Beach life in Puerto Rico

It’s been a bit over a month since we arrived in Puerto Rico. So much of this beautiful Island reminds me of my home in Hawai’i, but when it comes to the beach; Puerto Ricans do it right. A typical weekend consists of friends and family gathering at the beach to basically eat and drink themselves silly. Similar to Hawai’i but so much less responsibility here.

For example: drinking in public at the beach, totally fine, just don’t use glass bottles, food stands, umbrellas and chairs to rent, and then there’s the secret little entrepreneurs who walk around with back packs or coolers filled with anything from fresh fruit cups, cigars, glasses, and hats, to water and beer.
I mean if Hilo beaches or even Kona for that matter allowed or even did half of the stuff they do here, business would be booming. It’s so convienant to go to the beach and not have to lug around chairs and umbrellas. Plus the food omg seriously the food here is amazing. That however is a whole nother blog post. Mi gusta la Playa!

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Life on the Move

I’ve been horrible at updating the blog but now with our newest station over seas I’ve vowed to get back online. I’ve learned so much about packing, and living in hotel rooms with a family of five (without killing each other.) I’ve got a ton of tips to share. I’ve also become an expert at turning a tiny hotel gym into a place where I can get a great cardio/strength training and effective workout.
We’ve lucked out and snagged Puerto Rico as our station and I tend to enjoy moment of it.

Gluten Free Troubles

A gluten free life style has been very difficult for this carb loving part Italian girl. I think what makes it difficult is that my gluten allergy surfaced after my second child when I was 30. I lived my whole life enjoying bread, pasta and wheat in general, then I began to notice I wasn’t feeling well and I couldn’t figure out why. Upon a friends suggestion I got allergy tested. I discovered that I had a gluten, pear and grape allergy at the age of 32 which shook my whole world. I’ve had to learn to eliminate these items and it hasn’t come easy. Occasionally I have moments of weakness and think “hey a bite of this biscuit won’t hurt” and you know what that’s BS because it does. I’m borderline celiac so I can’t even imagine how bad it is for those I know that are celiac.
When I have gluten my throat doesn’t close up and I can’t breath, I don’t need an epi-pen, I won’t die. This is why some people don’t understand gluten allergies. When I eat gluten, I get bloated not like a little, like hey are you pregnant bloated. My stomach gets hard as rock and feels horrible on top of the nausea. I can bounce between constipation and diarrhea for at least 24 hours. I get lethargic, and have horrible headaches through out the day combined with gas. Why so graphic? Because it’s the truth, it sucks and what’s worse is when I do this to myself, when I eat something that I know has gluten in it :( I’m getting better at avoiding it but last night I had a moment of weakness and today I’m paying big time.
So I’ve gathered my list of detox drinks and this is the one I’m trying today, thanks to Raining Hot coupons I’m hoping this will help with my self induced pain , wish me luck.

Detox water

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Ingredients

12 oz of Water
1-2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Braggs with the “Mother”)
1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon sweetener (I use a Stevia Raw Sugar packet)
Half of an apple (sliced)

Instructions

Put all of the ingredients (not including the Apples) in the blender and blend for about 10 seconds.
Add slices of Apple
Drink and then eat the apple slices! They will taste yummy.

Gluten free Banana Bread

So I have had 4 over ripe bananas sitting here for at least a week. Last week was practically an entire snow week and couldn’t decide for the life of me what I wanted to make. I’ve searched pintrest on many sleepless nights and then I finally decided on banana bread. Since finding out about my gluten allergy 2 years ago I haven’t had it and suddenly today I really wanted it. I have a great gluten free flour blend that I bought at Costco from Namaste foods so I thought I’d put it to good use. The recipe I’m trying out was a traditional recipe and I just opted to sub my gluten free flour for regular, the original recipe is from Domestic Super Hero, I just tweaked it a bit.

The Best Banana Bread Or Muffins Ever

Ingredients:
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups Namaste Gluten flour
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Mix butter and bananas in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla and mix well. Add baking soda and salt and mix. Add the flour last, and mix until just combined. You don’t want to over mix. Add nuts and or chocolate if desired.
2. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan or muffin tin. Bake for 1 hour for the loaf, or 22-25 minutes for the muffins. Test with toothpick for doneness.
3. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Update: these came out delicious however with my oven I did have to adjust the time it took about 1 hour and 30 minutes. As with most GF items the texture was a tiny bit chewy, which I personally love. The bread was dense, moist and filling I loved having it for breakfast. Next time I may try to skip the added sugar all together.

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New Year traditions

This year we are doing a Hawaiian New Year. The menu consists of Kalua Pig and Cabbage with rice and Kings Hawaiian sweet rolls, guava mochi and various grown up libations plus sparkling cider for the keiki. It has been a few years since Matthew rang in the New Year so this should be fun.. Since we are in the south I’ve heard Southern tradition is to eat black eyed peas so we’ll be adding those as a small side, plus some form of noodles for long life. Yes, we are full of all sorts of random traditions. The recipe for the guava mochi is a pintrest find; here it is.. I used frozen thawed out guava pulp mixed with two ounces of water for a lower sugar alternative. You can find the Kalua Pig recipe here on my site under my go to recipes.

Guava Mochi
Prep Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 60 min
Serves: 8

Ingredients List

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups (8.25 oz or 240 g) mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
2 cups guava juice or pulp (Goya frozen fruit pulp)
1 cup cornstarch

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- x 9-inch baking pan. Combine the sugar, glutinous rice flour, and passion fruit juice and mix until smooth. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut mochi into pieces and dust with cornstarch to prevent sticking.

Butter mochi

So I’ve made butter mochi in the past but I came across this recipe and it was a bit more simplified than others, I’ve tried. There are only a few ingredients and not a ton of sugar. I doubled the original recipe so here it is. You may have to play around with the cooking times based on your oven. I’m still
figuring out mine ; )

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Original recipe found at Fearless Dining via pintrest.
Auntie Ellen’s Bata Mochi Recipe
Ingredients

2 cups sweet white rice flour
1 can 13.5 oz coconut milk
1 cup of organic sugar
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix together rice flour, baking powder, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
Add egg, coconut milk, and melted butter and mix well.
Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
Bake at 325 for 35 minutes.

Wisdom teeth removal

So the inevitable finally happened. After five years of successfully ignoring the pain and avoiding finding a dentist in Virginia, my upper left wisdom tooth cracked as I was leaving the gym last Wednesday. Yes it’s my fault, yes it should have been removed 4 years ago in Alaska. (My first wisdom tooth cracked when I was 38 weeks pregnant and that one had to be removed with just a local anesthetic.) I’m great at taking care of everyone else, just not myself. So I’m now on Day four of recovery from having the remaining three wisdom teeth removed and still in a lot of pain. Looks wise, I resemble a chipmunk who is hiding nuts in her cheeks. The first few days I stuck to clear broths, Popsicles, etc. This diet got old and began to make me feel bloated. The high sodium content was something my body wasn’t used to at all.
After playing on Pintrest today I decided I needed to help my body heal by consuming more anti inflammatory foods that worked from the inside out. I’m already noticing a difference just by adding this smoothie into my diet today. I then followed up with a fragrant green tea, ginger, turmeric tonic. Here’s to healing from the inside out! Hoping to get back to my half marathon training next week!

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Fitness Fun with Kids

Check out this awesome fitness activity my sons school sent us, for a weekly activity.

Credit is given to the folks at http://www.edupressinc.com, the Parent Resource Center, and Elizabeth Berry, our RELEE’s former Title I Teacher who created the weekly activities.

PS: Remember to follow us on Twitter @releeprincipal. That would be a great way to share your progress on some of these Summer Sprarks Activities!

How Far Can You Go?
Social Studies: Map uses, understands distance and directions
Math: Tells Time, Uses Addition

This activity is a fun way to combine healthy exercise with developing a better sense of time and distance. Look at a map of your state with your child. Have him locate and mark your location with a colored pin. Have him name a few places on the map that are north of where you live. Repeat with east, west, and south. Tell him that the two of you will walk together for 20 to 30 minutes every day. He will track both the miles and minutes you walk. He will record the information daily in a notebook and by moving the pin the correct number of miles in one direction. Have him chose which direction he wants to go each day. Then, start walking. Either walk on a mileage-marked route or wear a pedometer. Before each walk, have him check the time. After each walk, have him record the minutes and miles. Each day, have him add the prior days’ miles to figure out the total number of miles you have walked. How many miles does he think he will get in a week? How about in a month or the whole summer? At the end of the summer, add the total number of miles you walked. Then, mark places on the map you could reach by going that number of miles in different directions. If possible, pick one of the places, and drive to the location. How long did it take to get there by car?

Gluten free Blondie’s

As the holiday season kicks in full force I’ve decided that I’d like to try and make myself some gluten free treats. I had an awesome Blondie recipe that my little cousin Jadey and I loved making so I decided to attempt to modify it to a gluten free treat. I found Namaste foods gluten free perfect flour blend which basically meant all I had to do was replace flour with this blend. I was very happy with the results. Looked great held the same great texture. Looks like I really get some use out of my new treadmill since I now have treats to indulge in :)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Namaste Foods perfect flour blend
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter & coconut oil mix
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips & Heath toffee pieces mix

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Measure 1 cup sifted flour. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift again. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Mix well and set aside.
Melt 1/3 cup butter & coconut oil blend. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.
Add egg (beaten) and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well.
Spread in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

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