The Pudla! post

What in the world is pudla? In four words: Savory chickpea flour pancake.  Pudla hails from India.

I stumbled across pudla in one of those internet rabbit holes.  It started as a search for recipes for mixed-nut nut butters, which led me to the Bonzai Aphrodite website/blog.  It felt like the author was a kindred spirit (complete with some postpartum mental health issues), so I clicked around the site, which led me to her recently opened wine bar where they serve pudla.

One look at the recipe, and I knew I had to try it — a simple recipe that comes together in a few minutes, featuring high protein chickpea flour plus fresh veggies — what’s not to love?

We have chickpea flour on hand for making farinata, which shares some characteristics with pudla.  One of the advantages of pudla is that you make it on the stove top, versus needing to use the oven for farinata (more of a factor in the summer heat than in the fall (yay, fall!) and winter).

I used Kittee’s recipe (linked above).


My pudla notes/variations:

  • While the recipe says, “one large filling pancake,” 1/2 cup of chickpea flour is two servings (see nutrition table below).  For my first attempt, I cut the recipe in half and used 1/4 cup (one serving) of chickpea flour.
  • How much water?  The recipe says, “whisk in just enough water to make a thick, pourable batter.”  In my experience, you want a little less water than chickpea flour, so for a half-cup of chickpea flour, start with a little less than 1/2 cup water.
  • Vegetables: I used the full amount of veggies (1 cup) for my half-recipe.  My initial pudla featured red peppers, onion, and cabbage, all from our garden.  In a subsequent version, I swapped Hakuri turnips (a mild, sweet turnip that is tasty eaten raw) for the cabbage.  I’m looking forward to trying a mushroom version (I will probably sauté them first).
  • Salt: I used a scant 1/8 tsp for my half recipe.
  • Oil: I used a mix of peanut and [refined] coconut oils in place of olive oil, which isn’t the best for higher heat cooking.
  • Pan: The recipe doesn’t specify a type of pan.  I was a little bit nervous about the stick risk of using cast iron, but I went for it (using Cat’s tips for making scrambled eggs in cast iron, which I need to share), and it worked fine.
  • To serve: I enjoyed my pudla with some sriracha on top.  I didn’t have avocado, but topping something with avocado never hurts!



After making pudla for myself on Friday, I was eager to share the discovery, so I whipped up another batch for our lunch on Sunday.  G was a huge fan; he polished his off and asked for seconds, but then admitted he was full.  I offered to make more for his afternoon snack, and he happily agreed.  I do so love having a child who is willing to try new foods!

Chickpea flour facts and nutrition

I buy my chickpea flour (also known as besan) at a global food store.  Bob’s Red Mill also makes it, and that may be more generally available (though also more expensive) at regular grocery stores.

Chickpea flour is ground simply finely ground chickpeas, though the nutrient content is a bit different than whole chickpeas.


The big difference is in the fiber.  I don’t know if some of the more fibrous portions are sifted out and removed when making the flour, or what, but we somehow lose a hefty 4g of fiber going from the beans to the flour (though the nutrition facts label on the Bob’s Red Mill chickpea flour reports 5g of fiber in 1/4 cup of flour, which is more consistent with the whole bean).  The whole bean also contains a bit more iron compared to the flour.

So that’s pudla!  It will definitely go on our “make regularly” list!

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Paleo fail

For my Application of Nutrition Concepts course, we were divided into groups and told to pick a weight-loss book to review.  I’ve been curious about Paleo diets, and my group agreed on this topic.  I conducted a good, old-fashioned Google search for Paleo diet books, and one of the first things that came up was Eat to Live by Joel Furhman.

Knowing nothing about the book, but seeing that copies were readily available at both the city and county libraries, I suggested the book to my group.  Everyone agreed, and we submitted the title to the instructor.  And then I started reading the book.

Dr. Fuhrman’s weight loss plan is definitely NOT Paleo.  Oops!  Eat to Live advocates a plant-based diet, which on the surface seems the exact opposite of Paleo.  However, some of the components for sound, safe weight loss are shared.  Dr. Fuhrman’s plan focuses on increasing nutrient density in the diet.  Adherents should avoid processed foods and cut out refined carbohydrates (pp. 36-39); this is an aspect that the diet shares with Paleo.

Instead of learning more about Paleo, I ended up with a book that tracks rather closely with how I already eat, except that my diet is much higher in fat than what Dr. Fuhrman advocates, which makes sense given that I am trying to maintain weight (in a body that, unlike most people’s, doesn’t hoard pounds).

Eventually, I’ll get around to reading more about Paleo diets.  I’m also fascinated by ketogenic diets, since they claim many of the same health and weight-loss benefits as a very low-fat, plant-based diet (as seen in Furhman’s book), but are at the extreme opposite end of the fat-consumption spectrum.


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Today was my 31st consecutive day on the bike.  The “official” #30daysofbiking takes place every April.  I’m not sure what year it started, but by the time I heard about it, I no longer had a “regular” bike commute, and I’ve never participated in the April challenge.  Then, a few weeks ago, I happened across a tweet about #30daysofbiking in September.  By that point, I already had 14 or 15 consecutive days on the bike (in August), which put me halfway to the 30-day point.  I decided to make thirty happen.

Over the past thirty days, I’ve made my thrice weekly commutes to school, weekly trip to Bumbershoot Aerial Arts, numerous shorter errand runs (e.g., grocery store, library), and a few weekend family rides.

I would love to say that I also had 30 consecutive car-free days, but that was not the case.  I may have come close if not for coming down with a cold a few weeks ago.  While I did get on a bike on the days I wasn’t feeling so hot (motivated by not missing a day), I kept the distances quite short and made a couple of trips by car that I would have otherwise made by bike, due to low energy levels.

Of course, the actual challenge is to bike all thirty days in September, which means I’m 17 days in.  I’m not sure I’ll actually finish out September, though the competitor and perfectionist in me is certainly tempted.


As I was riding home from class on Monday night, I realized that I’ve been a bike commuter without a commute for almost SIX years now.  It feels really good to get my bike groove back!

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Bicycle babble: Updates on our newest additions

We’ve added two (or one-and-half?) new bikes to our fleet since May, but I haven’t talked about them much here.  Time to change that!

Meet Midnight

The Kona Dew Deluxe that I purchased in early May is my primary bike these days.  While I was excited to have finally made a decision, I was concerned about ride comfort with the aluminum frame on bumpy city roads.  I also experienced some knee pain after my first few rides (despite having the bike fitted) that brought a few twinges of buyer’s regret.

I’m happy to report that the ride quality is just fine, and my knee pain seems to have resolved (maybe I just needed to get used to the position?).  The nine gears (only a single ring in front) work well for most of the riding I’m doing, though I’m not sure I could get it up a steep hill pulling a loaded trailer without a lower gear.

While it seems like a nice addition to a commuter bike, I don’t use the front basket all that much.  Putting any kind of weight up there changes the bike’s handling significantly (trickier than riding with G in front of me in the IBert), so I usually leave it empty, or reserve it for bulky but light items, like our picnic quilt.


I wasn’t really set on naming this bike, but “Midnight” popped into my head a few weeks ago, and it stuck.  I’ve been spending a lot of time on Midnight lately (#30daysofbiking post coming up next week), and I’m very glad that I’m not riding BUB for my 15-mile RT school commutes.

Meet Apple Jack

We’ve been enjoying our Burley Piccolo [trail-a-bike], recently christened “Apple Jack” by Gabriel, since mid-May.  We started out with short jaunts, but by the end of May, Matthew and Gabriel completed the 4-mile ride to G’s preschool.


It is now our child bicycle conveyance of choice for shorter trips.  On longer trips where we really want to move and plan on spending significant time on larger roads, we still turn to Big Blue, though we’ll eventually use Apple Jack for these trips too.

Matthew and I each have a bike with the Burley Moose rack (propriety rear rack to which the Piccolo attaches) mounted.  I use Midnight and Matthew uses his road bike.  Installing the racks was no easy task; it left us wishing we’d left it to the bike shop, where the installation probably would have been included with our purchase.  Live and learn, I guess!

I’ll admit to being a little bit wobbly when riding with G on Apple Jack.  I’m fine at normal cruising speeds with both hands on the handlebars, but slower speeds and signaling turns is a little shaky.  The stable handling is where Big Blue really shines.  (A tandem with a kid-sized stoker set-up would also work well.)


First post-broken leg ride

While he’s still pretty hesitant about riding independently, Gabriel loves pedaling along on Apple Jack and being part of the “bike team.”  I’m looking at this picture and realizing that we still need to get a fender for Apple Jack!

Big Blue’s new role

Between me finally getting a new bike (I had been using Big Blue for many solo trips, just because it’s a much nicer bike than BUB) and the addition of the trail-a-bike, Big Blue didn’t see much action for a couple of months.

We took her into the shop for a tune-up at the end of May, and then didn’t use her until July 4th.  A week or two after that, while installing our new Hooptie, I noticed an oily puddle under the rear tire that lined up with the internal hub.


Hooptie installed, but going nowhere due to the hub issue

Instead of hauling the entire bike into the shop, I decided to remove the rear wheel, which turned out to be no simple feat with the internal hub, but with the help of YouTube videos, Matthew prevailed.  The diagnosis was a missing o-ring (that was not replaced when the hub was serviced in May).

With some new transmission oil and the o-ring back in place, we were in business, just in time for my family’s visit, when I was planning for all of us (5 adults and 2 kids — we had just enough bikes for everyone) to ride together.  Alas, that ride would have taken place the morning after G broke his leg, so it never happened.

It was nice that the longtail was fully functional, because Gabriel was in no condition to be riding a bike for a few weeks there, so we reverted to Big Blue while Apple Jack collected dust.  Getting him onto the bike was easier than getting him into the car.


I removed half of the Hooptie and put his Yepp seat back on for the time being (the Yepp seat fits works with the full Hooptie, but this made it easier for me to lift him into place when his leg was still hurting a lot.

I think G is now at a point where we could ditch the Yepp seat and just let him ride on the rear deck with the full Hooptie in place.  I still need to make some seat pads (planning to use garden kneeling pads and heavy duty velcro to secure them to the deck.  We’re still waiting on the back-ordered U-tube footrests from Xtracycle, but for now he can stick his legs into the bags.

Future bike purchase

I know, I know, I just bought a bike, but then Surly went and released the 2016 Disc [brake] Trucker in a really lovely blue (where was this a year ago when I needed it, Surly???).  Despite the color, I’m still not set on the Disc Trucker over the Salsa Vaya (that sloped topped tube and already having integrated shifters are key points for me).  Given my new, longer commute, Matthew is really encouraging me to get one or the other.  I’m not in a huge hurry to take this step, but it will likely happen — maybe in the spring?  When it does, it will be time to find a new home for BUB,

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Suddenly September

Some parents complain that August just drags on — seemingly endless summer days until school starts again, with frequent complaints of “I’m bored” from the peanut gallery.  That wasn’t our experience.  Between dealing with G’s broken leg and finalizing plans for my return to school, the month of August flew by.

In the first meeting of one of my dietetics classes, the professor asked us to go around and introduce ourselves by stating our name and the most fun/exciting thing we’d done over the summer, and I drew a complete blank.  A big ol’ nothing.  The two-and-a-half weeks since Gabriel had broken his leg were so intense and draining that everything prior to that (i.e., June and July) was just a blur, a faint and distant memory.

So here we are in September.  I am two weeks into the semester and feeling pretty good about pursuing dietetics as a profession.  I enjoy the material and the science and math that go along with it.

I am also enjoying the challenge of increased bicycle mileage.  I am pretty sure that I’ve been on my bike every day for the past 15 days (there’s one Saturday morning that I don’t quite remember whether or not I ran errands), for a total of 133 miles.  That’s quite a bit more than I’d been doing, and it’s apparently enough bike time that I’m now doing bikey things while OFF the bike, like almost using an arm turn signal when walking through a building on campus yesterday — that wouldn’t have looked weird at all, right?

We had another check-up with G’s surgeon yesterday, and everything looks good.  He’s been completely off of pain meds for almost a week now.  We are just over 4 weeks out, and G is finally starting to walk, with a lot of assistance/support (holding onto our hands plus furniture), though most of the time he still just scoots around on the floor.  He’s also enjoying riding his tricycle.

We go back for another check-up in a month, at which point the doctor might recommend some PT (depending on G’s gait), and we’re hoping to have the nails removed in December.

In case August didn’t have enough excitement, we ended the month with a bit of activity on the house-hunt front.  We made an offer on a house, but failed (so far?) to reach an agreement with the seller.  Then, last Thursday, I took a different route to school, and saw a For Sale sign in front of a [previously off-market] property that we’d been interested in for awhile.  It seemed like fate — I’d just happened to take that route right after negotiations on the other property had ended, and, as it turned out, just five days before bids on this property were due.

We soon discovered that this latest property was a bit of an odd-ball, not really set up for standard home buyers.  After a bit of back and forth with our Realtor and a third party, we figured out a round-about way to get our foot in the door on the bidding.  We have no idea how many people we’re competing against or what those other offers will look like, so now we just wait.

Adding moving to what already feels like a crazy next few months is not exactly my idea of a good time, but after house hunting for over six years, we can’t really pass up a good opportunity due to “inconvenience.”  Moving will likely be a pain whenever it happens, and we’ll just have to deal with it when the time comes.  And, in reality, there’s a decent chance that that time will NOT be now.

So, now that we’re in September, what’s the most fun or exciting thing YOU did over the summer?  Or what are you most looking forward to with fall approaching?

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Curried coleslaw

I was planning to make coleslaw a few weeks ago, but my usual recipes all sounded a bit blah.  I love a good slaw with peanut or sesame dressing (good recipe here), and my MIL makes a lovely Greek slaw, but I was in the mood for something a bit different, so I turned to the interwebs, where I came across some interesting slaw variations, including a recipe for Curry Bacon Slaw.

I decided to give it a try, minus the bacon.  I had a bit of leftover masaman curry paste in the fridge (masaman curry paste is one of the few store-bought canned goods that we regularly have on hand; I usually don’t use the entire can when I make a batch of curry, which leaves some extra to mix into things (it’s great in sweet potato or winter squash soup)), and I decided to use that in place of the curry powder and cayenne (the masaman has plenty of heat for us).

While I’ve entertained some fantasies about BLTs recently, finding a replacement for the bacon in the recipe was easy enough.  I often top my slaw with toasted sunflower seeds (or peanuts for the peanut/sesame slaw).  I started with my go-to sunflower seeds here.  They work fine, but toasted cashews work even better.


Note: In the above picture, the coleslaw is accompanied by my first attempt at a barbecue jackfruit sandwich, which will be the subject of another post.  Now, on to the recipe!


Recipe by Melissa, adapted from Curry Bacon Slaw recipe at
Serves 6-8

1/4 c. mayonaise
1/4 c. plain [unsweetened] yogurt (regular or Greek)
2 T. white vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1-2 t. masaman curry paste (this is the kind I buy from our local global foods store)
1/2 t. sugar
2/3 c. toasted cashews
5 c green and/or red cabbage, shredded or cut very finely (can also sub in some kohlrabi and/or turnips here)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks (okay, to omit, but adds nice color)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk together all dressing ingredients to make a rich, thick dressing.  Taste, and add more salt and/or curry paste if desired (at this point it should taste fairly salty, since the veggies haven’t diluted the dressing as all).

Prep your veggies.  I cut the cabbage by hand and use a box grater for the kohlrabi and turnips.

Pour dressing over prepared vegetables and refrigerate at least one hour (2-4 hours would be even better) before serving.  To serve, garnish with toasted cashews.  Enjoy!

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Brain and body boot camp

So much to say, so little time!  I just completed my first week of dietetics classes.  My career exploration over the past 6 months (and really over the past year, if you count the PA school detour) led to this point.  I’m about as sure as I can be that this is a good decision, maybe 98% certain (and yes, that 2% unsure is really scary for me!).

Anyhow, I am enrolled part-time at Fontbonne University.  Over the next three years, I will be completing the junior- and senior-level dietetics coursework (9-11 hours/semester), followed by a year-long internship (unpaid and you pay for the privilege) before I can sit for the R.D. exam.

I plan to continue working part-time, so classes plus paid work will be a full-time job.  My current coursework is pretty basic, which is okay, because getting back into the swing of being a student, and balancing work, school, and home, will be enough of a mental challenge for now.

On the physical side of things, I am on campus three days a week, and I plan to bike for as many of those trips as possible.  The 15-mile round-trip bike ride is much more than I’ve been doing recently, since most of my weekly “errand” rides are within a two- to three-mile radius of our home.  Fortunately, the weather gods have been smiling on St. Louis, which has made the bike commuting quite pleasant, if not entirely easy (so far, the trip home always seems easier than the trip there).

In case the additional 45 miles of biking a week weren’t enough, Matthew and I just started another aerial silks class.  It took us awhile to find something that worked with our schedules, but after a 5+ month hiatus following the Intro Silks class, we began Silks 1 last week.  I was pretty nervous going into it, but Intro Silks, plus some open gym sessions, evidently drilled things into our brains and muscles fairly well.

Our first Silks 1 class also marked the first time we traveled to Bumbershoot by bike.  Despite being a perfectly bikeable [just a hair over] four miles away, the timing and weather conditions during the winter session consigned us to car trips (or walking plus bus for me, a couple of times).  So in addition to the extra biking to school, I’ll be getting an additional 8.5 miles on the bike with this.

This sudden increase in activities will leave me less time for writing, but I am using Twitter and Instagram more (yes, I may be a bit addicted to my four-month-old smart phone), so follow me there if you haven’t already!


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