Archive | April, 2013

Oof.

19 Apr

Boy has it been a heavy week. My eyes have been glued to the computer screen all day, searching for every live news update I can get about what’s happening in Boston. It feels like an action movie, which reminds me why I hate action movies: lots of violence, loud noises, and scary moments for no real purpose. The difference is this is not make-believe and so many peoples’ lives are changing in a very real way.

Even thinking about the fact that it’s Friday and my work commitments are all put on hold over the weekend, while those with SWAT and the Boston PD probably haven’t slept a wink since Monday. Public service is extraordinary.

I will probably spend the majority of my weekend in awe of how insulated my life is from violence and fear and so many tragic circumstances that so many people have to live with on a day-to-day basis. It makes my hurt heart to think about human suffering, but the events of late have been a huge exercise in a Buddhist teaching that I have been trying to embrace. I am not Buddhist, but I really resonate with some of the wisdom that comes out of its teachings, namely the path of non-attachment with regards to suffering.

“Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”

Here is a very good explanation of what it means to be “attached” and how detaching can alleviate suffering, a seemingly paradoxical statement.

For your sake, I will try to leave you with something not quite so heavy – a recipe. I find cooking and baking to be hugely therapeutic and making dinner every evening helps me to take my mind off of things that may have been plaguing me all day.

Today’s recipe is for Southwestern Style Bell Peppers. I first tried these out on Valentine’s Day with Stefano and promised to post a recipe. Well, I looked and there’s no recipe to be found! on this blog. Luckily, I included it in a contributing article with The DC Ladies and you may find it here. It’s hearty and comforting, but won’t weigh you down. Extra bonus points for being gluten free and vegetarian (vegan if you don’t add the cheese on top)!

peppers1

I made it with one of the most important ingredients: love. I think that’s the special something that makes food taste delicious.

Share the love this weekend, promise?

If Money Were No Object…

18 Apr

Occasionally I find myself drifting off into a dreamland called “If Money Were No Object”.

In these reveries, I contemplate all the things I would like to do or have, if only I weren’t concerned with the price tag of said experiences or items.

Here’s today’s list:

1. Take pastry and cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu (thone in Paris, of course).

cordon-bleu-sign

2. Buy one of these babies. From reading blogs and hearing about all the magical things a Vitamix can do (the thing makes ICE CREAM!), I covet it like mad.

vitamix

3. Only buy local, organic food. They don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nothing…

wholefoodsLogo1

Food for Thought: What would you do if money were no object? Would you buy things or experiences? Is there anything big you’re saving up for right now?

Every Time a Bomb Goes Off

16 Apr

So it seems fairly trivial to write about anything today except for the explosions at the Boston Marathon and its aftermath. I have already spent the morning reading countless blogs detailing the shock, horror, and sadness that everybody around the world is feeling. To take an exciting, happy event and transform it into one of fear and sadness is cruel thing to do. It hurts my heart to think about all of the lives that will never be the same because of this event.

But each time I hear on the news of another mass shooting or bombing or other violent attack, I am gripped by dread. Every time a bomb goes off, the first thing that comes to my head is, “please don’t let them be Arab or Muslim.”

When the Norway shootings came to light, the news media was flooded with messages of terror and jihad and yet another operation by Al Qaida and all I could think was “not again”. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved when I found out the person responsible wasn’t in any way affiliated with a group that could cause people to blame “those Muslim terrorists.”

The past 12 years have been rough for Arabs and Muslims. I distinctly remember how afraid I was for my Egyptian dad to go to work the day of 9/11 because news reports had already been coming in of taxi drivers being beaten and mosques being attacked and I was scared my dad was going to be hurt, too. I wince every time somebody says that the Middle East is only filled with people who want to kill Westerners because I think about my family in Alexandria who just want to live normal lives like the rest of us do.

It always astounds me how people manage to blanket entire religious or ethnic groups in tragic events. I know that they are angry and looking for someone to blame, but it never occurs to them that maybe their victims are just as shocked and horrified as they are. Over 50 countries were represented at the Boston Marathon yesterday – the violent events that took place are a shock to the global community. To humanity. To everybody who shakes their head and asks, “why would somebody do this to a group of runners? To anyone?”

Luckily, it seems that people for the most part are refraining from pointing fingers. There haven’t been as many headlines declaring the bombings a terrorist attack by Al Qaida or a right-wing extremist group and that eases my sorrow a little more. My heart lifts each time I hear a story of a marathoner finishing their race and running towards the hospital to give blood. I smile when I think about the Red Cross turning people away because they have enough volunteers and supplies to deal with the situation. It makes me happy to know that people are coming together as a community -of runners, Bostonians, Americans, humans– to make this pain a little easier to bear.

Because the world is good. People are good. I always see the best of humanity in the midst of tragedy. When Hurricane Sandy hit, citizens didn’t avert their eyes and pass it off as somebody else’s problem – they mobilized and donated blood, supplies, and shelter to those in need. Food drives and charities were organized to ease the burden of those who have suffered enough.

There is a lot of suffering in the world and it extends far beyond our borders. For every explosion in Boston, there were explosions in Afghanistan. For every family torn apart by violence here, there are children who will never see their parents in Syria. All of it is horrible and all of it is senseless. Boston brought it to our own backyard and made the violence and tragedy too close to ignore. It is easy to harden our hearts and brim with anger at those who caused this pain in the world, but what would be the point? Why not take that energy and channel it with kindness and compassion and love?

Write a thank you letter to the first responders and the Boston Police Department.

Donate blood to your local Red Cross.

Dedicate today’s miles on your run to someone who can no longer run theirs.

Hug your family tight and let your loved ones know you care.

Wear your favorite race shirt to show solidarity with the runners in Boston.

Because love always wins.

We are all in this together. We are all on the same journey through this amazing, shocking, unbelievable thing we call life and it will be so much easier if we choose to let people in and share the journey together.

Today, my heart is with Boston, but it’s also with the orphans in Syria and the schoolgirls in Afghanistan and the homeless in America and everybody around the world who needs some love and compassion. Today I am praying for the lives of those suffering all around the world and sending positive energy out to those who need it most.

Please join me.

Boston

15 Apr

The post I had planned for today is being postponed due to the events in Boston.

So far, 2 have been reported dead and 22 injured from the two bomb explosions that went off near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

Click here to follow the New York Times live updates of the event.

Praying for everybody  involved and I hope everybody in the area stays safe.

Identity Crisis

12 Apr

First off, I want to thank each and every one of you who left a comment with well-wishes for my aunt. Her surgery went well and she is still in the hospital recovery room, but will hopefully be released today so she can spend the rest of the healing time in the comfort of her own home. Thanks again for all the love and support – you are wonderful!

For awhile now, I have been thinking about undergoing a metamorphosis with regards to this blog. Some of you might have seen this Tweet:

tweet

Since starting the blog nine months ago, I have started to come into my own in my writing and what I choose to write about. You might remember the post  where I confessed that I didn’t particularly enjoy constantly talking about myself on a day to day basis, nor did I like posting my daily eats (taking out a camera every time I’m about to put something in my mouth is so annoying!!!). The main reason behind it was that I do a lot of the same things every day and eat a lot of the same foods on a regular basis. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit.

One of the biggest takeaways from my epiphany was this:

“I don’t want my writing space to be an amalgamation of hurried sentences and incoherent thoughts – I want it to be a space for me to showcase my passions through the medium of writing and the lens of food.

Because I love food. Really, I do.

I love travel and new cultures and learning, but especially as it relates to food and eating.”

That, my friends, is what triggered the decision to change my blog name.

I have been weighing the pros and cons for awhile because some people have strong opinions about whether or not you should change your blog’s name after you’ve begun writing. My reasoning is that while it seems like I’ve been writing forever, a blog less than a year old is really a baby blog (with the exceptions of those who have garnered massive readership in one year – kudos!). I’m still learning tons about blogs and my relationship towards them have evolved and changed since last summer.

On the other hand, I don’t want to lose the the relationships with people, products, and companies because of my name change. A name change necessitates an email change and on and on. I’m bound to lose a few in the move. The question is, is it worth it?

So that’s where you come in, dear readers. What do you think???

Do you think it would be too confusing for people to get used to? Should I do it sooner rather than later before I hit my anniversary?

I want to know your thoughts!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. The day started out with some massive April showers here, but now the sun is peeking through!

Much love,

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