Life is a Whirlwind

It’s crazy how life can so easily become a whirlwind, moving so fast that you hardly have time to realize what’s happening. Before you know it 10 hours have passed by and you can hardly even recall what you did during the day. Weeks are marked my emotional memories (as in this week was stressful, the week before was relaxing) rather than by the memories of certain events, people, or experiences. One of my goals in life is to live in the present, to experience every waking minute and to acknowledge the time II’ve been given. The tricky part is figuring out how to do this. One thing these last few weeks have shown me is that life can really fly by. I can’t believe it’s already July. Where did the time go? I feel that’s a question we ask ourselves all too often. I’m going to change that. I want to be able to fully appreciate every moment of the day. We only have one life to live. Why not fully experience it? 

Follow the Sun

Have you ever found one of those songs that from the moment it starts playing you like what you hear, then a few moments later absolutely fall in love with it because the lyrics so perfectly align with your beliefs or with the way you see the world? For me this is one of those songs. It perfectly describes the way I view life, the peace with which I try to live, the appreciation I have for the simplest of things, and especially my incredible love for the sun and for the natural world.

“Follow The Sun”
By Xavier Rudd

Follow, follow the sun
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done.
Breathe, breathe in the air.
Set your intentions.
Dream with care.
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
Brand new moon, brand new sun.
So follow, follow the sun,
the direction of the bird,
the direction of love.
Breathe, breathe in the air,
cherish this moment,
cherish this breath.

Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
brand new moon, brand new sun.
When you feel life coming down on you,
like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society,
adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest water´s edge
remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.
So which way is the wind blowin’,
and what does your heart say?
So follow, follow the sun,
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done…

In the craziness if this fast paced world I’ve found it’s really important for me to take a little bit of time everyday to just breath, to get outside, to look up at the sky, and to find beauty in the smallest of things. You never know what kind of curveball life is going to throw at you and all you can do is adapt to whatever the wind blows your way. Enjoy and appreciate what you’ve been given and the make the absolute most out of every situation.

Hippy Juice?

If you’re in the city and find yourself in need of some excitement after work then definitely check out Coqueta for happy hour. Coqueta means “flirt” or “infatuation” in Spanish and it’s a perfect representation of the spunky atmosphere and exciting food. Situated right along the water on Pier 5, Coqueta is nothing like your run of the mill Spanish restaurant/ bar. Both the food and the drinks are innovative and guarantee you a culinary experience. The restaurant is a bit pricy so we just had drinks but the drink menu alone was enough to make us confident that we chosen the right place to pop into for a de-stressing post-work drink. I’m usually an exclusively beer and maybe wine kind of gal, finding most cocktails a bit too sweet for my taste, but I couldn’t stay away from these. I ordered the “Death to Summer of Love,” also known as “hippy juice.” The cocktail was made from house-made hemp milk, dandelions, absinth, spanish brandy, and cava. Below is a picture of my beautiful drink.

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Some other drinks of interest were:

Engine Co. #5: dancing pines bourbon, tobacco infuced creme sherry, lemon, and zurracapote

Pesidio: Belvedere vodka, lemon, almond, fig, farm egg, peychaud’s bitter

Tariff: Jamon iberico infused Gin, acorn and apricot tonic, orange, cava

Conquistadoe: nolets gin, anis tonic, apple-celery juice, spiced fennel salt rim, lemon ice

Andalucia: cream sherry, nocino walnut liqueur, sherry manchego, golden raisins

J & T: Juniper, Lime, fever tree mediterranean tonic

Almond Joy: almond, honey, fig, fever tree tonic

Have I spiked your interest yet? Definitely go check out the rest of their drink menu here and I highly recommend actually going to the restaurant. To get a table you have to reserve about a month in advance but the bar is first come first serve seating. The bar has both indoor and outdoor seating, both of which provide you with great views of the water.

How To Cook

Last night I spent the night teaching one of my friends how to cook. He had mentioned to me one day that his cooking ability was essentially limited to pasta and a very basic stir fry. Since I am a HUGE advocate of home cooking (it’s usually far healthier and cheaper than anything you could pick up at a restaurant, and if you know how to cook it’s often tastier as well) I decided that I needed to change this. So last night I went over to his place and showed him just how easy it is to make fresh, delicious home cooked meals.

I chose something that was easy yet surprisingly yummy, chicken and rice with a chimichurri sauce. Both chicken and rice are incredibly easy to cook and can be used in many different ways. If you know how to cook chicken and rice than all of a sudden a whole world of interesting meals has been opened up to you. The chimichurri sauce was the added flavor I chose to spice up the dish and make it interesting, but you can make any type of sauce that fits your fancy or add any number of vegetables or herbs to the rice to make it fun and exciting.

CHICKEN: The Basics

What you need:

  1. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  2. Olive Oil and (optional: various herbs, chicken rubs, or sauces such as BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce)
  3. A baking dish

What you do:

  1. Rinse the chicken breast
  2. Rub the chicken breast with olive oil and any additional seasonings you’ve chosen
  3. Put a little extra olive oil in the bottom of the baking dish and lay the chicken on top
  4. Stick the baking dish in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  5. After 20 minutes check to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through by cutting a small slice in the middle of the chicken. If it’s still pink then you need to cook it for a bit longer (I usually put it in for 3-5 minutes longer then check it again to make sure I don’t over cook it. If needed I put it in for another few minutes). When the chicken is done it should be whitish but still moist looking.
  6. Optional: at about 15 minutes you can turn the oven to broil and broil the chicken for the last 5 minutes to brown the tops
  7. And you’re done!!

RICE: the basics

What you need:

  1. Rice
  2. Water
  3. A pot

What you do:

  1. (for 1 serving) Boil 1 1/3 cups of water
  2. Lower heat to medium/ medium low until the water returns to a simmer
  3. Add 1/2 cup of rice
  4. Cook the rice for about 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. You have to watch it
  5. And you’re done!!

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE: the basics

What you need:

  1. A bunch of cilantro
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon lime juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried chili peppers (if you like spice feel free to add more)
  5. Optional: Fresh mango

What you do:

  1. Finely chop the cilantro
  2. Optional: peel and dice the mango
  3. In a bowl stir together the olive oil, lime juice, red pepper, cilantro, and mango
  4. And you’re done!!!

And Voila you have a delicious meal!! Cut up the chicken, put it on top of the rice, spoon some chimichurri sauce on top, and you’re good to go. Enjoy!!!

Just remember, the 2 basic rules of cooking are:

WATCH YOUR FOOD – unlike baking you can’t just throw something in the oven for exactly 10 minutes, walk away, and come back to a perfectly cooked meal. That doesn’t mean it’s any more difficult though. As long as you hang out in the kitchen where you can easily check every few minutes to make sure your food isn’t burning and is cooking the way you intended, then you are free to spend that time doing whatever you want.

BE OPEN TO IMPROVISATION – If the recipe says put the heat to medium but your food is cooking too fast, just lower it a bit so that it doesn’t burn

Lentil Hummus

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So this week I found myself with A LOT of extra lentils in my fridge, wayyy more than I meant to have. I made a lentil salad last week and just cooked way too many so I decided to get creative with the leftovers and make something different. We had recently run out of hummus, and me being a hummus addict thought, “I wonder if I can make hummus out of lentils?” So I looked online and found this recipe from WholeLiving.com. It is so yummmyyy!! If anyone is either a huge lentil fan, hummus fan, or is just looking for something different then you should definitely try this out. It’s super easy to make. Below is the recipe from WholeLiving for your convenience. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 pocketless whole-wheat pitas, toasted or grilled and cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, and reduce heat. Cover with a round of parchment, and gently simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Lentils can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

  2. Place cashew butter, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and process until combined. Add lentils, and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. With motor running, add 2 teaspoons oil, and process until incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, and chill if desired. Drizzle with remaining oil, garnish with parsley, and serve with pitas.