It's been a great week (or couple of weeks) for trying new things, running and otherwise. This week was my birthday, as I'm pretty sure everyone who actually reads this knows, and I decided to celebrate with a few different new things.
First and probably least exciting of all, I decided to make homemade black bean burgers on Wednesday. Making homemade veggie burgers is NOT difficult, but over the last few years I've still been buying them at the store when I was in the mood for them. I'll tell you right now, those days are over. I used a recipe I found at Daily Garnish, a fantastic blog by a vegetarian chef/marathoner. I looked through other recipes on the site, and everything looks fantastic. If the black bean burgers were any indication, this chick is a genius.
They were SO DELICIOUS. Cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, cumin, onion powder... I can't even describe them. The recipe made 6, so I froze 4 and can't wait to eat them. In case you want to try them, here's the recipe: http://www.dailygarnish.com/2010/05/vegan-bean-burger-recipe.html/. I will say that I would check on them about 5-10 minutes before the posted cooking end time -- mine could have come out a little earlier. I had mine on a wheat bun with greens and guacamole, yummmm!
On Thursday (25th birthday), I had a pretty busy/normal schedule and wanted to do something special to make it seem a little more... special. So I went on my first-ever group run with the Bloomington Area Runners Association, or BARA (http://inrunco.com/bara/). I was pretty nervous, because honestly I still feel like a poser runner a lot of the time. These guys absolutely proved me wrong, though! They were sooo welcoming, and I actually found that I could comfortably run the two mile warmup and the three half mile hill repeats (so 3 mi total with the descents)-- which we did in a parking garage and which I shockingly had SO MUCH FUN with -- with two super nice women who have both run several half marathons. It was really the first time that I've felt like a real runner. I couldn't believe that I easily kept pace with these ladies who were far more experienced than I was, but I really did. The feeling of really belonging in this sport was the best birthday present I could have given myself. :) It was also fun that two of the other runners were also 1/19 birthday folks!
The last chunk of new stuff was definitely my favorite. Last night, Laura and I went to dinner and a bluegrass concert, and it was the most fun. We had dinner at Taste of India, which I've always had kind of a grudge against because they replaced the creperie that used to be there, but it was some of the best Indian food I have ever had in my life. We shared vegetable jhalfrezi, which was spicy and delicious, and masala dosa, which was INCREDIBLE. I hadn't ever had anything like it... it's a South Indian dish that's a thin pancake kind of thing wrapped around a mix of potatoes and chickpeas and served with a delicious coconut chutney and the best sauce of all time. For dessert, we tried both a fantastic mango ice cream and an odd paneer in sweet spiced milk, which reminded me of wet cheesecake and toed the line between delicious and just weird. It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time!
The concert was probably the icing on the cake of the whole week. There was a great local opening act, but the featured band (The Travelin' McCourys) defied description. Probably the best bluegrass I'll ever hear. It was so cool to watch them play off each other while they improvised... it was kind of like getting to sit in on a jam session with some of the best guys out there. I'll leave you with a youtube clip of them:
Such a great week! :)