Being ordinary is extraordinary

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Learning to take care of ourselves is the hardness thing, most of us have constructed a very busy life, so the notion of taking a day off or an hour to appreciate the little thing or the ordinary things seems impossible. We have been taught to reject the ordinary things and rejoice only in the extraordinary things, but often time we are blinded by this flawed perception of reality. Often time we miss our own good fortunate because happiness does not always comes in grant gestures or in the extraordinary things, but in ways we don’t even notice. Happiness comes in the ordinary things, the small things that we’ve been socialized to reject. Often time I am remind my happy moment as those ordinary moments such as talking to a friend, hanging out with a friend, taking a long bath, or enjoying a good practice. These moments seems so mundane, yet when I reflect upon them there is something about them that brings joy and a feeling of extraordinary. This is the beauty of happiness or good fortune they don’t come in big packages, but in the ordinary things that we overlooked in our daily life because we’ve have established a busy life that only gives attention to the extraordinary thing, but not ordinary thing.
The key is to be ever present and pay attention to the ordinary things 
“By taking care of ordinary things – our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair we are expressing appreciation. Friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything. This combination of mindfulness and appreciation connects us fully with reality and brings us joy” _ Pema Chodron
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Binding Bowl

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 Inspired by dinner at (Pure Kitchen), I had a chance today to create my first vegetarian bowl; inspire by their creation of the warrior bowl.  I am fascinated by meal bowls, there is something beautiful and eye catching about bowl meals, big, bountiful bowls are all the rage and it’s easy to see why. A simple bowl meal is a creation of beauty and art in itself that catches the attention of everyone. A bowl is arrangement go veggies, and proteins (grains, noodles, quinoa, chickpeas etc….). It is beautiful creation that is made of everything,a little of this and little of that.

This is the perfect meal before a hot yoga class (3 hours before class) or after a good hot yoga class, it is must needed reward that everyone should experience.

1-2 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 cup of white Quinoa
  • 1 cup of Almond
  • 2 tomato
  • 1 or 2 Avocado
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 3 cups of kale leaves

Dressing

  • 4 tb. s spoon of grounded yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. spoon of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp Mexican Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 cup of Sesame seeds
  • Lime
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of vinegar

Steps

  1. Quinoa: Add quinoa and water to a medium sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is translucent and tender.
  2. Drain off excess water and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add salt, olive oil and pepper toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate in an airtight contain until ready to use.
  5. My New Roots How to cook Quinoa
  6. Kale Omelette: In a bowl beat the two organic eggs and stir in the kale, salt and pepper.
  7. In a small skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat cook the eggs mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Flip with a spatula and continue cooking 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and connote cooking for 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness.
  8. Once done set aside or in a bowl
  9. Dressing: In a small bowl add vinegar, olive oil, turmeric pepper, salt, lime, cumin, chill powder black mustard seeds,  ground yellow mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Mix until the density of the dressing is thick. Place in airtight container and refrigerate it.
  10. Leafy greens/kale salad: Chop tomatos to desire shape, kale and avocado. Add olive oil and salt toss to coat.
  11. Assemble the Bowl: In  a simple white bowl or airtight container add in some quinoa, omelette egg, kale salad, avocado and almond. Garnish with black pepper, salt and a french spritz of lime juice.

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‘Nice’ Cream Breakfast

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I have been obsessed with this stuff lately! It has solved my breakfast dilemma. My breakfasts is consisted, I always have the same thing that can be little boring after a while. My daily breakfast consists of YOSO vegan yogurt (Unsweetened, Vanilla, and Strawberry) toped with chia seeds and other fruits (Banana, strawberry, kiwi etc..). But recently this has changed, after discovering Nice Cream, which I am completely obsessed. It tastes SO delicious and I can’t believe the main ingredient is a banana; with no additional diary, sweeteners or ingredients needed whatsoever. Also, it is a much healthier version of regular ice cream and you can create so many different varieties!, but also it can serve as either a breakfast or late night snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Airtight, freezer-safe container
  • Small food processor
  • Spatula

Steps 

  1. Start with ripe bananas: They should be sweet and soft.
  2. Peel and chop your bananas into small pieces, it does not matter what shape or size the pieces are in, as long as they are chopped into evenly sized and somewhat small pieces. Put in the bananas in an airtight container or a simple ziplock bag.
  3. Freeze the banana prices for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Ideally overnight.
  4. Blend the frozen banana pieces in a small food processor or powerful blender
  5. Process until bananas look crumbly, then scrap down the sides and keep processing. Repeat this process until banana starts to look like soft serve ice cream. Blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream (If adding any mix-ins, like peanut butter or chocolate chips, this is the moment to do it.)
  6.  You can eat it straight away or put it in a container and back in the freezer, to have the same consistency as regular ice-cream. I prefer eating it right away, particularly if I make it for breakfast
  7. Making a bigger batch: Yes, you can make a bigger batch with more than one banana! Just make sure your food processor is big enough (and powerful enough).

Topping Ideas and Mix-in

  • Coconut flakes
  • Strawberry
  • Kiwi
  • Walnut
  • Chia seeds
  • Spoonful of peanut butter
  • Nutes
  • cinnamon
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Handful of chocolate chips
  • A few almonds
  • Dollop of Nutella
  • Scoop of cookie butter
  • Tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon, or cardamom

Makes 2 servings, about 1 cup

 

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Allow yourself to be a beginner

 

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“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”

Wendy Flynn

As part of my degree requirement I am required to take one language course, and since French is the second dominant language in Canada everyone is expected to take French. So, given the natural inclination toward this language I thought I might as well take the French course as my language requirement. But also, given my previous exposer to French in high school I thought the course would be easy and I won’t be forced to do a lot of work. But few days into the course I came to realize that the course was not going to be as easy as I thought it would be, but also my previous exposer didn’t help me at all. So I decided to drop the course and take an Indigenous language course (Ojibway) instead. At fist I was hesitant at the idea of taking a course that I had no knowledge of. The fear of being a beginner creped in and I found myself questioning whether this was a good idea, and start planning my next step if I didn’t enjoy the course. But, few minutes into the course I found myself enjoying the class and delighted at the idea of learning another language that I was not familiar with or had any previous knowledge of.

This experience got me thinking about the fear that we all encounter whenever we take on something knew; whenever given the option of taking something new that we have no knowledge of we naturally try to avoid it as much as we can because we all strive for perfection and thus we expect our selves to be excellent at whatever we do. This was my situation when I took French instead of another language because I had previous experience with the language, and thus I knew I wouldn’t be a beginner in the course. While this tendency is natural I think its important to recognize that its is restrictive and in the long run prevents it from experience life itself. We live in a society that tells us to strive for perfection, but does not remain us that perfection comes with practice and that practice comes with challenging ourselves to be beginners at something that we aim to strive for. We forget that we all started out as beginners, no knew was born able to walk and speak perfectly, but through crawling and learning the alphabet.

Many times during my practice I try a different pose and find myself disappoint at my failure to master it right away, forgetting that even if you are good at something it doesn’t mean that you will be good at every aspect of the thing you are good at. There will always be certain elements of the practice that I will have to put my beginner shoes on and try, knowing that I will not be excellent at it right away.  I think this is what we need to remain ourselves on a daily basis that it is okay to be a beginner and that there is nothing wrong with being a beginner because no one starts out being excellent. So next time you want to try something knew don’t let the beginner symptoms discourage you because this symptoms is temporary, it will go away with practice. So go ahead and try that inversion twist because you will never be excellent at it if you don’t start out as a beginner now.

Lets celebrate the bliss and beauty of being a beginner at something new

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Stress Free Granola

 

IMG_7897.jpgSo I had a very stressful day today and release myself I’ve decided to bake which is something I refuse to do because what I bake never comes out as it supposed to. But today being a very stressful and wanting something sweet that’s vegan so I thought baking would be the right remedy to my stress. Baking being my least of my skills instead of the granola turning into a granola bar it turned into a granola cereal, which is fine because I can still eat it either for breakfast or late night snack.

I love granola bars and cereal because it has many nutritional values; that could help lower your cholesterol and prevent certain chronic diseases.

This is my revised version of Oh She Glow granola with little modification here and there to make it my own.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup of steel-coats
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dried cherries (organic)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pepitas seeds
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon coca powder
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cups 2 tablespoon raw honey
  • 5 sliced of raw ginger
  • 1/2 cups sliced coconut

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 250F. While the oven is heating up grease a large rectangular baking dish and line with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the gluten oats, steel-oat, coconut, almond, dried cherries, pepitas seeds, coca powder, cashews, and ginger. Thoroughly combine everything.
  3. Place the honey, and vanilla in a small bow and stir well. Then pour the honey and vanilla into the raw ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture onto baking pan. Press down until compacted and smooth out until even.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Place dish on a cooling rack for another 10 minutes then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and lift out. Then place it on cooling rack for another 10 minutes, and then another 10 more minutes in the freezer. Slice into bars when they are cool.

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What’s on My cooking Bookshelf?

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When I came first became vegetarian I had no idea what I was doing; my initial motive was driven by a desire of losing weight, but as the years went by it turned into a lifestyle driven by a concern of how unsustainable our current food system is. As well as general concern with the increase industrialization of our food system; this concern was further reinforced when I read Michael Pollan book The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A NaturalHistory of Four Meals, a fantastic book that provides a critically look into our food industry.

I an cannot say precisely when I turned vegetarian I might be now 11-12 years now, but it does not matter to me anymore because is sorta a life style to me now. But this is not to say when I started it was easy, it was hard particularly trying to find the perfect meal that’s easy for me to cook without depending on my mother.

This finally changed when I finally got bought my first vegan book; Easy Vegan: Simple Recipes for Healthy Eating by Vatcharin Bhumichitr, this is an excellent book for new vegan or vegetarian it provides more than 100 easy recipe that anyone can cook regardless of your cooking abilities. You can try the soup recipes that include Butternut Squash with Allspice and Toasted Pine Nuts; Zucchini, and Miso with Ramen Noodles and the classic Stir-fried Vegetables. For those who love salad, but not just simple plain salad you have the option of choosing from Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Artichokes; Black Rice Salad with Chile Greens; Herb, Red Onion, and Quinoa Salad with Preserved lemon; and Roasted Sweet Potato and Macadamia Nut Salad. This is just the few first chapters and there is more; this is a book i strongly recommend for new vegetarian/vegan or even those who just want a healthy lifestyle of eating healthy.

My second favourite cooking book is Pure Vegan: 70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals and Clean Living by Joseph Shuldinar, this is another fantastic cooking book that appeals to all regardless if you are vegan/vegetarian or meat eater. The cook consists of different sections that include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. My favourite part of the book that many books lacked which I think is just shear genius is late-nigh snacks sections that include chocolate truffles and herbal cocktails, for night owl life myself this the book for us.

After years of following her blogs I was extremely happy that she finally came with a book; The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon

“The Oh She Glows Cookbook features a treasure trove of more than 100 mouth-watering, wholesome recipes—from revamped classics that even meat-eaters will love, to fresh and inventive dishes –all packed with flavor. From rich and hearty entrées like the Crowd Pleasing Tex Mex Casserole and 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta to decadent desserts like the Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Hazelnut Crust and Angela’s famous Glo Bakery Glo Bars, there is something for everyone. Featuring over 100 stunning full-colour, full-page photographs shot by Angela herself, there is mouth-watering inspiration throughout! This cookbook also includes many allergy-friendly recipes–with over 90 gluten-free recipes–and many recipes free of soy, nuts, sugar, and grains too” The Book – Oh she Glows 

This is another one of my favorite book, while it does not have recipes it provides an excellent rule on eating which I think anyone can follow even if they are meat eaters; Food Rules: An Easters Manual by Michael Pollan. This is a book that I always go back to every now and then when I find that my eating habit is going down a bad road, and just remain myself some of the rules that Pollan provided. The book offers 64 rules on eating that anyone can follow, but it wouldn’t be a true Michael book if it didn’t provide a critical look into the American diet, which in this book he defines as the diseases of affluence which is the “western Diet” of processed meats and food products. The 64 rules are solutions to these diseases of affluences.

 

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Sunday Challenge Pose: Grasshopper

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Yesterday I had the most amazing practice or it felts like the most amazing practice in a while; I’ve recently decided to do all of my practice at home because I am currently unemployed and cannot effort going to a studio every day, so instead I have decided to take control of my practice by doing an hour of yoga everyday starting with simple asana flow sequences than doing challenging poses. Yesterday I decided to do a semi-challenging pose that I haven’t done  in a while and I was surprise by how easy the pose has become, all it took was just practice.

This is one of those really challenging but great arm balance that requires using pretty much every aspect of you body which I absolutely love because you are not just working on your legs, but also you arms, hips, upper body etc.. It require both open hips, deep twisting and upper body strength, which is something I absolutely lack. The key to this pose is finding a place where you are comfortable and build from there; but also making sure you warm up before you try the pose which will make a significant difference. I’d be lying if I said the first time you try it will turn out perfect, but remember with anything that you try new you only become an expert from practice, so if you fail the first time keep practicing.

Start in stating position with you hands in  pray pose; then shift your weight to either the right or left leg depending on which side you are doing it; for now let say right foot. So shift your weight to your right food, lift the leg off the floor and place the left ankle above the right knee.

Bend your right knee until you end up in a half chair, in this position you can adjust your place, find your place and where you are comfortable, make sure to flex your feet. From here bend the standing leg, keep twisting from the upper body and the palms of your hand down along side the long end  of your mat. Placing your hands should width apart, spread your fingers and root down from the thumb to the index. In this position you should pull your heat through your upper arm, gas forward and lean your weight toward your hands, while squeezing the outer right elbow into the side of waist. Once you’ve found your balance you can extend the right leg straight out to the side and you are in the full express of grasshopper.

I used Yoga Journal Kathryn Budig break of how to do this pose which is really helpful, so you can follow the link if you need another look into how to do it

Who Inspires you to practice?

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Who inspires you to practice?

I’d be lying if I said I wake up everyday fully motivated and ready to practice, despite my strong love for practicing and experiencing the self-discouvery overtime I do a challenging posture many times I find myself needing extra motivation, which is natural and it’s a part of being human, we can’t always have the perfect day or be completely motivated to do something that we love or enjoy.

So whenever I find myself in that state of mind where I need extra motivation I always visit some of my favourite yogis blog to get inspire. Here are my top Five  Yogis who always inspired me to get on the mat even if it’s for one 30 minutes to less.

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@yoga_girl

Spontaneous Trip

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So over the weekend I’ve decided to take a little trip over the border, and head to Montreal. I absolutely love Montreal and every time I go there I never want leave, the city is beautiful and far more cultural and artistic compared to Ottawa. it’s definitely a place I’d like to live in for while once I am done my undergrad. I went only for a whole day, which was not enough to actually enjoy the city, but I managed to squeeze in some shopping, lunch and museum time, which was the main reason I went. Given my obsession with Russian culture and history couldn’t make me miss the exhibition Fabulous Fabergé.
 “Its eggs are some of the greatest masterpieces ever created by Fabergé, who was, according to connoisseurs, the world’s most famous goldsmith. The museum’s major works include a small hardstone portrait of a sailor from the imperial yacht Zarnitsa, a very rare picture frame in the shape of a column with a portrait of Nicholas II and another in a star shape with a portrait of Grand Duchess Tatiana, second daughter of the last czar, which may well be the last sad trace of the murder of the entire imperial family at Yekaterinburg in 1918. None of these pieces has ever left American soil.” –  Dr Géza Von Habsburg, curatorial director of the London-based Fabergé Company, world-renowned expert and author of several books on Fabergé –  Montreal Museum of Fine art
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Boyhood

Boyhood-Ethan-Hawke-Ellar-Coltrane-1.jpgLet me start by saying that I am not a big moviegoer type of person. I find it some what wasteful to spend $12 dollars or even $20 when you add the snacks to go see a movie that you could watch for FREE in a year at the luxury of your own bedroom. But, lately given my free time, I’ve decided to challenge myself by overlooking this negative view on movies, and go to an actual opening night of a movie, and enjoy myself like most normal people.

So, on Friday I had the pleasure of watching Boyhood, which I have to admit has to be my favorite summer movie right now. The movie was …. I am not sure what’s the correct word to say, but I can’t stop thinking about it because it was just too good. Directed by Richard Linklater, the movie was filmed over a period of 12-years beginning when the lead actor, Ellar Coltrane was six years old and continuing until he was 18. One of my favorite actors Ethan Hawke plays his father, and Patricia Arquette plays his mother. Even though the plot of the movie is simple, which is essential a story of a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from first grade to 12th grade and ends with him going to college. Even though the plot is simple, I think it’s something that everyone could relate to in one way or another, whether you are the parent or the child, the universality of the movie makes it a timeless piece. But also, the thing that really intrigued my interest was the concept behind the production of the movie; shooting and writing a movie over the course of 12 years. As the audience you get a raw and an organic view on the director’s art; and watch it unfold. But also, you watch the actors grow right in front of your eyes, and you feel almost like you are a part of their growth because you watch them go through all the stages that most children go throw, be it the first kiss, drink, or heading to college. As Michael Clark of Gwinnettdailypost notes, “Boyhood is as close as anyone has ever gotten to “real life’ in feature film.” So If you have nothing to do this Friday, grab a friend and go watch this beautiful movie that truly embodies what real art is about. If that’s not enough to convince you, it received an average rating of 99% on Rottentomatoes and 100% on metacritic

“Linklater’s Latest Movie Is Magic” Huffingtonpost

“The project was a leap of faith in almost every sense — for starters, Coltrane (and his parents) was under no obligation to Linklater to return each year and continue the film. “You wouldn’t contract anyone to do something like this for 12 years, much less a 6-year-old,” Linklater says. “My hope was that his parents and him would see this as a positive thing in his life and a fun thing to be involved in every year.” Linklater’s other gamble was that the dreamy, artistic temperament he saw in Coltrane as a child would mature into the smart skepticism and quiet charisma we witness in young-adult Mason. That, in other words, the kid wouldn’t grow up into a dud.” New York Times 

“Boyhood” functions as a de facto time capsule — you could chart the cultural shifts of the past 12 years by the way Mason’s video-gaming preferences progress from Game Boy Advance to Wii or how the soundtrack moves from Coldplay’s earnest 2000 guitar ballad “Yellow” to Daft Punk’s earnest-in-a-different-way 2013 dance hit “Get Lucky” — but the film is not a documentary. “I do want people to think what they’re seeing on screen is real,” Linklater says. “But this is solely fiction. The whole thing is a narrative construct.New York Times 22boyhood_ss-slide-7UMX-superJumbo.jpg

My Top Five of the Week

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So I thought it’s about time I bring back my top five of the week. These are my top five of the week, which are things that interest me, or I feel like everyone should know about.

  1. Moby-Dick; or The Whale by Herman Melville. I am currently reading this book and every time I find myself lost in the adventure, and completely lost in the voyage and the sailors’ pursuit of Moby-Dick. “Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into small still subtler form” p. 268
  2. @cyogalab June yoga Challenge. I love summer challenges, and this is the perfect challenge for me. For the next 30 days I will be posting 30 asana from the 30 days challenge calendar offered by cyogalab.
  3. Orphan Black – I’ve recently started watching the show Orphan Black and I completely love it. I am really big on Sci-fi movies and TV shows and this show falls right in my ally. The thing love about the show is that it asks many questions particularly about moral and ethical consequences of human cloning and its effect on issue of personal identity. Also, it’s a great personification of the old debate about the importance of nature vs. nurture; whether one is far more influential than another. The show seems to point toward the nurture side.
  4. Frida Kahlo self-portrait with Thorn Necklace – I absolute love this photo of Frida; there is something about that’s beautiful and speaks for itself.
  5. Vegan Brownies – I had some time off today so I decided to try making brownies for the first time. This is absolutely my favorite thing to bake now. The recipe is based on food.com site version; with a minor change in the frosting; I went with a store bought frosting.

Ingredients

  •  2 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • ¾ Cup cocoa powder
  • ½ Cup vegetable oil
  • ½ Teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Almonds

Steps

  1. Cook water and 1/2 cup of the flour over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the consistency of a gluey paste.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  3. Mix sugar, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder and vegetable oil, and then add the flour-water mixture. Mix well.
  4. Add the remaining 1½ cups of flour, plus the baking powder and almonds.
  5. In a baking pan spread mixture
  6. Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Once done, let it cook down a little, than spread the frosting. Enjoy with a side of cold milk.

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It’s Monday, but it’s okay

 

It’s Monday! But it’s okay. I don’t know about everyone, but I like Mondays; I know a lot of people hate it because that’s when work starts or its time to go back to school, and among others things. Monday should be renamed FUN DAY!!. Regardless of your opinion about Monday here are some things to start the week with, which I think will make your week or at least the transition from weekend to Monday smoothly.

This video is probably one of my favourite music video right now, Sia is an amazing artist and this song and video personifies her amazing talent ability. Based on this song alone, O cannot wait for the album to come out.

This is a simple recipe that I think everyone and anyone can do; even a child. The best part about it is that it is completely vegan and it’s CHEAP!! Which is something I love. Also, it’s great for littler party or gathering; or especially on those days when you are not in the mood for making big lunch, or just lazy. It’s simple, cheap and healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 chopped onion
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Lime
  • ½ tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 small pita bread or Nachos

Steps

  1. In a jar or bowl place the chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic.
  2. Add the lime, olive oil, and pinch of salt.
  3. Add the 1/2 vinegar, close the jar. Place the salsa in a refrigerator and let it set there over night.
  4. Slice/cut the Pita break in the shape you desire to have. Let it bake in oven for 365 for 3-5 minutes till golden brown – (Bake on the same day as serving the salsa)
  5. Before serving stir everything and serve cold with side of bake pita bread. Bon a appetite

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