Meatless Monday: Quinoa Chili Slow Cooker Recipe

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Hi lovelies,

Being on break for the past two weeks means getting a chance to finally try out some recipes from the rolodex. Here is an tasty yet easy peasy slow cooker recipe for all of you looking for minimal effort and maximal taste, myself included. This quinoa chile slow cooker dish is meatless, yet chock full of fiber and protein. Happy (non) cooking!

Best,
Phoebe

Recipe adapted from: Damn Delicious

Wisdom Wednesday

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A little nugget of wisdom during this June gloom… Because it’s oh so easy to get caught up in others’ lives while neglecting our own. Big dreams, hard work, and laser focus never hurt nobody! Good vibes only.

XO. Three teaspoons.

Wait For It

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Three months ago, I clicked on a Netflix title that changed the way I looked at sitcoms. The sitcom? How I Met Your Mother. Never mind that I lived in oblivion for nine years without stumbling on the show or even giving it a chance. Better late than never, right?

I should preface this by saying that I don’t watch tv, much less watch any show in its entirety from pilot to finale. But to every rule there is an exception, and How I Met Your Mother was my exception. Something about the premise, the humor, and the characters just resonated with me. Here are a few of the universal life lessons I identified with:

1. Ted’s ubiquitous search for The One. Not coincidentally, I binge watched the show during a time when I had just found out an ex had undeniably and certifiably moved on. Hell, Ted was left at the altar, but in hindsight he reflected, “From that moment, I wasn’t angry anymore. Kids, you may think your only choices are to swallow your anger or to throw it in someone’s face, but there’s a third option: you can just let it go. And only when you do that is it really gone and you can move forward. And that kids, was the perfect ending to the perfect love story. It just wasn’t mine. Mine was still out there, waiting for me.” What is so reassuring about the show was the certainty of a sure thing, a happy ending. And though my ending is still uncertain, I know for certain that I can let go of what was not meant to be, at least for me.

2. Encyclopaedia. No, not the British spelling, but Ted’s ridiculously stubborn mispronunciation. Sure, Ted has been likened to Ross from Friends, and notoriously irks some viewers, but I’ve always found him uniquely endearing. But, as Ted once said, “Shouldn’t we hold out for the person who doesn’t just tolerate our little quirks but actually kind of likes them?” Am I proponent of going around erroneously producing words? As a future Speech Language Pathologist, no. But I am a proponent for embracing one’s quirks, and holding out for the one who also embraces those quirks.

3. The story of Gary Blauman. The title of the latter episodes of the final season was based on a minor character that taught a major life lesson, keeping in touch and losing touch. As I’ve reached my mid and now late twenties, I only keep in touch with my family and few friends. What more, shit happens or has happened, and I’ve realized I really don’t give a fuck. Dear friends and significant others that I have once held so close to me have simply chosen another course in life. Others who were constant fixtures at certain stages in my life are nothing more but a bygone memory. Older Ted reflects, saying, “And that’s how it goes, kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young, as the years go by, you just lose touch. You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why, when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” That is arguably one of the most true-to-life realizations of mid to late twenty-something’s.

Thank you, How I Met Your Mother, for the entertaining life lessons. Can’t wait for the final sendoff this coming Monday.

Best,
Phoebe

Virtuous Woman

My paternal grandmother is the epitome of the virtuous woman depicted in Proverbs 31. When we were little, she used to hand-sew sweaters and scarves for each of her grandchildren; each masterpiece was sewn with such love, down to each little button and the very last detail. She’s a bit older now so she gave up on sewing, but she continues to knead dough from scratch to make man tou and use organic soy beans to make soy milk.

The accumulation of experience and knowledge has made her extremely wise; she can read people with a simple, stolen glance. Even though she is getting older, she never forgets a single birthday. She always stows away a $50 bill in a red envelope and secretly passes it on to us at church when our birthday rolls around.This summer, my grandmother will turn 90 years old. I truly believe that with each passing day she shows more love and concern to her 8 children and their respective spouses, 18 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

My grandmother always always always relentlessly puts her children’s needs before her own needs. She makes all these sacrifices and chooses to live a simple and frugal lifestyle, scrimping on herself yet sacrificing the few things she does have or own so others can live a better life. This is true love, and such a rarity in modern-day society. Everyday before I go to bed, I sincerely, anxiously, earnestly pray that God shows mercy on her, grants her a meaningful and fulfilling life, bestows joy and happiness in the form of family and friends upon her, and blesses her with a long and healthy life.

Here are the verses for Proverbs 31, the very verses that effortlessly describes my dear grandmother and all the traits the she so clearly embodies:

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

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Best,
Phoebe

Strip at Night

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On Sunday, November 17th, I accomplished a feat I didn’t ever deem possible. I ran my first half-marathon – the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was 13.1 agonizing yet exhilarating miles. I set quite a few personal records for myself: I ran the longest distance I’ve ever ran, as my longest distance was around 7.5 miles. I ran along The Strip in Vegas at night with all of the city lights and the drunken crowd cheering me on. I crossed the finish line injury-free. And I did it all in 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 56 seconds.

I’ve never been an athlete, much less a runner. But for some reason, I made a rash commitment nearly a year ago and paid my dues for this half-marathon in Vegas of all places, so I knew I had to follow through with it. We went out the night before, got a table at Light, danced in high heels, took Patron shots with strangers, danced to Alesso and cirque de soleil acrobats, ate ridiculously late night pho, and stayed up until 6 AM. Woke up the next morning, carbo-loaded at a buffet, changed into running gear, and off we went! Probably not the most advisable pre-marathon regimen, but I don’t regret a thing about it. There is something to be said about about being twenty-something and making irrational, spur-of-the-moment, YOLO decisions and being able to get away with it. 

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The half-marathon itself was surreal. Miles 1-6 were fairly doable, as adrenaline was high, the night was still young, and the distance was short. I kept a slow but steady pace and just kept slow jogging – never ran, rarely walked, just kept slow jogging. I realized that as soon as I walked, I was caught my breath but it felt harder on my joints and muscles. Miles 7-10 were painful; the desert weather really started to kick in, and the course started getting windy and dark in a residential neighborhood full of potholes. It was during this midpoint that I lost sight of the finish line (literally and figuratively). My knees started giving out on me, and I became acutely aware of every little bit of pain on my lower extremities. Then something miraculous happened around Mile 11-13.1. A stranger started running next to me and kept pace alongside me. We started talking, and I learned that he was a 67-year-old man with a pacemaker who was running his 4th half-marathon. He had depth perception problems due to nearsightedness, so it was difficult for him to see potholes, but he was still running faster than me. He kept glancing at his stopwatch, so I asked him how we were doing on time. He shared that he wanted to run under 3 hours. Fair enough. So for the last 3.1 miles, I ran with him. 

At one point, he walked to catch his breath. At more points, I walked in huge steps just to catch my breath and keep pace with him. I didn’t want to let him down. I cautioned him when he got too close to unexpected potholes and reflectors. He told me that I didn’t train or hydrate nearly enough (both stark realities that, by this time, I was acutely aware of and kicking myself for). He told me to read a book once in awhile, regardless of how busy I am with school. When the finish line was close enough in sight but still far enough from reality, he reassured me, “It’s in the bag.” So I felt it only fair to cheer him on when we were 15 minutes away from the finish line. “RUN!” “This is what you trained for.” These were the lines plastered on the asphalt that I read in coach-like fashion. Just before the finish line, I lost momentum and he maintained his pace. His drive and determination was palpable, even from behind. Even though he was 41 years my senior, he beat me by 4 seconds. We both finished under 3 hours.

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For a moment in time, I experienced my real-life version of Tuesdays with Morrie. An inspirational story of a 67-year-old man with a pacemaker who still outpaced me. At 26 years old, am I not supposed to be at my life’s prime? Sure, I beat him in age and ease of running, but he lapped me in time, in wisdom, and in drive. What excuse can I possibly give now, as all my lame excuses pale in comparison to what this man has so diligently trained for and achieved.  I tried to find him after the finish line, but wasn’t able to with the frenzied crowd.

After the race, I was determined to reach out to him and thank him for inspiring me and helping me finish under a time I didn’t even consider feasible. Thanks to Google, I located him on LinkedIn. We emailed back and forth and turns out, the feeling of gratitude was mutual. So what is the takeaway from all this? Be yourself, be strong, be awesome, be genuine – you never know who you are inspiring. Take advice – accept it with an open heart and learn from it. And lastly, reach out and give thanks – because life is too short to keep all the gratitude to yourself.

Years from now, what I will remember most from my first half-marathon was the man I met at the end of the race who coached me on running and life in less than three miles’ time. And that, my friends, was my Sunday with Bob.

Best,
Phoebe