Thirty-Five with a Chickpea Sandwich…for Jill.

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I am thirty five. I can’t believe I am thirty five. While vacuuming, obsessively pondering and churning with emotion of this realism, I thought about all the others before me, who have been thirty five at some point in their life. Did they have these feelings of vacancy, grief, or even disbelief? I am sure they have and did, some must have! However, as I continued vacuuming up all the million particles that can end up on one’s floor, I started to ask myself if I would want to hang out with someone like me who was not so excited about aging. The truth is, no I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want to hang out with me and the moodiness of self-pity that I have pulled, like a blanket from a linen closet to wrap my whiny self in. I would want to be alongside with someone who embraces age with every wrinkle, spot, and limitation. I would want the atmosphere around me to be lit with excitement and hope, adventure and awe, of the amazing, fruitful things that can only be revealed through time and grace. I made a commitment to myself, this afternoon, vacuum in hand, which I will no longer stretch the truth about my age, telling people I am 28, when in actuality, I am thirty five. It is time to stop this nonsense of the stunted growth syndrome, and be the age appropriate woman I really am. To age or not to age, is no longer the question. I am aging. I feel like I need a buy a cake with a cape on it to symbolize the breaking out of the old self into the new self, like the way a superhero breaks forth with force out of the restrictions, bondages, and restraints from his oppressors. It is a new hour, a new day, and a new challenge, one in which I will do with acceptance, grace, and forbearance.

As I no longer mourn being thirty four, but rejoice in being thirty five, I have prepared for myself a sandwich filled with nutrients, freshness, and promise. My life is no longer what I don’t have, but what I do have.

Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Inspired by Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

1-15oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
2 stalks celery, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2-3 tbsp vegannaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp minced fresh dill
1 1/2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper.
Toasted bread crackers tortillas or lettuce for serving.

How To Play:
In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until they are flaky in texture. Add remaining ingredients and serve with toasted bread, crackers, or lettuce. I loved it with spinach, sprouts and avocado! MMMMMMMMMMMM so good!!!

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Enjoy.

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The Granddaughter.

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Studying the lines purposely ingrained on my grandmother’s bed ridden face, I begin to see her face as a map, a path, a distance traveled and a life lived. The contour lines circling and encompassing, inform and remind me of the tragedies encountered, the murders, the rapes, and the lives taken gruesomely in the hands that rose in fearful pride during WW2. As her eyes rest, her breathing faint, I can’t escape the outlines of her defining jaw. Her infamous cheekbones have been worn like an asset, a prize, and a trophy. She passed the beauty of that onto a pedestal, a pedestal in which she put herself on, not on purpose, but by prejudice. It was the prejudice to survive and to save; to save herself from the snares of Hitler’s regime. It was a way to preserve herself from the New World’s biases and judgments and to keep her safe from the religious condemnations. She was not only a woman, but an orphan, a refugee, my descendant. A bloodline, saturated in richness, has clothed my bloodline like a gypsy, a disguise, an impostor. My grandmother, a victor and a mystery, can be compared to the outlines of her features. As I trace the same lines on my own face, I realize an approval I fought so hard for, maybe never to be given. A name, I lost, but a face I wear. My grandmother she is and her granddaughter I am. The lines lead to the inevitable chaos. To survive is to live and to live is to survive, and we do and we will. We continue to follow the maps from one bloodline to another, from one descendant to another, and from one hope to another until the dreams passed down reveal the mysteries and secrets hidden in the dark from one lifetime to another.

Kissed by time.

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It is hard to believe after 15 years of going in and out of dreams, thoughts, attitudes, and magnitudes of self doubts and self discoveries; I am once again face to face with the blue lines on a white page. With my patience, there’s improvement. With my health, its optimum, and my focus, it’s un-wavered. I am touched, moved, lead with compassion, as well as heart break of how time has moved in a like an unwanted guest, and has resided alongside me. He is the space between me and my pillow. I go to sleep and he is there and when I wake, he is the first to kiss me on my lips.

Old Photo.

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This photo was take in 1981. It is of me and my three cousins. I was 2 years old. That was 31 years ago, is that even possible? The other day when I was running, “Today” was on the radio, by Smashing Pumpkins. It instantly reminded me of being 14, getting The Siamese Dream album for one of my Christmas presents and Germany encountering the worse flood, from the Rhein River, it had had in years.
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I thought as I ran, wow, I can’t believe that was 9 years ago, and then ran a bit further to realize, no, Jamie, that was 19 years ago.
It is sentimental seeing my cousins like this, because this is how I remember them most. This was when we lived on the Island and as soon as we moved away, we didn’t see each other as much, and before long, my family moved to Europe and time just continued to slip further away. There is a connection between families that remains untouchable. Only the untouchable are able to feel it. It is ancestral history, carved in our DNA, a link, a bond, a graphing that can’t be escaped. I miss these early years of my childhood. It entailed many days on the beach, nights by bon-fire, and playing with our black wolf- dog, Yogi. My heart only knew what my eyes could see and invisible to my eyes, my naked heart remains challenged by time.

Aging in style…but am I?

I am driving my grandma’s 1991 Lebaron and lo and behold, there is a cassette tape. We currently are listening to the only tape we have in the car right now, Sheryl Crow’s first album, because I have a feeling my old mix tapes would not be kinder appropriate. I remember when my mom had bought this tape. We had just moved to Prince Rupert, from Germany. She had turned 40 and Sheryl Crow was just new on to the music scene. Now my reality is, 40 is only 7 years away from me.  What the heck? It feels like maybe 5 years ago my sister and I were rocking out to “All I wanna do is have some fun…” Well, now it is my turn, I am the mom driving with the kids in the back screaming at the top of their lungs. I have come to realize there is no escaping the inevitable, I am aging and I am doing it in 90’s style, in more ways than one.

The Big, Big Kid…

Tonight when I was about to have a bath to “unwind” with my unbelievable awesome bath salts, 1 knocked on the door to use the bathroom.  As I waited for her to finish, she looked at the lit candle, stared at the bath salts thrown around in the bath and asked what I was doing.  I told her I was going to have a bath.  She looked at the bath again and saw her dolls and 2’s cars on the bath’s edge and asked if I was going to play with their toys.  I told her, “No, I was too big for toys, but I used to have toys when I was younger.”  She then told me I am a big big kid with kids, because I have a mom.  I liked this.  I haven’t thought of myself as a big big kid, ever, only when I was big in other ways, but yeah, being a big, big kid is a bit foreign to me.  I used to be way more easy going, but life happened.  Exams happened.  Deadlines, pressures, and bills happened.  Making dinners, budgeting and having to buy toilet paper and expensive gas happened.  I grew up.  I became wife, a mom, a role model.  Responsibilities happened.  However, I want my daughter to see me as a big big kid, because to me, that means things aren’t impossible, life isn’t difficult or challenging, and any thing is possible.  Now, I am not into Peter Pan, but I am into dreaming big.  I want my kids to dream big and to have big dreams.  I want them to believe for the impossible and to see the impossible become a reality, because of the belief they have.  I pray I become more and more of a big, big kid and that my kids grow up to be big kids, too, never losing their creative imagination and having faith to believe in the unseen world that embraces them and defines them.

Last week when Sean’s sister was here I made this for dinner with a fancy loaf.  To me there is nothing greater than eating a tasty Chili with a fancy loaf on a blustery day.  Like mentioned before, the West Coast can be a rainy coast, and that particular day was alright by me.  I hope you have time to make this chili one day.  It is from Post Punk Kitchen and it is delish!

Red Lentil Chili

(By Post Punk Kitchen)

Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15 oz can lowfat coconut milk
28 oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)

How To Play:

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.

Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!

* Note: This tastes great the way it is, two things I am going to do the next time is add 2 pounds of sweet potatoes and use regular coconut milk, as spin instructor Lauri says, you need to eat fat to burn fat!

Enjoy!

Birthday Cupcakes


For 2’s birthday all he wanted was chocolate cupcakes.  Oh, a child after my own heart. I love both chocolate and cupcakes.  I can’t believe he is now three.  It is fun to watch the kids and listen to them talk to each other.  Did I talk like this when I was their age?  There is a kind of pressure I have been feeling lately.  How much will my everyday interactions with my kids affect them both positively and negatively?  I remember most of my childhood from the age 2 1/2 years and up.  My words and facial expressions are being constantly imprinted into my little loves.  When I was running this evening, I was thinking about the different pressures currently overwhelming me. I am slightly neurotic, yes, especially with germs, so that is something I feel overwhelmed with, also finances. They have to be the ever constant beast in my life, just like my weight.  Losing weight and saving money are a handful of numbers and equations that I allow to fill my brain and consume my thoughts.  Sometimes I run to burn off steam, other times I run to distract myself, tonight was one of those nights.  I needed a distraction.  I had a really good conversation with my grandma earlier and I have come to the realization, whether we are in our 30’s or in our 80’s, we all have the same struggles and pressures in life, they just present themselves to us differently. I don’t want to live in fear.  I really don’t.  That is why I am dedicating this recipe to the worry warts.  Those who worry about weight, those who are concerned about money and germs, sickness and death. This is for those who lack discipline and fear they won’t be able to stop themselves from wanting to eat more.  The neurotics, the fear mongers and the scaredy cats, all of you, fear not, this cake will not harm you, it will liberate you…within reason, of course.

Birthday Cupcakes

(Inspired by Rebar’s chocolate cake)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 Dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 Tsp baking soda, aluminium free
3/4 Tsp baking powder, aluminium free
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup strong coffee
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used 3/4 cup milk with 1 Tsp vinegar added to it)
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used 1/3 cup grapeseed oil only)
2 eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk)
1 Tsp pure vanilla

Icing:
5 oz (150 g) milk chocolate
5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate
1/2 lb (225 g) butter, softened
1/4 lb (112 g) cream cheese, spreadable
1 Tsp pure vanilla

How To Play:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tray. Set aside. Combine the sugar, flour,cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt in the bowl of a mixer and whisk on low to combine, making sure it is lump free. Add the coffee, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium-low for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides. The batter will be pourable.
Use a ladle to distribute the batter evenly into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes sit for 10 minutes before removing them from the tray.
* Note: This recipe is for a 8″ round cake, so there is extra batter. I made 4 small heart shaped cakes as well, to use all the batter. I don’t think it would enough to make 2 dozen cupcakes, but perhaps if they were small ones, it could.
Next, the icing. This, as mentioned above, is actually for the 8″cake’s filling, but I used it as an icing for the cupcakes instead. Melt the milk and dark chocolates in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes. Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix the cooled chocolate into the creamed mixture.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, spread icing evenly over each one, gently transfer the iced cupcakes in the fridge and serve when ready.


Enjoy.