Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Passing the Baton: Summer Squash and Mushroom Mini-Pies

I haven't really been running very much lately.  It's impossible to do on the weekdays, with N. to consider, and it's even a challenge on the weekends, given all of the things we have to fit into those 48 hours.  So it should come as no surprise that I'm pudgier where I wasn't before, and that I get more winded than I used to, and that I'm just generally not in as awesome shape as I was before N. was born.
I got a chance to go this past weekend for a quick 5K loop, and was dragging my sorry butt past the bagel store when I spotted her.  Fiftysomething, tanned (but not withered), muscular (but not sinewy), rubber-band like, platinum blonde in skin-tight black running clothes, adjusting her water and goo belt.  She looked at me, and there was a moment of recognition: perhaps she saw in me my former skinnier more energetic self; perhaps she saw herself from a previous life.  Whatever it was, she grinned as I drew nearer, and said, "lookin' good, sister!"

I shook my head and made a "ugh" face, but she held out her hand for me to slap as I passed her by.  I hesitated for a split second, and then extended mine.  SLAP.  "There you go," she shouted after me.  "That's your energy now, girl.  Remember that when you're running out of steam at the end."

I thought about a lot of things during the rest of that run.  I thought about the times when I've said something like that to someone else I thought might need a little inspiration.  I thought about what I must have looked like to elicit such a response from her.  But most of all, I found myself thinking about that hand slap, and the energy that she claimed got transferred as we passed each other.

The thing is, I could swear I ran a little faster.  My hand tingled, and if I let it, my arm tingled.  If I really thought about it, my toes tingled.

Life is like the love-child of a relay race and a marathon.  In some ways, we run the distance alone.  But in others, the passing of the baton, the slapping of the hand as we pass by our fellow runners, especially the ones who are outpacing us, already on the way back, can make all the difference.  How many times have we extended our own hands to pass that energy on to another?  How many times has someone offered that hand to us?  And how many times have we accepted it, despite the fact that it means looking in the face of success, and maybe feeling a little bit like we haven't reached the place where we want to be just yet?

These are good for days when you're on the run.  And they're also good to drop into the hand of someone you love as they pass by on a parallel track.

Summer Squash and Mushroom Mini-Pie

2 c. flour (I use at least half whole wheat pastry, sometimes all whole wheat pastry)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. oil (canola or olive)
1/4 to 1/2 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour and salt. In a glass measuring cup, combine oil and water. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and fork together until the dough starts to form a ball. It should be smooth; if it's too sticky, add more flour until it bounces back just a bit when you poke it. Divide into two balls.

1 T. olive oil
5 oz. mushrooms
1 medium to large zucchini
1/2 onion
1-2 t. oregano or rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 egg, beaten

Chop up veggies into large bite sized pieces. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the zucchini and onion until the onion is starting to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and herbs and salt/pepper and saute until almost dry.

Let cool, and add the greek yogurt. Mix well.

Roll out the first ball of dough and cut small pieces of your crust (about 5 inches in diameter, maybe) and press into a small silicone muffin tin (you can use regular muffin tins but I loved how they just popped right out of mine). Fill with filling. Roll out the second ball and use a drinking glass to cut circles for the tops of the pies. Crimp the edges shut.

Brush with egg and bake for about 30 minutes.
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  1. I am going to try that recipe asap. I liked your post. Something to think about.

  2. Love this post! You've inspired me to put out my metaphoric hand for a metaphoric slap more regularly. The truth is that we get more out of a stranger's simple encouragement than that person could have guessed. I want to give encouragement as often as I get it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ahhh, love this! Mannny years ago I did one of the big fundraiser, long-distance walk events for breast cancer advocacy/research, and the majority of participants in this event were women. When those miles felt looong, and especially at the end of the day, it was so inspiring to see and hear women (some who had survived cancer, others who had survived the loss of a loved one with cancer) encourage me along. Like, who was I to be deserving of THEIR encouragement??? Anyway it was so very humbling and powerful.

    I wish so much that all women could give that hand-slap to each other in our daily lives. It could mean so much.

    I have been craving things wrapped in pastry lately. Just found this recipe recently for salmon en croute and I have been hankering to try it. Perhaps this one would be a better one to try! :)

  4. I loved this post so much. What a great experience, what a positive message. I saw Stumbling Grace this morning, and just being around her and her adorable baby passed along some sort of positive energy, by osmosis or something. I felt lighter the rest of the day.

  5. Running is life and my days are in sprints. What a wonderful ride indeed!!!

  6. What a great story! Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact.


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