Keep exploring…the path less traveled.

I choose to keep exploring the path less traveled both figuratively and literally. This is my rendition of the famous words Robert Frost once said, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  Anything worth accomplishing takes time and isn’t going to be easy. If the task were easy there wouldn’t be any satisfaction in reaching it. If someone did all the work for you, there would be no self-reliance, or confidence instilled. The greater the struggle the more fulfilling of a triumph.

I find it is sometimes easy to fall into a comfortable routine at home and work. Although it’s important to have a secure homeostasis and home base, being too comfortable can lead to feelings of stagnation. This is why it’s so important to keep exploring and pushing oneself out of your “comfort zone”. It is not a passive decision. It is actively choosing to make this happen. This can be done on a small scale every day or weekly. For example, learning a new skill, finding a new park, taking a different route, or trying a new food. For maximum effectiveness it is helpful to go on a more grand adventure every few months. I call this the reset button. For some it might be a weekend away. For me it usually involves pushing my body to the limits while also enjoying nature and being outside.

The first time I went on a true independent adventure was my freshman year in high school. It was an early release day and some friends were talking about going to the beach. I had driven to the beach a thousand times. It didn’t really interest me. So I thought I’d see if I could ride my bike. I asked myself, “Could I do it? Could I remember how to get there? Would I get too tired?”

It was a perfect day in May. I was shaking with anticipation for the bell to ring. After we were dismissed I went home and gathered some items. I made a makeshift Camelbak by taking a gallon jug, and attaching a tube from my dad’s shop with duct tape. I put the water, an apple, a bar and five dollars in a small backpack. I left my phone at home and didn’t tell anyone where I was going.

Those first 20 miles to the ocean were different than any time prior. At a slower pace than a vehicle I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. The house with the bright colored shudders, the birds flying beside me, the old man sitting on his porch, the smells of the flowers, and the changing sounds as I rode by the various landscapes.

When I finally got to the ocean the hot sand stuck to my sweaty shins. The cold, salty water felt refreshing on my tired depleted muscles and sunburned skin. I reached the water. I had done it. So, I refilled my water jug, ate a slice of Christie’s Pizza and rode home.

After that ride I felt refreshed, alive, and invigorated. I had a new found confidence in myself. It wasn’t from reaching the destination I had gone to a thousand times before. It was the journey that changed me.

Through the years I have gone on many more adventures like this. Ones in which I have tested my mental and physical toughness. Where often the outdoor elements aren’t always ideal but make me appreciate my home base even greater.

My soul craves a long overdue big adventure and I am thrilled to share this week we fly to Arizona to begin the journey to Havasu Falls. Although this particular “path” might be traveled often because it is a popular destination in the Grand Canyon (it took us three years to get a reservation), I can’t wait to go exploring on this new journey!!!

(Above is a stock picture. I packed my Gopro, camera, and battery charger to capture my own on the trip.)
Now in adulthood, you’ll be happy to know
that I
own an actual camelbak bladder and I am a bit better at planning my adventures. I always tell a family member the trail I am planning on taking. Also, as you can see, I pack a bit more gear. ; )
Helpful gear: MSR Sweetwater filter,GoPro4 with waterproof case, Goalzero phone charger, Blackdiamond headlamp and lantern, Sea to Summit 20 degree sleeping bag , Sea to Summit dry wicking towel,
EMS sleeping pad, 6Liter water bag, ultra light hammock, Leatherman pocket knife, compass, knife, matches, cards, cord, first aid kit, comb, soap, sunscreen, toothpaste and brush, Bumkins waterproof bags, Buff headband, pots and stove.

Clothes: 3 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of underwear, two sports bras, two Athleta bathingsuits, two tank tops, one skort, one pair of runner’s shorts, one nighttime shorts, two t-shirts, Patagonia puff coat and cotton dress, long pants, EMS UV 50 long sleeve, EMS UV 50 wide brim hat, Asolo hiking boots, Vibrams, and Nalgenes.
The bag with supplies weighed in at 24lbs. This is pre food and water weight.

Keep exploring…

A love for food…

Growing up with an Italian mother meant food being center stage wasn’t reserved for mere holidays. It was interwoven into daily and weekly routines. Every week I would go to the market with my mom, skip down the aisles and gather ingredients for the week’s meals. Every night she made delicious, well planned dinners from scratch. I’m talking homemade bread, gravy, and all the fixings. My parents, papa, and sisters gathered around the table to eat and talk about our day. Dinner was a time for us to be together and check in. On our birthdays my mom has always made us feel special when she makes our favorite meals and desserts. During the holidays we’ve always recreated dishes that my nuna and great grandmother have made making it feel like they were there with us. To me cooking is a hobby, a craft, a time machine, a way to keep traditions alive, to bring people together, to show love and to nourish our bodies. I am looking forward to sharing recipes that you might share around a table with your loved ones and friends. Or if you’re like me living a busy life, to also pack in a lunchbox and eat later.

The Breakfast Burrito

The first recipe I want to share started off as a quick midweek dinner. Then one Easy Like Sunday Morning, I was in the mood to make homemade biscuits. I thought the leftovers in the fridge would go great with biscuits and an egg over easy. Slam dunk for your taste buds! As a full time middle school health teacher I wake up at 5:15 and am out the door by 6:30AM. Making biscuits weekly is not realistic time wise or waistline wise but I needed an easy satisfying breakfast option. I find that when I don’t eat breakfast I get hangry, and can’t stop looking at my watch for lunch. Also, when I don’t eat breakfast, even after I eat lunch I will have food cravings later in the day. I’ve experimented and will be the first to say I am my best self when I eat a satiating breakfast with high protein, fiber and carbs. I make the super simple potato filling and store it in the fridge. On a weekday morning the only thing I need to cook are eggs over easy. I reheat the filling, a tortilla and a half a slice of cheese. We like it a bit hot in my house so I always add a dash of hot sauce. Whola! A breakfast burrito. On the mornings when I can’t seem to get out of my own way, I wrap it in foil and eat it on my drive to work. Whoever said Wheaties is the breakfast of champions clearly never had eaten a breakfast burrito.  I hope you like this recipe and feel like a champion today!

Breakfast Burrito
Slam Dunk for Your Taste Buds and the Real Breakfast of Champions.

Make Ahead Ingredients:

5-6 medium potatoes, skin on

1 whole head of garlic

1 medium onion

Two tablespoons fresh herbs Oregano/Thyme (optional)

1 package Chicken Chorizo

2-3 TB olive oil

Salt and pepper

Burrito Ingredients:

¼ cup-1/3 cup of make ahead filling

1 egg over easy

Half a slice of cheddar cheese

Tortilla

Dash of hot sauce/sweet habanero

Directions:

Preheat oven to 420. Rinse and scrub potatoes. Dice potatoes into ½ inch chunks and place onto baking pan. Cut onion into half inch chunks and place onto baking pan. Cut chorizo into fourths and then dice. Add chorizo to pan. Chop garlic into medium chunks and add to pan.  If using herbs chop and add to pan. Drizzle olive oil over mixture and stir until coated. Add salt and pepper as desired. Place into hot oven for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and scrape the pan stirring gently to allow to brown other side. Place back into oven for another 15-20 minutes until cooked and crispy. Eat as a meal or set aside in fridge for breakfast burrito.

Heat frying pan on medium high heat. Once a dash of water fizzles lower to medium heat. Meanwhile place tortilla, spoonful of filling with a half a slice of cheese in microwave for no more than 30 seconds. When you have more time reheat on stove. Cook egg in frying pan. When the outer part of the egg whites start to firm add a dash of salt and pepper if desired and flip egg over. You can turn off heat. Cook about 1-2 minutes then place on top of tortilla. Yolk should be broken over potatoes. Add a dash of hot sauce. Roll tortilla to pull filling tightly, fold sides in and finish rolling. Eat or wrap in aluminum foil to go.

Easy Like Sunday Morning: This dish is also really delicious over fresh homemade biscuits instead of in a burrito. Bake biscuits. Cut biscuit in half and place on plate. Pour potato filling over biscuit halves. Put an egg over easy on each biscuit half. Cheese if desired. Double yum yum!

For easier cleanup, soak pan in hot water for 15 minutes before washing.