The Key to Change is to Let Go of Fear

Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall
Hope when the water rises, you built a wall
Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.

One Republic is one of my favorite bands. They’re my go-to jams for any mood- whether I feel like cleaning, studying, working, or just plain zoning out while driving. Driving. Listening to music while driving used to be such a good coping strategy for me because it allowed me to physically escape while retaining control over something, that something being the car in my hands. It also allowed me to appreciate the scenery around me as I drove, letting my troubles disappear- but this might have been due to the natural propensity I have to “get lost” while driving because there never was anything significantly breathtaking for me to observe in suburban Chicago. I guess it was just a good thing that I could appreciate the sunlight hitting the trees that line lengthy residential roads. I haven’t driven for comfort in a long time, but more recently I had started associating driving with fear, disappointment, and insecurity.

When we first got married, my husband got himself a used manual Mazda 3 and I took over his Corolla. We had many unrealistic ideas, hopes and dreams at that time (for proof I have a spreadsheet of a 5-year plan we had made), and one of those was the idea that I would also be able to drive his car at some point in the future because the Corolla was aging. As time passed and after a few newly-wed tiffs we quickly and quietly, without mention, tabled some of those goals we had made for ourselves. However, Pathik was persistent with teaching me how to drive his manual. I was more than happy not having anything to do with his car. Driving it was never something I had wanted for myself, because in all honesty I was perfectly content being a lazy, thought-less drone-like driver. In fact, creating more “work” for myself during my time to be on automatic mode both mentally and mechanically just seemed silly.  It was only when I realized that I was afraid of it did I ever want to overcome that fear. Continue reading

Sparkling summer juice

It’s early September and 90+ degrees outside. Usually I find myself complaining about the temperature outside, but this year I find myself acknowledging it and rolling with it. Maybe this has something to do with watching The Complaint Free Revolution videos that Pathik has finally succeeded in getting me to watch. It’s good stuff, so don’t put it off for 3 years like I did.

Anyway, while I still have my shorts, tanks, and flip-flops at the front of my wardrobe, I still find my mind wandering to the reminisces of feeling the crisp fall air on my face, watching the orange leaves floating slowly to the ground, the feel of ankle boots and skinny jeans, and the joy of apple picking in the orchard and making apple pies. Let’s not forget the sweet smell of apple cider and the warmth that slowly pours through my body as I drink it. As much as these warm drinks give me comfort, I also love the fresh taste of summer drinks.

Just recently I came across a recipe for Watermelon-Strawberry Agua Fresca in a magazine. I really don’t remember what magazine, but at least I’m letting you know it’s not mine. I guess the purpose of this recipe is to use up bruised fruit that you might not want to present in a dish, but I definitely am not that critical of my fruit. I made this recipe for its fresh, rejuvenating taste.

Ingredients
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 mint sprigs
1 tbs thinly sliced fresh ginger
pinch of salt
2 cups seedless watermelon
2 cups hulled strawberries
1 bottle sparkling water * I used lemon sparkling water, and this added a nice refreshing touch to the drink.

Instructions
1. Simmer water with sugar until the latter dissolves. Remove from heat and add the mint.
2. Add ginger and salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, puree.
4. Pour over ice, top with sparkling water.

*optional: top with more mint sprigs- this really helps the flavor come out!

Tasty Tahini

I mentioned that I would follow my spicy sauce recipe with a recipe for Tahini. Well, here it is. I love this sauce so much I use gobs of it on my pita sandwich, partly because the spicy sauce I make is at a 3-chilli level. This sauce is also great as a dipping sauce- for toasted pita chips, carrots, whatever else you may please; although, I’ve never tried it but I think cucumbers would work great.

Side note: Falafel and related sauces are NOT Greek. They are Mediterranean. Vegetarians visiting Greece should not expect to eat tahini on pita sandwiches, they should expect to eat tatziki on souflaki sandwiches. I am speaking from personal experience.

Continue reading

Spicy Falafel Sauce

I’ve been meaning to put up sauce recipes for, well, ever. Or at least ever since I created a Recipes page on the blog. I thought it was only fitting that I start with the falafel sauce recipe, as one of the first recipes I put on the blog was for my tabbouleh salad. This sauce has quite a kick to it, and the recipe I’ve listed is enough for our family of five (well now we have six so we’ll probably make a little more!). Because of its spice level and overall “liquid-ness,” not much of it gets used, so this recipe makes approximately 1 cup.

What I love the most about this recipe is that it can be made using staples usually found around an Indian kitchen, and it takes absolutely no time to whip it up. Which is quite important. If you know me, you know that I love to cook because I love to eat, but I hate spending an unnecessary time in the kitchen because I also like to do other things like…. posting on this blog 🙂

Ingredients

1 large tomato, cut into large pieces (doesn’t matter which kind although I always happen to use Roma)

1/2 onion, diced (I usually use white because it’s the tangiest)

2-3 large cloves of garlic (the sauce is supposed to be very strong in garlic flavor, the way I understand it)

1/2 green chilli, shredded

salt, red chilli pepper, cilantro leaves to taste

a pinch of cumin

Instructions

  1. Blend everything. Yup. As simple as that. How big you want everything to be when you dice it is of course dependent on the quality of your blender.
  2. Taste
  3. Adjust according to taste

Coming soon: Tahini Sauce. Yum! It is very complementary to this extremely spicy sauce, not to mention an essential any time you make a falafel dish.