Archive for June, 2011

Of Half-Marathons & Cookies

Remember when I said I wanted to run a half-marathon this June? Well, I did this past weekend.
I woke up early last Sunday, went up to UBC and run all the way back with thousands of others in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.
It was a good run, I wasn’t expecting that and yet it was the first time I’d really felt good about running in a long time.
It reminded me of when I used to run the Capital Crescent Trail over a decade ago, running was fun back then.
I barely trained for this run, I started out with good intentions however in the end I ran about five times over four months and never ran beyond 7kms.
I wish I had trained, because although this was the most fun I’ve had running in a while, it didn’t feel whole, you get so much more from training – plus I could have done better.
I don’t know how I get back to that, but I want to enjoy running again.

Half-Marathon Shirt
Sun 26 Jun ~ 3 Sun 26 Jun ~ 1

For the past couple of days I’ve been thinking about… maybe aiming for a marathon next year.
Yes, I want to run a marathon!
I can’t even begin to fathom how I’d go about training for that, but one thing I know for sure is that, when I write about doing something on this blog, I usually end up doing it.
For those of you running types out there, here’s how I’ve fared in the three half-marathons I’ve ran over the past five years.
Year —- Time —— Pace(KM)
2007 — 2:06:12 —- 5:59
2008 — 2:20:39 —- 6:40
2011 — 2:18:49 —- 6:35

I’d like to be better, maybe finish under 2:00 hrs; and I won’t get there by not training.
I’m really glad I did this run; it’s awoken a passion (for running) I haven’t felt in a long time and that’s a good thing.

176/365 Almond-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies #mostly365

I made these awesome post-workout cookies on Saturday before the race.
I knew I was going to get pretty ravenous after the race, the last time I binged on bagels and bananas, this time I wanted to make something special.
I’ve been meaning to make these cookies for a while now, it includes all my favourite things; coconuts, almonds, oats and bananas.
This is perhaps my best cookie yet, it’s chewy and soft, and the flavours are just oh so wonderful.
The recipe is adapted from this recipe, which doesn’t have banana in it, but I decided to throw in my sad browning banana and that’s what makes the perfect post-workout cookies.
I had a couple of cookies after my big run, and then more throughout the day – I couldn’t help it, they’re sooo good!
I’ll definitely be making these again soon.

Flour/Oats/Almond/Coconut
Almond Coconut Cookies On Baking Sheet

Oatmeal Coconut & Almond Cookies (Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life)
INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons almond milk (or soy or coconut or cow’s or whatevs…)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (regular whole wheat flour works too)
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Mash banana with a fork and combine in a mixing bowl with olive oil, honey, vanilla milk and sugar, and mix well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (that’s the remaining ingredients) and mix well with a spatula.
  5. Make sure the dough sticks together, depending on the kind of flour you use; you may need to add a few tablespoons of milk or flour (until cookie dough consistency is reached)
  6. Place spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a fork (mine didn’t spread much during baking)
  7. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until they begin to brown around the edges.
  8. Cool cookies in cookie sheets for about 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Coconut Cookies Freshly Baked

The Gardens at St Luke in the Fields

In New York’s West Village, somewhere along busy Hudson Street is a beautifully manicured sanctuary of a garden.
This secluded garden walled inside a church compound, is a welcome oasis from the buzz of the city.

St. Luke's Gardens

It’s part of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields; the third oldest church in New York and it’s magical.
I went there on a sunny spring Sunday afternoon, needing respite from the vicious sun; and through those unassuming wrought iron gates was relief.
A blooming courtyard of cherry and birch trees shading benches, a colourful variety of flowers, butterflies and birds – it’s all so welcoming. The slate walkways run diagonally through the greenery, one courtyard flows into the other and it all comes together creating serene harmony.

I found myself a perfect spot under the shades, and spent a few hours reading the final chapters of One Day
It was an amazingly relaxing few hours; and I wish for moments like that everyday.

Reds

The Gate

White Petals

St. Luke in the Fields

Sanctuary

Custard Cake

Monday Night Dessert

Before I found the recipe for this absolutely marvellous custard cake, I had a tin of Bird’s Custard powder that expired in 2009 languishing in my cupboard, who knows how long it had been there.
Don’t worry, I didn’t use the expired custard powder in this cake, I went out and got a fresh one.
But doesn’t it make you wonder what else from centuries ago I have lurking in my pantry?

Bird's Custard

I got the tin of custard powder solely because my mom used to make it when we were kids; I could never make my custard to taste the way hers did even though I followed her instructions carefully.
I gave up and chucked the custard to the back of the cupboard since I couldn’t come up with any other uses for it.
I found this recipe by chance while indulging in my favourite pastime; foodgawker
Aparna is the amazing food blogger behind My Diverse Kitchen, and you probably should stop reading this right now and go check out her blog – that’s ok, I’ll wait for you.
Did you see her awesome market day tour?
Her blog is a great resource for egg-free baking, which I’m all about.

Baked
Sugar/Flour/Custard Powder Custard Cake Batter

Anyway, back to the cake… this is a lovely cake; moist and dense and wonderful with tea.
The flavour is mellow and it pairs well with ice cream for a luscious dessert.
And what a great way to use up my custard powder, although recently using it to make vanilla sauce…, which is also awesome.
I know custard powder isn’t very popular in North America, thankfully I live in Vancouver where you can find almost everything, I didn’t even have to go to a specialty store; the Safeway on Robson & Denman stock them.

Check out the recipe I used here.
Oh yeah, Did I mention that it’s divine with ice cream and slow roasted strawberries…?

Custard Cake & Ice Cream
Sliced Cake & Ice Cream

Slow Roasted Strawberries

123/365 Roasted Strawberries & Nutella Toast #mostly365

I was supposed to go strawberry picking with my mom and @adjoa on Saturday, but wouldn’t you know it, it rained!
I had plans for those strawberries; cakes, crumbles, pies and slow roasted.
These slow roasted strawberries are great for when you find yourself with lots of strawberries, and you don’t want them to go to waste.
It’s quite easy to make, and the sauce is versatile, it can be used on ice cream/yoghurt as toppings, on cakes, and other desserts…
Here’s what you do; take some hulled strawberries, add sugar and balsamic vinegar and your favourite spice – I used cinnamon. Slow roast at 250 F. for about an hour.

Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar
The strawberries hold their shape well when slow roasted.

Slow Roasted Strawberries Roasted Strawberries in a jar
The sauce lasts three days to a week in the fridge.

Nutella Toast w/ Slow Roasted Strawberries
Serving suggestion: Toasted nutella sandwiches with slow roasted strawberries; heaven!

Vintage Blue

Looking through my recent blog posts, I realize that I haven’t done an outfit post in a while.

Tue 17 May ~ 7

I have a friend (who doesn’t?); he’s one of those blunt, says-it-like-he-sees-it types.
We probably still wouldn’t be friends if we didn’t live thousands of miles away from each other, but he’s a dear friend, he makes me laugh and I love him very much.
He sent me an email a few days ago saying “I see you’re not posting pictures of yourself anymore. Why, did you get fat from all that food you’ve been cooking?”
Frankly, food shots are more fun than outfit shots, and look less egotistic.

Tue 17 May ~ 2 Tue 17 May ~ 1

That said, I still love taking outfit pictures, because it continues to be fun and I actually enjoy it (who wouldn’t? all I have to do is just stand there).
I just switched over my summer wardrobe, and if the warm weather sticks around for a bit, I should be out there taking some fun pictures.
So here’s an outfit post; of my favourite vintage blue dress – I got this dress in le Marais last year on my last day on vacation.
It was one of those perfect days, and I still had a million final things to do, I made a little detour and found this dress.

Tue 17 May ~ 10

It was blue, vintage and polyester – I was drawn to it, it reminded me of an old black and white picture I’d seen of my great aunt.
She had a similar dress on and in the picture, she looked so young, innocent and happy; and with that image in mind I knew I had to have that dress.


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