Monday, June 10, 2013

Birthday

On May 27th I turned 28 years old. I feel that after the age of 25 I started to notice myself grow-up. Looking back, I remember all the changes, mostly inner changes, finally seeing the blooming of maturity making its way into this world. Making decisions is still difficult but I have resources that ten or fifteen years ago I did not have. I remember little 10 year-old Me, was very curious about what I would be like as an adult, if I would be married, have kids, what I would be doing with my life. So I will tell you, Little Me, you have no idea of the amazing journey ahead of you:

My shyness did not go away, socializing has gotten easier although it's no piece of cake but that did not stop me from doing what I wanted, always. I fulfilled the dream of learning how to draw and paint. I took theater, art and dance classes. I became an amateur seamstress. I took French classes and I learned how to cook. But all that wouldn't have been possible if Mom and Dad hadn't decided to move to the USA. At the age of 17, I met the man of my dreams and we dated for 4 years before getting married. You have nothing to worry about, he is very handsome, has a heart of gold and an incredible sense of humor (he makes me smile even when I'm mad)! Still no kids and no career but I'm happy of having tried so many things. I am still young and have time to decide if there's anything I want to do for the rest of my life. Mom, Dad, Noe and Ricky are doing great, we've all had our ups and downs but we are doing fine and are very close. Last year was a big year, everyone got their own places and I got a cat, her name is Lily and she is a brat but she is the cutest thing, look forward to that, she will save you from a major depressive episode in the beginning of 2012. But don't worry much about that, we all go through a dark period, it adds up to the experience of living, we need light and dark and all the shades in between. That being said, your future you is in a good place right now, tomorrow is uncertain but full of possibilities and the past has been really satisfying. Keep doing what you're doing, it's all alright ;-)

__________________________________________________________________________________The weekend of Memorial Day, Mauro and I took our first long trip with Charlie the car. We went to Cape May, NJ. It is 2 1/2 hours from where we live. We left home at 7:30 am just in case there was a lot of traffic. It was raining so I knew we wouldn't be at the beach that much. The sky cleared out although it was windy so we had to bundle up a bit.

 

We spent at the most, 2 hours at the beach over the 3 days we stayed...what could I expect at the beginning of the season, right?

But anyway, we had a lovely time walking around town. It is a beautiful place just to stroll around. Cape May is full of cute little stores, waiting to warm you up with their charm.

 

We actually stayed in a beautiful B&B in Cape May Court House, a town 15 minutes away from Cape May. It's called The Doctor's Inn.

 

As soon as I stepped into the huge house, I felt like part of the cast of Downton Abbey (although there was no butler :-P ).

 

 

Maybe I'm exaggerating or I have a big imagination but it was awesome. Most of the furniture and decorations were antiques probably from two centuries ago.

 

 

What I loved the most was breakfast, although it was a continental style buffet breakfast, the ambiance created was really magical.

 

There was a lot of detail in everything from the tea cups to the classical music they played while we ate.

 

On the last day, after a delicious breakfast we headed home to celebrate my birthday with the family. I was a little tired from driving but we had a great time, eating pizza, fudge and salt water taffies from Cape May, chips with salsa, Noe's Flan and Strawberry Cocktails and Tiramisu! Which was actually the birthday cake my mom made while we were away, the best cake ever! Thanks Ma :-)

 

So that was my birthday weekend, very exciting and surrounded by loved ones, nothing else I could ask for...

Till next time!

xoxo

Curiouseed

 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lessons and Discoveries

Sleep Patterns

I want to share with you what I've been doing lately. The last post I talked about ayurveda, I am really proud of myself because I've been sticking to some of the ideas Chopra shared in his book. I've been waking up at 5:50 am every single day, because according to this Indian philosophy, the hours from 2:00 to 6:00 are full of energy, meaning that if you wake up before 6 am, you will really take advantage of your day. It has worked, the only issue is that by 9 pm I barely exist. He doesn't recommend it but other websites do recommend taking a short nap between 2 pm and 4 pm, especially for Vata people that get drained out of energy more easily. These times are also full of energy so the nap shouldn't leave you groggy. To be honest, in the last month I've taken a couple of naps only, I've discovered that a restorative yoga session does wonders when you need to rest. This is a pretty good yoga sequence if you want to try it out.


Monday's Liquid Diet


Also, I've been doing a liquid diet on Mondays and it's really not hard at all, I stay very satisfied all day long. At 6 am I make a peanut butter and oatmeal smoothie. At around 10 am depending on how hungry I am, I either drink another oatmeal smoothie or just a big cup of coffee or grain coffee with almond milk. At 12:30 pm, I blend one large cup (probably 14-16oz cup) of lentil soup. At 5:00 pm, I drink a green smoothie (I guess the soup is very satisfying, that is a big stretch without food!). At 8 pm I drink another cup of lentil soup. At 10:30 I go to bed and I'm not hungry at all. Once a week is really a great idea to give our digestive system a break. I will definitely post the recipes of the meals I just mentioned, they're very easy and quick. On these days if I exercise I try to do it lightly because I can run out of energy easier being that the food does not take that long to get digested, I feel fine but don't want to take any chances...

 

Hygiene

 

I discovered a great way to sanitize and get rid of nasty smells on sponges. The other day I read an article that said that ultraviolet light was the best way, so by putting your smelly sponge under the sunlight would do the trick. Well, I live in a city apartment and honestly, I don't think the air outside is that great to clean the sponge I wash my dishes with. So, I began my quest to find another way. I tried bleach and although it was clean, it smelled horrible. I tried soaking it in a baking soda and peroxide solution, no luck. Finally, I tried the good old-fashioned white vinegar...the trick is to soak the sponge with it and microwave it for 2-3 minutes (depending on your microwave's power), it definitely worked! The vinegar and heat definitely kill bacteria, try it!



Stubbornly learned Lesson

Last Saturday, I went to Whole Foods in Montclair. I was driving on Bloomfield Ave and all of a sudden a traffic officer asked me to pull over. He said that I had failed to stop for a pedestrian at an intersection and that he was giving me a warning. I thanked him and started driving, I didn't believe him, so I asked my husband and he said he didn't see anyone trying to cross anywhere either. We shopped and talked about the incident in between aisles, I even told him I wanted a dashboard camera, just in case something like this happens again. When we started our way back home, I see a big sign that said something like "pedestrian watch zone", I looked at the spot where they stopped me and I see a line of cars in the same situation. Then, looking very carefully I see an intersection that has no traffic lights and just a sign in the middle that says something like "stop for pedestrians, it is the law", I realized I never saw that before and there was a big possibility someone might have wanted to cross and couldn't because of me.That warning really worked. I've been driving for 2 1/2 months only but I guess it is very easy to forget some of the rules. The good thing is that I don't need to be told twice when I do something wrong, now I'm super careful when I'm driving and I see someone that might need to cross the street. The big secret here is to be as considerate as possible, it is really a great way to prevent accidents.

So that's what I've been up to...next post hopefully I'll be able to tell you everything about my birthday trip to Cape May, NJ and delight you with some yummy liquid recipes!

 

Xoxo

Curiouseed

 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Path Back to my Old Self

Ever since I started writing this blog I started trying many different diets, experimenting to the point of losing myself in the process. Before all this trial and error, I had a very clear view of what I wanted which was to respect my body no matter what I did, but I threw all that away and fell into a pit where it's been very hard to get out of.  I know that I made my metabolism slower by worrying excessively about my weight, I tell you, stress ruins everything. Although, I don't regret trying so many things because all those mini failures have made me grow up and now I can give advise out of my own experiences. A few weeks ago I went to Barnes and Noble and I found a book that reminded me about what caring about my body is all about, it's called Perfect Weight: The Complete Mind/Body Program for Achieving and Maintaining your Ideal Weight by Deepak Chopra.



http://www.speakersonhealthcare.com/multi/speakerphotos/Deepak_Photo.jpg
Deepak Chopra is author to numerous self-help books, I actually know about his books since I was a little girl because my dad used to do a lot of self-help treatments which he tried to teach us whenever he had a chance.

Image courtesy of Google Images

This book talks about Ayurveda which is the Indian science of life. It focuses on the Doshas which are the bodily humors that make up our and nature's constitution. Our body has a specific amount of each Dosha and that affects how we behave, what ailments we might have and what makes us feel good or bad. The three Doshas are: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Any given person can have a combination of one or more Doshas, for example I am mostly Vata-Pitta and I have a little bit of Kapha(the book has a quiz that helps you figure it out, or you can visit Chopra's site, for a quick quiz). Those Doshas have to be balanced in order for me to feel good, if they are not balanced, I can be behaving more like a Kapha than a Vata or Pitta for example.


So, what are the characteristics of these Doshas?

Vata: a person with this Dosha is usually thin, moves around all the time to the point of extreme exhaustion, may have a tendency to forget about eating and loses weight quickly. Also when unbalanced, their skin and hair is dry, may have trouble sleeping and feels cold all the time. This Dosha needs balancing by diet (usually warm foods like stews) and light exercise, ideally a restorative yoga class to recover from the usual exhaustion of moving too much.


Pitta: these persons have a medium constitution, love to convince people, they are usually very warm no matter the season and they have an excellent digestion sometimes causing to overeat and when unbalanced they can get easily irritated and aggressive. Unbalance can cause the skin to break out in hives. Cold foods are preferred to balance the inner heat and moderate exercise is ideal. 


Kapha: this person has a large constitution, probably will never be a thin person (and it wouldn't be healthy either) but can definitely be fit, especially taking advantage of the strength and stamina they were donned with. When unbalanced, they can be very lazy and sleep the whole day, this lack of activity causes them to gain weight. They usually have to force themselves to move around. A balanced Kapha is a treat to have around being that they are usually very loving and pleasant. 


The past few months I've been behaving like an unbalanced Kapha, very tired with no energy at all so the past 2 weeks I've been trying to balance this Dosha so it can go back to normal and my natural Doshas can flourish. Those of you who have done yoga, are familiar about being kind to our bodies. Chopra recommends exercising but not to the point of exhaustion, exercise as vigorously as your nasal breathing allows you, if you have to open your mouth to breathe, step back. Also, he recommends a liquid diet, once a week to give our digestive organs a break. The good thing is that you can blend everything except lasagna, pizza or meat, as he says (I thought it was pretty funny). So I've been drinking oatmeal-peanut butter smoothies, green smoothies and soups and I am not hungry at all!

There are other tips to help balance our Doshas but I'll write about them in the next post, hopefully with a yummy recipe to make your mouth water! I hope this post touched something inside of you and helped you a bit like it has helped me.

Be Kind.

Xo

Curiouseed










Monday, April 1, 2013

Vegan Cheezy Spinach Rotini (single serve)

Spring is in the air and my energy is making an appearance after a very long time! So, what have I been up to all this time? Well, I've been driving...a lot! Charlie does not have great mileage (about 21 mpg) but experience really helps, every week I've been doing better and better. I know because the car has a cool feature that shows how many mpg I'm doing. At the beginning it was 18 mpg, not good at all! I've gone up to 21.5 mpg on the highway, now it's 20.5 mpg after driving a lot in the city over the weekend. One of the most memorable outings was the Brandi Carlile concert in NYC. I didn't drive to NY, only to the Path station in Harrison, NJ.  The original date for this concert was October 28, 2012 but was cancelled because of  hurricane Sandy. Luckily, it was rescheduled for March 22, 2013 (3 weeks after I got my driver's license). I really have no words to describe how awesome that concert was. In case you don't know who she is, Brandi Carlile is a rock/country/folk singer and songwriter from Seattle who has the most amazing voice...she can really reach deep inside your soul, twist it, crumble it and leave you wanting for more. I really did not want the concert to end! Here's the video of my favorite song:



Sigh...

OK, now to the food! The inspiration for this recipe comes from this blog and also from the best vegan cookbook ever: Veganomicon.
I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top which is not vegan but you can replace it with vegan Parmesan cheese or just skip it. This is just a single serving, my husband is not a fan of nutritional yeast so I make this just for me :)

Vegan Cheezy Spinach Rotini

(1 big serving)


 

Ingredients

 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup water or unsweetened almond milk, cold
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 tablespoon vegan buttery spread (or butter)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch chipotle pepper flakes
1 serving Rotini pasta
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions


Cook the spinach according to package instructions. 
In a small saucepan combine the nutritional yeast and the cornstarch.
Add the water or milk while stirring, taking care to not leave any lumps.
Cook over a medium-low flame, stirring constantly.
When the mixture starts to thicken (try to not let it boil), add the salt, mustard, buttery spread, garlic powder, chipotle pepper flakes and cooked spinach.
Remove from heat.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Drain and stir in the cheezy sauce, mixing well.
Serve and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese (or cheeze) if desired.
Enjoy!!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lentil-Oat Loaf and more!

I know it's been a while since I posted so I want to make up for it by sharing some big news: I passed my road test!! Yay!! and I got a car :-D!! It's a PT Cruiser and his name is Charlie (yes, I named the car)...

This is a huge event in my life, it's the last step to independence. So yes, now you are reading a post from a completely independent woman.

To tell you the truth it has been a very difficult week. First with the exam, I was so nervous, that whole week leading to the test I would shiver every time I realized how little time was left. Then after that, driving my own car! That was more exciting than nerve-racking but driving by myself was a big challenge. The first day on my own did not feel very good, I felt lonely and very tense. My whole body has been aching and I've been so tired! Either, I haven't recovered from the weekend (back and forth all 72 hours, even in my sleep) or the stress of driving every day is really affecting me...I've never felt so tired after a stressful situation, the good news is that after I incorporate the driving into my routine it should all go back to normal and I'll really start to enjoy it.



On another subject, I haven't been cooking much, just simple things like salad and spaghetti or simple stews or veggie hot dogs. For breakfast, I keep making green smoothies and peanut butter oatmeal or toast on a rare occasion. And since Friday I haven't even eaten a lot either, I could only think about driving, lol! I've been too excited to eat so you could say I've been on the I-got-a-new-car diet!  Anyway,  there's one recipe that was a big hit and worth of sharing, my very own Lentil Loaf. This recipe is a variation of the Lentil Picadillo recipe I've shared in the past. It is a Lentil Loaf that will rock your world! It tastes amazing and nutritionally, it cannot get any better, check it out...




  Lentil Loaf

Makes 4 Servings


Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils, soak for at least 2 hours with 1 cup of water (measure before soaking)
  • 3 cups water with 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups onions, sliced (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican Oregano)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oats cooked with 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Bread Crumbs to coat pan
Instructions

 
  • Pour the 3 cups of water with salt into a medium saucepan and add the lentils.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until tender.
  • Drain.
  • In a large pot, heat the oil and  add the onions.
  • Cook until transparent.
  • Incorporate the lentils, red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, paprika and salt.
  • Mix well.
  • Add the oatmeal
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • Grease a loaf pan and coat with bread crumbs.  
  • Let the mixture cool for a few minutes and mix in the eggs. 
  • Pour the paste into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Let the loaf cool down before slicing.
  • Enjoy!!

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