Monday, 31 May 2010

Sorbet

I need some summer warmth for this treat, but maybe if I write about it, the weather will cooperate?
Raspberry Sorbet
Heat 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar and 1c grape juice
stir until sugar disolves
add 1lb frozen raspberries
add 2 tbsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt
pour mixture into a shallow dish and cool
freeze for 6 hours
break into chunks
put into a food processor and puree until smooth
freeze until ready to serve
You can dress it up with a sprig of mint, and a few fresh raspberries. You can also change up the fruit and the juice.
Try bartlet pears and red wine, or strawberries
I like sorbet because it doesn't have milk in it. It probably has too much sugar, but the real fruit helps to balance that out!
I don't have my own picture for this blog, yet, but will put one in as soon as I can!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Optimism

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement." ~ Helen Keller

Bouley in New York

Sunday night in New York city...On Sunday, May 23rd we had a gastronomic adventure that may never be repeated.

We had the good fortune to meet a cousin and her husband for the first time, and joined them at their friend David Bouley's restaurant. Our time with them was absolutely wonderful. It was great to get to know them, and learn about them. They are a terrific couple and we enjoyed every minute of our time with them. The food, and our dining experience was also an absolutely incredible adventure.  There is a lot I can say about the experience.





Where to start?

First of all, the decor. The foyer of the restaurant is decorated with shelves of apples giving you a welcome greeting of apple scented air when you enter. Bouley's is filled with French influence on both of its levels.

The downstairs private dining room is patterned with stones from Versailles and wide antique doors from France, which have the fleur de lis open into the private dining room. Beams from 1751 that Bouley found in the village of Salernes are in the lobby of the restaurant.

The art of Wouter Dolk adourns the walls of the restaurant. Bouley also had arches made for the ceilings of the main floor. Many of the dining tables are round, as was the one the six of us sat at. All of the tables had fresh boquets of roses, sweet peas and peonies. Tall tapered candles lit each table.
Even the bathroom was an interesting room with stalls the size of large and elegant change rooms. Each room had large antique doors. The large outer room had beautiful sinks mirrors and plush chairs to rest in.

Here I am, at the end of the post and I haven't even talked about the food...which was the most amazing part of the visit.

Energizers and Drainers

Balance in life is always important.
One thing it's good to do is to take stock of those things and people who energize us, and those things and people who drain us.

John Izzo suggests that we maximize the energizers and consider dumping, delegating, or minimizing the drainers.

A simple exercise is to create a T graph. I can't make a T graph on this blog, but this is the basic idea:     

Energizers                                    Drainers         
positive attitudes                            negative attitudes
willingness to help                          complaining

There are, of course others, for both lists. This means two things for me. One is that I sometimes participate in draining behaviours. I drain myself, and obviously I am draining others. I want to practice more energizing behaviours. The second thing is that I want to work more at surrounding myself with more people who practice energizing behaviours.

By doing this, I would be able to strive for more balance, and more positivity in my work and life. I think it would be a good practice for me to engage in.

Procrastination

When we were little, I had to try everything that was served at the dinner table. The things I didn't like were liver and brussel sprouts. I'm still not a big fan. Another thing I didn't like was turnips. I remember having dinner at my in-laws for the first time. My mother-in-law dished up, placing a huge spoonful of mashed turnips on my plate.
Using the method adopted when I was a little girl, I quickly ate the turnips. I always ate the food I didn't like first, so that I could enjoy the food I really liked. As a consumate hostess, my mother-in-law noticed that my turnips had quickly disappeared. She jumped up and scooped another large spoonful on to my plate.
My husband hid his laughter behind his napkin as I swallowed more mouthfuls of turnips so that I could enjoy the rest of my dinner.
I try to follow that practice in my personal life, get rid of the stuff I don't like, first. Sometimes it works, but lots of times I put the stuff I don't want to do off.
A few months ago I found this video from Simple Truths: Eat That Frog It's about procrastinating. It applies that simple theory I used to use, and actually still do when it comes to eating that food I don't like too much. Luckily, I like most things.
Enjoy, Eat That Frog.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Vision

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~ Chinese Proverb

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Saturday Night: Amazing food at Oceana, and Denzel Washington in Fences in New York. What a combination!

An amazing Saturday night!

We started out with an early supper at Oceana, a restaurant at the bottom of the Rockefeller Plaza. The food and service was outstanding. Our waiter was absolutely hillarious, friendly, and because it was a more expensive place, he was also very low key.

At dinner, there were complimentary amuse bouche served first. An idiomatic expression in French. Literally translated amusing the mouth. Perhaps a better translation tantalizing the tastebuds. The soup was served in a little glass, like a shot glass that sat on a thinly sliced cucumber so it wouldn't slide and a thin wafer of a cracker sat on top of the glass. Inside, was a cool pureed asparagus soup with a drop of lobster oil. It was very good. Our main courses were served with our choice of sauces. One of my sisters had a blood orange hollindaise sauce, for instance. I had wild shrimp with a side of asparagus. I had a sauce of tomatillo, but didn't really need it.

At one point in the restaurant I needed to use the washroom. When I asked a busboy for directions he walked me there, since it was at the far end of the restaurant. He said it was a mile in "that" direction and pointed. Then we walked through a maze of tables, the wine bar, etc. Waiters were walking all over the place and every time I stopped to let them by, they said "Oh no, after you." no matter how quickly they were going.

On the way back from the restroom I was a bit lost for a second and there was our waiter. I laughed and said, just looking for our table. He walked me back and then made a big show of having found me wandering around. Got the girls in my family laughing. (The restaurant is more than 1,200 square feet...and we were probably as far from the washroom as we could possibly have been) Our bill was served with little homemade lemon basil and chocolate candies.


THEN, if that wasn't enough the excitement officially began.


We went to  Fences. This play has a 13 week run and features Denzel Washington. We sat in the first row of the top balcony, and could see the set and actors just fine. As we waited in line to enter the theatre, Eddie Murphy entered the theater. We never did locate him in the building. (that shouldn't have been an impossibility, as the theatre is very small)

The play is listed as a comedy, but it also has some serious overtones. It is quite the story. There was a lot of audience reaction to this story, from laughter to clapping when Denzel's character, Troy was given a talking to by his wife, played by Viola Davis.
When we left the theatre we turned toward 7th Ave. for our hotel and walked right into the crowd of people waiting for the actors to leave the theatre. We didn't have our cameras, but we did see almost of all of the actors leave, most especially....Denzel Washington. It was an amazing night of theatre.

A New York State of Mind; The Cloisters

Saturdays in New York are like any other day, but BUSIER! if you can believe it. On Saturday we rode the subway as far as it could take us, past Harlem, Queens and the Bronx to the end of the island (Northern Manhattan) into Tyron Park and a part of the Metropolitan museum, the Cloisters.
Tyron Park is a beautiful park in its own right. It had lots of flowers in bloom, and the bedrock of the city remains more intact than in the centre where it has been used to build and create the foundation for many of the skyscrapers.

The Cloisters are only open in the spring and summer months. The Cloisters were assembled from domestic and religious materials brought primarily from France that date back from the ninth to fifteenth centuries. It houses primarily religious artifacts, but also some famous unicorn tapestries, as well as a unique and interesting medieval garden. The garden had a number of unique twig cages, and fences for the plants to grow along.

Another interesting feature was a number of fruit trees that had been pruned to fit into spaces alongside certain buildings. For instance, this pear tree, that has four main branches coming up from the trunk. It is then pruned all the way through, with ties to hold it in place as it grows to their desired pattern.

The doorways in the Cloisters are tiny. Maybe 6 feet high. However that makes sense as in the fourteenth century the average height of a man was less than 5 feet. In perspective to the stone work surrounding the doors, and in relation to the height of the ceilings, the small size of the doorways is really emphasized.
Apple Store outside.

The Cloisters is not large building, in comparison to many, but very interesting and we spent a few hours there.

Interior of the Apple Store
Later in the afternoon, I walked along Central Park on my own, as I needed some fresh air. I visited the Apple store right by the Waldorf hotel. It is an interesting store, essentially below ground. The entrance is encased in glass, with an elevator or stairwell for you to take down to the store. It was packed. I took a quick look and then kept on walking!

I wandered down 5th and 6th Avenues on my way to 7th Ave. and 53rd. St. where we are staying. I walked along Rockefeller plaza and said no to about a million (exageration) street vendors. Came back to the hotel room hot and sweaty!

Friday in New York; Ground Zero, Da Marino's, and a Little Night Music in New York

On Friday we explored Manhattan, saw Ground Zero, visited Century 21, (a discount store), strolled through Battery Park and walked through the outskirts of the financial district. These are tiles on a fence in Greenwich village. They were painted by children who lost loved ones in 9/11.


There are many neighbourhoods of New York that have changed over the years, as immigrants have migrated into different parts of the city. For instance, there is a former Jewish synagogue that is now a Buddhist Temple.

There are also lots of "districts." Shopping districts, bargain districts, garment district, fashion district, meat district, fish district, to name a few. One thing we found in the garment district was a shop with sewing machines floor to ceiling in the windows. We were on our bus tour, so didn't go inside. The picture doesn't do it justice, but sure was interesting.

Before we went to the theatre on Friday, we ate supper at a tiny Italian restaurant called Da Marino's. The restaurant was in the basement of a building. It had a unique bathroom. We got a couple of pictures, but not on my camera. I hope to post one of them at some point.

After supper we went to a Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical A Little Night Music with Cathering Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury. It was a lot of fun. We had great seats. Angela Lansbury still has a dominant presence on the stage and a powerful voice. Catherine Zeta Jones is making her Broadway debut. She is quite good. The story is fairly comical, and we had a great night!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Big Apple Evening; Times Square and Rosie O'Grady's in New York

On Thursday night, sisters P and R arrived. Anyway, there were a flurry of text messages back and forth as they hit the airport an hour apart, then taxied in from the airport, to the hotel together. We went out for supper and took in a bit of Times Square at night before packing it in.
Times Square is quite the sight, whether at night or during the day, but especially at night. There are so many lights, it's hard to tell the time! It's something you can look at nightly and still see something new!

Our supper was at Rosie O'Grady's, a seafood restaurant. I don't know what the best meal was, Lobster Ravioli? Fisherman's Platter? or Shrimp Linguine? The verdict is out. It was ALL yummy!

Tomatoes

We ate a light supper at a tiny Italian restaurant last night. It was in the basement of a building along W. 49th St. just off of Times Square in New York. Our supper was light, because we were off to see Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in "A Little Night Music." (Which I will write about on the Life is a Highway page)
What I want to talk about is the food, as this is a post about tomatoes. I had a tomato salad. It was so yummy. The tomatoes were fresh and perfectly ripe, none were over ripe. I think they used nice round tomatoes about the size of a baseball, or smaller, they didn't have much pulp. In fact, I believe these tomatoes had been skinned, and then the seeds had been removed, as well as any white parts. They were then cut into big chunks (1") and tossed in a bit of olive oil, raw garlic slices, some salt and pepper, and maybe a tiny bit of oregano. They were served in a big dish, with a sprig of mint on top. Normally, I would think you would share such a dish amongst two to four people. However, I ate the whole thing. It was so good. It wasn't too acidic, instead it was just right. I couldn't get over how yummy it was. The garlic was raw, so I didn't end up eating it, but otherwise, it was terrific. It would be a good dish to make at home, and I think you could add cucumer, or diced onion, (cooked or raw) and the onion could be green, red or yellow...lots of ways to do this dish. Simple but yummy. Very light for a meal before going to the theater, and I think it probably had a low caloric content, too!
Wish I had a picture of the actual salad! 

Mom

My mom is a very interesting person. We're currently on a trip in New York city. She's the kind of person who can talk about bible study on the subway, and then switch to a story about a movie she's seen in the next breath. She is widely read, super intelligent, and always learning and growing.
When I was a kid, we often disagreed, about a number of things. We are both quite opinionated, and sometimes about different things. Disagreeing, when I was a teen was difficult. Was I doing it out of disrespect? Who knows? In any case, now we listen to each other, better. In fact, I think I could still learn a lot about listening better from my mom!
I guess the one unique and truly wonderful gift I've received from my mom is to recognize and appreciate that we are all works in progress. We all have the capacity to continue to learn and to grow, to become who we are by learning from our experiences. And, to accept who we are, rather than step into that negative self-talk zone that sucks us in and spits out, worse than we were... Instead she requires me to be positive about who I am, and to rethink how I see myself. When I do reframe, I am always better for it.
One thing, though. She still cuts our heads off when she takes our pictures.... 

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Optimism

"When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present...we experience heaven on earth." ~ Sarah Breathnack

Touring New York, our First Full Day: Times Square, the Dakota, Macy's, and the Garment District

Mom and I spent a bit of time touring New York today, we took it easy while we waited for my sisters to arrive and rode a double decker bus. The bus tour was actually very interesting. We saw a lot of spots that we will go back to with my sisters. We started out at Times Square and saw the billboards in daylight, and I had my camera with me. Take this billboard, for instance. The people beside it, the cars on the street, and the surrounding buildings really help to give a perspective of the size of the billboards! The people are on the second level of a double decker bus!

The Dalai Lama is in New York, too. I wish I'd known. I'd like to have arranged to see him! In any case, he, too, has his own billboard, and it is also fairly large! Just saw him on tv he is wearing a ball cap. Maybe he was speaking outside! It was HOT! I got a little pink, today!

We had some great tour guides on our double decker bus. Yes, guides. We had more than one, because we were on for a shift change. One of our guide was born in Harlem, but now lives in Brooklyn. She added a personal touch to our Harlem tour. I got a quick shot of the famous Apollo theatre where they say Simon Cowell from American Idol, would seem like a really nice guy on a Wednesday night...

We also saw the famous Dakota building..famous for a number of reasons, one being that John Lennon was killed there. A security guard now mans the entrance.

In the downtown area we saw the famous Macy's. I liked the side facade with the shopping bag.

In the Garment District, what struck me as interesting were the number of buildings that are built out of cast iron. When they were built in the mid 1800s fairly cheaply as they could be purchased in pieces and put together quickly. They were then given brick and stone facades to give them the look of surrounding buildings. The problem came in the fact that being in the garment district, there were lots of fires and cast iron has a low burning point. There are many that remain, however. In fact there are quite a number that have modern looks on the inside, which have been converted into condos. I took pictures of a few.

Sleepless in ......New York?


First night in New York. Taking a slight adjustment in time zone into account and being in a different bed, it's likely you won't sleep well first night on a holiday. Then there's the noise from the street. Fifteen floors up you can still hear the horns beeping on the street! Times Square is busy till after 2:30 a.m., so the traffic is, too. Around 3:00 there were no more horns beeping. They started up again by 5:00 a.m. A couple of emergency vehicle sirens were heard between 3:00 and 5:00. Can you tell I wasn't sleeping? 

Oh well! This is a part of being on a holiday! By the end of the week I won't even notice the horns honking. In fact, as soon as I woke up I wanted to get up and get dressed and just go outside and walk around in the hustle and bustle of it all.

Off for another adventure. Check back later!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Arriving in New York

Mom and I travelled to New York, today. Our flights were on time, the turbulence was mimimal and customs was quick. In the Toronto airport we had a quick visit with a friend of my mom's.

When we lined up for our connection for Toronto to New York I saw Liam Neeson  in the line. Unfortunately, she didn'trecognize him. He sat in first class with an orange baseball cap and glasses. He looked down the whole time. Anyway, this isn't a blog about Liam Neeson!

Here's mom in Toronto airport as we waited for our flight. Looking VERY good! Who would know this is a trip to celebrate her 70th birthday...unless you were guessing that we were celebrating it 15 years early!

Tonight, after we arrived, we walked a few blocks down 7th Avenue right into Times Square. The lights were crazy. Lots of people, interesting things to see, and smell :) !!

We were very touristy and ate at Bubba Gumps for supper. We shared a great salad of pears, raspberries, strawberries, baby greens, and a raspberry vinagrette and a dish of linguine, shrimp, capers and lemon. Yummy. They list their calorie count on every dish. Ours was pretty light! We stopped at a deli and picked up fresh fruit for the morning.

More touristy things tomorrow. Sisters two and three will show up tomorrow, too, after 7:00 p.m

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

New York

One day until New York...!








Sunday, 16 May 2010

Stereotypes

The last time I was in New York state I was 8 years old. We were on our way home from Prince Edward Island. We had travelled through Canada to get there and travelled through the northern states to return home. We saw the skyline of New York city from a distance and camped in a New York state campground.
In the campground, as with most campgrounds, we met some nice families. I don't know if it was the fact that we were in a school bus converted into a camper, or the frendly people, or the combination of both? Anyway, I remember this particular stop because of what happened.
At this campsite, one family asked lots of questions about our home in Canada. Did we live in igloos? How cold was it?
At eight years old I was pretty disgusted by their lack of knowledge. We were only a day out of Canada, by bus. I'd never seen an igloo in my whole life. I didn't even know how they built igloos. In fact, I was pretty sure they were built of ice.
My experience with structures built out of ice was limited to the amazing ice slides my father built for us each winter. These ice slides were snow packed on a large plywood board that my dad would lean against our playhouse deck. To us this was at least a million feet off of the ground, in reality, about 6 feet or so. Dad leaned the plywood against our slide and then he would pack on the snow and bring it down to the ground packing it into a nice curve around our yard. It was a wonderful ride, where you needed to tuck your elbows in to get the best distance and to ensure minimal brusing, the round sled was the best.
The reason the slide was so great was because of the time and effort dad spent on the ice. He hooked the hose up to the kitchen sink and sprayed the snow carefully to make a smooth surface. There were also buckets and buckets of water carried out. This process was somewhat mysterious, since it generally occurred while we were getting ready for bed and not under foot.

However, this was my only reference to ice making. Frankly, ice making in my mind for igloos seemed to involve hoses and kitchen sinks...my dad had built us forts, they were tiny and you couldn't sleep in those. It was confusing and we were in shorts at a campground where adults were asking if we lived in an igloo. I guess that's why I've remembered it all these years.
By the way, I also know that igloos are actually made with snow, not ice. I guess I wasn't the only person who was living in stereotype world! Go figure!

Journals

When I was quite young I began journalling. My youthful journals were full of daily anecdotes that tell the story of my day.
"Today was boring." or "Today I had homework" or "Today I got a letter from my grandma" You know, the kind of thing that could give me lots of content for my memoirs...or not! :)

When I hit my teens, there was lots of angst. So and so was mean, so and so never talked to me, I liked so and so. There were pages and pages about the loss of my first dog, pages and pages about friends not liking me. Pages and pages about thinking I was ugly, unloveable, etc. There were also pages and pages about teenage traumas and confusion. As a young adult I was pretty self-possessed, but at a certain point I questioned my worth and value. My journals represented some tough points in my life. So, in the end I burned my journals, to get rid of that evidence...
Oh to know then what I know now. I would have kept those journals. They represented the good and the bad, yes, but I needed to have those experiences to be the woman I am today.

The other thing those journals did, was to keep me balanced. Even if they were mundane. They were an outlet and and opportunity to reflect. I wrote in them daily. In many ways they were my way to quiet my mind, essentially, my form of meditation.

I think that this is the reason I am really enjoying blogging. It is much like journalling. However, I always have the potential of an audience. It keeps me in balance. I quiet my mind and reflect on things that matter to me, but I also stay away from the teenage angst thing! If I have something that troubling, it belongs somewhere else!

I recently found this really interesting post on another blog. It was yet one more crafting blog, but it was about journalling. The blogger posted the following videos about fabric journaling. Essentially, the woman (Teesha Moore) who uses this technique journals by expressing herself through fabric. Her fabric journals have a place for you to write, draw, or even paint, but some of her journals are pages of fabric. They are really interesting. I hope to try this sometime. It's a really interesting concept. Check them out! I like the idea of journaling, whatever way...by blog, in fabric, on paper, because it is a good creative outlet that brings balance.

I've attached the first of four Teesha Moore videos below. Click on her name (below) if you want to link to the other three.

fabric journal 1 of 4 from teesha moore on Vimeo.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Integrity

Integrity does not blow in the wind or change with the tide. It is the inner image of our true selves.

The Power of Encouragement

I really enjoy these movies by Simple Truths. Here's one about the power of encouragement. Eagles may be considered to be leaders, but even Eagles Need a Push!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Headaches

I've been having some really bad headaches for a number of months and the doctors are now saying they are migraines. I've had migraines before, but never for this long.
In the past, I've had the light shows. I generally get a purple or green spot in my right eye. My migraines have always included light and noise sensitivity. Sometimes my stomach has joined the party, but not always. (thank goodness) I can get irritable and am likely irritating. The headaches often make me tired, but also wake me up in the middle of the night...the list goes on.
These recent migraines have felt like a constant brain freeze, or ice cream headache that is either on the verge of coming on, or drifing off, or full blown. They make me dizzy, frustrated, sad, and annoyed. Sometimes I wonder if I am going insane.
I wish that I knew why I was getting such bad headaches...
As I've said, I've had migraines for years, so I've known about triggers, but I'm checking on triggers again since these new migraines are absolutely incredibly ridiculous.
Common triggers:

  • Tension Headaches - those can sometimes be a problem
  • Barometric Pressure changes - can't control that
  • Strong scents - don't wear them, don't have them in our house, stay away from them
  • Tight ponytails - rarely wear ponytails, don't like tight ones
  • Strenuous exercise - ok, so now I'm laughing....can't even walk fast without getting dizzy, hard to exercise even moderately...
  • Poor posture - that's something I work at, very conscious of at my desk, when I'm tired it's harder, but will keep trying
  • Cheese - lactose intolerant
  • Red wine - learned it gave me headaches a long time ago
  • Cold cuts, processed meats - don't eat them
  • Skipping meals - are you kidding me...have you seen my love handles...not a problem these days
  • Smoking - nope
  • Caffeine - nope, not even caffinated tea...
  • MSG - my tummy hates that stuff
  • Aspartame - nope, poison for the brain
  • Chocolate - ok, so that is one of my vices, but I don't have it daily and not lots
It's tough to know what is causing these headaches. The few triggers that are actually in my life have never caused headaches before. So, I will work on eliminating those few triggers. BUT, I think that chocolate is going to be the last thing eliminated...

Complaining

"There is no problem so bad that complaining can't make it worse..."
Now there's something to think about!
It's a good kick in the pants kind of statement. How many times do I catch myself complaining about something? It is something I actively work against. It is also something that I really find the need to be mindful about.
Some years ago when I found myself in a very negative place I began to notice that every time I opened my mouth it was to complain. I'm sure everyone else was sick of it well before I recognized the problem. But, one day that's exactly what happened. I saw it as a problem that I didn't want to continue. At first I countered it by creating a bit of a game. For every negative statement that I allowed myself to speak, I challenged myself to find at least two positive things to say.
Sometimes it is really hard to do this, and since I'm my own referee, I know I've cheated a number of times, but that's how I started. As I continue I am more and more conscious of my words and thoughts so that I can challenge myself to find those positives.
I do agree with those who say that we are all energetic beings and that like attracts like. I think that there is power in positive thinking and that there is the power of attraction. If I want more positive things happening in my life and I think along those lines I am more able to see the positive that is out there. Frankly, I think we see what we are looking for. I can look for the good, or I can look for the bad. My choice is to consciously look for the good.
This week I listened to John Izzo speak about caring and compassion, about working to make other's lives better. The quote I began this post with was said by him.
 I'll end this post with another quote he also shared, this one from Tom Peters "Celebrate what you want to see more of!" 
So my choice? I'll choose positive and celebrate it!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Habit

"The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, thought and act." ~ Orison Swett Marden

Monday, 10 May 2010

Integrity

Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A New Look at Hummus

I'd never been interested in, nor enjoyed, dips whether for fruits, vegetables, chips, or anything else people dip, until I tried hummus. 
Hummus originates from the middle east and is traditionally a mix of cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. 
The main ingredients, chickpeas, are also known as garbanzo beans. Chickpeas are low fat, high protein and fiber. They also have lots of zinc and other good nutrients.
Usually we purchase hummus ready made at the grocery store, and usually I end up dipping low fat tortilla chips, pita chips, or pita slices in the hummus. 
In my quest to lose some weight and be healthier I've been changing my eating habits. Hummus is still good for me in terms of content, and as long as I remember everything in moderation. 
I've also decided to have less carbs and have switched the chips for carrots, snap peas, cucumber slices, etc. A pretty obvious move for most, but since I've never been a 'big dipper' it wasn't a logical leap for me. 
Recently, I had an avocado that needed to be used, but a strong urge for hummus. I made a compromise. Soon the avocado was smashed into the hummus. I set aside some for my husband and then I pulled out some veggies to dip. Avocados are also a high source of protein, and their fats are the healthy mono-unsaturated type. 
This weekend, while doing some work at home I got hungry and decided to actually make the hummus.
The following recipe is adapted from one I found online. It didn't call for tahini (sesame seed paste), which I really wanted to include. I also smashed in an avocado. I put a quarter of it into a small bowl, dipped some veggies, and put the rest in the fridge.  It is supposed to stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days, or can be frozen. We'll use it up sooner, because I'm not sure how long the avocado will last.
Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15oz/540ml) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained 
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ Tbsp of Tahini
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ripe avocado (optional)
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp of water
  • salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
Preparation:
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor. Mix it until it is creamy and smooth.
* I reserved some of the lemon juice and water, then added it according to taste and to thin out the paste.
* I also prefer cooked garlic, to raw, so I crushed the garlic and put it in a small dish with the olive oil. I microwaved it for about 30 seconds, to sweeten it up. Then I added it to the processor ingredients. 
You can also make hummus without the tahini. You use more olive oil. The recipe I found suggested 1/4 of a cup. That seems like a lot, to me, so I think I would probably add only a bit at a time until I get the texture I want.
Some recipes I've found also suggest that when serving humus you can dish it into a bowl and then make a small well in the middle of the hummus. In the well you put a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Then you can garnish it with parsley. I think I would just use the garnish and not add more oil, even if it is a healthy one.
As I mentioned above, most people dip pita chips or slices in their hummus. If you want to do that, you can warm your pita slices, first. 
Other options:
  • Add a bit of cayenne pepper, finely chopped roasted or raw red pepper, or other spicy tasting roasted vegetables.
I recognize that hummus isn't the first thing people might choose when they are trying to lose weight, but it is healthy and a little bit goes a long way to filling you up. Hummus with avocado has double the protein and filling fiber. 

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Butterfly Effect

Simple Truths has some nice short books with great messages. They also have a number of books that include short movies. The Butterfly Effect is just one of their movies, and a nice look at purposeful lives....enjoy!