Roberta’s Radical Sabbatical 2014……….

….that was the plan,  but life happens.

   Early in 2013 I came to realize that I needed to make some serious changes in my life to keep growing and to keep healthy and vital.  The stress and negativity of work was not only sucking the health right out of me, but it was seriously impacting my inner peace.  Snowboarding, which was once my escape and source of confidence, was now the root of so much negativity that I didn’t even enjoy getting on the mountain anymore.  This was not right and something had to change.

   I decided I would work towards taking a sabbatical at the beginning of 2014 to regroup, gain some focus, and figured out a more meaningful career path where I could be a positive and influential force.  I counted down the months, weeks and even days until I could start my “new path”.  I planned on spending the first few months of the year traveling, I had a $1400 flight credit I needed to use and I thought I should just put myself out there, maybe even go to India.  I definitely wanted to take some more yoga teacher training, possibly take some culinary classes, volunteer, anything to explore new options and meet like minded people.  I was nervous, scared and excited all at the same time.  As the end of the year approached the last little bit of scrapes on my plate looked like they would be cleaned off and I’d be good to go, but then just a slight hiccup.

   I had been having problems with my back since I got injured in July 2012. After a year and a half of pain and trying all types of treatments; physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and rolfing I had some relief and  improvement, but I never got to a point of being pain free.  I was at the end of my rope and JP decided it would be best for me to see a Paul C.H.E.K practitioner who had been recommended by professional skateboarder, Danny Way.  My new therapist, Chris Maund, gave me what I would call a “radical recovery plan” including diet, sleep, vitamins, stretches, and limiting the types of exercise I do, including yoga. Yikes, that was a tough pill to swallow.  I figured, it’s ok I can just put off my travel plans for a month or so while I get this back situation under control.  Well then……………………..

……..just as the year came to a close JP got seriously injured.image

   A right foot dislocation, fractured right navicular, sprained fibula head joint in his left leg, as well as bruised heels meant that JP would not be walking for at least 6 weeks possibly 3 months!  Of course I dropped everything and headed to Salt Lake to take care of JP indefinitely. Thank goodness I had that flight credit, as I used it to fly back and forth between SLC and CA during the months of December to March.  I hated seeing JP in pain and unable to do the things he loves, but I am so grateful that he didn’t hurt himself worse.  Every doctor we saw said he was lucky, they were so surprised that he hadn’t shattered his calcaneus, blown out his ankle or knee joints, let alone the fact that he didn’t damage his spine or suffer head trauma.  Looked like my plan to explore a “new path” had to wait.  All this time I thought I was clearing my plate for me but I’m so grateful that my plate was cleared so I could be there with JP for this challenging time. Everything happens for a reason!

    My main focus for the start of 2014 was helping JP heal. I wanted to do more then just love and support him, I wanted to do everything possible to help him heal and knowing the power of foods I thought that was a good place to focus.  My days consisted of tending to JP’s needs and making from scratch every bite of food that touched his lips.  I really enjoyed my time taking care of JP, especially experimenting with foods I would never have made before.  JP needed a diet high in nutrients like calcium, iron, and magnesium as well as avoiding processed foods and grains.  Other then making food, we busied ourselves with puzzles, Netflix, and once JP was able to, stroller walks progressing to crutches and eventually JP returned to walking.  I am happy to say that JP’s back where he belongs in the mountains.  I guess now it’s time for me to figure out what to do next?imageGrilled Salmon SaladimageHomemade Lentil SoupAfternoon Stroller Stroll1500 Piece PuzzleAfternoon Crutch StrollHealing up and feeling good!

Diane explains the process of vermicomposting Heidi and some hard working worms!

Gardening 101: Vermicomposting - Solana Center for Environmental Innovation

  Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using worms, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, also called worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by worms. These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting. Containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. 

   It may seem like a gross idea to be working with worms but this form or composting is great for people with space limitations, time limitations and physical strength limitations.  With regular composting there is a lot of physical labor involved but with vermicomposting the worms do all the work for you! You also have a much faster turn over, approximately 3 months.

Sunflower seeds, cilantro, lime juice, coconut water, parsley, sea salt, pepper, chili, cumin Sunflower seeds, cilantro, lime juice, coconut water, parsley, sea salt, pepper, chili, cumin in cuisinart Sunflower seeds, cilantro, lime juice, coconut water, parsley, sea salt, pepper, chili, cumin processed Add cilantro Raw Cilantro Lime Dip Afternoon snack in the park; Cilantro Lime Dip and Celery.  Lunchbots and To-Go Ware

  Fresh made dips are a great condiment to have on hand to spread on a sandwich, roll up in a coconut wrap, add to a nori roll, use for stuffed peppers or just snack on with veggies or flax crackers.  This recipe makes a really big batch so feel free to cut it in half or even just a third for a single serving. 

Cilantro Lime Dip

Yields 3 1/2 Cups 4-6 Servings

Ingredients

3 C sunflower seeds

1/2 C + 2 TBSP lime juice

1/4 Coconut Water

1/2 C water

3 TBSP of fresh parsley

1 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp Black pepper (or to taste)

1/8 tsp Chili (or to taste)

1/4 tsp Cumin

3 large bunches of cilantro, 3 C packed

Preparation

Place your sunflower seeds, lime juice, water, and spices into a food processor fitted with the s blade and process until smooth.

Chop up the cilantro and add until you have your desired consistency. I usually like to go for a pretty smooth dip for this one with just small flakes of cilantro throughout.

Use it as a dip for chips, in a stuffed pepper, in a nori sushi roll with veg or simply as a side to a salad. If you’re looking to reduce your nut and seed intake, you can always half the seed portion or double the cilantro portion.

Stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator Cilantro Lime Dip will last for 2 - 3 days.

Hands on cooking class as we all mill around the stove top grilling, whisking, and sautéing Ingredients for the night Chopping up scallops Clarified butter for the hollandaise Spiced Scallops with Vinaigrette Grilling some cod fillets Sautéing the shrimp Cedar Plank Salmon with Lemon Dill Hollandaise and Sautéed Shrimp with Miso Butter JP digs in to Cedar Plank Salmon with Lemon Dill Hollandaise and Sautéed Shrimp with Miso Butter Grilled Cod with Artichokes and Olives

Sur La Table: Cooking Great Seafood Class with Chef Beth - Encinitas, CA

   I tend to just wing it in the kitchen a lot of the time.  While in Salt Lake, taking care of JP for the past few months, it seems like my “winging it skills” were in overdrive.  JP wanted fish but cooking fish of any type isn’t something I’m very knowledgeable in.  I experimented with baking, poaching, and grilling.  Some dishes turned out good and some dishes not so good.  When I saw a class on seafood offered at the local Sur La Table, during a week JP was to be in town, I thought that would be a fun date night activity for us to do together.  We got to try making various types of fish using different cooking techniques from grilling, sautéing to baking on a cedar plank.  One thing that really stood out to me that night was how much butter was used in all these recipes!  I have never had hollandaise sauce before but it’s basically butter and eggs and then we also made a miso butter to sauté the shrimps in. Serious butter overload.  I’m not sure how “healthy” all the recipes were that we learned how to make but I figure I could take the cooking techniques and apply more healthier sauces or marinades. 

Tuesday’s Tool’s of the Trade - Food Prep

A Bamboo Sushi Rolling Mat is a great tool for all home chefs ready to create authentic makizushi rolls. There are plenty of brands that make the sushi mat and you can usually pick one up for an affordable price at an asian market.  The mats are sewn of durable, eco-conscious bamboo, that rolls up tidily to shape the rice, seaweed, veggies and other ingredients of your sushi rolls quickly and simply. It makes it easy to present fresh rolled sushi but there are more uses for these mats then sushi rolls. I use them to tightly roll up my coconut wraps, collard wraps, and cabbage wraps.  When wrapping a coconut or leaf wrap you use the same technique as rolling nori rolls.  Place the wrap in the center, line with all your stuffings, and then roll over one side of the wrap with the bamboo, grip firmly with your hand as you roll and pull until you have wrapped it all up. Now your roll is ready to cut into bite sized pieces or half for a hand held roll.
Painting by Mercedes Nicoll Me and all my precious Buffy stuff! A stake a Buffy Figurine, every girls dream come true! My pro model velvet sunglasses, The Buffy!

I’m a Fan - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

   I can honestly say I have never been as obsessed about a show as I was about Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  During the tv series run from 1997 - 2003 I religiously watched every season and immediately purchased each season’s DVD set upon release.  For the unfortunate few that never watched the show, you really are missing out.  What wasn’t there to love, a strong and independent girl that kicked some serious ass, an eclectic group of friends that loved, supported, and helped each other, an epic love story, humor, satire, mystery, and unearthly creatures and demons!  Buffy seriously kicked ass and I aspired to kick ass in my life and especially in my snowboarding.  I always had Buffy sticker on the nose of my board to inspire and motivate me.  It became quite well known amongst my circle of friends how much I LOVED Buffy and I’d receive cool Buffy memorabilia. One of my favorite items was a painting done by my friend Mercedes Nicoll. One year I wanted to be Buffy for Halloween(ok I was Buffy for more then one year) I asked my late father-in-law who was extremely talented in carving native art to carve me a stake.  Back then my obsession knew no bounds. I rode for an eyewear company, Velvet, and when I got the opportunity to design my own pro-model sunglasses I decided to call them, Buffy.  While riding for Hammer snowboards I asked the graphic designer if he could use Buffy as the inspiration for my pro-model graphic. Ya I know, I was totally infatuated with all things Buffy!

    Of course since I was so obsessed with the show it meant I was obsessed with Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I followed her career and watched all her movies, including The Grudge, even though I hate horror movies.  Oh man that one kept me up for weeks! I enjoyed most of her movies, of course Cruel Intentions is a classic, the Scooby Do series, and some of her TV stints.  I’m happy to see she has found a good character on the hilarious comedy The Crazy Ones.  Any celebrity I have met, it was never planned I just happened to run into them. I wish I could say that I met Sarah Michelle, but it never happened and it was not for a lack of trying.  I had read that her husband, Freddie, snowboarded and I thought, well maybe Sarah Michelle snowboards.  I asked the PR firm we were working with at the time if they could get me in touch with her manager and once I had the address I mailed her one of my pro-model snowboards, t-shirts, hoodies, and stickers.  I was a little disappointed that I never heard from her, but I understood.  She’s a busy person that probably gets tons of stuff sent to her from fans and can not respond to all of them.   Another time they were filming one of the Scooby Do movies in Vancouver and I heard they would be filming in Brackendale at the old mines late one evening.  I was so excited!!!  I thought, here is my chance!  I headed up there with some of my Buffy magazines, a sharpie, and a camera.  I sat outside of the film set for hours in the cold dark night, waiting, waiting, waiting.  On separate occasions several of the other actors from the movie walked by, but I did not budge.  I didn’t want to do anything that might warrant me getting kicked out before I had a chance to meet Buffy, er, I mean Sarah Michelle!  Unfortunately she never appeared and I left slightly dejected. 

  It’s amazing to think that it has been over 10 years since the series ended.  I’m still as stoked as I was back then on the show but I have let go of the rather large collection I had of Buffy figurines, magazines, books, and comics, save for a couple small pieces, my painting, stickers and my stake. Well, of course I still have the DVD sets and they tend to get re-watched…………

Some romaine and mint leaves from the garden, paired with a pear makes a tasty sweet and minty juice. Slurp!

Sweet Minty Greens

Serves 1

Ingredients

10-12 romaine lettuce leaves

10-12 mint leaves

1 large pear, cored and sliced

Preparation

Juice in a Hurom Premium Slow Juicer or similar, alternating lettuce and mint leaves with pear slices until everything is juiced. Drink immediately or store in a violet glass jar in the fridge for up to 72 hours.

It doesnt make sense, why do the crickets get to eat a grain-based certified organic diet and we have to eat insects. They are eating better then us.

JP Walker’s response to a new protein bar made with cricket flour

There is a new restaurant in town, Bull Taco! Hapi Fish - Salmon Poke Hapi Fish JP digs in at Juanitas Taco Shop Vigilucci's has moved to Leucadia Fully Loaded Micro Juicery: Orange Dream, Avatar, and the Cyclist. Yum! Gluten free baked goods from Pannikin Taking a muffin break at Pannikin Sugar Coffee and Tea Good date night for sure!  Exercise, socializing and lots of good food!

Taste of Leucadia - Leucadia, CA

     This was the first time that both JP and I were in town during this annual event and we were excited to check it out.  The evening highlighted local restaurants, retailers, craft brewers and local vintners situated along Hwy 101.  We live a stoned throw away from many of the restaurants so we just hopped on our bikes and ventured from restaurant to restaurant grabby tastes, running in to friends, and enjoying the live music.  I wish there were a few more vegetarian options, JP definitely had a few more tasted then I, but we were both totally stoked on the fresh juice offerings from Fully Loaded Juicery, tea from Sugar, and gluten free baked goods at Pannikin!  Even if there were stops that didn’t offer a choice for me it was cool to take a look inside some restaurants I had never been in before and meet the people behind the counter.  Another successful community gathering in my neighborhood!