Food for Thought: The Lazy Chef’s Table

Happy Sunday! I hope I am not the only one that directly associates Sunday’s with an early morning light creeping from the nonfunctional blinds, reading and herbal tea (potentially in bed). Doesn’t it sound beautiful? For that reason, I am not one for hating Mondays, weekends just do a good job with calming me down.

Vancouver was supposed to get a major snowfall this morning, but the mother nature must have decided to postpone it, as my iPhone would agree. With the possibilities of getting snow gone, my plans for the day didn’t change: I’ll be reading for an upcoming media criticism project (in various places probably), and I’ll need to take breaks.

Break numero uno, with the courtesy of a hobby of mine: Cooking (and eating). Here are a couple of recipes I have developed, learned, or read online and made my staple. For my college student friends that have no time, I hope this comes as an inspiration.

img_8976

The “I can’t believe I like salad” Salad

I was introduced to this recipe by a close family member when she came to visit us in Canada, she gets a huge thank you for making me enjoy a salad for the first time.

Ingredients

Chopped Kale/Spinach

Chopped cabbage

Shredded carrots

(OR Pre-packaged greens of choice)

Boiled or canned chickpeas

3-4 dates

3 slices of feta cheese

Walnuts

Dressing: ½ lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil

(I personally don’t use the oil as cheese does the job for me)

Instructions:

  1. If you are boiling your own chickpeas: Soak chickpeas in hot water and a dash of salt overnight. Next morning, boil them for about 15-20 minutes and drain the chickpeas. Voila, use them in wraps, salads, or on top of rice.
  2. Put chopped vegetables in a large bowl as your base, put in your chickpeas, and dressing. Mix them all.
  3. Chop 3-4 dates and feta cheese in small pieces, crush the walnuts with your hands, add them on top.
  4. Enjoy, and get ready to say, “I can’t believe I like salad”, now.

img_8974

Peas and chicken in a pot (Serving: 4)

 Ingredients

1 tsp of Powdered ginger

1 tbsp of Salt

1 tbsp of pepper

1 tbsp garlic

2 tbsp Coconut oil

Chopped (3) chicken breasts

Frozen green peas

1-2 tbsp of tomato paste

Instructions:

  1. Put chicken breasts in a pot, add enough water to cover it at the same level. Bring the chopped chicken breasts to boil for about 5 mins, drain the chicken and keep the broth.
  2. Put the chicken, frozen peas, tomato paste and desired amount of broth in the pot. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil and spices to the pot. Turn off the heat and let the dish simmer for 5 more minutes.

img_8973

Moroccan Egg-Fried Couscous (Serving: 2)

Unlike all the other recipes that were subject to trial and error, this one is one that I found online recently and loved it. Give it a try!

Ingredients

1/2 package of couscous

1 cup frozen mix vegetables/or snap peas (or as desired)

1 tbsp coconut oil

4 eggs

Spices:

1 tbsp curry

1 tbsp chili

1 tbsp garlic

A dash of salt

Instructions:

  1. Boil ½ package of couscous in water for 8 minutes (as if you are making pasta). Drain the couscous.
  2. Take a pan and melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add all of your spices now (this is a golden trick that makes the food absorb spices better).
  3. Add the couscous and frozen veggies, fry them until veggies become soft.
  4. Form an empty hole in the middle of the pan, pour your eggs and start mixing them with the rest of the stuff in the pan slowly.
  5. Fry everything until eggs make the couscous look browner.
  6. Enjoy! I can already feel it smells great. Yum.

img_8975

Cinn-Apple-and-Oat Cake (Serving: 4-6/Small Portions)

Ingredients:

1 whole chopped apple

1 cup oats

2 tbsp whole-wheat flour

1 cup applesauce

½ cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp olive oil

4-5 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon (or as desired)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Put a tiny bit of olive oil to the baking dish and make sure to spread it evenly so the mixture doesn’t stick later on.
  2. Chop a whole apple and microwave it for 1 minute.
  3. Take a bowl and stir together the oats, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, olive oil, and coconut sugar.
  4. Add in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven. Voila!

 

Let me know if you try the recipes, or have any suggestions for me to try. Happy Sunday!

Hazal

Health and Fitness Talk: A Guide to ‘Just Doing it’, and Making it Last

The same old title that you have read about 10 times right after you finish that yummy bar of chocolate? And potentially leaned over to grab some more?…

The same old title that you have read about 10 times right after you realize pushing yourself to your limit doesn’t seem to help what you see in the mirror anymore? Be it losing fat or seeing new curves… or simply growing the guns.

Or you are like me… Recovering from an injury, or just been too long into the “healthy living” trend that you couldn’t care less anymore… yet it’s a struggle to get up from the couch sometimes.

Well, whoever you are, I hope this article finds you well and gives you hope that you can just do it.

10959591_10205775899625157_4173771814861433426_n

Short bio: I grew up with ballet and horseback riding, later fell in love with running and fitness. I prepped for a bodybuilding show 3 years ago and was a member of UKBFF. I trained powerlifting style, and later, tried CrossFit for a short period of time (up until the famous injury). I aim to obtain my minor in Human Kinetics very soon. Although I do not have any certificates, I have a great interest in fitness and loving my body for all that it does. Please take the advice as you need it!

  • There is no finish line.

Whenever I go on a run using my Nike Running app, it says this: “Remember: There is no finish line, and you’ll just keep getting better”, I oddly find peace when I hear this.

One thing that I see a lot of people do when they first start working out, or the “cutting phase” is that they start FAST, and they finish FAST. It sounds like the right thing to do, right? Sadly, that’s a no.

If you have been sedentary all your life (or e.g. for the past 2-3 months), your body is not going to magically lose weight when you start running 5 times a week. It’s actually more likely that your body is going to be like “What the hell, dude?”. At that point, your body doesn’t know how to properly recover for your next activity because you are basically tiring your muscles, slowly damaging your metabolism and wearing yourself out. The “go all out” method might work for a few weeks or a month, but the second that you need to push yourself further, you will quickly realize that there’s no further left, and you have already used your body to its limits.

2015, with Ryan Terry.

What should you do? When you start working out or start a cut, start slowly and build up the momentum. Start two times a week, add a third workout next week. Cut your extra slice of bread from your breakfast and next week, switch up the pasta lunch with a tuna salad. Don’t do it all at the same time. Give your body some time to adjust the new activities and recover from them to positively affect your health.
One of the greatest advice that I was given: I and my body will be on a long journey together. Changes take time to adjust, and we have a lifetime to do it just right. Love your body, train because you love your body.

It’s a long run and you know that you don’t want to wear yourself out too quickly. Love what you do, more love will follow.

  • If you are a newbie, read this.

I could not tell you how important it is for you to read these words. I just started to a new gym full of buff dudes myself and it actually is intimidating to walk around them. It might seem like you have nothing in common with all the ‘fit’ people if you allegedly feel insecure about yourself. And, that’s okay!

In my opinion, training shouldn’t be about other people and how you should only train to show off at the gym. I had a similar conversation with a friend over the phone just an hour ago. I had sent him a video of myself practicing the snatch move (which was shot a few days before I got injured), I told him I missed training like that. He followed up with a question “You are not an athlete, I know that you don’t need to feed your ego… and you are not prepping for a competition. Why did you even bother doing those exercises? You did not need to”. My answer was simple, I usually get bored with endless hours of cardio and Pilates (seems like a lot of girls do enjoy it, and I respect that), and I love doing things that stop my mind from pacing around. I overthink too much, and when I train at a fast pace, it is my remedy.

I think I kind of like the brain fog (and the endorphins, ya know?).

  • EAT.

Abs are made in the kitchen, okay, okay. We get it, fine. Unless you are an obsessive freak (flashback to me 3 years ago), you will not be able to make the salad and 0 calorie water life for a long time. I absolutely respect you if you can, but I have seen and experienced first-hand that a lot of restrictive eating brings eating disorders with it. Let me tell you, disorders don’t go away as fast as you would want them to.

What should you do? So, please, have your cake, chocolate, hamburger or whatever your tummy desires BUT… have it in moderation. IIFYM method usually works well to estimate what your body needs and tailor your calories according to that. However, it might sometimes trigger restrictive eating, too. Experiment, and find your own balance. I personally like to eat healthy most of the time. I have a sweet tooth, so I’ll have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or a small piece of cake to fuel my training. Who needs coffee when you have sugar, right?

The take away: Do NOT eliminate any food. Food is your friend. Go out with your friends and have the occasional dessert. The important part? Do NOT beat yourself for it. Move on, keep living.

  • Find a partner.

Choosing a partner is an important, at times life-changing (hopefully in a good way), and a burdening decision. Many say best friends make great partners. I got to refute this one really quick: My best friend in middle school ruined every diet I have ever started. We would swallow bars of chocolate for every pound we lose for the week. Gain all of that back, feel miserable, eat to feel better, diet, repeat the cycle. One word: BRUTAL.

Body Power Expo, UK

Not all partners are like that though. Find partners who have similar goals as you. My boyfriend and I met at the gym because we were the only two crazy people who would wake up at 6 am to make it for training before anyone else. We became good friends, woke each other up when one would not, and he became a motivating factor for me to get out of bed and get working. Training partners will push you further, at times create friendly competitions and become your helpers.

  • Choose one wisely, and when it’s time to let go for your own personal bodily and mental growth, let go, like everything else.Slow down and remember; things change eventually.

Over the coming days, months, years… You will change, and your body will, too. Maybe you started your fitness journey hating running, and one day, all of a sudden, running isn’t so painful anymore. Because last year, all the negative thoughts that you hear in your head only worsened your struggle to put your feet forward. Today, you suddenly started feeling alive, and happy with the wind blowing through your hair.

Brae Island Trail, 2016. Outdoor Run.

Much likely, for some reason, you might not be able to do things that you used to do, and that’s okay. Putting your body through stress, overworking, injuries, and more happen. If you are slow and steady, you prohibit a chunk of it. But if life happens, and you need to slow down, find new ways to make old things happen. Take a walk, relax, love your body through all that it has been through.

Times that you feel there is no change? No forward progress? Ask for help, find ways to leave the mental stress (depression, insomnia, anxiety and more causes) behind, do it because you love it (I know I say this a lot), do not get your mind stuck on the scale or other measurements. DO: Measure the positive changes on how YOU feel, keep going.
Keep going.

Leave any questions you might have and let me know if you’d want to read a series of posts on health and fitness.

BONUS TAKE AWAY.

Philosophy behind the Black Licorice

It’s another Friday. I woke up, almost making it to noon, decided to throw my fitness into trash, and have two cups of peppermint mocha. Today is a milestone. I hate peppermint, I swear I do, but the Starbucks instant-mocha I had at home changed things up for me.

Never judge a book by its smell. Although if I would, I would like every book at my local library because I simply like the smell of old books. But, I wouldn’t say my local library hold a good selection of books my taste. Also, black licorice Twizzlers look like a good idea at first, but they are Satan’s food.

Warning: Dangerous Substance.

Moral of the story: Life makes decisions for you by simply flowing while you are stuck thinking about the possibilities. I did not plan this to sound like a John Lennon quote, but it did.

I checked my emails before deciding to write about a cup of peppermint mocha, (It was 8/10 by the way), and read that the dilemma I had about an important decision was resolved for me. I did not want to work with a company that didn’t represent my values, but they seemed to like me…

The email said they were sorry to mention the position I would fit was already filled. Another sigh of relief left my nostrils as I clarified this decision one more time.

It’s not that hard trying to get the mechanic toy train to fit the right rails, think about conducting it…I’ll work with my toy train for another week before I get to the real deal.

26648544_10214960202426987_1845144332_n
Me and bread. A platonic love story (Gluten tolerant but does not care).

Before I close, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read or skim through my blog. I have gotten an unusual traffic this week, new subscribers and people sharing my content. Thank you.

The next post will be posted from Washington, DC if the plane lands safely with bomb cyclone around. But hey, I am sure it will be fine.

Thank you.

Hazal

Extended Travel Guide for the Ultimate Wanderer Series: Antalya, Part II

20993452_10213785634023511_1285690521_oIn my last post, which is the part 1 of the Antalya within the Ultimate Wonderer Series, I introduced you to the city of Antalya, and its both central historical places(Kaleici) as well as the suburbs (Aspendos). I talked a fair bit about some day and nighttime activities and gave you a bit of a foodie guide… nom! Let’s get deep into this city, and go a little further back in time too within its districts.

  1. CENTRAL KEMER

Oh my, the central Kemer is a money-making machine itself. As I heard from many, it is one of the most expensive places in Antalya. No doubt because it is by far the most populated area by the tourists. Believe it or not, every 9 out of 10 people there were foreigners. I thought Turkish tourism was dying after the so-talked coup and state of emergency it brought, well… not in Kemer. I wouldn’t be wrong to say that they are mostly Russians too. The first time we went to central Kemer on our way back from Olympos, it was nighttime so we just threw our stuff by the shore and jumped into the water. After Konyaalti, this place is going to feel amazing. The water is so clear and it felt like cotton to me that night. How I miss that place… After walking all day under the sun, it is all you need. A bed of water that feels like cotton. It felt exactly the same after visiting Lara beach and returning to Kemer with disappointment. The cotton beach was there to hug us and let us float.

What to do in Kemer? Shopping is a no. Even on the highway going into the county there was a leather factory/showroom. There are all kinds of offices for touristy tours. I will assure you these are for tourists. If you are foreign to the county, read up and rent a cute little Vespa to drive around the popular spots (unless you are going to Olympos because the roads get messy deep in after the highway). They had two people motorcycles (can I still call them vespas?) for rental. They were extremely cute! Oh, I almost forgot. If you are staying in Kemer or just going there for the day, stay a little longer and experience the night clubs. I haven’t been inside –YET— but If I were you, I would be going to Inferno or Aura. There are DJs that display incredible performances and if this is your kind of fun then you’ll have the ultimate night club experience there.

  1. OLYMPOS and KIMERA21014541_10213785634543524_1477522359_o

Alright, okay, listen up and bring all your attention here. Before I tell you anything, DO BRING non-slippery, comfy shoes that you can hike with. Flip flops won’t save you when you go there. End rant. Thank you, ma’am.

Olympos was our first stop. Lucky enough, as I think back to it now, if I went up the mountain of Kimera first, I’d have no energy to go on whatsoever. Olympos is another city from the Helenistic era that Antalya is protecting as a historical site. It is the biggest city in the Likya areas. There is an entrance fee that is about 10-20$ depending on your age group. If you are an Is Bank credit card holder or own a muzecard (‘museum’), I believe you are able to get in for free.

Here’s a list of what you should bring:

Comfy shoes/sneakers

Beach umbrella

Towels

Water! (no place to buy inside)

After you go in, it is pretty simple to find your way. You will walk along a straight road made from stones that shine under the sun. One of the first things you will see will be the pond with ducks floating happily on your right. That pond connects to the beach that you will see at the end of your walk. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to see the ruins but I think the ancient part of the whole walk actually starts when you take the road on your left, right before you enter the beach. Walk through the tiny water pool and you’ll find the hidden side of the ancient city. There are so many spots to get pictures. My favorite part was sitting on the tree that fell over across the water. It makes such a cute spot to just sit and think. It helps that you are in the shadows too, a break from the hot Antalya sun. At the end of your walk that takes you back in time, right there, you find the perfect Akdeniz waters waiting for you. It will feel amazing to throw yourself in the water of the 3.5 km long beach, just to get away from the heat for a few minutes. Turn your back to the shore and enjoy the view of the Tahtali mountains as the salty water carries you.

Next up, have you every heard of a stone that burns permanently? As we were driving, I saw the sign that says Yanartas (‘burning stone’), and randomly asked my boyfriend to take me there. We had no idea about what this place was all about. After googling up some research, Yanartas or Kimera, its ancient name, was the literal definition of a burning stone. The rocks that are up on the mountain generate a gas that creates fire and keeps the fire alive at ALL times. I’d call it mother nature’s scientific experiment. Before going up, you’ll need to purchase a ticket of 2$ and you are good to go. Oh, I almost forgot—remember what I said about the shoes? The climb up is very steep and slippery. Me and my boyfriend climbed all the way up with Birkenstocks… I tend to be clumsy and he is the sporty guy that did not complete a workout that day. It took us probably about 20 mins to climb up the mountain that an average person would take almost 40 mins to an hour. Thank you, fitness.

As you get close to the top of the mountain, you’ll find a tree that people tie the sticky plastic paper that was once on their water bottle OR, like normal people, they tie a tiny string or a ribbon. This is obviously a Turkish tradition that you tie the ribbon and make a wish. The explanation: They had no ribbons and just tied the water bottle paper. I don’t know why I talked about this for so long, it just tackled my humour. Walk up the slippery stairs from the tree, there you are, you now feel HOT. The heat that comes from the stones fairly effect the environment around them and as you get close, you’ll feel your bare legs burning(!). There were people that brought their pots to make Turkish coffee on the fire of the nature. Many told be they came across people that barbeque’d up there! Whatever you bring, don’t forget your water. You’ll need to drink up before you get ready to go down the mountain.

  1. ADRASAN

Adrasan was a spontaneous trip for us. As we were heading out of Olympos, my boyfriend spotted two hitchhikers, and we agreed to take them up to the main road. They were a student couple doing an Akdeniz tour and were looking to camp out at their next stop, Adrasan bay was on our way, why not take a quick look around?

3-minute observation: I must say the beach looked lovely, parking was expensive, and we should’ve just parked and sunbathed.

BUT—Of course I saw another signboard that said, ‘This way to Kiz Kalesi (The girl castle)’. So, the way we go! There was a dusty very harsh looking entrance to the road that goes up the mountain. The sign had a stick figure man carrying a backpack and a hiking stick. We asked the ladies by the side road before entering with a car whether it was okay, and they advised us simply not to. WE HAD TO GO UP THERE WITH OUR DEAR CAR ANYWAYS. We drove up the mountain through the narrow road along the cliff. The car was shaking pretty harshly. I told my boyfriend that maybe he should stop and call the cops to take us down… I was about to cry. He stopped the car and we somehow managed to turn the car backwards in that narrow space. Those 15 minutes I was writing death scenarios in my mind. I took a breath of relief and got off the car, looked at the amazing view in front of me. This was one of the moments in my life I felt so grateful. That is all I have to say about this place.

Moral of the story: Do not drive up to Kiz Kalesi, take your tree branch and hike up like the stick man on the signboard.

  1. CENTRAL LARA

Welcome to the rich neighbourhood of Antalya. I cannot compare this place to Kemer because I spent far more time in Kemer than I did in Lara. I am sorry but I will be biased here. Lara Beach has a pretentious name: Altinkum, meaning ‘golden sand’. Our friends love the beach here because it is soft sand, unlike the rocks that aim to murder your feet as you walk to enter the sea. We stopped at a public beach but sadly, I wasn’t impressed. The entrance to the beach was a walk through a picnic area that had garbage all around. I did not find myself being comfortable with the population that decided to come to the beach so we didn’t stay long. However, do take your time to find a beach club that might work for you! I prefer Kemer!

What can you do in Lara for fun? If you are by the public beach, just a few minutes walk will take you to the Sandland. I did not enter in however, there is great feedback about this exhibition. I imagine it to be like walking in Egypt (Antalya weather is no less heat, I’ll tell you that!). Sandland is an international sand sculpting festival that takes place in 10000 m2 area. Sand artists create their work with 10000 tonne river sand within 3 weeks, and the exhibition is opened for viewers after this process. Additionally, TerraCity is another mall you can visit during your trip to Lara. It is enormous and you will find all high fashion brands there, if it tackles your fancy. Do go—when you need some air-conditioned environment for your soul!

  1. DUDEN FALLS

Duden falls are about 10 km away from the centre of Antalya. It is an easy getaway from the crowd of the city, to the crowd of the nature😊. Right by the parking lot, you are able to ride a camel along 100-200 m sidewalk, if you fancy that. I believe it is not expensive but I just think camels should be in Arabia or Egypt. Although they seem to be fine just laying there. Entrance fee to the park is 1$ per person. The walkway facilitates an enjoyable walk along the falls. You get to have a panoramic and closer view of the falls. The walk way then leads you into a cave where you have a chance of getting wet by the dripping water of the falls. There we meet again slippery ground! My Birkenstocks do not do well with you! Anyways, the whole experience is wonderful and another clever opportunity to escape from the heat.

Tip: Have a gozleme (a traditional pastry… yum!) and home made ayran (yogurt drink) if you feel hungry. We tried the restaurant in the upper area across the chicken cages. It was 10/10.

21017811_10213785637543599_298161021_o

I hope you enjoy Antalya as much as I did. There is so much more to do than what I have seen so far. I miss my tour guide a fair bit when I leave so, I will return for more next summer. Until then, see you soon Antalya.