Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lentil Burgers and Gypsy Weekends

I was incredibly lazy yesterday afternoon/evening, and I'm not sure why. I haven't been running all week (which is killing me), and while I have been working out, it hasn't been anything crazy, so I should have more energy than I did yesterday. I did two rounds of the circuit workout I created yesterday (I was actually super sore from the day before, and today I feel like my arms and legs weigh 10,000 pounds), got my oil changed, filled a prescription, came home and made lunch (leftover green rollup), and did some housecleaning. Then, I hit a wall. After my shower, I took a three hour nap, got up, made some delicious lentil burgers, and laid on the couch watching hours of Parenthood. I couldn't have been more content :D The lentil burgers were super delicious for being something that I just sputtered out of my lazy brain last night. They were also so easy! I divided my mixture into two, but the patties were so huge (and less than 100 calories each), that I probably could have divided them into a larger number of patties.

Lentil Burgers
3/4 cup of lentils (any color)
2 cups spinach
1/4 cup bread crumbs (any flavor)
salt and pepper (to taste)
dill (to taste)

Cover lentils with 3 cups of water and cook for 20 minutes (or until lentils are plump). Drain. Transfer cooked lentils to food processor. Add spinach, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and dill. Process until the mixture is blended well enough together (but not too pasty). Divide mixture in half and form patties. Cook in a frying pan (or bake in the oven) until the patty is firm and has a nice, crusty outside.

The patties might not look aesthetically pleasing, but they were yummy. If you've had a veggie burger before, you know that they usually have the consistency of meat. This burger, however, does not have a meaty texture and is softer than most burgers, but it's really yummy. I'm not sure you could cook it on a grill (unless you put it in a foil packet), but frying pans or baking in the oven should work fine! I served mine with sweet potato fries and a dill pickle (my favorite food).

While I was being incredibly lazy yesterday, I came to the realization that I have been spending my last few weekends as a gypsy. Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend at Kelly's in Sarasota. Last weekend I spent the weekend at Disney World, where I crashed on the couch bed (it was super cool, a couch that literally flipped over into a bed). Well, this weekend, I will be living in a gypsy fashion as well. I'm planning on spending a short amount of time in Key Largo at Island Dolphin Care because their therapy season is starting on Monday!

Island Dolphin Care is a non-profit organization that provides dolphin assisted therapy to children with special needs as well as for wounded veterans. It was founded by Pete and Deena Hoagland after traditional therapies did not work for their son, Joe, after he suffered a massive stroke during an open heart surgery at three years old. Joe bonded with a dolphin named Fonzie, regained use of the left side of his body, and the rest is history (For a more detailed story of this, please check out Deena's novel "Breaths That Count"). At this time last year, I was making my way down to this amazing facility and was lucky enough to meet some amazing people and spend the first month of the therapy season there. My time at IDC changed my view on the world. This is a facility where families can go and not feel like they are singled out; children are not different here, they are children and they get to play and have a great time. There is no judgment, no one is looking at these families and feeling sorry for them, and these families are just happy and enjoying life. The children and families that I worked with helped me appreciate life on a daily basis and provided me with non-stop smiles, laughter, and happiness. My mom came and watched a session on my last day and she was in tears, but I was worse. I cried from 10 am (my last session) until 3 pm when I left the facility. I had fallen in love with this place and never wanted to leave. When my relationship ended in September of this year, I was devastated. I took a trip to IDC to see the people who became my family, my favorite dolphins, and to get some healing; I left with such a feeling of peace and happiness and I felt like a whole new person. This facility is truly amazing. I remember how chaotic our first week was, however, because all of the interns were new and the therapists, Deena, Pete, and Joe were trying to accommodate families, train the interns, and do a million other things. I'm hoping that my presence will help make the transition into therapy season a little smoother. I'm crashing on Joe's couch (in a true gypsy fashion) and planning on soaking up lots of sunshine and smiles! I honestly have so much more to say about IDC, but words and a blog post can never do it justice: in order to fully experience the magic, you have to live it. Here are some memories from my time at Island Dolphin Care as an intern:

 Arm painted as a palm tree for a child's pillowcase! 

Gift from one of the kids I worked with :D So heartwarming

 Handshakes from two fabulous ladies

Kisses from Momma Squirt (left) and Lotus (right)

Make sure y'all are checking out the Pinterest board for the recipes that I post! If you want to be bombarded with pictures of baby Tashi (Momma Squirt's newest little man), palm trees, and happy tweets, follow me on Twitter! 

What are your plans for the weekend? Have you ever worked/volunteered at a place that changed your life?