Celebrating Guam: Titiyas Flatbread Recipe

Two Lovers Point  panoramicHafa Adai, Friends!  Hafa Adai is the warm welcome greeting from my beloved island of Guam.  Si Yu’us Ma’ase/ Thank you to all my friends and family members who reached out to my mother and I during this past week.  It means so much to us. We are delighted that our beloved island has been spared.  As a thank you, I wanted to share with you a very special and easy recipe for Titiyas or Tiyas (TEE-jus) as my family calls it- a delicious flatbread.  You will find it printed here along with an excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes.  Read on for more information about Guam and her people.

Where in the World is Guam, Anyway?  a blog post written by my dad!

Why Guam was targeted.

Keep Calm, Guam. An interview with Korean expert and BBC notable Robert E. Kelly.

I visited Guam During the Nuclear Standoff and Loved Every Minute of It

My Guam Journals – posts and pics from my family’s vacation in Guam two years ago.

MY GIFT TO YOU: An excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes- Available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. Stories and Recipes including more about Guam, including the Chicken Kelaguen recipe mentioned in many of the above links.

Remembering Grandma Santos

I was so fortunate to have my grandma living with us when I was a young girl. I loved her then, and I have even greater respect and admiration for her now. She was with us for all of our special occasions. She let my beloved cat cuddle near her, even though she wasn’t particularly fond of cats. She was so warm, and genuinely loving, as my relatives from Guam are. She always made sure to snuggle and hug my sister and I when it was the other sister’s birthday. And she could fry Vienna sausage like no one else.

I cannot even imagine the hardships she endured, growing up on Guam in the early twentieth century. Her island was captured by Japan during World War II happened, and her family was forced to march between villages along with the other native islanders. Her young son became separated from her during the march, and wasn’t reunited with the family for a day. Can you even imagine?

She sure made me feel special and loved, and I know she did the same for her other twenty-six grandchildren. She walked us to the park at the top of the hill so we could play on the playground. She wore a lace shawl over her head, reminiscent of how Catholic women had to cover their hair in church in pre-Vatican II times. I still remember the shiny black patent leather Mary Jane’s with the big fat buckle that she gave me one year. (Maybe that’s why I have always loved Mary Janes!)

Sometimes when I find a food truck now I will ask them to prepare a meal that I remember my grandma cooking for us. It is basically eggs and rice, with fried Vienna sausage. Then I douse it with soy sauce. (You know you are an Asian Pacific Islander if you keep a bottle of soy sauce in your desk at work!) The likes and loves start pouring in when I post a picture of my meal on Facebook or Instagram!  Many of my family, friends, and followers remember this comfort meal.

I remember the Tejas that Grandma cooked for us. Tejas is short for Titiyas, the traditional flatbread. I remember watching her making this in our home, when I was growing up. She’d give me a little of the dough and I could make my own tiny tejas. If I concentrate on the memory, I can almost smell her presence — Rose Milk hand lotion and Cheerios. It’s wonderful to now watch my own children make tejas with my mom.

I miss you, Grandma.



Flatbread from Guam

(pronounced tih-TEE-jus or TEE-jus for short.)

My grandmother would make this from memory, without ever measuring. My mom studied her process and came up with these measurements.


1 cube butter

½ cup sugar

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk (or coconut milk, per my mom)


Cream butter and sugar.

In the same bowl, pour in the flower and baking powder.

Stir just the top dry ingredients, before mixing all together with the milk.

Mix until contents form a ball.

Separate into five balls.

Flatten each ball and roll between two sheets of waxed paper with rolling pin.

Cook on griddle one to two minutes each side.

There is no need to use oil/spray on the pan because of the butter.

Makes five large tejas.

Great with cheese and ham. (Even spam.)

I hope you enjoyed reading.  Let me know if you have tried Tiyas!

Biba Guam!







Five Fun Facts about Me

1. I have zip-lined through jungle and along the beach on the island of Guam.
2. When the hired singer for my sister’s wedding came down with the flu at the last minute, I sang the entire mass including Schubert’s Ave Maria without any rehearsal.
3. I can sing Joy to the World to the tune of Amazing Grace and vice versa– this is way harder than you think: try it now. Probably the most fun thing I learned getting my MA in Liturgical Music (yes, there is such a thing.)
4. When I am mad at someone, I imagine them karaoke singing a sappy disco ballad, poorly. It makes me smile again.
5. Sometimes I roller skate backwards in my head, to relax. I can feel the tension disappear from my shoulders and I feel like am fifteen again.

Have you been zip-lining?

Did you try to sing #3? 

Leave a comment to let us know!

Wednesday Wellness – Scheduled Maintenance

Hello Wednesday!

Today I lamented a bit, I admit, as I didn’t have a fresh, new wellness topic to share with you all.  I went on with my day and reviewed how I was doing so far.  I guess you could say it was a Maintenance day.

Today I paroused through my lovely Bloom calendar, which I’d neglected to complete for a bit.  At this point it becomes more of a journal of What I Did, vs. a plan of what To Do. That’s okay.  It gives me an opportunity to be grateful. I rather enjoyed writing “Finished Reading Harry Potter Book #4 with Dear Son!” because that was a special, memorable milestone in itself.

I also reviewed my personal finances. After last week’s money manifesting, reselling of items and canceling of subscriptions/ services, I now have to follow up with these companies- as I am not seeing the refunds credited to my accounts just yet.    (Item #10 from last week was: Claim What’s Mine!) And now I can go back to Half Price Books to trade in my Goblet of Fire cassettes for cash.

It was a good time to revisit my goals and set my intentions.  I want to review my mantras and uncover what I am really saying to myself.  What goals are left over from last year?   What can I do about them?  What new goals have found me?

I didn’t complete my Guam novel last year, but I did visit the island, made connections,  and developed more ideas.   I got a new idea for another creative nonfiction book: short stories with recipes (very do-able!).  Also, I flirted with writing a jukebox musical.  This one intimidates me, I admit, but honestly I have so many ideas here, it’s time to just do it.  (Hello, three day weekend!)  Something that I really enjoyed last year was an online course.  I love learning.  It’s like school, in the privacy of my own home, under a blanket! I am considering one or two courses that I can take in 2016.

I reached out to my friends and family.  Connecting is so important.  Chatting with my Bestie and my sister keeps me grounded.  Chatting with my new writer & reader friends is so fun and exciting.  I found a new Twitter thread to follow and even participate in.  I have identified a photo to contribute in a future Monochrome Madness photo call. I scheduled the next few guests for my Friday Friends series.

What can YOU do to make yourself more balanced?






Wednesday Wellness: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Friends!

Taking a page from my new Bloom planner, I’m reflecting on how I bloomed in 2015 and how I plan to bloom in 2016.

How I Bloomed in 2015

This year included many memorable moments, including the blessing of world travel to Guam, Italy, France, and Spain.  2015 saw my book promotion and getting to know so many cool authors and booklovers.  I watched my children continue to do well in school, bees, music and dance.

I went zip-lining for the first time ever, on Guam.  It was thrilling, though I could barely let go of the cable on my first run! Seeing the Vatican and the Colosseum for the first time was especially memorable and meaningful.

I read so many enjoyable books, including The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell, The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth Barone, Lifeblood by M. Kate Allen, The Little Book of Manifesting Big: The Gift of Your Own Power by Reba Linker, Author Identity: Build Your Brand. Sell More Books. Change the World. by Angie Mrozcka, Tea & Madness by Cee Streetlights, Jane Blond: International Spy by Brianna Schatt and Stan Schatt, Christmas Confessions and Cocktails by Vicki Lesage,  Love: It’s Own Testimony the Poetry of Ralph Hall.  Still listening to  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and reading along with my dear son (it’s been like two years).  Went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the entire family- what a blast to share the experience with our young padawans.

How I Plan to Bloom in 2016

Next year I am going to continue work on my jukebox musical, start the island novel, oh, and start and complete my latest book project idea!   I am going to make time for creating art and music (other than writing).

I would like to travel someplace I’ve never been, as well as bring the kids to a familiar, favorite place.

I would like to try painting with acrylics.

I would like to practice and rehearse music so that I am prepared to perform.  Maybe another mini-recital, maybe near the end of the year.

I would like to make peace with my things and continue donating many of them away, recycling when possible.

I would like to eat, sleep, and exercise better.  Meditate more.

My word for 2016 is Believe.

How have you bloomed in 2015?  How do you plan to bloom in 2016?

Wishing you Peace in the New Year,





My Guam Journals, The Return

What can I say about our very last day. We manage to sleep in til a reasonable hour, pack and decide to check one suitcase after all- since one of my cousins has given us TEN bags of Chamorro Chip macadamia nut cookies, I kid you not. My parents take the kids to McDonald’s for breakfast as Hubby and I pack everything into our carry-on’s. The sun is shining, and we wish we could stay longer. Some things is didn’t get to doing, but all in all, I really can’t complain. We enjoyed a very special, wonderful time on an island paradise with my dear parents. They will remain on Guam for another few days before heading home.

Our flight home is by way of Japan. We fly west to Tokyo for three hours, have a two hour layover in Narita, before the long 9+ hour flight home. These flights will show movies on a large screen, and serve meals. My gluten-free meals are served first, about ten minutes before the rest of the family’s. They are mostly fish entrees, and they are delicious! (Except the GF “muffin,” that was like a hockey puck.) We watched Theory of Everything on the way to Japan.

In Japan, we had to be processed for security again. Removing shoes and everything. A little annoying, as it took up some time. We consider getting Sushi, but settle for a free taste of something sweet covered in Mochi. I wait at the gate and watch our charging devices and carry-on’s as hubby takes the kids for a walk to the McDonald’s. They pay in US dollars and receive Japanese Yen coins in change. (I ask the boy to share some of the coins with his sister. He relinquishes all of ONE YEN- the flimsy plastic feeling coin.) Hubby says he pointed to pictures and the lady rang him up. He had no idea if his order was right, however. It was! Dear Daughter enjoys her Chicken McNuggets – since she hadn’t enjoyed what was offered on the plane. They also stopped at a gift shop for her to admire some Hello Kitty stationery.

On the way home, the crew starts the Movie, and it’s the same one! Ugh. Well, no matter, there’s the handy United app for streaming movies. Hubby is borrowing my tablet and his movie freezes up. He doesn’t know what to do. Our 6 year old helps him. She’s so cute. We are all four of us sitting in a row this time, with a good view of the movie screen. We get another meal. This is “dinner.” I’m currently tracking two time zones in order to manage hubby’s medication, as well as dear son’s antibiotics. The crew starts showing the new Annie movie, which is so disappointing, Dear Daughter falls asleep. I wish I had fallen asleep, as well, alas, I found myself watching the train wreck. Only the girl manages to sleep a significant amount of time. Nine hours is a long flight. We seem to be making good time, however, and should arrive home in closer to eight hours. Finally, they are serving breakfast. We awake the girl to see if she wants breakfast. Bad idea. She’s suddenly all Boo-Boo Face Grumpy Cat, and I am digging into my own backpack for the super-secret emergency calming device I’d packed in case we had such a situation. Dear Son sees me go for it and says simply, “I agree.” Fist bump.

And I bring out: a cute little stuffed animal of Grumpy Cat. The girl giggles and smiles, and the world is right again. Grumpy Cat will be her boon companion for the last hour of flight. Thank goodness it was only one more hour!

We arrive in San Francisco at 9:30 am, Saturday, although we had left Guam at Noon on Saturday. Wrap your mind around that one. And yet we had been up for like thirty hours, traveling for 17. Traveling over the international date line, we had skipped a day on the way there, and celebrate Groundhog Day all the way back. Guam is 17 hours Ahead of Pacific Daylight Time: to calculate this I always subtract 7 hours and add a day. After all, Guam is Where America’s Day Begins.

I cannot wait to get home, shower, and take a nap! We will have hours of fun reality television shows to watch on the DVR. I can’t wait to share my experiences with our friends and family. I am bursting with Chamorro Pride.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I think after we gave Aunt Betty some Chamorro Chip Cookies, we headed to Starbucks for lunch. Hubby dropped us off at home to get clean, while he went to the grocery store to pick up milk and stuff for dinner. I manage a 2 hour nap before dinner. I have no idea what I cooked for dinner for the family that night. I only remember that my twelve year old son fell asleep sitting up on the couch, something I hadn’t seen him do in forever. So we sent everyone to bed at like 8:00pm, Saturday night. Even after a full Sunday of recovery, it sure was hard to pretend to be normal at work on Monday afternoon. Happily the kids returned to their school schedule and had no problem. I suppose that last time I had made the long trek, I was fourteen years younger and had not birthed two children yet. This whole first week of being back, I’d find myself wide awake at three o’clock in the morning. Because, in Guam it would be 8pm TOMORROW. On Tuesday, my sister mentioned asking our mother to bring home more Chamorro Chip cookies. Alas, on our Tuesday, it would already by Wednesday Guam Time, which meant our parents were already on their plane.

My reflections continue as I process the whole of this journey. It was my intention to visit the island, show her to my children, and spend quality time with my parents. We did all of this and more. Visiting the island was meaningful on so many levels. There was such beauty on this little green island on the other side of the ocean. So much history: communal and personal. Sure, some of the history is tragic, but the Island Spirit remained, was reclaimed, and lives in resurrection. I’m delighted to have had the honor and privilege of sharing this journey with my multigenerational family: my parents, my husband and our children. They are the right ages where they will remember this vacation, as I recall my own vacation to Guam and Japan when I was nine years old.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about our trip by leaving a comment below.

Si Yu’us Ma’ase
(Thank You.)

Puntan Dos Amantes

Puntan Dos Amantes

My Guam Journals, Part 5.2

Day 5, Afternoon

After the beauteous Two Lovers Point, we head to Hagatna/ Agana to pick up my Auntie Nit for lunch. She suggests that we go to the Fiesta for lunch. The Fiesta is a hotel with a buffet. The buffet is closing in thirty minutes when we arrive. So we hurry. (You should know that we often go to the buffet at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas, timing out arrival to be thirty minutes before “lunch time” so that we can enjoy both meal types.). Most of the fare is not to my family’s liking, however. The kids and my father happily find the Mexican station, and, of course, the desserts. My husband and I find the Korean Barbeque station, which is a nice treat. Auntie Nit is a hoot. On the way back to her house, we drive around randomly looking for mangoes. As you do.

Now we head to the statue of the three generations of Chamorritas. This statue stands near the beach off the coast of Hagatna. I was drawn to this statue as I started planning for our trip. I asked my sweet mother if she would pose with my daughter and I in the same way. I was delighted that she even offered to bring her mestiza, a sheer blouse worn over a regular top. The boys helped us get into the exact positions of the three. This was especially meaningful to me, as it has been such a special trip and I’m so proud of my mother and her culture, here was an opportunity for her to show the island to my daughter. And here was an opportunity for us to memorialize the moment. The photo is below. My dear father also entered the photo into the Monochrome Madness weekly challenge here.

Three Chamorritas

Dear Son noticed a storefront sign with the Daok Oil that I was looking for. We maneuvered back and knocked in vain. The store appeared abandoned, and the neighbors didn’t know anything about them. Alas. Sometimes the quest is not about the treasure, but the adventure.

After returning to the hotel to change, we head to Tu Re Cafe to meet Shana one last time. We enjoy some more special time together, and a rainbow appears. I catch both sides of the rainbow, but as I take the panoramic photo, the clouds move over the right side. Typing this today, I just realized it was a double rainbow. Amazing.

Dos Isas

Now we head to Cappriciosa again for dinner with my mother’s childhood friend, Senator Tom Ada. We are meeting early at a different location, in order to beat the tourists. We have a back room which is more like an enclosure, and it’s only semi-private. The Senator and his wife are delightful, as are his sister and her husband. We are enjoying the same entrees we selected on Monday. The restaurant is in a shopping mall, and everybody seems to know Senator Ada.

We make one last stop at the worlds’s largest K-Mart for snacks for the plane ride tomorrow. My parents are going to meet the others at The Outrigger hotel for some music and wine. We get the kids in bed, and my husband and I enjoy a rare date, we enjoy a nice walk to the Outrigger and some last minute souvenir shopping at the ABC stores. I snap a pic of a funny human-sized shark stuffed animal dressed in a floral print sarong at Underwater World. As you do.

The trip is over too soon, and yet it was also perfect. Just perfect.

Please check back for the conclusion of our journey: the Return Home.

Family with Shana

My Guam Journals, Part 5.1

Day 5
We can’t believe this is our last full day on Guam. Dear daughter says she wishes we could stay another week. My friends at home are asking me to move to Guam, so that they can come visit us. I admit I fantasize a little, though I wonder what jobs might be available for us, and how our lifestyle might change. Where would we live? Would I have to get typhoon shutters? Would we rent out our house in California?
Instead of journal time this morning, we change into our suits and head out to the pool. It’s 7 am and the sun has been up for some time. We start in the pool, and for a brief second, this California girl thinks “This isn’t heated!” Then Duh! We are on Guam. We leave the pool and walk twenty feet to the beach. Now this is what I’m talking about! The calm, clear beach water is warmer than the pool. We wade out a bit, and see that none of the activities are open yet, they are just setting out the pedal boats, etc. We go back to the pools and the kids frolic as I check online. At a reasonable time, I text my dear parents to see if they are awake. Mom’s again having leftovers from the prior night’s party for her breakfast, but Dad will join us. He comes to the pool and suggests the hotel’s buffet breakfast. Sounds good! We towel off, pull on cover ups/ tee shirts and head inside. The buffet has a ton of Japanese food, as well as a sandwich bar, omelet stand, and traditional breakfast fare. The tator tots are labeled hash browns. This strikes me as funny.
We pile in the minivan and my mother takes the Auntie Bennett Way to the site. This includes wrong turns and turnarounds. At one point we find ourselves not quite finishing a u-turn at the McDonald’s exit. Naturally, we enter said exit and make our way to the drive thru. But my mother has passed the order stop, and the minivan’s side windows don’t roll down more than 4 inches, so my husband opens the sliding door to speak into the microphone. This is how we do it. On Guam.
Soon we are heading for Two Lovers Point. My husband doesn’t remember this from last time, but I do. It is a wonderful lookout point, and the site of legend. The tale is that the Chamorro Chief’s eldest daughter had been ordered to wed a Spanish soldier. But she had chosen a Chamorro suitor. They did not have the family’s blessing, so they could never marry. They tied their long shining black hair together into one big knot, and the jumped off this cliff to their deaths. They are now together forever, and the waves whisper their undying love.
After the entrance fee and legend signs, we climb the structure. This is a two story deck, and the first level actually jets out over the ocean. My engineer husband observes that the structure might not be sound. But that’s really why it works so well. There is only room for one or two people at the tip of the point, and when I look down, I feel a strange sensation as I sense how deep that drop really is. It’s a beautiful day and clear blue water meets blue sky in all directions. We take photos in every direction, of each other, we help take photos for other tourists and they, in turn, take ours. The staff encourages us to look this way and that, for signs of the lovers. In one direction the beach resembles the profile of the male lover, in the other direction it is said her profile is in the rocks. Even though it is hot and humid, the wind whips about, refreshingly. Dear husband says this is the best lookout point IN THE WORLD and I beam.
As we leave, I purchase postcards from the gift shop, and find my mother has made friends with the street vendors. The coconut slushie guy speaks three languages, and is enticing us with samples. The party music is blaring and another tourist bus pulls up. We cannot refuse. The coconut and mango slushies are the perfect cool & sweet treat.

Puntan Dos AmantesTwo Lovers Point  panoramicFamily