LIFESTYLE

Community blogger Gina von Esmarch

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
The Latest Blogs section is featured in the right hand column at: www.mtshastanews.com

Gina von Esmarch is the creator of the Bowl Licker community blog found on the mtshastanews.com home page.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Gina is a fourth generation San Franciscan whose family has successfully run one of the City’s oldest fine dining restaurants at Fisherman’s Wharf – Alioto’s #8, founded in 1925.

Gina now lives north of the Golden Gate Bridge with her husband, children and dog. In her free moments she enjoys spending time around the table with her family and friends. She frequently vacations at Mt. Shasta, where her family has a home.

Gina’s recent blog post for “Peachy Keen Granola”

Single tasking. What a brilliant idea to have a name to go with my state of mind and being. I was attempting to multi-task nine weeks ago when I injured myself and now I am a new convert to the mindset of single tasking. It goes perfectly with my ‘keep things simple’ concept. What better way to slow down this crazy pace of life than to just focus on one thing and to do it as best as you possibly can. What I’ve learned during this unexpected journey is how much more I grasp out of every conversation when I am focused, the little things I notice and the stories I hear.

Three months ago as I started planning out the summer program for my kids I jokingly said to a friend of mine, “Wouldn’t it be great to have one of those summers like when you were a kid and the days seemed as if they lasted forever?” Never did I imagine that I was about to have that kind of a summer, where I would literally sit and observe life going on around me. Upside? Along the way I found that I was able to flex my ‘attention’ muscle. Once I figured out how to get past my anger and disappointment for being so careless as to have such an accident with a knife, I became focused on the now and living in the now.

Life has a funny way of yanking you into the present. Like it or not there are some very defining moments in our lives when karma shakes us and gets us to pay attention. While it is a dark rabbit hole to focus on the areas of loss, it is also a part of the process of healing and accepting. In these past months I’ve learned that people can really surprise you, and usually for the better. And it is not the jolting moments that you define you but those touching moments in between that remind you about what is good.

When I think back on these past nine weeks, I recall getting three sets of stitches, feeling sick to my stomach and wishing a kajillian times that I could turn back the clock. But if I had turned back the clock I might have missed a few things…like being reminded at how deeply I am loved by my family; the visits and meals friends and family sent to help take some of the burden off of my husband while he took charge of the work of two people. I would have missed the extra hugs from my daughter, the jokes from my son, blogging with my mom, my aunt, Rosa and Kevin… I would have missed a lot of my days as I rushed and multi-tasked my way into summer and very important memories would have evaporated like the drops of dew on the morning leaves. I remember Jim Croce singing ‘Time in a Bottle‘…

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I’d like to do

Is to save every day ’til eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you…

If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come true

I’d save every day like a treasure and then

Again, I would spend them with you…

What did I learn? I learned that spending time with my family and friends is the best way to make days last forever in my memory.

For me summer also has its memorable foods to cherish. These warm months conjure up visions of juicy sweet tree ripened stone fruits… apricots, cherries, nectarines, and peaches.

In this recipe the dried white peaches combined with the crunchy cinnamon flavored oats give the granola a delicious twist of summer flavor. If I could bottle the taste of summer breakfast cereal then this is the recipe!

Peachy Keen Granola

Ingredients

2 cups oats

1/2 cup red quinoa, uncooked and rinsed

1/2 cup sliced honey roasted almonds (Trader Joe’s)

2 TBS flaxseed

2 TBS sunflower seeds, shelled and unsalted

1 TBS wheat germ

1 TBS chia seeds (Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

2 TBS coconut oil (Tropical Traditions Gold Label)

1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and unsalted (optional)

1/2 cup pecans, lightly sweetened (Trader Joe’s)

1/3 cup coconut flakes (optional)

2 cups dried white peaches, chopped (Trader Joe’s)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except the nuts, dried peaches and coconut flakes. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir and continue cooking an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately add in remaining ingredients. Allow to cool completely before transferring to an air tight container.

Blackberry Festival

In honor of the Mt. Shasta Annual Blackberry Festival, Gina said she will be doing a few fun blackberry recipes in future blog posts.

The festival, she said, “is a family favorite of ours; watermelon eating, potato sack races, the bands, the blackberry beer and of course the pie! If I am lucky I'll find a way to get my new tributary recipes incorporated into the hearts and bellies of those that love the festival as much as we do.”

Read more of Gina’s recipes at: http://www.mtshastanews.com/section/blogs01?taxid=2286