Saturday, December 28, 2013
What? Me work on my car? Not on your life...I'm woefully all-thumbs with most things mechanical as my wallet well-knows!
But: the one thing I enjoy about taking my car to have work done is that the shop is just a few blocks from the upper end of one of my favorite and most-well-traveled local park with it's trail. I "almost" decided to attempt to cx ski, but figured with temps heading for mid-40s the snow would be too skimpy...and it was: I kidded with a fellow who was there doing some cx skiing "You're making me regret not having brought my skis!" And he smiled, saying it was really "sticky" and not very pleasant skiing.
My plan was to walk / jog through Otsiningo, then a few blocks beyond the southern end I could connect to another park / trail at Cheri Lindsay which would take me along the river downtown where there was a blood drive today as I hoped to finally get around to donating blood. As some of you may know earlier this year in Feb. I "flunked" the Red Cross test for donating blood as my heart rate was too low, in the 20s & 30s. But since the cardioversion my heart's been bumped into a stable and healthy rhythm. So let's get back to the donor drill! HOWEVER, I mucked it up and thought the drive would run from 12 to 3 when it really ran from 8 to 1. I arrived 20 mins too late! I was pretty steamed over my mis-cue, but the last fellow there from the Red Cross said that they would've screened me out anyway as they look for a year to elapse after a health issue such as mine prevented me from donating. So put it on my list for Feb/March!
It was a PERFECT day for getting out with BOATLOADS of sunshine, lots of folks out using the trails (which always makes my heart sing!) including a few friends I caught up with along the way by surprise. However at 9 miles for the round trip I have to admit to feeling a lot more sore than I would like to be feeling...ugh! But it will pass...the sunshine and Vitamin D boost will linger through the deep freeze that lurks around the corner as the bottom drops out and we head for single digits by the mid-week.
A thought I had percolating during my walk is how focused we here at SparkPeople are over re-inventing ourselves physically and incorporating many lifestyle changes which support our "new" version of ourselves. This seems for myself and I think for many among us to lead toward broadening our re-definition of ourselves beyond the physical. Like gardeners, pruning, weeding making choices over what we want in our lives and what we don't...not only for our bodies, but our emotions, our social life, our spirituality. Working and nurturing our soil, choosing what to plant and how to foster deep, healthy roots and flourishing flora that speaks to our heart's content.
I have to credit Mary Chapin Carpenter here as a few of her songs inspired my thoughts along these lines during my walk today. She admitted to never wanting to be pigeon-holed as a country artist and has taken some bold, creative steps herself toward re-defining herself as being a singer-songwriter which speaks much more to the heart of her music:
What to Keep and What to Throw Away
Don't Need Much To Be Happy
Soul Companion (with special guest James Taylor!)
As we near our year's end many of us reflect on where we've been and what we want more of in our lives. My wish for myself and for each of you is that we listen to our hearts and follow through as best we can to breathe as much LIFE in our living as possible!
ps...on the lighter side...here is a fun link you might try. By answering these questions this website can tell what part of the country you are from. It's fun. I was a little disappointed that it appears I've lost my mid-west Chicago dialect and am pretty thoroughly upstate NY in my dialect:
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Another member was curious about my home-made hummus which I posted about yesterday in my status.
Well, I got sorta yacky in my response and figured why not share with others? :-)
I found this recipe in SparkRecipes:
I liked the simplicity of it and the fact that it was a recipe that didn't require tahini as many of them do. Tahini can be hard to find and pricey. AND since it is really a nut butter made from sesame seeds it can add a significant caloric punch, albeit of a healthful variety most likely.
Following recipes has never been my forte, however...I take many liberties as I have with this one...but I DO appreciate it as a base plan for my own hummus.
Here are some of the things I do:
Forget about canned chickpeas...who knows what additives there are, salt, BHA or whatever that stuff is. I buy the dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and boil them up. The whole bag...forget, 12 or 16 oz? Something like that. Plus the OTHER fun thing I do is vary the bean of choice. As I figure a chickpea is just another bean why not substitute black beans? Pinto? Northern? Even the variety pack of dried beans which they use for soups? Done 'em all, love 'em all.
Variations to boiling: I ALWAYS add fresh onion and garlic...sometimes I overdo it and we all wilt each other with our breath afterward...lol! I have tried variations of adding these as well. Sometimes I add them fresh after I'm done boiling the chickpea (or whatever bean I choose). I've found that you need to tone it WAY down on the quantity of onion and garlic if you do it this way as they are in their MOST potent form. Sometimes I will sautee the garlic and onions in olive oil before adding them. And then the OTHER variation is to boil the garlic and onions with the bean of choice. I pour the water off into whatever homemade soup I've got going...most recently leftover turkey / barley / carrots/ celery / spinach...yum! Anyhow ALL variations work.
Next: what to do with all these ingredients? The recipe calls for "smashing" it. And certainly you can do that and keep it simple. However I love a yummy smooth texture so I use my food processor to pull all the ingredients together. I imagine a blender could do a respectable job as well.
Note on the sour cream: I substitute non-fat yogurt. I suppose one could use non-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt as well.
Note on spices: I don't bother with salt but love to go crazy jazzing it up with crushed red pepper, black pepper, sometimes use lemon pepper, even chili powder! And of course lots of cumin which gives it the distinctive hummus-flavor we all know & love.
Note on onion & garlic: nope the original recipe doesn't call for onion. Oh well. IMHO, one can't have garlic without onion! :-) I take great liberties with the quantities of these ingredients as well...as in LOTS!
Other variations: As a mentioned in my status yesterday I varied this recipe by tossing in a handful of cranberries and an apple which contrasts nicely with the lemon juice to give it an added touch of sweet tangy-ness. I've added tomatoes sometimes for another variation. Yams for another. Probably berries would be cool. Have fun and play with it...see what you come up with!
It's sorta funny how the original recipe was titled Hummus My Way, cuz that's what I sure DID with it! :-)
Friday, November 15, 2013
I keep waiting for a pocket of time to do this blog justice, however things are hopping such that I KNOW if I don't share it now my weekend is gonna just run away with itself and who knows WHEN I'll catch up with all of you! :-)
First of all a follow up to my "workout weirdness": turns out my son has noticed the same thing happens to him when allergies kick up working out quiets them down. He said that pumping up our bodies during a workout just over-rides the allergies while our heart and blood is revved up.
In the meantime the allergies sorta come and sorta go...at least I finally remembered my old buddy the neti pot. It really helps to quiet the symptoms.
Now onto the FUN STUFF! I can't thank 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI enough for her friendly "nudges" to join in the fun of contra dance! PLUS although another local member of SparkPeople (ANNIEMAC_98) and I have caught up with each other via the website, this was the first time we had a chance to "make it real" and meet each other at contra dance since I posted to our local group to encourage others to join in the fun.
Check out 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's blog with all the pics and links to "fill in the blanks":
I was so glad to have pushed through my reservations and apprehensions over trying contra dance! Not that I wasn't daunted by the challenges! Unlike swing dance in which once you a a few basic steps and variations you're good for a night of dancing, with contra dance there are MANY different moves to learn. And because the moves are called out by the "caller," it required one to a) listen carefully, b) know the taxonomy of the various moves (do-si-do, allemande, etc.) and / or c) follow the crowd and do what THEY do!
My hearing isn't what it should be (especially with live music, conversation and many audio distractions) so I pretty much opted for c) throughout my time dancing. Tricky though as while one is constantly moving you can't always keep your eye on what others are doing. Sometimes there was guesswork, which wasn't as reliable as I would've hoped!
But there was lots of repitition, so eventually I would get it down and get through the steps without too many mishaps. And the people were OH-so-friendly and helpful...often pointing me in the right direction when I looked lost or headed the wrong way.
Some of the dances requires one to swing your partner and the swinging in contra dance is WAY more cool than the swinging in swing dance! After having danced with a few different gals, 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI asked for a dance which I gladly obliged! I was about to find out what REAL swinging was like! It had been pretty tame with the others but with 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI (always a full-throttle sort of person, which is one of many great qualities she has!) it almost felt like *I* was being swung...lol! So I quickly learned to reciprocate in kind and soon we were whirling away just *this close* to being disorientingly dizzy...but not quite! What a blast!
It was a blast in another way too: we all heated up that gym in a hurry! I was sopping with sweat by the time I wrapped up!
The live music was extra special also, playing folk from uptempo to elegant waltzes. Excellent musicians!
I found out that there is a group that gets together for contra dance in the Binghamton area on a regular basis and hope to continue to push through my reticence and join in again soon.
Pushing the envelope and being "alive in the world!" That's what it's all about! :-)
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