The Terminal

Cancun Airport: Hour 2-

Status: delayed.

I’m starting to feel faint, hopeless.. Full of not-that-great coffee..

But I am not giving up.  Surely there is plenty of sustenance (preferably in the form of habenero peanuts).

Hour 2.5:

I’ve made a couple of friends-

They seem pretty ambivalent, but we are for sure maybe going to hang out later.

Hour 3-

Is there such a thing as a will for someone who just wound up stuck in Mexico forever?  Like the time Olivia Newton John’s husband did that thing where he disappeared.. Did they ever find him?

Am I heartless?

Hour 3.5: There is no wifi. No wifi.

Hour 4. Hour…4.

I found wifi in the form of some printer/fax machine.

I’m now passing the rest of my time converting Pesos to Dollars in my head.  $5 for habenero peanuts is not worth it.  Yet.  I’m considering panhandling at the corner of the Guy Fieri Ristaurante por queso y servesas.

I’m going to learn Spanish and work at this place called “sushiTequila”. I’m just as confused as you are.
So many floppy hats and socks with sandals..

Hour: I don’t know.

A man who looks like that red headed chef on the food network is walking toward me.. He’s going to say words.. Trying my best to look knowledgable yet too busy.
It didn’t work. I showed him the direction to the peso converting machine. Not the one in my head.
If I never make it out, I want you to know how much I loved each of you.. Even you, guy who sat behind me in middle school woodworking class.. I mean that.

Get me out of here.


I think I hear the gate being updated.. Unless they’re talking about pearly white gates and I’m actually dead.

Turns out- I’m not actually dead.

Focaccia bread turned into a life lesson..

I am grateful for yet another weekend filled to the brim with friends.  We laughed until it hurt.  We danced until they kicked us out.  I’m not sure what I did to deserve the friends I have but I’m thinking it was something right.. I wake up feeling good.  It’s a chain reaction.  You take in the people and experiences around you.  You try to reciprocate..  When people are good to you it makes being good to yourself just that much easier.  It makes it immensely enjoyable.  It makes you want to share that energy.  The cycle continues.

I’ve tried several new things this week.  I felt adventurous and dove into a Cherry Tomato, Olive, and Thyme Focaccia Bread recipe.  Truth:  I can’t stand tomatoes or olives.  I am still not sure why I chose this recipe.  It’s all about going outside of your comfort zone, right?  I will say it was a massive fail at first.

It’s definitely note supposed to look like this:

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Don’t do that..

It’s also supposed to include black olives.. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

I didn’t read the entire process before throwing everything together.  Onward with attempt number two.

997      Still no olives.

I did it right this time..

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NAILED IT!

Here’s the recipe.  I highly recommend reading the ENTIRE process first.. Don’t be a hero…

Cherry Tomato, Olive, and Thyme Focaccia Bread

This is gluten-free and grain free.  Specials thanks to friends at Gourmanda in the Kitchen.

4- eggs

4- T plain yogurt  (I used 2% plain greek yogurt)

1/4 C coconut flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp sea salt

1 C grated fontina and parmesan cheese  (I only used parmesan because I couldn’t find fontina.. woops)

8oz baby tomatoes sliced in half

1/2 T olive oil

1/4 C black olives

2 T fresh Thyme leaves

2oz fresh mozzarella cubed   (I think I ate like a cup of this as I was slicing it.  Don’t do that.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Beat eggs and yogurt in a bowl until blended.

3.  Combine coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and cheese in a medium-sized bowl.  (DON’T TOUCH THIS YET)

4.  Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, thyme leaves, olives, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mozzarella in a completely different bowl.  Keep not touching the other bowl.  In fact, don’t even look at it.  🙂

5.  Add the beaten eggs and yogurt mixture to the DRY ingredients and mix until combined.  Still don’t touch the first bowl.  I know you want to.

6.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture in one large or two small ovals.  (I used foil because I didn’t plan ahead enough to have parchment paper..)

7.  NOW YOU CAN TOUCH THE FIRST BOWL.  Here’s your moment.  Top with the tomato, olive, and mozzarella mixture and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  (I only did 15 due to the foil.)  It should be puffed and golden around the edges.

8.  Remove the parchment paper or foil from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.

This is great both warm and at room temperature!

Enjoy.

Today’s lesson is brought to you by SLOW DOWN and FOLLOW THROUGH..

Success with a side of fruit.

So yesterday’s ramblings involved a hopeful statement regarding my latest recipe trial.

SUCCESS, my friends.  Success.

2- Chopped green onions

1- Sweet potato (chopped and peeled)

2.5- C Kale

16oz- Organic chicken breast

1/2 tsp- Sea salt

1- Garlic clove (minced)

1 tsp- Paprika

1 tsp- Dijon mustard

1 T- Rosemary

1- Egg

2 T- Coconut flour

=

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Which turned into this:  photo

And ultimately this:

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Here’s the full recipe (modified a smidge by yours truly)..

In a large skillet, add chopped green onions over a little coconut oil.  Heat for a minute or so and then add the chopped sweet potato.  Brown for about 3 minutes until sweet potato pieces are a little tender.

Add Kale and saute until it’s wilted.

Combine dry ingredients and ground (using a food processor) raw chicken with egg and add the sweet potato/onion/kale.

Mix by hand.. (I know.. A little gross but hands are washable)..

Cover and let sit in the refridgerator at least 4 hours.  (I left mine overnight).

Bring out that skillet again with a little coconut oil.  Make your chicken stuff into patties and cook over the oil until they’re browned and cooked all the way through.  There is no such thing as chicken sushi.  Disgusting.

Once you’re done with that, I suggest organic mayo and onions.  I LOVE onions.  If that’s not your thing, test a few things out and enjoy.

…and then I got hungry.

I had a beautiful weekend.  I shared it with some of my favorites.

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Seriously you guys.  Favorites.

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We mulched to raise funds that will send these guys and others to camp this summer!  It was a gorgeous morning and we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.

Then I got hungry.  So began an afternoon of recipe plotting and grocery shopping.  I managed to terrify introduce my friend and shopping comrade to the wonderful world of Natural Grocers.  Love.. that.. place..  I will turn her into a hippie before long.  I am determined.

023This is a work in progress.  The finished (and hopefully amazing) product will happen tonight.

– 1 Chopped green onion

– 16oz Organic chicken breast

– 1 Sweet potato

– 2 T Coconut flour

– 1 tsp Dijon

– 1 tsp Sea salt

– 1 tsp Rosemary

-1 tsp Paprika

– 0.5 tsp Garlic

– 2. 5 C Kale

– 1 Egg

Stay tuned.

Comfortably Uncomfortable

I’m the girl in the back of the coffee shop- The one with the earbuds in listening to the same music I sometimes use as a tranquilzer. It’s beautiful. I have a great vantage point. I can see the people doing their homework. I can see the group of guys catching up over gelato. I am watching the guy who is drawing my shoes again. He hasn’t realized that I’ve caught on to this. I love it. I look down for a second to realize I actually wore some modest, ankle-strapped brown heels. They’re too big now but I loathe shoe shopping. The hunt for a size 12 narrow sucks. Anyway, watching all the buzz around this place is peaceful. It’s my chance to just zone out and reflect. If you haven’t caught on, that’s what I’m doing now. I look up from the screen once in a while.. I want to look behind me to see if that guy is reading what I write. I won’t though. That’d be creepy. I’ve run into several people I know here. It’s nice to get out and be sociable again. I’m so thankful for that change. It’s something I actually touched on earlier over dinner.
I had a date tonight. Welcome to my 29 year old, single, awkward, dating life. Sometimes I talk and don’t pay attention to what I’m saying before it comes out. I’m glad he is one to just roll with it. I’m really enjoying being uncomfortable in the best way. I’m thankful for the people along for the ride. Whether they realize it or not, they are helping me continue on with one of the hugest transitions of my life.
This week has been immeasurably happy for me. I’ve been able to wake up feeling happy. Feeling relieved that I’ve been given a new day instead of worrying about what will happen to it.

Strawberries, Friends, and Other Sweet Things

This weekened ruled.

There’s something insanely wonderful about a cold, snowy, SPRING day to stay in and watch basketball.  That happened.. a lot.  I got to nerd out on some NCAA happenings surrounded by fellow KU fans and delicious Vanilla Porters… (I just pretend they’re gluten free)..

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I got to see my favorite band LIVE- My second P.O.D. show ever.  I sang every word and took 107 pictures.  No really.  107.  The show ended (read: we left 3 songs into the headliner because they’re awful) so we got to catch the last minute of the WSU game.  LOVED.  After flagging down the trolley, I flexed my tour-giving skills throughout the Old Town area to a bunch of handsome Canadian men.

Sunday left some free time before more basketball nerdery.  A sweet friend showed up at our door with coffee foreshadowing a perfectly relaxing day.  As my roommate situated herself into her new room, I proceeded channel my inner Martha Stewart and turned strawberries into soup.  SUCCESS:

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Strawberry Soup-
2C strawberries
1/2C squeezed OJ (I got tired of squeezing so I subbed 1/4C pomegranate juice too)..
1T raw, unfiltered honey
1T vanilla
1C coconut milk
Blend and chill.

This is a perfect treat for a sweet tooth.  Also pairs wonderfully with a dark green salad.  Strawberries are definitely one of my favorite things!  I’m so excited to find new ways to make them even better.

I’m one lucky girl.

Me the Foodie…

I’ve changed just about everything in my life over the last couple of years.  Part of that change involved something I’ve always loved the most.  Food.  It was the reason for so many things.  The reason for celebration.  Sadness.. Guilt.. Relief.. Nourishment.. It was the reason I ultimately needed to change my life in order to save it.

Part of my fear in my weight loss journey was being able to stick with new, better habits.  What if I couldn’t do it?  What if I never found something interesting enough to hold my attention?  What if I failed and ended up right back where I started?  I weighed my options.  I decided this would be require an enirely new lifestyle.  Not just counting calories and working out.. This would require a something that would allow me to be free and feel good.. I could not get bored as I had time and time again.  I had to stay excited for this to work.

Enter my good friend Gluten.  We had to part ways.  After several “going away” parties of course.  I chose the gluten free route.  It seemed easy enough.  I could just look for labels that clarified my preference.. I quickly learned how wrong I was.  It was discouraging at first.  I wanted to give up.  That’s when I discovered that I, Darah, would actually get out my pots and pans.. I would conquer this.  I started diving into the recipe books.  I started reading about the science of all of this.  It started to get interesting.  I found that I actually enjoy and can completely satisfy my inner-geek with this- my new adventures in cooking.

It’s gone pretty well I’d say.

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I’ve discovered that a butternut squash doesn’t have to just sit there and be a butternut squash.  It can be brushed with coconut oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and baked into something wonderful.

I’ve discovered that blenders are awesome..

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And I’ve discovered how much I love the endless possibilities of something I have always loved so much.  The feeling of finally realizing that this is nourishment is beautiful.  Food should not be an assault on the body.  It should not be the enemy.  I am here to share.  This is part of my journey.