De Ma Cuisine

travel Archive

Monday

7

November 2016

5

COMMENTS

Too Much Stuff

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

brandocarWe have – what, about 45 cubic feet in the back of the car. The dog takes up about 10. Not a lot left for our worldly possessions. So we’ve learned to make do with very little. A few pairs of pants, t-shirts, and sweaters. Too many shoes (although I’ve worn all but one pair). And it’s turned out to be plenty. We don’t have new outfits to pull out for special occasions. But, we’re clothed, warm, and happy.

I don’t really know if it’s 45 cubic feet. It’s almost 1am and it’s too cold to walk outside to measure. We do have a measuring tape along, so I could if I cared enough.

Now that we’ve extended the length of our trip, doubled it really, I’m thinking again about what we brought. If I could have a do over, I’d change a few things. But, mostly what it’s teaching me is that we can live so much simpler. I’m sure that when we get home I’ll be thrilled to see some of the things we left behind. But, truthfully, I’m more excited to get to purge. I want to live with so much less stuff.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Tim and I both come from families of happy packrats. They have so many things that are important to them. It’s their prerogative, their lives. But, I think about my grandpa’s house. There were bundles of old newspapers, stacks of music, paths between piles so you could cross the room. I want to break the cycle.

rachdrive

As we’re continuing along this journey and thinking about where we want to be and what we want to do, one thing that I see clearly is that I want things to be simpler. Stuff clutters our small house. There are two closets that are stuffed from the bottom to the top. Furniture lines the wall space and has even started to collect outside. We can’t say no to a free solid wood dresser. There’s too much potential. But, it overwhelms me. I don’t know when I’ll ever need 86 glasses at the same time, those pants that shrunk in the closet, or my old cell phones. Some things stay because they have nostalgic ties. There are texts on those phones from when Tim and I were dating. The glasses are a collection of yard sale finds and treasures from grandparents who are gone now. They’re old, beautiful, and have the class of a different era. The pants have no excuse.

We could make do with four glasses. If we need more, we can borrow. But, we don’t do that much anymore, do we? Everyone has their own everything. Lawnmowers, sleeping bags, and barbecues. Extra sheets, towels, and a guest bed for the guests that visit twice a year. Snow boots, hats, and mittens (silly for us in California). One or two of these things isn’t a problem. But, we have 9 of the 10 things on the list. Add that to the four boxes of Christmas decorations, the tent we’ve used once, and the Halloween costumes, and it’s enough to break my brain.  windyroadstop

I wonder, are we really using our space well? Are we making good use of our things? I’d like to make do with more of the essentials, and live without some of the extras. We’ve joked about a possible next step for us being a tiny house on some property, or buying a van and traveling for a year. I almost want to pick one of these options just so that we can be forced to downsize. Oh, the freedom that this represents to me!

So, stay tuned for a sickeningly adorable new blog about decorating our tiny house and tiny kitchen… (Not really, but who knows at this point?)

Wednesday

26

October 2016

0

COMMENTS

Eating on the Road – Nutella Raspberry Shake

Written by , Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Quick and Easy, Thoughts, Travel, Usana, Vegan, Vegetarian

nutellashake2rt

Life on the road has been great. It’s been filled with adventure and relaxation, smooth highways and bumpy gravel roads, time with people and time alone. It’s been a joy to be on this journey. We’ve loved it all. Part of what’s been fun is getting away from the norms of our everyday life.

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Our normal routine includes a weekly menu, planned so that the grocery shopping is done efficiently and practically, so that there is something planned for all meals. We don’t eat out a lot. Eating out doesn’t agree with our budget or our healthy lifestyle choices. However, life on the road includes a lot more eating out than normal. It’s not the norm-norm, but for a while it’s a bit more so. I thought about menu planning before the trip. I could have figured out exactly what we’d eat and where. But, we wanted to have lots of freedom as we travel. Plus, we had such a short amount of time to plan that it got left off of the to-do list. So we’re doing the best we can with what we have. And it’s been great!

pizzartWhen we’re staying with people and are invited to share a meal, we gladly accept. When we’re asked out to a meal, it’s a fun treat. We’ve had delicious pizza in Boston, fabulous barbecue in Texas, and Philly Cheesesteaks in West Philadelphia.

rudysrtSince about half of our time has been spent in the car, we generally munch on a mix of healthy, homemade foods and of course snacks (with a smattering of DQ and Steak’n Shake stops).

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Before we left I prepped as much as I could. I made granola bars, sourdough bread, and scones. We bought crackers, cheese, and fruit, jerky, chips, and chocolate covered gummy bears (ok, not all that we brought was healthy). We even had a small pantry that included items like canned beans and tomatoes, tuna, olive oil, and a few of my favorite kitchen tools (we totally brought some cast irons). We borrowed a camping stove from some friends so we have options, which means freedom. Nevermind that we have yet to use it – I’m determined that we will before the end of the trip so that it’s worth it to have lugged it all this way. 😉

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Our stays with both sets of parents have been more extended stays (thanks a million moms and dads!). So we’ve had time to unpack and relax. Tim loves English muffins with ham and eggs, so he made those one morning. We’ve also baked quite a bit, using some great recipes from our friend John Park, and made one of my favorite comfort foods, Texas Stuffnutellashake1rtOne thing that we’ve enjoyed while on the road are our Usana protein shakes. They’re great for sipping while reading a good book as we listen to the wind rustle the leaves on the fall trees. They’re also a great breakfast to grab when we’re in a rush to get on the road (because let’s be honest, we almost always leave way later than we’d planned). While it’s just fine to use water and the powdered shake mix, I love to add a little more and make a meal that will really keep me full until lunchtime. My favorite shake includes banana and peanut butter. Tim’s includes Nutella. His is the recipe I’ve shared below. I’ll share mine another time.

usanart

Another way that we’re trying to keep healthy as we travel is by taking our Usananutritional supplements. Usana is a company making pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are the top in state of the art nutritional science. They use cell signaling technology, which is why people have such great results. Our daily regimen includes a powerful antioxidant and core mineral combo called CellSentials, Procosa (for joint support), vitamin D and fish oil (cellular function), Coquinone 30 (cardiovascular health), Usana probiotic (gut support) and digestive enzymes (digestive health), and Visionex (eye health). There’s also a great immune system booster called Booster C that we’ve taken when we’re feeling a sore throat coming on.

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We’re exercising moderation, trying to make wise decisions, and showing ourselves grace. All of which has added up to a wonderful trip. Lots of great times together that we will cherish for a long long time.

Nutella Raspberry Shake

Nutella Raspberry Shake

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C Nutella (or your favorite vegan hazelnut spread)
  • 1/2 C raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 5-6 oz milk (any type)
  • 5-6 oz water
  • 2 scoops (39g) Usana MyShake powder (whey, plant, or soy)
  • splash maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a container and blend with a hand blender or regular blender.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/search-obergness-pt-6/

*We are Usana associates, but are not being paid for this post. For more information, here’s a video about the science as well as the business behind Usana.

Wednesday

19

October 2016

2

COMMENTS

Traveling with Brando

Written by , Posted in Dog, Pets, Thoughts, Travel

superiorpanortI could learn a lot from my dog. All he needs in life is food, water, and to be with us. If he has those three things, he’s good.

brandoselfiestealerrt

Brando does travel right. He’s always super excited to get wherever we’re going. He doesn’t know the itinerary, but he’s pumped. He can’t wait to have his seatbelt unhooked so he can jump out of the car. He will run around, smelling everything possible. He just wants to experience it all. He’s the best at taking it all in. His main source for information is smell, but we will also catch him staring off into the distance, watching a new animal, eyeing the strangers.rbcar

When we decided to take this trip, there wasn’t any discussion about whether or not Brando, our 8 year old puppy, would come with us. He’s a part of the family. When figuring out what we’d bring on the trip, we paired down quite a bit because we knew he would take up three quarters of the back seat. He’s the best little companion. We couldn’t leave him behind.

He knows the word “car”. He gets really excited about it. He can’t wait to jump in. He’s content to sit and look out the window, but mostly he gets comfy and snoozes while we drive. If we’re eating something delicious he might open his eyes to see if there’s a taste for him. There usually is.

Along the way he’s been loved on by so many. Some, he could have done without (sorry, Harrison, he was only tolerating your holding his tail hostage). Others he couldn’t get enough of (he whined anytime he was indoors and my dad would walk by). He’s a good little friend.

A few things that we brought to make his travel more enjoyable:

A comfortable bed – The backseat of the car is comfy, but we wanted him to have a semblance of his own space. We wanted him to have something familiar in the midst of all the new places. We bought a new bed for the trip, so we weren’t taking his smelly old bed along to stink up the car. The bed is a bit small for a dog his size, but it fits perfectly in the backseat, and he curls up nicely on it.

Plenty of food – Brando doesn’t eat a lot when he’s in a new situation. We brought along part of a big bag of food. For the first two weeks he ate very little. We were with so many people (and many kiddos) and he was just nervous all the time. Once we settled at my parents’ place for a couple weeks he relaxed and ate like normal.

Personal Care Items – Our dog sheds a lot. All year long. It’s never ending. I can’t count the number of times we’ve apologized to people we stayed with because we knew how much fur Brando would be leaving behind. We brought along a fine tooth brush, to help a bit. And then the rest of his toiletries – poop bags (don’t count on rest areas to have them), flea meds (because we don’t want to bring any critters into anyone’s home, or into our car), and treats and toys (for when he’s finally relaxed enough to enjoy himself).

brandorun

In L.A. Brando is an indoor dog. We have a small yard that we spend time in, but nowhere he can really run, explore, and play. After spending time in the Ontario countryside, and then the northern woods of Minnesota, he may be ruined forever… Tim and I might be too.

Wednesday

12

October 2016

0

COMMENTS

Food and Family – Roasted Garlic Three Squash Soup

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Lunch, Main Dishes, Roasting, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

souprtSomething my family does really well is food. We like to eat it, talk about it, think about it… We live to eat, we don’t eat to live. Usually as we’re finishing up one meal discussion about the next meal begins.

As is the custom in many places, many of our events take place around food. Christmas morning means brunch. Birthday dinners mean a special meal to celebrate the birthday person. Watching a movie in the evening means popcorn and snacks.

While we were in town an aunt and uncle from Mom’s side were also visiting. So we got together with some of the extended family for a meal. Many in our family have dietary restrictions. So we just said we’d do it potluck style and people could contribute with something they can eat. All the diets were accounted for. We range from gluten-free to vegan. But, one thing that all of our restrictions can tolerate is veggies. So I made soup.

The summer veggies were on their way out. The lighter, less nutrient dense summer squash being replaced with the heartier winter varieties. I used both. I roasted them, along with some onions, and a whole head of garlic. It was simple – olive oil and a hot oven for all of them. An hour later I plomped the roasted veggies into a soup pot with some water and let them simmer for a while. Simple and delicious.

Let’s talk about the roasted garlic again for a second. I used a whole head. I wouldn’t have done that had it been raw (unless I wanted to be the only one to enjoy the soup ;)). Roasting garlic mellows out the sharp, strong flavor. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s perfect if you need something to spread on toast, to mix in to hummus, and to add to soup.

I like to add a bit of acid to most recipes. I add it near the end, or just after it’s come off the heat. It adds a bit of brightness and finishes off a dish really nicely. Lemon or lime juice works well, so does white vinegar.

The soup was a success. My family loved it (unless they were just being polite). Squash soup is one of my favorite ways to usher in fall and soup season.

Happy Eating!

Roasted Garlic Three Squash Soup

Roasted Garlic Three Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 large pattypan squash, halved, seeds scraped out
  • 1 large summer squash (zucchini or any other type), halved, seeds scraped out
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved, seeds scraped out
  • 3-4 onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 head garlic, top sliced off
  • oil
  • 10-12 C water or vegetable stock
  • 1 t mustard powder (or 1 T grainy mustard or dijon)
  • sprinkle cayenne
  • 2 C (approx.) coconut milk
  • 1 t honey
  • to taste salt
  • 2 1/2 t lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Drizzle the squash and onions with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle the garlic with oil and wrap in tin foil. Roast summer squash for about 30 minutes (or until tender and flesh pierces easily with a fork) and onions, garlic, and spaghetti squash for about 60 minutes (or until tender and flesh pierces easily with a fork).
  2. Let garlic cool a bit before handling. Scrape squash out of skin. Add veggies through cayenne to a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour or so. Add coconut milk through salt. Heat for a few minutes. Blend until very smooth (using a hand blender, or in a blender with the plug in the lid removed and the hole covered with a clean towel). Add lemon juice. Taste for seasoning.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/search-obergness-pt-4-squash-soup/

Tuesday

11

October 2016

0

COMMENTS

Is Canada a Foreign Country?

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

fallcolorsrtWe left my parents’ place last Tuesday morning. We drove the long way up and around Lake Superior to get to Minnesota. It was probably the prettiest drive we’ve had so far. The leaves as we drove through Ontario and then Michigan were amazing. I love this time of year.

It was a bit weird to cross back into the states again. We realized, on this trip more than others, that Canada really is a foreign country. There are different laws, units of measure, and customs. Words are pronounced differently. They don’t use pennies, but do have loonies and toonies ($1 and $2 coins). And the health care system, I’ll just leave it at I miss the Canadian system terribly. I’ve been asked many times what the differences are between the two countries I’ve lived in. I usually say that they’re not so different really. But, this time, I saw things through a different lens.

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I haven’t lived there for fifteen years. I’ve spent most of my grownup years in the US. I’ve voted in 3 presidential elections and for only one prime minister. Many customs come back naturally. I can still fit in in Canada, but it’s a bit more of a stretch these days. I feel like a foreigner. rstreetbostonrt

I know people change as they grow up and move away from home. They discover more about themselves and who they are at their core. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, with my quirks and imperfections, and with my values, that have become more set in stone. A lot of this happened after I moved away from home. I’m sure that’s common. We grow up, are nurtured by our parents or caregivers, then set free in the world to figure out where we fit. I wonder where Canada fits in with me. Will I always feel a bit like an outsider? Maybe… But, the Canadian part of me will always be there, even if I don’t say “eh” anymore. It was a wonderful place to grow up, boasts one of the most beautiful countrysides, and as it is home to so many that are dear to my heart, will always be one of my favorite places to visit.