I have never been an athlete. As a child, I played one game of tag, got tagged “it” and promptly gave up. Yep, I’m that kid. I’m the kid who would rather sit in a double-period of literally any class than have to endure… gym. Pop quiz? Bring it on. As long as I don’t have to play sports.
I’m the one in the gym class who would strategically place myself in the spot I figured a ball would be least likely to head, and then- if it did head my direction- would George Michael Bluth the catch. 100% of the time.
Part of this stems from the fact that, despite my genetic predisposition towards an ‘athletic build,’ I rank higher than average on the clumsy scale. I am 100% mesomorph, so it infuriates my athletically-inclined friends that I somehow wouldn’t enjoy competitive sports. I put on muscle very, very easily. Too easily. How can I have calves this strong by sitting on my butt all day?! These are UFC calves, not lovely ladylike fairy calves!
I’m sure it doesn’t help that, due to my complete aversion to sports, my coordination didn’t really have an opportunity to improve in this arena.
It also doesn’t help that I can be something of a perfectionist. I will go far out of my way to avoid public failure. My logic always held that, if you’re going to fail publicly, you may as well look like you’re not trying at all- if I was visibly not trying at all, no one could judge me if I failed, right? Because I didn’t want to succeed anyway. Because I didn’t try.
This is not a good way to be, kids. Don’t do this.
It’s a valuable thing, the wisdom you accrue as you get older. I can look at errors in my own decision-making, thought patterns I have had for decades, and go- yeah, let’s not do that anymore. I can work towards change, internally.
Don’t be too cool to ‘try.’ Put yourself out there. If you stumble or fall, that’s okay- we all do. Trying is… cool. Trying means you care about something.
Deciding to Try wasn’t something that happened overnight. The seed was planted back in Grade 8 when I moved from my public elementary school, where I was shamelessly bullied, to an academically-focused private school. There are many phenomenal public schools out there, this is not the point of my story- the point was that, all of a sudden, I was immersed in an environment where Trying was cool. Kids weren’t bullied for being nerds or excelling. Being good at something was cool. For a sullen 13 year old who had pretty much closed her shell for good, you can imagine how wonderful this felt. At my new school, it didn’t matter what you liked or what you were good at, only that you took that thing and gave it your all. It was an emotional reawakening for young Finn. It was liberating, it felt as if a weight had been lifted. I no longer felt like an army of one, I was part of a community.
It still took time, however, time to ease into publicly Trying. By the end of high school, I was officially trying to succeed full time, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have moments where I fell back into my old ways. The important part was that I got back up, found what I liked, and kept going.
University, work, post-grad, work… it hasn’t been a solid decade of Trying, but I like to think I Try the majority of the time these days.
So, what does this have to do with these particularly tasty “quesadillas” I present to you today? Very little. Only that I’m frustrated because my pictures haven’t been the best as of late, and I haven’t been posting as much as I would like, but that I am here today and I am continuing to post- even if my pictures aren’t perfect. Because this recipe is perfect, and jeez- if I stop now, I won’t have a blog. I have to Try. And if my lovely readers have to see me miss the mark, visually-speaking, every once in a while, well… that’s okay. I would rather continue to post and share my delicious discoveries with you than refuse to post anything because it doesn’t meet with my ever higher aesthetic standards.
Juggling a 50 hour work week, adult responsibilities, a food blog and a body that refuses to just shut up and behave at the moment… it’s a tricky one. But, I’m here!
So, let’s get to the meat of the recipe, shall we? Or… the beans, I guess.
When you get home from work at 8:30pm and you’re chilled to the bone from that ‘damp cold’ the Pacific Northwest is so famous for, getting something ready for dinner can seem like an insurmountable task. You’re definitely hungry, but you’re not in the mood to cook anything for more than 10 minutes. Quesadilla! Perfect. Cheese, tortilla, warm it up, sit in front of the TV and enjoy.
Then, your mother’s voice in your head, “Carbs and cheese are not a balanced meal. If you had cereal for breakfast this morning and a quesadilla for dinner, that means you’re not even close to getting your 7-8 servings of fruits/veggies a day. No wonder you feel like garbage! Eat a big salad.”
Dammit, mum! I mean, she’s got a point. My body probably is rebelling against my desk-jockey lifestyle.
The solution: high fiber black beans, and nutrient-rich sun-dried tomatoes. Skip the cup of melted cheddar in lieu of a sprinkling of salty and creamy feta. Top with a mix of high-protein Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic and lemon. And suddenly, we’ve got a pretty balanced meal and I’ve managed to work at least a handful of veggies into a quick, easy and really delicious dinner. Something both mum and I can be happy about.
I still might not be an athlete, but I don’t mind admitting that I can work some serious wizardry in the kitchen. Not bad for an extra 5 minutes of Trying 😉
|Greek Quesadillas with Lemony Tzatziki|| |
- 2 large flour tortillas
- 1 cup black beans or chickpeas
- 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 500 g plain Greek yogurt
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, grated
- 1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large lemon, juice and zest*
- ¼ tsp salt
- Using a potato masher or fork, mash together the black beans, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano until combined. We want a coarse mash, just enough to make a paste but keeping some texture.
- Spread bean mixture over one tortilla. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Place second tortilla overtop to create a 'sandwich' and press gently so that the two tortillas stick together.
- Peel the cucumber, half it lengthwise, then take a small spoon to scoop out the seeds from each half. This will reduce the water content of your tzatziki and keep it creamy, not runny. Grate both halves of the cucumber and, with your hands, squeeze out the excess water from the cuke. Place grated cucumber in a medium mixing bowl with the rest of the tzatziki ingredients and mix well to combine. Set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat- no oil needed for this. Gently place the tortilla in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Using a large spatula, gently flip the tortilla over and brown the other side, cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes. Slide the browned tortilla from the pan, slice into triangles and serve with tzatziki. Extra tzatziki can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and used as a dip for more quesadillas, crackers, or veggies.