That perfect recipe

I am not a baker. I am not one to take the time to get out the sifter to properly sift the flour. Nor am I the type of person who uses the 1/2 cup measuring cup when I already have a perfectly good (just used) 1 cup measuring cup from which I can just eyeball 1/2 a cup.

That being said, I still enjoy baking and most of my creations turn out to be enjoyable. Lately I have been on a banana bread kick due to the fact that I keep buying bananas but fail to eat them before they are past their prime. Over the last few weeks I have tried several different recipes from the internet and family members and today I think I found a real winner.

It’s the simplest of the recipes that I came across, and it doesn’t involve any sour cream. (Before this little baking streak i didn’t even know you could put sour cream in banana bread.)

So if you’re looking for an easy way to use up your old bananas and enjoy a sweet treat, try your hand at this banana bread recipe.

As they say in Israel, (be’te-avon) בתיאבון!

banana bread #1

That movie with Keira Knightly

You know. That one with that famous green dress? Atonement?

Yes, that is the name of the film, and also another name for yesterday. In Judaism yesterday’s holiday is known as the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the holiest day of the year. This is the day we reflect on all the things we are sorry for doing and atone and repent for these transgressions. As part of the tradition Jews across the world fast for 25 hours.

But, in the Jewish homeland there is also a tradition that people actually look forward to on this day. Ta Da! No cars!

Screen shot 2014-10-04 at 9.42.00 PM Yup. Not only are our stomachs without food, but the roads are without motorized vehicles. The whole country shuts down and people take to the streets.

Take a look:

http://360.io/Dks5Tw

http://360.io/LS7tLf

I hope everyone observing had an easy fast. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Dinner’s On

Since the last time I posted (I know, it’s been awhile) life has been pretty busy.

When people say “life has been pretty busy” they are usually talking about how their work schedule has intensified, which mine certainly has. Or they are alluding to the their many social engagements with friends and family; of which I have also had many. However, I can guarantee you that when people normally use this phrase they are not describing a time in their life that was taken over by war.

As many of you are well aware, I live in Israel at the moment. And just a short while after I arrived back in Tel Aviv from my American vacation, a war between Hamas and Israel broke out. I will pass on the details at the moment, but in short, life was pretty busy.

Now that I am no longer dashing to the bomb shelter in the middle of drafting work emails or jumping out of bed to huddle in the stairwell with my neighbors, I am happy to say that I might actually be able to get back to a regular posting schedule.

I don’t mean to gloss over the ordeal that was “Operation Protective Edge,” and I promise to post my experience very shortly. But for now, I thought I would start back up with a post about pizza, because when doesn’t pizza put a smile on your face?

Just because dairy doesn’t agree with me doesn’t mean I have to avoid the deliciousness that is a piping hot pizza crust with sizzling toppings. Last night I made a whole wheat crust, recipe found here, with sauteed veggies.

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In America, my go-to pizza crust is the ready-made dough by Trader Joe’s. But this was actually an incredibly simple crust to prepare and even more satisfying knowing that I made it from scratch.

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That’s just a taste of what I will be posting on a more regular basis. So if you’re in the mood for some more good eats, updates on life in Israel and yoga inspiration, then stay tuned.

What are some of your favorite toppings? Do you have a favorite crust recipe?

 

 

 

 

Home is where…

To answer this statement I first have to answer, where is home?

Growing up, home consisted of the house I grew-up in and my immediate family. But, now that I have reached my mid/late twenties (I’m not letting go of that “mid” just yet), I have created several different homes and my family has grown.

Two weeks ago I left one of my homes, Israel, for my childhood home of Princeton, NJ.

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While on this vacation I also spent a weekend in my Boston home. A home created during college and my first year in the “real-world”. In Boston, I also visited my extended family of best friends during our five-year college reunion.

Ladies

My vacation in American has just come to a close, and I am heading back to my Tel-Aviv home, where I now reside with my fiance.

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But, this new home follows our other home we created in San Francisco, where we lived for three years.

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These past two weeks have been full of homecomings, laughs, tears and love. And, in between all of the good times and memories, I have learned that:

Home is where…

you never feel alone,

laughing is the native language,

you always have a shoulder to lean on,

mom tends to be right,

you can be yourself,

and, home is where love is created and shared.

Thank you to all my friends and family, from all of my different homes, for making this vacation so magical. I can’t wait to see you all again! But, until then, I am sending you all lots and lots of love!

Namaste

Ok, so it’s been a while since I checked in on your progress this March. And, believe it or not, today is the last day of the March Meditation Challenge!

It has been 31 days since I proposed this mental and physical assignment, and now it’s time to see how you did…

Personally, I can’t believe that I managed to do some form of yoga every day this month, and I sincerely hope that some of you had similar success. Over the past 4 weeks I practiced both many old and new poses, strengthening and lengthening my muscles. I am hesitant to say that I mastered any moves, as I believe yoga poses aren’t meant to be mastered. In a sense, they will always present some new challenge depending on the day, mental state and current emotions. However, I have become much more comfortable with many twists that I once found inaccessible, and I can more easily transition into binds I was not able to reach last month. Not to mention that head stands are something I just do for fun now.

And while it will continue to be a challenge each session to leave the humming of the day off of my mat, I have started to ground my mind more solidly to my practice. I even find myself turning to oujai breath when I get overwhelmed or anxious throughout the day. And when I really need to transport myself to the peace of my mat during the middle of the day, I will listen to some calming yogi music. 

Whether you were able to keep up with a whole month of yoga, or simply had a chance to spend some time with yourself, reflecting and strengthening your inner-you, I want to say congrats! It’s not always easy to shut out the distractions of the every day, or to listen to how you are feeling at exactly one moment in time. And, I hope you have found some new strength, both mentally and physically, to continue this practice as you see fit.

My challenge does not stop with the end of March. If you wish to join me, I will be continuing my daily yoga practice, incorporating poses, stretching and meditation into my daily routine.

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Here are a few yoga related links to keep you, or get you back, in the yoga mood:

Everyone is doing it 

My new obsession 

Great FREE online videos 

 

Meditation March – Day 8

If gold stars were still given out in adulthood then I would already have 8! Every day since last Saturday I have incorporated yoga into my daily schedule. I have attended three vinyasa yoga classes at my gym, completed 4 yoga classes via the internet, and added 15 minutes of sun salutations, poses, and binds, to one of my morning home-workouts. I am rocking this March Meditation Challenge.

It has only been a week, but I am already feeling calmer, stronger and more confident. Through yoga I have been forced to carve out time in the day for myself. Time where I am solely concentrating on improving my technique and form, and listening to my body, nothing else.

I spend most of the day sitting and typing in front of a computer. I do my best to walk to work each day and take a break outside from the office in the middle of the day. But while moving is important, I am finding that purposeful movement is even better for the body than just mindless walking. When I am consciously placing my arms and legs and head in a yoga position I am respecting what my body is capable of doing, and not doing. I am harnessing my strength and demonstrating my power. And while that sounds intimidating, it is actually the opposite. Because I am carefully and strategically training my body I am able to move with harmony and peace in and out of positions.

If I sound like a converted yogi I just might be, but what it really comes down to is that I am enjoying moving my body safely while strengthening and healing my body at the same time.

If you don’t believe all of my mumbo-jumbo feel free to read what the experts have to say about the benefits of yoga.

The cat even decided to help me out with some of my poses. She voluntarily jumped up on me when she felt I was most in need of her assistance. Thank you cat. 

kitty yoga

Have you been able to keep up with the yoga challenge?

How are you feeling after a few days of stretching and Om-ing?

Any specific improvements you are noticing now that you are practicing poses more often?

March: a Month of Meditation

March first. The first day, of the third month of the year. What better day than today to start a monthly challenge? I have decided that March shall be the month where I practice yoga every single day. This doesn’t mean that I will be spending hours each day bound in warrior two, but I will spend at least 15 minutes a day on my yoga mat.

The Tel Aviv Marathon happened yesterday, and while I was happy that all the runners had the perfect temperature to run in and plenty of sun, I was also jealous. Jealous that I could not be one of of those runners enjoying the crowd and running past the finish line. Yesterday I was mourning my loss of long-distance running, but today is a new day. It is March first, and it is the first day of the third month of the year, and it is the day I start a physical challenge that I can safely practice and enjoy.

Some days I will have time to attend an actual yoga class, other days I might just follow an online-class, and some days yoga might just be a way to cool down and stretch after a spin or elliptical workout. This challenge, while great exercise, will also give me a chance to reflect and meditate on the important things that I sometimes take for granted in this life. Walking, while seemingly mindless, might have been a life-long struggle had I not recovered from my accident as well as I did. Running might have been totally out of the question, as opposed to the occasional 4 miles I sometimes indulge in now. And chronic pain might hinder my daily routine, whereas now, pain is an occasional sore muscle from a good workout session.

So, I put the challenge to you readers. Will you set aside a few minutes each day to bend, stretch and balance, both your body and your soul? I imagine that everyone could take a moment to appreciate what they are capable of doing and so give a month of meditation a chance.

Good luck and Namaste :)

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