Good girls make pumpkin-flax flatbread…

16 Feb

… which doesn’t really taste that good, only because I failed at it.

But, tomorrow is indeed another day, and all I can do is try again, right?

Manakish is one of my favorite foods, and za’atar is something I absolutely can’t live without. The (fallen) country where my family is from prides itself in having the best za’atar in the world, and just because a certain nation whom occupied us (sounds like Smisrael) has tried to claim it as one of their national foods, doesn’t mean they know how to prepare it.

This levantine girl knows what to do with za’atar, even when times are tough.

So I mashed up some pumpkin, added a whisked egg, 1/2 a cup of almond flour and 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 3 tbsp flaxeed, pressed it into a pan and stuck it in the oven to make flatbread.

I was skeptical at first, and terrified that bitch came out smelling like eggs (and it stubbornly stuck to the bottom of the pan) but two days later, here I am polishing off the last of the squares with an olive oil and zaatar paste I mixed up this morning before heading off to work.

Call me an addict, but I think I’m going to attempt the flatbread recipe again this weekend, but this time I’ll use even MORE pumpkin (something I definitely should have done the last round) and maybe some more almond flour and a “chia egg” instead of a regular one, because eggs kind of freak me out.

A chia egg is really simple – you just put 1tbsp chia seeds into 3tbsp water for 15 mins then toss the gooey liquid into your mixture.

Coconut oil is probably also the superior way to grease the pan, instead of the olive oil I used.

Hey! I never said I was an expert- I just always fuck up but it still turns out tasting at least somewhat good.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of making some Paleo Pumpkin Gnocchi for this weekend. Basically, I’m going to combine pumpkin puree, nutmeg, sea salt  homemade almond flour and arrowroot powder to form them into little pillows which will then be placed into a pot of boiling water, after which, pan seared into a deep pan with ghee and sage.

20 bucks says it’s going to end up being a shepherd’s pie.

In other news, I officially have 5 days left of the Whole30 challenge! I’ve been eating a lot of nuts at night (bad) and accidentally had maple syrup infused in cashew cheese last night (who does that, guys?) but I’m still going strong. Maybe my Whole30 wasn’t as flawless as I’d hoped, but I’m proud of myself for not breaking in the sense that I did anything outwardly WRONG – didn’t have any breads, pastas, cheeses or sugary sweets that weren’t fruit in their natural form. Go me!

I’ve only done yoga twice this week, and want to keep going, since I’ve decided to make it my sole form of exercise for the next while. I mean, I’ve thought about renewing my membership at the gym for the purpose of summer swims, tanning, easy cardio and the steam room, but I came to realize the following things:

-The gym gets too crowded and I end up giving up too soon if I’m not working out with my trainer, who I won’t be able to afford this time around (savings)

-I kind of hate everyone who goes to the pool and generally end up feeling invisible, smoking too much, drinking too much, and feeling a bitter sense of ennui

-I shouldn’t be tanning anyway, because I’m doing laser hair removal treatments.

Besides, there’s almost always an opportunity to go to a secluded beach, someone’s chalet, a boat or a pool party over here – and worst case scenario, I can get a three month membership for the summer somewhere else. It’s really not that bad.

I’m pretty confident in my decision and think that only good things will come from my dedication to Yoga. I’ve also been considering getting a stepper, taking up jump-roping at home, and doing little workouts in the morning before work to have a bit of cardio on my side. We’ll see how it goes.

All the best to me, and to you, because a healthy life is a happy one.

Smee

 

#cozybitch

14 Feb

So guys, when a client sent over two jars of cookies to the office at around 4pm, I put my foot down.

I tapped deep into my body’s needs and CANCELLED both yoga and training, got in my car and drove home.

For the first time in a long time, I am home right after work – no plans, no commitments, just me, my bed, a handful or two of cashews, my heater and Netflix.

And a nice tuna steak marinating in the fridge, to be coupled with a baked potato and maybe some asparagus.

This is the life, and I think we all agree that I deserve a treat.

I can’t get too lazy though – tonight, I’m going to attempt to make some pumpkin pizza dough using almond and coconut flours, puree of pumpkin, a chia egg to make it vegan and flaxseed. This should make a wonderful base for all the zaatar flatbreads and DIY pizzas i plan on having in the next couple of days! Thank god I made a bunch of cashew cheese last night.

And yeah, yeah – tomorrow is back to yoga. But come on! I earned this! 30 days straight? (well, 29 but you know what I mean.)

Anyway, if anyone needs me, I’ll be snug as a bug in a rug.

Smee

Yes, I know I’ve been absent

14 Feb

But my blog, my rules – and it’s not like any of you are actually reading this, really. Maybe once in a while, during your morning coffee or procrastination breaks between work (which is what I’m admittedly doing now). Or maybe you’ve forgotten because you thought I’ve forgotten, but I haven’t! I’m still here, and I’m still trudging through, believe it or not.

So, Yoga Challenge finished yesterday, and I completed it with 30 classes! I would have had 31 if it weren’t for the horrendous traffic due to the closing down of a vital bridge in my work’s part of the country on Sunday. I had a birthday dinner to get to that night at 7:30, and didn’t want to be late for it – so I had to cancel my 5:30 class, thus breaking my daily yoga practice trend. Don’t worry though, I made up for it yesterday with the most intense class of my life… my arms are STILL sore.

I also renewed my membership for another three months! I just want to see if yoga is really my thing, guys – I think it might be. I mean, I’m going back today, so that’s a good sign.

As for Whole30, I’m currently on day 24 and still hiking through it with good intentions (and A LOT of food porn.) I might have messed up slightly (and unintentionally!) during the birthday dinner, because I’m still convinced the mango salad I ordered contained a non-compliant dressing of sorts, even though I bargained with the waiter and begged him to make it as Whole30 as possible, and he assured me that it was.

I’m still skeptical, Hamza.

But with one week to go, I’m feeling confident. I’ve survived 23 days so far, and the worlds most boring party on Friday where I didn’t drink AT ALL. I sipped Pelligrino laced with lemon wedges all night long and drove home completely sober. It sucked, but I felt safe, strong and proud.

So what’s 6 more days, in the grand scheme of things? But I plan on stopping at 30. Fuck the two extra days!

The list of foods I need to have before I move onto my next dietary challenge:

Pizza

Some sort of pasta and parmesan cheese

A decadent dessert

A really good cheeseburger

Motherfucking popcorn

Schneider’s Pretzels

Manakish

Tacos

Speaking of my next dietary challenge, it’s going to be Vegan for a month. I’ve realized during Whole30 that I consume WAY too much animal proteins, so why not cut them out? I’d also like to experiment with paleo vegan baking at this time, figuring out how to make cookies, brownies and truffles more compliant for me to enjoy. Letting go of parm again will be hard, but I think I should give nutritional yeast more of a try.

Also, today is Valentine’s Day, which already seems to be a day filled with challenges. These challenges include:

  • Starting off my day with interviewing a couple who run a specialty cake store, and having them gift me with truffles, cupcakes and brownies for the office – all of which my colleagues are enjoying at this moment, none of which I can actually have.
  • No date, no flowers, no ability to munch on my favorite snacks or a cheesy box of chocolate bon bons whilst watching a bad rom-dramedy about women with man troubles.
  • Even if I could do all that while munching on nuts and whatever the fuck else I’m allowed to eat, I don’t have time to do any of it because I won’t be home till 9pm tonight, thanks to a pushy trainer friend who’s forcing me to attend his kickboxing hell class at 7:30, exactly an hour after I finish Backbending Flow: at least I can say that I worked out twice in one day, though – talk about self love.
  • A POSSIBLE dinner with an ex-turned-platonic-friend (not the latest one) and a couple of other people. I am in no way attracted to this guy and would only go to said mid-level restaurant in my workout gear, for the sake of steak or salmon, veggies and a dry baked potato. He might still be attracted to me, though – and let me tell you; I am not in the mood.

But, life could be worse, right? I truly am lucky to have the life I do – even if it’s not much, and I’m starving, and I can’t have any of those tiny cupcakes perched on the table behind me and calling my name. I have parsley spiced cauliflower rice and okra instead. So, I’m not allowed to complain.

Just taking it one day at a time, and counting my blessings, friends.

Smee

 

Day 9 and I’m losing my mind

30 Jan

I’ve honestly argued to turn this into a Whole10 instead of a Whole30 because I’m on day 9 and have NO CLUE i’m going to last 21 more days.

Pardon my French, but fuck this shit.

Yes, yoga has been going well – I even did a double class on Saturday, putting me at 16 classes in 30 days on the roster (but I’m on day 16 of Yoga challenge, officially.)

But guys, I’m getting bored. I just want a slice of toast at this point. Or spaghetti – really, anything will do.

I just feel so frumpy and uninspired

And so I wrote a song:

(These are a few of) The Foods I can’t Eat

*in tune to Sound of Music’s “A Few of My Favourite Things”

Upbeat melody

Burgers and ice cream and pasta and cookies

cheese puffs and pizza and decadent brookies

sandwiches topped off with gruyere and meat

these are a few of the foods I can’t eat

Bridge

going to a restaurant makes me feel really baaaaad

’cause I look at the menu and see two things

I can actually eaaaat… that’s saaaaad

Reprise

Popcorn and pretzels and chips from a kettle

I could try those things but they wouldn’t settle

chicken’s an option but I don’t eat that

why did I have to be so god damn faaaaat

Bridge

when the fries fry, then the hunger strikes

and I wonder whyyyyy

then I look down at my bland salad and sigh and then I begiiiin

tooooo cryyyyyyyyyy

Reprise

Grilled salmon and steaks with no sauce whatsoever

potatoes are baked but with sour cream never

goodbye to bacon and acidic wine

but kale is allowed and I swear that I’m fine

Bridge

nuts are okay, but not everyday, a rule I always break

I feel like I’m strong till I open the fridge and come headfirst with

CHOOOOOOO-COLATE CAAAAAAKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

I think that puts everything into perspective.

Fuck you, I’m hungry.

Easy come, easy go.

26 Jan

Yesterday afternoon, things got a little funky. Maybe I’m due for a bit of karmic retribution, maybe I’m just too sensitive, or maybe, at the end of the day, I truly do reap what I sow – as Lou Reed once said.

 

So I went to Yoga yesterday and was able to release some tension in a very relaxing class- Day 11 complete! I’d also like to say that I have a huge friend crush on one of the Yoga instructors.

To clarify, a friend crush is when you really want to be someone’s friend.

She’s just so cool! I love that she hosts a women’s only class and knows the way to make our spines open up to their maximum potential. And for the record, she’s the one who inspired me to start the challenge two weeks ago. So shoutout to Yoga instructor, wherever you are. Stay bad, mama – stay bad.

I managed to stay compliant all day yesterday, despite the disappointing news I received after dinner last night.

After submitting an application to one of the schools I was hoping to attend to complete my Masters last Monday, just three days shy of their proposed deadline, I received an email last night saying I’d been rejected from admission.
They couldn’t even give it a week.

This definitely made me feel very, very unsure about myself and my first instinct was to race towards the kitchen to grab a couple of pieces of untoasted whole grain bread to snack on, with some nuts and cheese. But I resisted. I grabbed a banana and two dates instead, along with a cold bottle of water, quietly went back to my room, texted my sisters the news, locked the door and sobbed while I watched Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Then, I took solace in the fact that at least I’m a much more balanced and together person than Holly Golightly ever was.

But today is another day, life goes on, and I still haven’t cheated on Whole30, and haven’t strayed with the Yoga challenge – although in last night’s dream, I almost missed my class.

Today marks Day 5 of the Whole30 challenge, and Vegan Vednesday was completed successfully. But you all know that I’ll be turning up with the animal proteins today.

Breakfast was three yolkless boiled eggs seasoned with pepper and some dry zaatar.

Snacks of the day will be a banana, grapefruit, and three thinly sliced strips of sweet potato paired with half an avocado to imitate “avocado toast”.

Lunch: Since it’s Thursday, and I (presumably) just got paid, I’ll be treating myself by ordering in from this safe looking place that could definitely whip up a compliant meal. Suffice to say, I’ll be calling them beforehand to demand a list of ingredients used in every element used to create my protein bowl.

Dinner: Dining out with my new gal pal post Hot Vinyasa Flow at a cute little eatery known for its very Paleo (in turn, Whole30) friendly menu.

Challenge of the day: not having a drink tonight, if the opportunity presents itself – because Lord knows I could use it.

With that in mind, I should get back to work.

Good morning! (Or Goodnight, depending on where you’re reading this from)

25 Jan

Not much has happened since my last post, but I thought I’d update to warm up my fingers until the workload started coming in.

Wednesday morning welcomes in being day 4 Whole30 compliant and day 11 of the Yoga Challenge. The don’t think about men bit of the month isn’t going too well, as my dreams may suggest that it could be the hardest habit to kick.

Last night’s dream took place in a weird alternate universe resembling familiar places in my life: my family’s home, (specifically the balcony in my dad’s office, expanded to a rooftop terrace and posing as the venue for a collaborative show) a nondescript street combining qualities of the place where I used to live with where I currently live, struggling with old people to cross the road, and cheating with pizza while sitting on a greasy musician’s lap. Innocently, but I was still on his lap.

I mean, as long as none of that is happening in real life, I guess.

But truth be told, this morning while I was listening to Fiona Apple on my way to work, I made a strange connection between the men who have held my affection, interest and/or devotion over the past few years (well, the ones that mattered, at least): they each had one redeeming quality that was ideal in a strong partnership, a sole connection to offer me, yet completely lacked in everything else. I won’t get too into it because this blog shouldn’t be focused on my infatuations with the opposite sex, but about my progress during this month of wellness, but this morning’s epiphany accompanied with the gentle crooning of Fiona in “Paper Bag” resulted in me realising that I absolutely should remain emotionally abstained towards men for a while and give myself the love I deserve.

Because to quote Mama Ru: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else! Can I get an amen up in here?”

Then I started wondering – if I had a stable relationship in my life, would I be doing this to begin with? Or would I be content having Spaghetti Aglio Olio with crushed red pepper flakes and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano for breakfast? (Not that I would ever do that, I’m strictly a “breakfast foods for breakfast” between 6am to 11:30 type of gal, but you get what I mean).

Anyway, if I were to ask myself that question maybe three years ago, sticking to such challenges would be dedicated to satisfying the male gaze, even if I didn’t admit it out loud. Nowadays? No way – this is strictly for ME. I want to be a healthy person, rid myself of bloat and bad skin, and feel the tone of my muscles in the back of my legs and arms. A man should appreciate me either way.

But enough about men! I swear if some conservative person were to google this, if they were REALLY looking, I’d probably go to jail just for talking about all that.

Today started out alright – I’ve been noticing a few things about my progress as I’ve been doing this whole clean eating thing. I’m not necessarily HUNGRY, but bread, cheese and chocolate have been creeping up in my mind, convincing me that I have some void in me that only those vices can fill.

I’ve also been eating WAY TOO MUCH fruit, I think. I’m starting to wonder if I’m doing this whole thing wrong! Didn’t cheat with nuts as much yesterday, but there was lots of fruit involved. I’d say a grand total of two bananas, five tangerines, and a half a grapefruit. Whole30 wants you to focus on veggies over fruit, but fruit is not NOT allowed. I should probably eat less fruit and google the rules a bit more.

DEFINITELY need to drink more water. I’m noticing that I’m barely drinking any water throughout the day, then chugging a few bottles at night. If any of you have any tips on how to remedy this, send me your WhatsApp messages!

So because today is Wednesday, and I seem to like adding more routine challenges within challenges within challenges, I hereby proclaim every Wednesday from now until February 22nd (incidentally, my last day of Whole30) Vegan Vednesday!

The rules: self explanatory. No meat, basically – and I can’t have dairy while I’m doing this anyway, so I cut out eggs on Wednesdays too to make the day completely vegan. So far, the only breakfast I could think of for this day was a banana chia pudding in a little mason jar. I think I did it wrong, though – not enough almond milk.

but that was only because said almond milk was questionable and I was a little afraid of it. I think this weekend’s project should be me taking a stab at making my OWN almond milk. I know it’s very possible, and in most cases easy, but like – how do I do it? How many almonds would it take? Oh, Google – what would I do without you.

Lunch will be seasoned zoodles with a homemade roasted cherry tomato and walnut pesto, pureed with two sneaky tspfuls of chopped up olives (that HOPEFULLY HAVE NO ADDED SUGAR TO THEM) and my homemade chilli infused olive oil- this experiment felt like I was running with scissors, honestly. I should just buy some plain old olives to have fun with. Anyway – we pan-seared three respectably sized mushrooms as a side dish to accompany this (inshallah) delicious concoction.

And if it sucks, well I don’t have a tiny bottle of Palestinian olive oil on my desk for nothing.

Snacks: Half an avocado, two tangerines, carrots and homemade almond butter (thanks, Auntie M.) and pumpkin seeds. But that’s IT! Those are the ONLY snacks I can have today.

Dinner: Cauliflower rice and Meatless mulukhiya (jute stew, or sometimes called “Jews Stew”, for some reason) Friends who are from a different culture need to try this – it’s sooooo good.

Today’s Yoga Class: 5:30pm, a women’s only Sun and Moon class where there will be lots of thrusting and heavy breathing with my tongue sticking out to open up my third chakra, which apparently needs a lot of work. Yesterday’s Backbend Flow was amazing, actually – it’s a class I’ll be going back to next week, and has inspired me to start experimenting with headstands! I think a low-key goal to set for myself within the next three months, if I stick to Yoga, will be to achieve a headstand of sorts. Too bad I’m so top-heavy I can’t even fathom the possibility – but hey, they ain’t called challenges for nothing!

Before I go, I need some advice. So, before December, I was great at going to the gym. I’d go about four times a week and was meeting with a trainer since March, which gave me a lot of great results. Since then, my gym activity had faltered to one or two times a week at best, and my membership only JUST expired. I haven’t been paying it any mind because since Yoga, I’ve been like “what gym!”

But while I love Yoga, it might not be enough on its own – I kind of miss cardio and kettlebells.

My original plan was to renew my membership for 6 months, since I might be leaving the country by the end of the summer, and kicking the trainer to the curb in favour of extending my yoga membership for an additional 6 months, dividing my exercise between the two outlets.

Perks of the gym: Gym resources, steam room, fun pool life in the spring and summer where most of my friends go and we reconvene over drinks, tanning (which I shouldn’t be doing because of laser) and general tomfoolery. The gym also offers a great Yoga class, but it’s only once a week – I WOULD like to practice more throughout the week – ideally, 3-4 times.

Cons of the gym: The cost, while affordable, is a tad on the heftier side, and I would feel a little too indulgent if I were to be a brat and invest in both outlets. I’d really have to make the most of my investment(s) in that scenario.

Perks of Yoga: I’ve really been getting into it! I’ve always loved Yoga and practicing every day has only enhanced my everyday life. I’m sleeping a little better, and focusing way more than I used to. I’m still irritable, but I’m sure that could go away with time.

Cons of Yoga: a 6 month membership costs as much as the gym, but it also costs as much as like, 36 classes. I’m worried if I do a “pay as you go” situation, I would’ve ended up spending as much (or even more) for less value than an unlimited option. Also, it costs as much as renewing my training sessions 5-6 times within the next few months. Plus, Yoga is way more patient and amicable than my trainer, but he DOES bring me faster results.

WHAT DO I DO?

We all know that decision making isn’t my strongest quality, so if anyone has any words of wisdom, please let me know. That is, if any of you are actually reading this, or have come this far.

Wow, this was a long post! Back to work! (upside-down smiley.)

 

 

One more thought.

24 Jan

Currently editing a Q&A about a renowned baker for an upcoming event, and I must say.

He’s pretty sexy.

Maybe it’s because of the way he describes baking sourdough bread and slathering homemade gingerbread with salted butter.

Come to mama, you sugary, carby hunk of man.

UPDATE: just saw more pics of him. NVM.