Friday, March 25, 2011

Life's an Adventure 2011 with a couple of recipes

Okay, so I haven't exactly kept up with my blogging, but I'm determined that will change, starting now.

I have a three month window before my next CAT Scan is due. It's not easy living in three month increments, but that's the way it is for right now. Luckily, we can take advantage of the time for travel, one of my favorite things, and it nurtures me. I had another surgery this past October and I've healed well, but it has taken more out me than the previous ones did. My stamina is not as great as it had been and will be again, so I find that I need to rest most afternoons. This trip to Hawaii will provide that. We're renting condos or small cottages on the different islands, where we can take our time with sightseeing and still get plenty of rest. That's the premise for this trip, as verses our one to New Zealand last year, where we were always on the go, two nights in one place and three or just one in another. Not this time.

03/24/11 I'm in San Francisco at the moment, ensconced in a warm bed (cool outside of it) in a wonderful craftsman type house on Mississippi St in the Potrero section of the city. I love being a member of both ATC (Affordable Travel Club) and USServas, two organizations which enable us to do this at a low or no cost. We've been a member of USServas since the early 90s, when we traveled to Italy. We came home from that trip and signed up as hosts; so, we're both hosts and travelers, but you don't have to be one in order to be the other in Servas. As a member of ATC, you need to be both; however you can say "no" to a request if the timing isn't good for you. We've met people from around the world who have stayed with us and vice versa. I have lots of those stories I could share, but that's for another time.

Going back to 03/22/11 -
I flew into San Francisco on Virgin America to meet up with Art, my husband, who had already been there for five days for a workshop with our Chi Gung teacher, Bruce Frantzis. Art had a hiatus of 3 nights before his next weekend workshop. I really like Virgin America. Not only do they fly out of Ft. Lauderdale instead of the madhouse of Miami, but the seats have more leg room and the rates are usually really good for flying to the west coast. We've flown them a few times and it's always been a pleasure.

However, I bought my own dinner, as my diet has remained restricted, self-restricted. My doctor told me that I should continue doing what I'm doing, as it's working. Yes, I've had four surgeries, but they have all been for localized and encapsulated tumors. The type of cancer I had is called MMMT (malignant mixed mullerian tumor) or carsinosarcoma. By any name, it's not pretty - it's a rare and aggressive type. My doctor told me, at my last visit, that with this type of cancer, the prognosis is one to two years; my original diagnosis was over three years ago and I'm still here! So, yes I have a self-imposed diet that isn't always easy when we eat out at restaurants or friends' homes, but it seems to be working for me. We're all individuals and as such each case is so totally different.

For this dinner, I made myself a delicious big salad of mixed greens, shredded carrot, jicama, clover sprouts, cucumber, radish, a hard boiled organic egg, and some home make roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, with a dressing I've recently worked on. Here is the dressing recipe:

Yummy Dressing for 3 - 4
1/4 cup Flax Seed Oil
1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Bragg's Amino Acids
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon Umboshe Plum Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Agave
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Any other herbs can be added. I've used Greek Seasoning Blend (The Spice Hunter), and at another time fresh basil or oregano.
Mix all together and serve. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

I arrived after 11:30PM and we stayed at the Hotel Whitcomb, an older hotel, nicely located with a very comfortable bed. Of course, by the time we got into the bed, it was after 4:00AM Florida time and I was exhausted. Not a good thing but easily remedied with sleep.

03/23/11 -
We slept late, had brunch at the hotel, and then walked to a Farmer's Market close to the hotel. We had stopped to buy an umbrella first, as it was drizzling and looked as though it would get worse, which it did. The market was small but nice. I bought some veggies for my morning shakes for the next couple of days and discovered a new fruit, Shingli, something like a Chinese Pear but a bit sweeter, We had a taste each but didn't buy any then. Hopefully, we'll see them again. Always great to find something new.
After the market, we went to the Asian Museum right near by, and saw their Bali exhibit. By that time, I was feeling tired again, so we headed off to our ATC host's home. Once there, we both took a nap. Art had had a vigorous several days at the workshop, not to mention the time we went to sleep the night before, so he was a bit tired too. Out host recommended a local organic restaurant called Aperto. The food was delicious; I had the plank-roasted salmon with steamed greens, delish, and Art had one of their specials, a Quail dish. I can't believe all the restaurants near our host's home, many of them either vegetarian, vegan, and/or organic. There's even a Japanese organic one. Why can't we have more vegetarian, vegan, and organic restaurants in our area of SE Florida? Why???????

I made myself a vegetable smoothy for breakfast. Jo, our host, made breakfast for Art, as that's part of the ATC deal - accommodations and breakfast for $20.00/night. Not bad. My Shake:

Green Breakfast Shake for 1
12 ounces filtered water
1 teaspoon phION Super Greens (or any powdered greens)
1 gourmet cucumber, cut into large chunks (you can use just part of a larger cucumber)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
bunch of sprouts
1/2 avocado
some sort of greens - bok choy, collards, dino kale, and spinach are greens that I've used alone or in combinations - whatever you have on hand
Put all in a blender and blend. Chew your shake as you drink it.

A bit after breakfast, we ran a few mundane errands, such as dropping Art's dirty clothes off at a local laundromat and a stop at Whole Foods for filtered and alkaline water. Then we headed off for lunch (I know it sounds as though we ate lunch directly after breakfast, but it was a good 3-4 hours later) to Yank Sing, the best gourmet Dim Sum restaurant I've even been to in the States. I've had better but only in China. They are a bit expensive but well worth  the splurge, especially since I was almost totally off my diet. I didn't have pork, beef, or dairy, but lots of wheat in the dim sum skins and a bit of sugar in some of the sauces. Taking a break from restrictiveness for a special meal is all part of the plan.

After lunch we went to the CA Academy of Sciences. It was wonderful. I think it's mainly for kids, but aren't we all kids at heart. It had a rainforest inside a huge bubble and you walked to the top on a spiral stairway abound the perimeter. Butterflies and birds flew freely. As a matter of fact, they checked you for errant butterflies before you were able to leave the enclosure. Then we toured their aquarium showing both the local and foreign coral reef eco-systems. The museum closed at 5:00PM and we went back to our host's home for a late rest before dinner.

Dinner was great at Herbavore on Valencia St, not too far from where we were. They were so accommodating it was wonderful. I ended up have a vegan grilled vegetable basil pesto pasta using rice noodles. I'm hoping to get the recipe, although I was told they didn't give them out, and I'll add it to the cookbook. Yummy, yum, yum!!!

I'm sitting in the San Francisco airport, waiting for my flight to Los Angeles and the kids. Art left for his workshop which will start around 6:30Pm tonight and go through Sunday evening. It's been a nice day so far. More or less leisurely breakfast and we met a friend and her 8 month old son at his swimming lesson, called Le petit baleen, the little whale. He loves the water and it was such fun seeing Dorothy and Evan. Another friend from our Chi Gung group who is doing the weekend workshop too, is out staying with Dorothy. Once Dorothy and Evan had to go home for lunch and a nap, we drove Craig to pick up his rental car and then we three went to lunch. Again, to a vegetarian restaurant near our original hotel. We had seen this place on our way back after the Farmer's Market but hadn't been hungry. I had hoped we'd have time to try it and it's funny how things work out. Craig's car rental place was only about 3 or 4 blocks from the restaurant. So, we had a lovely walk over. I had steamed veggies (perfectly done) over brown rice with a tahini lemon sauce. I hope to get that recipe as well. It was light and lovely.

So, this brings me up to date. See you soon.