Monthly Archives: May 2014

Fishy fishy in the brook

I’d like to proclaim that I’m an outdoorsy girl that has no qualms with stomping around in gum boots, sleeping on the dirt ground and starting a fire with two sticks. All being true, I was excited to head to the local lake to go fishing with my good ol’ pops and the family. I can just see it now, dad, my brothers and I teaching the little ones how to cast a line…




Well, turns out my rugged backpacking skills don’t assist me when I have a live worm in my hand with instructions to “just stab it through the hook” and “really make sure it’s on there.” Yeah, no thanks.






As I was secretly hoping that I didn’t catch anything, (in fear of seeing a flopping fish struggling to survive the metal through its gils) I hear, “you got one Keka!” Oh great.


After politely bailing on the actual fishing portion of the day, I was able to capture some cute moments with the family. This was such a peaceful day that will be listed in the “feels like it was just yesterday” portion of my memories.


Excluding my new internal battle of fishing for sport, I’ll admit the afternoon was absolutely perfect. With family running through the dirt roads and ankle high grass, I found a sweet spot showing off the popular red dirt that Oklahoma is known for. Handstand time!


Quick pic update for those of you who have been following since day one. Here’s a sibling photo from a post 2 years ago, followed by our recent. I don’t know how they got older and I got younger!?



I’ll leave this as my last post in Oklahoma for the time being. Next stop is Florida where my mom is currently counting down the days until we reunite at the Panama City Beach airport.

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Polk Poison Salad… Delicious!

Poke, Polk, Poke salad, Polk greens whatever you want to call them, are a hidden secret that some of the locals down south don’t even know about. It grows wild and is rarely purposely planted due to its poisonous characteristics. Yes, you read correctly. If consumed without proper preparation, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness and occasional cases of death. With that said, let’s eat up!

Warning: Like most high fibrous greens, Polk can encourage a quick elimination depending on your bodies sensitivity. (It could also be the small trace of poison remaining in the depths of the leaves). Either way, I call it the “Polk Cleanse”.

Step 1: Have a generous friend that’s willing to hit the fields and collect bags full of this organic delight.



Step 2: Rinse thoroughly to remove dirt, bugs, weeds, spiders or any other unwanted item.



Step 3: Boil the venomous vines until you witness a greenish white foam floating on top. (I forgot to snap a photo of the white foam as I was stuck on step 4…. Sorry friends!)


Step 4: Stare at the foam covered greens and debate if you really want to follow through with this toxic (but nutritious) detox. If bravery has overcome your naturally fearful thoughts, continue to step 5.

Step 5: Strain the greens and rinse.


Step 6: Boil it again. This time cross your fingers and do a silent prayer that the white film doesn’t come back and the contamination was left at the previous soaking.


Step 7: Strain and rinse again.



Step 8: Serve it up! First, to your guests of course (mainly to see if anyone gets sick) then when all is safe, proceed by enjoying them yourself.


Today I made a portion into a side dish, similar to a spicy spinach dip. I combined Greek yogurt, cucumber, onion, jicama, jalepeños, garlic, lime, cumin, salt, black pepper and tapatio. Chopped up some polk and viola… Polk dip!


Dear Grams and Aunt Vicki, eating this wild plant will always bring back extremely fond memories with reminders of my time here and the many jokes over plates of Polk poison salad. Thanks for sharing! Love you

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Arkie to Okie….Crossing state lines

Leaving California usually provides mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to my hometown and childhood friends weighs heavy on the comfort seeking part of my spirit, yet knowing a new environment is in my near future brings a unique excitement that is irreplaceable. I’m not sure if it’s a hindering or useful quality of mine, but being in my “comfort zone” is generally short and sweet before I crave a different surrounding to stimulate my senses. I suppose there’s no need to label it “good” or “bad”… It just is.

To my memory, I haven’t posted these fun photos of the inside of the Sacramento airport. It’s so familiar to me that I forget my international friends have never experienced it. Check out the creative artwork at the baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant!




Next stop is the land of fried okra, snappin turtles (nobody pronounces the “g” in “snapping”) and red dirt. Before we land, lets pause for a short story.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t assign seats, rather gives you a general boarding order that allows you to pick any open seat. This means, for travelers like me that don’t take concern in an early check in, get stuck loading a plane like a ten year old on a bus for the first day of school. All the cool kids with their window views, the runners up in the aisle chairs and the rest of us debating on the middle seat between the mom with toddlers or the business man who clearly uses the flight to recreate his work desk and take over the entire space with every tech gadget that they allow on board. My pick today was to squeeze front and center with an older man built like the traditional Santa Claus and a younger fit guy with legs the size of my waist.

Great news to me, Mr. Bulging-biceps was a friendly talker who was extremely intelligent and eager to trade stories. I could make this entire post about the conversation between the two of us, but instead I’ll just give you a photo with confidence that this gentleman crossed my path for a purpose. Thank you for the new workouts, encouraging words and a few well needed giggles.


I landed in Arkansas to visit my cousin Lana for a week before heading to Oklahoma. Road trip! Her and the family loaded up as we set off for our 5 hour journey.



*To my international friends: North Americans pay gas per gallon, not liter.


I wonder what their fuel was before? Also, notice the sign to the right… Classic southern offer!





This little pit stop has a flavored sugar disposing machine. Yes, you imagine correctly. It’s a huge colorful attraction in which you pick your choice of dyed sugar to weigh in and eat up. I rarely post strong negative opinions, but really folks… Can we at least pretend to care about the nutritional needs of our children?


The famous Route 66 guides us in to the final stretch before finally arriving to the small town (by small town, I mean a street the has some houses surrounding the gas station-grocery store-post office that sits across the hwy from the only school k-12th. All shown in detail here).



Agra, Oklahoma will be home while I visit my family including but not limited too: The precious Grams, 2 hilarious Aunts, 2 adorable Great Aunts, my Dad and his wife, 5 siblings, and 23 cousins still counting…


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The Folsom Farmers Market

If you’ve been following long enough, you’ll know it’s very likely to find me in a local market sampling any and every thing that’s offered. I love food.


This round of staying in California placed me living a short distance from the local farmers market. For the first time I was a tourist in my home town as I chatted small talk with the venders every Saturday morning. Walk with me (or kidnap some friends and jog with me)!










I apologize to the non vegetarians out there as I didn’t get close ups of any animal products. Take my word, there were definitely quality hunks of meat out there and I’m not talking about the guys who came to the market still dressed in their gym clothes.


This stand sells goodies from under the sea. Fresh fish, smoked items and unique treats such as salmon bacon and fish jerky were a just a few of the options.



All the way from The Netherlands (one of my favorite European countries) is Marga. With vegan treats and energy boosting snacks, she greeted me with a familiar accent. I replied with the only sentence I know in her language, “Klink ik nederlands?”, which translates “Do I sound Dutch?”. She responded with a giggle and said, “Not really. WellI I guess a little bit since I understood you!”.
Her website offers nutrient packed snacks and details of how it all started. Check her out at


A special thanks to Teresa. As if her tasty jam wasn’t enjoyable enough, the supportive conversation was something I looked forward to each week. Ps, apricot is amazing if you ever get the chance to order from her!


Nita, side by side with her daughter, was always eager to divi out the samples (I’m sure because they were confident that you couldn’t resist another bite). From gooey caramel enhanced rice Krispy treats to peanut butter brownies, self discipline was a must when passing by this stand!


Peel’d has a brilliant idea that is beng loved around the Sacramento area. Each day they juice a fresh new batch of smoothies and bring the amazing flavors out to the market. I know most of you savvy little health nuts out there have a juicer or Vitamix, but this little backpacker doesn’t have room to lug those appliances around. Instead, I choose over worn clothes, trail mix, and a half empty first aid kit.
With that said, this trip I’ve been spoiled with a fresh juice every Weekend. Glorious! If you’re jealous and would love these juicy deliveries to your doorstep, check out their website at
To Tim and my peel’d friends, your greetings every week spoke in volumes and have still left an imprint on my Saturday morning experiences, much gratitude to the dozens of samples (that you knew I had already tried) and the gifted bottles that I enjoyed to the last drop!


I didn’t get to know this lovely lady as well as the others, but Nicole’s creativity and passion towards organic dog food stood out to me. Add animals to the list of things that I don’t backpack with, but if you have a healthy pup at home, feel free to look her up at


If I could remember the exact words these folks spoke to me I’d share them with the world to brighten the day. Their supportive compliments fueled my traveling fire and the mini bag of granola traveled with me well! Thanks again!


Usually my market posts are crammed with fruit and veggies, but this round the vibrant people and homemade goodies took over. I don’t want to leave out the vendors that kept my counter piled high with rainbow colored edibles from the earth. Thank you for the abundance of plants grown in your backyard!



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