Run like the wind

“There’s an eagle in the eastern sky, turning in the wind. Out across the evening, resting on the wing. If I had wings of an eagle, there’d be no holding me. I’ll be free, sailing free.

One day soon, I’m gonna run like the wind “

The last few days I have felt trapped, confined within the white walls of my apartment as the wind outside howls and the rain keeps beating against my windows.  Summer seems to have got lost in the last few days, mysteriously replaced, and forgotten by Mother Nature, who insists on giving us rain for days.  The rain has become like bothersome friend who is overstaying his or her welcome.

It is hard for me to appreciate the subtleties of life, to find magic in everyday moments when the weather has a way to dampen my normally cheery disposition. I find myself in sour mood because of the rain. It’s stopping me doing my normal chores outside of the house.

I want to go run, after all I have to be able to run 13.1 miles in exactly 2 weeks. With the pressure of the marathon hanging over my head, I constantly head to the window to peek if the rain has finally decided to take a break and maybe let the sun out for a few minutes.

Finally I catch a glimpse of the sun, trying hard to peak out of a cloud, which is sufficient to make me put on my running shoes and pound the sidewalk for a few miles.

I always talk about cooking/baking and how I came to do that, but I have never talked about why I started to run.

I have never been a runner. I never wanted to run and really only thought that I would run if I was being chased, I was chasing someone or was trying to catch a bus. But a few years ago that changed, when I started to run for different reasons.

Running started about 5 years ago when my ex and I went our separate ways, it was a way to deal with the hurt and pain. I remember when I first laced up and went for a short run, I came back all winded. But the more I did it the easier it became. Of course I had no intention of ever running a marathon or half of it, but here I am years later, running miles and miles and even though I still use it as a form of escapism, at least now I have a goal of finishing a half marathon.

It has now become something that I do to help me clear my mind, and it is a test of my limits and gives me purpose in life and sometimes I feel like running saved my life. Am I being dramatic with that statement ? Probably to some yes, but it somehow helps me clear my head and focus on something besides whatever is currently going on.

My friends ask me why I do it and why I signed up to run 13.1 miles; my answer now is very different from what I would have said years ago. Now I do it because of my love for running and mostly because I can. Before, I would have said something else completely different or probably not even have had an answer.

Like a few things in my life, running took a back seat, but about a year ago, my heart was torn into pieces by the man I love and that’s when I once again found solace in running. I ran through the cold, warm weather, holidays, birthday…no matter what, I put on my running shoes and ran like the wind.

As the days get closer and I can start the countdown to the marathon, I can’t imagine my life without it, I feel a tinge of excitement in me…I had wanted to do this for a while, but always found an excuse to talk myself out of it, but finally here I am ready to rock and roll my way 13.1 miles to the finish line and not ask myself why I do it, but thankful that I found running.

 

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Doughnut Therapy

This gallery contains 3 photos.

It seems my short hiatus from my blog has turned into a longer more permanent vacation. Well I am back ! I know I have said it before, but as hard as I try to write regularly, it seems this … Continue reading

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All things Chinese

This post should have been written while seated at an airport, on a plane or in China (yes, the same China where everything is made) but here I am instead in my apartment sitting on a sofa that is made in China and typing on a computer that is no doubt made in China, staring at the not so great wall in front of me.

No doubt,  I was disappointed that my trip to China got cancelled at the last-minute. The news of the bird flu spreading, caused my partner in crime to chicken out (no pun intended).

It is rare that I have a whole day ahead of me with absolutely no plans. I could crawl back to bed, I could attempt to clean my apartment, but none of those things sound too inviting.  I instead decide to put on my shoes that are made in China and pound the sidewalk, while I think about what I should do with my day and try not to think too much about China.

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Back home, I am still undecided about what I should do. I could go shopping and buy all things made in China or I could head to my kitchen and have a battle with flour, sugar, eggs and cause my own little storm there. As you can imagine, heading to the kitchen won over heading to the mall.

I had recently purchased moulds to make creme horns, so what better day than today to pull them out of the pack and take them for a whirl.

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I always have puff pastry in my freezer, which I start rolling and cutting into strips and doing the best with my not so nimble fingers to wrap the strip around the cones.

Meanwhile for the filling, I decide to use mascarpone and pistachio paste and heavy cream, all of which I beat together.

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On to the next project, which was Tiramisu Brownies.  I had attempted this before (Tiramisu Brownie) without much success, but I had come across another recipe, that seemed different to my initial attempt and this seemed a good day as any to try it out. For once instead of experimenting, I decided to stick to the recipe and the batter tasted so good,  I wanted to sit in the corner and just eat it as it is.

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However, I did pour it into the pan and topped it with, more mascarpone, on top of which I did dollop more batter and swirled it around and baked it for 45 mins.

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Tiramisu Brownies

Tiramisu Brownies

Now that I was on a baking roll, why stop. I have been wanting to try sweet potato biscuits for a while, my initial attempt with sweet potato and goat cheese wasn’t up to my expectations. So instead of goat cheese, I decided to add Cheddar and a few chopped Jalapeños into the mix.

My weekend is coming to an end and I am still not over not having gone on my trip. Maybe some Chinese food will be the cure to that. I could always head to one of the many Chinese Restaurants or could I concoct my own take on Chinese food. Since I have a dozen different types of sauces, cooking Chinese food at home should not be too hard.

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I finally settle on making Beef Stir fry with mushrooms. I am not going into details of what I did, because I just kept adding the different types of sauces and what is important is it tasted pretty good.

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Ps : My partner in crime, hopefully next time we will make it to China and eat some authentic Chinese food and stare at the great wall, instead of eating out of fine China.  I am sorry we could not make it to China, but here is some Chinese food from me to you. Enjoy !

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Burning Bridges

The hardest thing in life is to know which bridges to cross and which to burn – Unknown !

I have been recently thinking of friends I have and friends I have let go and some I should let go.  I wonder how do you know when it’s time to let go ?

I have realized that most often it seems I am not someone who can say goodbye easily. After everyone has let go and moved on, I still seem to be the only one holding on. Most often the bridges have been burnt and I still tend to find ways to mend the bridges.

Those who know me, probably know that I would most often go out of my way to try to help friends. You need a ride to the airport, I would be happy to do that, call me when your world is falling apart, did you need me to pick you up after a night of drinking, why not !  There are times these kind gestures have been misunderstood and taken as a sign that I must want something in return.

I think I am a pretty good friend, I think I am loyal too, and takes a lot to lose my loyalty. The problem with that is, that not all people really deserve your friendship and loyalty.

The thought of friendship is not just because of some friends I need to let go, but it was brought about by the experiences my close friend  had with some of her friendships. Our talks about loyalty, of being let down and trusts being broken and betrayal, made me want to examine the friendships I have.

Those I have decided to let go is not because they are a bad influence in my life or have a negative affect on me, but simply because I feel it as being one-sided. I call them, they never return my calls, I send them a text or an email, never hear back for weeks.

I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar. – Robert Brault 

I am by no means expecting anyone to drop everything they are doing to reply my email or calls, however, after weeks of silence does it mean they are trying to say something. I tend to overlook these things and somehow continue to reach out, but I realize that maybe it is time to let those bridges burn to the ground and not try to keep mending them.

Thinking about the friendships that have ended or will end, makes me grateful for the friends I do have and have withstood the test of time. The friendships where we may not see each other often, live thousands of miles away, but somehow can always pick up the pieces from where we left off.

I don’t plan to shed any tears over lost friendships, when I have others that show me what true friendships is. Those are the friendships I want, and those are the friendships worth investing in.

This song is to all those friends near or far who have been there for me always…Thank you for being a friend !

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Spring cleaning

One of the more interesting things I like to do when I travel to another country or it can even be another state is to visit grocery stores. This may seem odd and ridiculous and some may be appalled that I would take time of out sightseeing to check out grocery stores, but I am going to take a stand on this and say you will not believe what you can find.

It is one thing to dine at unfamiliar restaurants and to get a sense of food and culture the city/country has to offer, but what you find in grocery stores gives you a better insight into how most of the population eats. As much I like dining out, when I am home I enjoy cooking as often as I can, which means dining out does not happen on a regular basis. But when I am outside of my home, I tend to go out more, looking for something different. But if you want to get a true sense of how everyone eats, the grocery stores will show you just about everything you could wish to know.

I like to marvel at the differences from my grocery store. Depending on where you visit, you will find various types of fruits and vegetables. I’ve often come across fruit and vegetables that I have don’t recognize, which I like taking pictures of.

I’ve noticed that there seems to be a great focus on fresh food everywhere but the United States. Here no matter what grocery store I go into, it would be the same vegetables and fruits on display. I also find the variety of sweet treats offered to be fascinating and different from the typical cupcakes and muffins that seem to have taken over here.

Food says a lot about the culture and the people who live there. Next time you’re in afar away or not too far away land, eat as much as you can ! Stroll through the markets and explore, pick up something that’s unfamiliar. You just might learn more than what you expected.

On my recent trip to Canada, while strolling through Chinatown, there were quite a few unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. At that moment all I wished was that I could live there, so I could have the opportunity to experiment and experience all the food they had to offer.

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PS : These fruits are familiar to me, but might not be to some others.

During one of my stops in a cheese store, I picked up a bottle of mustard made out of herbs. Yes, I did get some cheese too. I have been staring at this bottle for days trying to figure out what to do.

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Now that it’s the season for dusting, scrubbing and cleaning and that includes my pantry, my refrigerator and every nook and cranny where I have stuff stored, I need to start putting all those things to use.

I have had quinoa a few times and the one time I did attempt to make it, was not very successful, the bitter after taste made me want to let the pack of quinoa sit in my pantry, till I decide to toss it out.

However, a friend recently made some quinoa, which made me want to attempt to give it another chance. I read as much as I can about how to make the quinoa light and fluffy, while everyone seems to have their own theory, the one I picked seemed to work the best for me. ( I will spare you the details)

Besides picking up cheese and random odds and ends related to food, I also picked up a few extra pounds on my waistline, therefore, while cleaning out my pantry, I am at the same time attempting to shed those pounds. So maybe this is my chance to get on the quinoa bandwagon, after all I am told it is healthy.

This is what I did ;

1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 garlic cloves
12 Broiled Shrimp (which I marinated in balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper & red chili flakes)
Asparagus (broiled)
Roasted Bell Pepper

I sautéed the quinoa in a tablespoon of olive oil and once it toasted, I added the crushed garlic. Then put in the chicken broth, put a lid on it and let it cook over a low flame. I turned the stove off, when the broth was absorbed and let it sit covered for 10 minutes.

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Next I tossed in the vegetables and lastly the cooked shrimp.

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For the dressing,

1 tbls of the herb mustard, Dijon will work fine
2 tbls of Balsamic
Salt & pepper to taste
4 tbls of olive oil

Stir together and drizzle into the quinoa and top with toasted slivered almonds.

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I was surprised as to how great it was….I am now a quinoa fan and will try more recipes with it.

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The Long and Winding Road

DSC_0559Nothing like a road trip to get you thinking about various things be it life, writing, or food. I spent the hours thinking about writing during an overcast afternoon on the trip, where the sun was trying to peek from behind the clouds.

The world rushes by quickly outside the car window, passing slow enough to grasp, but not enough to leave a lasting impact. Instead, the impression is formed from miles and miles of terrain extending from the road to the farthest reaches of my vision.

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My friend and I have been driving for hours now for the 12-hour drive to Canada. The scarcity of people becomes evident as the rolling landscape and occasional farm dominate the journey. It maybe hours before some sort of significant settlement pops up along the road.  While some may find this landscape endless and lonely, it gives me soothing feeling of home to me. I have done this trip once before, but this time, the journey takes us along back roads, which is more scenic. I much prefer the beauty of nature to the busy roadsides of manmade domain, where we would just see tall buildings and cars and trucks zooming past us.

We are headed to Toronto for my Uncle and his wife’s 30th wedding anniversary, where my cousins have planned a surprise party. As much as typically people take vacations in warmer climes during winter season, here we are heading towards cold weather where snow is always a possibility. But the thought of all the food I can get there puts all thoughts of cold weather out of my head.

On long car ride, where the hours blur into the landscape and time is put on hold, food revives our sleepy souls.  A cooler with snacks rests on the seat behind, filled with enough sweet and salty snacks to please even the pickiest eaters. As with any road trip, I like to pack a few treats to make time faster and to sustain us through the trip.

We set off in the afternoon with every intention of making the trip through the night, however, it seems the weather had different plans for us. We take turns driving, giving us each a chance to enjoy the scenes around us.  However, 8 hours into our drive, we find ourselves in the midst of a huge snowstorm, leaving us no choice but to find a hotel and stop for the night.

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Next morning we set off again and thankfully, we had a nice weather, which made the rest of the journey enjoyable. What a relief it is when we finally cross the border into Canada.

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As always for me the highlight of my trip was the food, there was no end to the eating. Cutlets, rolls, hoppers, strings, you name it and we ate it. We start our day at the Sri Lankan store stocking up on all the things I cannot typically get in the US.

On the day we were heading back, we stocked up on more snacks, which we managed to eat before the end of the journey.  I bought lots of string hoppers, roti for kottu roti etc. so I will have some Sri Lankan food to tide me over for a few more weeks.

Roti

Roti

Once back home I stare at the roti and decide I should make kottu roti. I know it probably won’t be the same as the ones I would get back in Sri Lanka, but for now this is the best I can do and sometimes something is better than not having any.

While I debate on making Sri Lankan food, instead I start off making some muffins, an idea I had while we were driving. I have been trying to come up with some new ideas now that I know that the farmers market will soon start again.

I wanted a spicy muffin, with green chilies, mozzarella cheese, parsley and garlic chips. While I definitely did taste garlic and green chilies, somehow it just did not turn out up-to my expectations, so its back to the drawing board again.

Spicy Muffins

Spicy Muffins

However, the kottu roti turned out as expected. I sit back to enjoy my kottu and think about the trip and oh how I wish right about now I had one of those fish cutlets.

I miss having access to cutlets and patties and rolls, but at least I still have a little taste of home with me for now, which I am thankful for.

Kottu Roti

Kottu Roti

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Now you’re just somebody that I used to know !

As much as I had every intention of writing more, I was consumed by matters of the heart, but time has passed, it’s water under the bridge and all the why’s are left unanswered and I no longer care.

If there is one thing I have realized recently is that pondering on the question why is a futile effort. It gives you nothing, besides wasting my time trying to figure out why people behave the way they do. I can go in circles in my head, trying to come up with various theories, but the end result is sleepless nights.

On most nights when I can’t sleep, where reading or movie does not distract me, I grab my computer or notepad and start writing endless notes to you.

Writing has been my way of expressing myself and so I wonder should I write you a letter asking why, all I know to do is write, and that is all I can do at this moment, but is that going to help ? I have written many letters in my head. Will writing a letter make me feel relieved, sad or guilty. Right now I feel a little of all.

Of course you will never read this or any other letter which will never get sent. You not reading this does not hamper my need to put my thoughts down on paper. Sometimes I write notes after notes, which I am tempted to save and bring to you to read, but I know the road to you has all but been demolished. Even if I do, I know that I wont find you. I will find a stranger who looks like you staring back at me. I wonder who you are, what became of you.

For a while I could not go to places without the memories haunting me and sometimes taunting me. I went about my daily chores with my head in a fog or slept hoping to forget about you. I could barely go anywhere, I could not talk about you, it took me weeks of grieving and understanding. But here I am, finally able to tell the story and not walk away to dab my eyes in private. Here I am finally standing strong and understanding what I refused to see for years.

The road to healing has been arduous and long, but I got there, with the help of friends. I refused to see the light at the end of the tunnel, then suddenly I saw a slight flicker of that light and that is when I realized there is life after you. You love and you lose and life goes on. It taught me that I have strength and courage and most importantly it taught me that I am a better person that you would ever be. You tried to break me, you tried to put me down, but here I am standing taller than before. It tore me apart that the person who helped me heal many years ago was the same person tearing me apart, but I was not going to let that get the better of me.

The pain easing does not mean I don’t care, or that I don’t think of you, there are songs I hear that make me think of you, but the thinking has diminished, you are now a fading memory. I never thought I would get to the point of being able to say your name and not feel a tinge of sadness, I no longer see a car similar to your’s and strain my head to see if it is you, I no longer wait for my phone to beep and hope it would be you, I no longer wait for an email from you.

Goodbyes are never easy, but sometimes it takes weeks and sometimes months, but the mourning period was worth it. I took my time in healing, at first I refused to believe that healing was possible, but nothing truer than the saying “time is a healer”

So as I type this, I feel a tinge of sadness, because I no longer feel the pain that I used and i no longer wait to hear your voice but mostly  because I have healed.

This song says a lot of what I wanted to say to you, but mostly “Now you’re just somebody I used to know”,

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