Tomorrow Camille and I are heading up to Ventura County for vacation with my extended family. My sister will meet us there with part of her family, and she will swing through San Luis Obispo picking up my son and my mother on her way. My father will arrive later that evening. Then, over the next week, various other family members will come and go including Brett and my brother with his family.
We do this vacation every year. For the past 17 years, we have been going to Shaver Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This year we are renting a house by the beach as my mother can no longer tolerate altitude. She has a lung condition and last year it had progressed to the point where she left the lake after one day. She couldn't breathe even with her portable oxygen. Clearly, we weren't going there again. This year will be in a new location -- beach not mountains and a rented duplex instead of our usual mountain cabin. Camille, who has spent every summer of her 17 years in the same mountain cabin with her cousins, is not happy. She is afraid it won't be the same. It's hard to learn those lessons of time -- things change, people change, they sometimes leave even. But, the important thing is that we are still spending the time together. It will be the same family, the same interpersonal dynamics (challenging at times), and the same over abundance of food.
I've been busy preparing my share of the food part. My sister and I trade off making dinner and appetizers. We both bake goodies for breakfast and lunch. The amount and quality of the food is really obscene. For me, that's the best part. There is something about gathering over food that says love and family.
This morning, I made banana bread with chocolate chips. My son won't eat anything else for breakfast when we are on this vacation. It's the only time I make it and the one year I forgot, he gave me a really hard time about it. I also baked chocolate chip cookies for lunches.
I have a truckload of tomatoes so I made some salsa as well. I'll make guacamole while we are up there and that will be one of my appetizers -- chips, salsa & guacamole. Basic but good.
Salsa is a breeze: I just throw this stuff into the food processor and chop it up.
And lest you think we just eat snacks and sweets, I am also bringing a lot of fruit.
I used those brown bananas for the banana bread.
Tomorrow morning, I'll make up some cole slaw and then pack the car. I'm going to try to remember to bring the camera and lap top so I can post while I'm gone.