West, Smiley and Hummus.

Oh thank the lord. I am finally healthy (ish). After getting a less then ideal diagnosis (but I’m not dying, so there you go. HUZZAH), I spent the better part of the last week as a slug. I just sat and drank smoothies and watched FAR too many movies and bad TV. I have never praised antibiotics, and I still am sad that they destroy a lot of your body, but I could kiss each little white pill that passed my lips as they made me feel like a human again.

Praise whatever or whoever you want, I can finally function. Thank goodness.

The first day that I felt normal I went a little crazy. Having ultimate cabin fever, I relished in the fact that I could walk without getting winded, I could swallow without horrible pain, and my head was finally free of fluff. I am sure I over exerted myself, but whatever—I was FREE.

My day consisted of Costco (bless the bulk, honestly), hours of yard work and gardening, eight miles with the pup and three hours of pure bliss in the kitchen. I harvested my first batch of baby arugula and ate it with some truffle oil dressing… it was like a spring time explosion of AWESOME in my mouth. As my roomies filtered in and out of the kitchen, they raised their eyebrows in curiosity at the strange mixture of food I was making.

There was falafel making, nut ball making, granola making and most importantly a GIANT batch of hummus. The kind of hummus that is so garlic packed it makes you start salivating the instant you crack open the container. True, I may add a WEE bit more garlic then the recipe calls for, but what can I say, the stronger the flavor, the better. I am the kind of girl that loves black licorice, sauerkraut, kimchi and all things pungent. If it punches me in the mouth, I want to be a part of it.

This recipe that I use as my base comes from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook (what else?). I like the simple ingredients and how easy it is to make. Whip up a batch of this for the week and add it to any and everything.

Super Garlic Hummus

2 cans of garbanzo beans

3 (6…heh) cloves of garlic

¼ cup of olive oil

1 tsp of herbamare

¼ cup lemon juice

½ cup of tahini

¼ cup water/garbanzo bean liquid

Add all ingredients in a food processor and blend for a few minutes. Yep, that is all there is to it. Hummus is the bee’s knees.

PS. I was blessed to get the opportunity to see Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley speak on the topic of poverty and their new book, The Rich and the Rest of Us. The evening was spent with tears in my eyes and a newfound passion for social justice through the lens of love and hope. I have never been in the presence of men who exude such honesty and love. On top of all of that, a magnificent (there is no other word to describe him) 17 year old boy went up to the microphone and asked how his generation can spread this message of tolerance and hope, how he can rise above the racism, poverty and oppression of our society. It was like a breath of fresh air. Dr. West gave him a big hug with wet eyes. That, my friends, is what change looks like.

 

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Vegas and Cookies

Alright body. I give up. You want to be sick for two weeks? You want to be full of aches, pains, mysterious bruises and a deep, aching lethargy that requires 10 hours of sleep a night? Fine. You win.

With lymph nodes the size of grapefruits, bruises the size of texas and one too many, “You look so TIRED!” comments I have given in to whatever is raging inside of my body.

I can’t run. I can’t bike. I feel all my muscle slowly turning to jello. A month ago, I was feeling strong and ready to take on the world. This evening I feel like a visitor trapped in a weak, tired, unhealthy hot mess.

This shit is the worse.

Pity party for me.

In all fairness, my illness is pretty real AND somewhat of a mystery, which makes it that much more terrifying.

However, I did just get back from four days of 78 degree weather and the hot Nevada sun, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain .

My trip to Nevada was supposed to be filled with bad decisions, too much tequila and my bestie. Instead it was filled with my attempting to rally, crawling into bed at midnight on the one night I was on the Strip and then spending the rest of the vacation popping ibuprofen like it was candy, taking pre-natal vitamins (there is a theory behind it), and reading one too many murder mystery novels.

I also decided to eat cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Reason number one: I felt like crap. Reason number two: these cookies are like crack. Reason number three: if I can’t exercise and feel like myself, I might as well drown my sorrows in coconut milk ice cream and cookies… right? (this is when I fall off the wagon and end up at 300 pounds. Se la vie)

Whatever the reason for my cookie consumption, these cookies are damn good. And you can almost justify eating 13 in one day because they are made with maple syrup, olive oil and whole wheat flour… healthy, right? My step mom spiced it up by adding chocolate chips, which was incredible. Took down the level of health, but also tasted awesome in my mouth.

Like I said, I feel like shit… I’m compensating by eating an exuberant amount of peanut butter cookies. Deal with it.

Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 cup natural, chunky peanut butter

1 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place racks in the top third.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate larger bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and stir until barely combined – still a bit dusty looking. Let sit for five minutes, give one more quick stir, just a stroke or two. Now drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down on each one gently with the back of a fork. It’s a loose batter, so if you’re set on doing criss-crosses, go ahead and chill the batter for an hour or so before this step. Bake for 10, maybe 11 minutes – but don’t over bake or they will be dry. Let cool five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Make 2 – 3 dozen cookies. 

Colds, Curry and Google MD

I really feel like I am falling apart. Health wise that is. I have googled my symptoms and I could possibly have lymphoma, TB, mono or throat cancer. Note to self: never EVER self diagnose via the internet.

Needless to say, I kind of feel like crap. I haven’t been able to run for a week, I am going to bed at 9 pm, and my bike ride home literally sucks away all of my energy… what in the hell is wrong with me? I hate going to the doctor, so I just keep putting it off. With a fast approaching trip to Las Vegas and the itch to start running again, I need to figure my shit out.

Speaking of running again, I am almost done with Born to Run—a book that has rocked my world. My co-worker, an avid runner/climber/soccer player bad ass recommended it. I had been hankering to read it after I started my barefoot running endeavor and OH MY GOD, I am so happy I did. The book is amazing. It really makes you want to rip off your shoes and go run through dewy fields for hours upon hours upon hours. To learn that humans evolved to run… WHAT?!?! Now I feel like I can never say, “I’m just not a runner”.

Heck yes I’m a runner. A long distance runner. That is what we were made to do, after all.

Well, not the “me” right now. That “me” is kind of a hot mess.

That me wants to curl up in bed with my dog and sleep for 14 hours straight. That me wants to drink a bowl of pho the size of Texas and wear Nana’s knitted booties. That me wants to drink tea sweetened with honey and watch documentaries on Netflix. That me wants to never, ever, ever have to change out of lounge wear.

Too bad you can’t give in to all of those “me” type of situations. Instead, I have to make sure I go to work, so I don’t take unnecessary paid-time-off. I have to make sure Zep gets his 1.5 hours of exercise. I still make plans with certain people that I just don’t/can’t/won’t cancel with… Priorities people. PRIORITIES.

I am hoping that tomorrow, when I go to the doctor they will give me the news that I am just over reacting, that I don’t have mono—that all of my fears really are allergies. If that really is the case, well then this would be the worse year of allergies in the history of humanity. Not to be dramatic or anything.

I have a feeling that it will be more along the lines of some sort of crazy virus I probably caught from a small child flinging snot into the air while simultaneously smearing drool and god knows what else on every surface in every room. I do love my job, but MAN, working at a Children’s Hospital really exposes you to a few things you would probably be okay not catching.

So although I am going to just keep going, like the little engine that could, I will take a second to pause and make some warm, spicy curry and hopefully clear whatever has decided to camp in my face/neck/nodes/head… ILLNESS BE GONE!

Spicy Panang Curry

1 tbsp canola oil

½ cup Shallots

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup peanut butter

2 tsp tumeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp thai red curry paste

1 ½ cups water

1 can coconut milk

1.5 tsp lime zest

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp sea salt

1 package tofu

1 sweet potato

1 bunch kale

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

½ cup roasted cashews

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots, ginger and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in peanut butter, turmeric, cumin and curry paste and let cook for another 2 minutes. Whisk in water, coconut milk, lime zest, maple syrup and salt. Add tofu, sweet potato and kale and bring to a boil. Let simmer, covered, for 30 minute, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in lime juice. Garnish with cashews and serve over brown rice.

In Like a Lion out Like a Lamb.

There is something exhilarating about a 5:45 run/walk when birds are chirping. In the depths of fall and winter, when you know you won’t see the sun until eight, there is nothing magical about 5:45 am. But when the daffodils are out, and when you don’t have to wear a hat and mittens, that is when 5:45 is an okay time to be awake.

Guilt gets the best of me when it comes to my dog. True, I have to be at work at 8, which means if I was a normal person I would be getting up around 6:45, or 7 if I was feeling lazy. Nope, not this girl. I know that my pup would be fine if he didn’t get a walk in the morning. I know that he would just sleep on my bed all day and wander around the house looking for trouble. I also know that I would have a deep, racking guilt at work, feeling like I could have done better for my dog.

Needless to say, I have found a sort of peace with 5:45 AM. I see it as a kind of refuge, a sacred time where Zeppelin, NPR and I can spend quality time together. Some days I run, other days I stroll… whatever my heart, knees and feet tell me to do. It is simply lovely.

Yesterday during my post work walk I was a part of what epitomizes spring in Seattle. Sunshine, bird calls and cherry blossoms at the beginning, torrential downpours, squealing children and happy ducks mid walk, ending with a rainbow and golden rimmed clouds. All of this happened in a 40 minute period. It was magical.

This led me to a sauna session, The New Girl and a giant bowl of popcorn. Speaking of popcorn, I can’t believe I haven’t touched on it before. For those of you that know me well, popcorn is a staple in my diet. It is me go-to for lazy dinners, and close friends make fun of me for the amount of popcorn that I eat—my whirley pop is my best friend. It would be the food that I would choose to eat the rest of my life. That is how serious popcorn is for me.

My popcorn is a family recipe that I relate to great grandpa’s hands and the big tins above their stove filled to the brim with golden deliciousness. My great grandpa—a strong and quiet man—would make huge batches of popcorn on the stove, toss it generously with brewer’s yeast and salt and then put it in old tins, the color of antique fire trucks. They lived in the cottages, squat brown buildings perched above Lake Washington. Historic homes, with big front porches, claw foot bathtubs and deeply worn out floors have been the place my family has called home. My great-grandparents lived there, my grandma, my mom and dad when they were first married, my great “aunt” and in the last few months my brother, sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law have all put their names down on the waiting list. Those cottages are everything I imagine perfection to be.

Now, back to popcorn.

To me, buttered popcorn is sacrilegious, as it takes away from the perfect crunch and squeak of the corn, and adds too much oily nastiness. Popcorn can dress itself in a plethora of ways—truffle oil (delish), garlic salt (also great), lime and chili (weird, squishy and delightful), parmesan cheese (oh cheese…). No matter what combination of recipes I try, I always go back to my tried and true recipe… you just shouldn’t mess with perfection.

Great Grandpa’s Popcorn

1 tbsp canola/olive oil

¼ cup + 1 tbsp or so of organic popcorn (the bulk section is my best friend for popcorn/nutritional yeast)

2 heaping spoonful of brewers yeast (aka small flake nutritional yeast)

½ tsp salt

-First, make sure you have a whirleypop, or some way to make the popcorn over the stove. Don’t even try to make this popcorn with microwaved popcorn. I would probably have to slap you, I’m completely serious.

-Add oil to whirleypop or a big pot, and heat on medium-high heat. After a few minutes, when oil is hot, add popcorn. If using the whirleypop, turn the handle until the popcorn starts and finishes popping… when you hear the last few pops, remove from heat to keep the kernels from burning. If you use a pot… you just have to try and shake it around while keeping it over the heat—it can be challenging, but it can be a good arm workout.

– Transfer all of that goodness to a giant bowl, and toss with the yeast and salt.

-Enjoy, and try to save some to store in a container (anything but plastic), there is just something so delicious about aged popcorn… however, this may just be a weird family thing, and it will just taste old and stale to you… I say give it a whirl.