Saturday, November 14, 2009

Challenge Update and My Panama List

I'm bravely trooping on with my challenge even though there really is no chance I'll finish it by the due date of November 16. What the hell, why not? I'm running anyway... I've put in some really good runs over the past few days and my body feels pretty darn good. I have two more days before departing for Panama and I hope to have two more good runs.

Here's where I stand at the moment:

I have compiled a list of things I want to do and see during my two weeks in Panama and I'd like to share them:
1. Get married. Yes, this is the purpose of the trip. My fiance and I are joining 29 of our friends and family at a beautiful beach resort in Panama where our wedding will occur.
2. Spend a day exploring and interacting in a small town away from the resort. I like all-inclusive resorts, yet I like to see the 'real' side of the countries I'm visiting.
3. See a sloth. My favourite of all jungle animals. Hopefully, I will see at least one. We will be spending our last few days at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort where we will supposedly see many different jungle animals in their natural habitat.
4. See a shark. This, I'm told, is not an easy thing to do near the resort, but I intend to find the majestic tiburon.
5. See a monkey. Come on, everyone wants to see a monkey. Don't they?
6. Collect all denominations of Panama coins. It's just a thing I do when I go to a different country. I like to collect coins. Yes - it's geeky.
7. See a local sports event live. I don't care if it's a local little league baseball game or soccer game.
8. Swim under a waterfall. Why? Why not?
9. Keep a daily journal. No-brainer.
10. Take a boat ride. Whether it's on the Pacific or on the Canal, I want to take a boat ride that is not necessarily a tourist cruise.
11. See a sunrise. Everyone can see a sunset, but most people, even if they see it, don't very often truly appreciate a sunrise.
12. See a sunset. Because I don't want the sunset to feel too inferior to the sunrise.
13. Stay up all night until dawn. Preferably on the beach. Why? Haven't done it in a long, long time and I just think it would be fun.
14. Learn something new. This is always on my list.
15. Teach something. Hopefully, I am of some use to someone in Panama.
16. Give something to someone less fortunate. This is something I've personally debated for awhile. Just because someone looks less fortunate, doesn't mean they are. Just because someone doesn't live in a big house and doesn't watch 8 hours of television each day on their $2000 big screen, doesn't make them poor.
17. Find Pitahaya growing wild. Dragon Fruit should be available nearby. I want to see the fruit I've fallen in love with in its natural habitat.
18. Play blackjack at a table at the resort's casino. I love to play blackjack online, but have never had the guts to play at a table.
19. Converse with a local in Spanish and have them understand what I'm saying. My spanish reading is top-notch but when it comes to conversing face to face, I just don't have the means to practise it.
20. Make someone else feel good about themselves. This is something I should be trying to do on a regular daily basis, but it's a habit I really want to start developing while on vacation.
21. Pictures, pictures, pictures. I always take pictures of the things I'm supposed to take pictures of but never the things that really interest me. Things like homes, back alleys, signs, insides of stores and restaurants - things that can't be found in 2 seconds by searching Google.
22. Spend quality time with each of our guests. I want to make every single person that has come down for our wedding to feel that they are truly an important part of our lives.
23. Visit a local farm. Obviously, a farm that doesn't specialize in livestock. I want to see how my tropical fruit is grown and even help out for a while if possible.
24. Run the beach everyday. More to the point - run every day. The beach in front of the resort is barricaded on one end by a rocky outcrop and the other by a river. The distance between the two, out and back is a perfect 5km, according to Google Earth. I also want to run the small dirt farm roads that weave throughout the countryside. The heat might be a factor but I'll just hyper-hydrate everyday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe and some...

I'm sitting on the couch, contemplating a run attempt tonight. My left hamstring is back in rough shape - a fallout from my roofing experience. I might take another night off which will only leave me with 5 days to complete my challenge. Three of those days are also hockey nights. I'll do my best and if I don't achieve it before the 16th, I am going to reset the challenge and start from the beginning in December when we get back from Panama.

Just a note for anyone planning to fly Air Transat and who wants to book the Vegan meal. I previously posted about how to go about booking the meal. Tonight, I went through the process for real. When you call the number given, don't screw around with the touch-tone menu - press 0 right away and speak to an agent. The menu is just for information and does not actually lead you to an agent.

For now...

An old friend of mine from high school who is now living in the UK sent me this recipe. I thought I'd pass it on.

Sticky Toffee Pudding – its vegan believe it or not!!!

Serves six

250 ml soya milk
100 ml water
200g chopped dates (you could use raisins if you prefer)
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
115g soya spread /vegan margarine
115g soft brown sugar
200g white self raising flour
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toffee sauce

100g of golden syrup
200g soft brown sugar
150g soya spread / vegan margarine
100ml soya cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 190 C/ gas mark 5
2. line a 20cm x 20cm cake tin with baking parchment
3. chop the dates in half, put them into a small saucepan with the soya milk and water and simmer until the dates are soft
4. Take off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda – this will froth as you add it to the date mixture. Give it a stir and leave it to cool on a rack.
5. In a bowl beat together the margarine and the sugar until creamy then add the date mixture to the bowl and give it a good stir.
6. Sieve the flour with the spices. Fold it into the sponge mixture and when well mixed spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
7. Bake it for about 30 minutes.

To make the toffee sauce:
8. Melt the syrup, margarine and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes without stirring (be careful it may spit and it’s very hot!)
9. Leave it to cool slightly and then stir in the soya cream.

To serve:

10. Cut the cake into six pieces and place into your service dish. Prick the top all over with a fork and pour half of the toffee sauce which will be absorbed by the cake.
11. Serve the rest of the sauce with the pudding.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vegan Travel

I've been doing a little research tonight into travelling as a vegan, in preparation for my trip to Panama next Monday. I came across a pretty cool video from a dude named Robert Cheeke.

How to Travel as a Vegan -- powered by

I also came across a great set of vegan travel links at this website.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back on Track / Jesse Davidson

With my roofing fiasco behind me, I was able to finally get a run in today. I only had to wear shorts, no toque and no gloves! Finally, we're having some decent weather in Southern Ontario. This wasn't the case all week, when we were pelted with snow, ice, rain, high winds... - all the things that make trying to walk around on a roof quite fun. After waking up Wednesday, pretty much my whole left side was useless from the waist down. I even missed hockey Wednesday night - this, I assure, is not a regular occurance.

Anywho, I was able to put in close to 10km today and add a bit of red to my map of Orangeville in my quest to complete my latest personal challenge. Normally, I run in the evening or hit the trails on weekends. Today, I was reminded just how bustling a little town Orangeville is. I was also reminded about how that drives me up the wall. Crossing streets becomes a nightmare on the weekends here. I did, however, get through my run without getting hit or hitting anyone else. Here's the latest updated picture:

I would also like to bring to light the unfortunate passing of Jesse Davidson at the age of 29. Jesse was from my hometown of London, Ontario and was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 6. His father, John, a local newscaster in London, refused to do nothing about his son's rare disease. in 1995, the two embarked on a 3000+ km trek on foot across our province of Ontario, with John pushing Jesse in his wheelchair. The two brought awareness to this rare disease and raised much needed funding for research. From this, the Jesse's Journey Foundation was formed. The website can be found here .

John later walked across the country of Canada to raise even more awareness. Some countries qualify their heroes by the number of lives they've taken in combat. In Canada, I like to think that our heroes are measured by the number of lives they've saved or have made better. In the tradition of Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, among others, Jesse Davidson will always be remembered as a True Canadian Hero.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Product Alert: Patty King Jamaican Veg Patties(and other updates)

I was so disappointed a year ago when I went Vegan and went to buy some Vegetable Jamaican patties at my local grocer - the ones I'd always grimaced at before. 'No Frills', the only carrier of the product in my town, had pulled them off the shelves because of slow sales.

The product is made by Patty King International in Concord, Ontario, Canada and may only be available to the Canadian market.

To my delight, last week, the store started selling the product again. I bought a few boxes and even ate a few of the patties. Then I looked at the ingredients! The pastry is made with beef suet. Why would a company market a product that is meat free and obviously targeted at vegans and vegetarians and then use a meat product that is virtually unnoticeable to the consumer?

Unfortunately, the company does not have a website. I am trying to find an e-mail address to contact them and at least find out if this is something that can be altered. But, for now, all you vegans out there (in Canada, anyway) know that these Jamaican patties are not Vegan!

Roofers - A New Found Respect!

I might be quite physically fit, but after one day of helping do my roof, I am hurting from head to toe. The snow showers didn't help much, but it was a workout I didn't plan for. I have no idea how they do it in the middle of summer when the heat is sweltering!

One Year Anniversary!

It's been a whole year today since I turned Vegan. I'm just going to go about my business and do what I've been doing for the past 365 days. I'm not big on cryptic updates on Facebook, by I might put one up today and see if anyone knows what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Global Warming Ad / Pet Rescue Fund-Raising / Challenge Update

First off, the following video is making the news from the UK. People are complaining that it is too scary. Yes, reality is scary. Unfortunately, they address the cause of global warming as using too much to heat our homes and driving our cars too much. When will the issue of animal farming being one of the major causes of global warming ever be accepted?

And next...

I have heard from a reliable source that this website is legit. Give them your clicks and they will provide food for animals in shelters. According to their website, response has been very positive.

And lastly...

A little more red on my Orangeville map:

Here are the previous updates to my running challenge:

October 31
October 29
October 27
Initial Challenge Post