Only a Week Left? Final Ramadan Reports

Checking in to you live from the last week of #ramadiet2k17 and y’all, it’s hot! We were in the midst of a heat wave last week, which promptly followed a cold snap that I was not at all complaining about. But here we are, nearly at the home stretch. It flies by every year. Let’s finish strong!

I’m going to tell you about what I’ve been making and eating. Because of this diet where I’m avoiding simple carbs and added sugar, I get to be creative not only about my savory meals but how I stay content with some alternatively sweet treats.

One of my favorite ways to break my fast (after a date or 3) is with a smoothie. Bananas, peanut butter, frozen blueberries, almond milk. It’s easy and full of good stuff, and sometimes I even freeze it for a frozen dessert.

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A great breakfast hack I’ve been doing all month is making French toast with Ezekiel bread. This idea also comes from my friend Rebecca, healthy eating extraordinaire. I soak slices of bread in almond milk, egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon. I don’t like almond milk on its own, but when it’s being used for something like a smoothie or French toast, you can’t taste it anyway. And when I say soak, I mean it – the bread isn’t ready until you can squeeze it in the center and batter squishes out. This will take around 30 seconds. I make the batter in a shallow tupperware the night before to save time in the morning. I put peanut butter, maple syrup, and sometimes fruit on this French toast, and satisfies my sweet tooth just fine. Yes, I’ve allowed myself maple syrup as my one sweetener for the month. Frankly, this French toast kinda needs it.

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I always make sure to keep oatmeal in my suhoor (pre-dawn meal) rotation to regulate my cholesterol and stay fuller longer in the morning. Don’t be discouraged by oatmeal. There’s so much you can do with it. Add fresh fruit, honey, toasted nuts, coconut oil, nut butter, dates and other dried fruit…the possibilities are endless. Think of it as a vessel for things you like instead of just morning sludge. Get creative – I know you can do it, I promise.

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As we approach the final days of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get focused on their worship with prayer, reading the Qur’an and more. In the last ten nights is Laylatul Qadr, or the Night of Power. This is the night that the Qur’an was brought down for mankind. It is believed that this night has the strength of 1,000 months, so any good deeds (prayer and charity, for example) done on this night are considered as if they were done for 1,000 months. As you can imagine, it’s a particularly spiritual time for Muslims, and many spend longer hours at the mosque at night praying. In a week will be Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, full of food and festivities. Check back in soon to see how we throw down in NYC and some final reflections. Stay cool, friends!

Ithaca Dining Installment #4: The Northstar Pub

     A lot of Sundays ago, I went to Brunch with Emme at The Northstar in Ithaca, off Tioga Street. It’s deceptively quaint during the day for a pub with a questionable curb appeal.

     Their menus are paper because they change so often, though they could keep it in a menu holder of some sort. Anyway.
     Due to my sweet tooth, I had issues once again choosing between a substantial egg breakfast or French toast. You can probably guess what I went for…

      It was really good, though! French toast soaked overnight, with peaches and what I think was caramel sauce (goes to show what happens when you wait to write a blog post). I probably could have eaten one more piece. I tried really hard to like eat the soy meat patties…I really tried! But to no avail…the combination of starchy texture and taste was pretty unfortunate. Then again, I’m good at eating meat.
     Emme got some form of egg with home fries and sausage…also good!

Done & done (ignore the cardboard left)

     There was probably a two-minute wait for our outside table at 11:30 on a Sunday, and the food was not too expensive for an Ithaca brunch place. I might be back, Northstar.

Some Très Belle Brunch

     Yeah yeah, I’m back from limbo, but mostly school. But before we get into the summer, let me squeeze in one more post from spring break about Bella’s and their breakfast/brunch/lunch menus.
     Bella’s breakfast menu ranges from shrimp & grits to a smoked salmon omelet. The brunch menu changes for every weekend to stuff their French toast differently or switch up the pancakes, and nothing on the lunch menu will leave you half empty.

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burger with tabouli

Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Wrap sans wrap

French toast with fancy liquored-up, caramely maple syrup, coconuts and
bananas waiting at the bottom

If you’re ever in the New Haven area and feeling swanky, stop by Bella’s for a meal or three.