“A man’s capacity is the same as his breadth of vision”

In my last post I asked you all what foods tested your patience. It seems that pistachios, roasting, and pomegranates are at the top of the list! Such little buggers. Patience in a bigger picture, to me, is something that teaches a person that the universe is not at our beck and call. That sometimes we have to wait to get what we want, and sometimes it never comes at all. It’s an exercise for the ego.

Backtracking to when my parents visited in December, I thought I’d share some snapshots of my neighborhood.

Taking the pups out for a windy walk along the Hudson River
The other little buggers.

My parents came to visit during the end of the holiday season, and on Christmas Eve (it’s been awhile) I wanted to make something heartwarming. I had saved a recipe for “Fennel, Pepper, and Saffron Stew with Garlic Toast” awhile ago, and it seemed like the right occasion.

The fennel added this underlying sweetness to the soup.
It had me at Manchego cheese.

Manchego could be the name over a lover, don’t you think? Francisco Manchego De La Cruz.

Continue reading

Part 3

Overnight oats with peaches, bananas, and coconut oil.

Overnight oats with peaches, bananas, and coconut oil.

I was missing some of my usual morning eats, so I whipped a bowl of overnight oats. Yes, when I got back to the hotel room the prior night kind of tipsy I thought about this. What can I say? The first time I’ve had this in a mug too! Okay, I have a confession to make. I used the coconut oil my mom puts on her hair, but the bottle said it was edible. I didn’t get sick, but it tasted weird. Never doing that again… unless I’m desperate.

Mom and I went to the fitness center and I made use of my iPod and podcast collection I’ve accumulated. I’ve never done this before, but I followed my YogaDownloads recordings. It was cool because I kind of felt like I was guiding my own yoga time. Not to mention, I usually start my Saturdays by going to a yoga class, so I was kind of keeping up with my routine.

Afterwards, we all went downstairs to really start our day!

IMG_5890

I met up with my parents downstairs for breakfast and asked for a cup of green tea.

Green tea with lime

I asked for a cup of green tea and they surprised with a lime rather than the usual lemon.

Then this was spotted.

Then this was spotted.

I believe this was a blintz with oatmeal. Whatever it was, it was so good!

Being forced to take a picture together ugh. Kidding of course - love you Mom!

Being forced to take a picture together ugh. Kidding of course - love you Mom!

I think you guys can guess what we did next. Beach time!

My mom is going to kill me for posting this, but I think she looks adorable!

My mom is going to kill me for posting this, but I think she looks adorable!

A friend and I have an insider that if we ever go bald we'll have one strand that'll survive. And that's mine!!!

A friend and I have a joke that if we ever go bald we'll have one strand of hair that'll survive. And that's mine!!!

Guess what? I tried Amazing Grass’s Whole Food Energy Bar. I really wasn’t into it. But I’m looking forward to trying the chocolate one because I tried the chocolate flavored GREENSuperFood powder and I really liked it. So I gave the rest of the bar to my parents. I think they like anything I give them because they were all like, “mmm!” To each his own.

After some hours of swimming and sunning we headed back to get ready to meet up with some friends for dinner. The only real plans we had the whole vacation! I was looking forward to this because they’re such wonderful people to be around. Actually they are the relatives of my old boyfriend who passed away. We’ve only known them for about 3 years, but they treat us like family. That means no formalities, plenty of bear hugs, and burping if you’ve got the urge.

I totally forgot they have a St. Bernard!

I totally forgot they have a St. Bernard!

His name is Diesel.

His name is Diesel.

He was like a big baby and the perfect pillow! I think these dogs are incredible, and they said he’s related to the dog from one of the Beethoven movies. How many are there anyway? It’s like the Land Before Time series – there are so many!

It's like an outdoor kitchen!

It's like an outdoor kitchen! Grilling some seafood with homemade sauces.

They have about 3+ acres, and they take so much care of it. What’s even better is that they actually get to enjoy it too!

Gigantic baby!!! Watch out for that tail.

Gigantic baby!!! Watch out for that tail.

Imagine how big his poo must be! Oi vey!

IMG_5924They set up stations in the kitchen and on the table. We built our own salads and grabbed the mix-ins with our hands! I didn’t take a picture of mine but I made a huge salad with the veggies, chickpeas, avocado, and I mixed in some pastina. Pastina is a pasta that’s so small it looks like cous cous. Moreover, they had marinated artichokes and peppers that were delicious. I also helped myself to some sesame semolina bread with butter. Oh man, I kept popping those cherry tomatoes in my mouth – they were extra tasty. Do you guys like the goblets for the wine? I love using out of the ordinary things, just makes it more special and silly.

The real reason I was looking forward to dinner with our friends.

The real reason I was looking forward to dinner with our friends.

Debbie had baked a blueberry sour cream cake. She also shared with us that this was her first time using cardamom. When she told us this, I was even more excited to try it! It was so good and you could taste the cardamom. I mean it smelled divine, but it tasted heavenly. After dinner, we just stayed at the table and kept talking for hours. Our families exchanged crazy stories. My mom – she’s like a movie spoiler – likes to start out this one story with, “did I ever tell you the one about the serial killer we met?” Mom! You’re not suppose to say that at the beginning. Regardless, she tells the story because, frankly, you’d be crazy not to want to hear it! It was getting late, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel.

Day three of our vacation was one filled nostalgia – from the overnight oats, Saturday morning yoga, and one of the best families we know. With that in mind this young lady peacefully went to sleep.

Part 4 tomorrow! It’s taken me almost a week to recap my vacation for you guys!

p.s. I’m going to save my surprise supermarket find for tomorrow. Hmm what could it be?

Get To the Good Part Already!

So guys I know I said I would post Part 3 today. But I’m going to be like those evil soap operas and leave you hanging. Don’t worry though, I will do it tomorrow. Not! Just kidding. Anyway, this is what I’ve been doing in the kitchen lately.

I figured out that pepper jack cheese and apple butter taste awesome together.

I figured out that pepper jack cheese and apple butter taste awesome together.

Can I get a what what?

But I didn't forget about my beloved grilled mango chutney and cheddar cheese sandwich.

But I didn't forget about my beloved grilled mango chutney and cheddar cheese sandwich.

Eggplant, avocado, tomato sauce, topped with Katie's vegan alfredo sauce.

Eggplant, avocado, tomato sauce, topped with Katie's vegan alfredo sauce.

I used the last of Katie’s sauce I made. This is not a farewell, just… see you later! Definitely a keeper.

And now presenting a real kitchen experiment! As most of you know, Katie is hosting a pancake making bonanza! She’s encouraging all of us to get creative and dream up some delicious pancake recipes. Well, I decided to make Vegan Pound Cake Pancakes. Lots of cake, huh? Now I was looking at a ton of versions of pancake and pound cake recipes. I was trying to figure out what ingredients I could use to stick true to both recipes, as they have different consistencies. I don’t think this is really rocket science, but I wanted to get it right. I’m telling you, this was so much fun! My dad was over in the office and I was exclaiming to him everything I was doing. “Dad! It’s actually working!” Oops, I forgot to tell him what I was up to. Who knows what he was thinking. Anyway, the key ingredient in these babies was tofu! So here goes…

Pound cake pancakes on the griddle.

Pound cake pancakes on the griddle.

Pound cake pancakes a la orno

Pound cake pancakes à enfourner.

And what do we get?

They came out, but they were too perfect looking I thought.

They came out, but they were too perfect looking I thought.

I like them better like this!

I like them better like this!

So I put the oven pancakes on the griddle and they puffed up!

So I put the oven pancakes on the griddle and they puffed up!

I cut up some fruits to go with our pancakes... FOR DINNER!

I cut up some fruits to go with our pancakes... FOR DINNER!

My parents did not mind one bit having breakfast for dinner. We enjoyed this possibly as much as the lovely Lauren.

My experiment being served!

My experiment being served!

Naked!!!

Naked!!!

I'm digging the outfit!

I'm digging the outfit!

My pancakes decided to wear a cashew cream top borrowed from Monica, accessorized with cinnamon, and a last minute decision… maple syrup!

So what made these pancakes kind of like pound cakes?

Moist on the inside.

Moist on the inside. Does this count as food porn?

You better believe I licked my plate clean.

You better believe I licked my plate clean.

You can check my recipe page for this yummy treat! I had some pancakes leftover for breakfast today.

Voila!

Voila!

This morning I was reminiscing of Germany and how I ate my pancakes there. I usually would put applesauce on mine (instead of apple slices), just how I eat my latkes. But today I cut up an apple, spread some coconut oil on the pancake, and sprinkled the whole shebang with cinnamon and powdered sugar. This was, to put it lightly, absolutely wonderful. On the other pancake I used up the rest of the cashew cream with a pit of cherry marmalade and amaretto syrup. I also had a bowl of yogurt with sliced strawberries, Zoe’s Cinnamon Raisin granola, and a small blob of cashew cream. The only complaint I have about the granola is that it should have more raisins. Fortunately, I have a huge container of raisins so my problem was resolved.

In the words of Fat Bastard, "get in muh belly!"

In the words of Fat Bastard, "get in muh belly!"

So fresh and so clean clean!

So fresh and so clean clean!

Now on to some other things I’ve stumbled upon in the blogging world that I tried this past week.

Banana soft serve topped with almond butter, duh!

Banana soft serve topped with almond butter, duh!

Uh, Gena, you need to compile your own cookbook! You’ve got a real knack for recipes.

Despite having a crapload of bars to try already, I went ahead and made this purchase.

Despite having a crapload of bars to try already, I went ahead and made this purchase.

I’ve seen these Honest bars on Kath’s blog, and they always sounded so yummy. This one was small, but mighty in flavor! I smeared coconut oil on it because I apparently like putting it on everything. I love the subtle flavor it gives things. I guess what coconut oil is to me is like almond butter to others.

Last but not least…

Young coconut!

Young coconut!

After a fun, intense dance class I had my dad help me open this coconut. My dad is so use to busting things open I was like, “no no just cut in a square at the top.” He managed to cut it open with such grace. Thanks dad! Luckily, I found my squiggly straw to suck down this delicious and thirst-quenching water. I had to replenish myself for the Harry Potter movie!!!

Stay still you guys!

Stay still you guys!

I guess that's kind of better?

I guess that's kind of better?

Waiting ever so patiently...

Waiting ever so patiently...

Must. Stay. Awake.

Must. Stay. Awake.

I was so hyper while we were outside waiting in line. Then when the movie started… I did the unimaginable and fell asleep. I always do that! Eventually I woke up and pretended that didn’t happen. I can’t say that I can give a fair review of the movie because I was asleep for part of it. But from what I did see, I think the other movies are better. Atleast I’ve always got my books!

I hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday. It’s the time of week when you can say, “almost there.” Almost!

So tomorrow’s post will include Part 3 as promised, and another special surprise. Ooo I can’t wait!

Boast about your Toast

Go in this direction when cleaning your eyes.

Go in this direction when cleaning your eyes.

The summer I was fifteen years old I decided to go to beauty school rather than the usual summer camp. My mom actually came up with this idea! She was like, “would you rather go to beauty school or summer camp… again?” So of course I wanted to be like Frenchie from Grease, minus the drop out part. I learned many divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood, and once in a blue moon I decide to share these tidbits. Well, readers, tonight is one of those nights! I know some people are concerned with the wrinkles emerging around their expressive eyes. Here’s a little secret that was passed on to me: when cleaning around your eyes, go outward for the upper lid area and inward (towards the nose) for underneath. Basically, in a counter clockwise motion. Also, it’s best to use your ring finger since it puts the least amount of pressure. Makes sense, huh?

What are your beauty secrets?

A basket full of goodies.
A basket full of goodies.

These are some of my favorite beauty products that I use. I started using pond’s cold cream when I found out that is one of my grandma’s secrets. So many secrets in this post! I won’t divulge her other one though. The round thing you see is actually a solid shampoo by this company called LUSH. All of their products are handmade and they use fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. And whenever I’m down in Florida I use some of my mom’s stuff too, like her Kérastase products. Neela knows what’s up and also uses this brand!

The big kahuna!

The big kahuna!

Coconut oil can be used for so many things! Sometimes I even use it to remove my eye makeup. For the most part I leave it on my hair overnight and wash it out in the morning. It leaves my hair feeling and looking incredibly soft! Umm did I mention that it tastes delicious too?

However, I think the best beauty secret is a glass that’s half full… half full of what? Positivity! I find that looking at the bright side of things and keeping stress at bay is a big contributor to aging well. There’s this look of calm, grace, and innocence that I can see in people’s faces when they have this attitude. Being around people like this bring my heart level down, not out of boredom, but because they’re exuding all these good vibes. Less tension equals a less tense face!

What is beauty? Not the show
Of shapely limbs and features. No.
These are but flowers
That have their dated hours
To breathe their momentary sweets, then go.
‘Tis the stainless soul within
That outshines the fairest skin.

–Sir A. Hunt.

All this talk of beauty led me to thinking about habits I want to change – have been changing. There are certain things that seem unimportant that I really want to develop. Like little things that involve me taking care of my outward appearance. Oh say… putting on lotion, plucking my eyebrows, pampering myself with hair masks. It’s these silly little things that I know will slowly help me regain my confidence and just feel better about myself overall. I think it’s more the idea behind these activities: self-love. I can’t help but feel good inside. Why don’t I deserve to take some time out of my day to indulge in a little princess treatment?

On the topic of self-love, there’s been a wonderful message going around the blog community. Caitlin’s Operation Beautiful has been spreading like wildfire! I love seeing everyone’s notes. The other day I left some of my own around town. They don’t necessarily have to do with loving yourself per se, but it’s the thought that counts!

IMG_4935

"Hey! It's Friday :)"

I love touching rosemary bushes then sniffing my fingers.

I love touching rosemary bushes then sniffing my fingers.

The veggies were a delicious mix of yellow peppers, tomatoes, and onions. The top and bottom parts of the pepper were used as bowls for some roasted red-pepper hummus.

They were grilled with this incredible sauce!

They were grilled with this incredible sauce!

Later on I went over to my best friend’s house to celebrate a special one year old’s birthday! I also found out one of my good friends is two months pregnant! I’m looking forward to going on our girl’s nights with the baby! Oh my gosh I should get back into crocheting and make something really cute. She doesn’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet, so maybe I’ll wait.

Birthday boy was looking cute in his car pajamas!

Birthday boy was looking cute in his car pajamas!

We had pizza, cake (duh!), and other goodies.

We had pizza, cake (duh!), and other goodies.

For Saturday I wanted to make something special. I figured this would make up for not having been able to really celebrate Father’s Day. I decided to make French Toast with a couple of twists. Let’s just say I was inspired by Indian sweets and colonization gone semi-vegan! For the bread I decided to use Trader Joe’s crumpets and I followed a vegan recipe for the mixture.

The ingredients!
The ingredients!
I love experimenting with different extract flavors.

I love experimenting with different extract flavors.

I think I'm going to save the rest for some afternoon tea.

I think I'm going to save the rest for some afternoon tea

IMG_4985

Cardamom seeds were the Indian inspired ingredient.

IMG_4978

The mixture called for nutritional yeast and flour instead of eggs.

Hard at work.

Err good morning! Hard at work.

Who am I kidding? French toast is so easy to make! But I love how it’s so special anyway.

So far so good!

So far so good!

I also decided to use my other Sun Warrior sample.

I also felt like making a smoothie with strawberries, banana, and a peach!

IMG_5007

I also decided to use my vanilla Sun Warrior sample.

Breakfast is served!

Breakfast is served!

Yet again, Sun Warrior was a tasty addition to my morning smoothie topped with cinnamon clusters. I also had some blueberry green tea in my cheery yellow mug!

A close up of my creation.

A close up of my creation.

Man, this French toast has been dog piled! I sliced some strawberries, chopped some macadamias, sprinkled fresh ground cardamom seeds and sugar, and drizzled a bit of maple syrup on everything. Cinnamon sticks can make anything look fancy, but my favorite part is the gooseberry I’d like like to call a little edible beach ball.

Once I started eating it I thought of something else I could add to this! As if there isn’t enough?

I put a modest spoonful of fig preserves on top.

I put a modest spoonful of fig preserves on top.

Mmm now that's more like it!

Mmm now that's more like it!

IMG_5030

My mom joined me mid way through my breakfast. She was running late because she had a session with her personal trainer. Mom is super fit, so don't mess!

After this delicious breakfast I got ready to go to my favorite yoga class. The instructor is incredible and I feel like every time I go to his classes I learn something new, even if he repeats the routine. By the time me and my mom got home we were hungry and ready for lunch! So we whipped up something as quick as we could. Her and I are a dream team in the kitchen. I took care of the veggies, while she handled the rest.

IMG_5036

A stir-fry of yellow peppers, onions, tomato, and banana.

Bananas in stir-fries are so yummy! I also used the Key Lime Honey Ginger sauce for a bit more flavor and topped the veggies with paneer.

Mom made some mung beans in the pressure cooker.

Mom made some mung beans in the pressure cooker.

We also heated up a methi paratha and a horseradish and herb one as well.

We also heated up a methi paratha and a horseradish and herb one as well.

Looking worn out after the yoga class, I was ready to eat!

Looking worn out after the yoga class, I was ready to eat!

IMG_5048

Dad is reppin' South Florida with his shirt.

Guess who else wanted in on all the action?

Guess who else wanted in on all the action?

For dinner we used up the leftover mung beans to go along with some spinach, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.

For dinner we used up the leftover mung beans to go along with some spinach, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.

I was feeling pretty simple so I opted for some slices of toast with butter, apple butter, and my forgotten favorite – honey!

I just updated my MacBook Pro and it is so cool! I almost feel like a got a new laptop. Insert holy music!!!

I’m so excited about my next post! I’ve tried so many things over this past weekend and I have a few special shout-outs to some of our beloved  bloggers. I hope you’re all relaxing on this sunday evening and wake up on the right side of bed tomorrow morning.