Yesterday at 7:30am I joined a dear friend of mine for a one-day trip to Fresno (yes, it is in the middle of nowhere, 4 long hours from LA) to visit her children and run a few errands.
About an hour after we left Los Angeles, we reached Route 5 to discover that it was closed until noon because of snow. I didn’t understand what were they talking about. It was sunny and warm and there was no sign of snow, not even on the mountaintops. Because I was driving and Waze kept trying to take us back to the 5, we called my Googly husband to help us to find an alternate route. Google Maps said our only option is to take the 101, the coastal highway. Going back to LA wasn’t an option.
Taking the 101 would make our drive two hours longer, which is like suicide to an impatient, claustrophobic, Israeli mother. Most of the time I feel trapped when in a car for more than one hour, so I was amazed and very proud of myself for not freaking out when things didn’t go well. I was even more proud of myself for driving five hours with only two short stops, without a single panic or claustrophobia attack! When I go on road trips with my husband and kids, he does ALL the driving and I take twenty drops of Kava or Rescue Remedy. (I am happy to do all the urban driving.)
My friend’s sense of humor, the stunning views, and the absence of screaming children in the back made our trip much less horrible, and actually quite fun. We laughed so much, sang our hearts out with Adele and Billy Joel, and car-danced (hands only).
Because neither of us expected to be in the car for more than four hours, we didn’t bring any food with us, except for a few little snacks. I brought an apple and half an avocado sandwich, and she brought a Nutella sandwich and some Israeli snacks which she had originally brought for her kids in Fresno, and which I couldn’t eat. When we stopped for gas, the only kind of remotely natural snack we found was a bag of overly-salted pretzels. They were crunchy and tasty, but left a yucky after-taste in my mouth. (I wish I wasn’t so sensitive.)
We had to be in Fresno no later than 2pm, so we decided to wait until we got there to eat a proper meal (not that you can find a proper/edible/decent place to eat anywhere on the way). When we finally arrived in Fresno, we had to rush to do our errands before we could sit down to eat. We were starving! Finally, 11 hours after leaving LA, we joined my friend’s boys for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I always assume the worst about any chain restaurant, but the food there was surprisingly good, even if I was starving. I had wild salmon with stir-fried broccoli, snap peas, and carrots on the side.
I didn’t get home until 1:30am, exhausted as a limp noodle. I tip-toed, zombie-like, to my boys’ room. I covered them (pointless, really, since they always kick their comforter off), kissed them, then brushed my teeth (no way was I going to floss) and washed my face (without even bothering to wipe off the black mascara that spread around my eyes and made me look even more like a zombie), then got into bed with my half-sleeping husband. I kissed him and hugged him, and asked him to wake up with the kids in the morning and take them off school. I always feel like it would be too complicated and too much to ask for him to pick a nice, comfy outfit for them for school, make a light, nutritious breakfast, prepare and pack their snacks and lunches, and fill their water bottles with fresh filtered water … so I only asked him to help them get dressed, make them a light breakfast, and said that I would take care of their lunch bags and water later.
The next morning, the boys were so happy to find their smoothies. I needed my camomile tea (some of us need something to calm them down and make them less speedy during those hectic mornings), my husband can’t start his day without his latte, and the little ones like their smoothie in the morning. There is no better and sweeter way to smooth your day.
Making smoothies is less complicated than making a latte with our Mr. Coffee espresso machine (hint-hint, darling). All you need to do is put the ingredients in a blender. A hand blender makes about 2 cups, so if you like to make more than 2 cups, do it in a few batches. It’s good to stock the house with fresh or frozen fruit (Trader Joe’s has inexpensive organic frozen fruit) and some dried fruit, nuts and herbs. You don’t need much to make a simple and delicious smoothie. One banana and 20 almonds make a really nice shake. Or try ½ cup of frozen pineapple, 3 basil leaves and 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup.
I make most smoothies water-based, and only sometimes use cow’s milk and yogurt. (My theory about milk: if you don’t have European or Scandinavian genes, milk is probably not very good for you).
One more thing! If you use frozen fruit, make sure to let it soak in room-temperature water a few minutes before blending. Drinking frozen liquids is shocking to your system and also hurt in your temple. I even add 1–2 tablespoons of boiled water. And if you happen to have a small blender like mine, you should let the frozen fruits defrost a bit in the water or milk, and crush the nuts before you add them to your smoothies. And it’s better to put in the fruits and nuts first, and then cover them with the liquid.
Here are my boys favorite combinations:
(Ingredients to make 2 cups)
1 cup organic frozen blueberries, 1 sliced banana, and water or milk.
20 crushed almonds, 2 pitted dates, 1 sliced banana, and water or milk.
1 cup diced mango, 1 peeled and chopped orange, 1 sliced banana, 5 mint leaves, and water.
1 cup strawberries, 1 sliced banana, and goat milk.
1½ cups strawberries, 1½ cups plain yogurt.