Dear Dad

I just wanted to apologize that I had to be your caretaker when you were sick.  I wish we could have afforded the money to have someone take care of you.  At twenty-one years old, it’s a tall order to be a sole caretaker, and I tried my best to hold everything together, as much as I could for you.   When you’re twenty-one, the thought never crosses your mind about having to take care of your parents at that age.
Image result for Dear Dad,

I’m sorry for the times I got frustrated with you.  I’m sorry for the times we were irritable with each other.  I’m sorry for the times I was lazy and didn’t want to go to the store for you.  I’m sorry for not keeping the house tidy for you – I should have taken that upon myself.  I’m sorry for not showing more care – I know you knew I did, but I could have done more.  I’m sorry for being rude at times, when I should have shown kindness.

Thank you for still loving me through it all. I know that you understood the place I was in – and that sometimes it was the only way I could deal with certain situations.

Thank you for choosing to go with hospice in your last month of life.  For giving me the opportunity to be your daughter again, because somewhere in that last year, we lost that relationship and all I wanted was to be able to have it back again.  I will always always love you for that.  I know you wanted to go home, thank you for being selfless; letting others help to care for you and ultimately letting me be your daughter again.

10 FUN FACTS ABOUT HAWAII

1. Twelve letters and 1 symbol make up the ENTIRE Native Hawaiian alphabet.
A E I O U | H K L M N P W | ‘ (okina – which is like a backwards apostrophe)

2. Hawaii is the only state in America that continues to grow it’s land mass due to the active volcanoes it has.  We have five active volcanoes, four of which are on the island of Hawaii (aka the Big Island).  They are Loihi, Hualalei, Mauna Loa and Kilauea.  The other volcano is Haleakala on the island of Maui.

3. We are the only state in the USA that produces coffee and we also produce 1/3 of the world’s commercial supply of Pineapple.

4. Hawaii has two official languages, Hawaiian and English, however… we also have our own “creole” dialect called Pidgin and knowing the Japanese language is valued due to the amount of Japanese tourists that feed our economy via our number one industry, Tourism, most school children opt to study Japanese language opposed to the popular choice of the continental US, Spanish. Back to the pidgin.  See examples below:

     brok da mout. Broke the mouth. Absolutely delicious. Ho, Tutu’s malasadas so ono, brok da mout. Wow!  Great grandma’s malasadas (Portuguese donuts) are so delicious, broke the mouth. 

     bumbye. By and by, eventually. Eh! You get dirty lickins bumbye you no stop dat! Hey, you are going to get a spanking if you do not stop that.

     cockaroach. To steal. Eh, who wen cockaroach all da manapua? Hey, who stole all of the manapua?

     da kine. The ultimate pidgin phrase. Can mean virtually anything. It is equal to “whatchamacallit”. 1)Eh, you get any da kine? 2)Ho, brah, dat’s da kine. 3) She wen da kine foa get da kine foa da kine1) Hey, do you have whatchamacallit?  2)Hey, bro, that’s whatchamacallit. 3) She went to get the whatchamacallit, but then forget whatchamacallit, for whatchamacallit.

grind. To eat. So what you like grind? We no moa da kine. No worries, brah, I grind any kine. Do you want to eat?  We don’t have _______.  No worries, bro, I’ll eat anything.

hana hou. Once more, again. Chee, LaVerne, do dat hana houWoo Hoo, LaVerne (typical Portuguese name), do that one more time!  *Many times after concerts we will chant Hana Hou, opposed to calling back out the band by their name.

  kanak attack. The feeling of intense laziness that one gets from eating too much. After pounding three plate lunches I had a major kanak attack.  After eating three plate lunch, I had a major food coma.

     like beef? Would you like to fight with me? Not a choice of entrees. Eh brah, you like beefHey man, do you want to fight?

     pau (pow). Actual Hawaiian word, used constantly, meaning finished or done. Chee, I thought you paualready! I thought you were done already
     pau hana (pow HAH-nah). Another actual Hawaiian phrase. Means after work. Also after work drink. Junior wen bus up his truck. Get too many pau hana. Junior got into an accident with his truck because he had too many drinks after work.

     try. Please. Try wait, eh? I come back bumbye. Get plenny customahs. Hi, could you please wait? I will come back, there are plenty of customers.

5. One of the only (if not the only) places you can snowboard in the morning and hit the waves in the afternoon.  Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii both stand 13,000+ feet above sea level.  In the winter months you will find snow there!  Yes, snow in Hawaii.  People have been known to snowboard in the morning, then warm up by hitting the waves in the afternoon.  How perfect would that day be?

6. ‘Iolani Palace on the island of Oahu is the only royal palace in the US.

7. Hawaii has the most isolated population on earth, separated by 2390 miles of ocean.

8. Rice is the main starch of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.  We eat rice with everything, including potatoes.  For instance, Beef Stew over Rice, Curry over Rice.

9. In the early 2000s it rained for 40 straight days in Hawaii.  Thank the Lord up above I was in Portland, Oregon attending the University of Portland. 

10. Hawaii has the longest projected life span than any other state in the US.  The average projected lifespan of those born in Hawaii in the year 2000 is 79.8 years (77.1 years if male; 82.5 if female).

HELLO SPRING!

Spring is here, and these are some of the things I’m looking forward to for the season!
+making a batch of deviled eggs
     I was never a fan of deviled eggs or egg salad as a kid, but for the past two years I’ve entertained the idea of it and can throw down on some good, homemade deviled eggs!
+sunrises with my R
     Since the sun is rising later and later
+reading a book on the beach
     I imagine doing this on a late Saturday morning or early Saturday afternoon
 
+watching our little one grow in my belly
     Because the little one is definitely making an appearance and everything is just happening quickly now days.
 
+growing my online business
     I’ve finally found my rhythm with this thing and so now I’m just working on a few details and things should be ready to go.
 
+having my baby shower
     I’ll be having it in late May, early June I’d imagine.  My amazing friend Alicia is hosting it for me and I’m so excited.  I’m usually the one in control of these things and so it was definitely hard to let go of that – but I’m actually relieved because I just don’t have the energy to plan a big shindig at the moment.
 
+prepping my home for my little miss
     I’m dreading it, but not.  It’ll feel good to get rid of a lot of unnecessary items in my house and make room for this lil girl.
+spending time with family next month
     Family is flying in from Hilo and they are my favorites, so a good time will definitely be had!  Card games will be going.  We’ll definitely be playing some bones and it’ll be a time filled with fun, laughter and making unforgettable memories.
 
+learning more about typography and handlettering
     This kind of goes hand in hand with growing my online business, but besides practice practice practice I’m ready to indulge in an online class or youtube videos galore this season!
 
+finding my way with this blogging thing again
     For a while I’ve been quite MIA on this thing and a lot of it had to do with sensitivities to certain things going on in our personal lives, but now I’m just ready to fly free and share what is on my heart on this blog no matter who reads it.  At the same point, I’ve been wanting to re-define this blog and change the name but never got around to it.  However, with baby on the way, everything is much more clear and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

TUESDAY THOUGHTS

+Having headaches while you’re pregnant are NOT FUN.  I’m not a big medicine taker, but the fact that I really shouldn’t if I can hold off – is just salt to the wound.  Usually I think it’s because I haven’t had enough plain water, but even that isn’t helping me today.

+I’m so glad BONES is back on TV.  I was able to watch it yesterday on DVR while R took an afternoon snooze.  By the way… that was an oober long break, but hopefully that means it’ll continue to run once all my regular shows are on summer break.  PS:  I totally forgot Sweets died and it sucked that they brought it up – but I’m sure they were thinking we’d all forgotten that important detail anyway.

+These brownies though….

+I have a love/hate relationship with my maternity pants.  Pants with buttons and buckles are so not the business for our lil Chalupie girl, but at the same point spandex on the belly is tiring after the long weekdays that we have.  I think what bothers me the most is that the pant size bigger fits like a dream on my belly but are way too wide and frumpy on my legs.  The size I’m wearing is perfect, but lil Lups isn’t digging it after about 4 hours.

+It’s been 20 years since the beautiful Selena has left this crazy world.

+I have a three day work week this week!  I usually plan these things, but this one just kind of ended up that way for me.  Woo hoo! #vacayMonday #goodFriday

+Yesterday I had a burrito for lunch and it was AMAZEBALLS, I’m drooling thinking about it right now.  It reminded me of the big fat burritos I used to get when I lived in Portland.  My burrito had Spanish rice, black beans, chili verde, sour cream, cheese and cilantro.  AND… I ate that thing like a champ!! No spills.  It’s all about the technique!

+There is no doubt I feel my lil girl moving around every day, but whenever I’m lying down I put my hands on my stomach to see if I can feel her from the outside.  I thought I was this weekend and had R put his hands on my belly, but he can’t feel it yet L.  Boo nation.  Soon though, I hope!

+Lastly I’m glad that MerDer is still MerDer.  I mean, we don’t like depressed Meredith.

Wild Yam Noodles with Coconut Milk and Vegetables

 

Autumn is beginning the ever too quick fast forward in Juneau. The leaves are falling, if not fallen. The chill of winter lingers in the sharp morning air. It’s time to get the house ready for winter: fill the oil tank up, get the flannel duvet out, and cook comfort food.

After over five months, I’m still entirely gluten free. I’ve also miraculously stayed off the coffee. I haven’t fallen into the sweet embrace of cheese again. In fact, the only dairy in my diet is organic low-fat yogurt. What may be the biggest surprise is that I’ve started running. I started the Couch to 5K app on my smart phone a little over nine weeks ago. Yesterday, without being chased by bear, I ran 3.5 miles on my own accord. It’s a little weird to write in my food blog about how much I look forward to running now.IMG_3880

This meal was inspired by a hungry trip to the grocery store after my run yesterday. The trail I ran in the valley is close to a nice market with fresh-ish vegetables and “ethnic” food. In Juneau, Alaska “ethnic” food means in most grocery stores, a single aisle filled with a league of all nations hit list of foods. These ethnic foods may include: curry, Asian noodles, Latin American hot sauce, couscous, hummus, tea, and maybe the odd can of dolmas.

Ingredients:

– 1 package of wild yam or rice noodles

– 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
– 1 shallot, finely diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
– 1 bunch of green onions, white part finely chopped with green tops reserved for garnish
– 7 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
– 1 orange pepper, thinly sliced

– 1/2 block of extra firm tofu cubed, to garnish
– 1/2 can of coconut milk
– sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
– 1 Tablespoon of Madras (yellow) curry
– 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
– sriracha sauce to taste, to finish

Instructions:

– heat a sauce pan of water to boil and cook wild yam or rice noodles for specified time
– in a sauté pan, heat olive oil
– add chopped white part of green onions, shallot, and garlic
– season with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and turmeric and cook 3-5 minutes
– add chopped mushrooms, orange pepper, add yellow curry powder, cook another 3 minutes or so
– when noodles are finished cooking, drain (don’t rinse)
– slowly add noodles to large sauté pan with tongs
– add 1/2 can of coconut milk, add a bit more sea salt and fresh ground pepper
– toss noodles and veggies with tongs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
– plate in a shallow bowl
– garnish with tofu and green part of onions
– add sriracha to your taste

Serving suggestion:

If you don’t have a nut allergy chopped peanuts might also serve as garnish. Fresh cilantro and lemon grass would also work well with this dish. Unfortunately, the market I went to was out of all herbs other than parsley.

Pair this dish with a Czech Pilsner or a Japanese Kirin brew in a tall cold glass for delicious beer fun time!

Gluten Free Banana Walnut Pancakes

 

I’m not the biggest pancake fan in the world, but I woke up with a craving for banana walnut pancakes. I suppose I was thinking of the pancakes at the Cup & Sauce in Portland, Oregon – even though they’re made with real flour. It’s been ages since I had a flap jack. Even more challenging than the gluten free aspect of these tasty rounds, is the fact that I made them dairy free. I used organic low-fat coconut milk instead of milk or water.

Fear not Dear Feedbag Reader, these aren’t tasteless hippie frisbees. These delicate perfect rounds are loaded with tiny banana and walnut bits in almost every bite. They’re made perfect with a little smart balance spread and a smatter of maple syrup.flap jacks

This recipe makes enough pancake batter to feed your friends. If you’re not feeding a crowd, get an empty yogurt container to put the extra in the fridge. I’m even thinking about using the left over batter for muffins.

Dry Ingredients:
– 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients & Extras:
– 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
– 1 banana, diced
– 1/2 cup of apple sauce
– 2 cups of organic low-fat coconut milk (or 1 cup regular milk, one cup water)
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon honey or raw agave nectar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 or 2 dashes of cinnamon

Instructions:

Combine the dry ingredients first – mixing well before integrating the wet ingredients, bananas, and nuts.

I used a non-stick pan and I’d recommend it. A nicely greased up iron skillet would work just fine too. Get your pan greased up, heated up on medium heat, and ready for a ladle full of this delicious batter. When little bubbles start forming on top of your pancake, it’s probably time to flip that bad boy over. I’d say I found a 1.5 – 2 minute interval for each side made the perfect pancake.

These gluten free flap jacks are better when they’re hot off the press.

Serving Suggestion: Top with a little smart balance spread and some warm maple syrup for a delicious breakfast treat.

Greek Smoked Salmon Dip

 

Last weekend Matty and I were invited to the best dinner party, ever. It was celebrating the birthday of one of our favorite people in town, Katie White. Unfortunately, I got sick late in the afternoon, and was unable to attend the dinner party. I hear it was a beautiful dinner with fantastic people, and of course ridiculous food. Someone told me a rumor about lobster macaroni and cheese, can you believe that? Matt made this dip for the party and has been happily eating it all week.

This past fall, Matt went out fishing off the beaches here in Juneau. He caught a good number of cohos that we smoked up for all kinds of deliciousness. This winter we invested in a little smoker, which I’m sure we will put to all kinds of amazing uses when we start hunting and gathering again this coming summer/fall.salmon dip

Oh, Feedbag: I almost forgot to tell you I got a food dehydrator for Christmas! Does anyone out there with a food dehydrator have any awesome ideas for me? I’m excited to buy a flat of mangoes at Costco and get started with a dried fruit project.

This is Matt’s own recipe with our wild caught salmon, it’s already a classic in our house.

Ingredients:

– 12 ounces of crumbled & deboned wild Alaskan smoked salmon
– 8 ounces of cream cheese, pre-softened to room temperature
– 1 cup of Greek yogurt
– 1/2 cup of feta cheese (Mt. Vikos is my favorite)
– 1/2 red onion, finely diced
– 1/4 cup of fresh dill
– 1 lemon, juiced
– 1 bulb of roasted garlic
– salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

To roast garlic: 
– Pre-heat oven 325 degrees
– Cut off the top 1/3 of the bulb, exposing the cloves, and drizzle in olive oil
– wrap bulb in tin foil and roast for one hour

To assemble dip: 
– prepare all ingredients and process in a food processor

Serving suggestion: This is perfect as a dip for crackers, or as a spread for a sandwich or a bagel.