books on tape made almost 600 miles fly by. We arrived tiredly at Olympic National Park Headquarters (closed at 7:30)in Port Angeles and decided to camp right up the road at Heart o’ the Hills Campground.  Another easy night of camp cooking with my frozen soups.  I actually wish we could have spent more time here, because there was so much to explore.  However, we were so anxious to cross the border, that we got up early to be ready for the ferry.   to be continued…

16 Days and Counting…ROAD TRIP

Our family of five loves to road trip.  This could have been a road tripping blog because I really feel that it is something our family does really well.  As a family we have road tripped to Northern California and Southern California many times.  We have also hit Southern Oregon, and made it twice down to Baja Mexico.  I will definitely write more about that one later.


 I think what makes our trips exciting and doable is that we make a tentative plan and then are mostly flexible as to how many days and nights in a certain place.  The time has come where the plan is taking root.  We have gotten our passports and have the revamped check list ready.  Here we go…

 In 16 days we are heading up to Bowen Island,B.C. to stay with some family for three or four days.  We are starting our trip with four days at Mt. Lassen, so with that tentative plan we have days in between to take our time and see places we have read about in Sunset Magazine and see some old friends.  With my diet restrictions, I am a little nervous about embarking for two and a half weeks on the road.  I remember how difficult it was to eat on our last road trip when I was reading Omnivore’s Dilemma  by Michael Pollan.  As much as I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, it was really hard to eat anything without thinking of “King Corn.”  My nutrition is still something I have to pay close attention to because of how much it affects my physical well being.  So to prepare for this road trip I have started to food prep.  I have dehydrated apples,  bananas and strawberries.  I have made two batches of soup and put them in the freezer so that they double as ice packs.  My famous Tomato Basil and my MIL’s Lentil Soup. 

Real Food for Road Tripping

Real Food for Road Tripping


 I have also soaked and roasted nuts, and tried my first batch of kale chips which came out amazing.  I am doing a little bit every day so that we will have some healthy food on the road.  I love my Excaliber Dehydrator.  But I definitely use it in waves, more so in the summer with all the fresh fruit and produce.  We went berry picking yesterday and with some of the berries, we made a cobbler and with the other part we made fruit rolls.


"gotta love berry cobbler"

"gotta love berry cobbler"


Our next plan on the road trip is to really take advantage of the local produce stands.  We will be bringing the Dutch Oven so as to make more cobblers while we are camping. As I am continuing to food prep and try some new recipes I am amazed at all the possibilities. Each day I am trying something new, and putting at least half of it away.  We’ll see if it  makes it for 16 more days!!

p.s. the kale chips didn’t!!