I love starting my day with this healthy smoothie made with bananas, frozen raspberries, milk and whatever juice is in my fridge – usually OJ – Enjoy!
5:30 am – It’s a weekend morning. I’m awake. Too awake. Last night’s dinner of Angus sirloin steak pan-fried in olive oil and butter make a second appearance in my dreams. Eight minutes on one side, seven minutes on the other. I could almost taste the juicy and tender medium-rare pieces of meat in my mind as pangs of hunger begin to stir gently but persistently from within my tummy and I begin to wonder how long away breakfast is.
My eyes slower flicker open and I wonder, Why am I awake? I want to go back to the steak dream, where I’m eating it with sauteed haricot verts and sweet cherry tomatoes, instead of sauteed sliced onions with balsamic because that’s all that was in my pantry last night. But as is the nature with dreams, the memory of it slowly fades away, and all that I’m left with is the sound of Scotch breathing deeply in his sleep and again the question, Why am I awake?
I should really drag myself out of bed and head out for a run. From once running 4-5 days a week, I’m now only able to run on the weekends when Scotch is home to watch over our 16-month old
Speaking of Wee Scotch, there’s something sweet and special about babies when they first wake up in the morning. It’s a magical time of day when they first lay their eyes on you and exclaim, “Ma-Ma!” or “Da-Da!” although these days his favorite phrase first thing in the morning is, “Uh-Oh!” And we respond by inquiring with a serious expression, “What’s Uh-Oh?”
Each morning, he wakes up ready to take on the world again and I wonder what new things he’ll learn that day. Yesterday it was how to master eating bone-in chicken, the day before that it was how to dip bread in olive oil and vinegar. He can’t say much yet, but to help him communicate, I have taught him some sign language that I’ve made up myself. The two signs he uses most often are food (fist to lips) and swimming (hand wiggling).
Although I am reluctant to leave the house because I want to see Wee Scotch’s face right when he wakes up, the uncomfortable thought of running in extreme Dubai heat finally propels me out of bed. If I dawdle too long, the air temp will get warmer and warmer.
6:00 am – As I get myself ready, I take a quick peek at the thermometer on my balcony. The mercury has already reached 86 F (30 C).
6:15 am – I should really get running but I can’t resist checking my email, Facebook and twitter accounts.
6:30 am – A quick chug of milk-as-fuel and I’m finally hitting the cobblestone pavement. This early in the morning, the path is nicely shaded thanks to all the sand-colored buildings that make up Jumeirah Beach Residences:
I probably live in the only building complex in Dubai without a free gym and being too lazy to drive the 15 minutes to my health club, this one mile stretch of pavement alongside the Arabian Sea will have to do.
On a clear day like this, you can see all the way to the Atlantis hotel on the tip of the Palm Jumeirah as well as the new Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel (the large white building with the domes):
6:45 am – The humidity won’t be unbearable until June, but the hot and heavy heat already makes me feel sluggish. The highlight for me of each one mile lap is passing the Al Fattan towers for a one second blast of very cold AC that’s emanating from the automatic doors which I purposely trigger. A thought crosses my mind to just run back and forth along these sliding doors but I’m sure the security guards wouldn’t like that idea.
There are a few other early birds trying to squeeze in exercise time before it gets too sunny and scorching hot. A seemingly endless row of restaurants line the road that I’m running on. Service staff are already out setting up the tables, chairs, and umbrellas for the weekend diners. I smell baked bread and pizza dough and I slow down to take in a couple breaths of yeasty air. I smell the lingering odor of last night’s trash removal and I hold my breath and speed up.
7:15 am – The lady voice on my iPhone congratulates me for completing my goal of 4 miles. I am sweaty but exhilarated and thoughts of food start streaming into my mind again as I contemplate what I can make for a well-deserved breakfast.
Perhaps the smoky peppery sausages Scotch brought home from the butcher’s? Yes!
Maybe I’ll even attempt homemade French bread to go along with them? Yes! Yes!
And then I suddenly remember the frozen raspberries in my freezer and the thought of making a raspberry banana smoothie that I can share with Wee Scotch brings a big smile to my face. Yes! Yes! Yes!
7:30 am – Wee Scotch greets me at the front door, as cute and as excited as a puppy, wearing nothing but his diaper and calling out to me, “Ma-Ma! Ma-Ma!” I ask him for a kiss in Chinese and he obliges but only cheek-to-cheek. He takes my hand and leads me into the kitchen, points at the fridge, taps his fist to his lips and says, “mum-mum,” which is his word for food.
I smile, give him a big sweaty bear hug and a wet kiss, put away my running shoes until next weekend, and head towards the fridge to make “mum mum” for all.
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Raspberry Banana Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen raspberries (or other frozen berries)
- 2 large bananas
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup orange juice or cranberry juice
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high-speed until smooth.
- Pour into tall glasses and enjoy!