Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Busu

3.5 months after my husband and I got married we decided to get a dog. After doing tons of research I decided on the Whippet or Italian Greyhound breeds. Luck was on our side and we found a Whippet/Jack Russell Terrier mix at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, NY. We named her Busu ("Kiss" in Swahili) because she is uber friendly and gives kisses (ie licks) to everyone she meets.

It's been two years since she's joined our home. Two years full of lots of love, laughs and joy. To anyone wondering if they should get a dog, I encourage you to research options and make it work :) And when you do I highly recommend Sean Casey Animal Rescue or your local shelter.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Anyone there?

It seems most people find my blog when searching for a particular term/topic. My most popular post is the one I wrote about our dog - Busu, our whippet/jack russell terrier beauty - with 3,091 page views. I guess a lot of people are searching the terms whippet & jack russell terrier.

However, the non-search wielding page views are in the teens. Which leads me to the question "Is anyone actually reading this?' ..... "Is anyone there?"

If you read my blog often, can you take my poll (on the right side panel)?


Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegan Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes)

my vegan Okonomiyaki
"Okonomiyaki, is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a random variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like/want" and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked". Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region."

some get creative with toppings
Most Okonomiyaki recipes require eggs and seafood. However, I found this great recipe for vegan Okonomiyaki on the blog Your Vegan Mom (reprinted from the cookbook Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional [Simple, Delicious, and Vegan]). I love the use of veggies and whole wheat pastry flour (making it a healthy meal).

2 cups water (I used a vegan bouillon cube)
1/4 pound regular tofu (or about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 or 5 cups thinly sliced vegetables (I used broccoli, onions and mushrooms)
Puree the water and tofu in a blender until smooth.
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, and mix well.  Pour in the liquid mixture, and mix lightly.  Add the vegetables and mix well to combine.

Cook large pancakes on a lightly oiled skillet or griddle over medium-low heat until browned on both sides.  Serve while hot with soy sauce or tonkatsu sauce (I used sweet chili sauce)

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Run 10 Feed 10: a 10K to close my racing season

Today I ran my last race for this 2012 running season. I didn't PR, running the 10K in 46:54 (7:33 pace) but I was really close to my June PR at 46:34. A nice twist being that my time today placed me in the top 3% of all finishers (1.6% of all females) :)

My favorite part of this race was the cause, Run 10 Feed 10, my entry fee went to feeding 10 people in the NYC area. Granted I'm not sure it's the most financially efficient way given all the money spent on advertising etc.....but in the end I was going to run a 10K in September anyway so why not have some of the money go to a good cause. Plus I like the race swag bag.

The course was slightly boring -> an out and back setup on West Side Highway with almost no spectators. However, I still enjoyed myself. Now with this racing season over, time to up my yoga practice from once a week to 2-3x a week and reduce my miles. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wanderlust Outdoor Yoga

Last Sunday (Sept 9), I had my first outdoor yoga experience….and I loved it! I even convinced my husband (who has only done yoga twice in his life) to join me. The FREE outdoor yoga festival was hosted by Wanderlust. The location and weather was perfect, sunshine by the waterfront in Chelsea Piers. The 90-minute session was 3-part experience.

The first instructor (Kelly Morris) led with a beautiful exercise requiring each of us to turn to the person next to us and ask them to describe something they are struggling with in their lives in 1-3 words. Then our job was to dedicate our yoga practice to that person and meditate on their struggle. Doing yoga took on a much deeper meaning for me after doing this…..and I found myself sending out my positive intentions with every breath.

The second instructor (Kay Kay Clivio) was my favorite in terms of leading a yoga class. She perfectly blended the pace with focus on breath and intentions. The moment that stays in my mind is when we were all doing tree pose…..100+ people all in the same position, heads lifted towards the sky, sun rays streaming down and feeling the grounding power of the earth.

The third instructor turned the session into a dance class. We left soon after she started. But 60 minutes of yoga bliss was more than enough :)

I strongly recommend everyone try to find an opportunity to practice yoga outdoors!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Homemade Almond Milk (part II - how to blanch almond)

Last week I made almond milk using store brought blanched almonds and coconut water (read about this deliciousness here). This week I decided to save money and use only raw almonds (the blanched ones cost ~$2 more), water and 4 dates. So I Googled and learned how to blanched almonds myself!

How to Blanch Almonds:
~ Place almonds in a bowl

~ Pour boiling water to barely cover almonds
~ Let the almonds sit for 1 minute and no longer (or they lose their crispness)
~ Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again
~ Pat dry and slip the skins off

Truth be told the whole process took about 20 minutes for 2.5 cups of almonds. It's quite time consuming to take all the skins off. They slip off super easy but when you have a lot of almonds the seconds add up. Next time I'm going to try using a garlic peeler to try to speed up the process.

I did discover that although almond milk made with coconut water scores a 9.5/10 (taste bud wise). Homemade almond milk with water is still really good....and much better than the store brought variety.

Now if only I could find a cheap organic supplier of raw almonds. Any suggestions????

PS. I highly recommend buying a nut milk bag if you plan on making almond milk frequently. It cut down the straining time significantly.