Simply Healthy Family: Food, Fun, Friends and Backpacking across the World


Food, Fun, Friends and Backpacking across the World

I've been not feeling so great the last few days. Which comes as no surprise since 3 of my 4 kids have had the stomach blues one after another since last week. I'm ready to hang a white hankie outside my door in warning to others to stay clear if they value their health... and sanity.  * sighhhh  Anyway, I haven't had much to eat lately except for home made brothy soups and so, nothing much to post.

 I did however have an epiphany of sorts. Well, I'm super excited about it anyway. My very adventurous and well traveled friend Jason whom I've known since high school is, among other things a wonderful cook. Not only is he a wonderful cook, but his good natured, fun personality and the fact that he's the most energetic person I've ever met make him one of my favorite people! Jason has been traveling all over the world since high school, backpacking, visiting and eating in places I've never even heard of.  He posts the most beautiful pictures and writes of places he's been on facebook though I've tried to get him to start a web page of his own. I thought I would share some of the recipes he's made and shared and also a few fun pics of him showing off on his travels ;-).
 Oh, you must check out this recipe Jason shared with me for Rosemary Filone bread from Italy that I have been making regularly now. It's crusty on the outside and soft and airy inside.
This is just for fun people, hope you enjoy!

Foodies, meet Jason.  Jason, Foodies.

 Are these recipes you've created out of pure genius?

Lol, I didn't create any of them but I do modify them. I try to use only basic ingredients since I travel to countries that usually don't have ingredients that you can find in the states. Peru didn't have tortillas and cans of refried black beans, Iceland didn't have tartar sauce for freshly caught Icelandic cod, and who want to travel around with a big bottle of salad dressing when you can make it fresh.



First up, a simple yet traditional dish found all across Italy, Rosemary Polenta.

Granada, Spain

Rosemary Polenta

Rosemary Polenta
Cook Time: 10 min      Serves:   4 to 6 servings


1/3 cup unsalted butter

1 tbl olive oil

1 tsp minced garlic (1 cloves)

1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

2/3 cups half-and-half

2/3 cups milk

2/3 cups cornmeal

1/4 cup good grated Parmesan

Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying


Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, half-and-half, and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. Pour into a small pan, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm and cold.

Cut the chilled polenta into squares or triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil, as needed. Serve immediately.

Next up, the Artic Circle and Home Made Tarter Sauce.

In the Artic Circle the main types of food are of course fish, but goats provide milk and cheese and also birds such as Langvia and Puffins are on the menu.

Local Fishing Boat


Local pub in Artic Circle, Puffin for dinner

What do you make when your in the Artic to go with all that fish?
Home Made Tarter Sauce!



1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish

1 tablespoon minced onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and minced onion. Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 scallion, including green top chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped dilled gherkins

1 tablespoon chopped capers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

salt and fresh ground black pepper


Combine all the tartar sauce ingredients in a bowl with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

More fun pics....

Street Market in Morocco

Amazon, Peru

Flammekuech, schnitzle and beer in Germany

Thanks Jason!



  1. Hi Gwen,
    I am sad to hear you are not well. Get better soon. Stomach bugs are the worst. We had one in our family for four full weeks in summer. I'd always prefer colds and coughs over stomach things :-)

  2. Last school year my 3 kids were each out 10-14 days because we kept passing colds and strep to each other. I feel your pain! When you are home with your kids everyday the idea of backpacking and traveling from country to country seems wonderful and exotic! I didn't realize people eat puffins! Can't find that at our local Albertsons! ha! ha!

  3. Hi Love,
    I'm sorry that you aren't feeling well. I will send healing thoughts your way! It must be hard to stay healthy with all those germs! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures and your adventurous friend! I was transported. And that rosemary polenta looks AMAZING!


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