GF pancakes

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Gluten free pancakes for breakfast this week.  Just threw in a pinch of this and a pinch of that into a bowl a la Amelia Bedelia:-)

Actually, it’s a medly of brown rice flour, flaxseed meal, one ripe banana mashed, half an apple-grated, cinnamon, vanilla essence, oatmeal soaked in warm water & blended, almonds-crushed, aluminum-free baking powder, salt and arrowroot powder.

I couldn’t be bothered to measure on a quiet Sunday morning; so I just put in what felt right.

Every bite is laced with the flavors of banana, apple and vanilla.  A drizzle of maple syrup and all is right with the world.

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Falafel Bites

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I wanted a change from my weekly hummus ingestion, so l decided to make falafel bites. Hey, sometimes a texture change is all you need to bring some variety to veg cooking.

One ravenous night I had stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a container of delicious fried chickpea bites w/ a hummus dip. It was more than enough to satiate my appetite that night.  What’s more, anytime I stop by WF, I can hardly stop myself from purchasing it.

The initial crunch gives way to a hearty mouthful of garlicky chickpeas. Though I love the humble chickpea dearly, falafels have always disappointed me with their dryness and lack of aromatic flavors (at least the ones that I’ve tried).

These were different for two reasons: the dip and their itty bitty size. While the bites were still dry when eaten alone; pairing it with a tangy dip initiates an amazing gastronomic experience.

I loved it so much that I just had to try to recreate it.  I’m sure you can get creative with dip choices: yogurt and dill; tahini and lemon; cilantro, parsley, basil pesto; etc. I paired mine with a bit of hummus and some chimi churri: just delsih!

Homemade Falafel Bites

Ingredients
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with 1oz. of apple cider vinegar

4-5 cloves of garlic

1/2 large red onion

2tbsp tahini

1/2tbsp olive oil

1tbsp chia egg (mix w/ 4tbsp of warm water until it becomes viscous)

Sprinkle of the following herbs and spices to taste: rosemary, thyme, oregano, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, black pepper, red pepper flakes and salt.

1. Boil the chickpeas until soft; add a couple of crushed cloves of garlic and crushed ginger to help neutralize the enzymes that produce gas.
**This step takes me about 1.5hrs. A pressure cooker would decrease the time by half.

2. Drain all water and discard all the crushed pieces of ginger and garlic.

3. After the chickpeas have cooled; toss them into the food processor with the remaining cloves of garlic, olive oil, chia egg, tahini, onion and your herbal spice blend.

4. Process to a chunky consistency.

5. Shape into bite-size pieces. Bake @ 400F for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.  You can also fry them for a sumptuous snack.

6. Pair with your desired dip and enjoy!

Going Vegan…Again

I heard a sermon on Sunday that got the wheels in my head turning. Yes, it was fashioned to persuade non-lent takers to partake in the Lenten season. And yes, it had all the lore and awe of the prophets’ dedication and remembrance of the Lord. Yet, what struck me was the question the deacon posed: what are you giving up for lent? At first, I smirked; I had this lent business in the bag. I mean where else does a vegetarian laud over one’s will power and dedication to a cause that seems unsurmountable to the layman carnivore? But, I had a second thought: what could I possibly give up? An addiction, a tendency, something I held dear. As the deacon listed all the wiles and temptations we should stay away from, I realized that in order to truly understand even .000001% of the passion on the cross, sacrifice, however small, was necessary. We spiritually cleanse when we let go of all our worldly addictions and look through a fresh set of eyes. My goal for this lenten season is to cleanse inside and out. Diet-wise, I’ll challenge being vegan for lent; while hopefully gaining a novel perspective on life.

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One if my meals this week.

Running…because I’m being Chased!

…by a dog, that is.

You’ve seen all the pins on Pinterest that note down one reason for running is because you’re being chased, right? Every time I see that quote, I just guffaw and brush it off. Like that happens to people in real life.

Well, I’ve learned my lesson in the past fortnight. I’ve been chased and scared out of my wits recently.  Let me set the plot for you.

The breeze feels like a refreshing towel on her neck as she takes in the cool, brisk evening where the auburn leaves match the setting sky so perfectly that you wish you could bottle that scenery as a perfume. The silhouette of a lone runner breaks the clean line of the horizon. She stoops to tighten the laces on her running shoes. Standing, her face glows under the limelight of the running app on her smartphone. She presses, START, and off she goes, running into the dusk, her playlist keeping rhythm with the thuds of her feet. Tonight is going to be a good run, she repeats to herself; hoping that  positive mantra will prove to be true. And indeed, it is, thanks to the overall flatness of the path she chose, with the exception of that one hill at minute five. As she makes the U-turn to head back home, she spies two figures approaching; one tall, one short. Just ignore them, she thinks, trying to reason with her irrational fear of any being not human. That works, until the moment the figures pass by her, when, much to her dismay, but not surprise, the dog barks, strains on his leash and menacingly jumps toward the runner. Involuntarily, she lets out a yelp, which propels her to veer parabolically in her route at a speed of, at her estimation, a 100 miles per hour. She peers out the corner of her eye and sees the dog still struggling at his leash, which justifies her previous reaction to their encounter. Crisis avoided, she burns the trail for the fastest route home.

And that’s just how it went down. I admit I have a problem with dogs. I just can’t help flinching when owners pass me with their best friends on a leash; no matter what size they are. And you know what?  I refuse to admit that I’m overreacting. In fact, I think the owners are under reacting;  at least in the situations that I’ve been in. I mean, if you reassure me that they mean no harm to me, then why are they snarling and tugging at their leash? I just cannot understand this attribute of “playfulness.” I’m sorry, but I have no wish to be jumped on by a dog, even if that’s his way of greeting me. I would just like to live in a world where they would just ignore me like I try to do with them. I mean, I even cross the street to avoid close contact, and you are still barking and biting at the leash? That’s enough to get me on anxiety meds.

As I continue running, I do hope to avoid situations like this; but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. For now, I can only trust in their owners’ strength and character to control their best friends, while leaving me the peace of mind to focus on training instead of worrying whether I’m being chased or not.

黛安娜  다이아나  ഡയാന

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Run 10K Feed 10 Review

So last Sunday I ran 6.2 miles for the first time. More than a roller coaster of emotions; it was a roller coaster of grit and will. Here’s a list of my initial thoughts:

  • The course was flat;which made me as happy as a baby.
  • I actually arrived in time to warm up; another plus in my book.
  • All runners received Gapfit headbands that covered the ears; very necessary as the breeze from the river was chilly at 7 in the A.M.
  • I stopped for water @ miles 3 and 4 and had no other breaks in my run. I was stupidly happy over that achievement 🙂
  • At the 5K mark I was waning after 3 miles of feeling good. And then came the turn to head back to the starting line, and my legs felt the second wind. (The actual wind was also blowing toward me; but I kept on pushing.)
  • My hardest miles were 3 and 4. Surprisingly though, miles 5 and 6.2 were my fastest splits.
  • And of course, I booked it for the finish line, pretending I was a gazelle flying through the Serengeti in the stampede scene of The Lion King. Yup, that’s what I was thinking right then and there!
  • My official time was 1:03. I was beaming. I was hoping for an even 60 minutes; but I’m still over the moon with what my legs achieved.
  • At the finish line, volunteers handed camel colored wood bead bracelets with a charm that read “Feed 1.”

I stretched; fueled w/ a 1/4 bagel, banana, ZICO mango flavor, and a green juice from a juice truck nearby. Just as I was getting ready to head back home, Women’s Health surprised us with a yoga session (and free yoga mat). Can I just say that my hamstrings and glutes were screaming for attention and boy did they get it. The release was just what my muscles needed and I’m grateful that the organizers offered such a great service to support the runners.

What I loved most about my run was that each kilometer represented a meal to feed the hungry. I love running with a purpose and what greater purpose is there in life than to share a bit of the privileges and blessings you have with others? Charity runs are so rewarding; both for the runner and the receiver.

I can’t wait to challenge my next run of the fall season.

黛安娜  다이아나  ഡയാന

Tattoo of Accomplishment & Bead Bracelet

Central Park 4Miler

Sunny skies; a slightly nippy breeze; orange and yellow foliage peeping through the green tops of the park tress; this was the setting for the perfect running weather.

Yesterday, I tested myself in a 4 miler through the park, running alongside like-minded women. In one word, it was amazing. The sun beat brilliantly on my back, the wind kept me cool, the water breaks were a strategic relief and the hills at mile 3 kept me huffing and puffing.

Yet, I pulled through 🙂 For that, I am grateful to my body and to God. I once thought I couldn’t run one block. But, slowly and steadily, my body took me to highs I’ve never experienced before.

  • Yes, you think your feet can’t move another step.
  • Your throat burns from the exertion of pulling in air in rapid pants.
  • Each uphill is pure torture; until you realize that pumping your arms will propel you over the crest and help you reach the downhill portion faster so that you can finally let gravity do its thing.

Although it is in no way a competition for first place; you’re exhilarated by the rush of adrenaline that pushes you to pass your fellow runners on the course. Pacing oneself on race day is so different from training. You realize that just as in life, there are obstacles you have to conquer and pass. Yep, that’s right. I have gone on record to say that in order to understand life, one has to run a race.

I ran a personal best of 10:14 a mile. If not for my 1 minute walk at the mile 3 water station, I might have been under 40 minutes! Ahh, just thinking about the possibility is mind-boggling! So, my official time was 41:41 and of course, I ran like a dog was chasing me for the last 200 yards to cross the finish line. I’m kind of hooked on the all out sprint at the end of the race; it makes me feel like an athlete and that is the best feeling of all!

All in all, I’m hoping for the same conditions and inner strength next weekend when I challenge my first 10K in the Run 10 Feed 10 Women’s Health Mag run. This is my last week of 10k training and I started it off with cross training, Zumba style. Strength is so key!

Now I’m off to scrounging up a playlist that will push me to achieve a PR next weekend.

Happy Fall!

黛安娜  다이아나  ഡയാന

Wanderlust Yoga Festival Review

I’m not an avid practitioner of yoga by any means. I do it when my body screams for release, resulting in some of the best yoga experiences I’ve had. Basically, I’m a flirt. I know what the experts say: Practice daily. But, that’s a hill to climb on another day. For now, the best my body can do is twice a week.

This weekend an opportunity  arose to practice yoga with fabulous experts, outside, under the blazing sun! For all the sun salutations I’ve been through, I realized that I had never taken my practice outdoors- with a group of like-minded people! So, I signed up and boy, am I glad I did.

Greeting the sun as you bask in it’s glow, feeling the gentle, cooling breeze brush your hair away from your face as you gently sink into chair pose while the instructors’ voices guide you to look to your inner self; it’s incredible. I felt renewed; like my battery juices had run low and this practice recharged me.

My body had it’s own epiphany. To be frank, I wasn’t in the mood for exercise of any type yesterday. Mother Nature’s monthly gift reared it’s head in the form of gut-wrenching cramps and back ache; as it always does. I’m always wary of doing anything extraneous because I’m afraid to add on to my symptoms. Yet, yesterday’s practice proved to me that what the experts say about pushing through and just doing it, cures all ailments.

From here on out I’ll adhere to Newton’s First Law of Motion: a body in motion stays in motion, while a body at rest stays at rest. That’s all the motivation my limbs need to greet this miracle of a world with a “Namaste” and a smile.

黛安娜  다이아나  ഡയാന

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