Self Love & 2nd Date Soup

Do you remember how when you were little skinned knees and elbows were badges of honor? There was never any doubt about your points and angles—every part of you was perfect because it meant you could climb trees, ride bikes and all the other little girl shenanigans that creates magic.

And then one day you wake up and your body is something to scorn. As a little girl you go from wearing leggings and Minnie Mouse shirts (the early 90s, am I right?!) to worrying whether or not your first day of school outfit would match everyone else. Your strong legs that got you to your best friends house? Now they’re those damn thunder thighs that one kid called “thick” in 9th grade.

My beautiful curves and valleys became something I started to criticize regularly. I promise this isn’t a pity party post, it’s just a reflection on what it’s like to be a woman. Every single girl looks at her body and finds the flaws. We skip over the strong shoulders and beautiful eyes, and focus on the wide hips and less-than-flat stomach.

If you were to head over to my dating blog, it is clear to the internet world that I am a single girl who dates. And (earmuffs parents), as a 27-year-old woman, that implies I also enjoy sex. It’s true! I do! I really, really do! And EVERY part of me wishes that I could drop the heavy shadow that follows me around, telling me I’m not skinny/toned/whatever enough to fully enjoy it.

I am falling head over heels in love with everything Amy Poehler does, says and writes. Her description of negative body image as this ever-present demon is perfect. And while I could try to summarize, it’s best left untouched (side note: read Yes Please… it’s amazing.)

Hopefully as you get older, you start to learn how to live with your demon. It’s hard at first. Some people give their demon so much room that there is no space in their head or bed for love. They feed their demon and it gets really strong and then it makes them stay in abusive relationships or starve their beautiful bodies. But sometimes, you get a little older and get a little bored of the demon. Through good therapy and friends and self-love you can practice treating the demon like a hacky, annoying cousin. Maybe a day even comes when you are getting dressed for a fancy event and it whispers, “You aren’t pretty,” and you go, “I know, I know, now let me find my earrings.” Sometimes you say, “Demon, I promise you I will let you remind me of my ugliness, but right now I am having hot sex so I will check in later.” 

I am so excited for when I get older, and that demon will quiet down. Because hot damn, I am excited to love my angles, points, curves and valleys again. I am excited to turn 30 in a few years and still love sex just as much, and be able to leave lights on and wander around my house naked with whatever fella I happen to have my eyes on. I’m excited to embrace my body for the tall and strong thing that it is. And that boy who called my legs “thick” in the 9th grade? Well… I guess he was right, but what in the hell is wrong with that?

2nd Date Soup

Let me explain the name. My best friend calls this her “2nd date soup”. Back before she met the love of her life, she (like me) was wading through the dating world. When she’d bring a date home, she’d make them this soup. Let’s just say I made my date this soup, and it went well… Maybe we should call it magic soup? Whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious. It’s my go to recipe, and it’s always changing. This time around I added apple, and it was INCREDIBLE, I highly recommend that addition. Enjoy & get lucky!

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6-7 carrots, chopped
  • ½ butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts, chopped
  • 1 tart green apple, cored and chopped
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 + ½ tbsp coconut oil (for sautéing and for roasting the squash)
  • 2-3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I never measure…)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix your chopped squash with ½ tbsp. melted coconut oil, some salt and pepper and a dash of cinnamon (if you’d like). Pop in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.

While that is baking, heat up your additional tbsp. of coconut oil over medium heat. Once it’s warm, add in the chopped onion and minced garlic (this is when your date starts to drool, which is always a good sign). After a few minutes, add in the carrots, Brussels & green apple. Add in half of the curry powder, some salt. Sautee for 3-5 minutes, and then add in your 2-3 cups water. Add in the rest of the spices, and let simmer until your squash is done. Add in the squash and throw some more cinnamon in for good measure.. Mix in the coconut milk and then let simmer on a low heat for a few more minutes.

Remove from heat and use that fancy immersion blender until everything is creamy and delicious. Serve with some toasted multigrain bread and smile to yourself when your date/lover/friend goes back for seconds and thirds.

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Confused Hearts & Brussels Hash

I started writing a dating blog. I blame that project for taking me away from this space. Over there, I throw GIFs around like they are candy, and write humorously about how terrible I am at dating. It’s fun and cathartic, and my writing partner is such a beautiful light in my life, it’s been nothing but joyful.

Dating y’all, it’s a thing. I am going to be 28 at the end of this year, and I am endlessly single. Eternally single. Painfully single. Remove the rain cloud and tiny violin from your eyes, because I am not sad about this. I am not at a loss for attention from men. I bat my eyelashes and say the right things. I ask them questions and make them feel important. I know how to woo a fella, and never feel lost in how to reel them in. But then they are there. And they want me. And they open their hearts up and everything inside of me recoils.

A few years ago my heart was shattered. Not just gently bruised like lost puppy love, we’re talking broken.

Baseball meets window broken.

Champagne glass broken.

Lost lake in a rainstorm broken.

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Contrary to what Don’t Date Us implies, I absolutely want to be in love again. I adore holding hands with that person who makes your heart pitter patter. I am a sucker for comfortable mornings with homemade breakfast, sitting quietly over dog-eared books. I am jealous of people who shop for vegetables together at the farmers market, and then pinch myself when I find myself wanting a romantic comedy romance. That’s not real life.

Broken hearts are callused.

Already known for my stoicism, I’ve now put up so many walls that every single opportunity is met with raised eyebrows and red flags. Think of an excuse, and I’ve claimed it. Any hint of distrust, and I magnify it to the tenth degree. There’s never going to be a fella who loves me for a, b & c. I’m difficult. I am selfish. I don’t want to lose my independence. I want to chase them and have them fall for me, and when they do… well, I disappear into the shadows. It’s much easier to hold them all at arms length, and tangle myself up in a myriad of different situations. A single person to hold my heart? That is far too risky.

So yes, I supposed this eternally single 27-year-old has some issues. Pretty big issues. Until I want to deal with them, I will date and get into trouble. I will craft love triangles and fling with inappropriate men. I will live it up and hope that one day, in all of my chaos, I will accidentally find myself letting my guard down. If only for a little bit.

Carrot, Kale & Brussels Hash

Because I’m a crazy and like to make my life one big challenge, I recently did the Whole30. Don’t worry about researching it. Basically you just remove everything from your diet aside from vegetables, eggs and meat. Seeing as I don’t eat meat, I settled on 30 days of eggs and vegetables. As you can imagine, this got dull after a while. But making a hash was my go to. It was easy and delicious and all you have to do is pop an egg on top. Everything is better with an egg.

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • A handful or two of Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of curry powder
  • 1-2 eggs, depending on how hungry you are

This is basically the easiest of recipes. Chop/grate/mince all of your veggies. Warm up the coconut oil, and add in minced garlic and chopped onions. Once that smells like perfection (my favorite smell in all the world), add in the Brussels. Saute those until they are soft and add in the carrots. I grate mine, because I like the texture. Do whatever tickles your fancy. Add in the salt, pepper and curry powder. Mix in and then add in the soy sauce. Lastly, when you’re about done with everything, add in the kale. Let it wilt and then remove from heat.

I cook my eggs sunny side up, because a broken yolk is one of my favorite foods. But if that’s not your jam, do whatever style egg you like. Either way, pop it on top and call it a day. This is a hearty breakfast that is perfect for a slow morning.

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Marriage and Blueberry Jam

My best friend is getting married tomorrow.

15 years ago we shared secrets over intricately folded notes, gossiped about awkward boys we didn’t have the courage to talk to, and spent every weekend in the cabin behind the cemetery. Tomorrow I will raise my glass, shed a few tears and watch as she says her forever with a wonderful man.

There are people in your life that are like breathing. No matter the distance, or the time spent not talking, being with them is like coming home. These forever friends are the ones who hold your hand when you’re broken, and distract you with berry picking and dinner parties. No matter how different my life looks compared to hers, my best friend and I will always meet back in the middle.

Some people collect seashells and old photographs, I collect tattoos. My most recent addition is a reminder of how lucky I am to have best friends. 8 dots to make up a line. 4 larger dots to signify these girls. An arrow to remind me to always come home.

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My little dot, my darling Keelin, is marrying a good man. A man who builds kayaks. A man who loves dogs and being outside. A good man with a warm heart who loves her. They have the same idea of happiness; a homemade existence, filled with gardens and moccasin clad little ones.

Tomorrow I will hold my sister’s hand. We will toast to movement and change and this new path of love. Tomorrow we will dance and twirl. Tomorrow we will get drunk on beer and wine and friends.

Tomorrow my best friend is getting married… How lovely.

After Work

The shack and a few trees

float in the blowing fog

I pull out your blouse,

warm my cold hands

on your breasts.

You laugh and shudder

peeling garlic by the

hot iron stove.

Bring in the axe, the rake

the wood

we’ll lean on the wall

against each other

stew simmering on the fire

as it grows dark

drinking wine.

-Gary Snyder

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Honey Sweetened Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Makes 12 ½ pints

This recipe is because I have friends that ask for small favors, like 12 jars of jam for their wedding. This recipe is because spending hours in my kitchen making preserves is how I find peace. These preserves are delicious on a scone, biscuit, toast or just straight from the jar.

  • 10-12 cups blueberries
  • 1.5-2 cups honey
  • ½ cup fresh squeeze lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tsp calcium water
  • 4 tsp pectin powder

Clean and sanitize your jars. Set them aside.

Mash the berries with a potato masher and place in a pot. Add the pectin and stir (a lot) on a burner over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the honey, calcium water and lemon juice. Return to heat and bring to a boil again, stirring. Boil for 5 more minutes. Remove jam from heat and add in the lemon zest. Let it sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into the clean jam jars, and use a wet rag to wipe the rims of the jar. Pop on the lids, and screw on the rings. You’ll want to make sure that your canning bath is hot, and put the jars in the water bath. Boil for 10 minutes, and then remove. Place them on a towel and wait for that beautiful POP that lets you know your jam is sealed.

Give as gifts, tuck away for when you need a reminder of what summer tastes like, or bring them to your friend’s wedding. Nothing says celebration like jam.

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A PNW Summer & Cold Brew

A Pacific Northwest summer is perfection.

I grew up barefoot and blackberry stained. “Be home by dark!” was the only rule. We made tree forts in the graveyard and slept out on the grass until the dew and sunshine woke us up. My childhood summer was bug bites and campfire hair.

Summer is, and always has been, the most magical.

I spent the weekend with 7 girls who make my heart full, walking through tall pine trees. The river was always on our right, a reassuring noise that we were headed in the right direction. We caught up on each other’s lives and celebrated the beauty that is my best friend getting married in 20 days. While other gals drink and go out on the town, my sweet, precious Keelin wanted a camping bachelorette party, because she’s a gem.

We dipped our feet in the freezing water and ate apples, our reward for our 5-mile trek. We met a group of 50-something women, who applauded our unique bachelorette adventure. We will be those ladies someday, always friends, always taking hikes and moving towards something bigger than ourselves.

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Sunburnt and tired, we called a campsite by the river our home for the night. Over beer and tacos, we reminisced around the fire. We talked about growing up together, how we stayed friends, and what our futures will look like when the 20-something dust has settled.

Summer brings everything back together. It gives us an excuse to abandon responsibility, to stay out late and make reckless decisions. It’s the season for late night drives to the beach and creating beautiful scandal. Who says the magic has to stop when you grow up? This season will always bring back mischief, adventure and a sense of purpose.

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.” – Terry Tempest Williams

Orange & Almond Iced Coffee

My apartment is sticky belly hot, which means after my morning walk all I want is something cold. It’s not summer until you have perfected iced coffee. Cheers to hot mornings and cold coffee.

  • 4 cup French press
  • 4-5 tbsp coarsely ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dark cocoa powder
  • dash of almond extract
  • 4 cups cold water

Combine the coffee, orange zest, cinnamon, cocoa powder and almond extract in the french pass. Pour in the cold water, and let this delicious concoction brew over night. Press in the morning and enjoy with ice and almond milk. Yum.

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Lopez Island & S’mores

There’s an island in the San Juans that is magic.

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Every summer, the people I hold closest to my heart leave behind their lives and we get on a ferry, 45 minutes later and we’re home. The first year we felt brave and found humor in our ill preparedness as we ate cold veggie dogs and tortilla chips. Each year additions and changes have been made, and while I put my heart back together in the south, they carried on the tradition.

I am so blessed to have these beauties in my life. There is such a comfort in knowing that you have people who know you down to every last insecurity, and love you throughout. Lopez is like coming up for air. Stripping down to my most basic self. Waking up when the sun hits the tent, and watching the fog roll out of the bay. We explore the island by bicycle, making our way past farm stands and curious horses. Everything slows down, from the way we make breakfast to never knowing (or caring) what time it is. Even our coffee is slower, more perfect than the usual morning rush.

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My goodness… how I love this place, these girls.

They hold such strength and grace and humor! While they dream of weddings and babies, I dream of careers and cross country bike trips– and we hold each other up in our differences, an endless stream of support. To have this kind of friendship is a blessing, and I will be forever grateful to know this kind of love.

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We made wishes on stones, tossing them over our shoulders and shouting our hopes to the sky. We stayed up late over our campfire, sinking into those conversations you’ve been meaning to have with someone, but forget to make time for. No matter what we’re doing, it’s right. It can be getting lost on the backroads of the island, or sitting on a park bench over some of the best iced coffee we’ve ever had. We come up with grand life plans: raising our families together, owning houses next to each other, someday buying a farm on our beloved island.

When I leave Lopez I feel whole again. I leave that island as my best self.

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Until next year, Lopez. You have my heart.

“Walk through rivers. Climb steep hills. Stay hungry. Keep cool and good natured always. Possess courage and ingenuity. You will endure to the end. Stake your claim.” 

Handy Dandy Zippy Snippy Snappy S’mores (thanks for the name, Kee)

My darling friend has more dietary restrictions than anyone I have ever met. Because of this, she hasn’t been able to enjoy the quintessential summer treat… s’mores. This would not stand, not on Lopez. Leave it to the three of us to figure out how to make this happen. And while this isn’t REALLY a recipe, it is what summer is meant to be, so deal with it.

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  • Dandies GF/Vegan marshmallows (we got them at PCC, of course)
  • Mary’s Gone GF/Vegan Gingersnaps
  • Theo salted dark chocolate with almonds

Build the perfect fire. Drink cider and talk about the things that make your heart heavy, happy, full or curious. Wait until the embers show up, so hot you can feel it warming your cheeks. Find the best stick you possibly can, stick on a mallow or two, and roast away. Monica always catches hers on fire. I like to brown each side evenly. Keelin wanted to wait until she got the perfect char.

We all have our roasting techniques.

Once you’ve reached your perfection, grab two gingersnaps, pop on chocolate and then enjoy; sticky fingers, the smell of campfire and spending time with your best friends, exactly what summer should be.

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Lists & The Perfect Peanut Sauce

I have always made lists.

When I was younger I tried to play it off like I wasn’t an anxious, type A individual who has to be in control.

Now I know that my spirit word is stubborn, and my bull headedness is known to get me into trouble. My stoicism has caused many a silent heartbreak, believing that showing emotion (even a little) will cause me to lose control.

Hand in hand with all its downfalls, my personality lends itself to an absurd amount of ambition. I am willing to push myself into any and all things with confidence that I will make it work, no matter what the situation.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have learned to love my less-than-carefree personality.

I have learned to love my crazy.

And while I haven’t seen The Bucket List (mainly because Jack Nicholson’s eyebrows scare me) I have started a “bucket list” of sorts. It’s what I go back to, again and again, when I feel I’m losing inspiration. It’s always necessary to keep these reminders in this silly, haphazard world of ours.

Things I Must Do.

1)   Hike the PCT. I need to get lost in the woods with my sister. Get close to trees and mountains and silence. Forget about showers for 5 months, and remember what it feels like to fall asleep from sheer exhaustion.

2)   Bike across the country. I will one day find the courage to bike from west to east, capturing farmer’s stories. Get dirt under my fingernails and trade eggs for stories. Take pictures and learn what it means to live off the land.

3)  Help my grandma write her memoir. Her life is technicolor perfection. She has lived more than most people dream. No guilt, no jealousy—a life full of adventure and sex and love. My kind of life. I want to help her capture it, hold it close and share it with anyone that will listen.

4)   Learn to play the banjo. It’s hanging on the wall, silently mocking me. I know, I know. Patience isn’t my thing. Being new at things is the worst. Failing is hard. I’ll get over it and learn the damn thing… One of these days.

5)   Fall in love again. I suppose this isn’t something I can control (no matter how hard I try.) I have loved with all my heart two times in my life, and everything else has been white noise. I hope there’s a few more out there for me, because god damn… how big that kind of love can be.

6)   Relearn yoga. I am such a fool. Yoga has healed me in every way, and I always let it fall by the wayside. Here’s to making it a priority again—just like brushing my teeth. Yoga needs to become my habit.

7)   Let go. I have a deep desire to go to Burning Man. Which I never thought I’d say. A friend of mine said it’s a place where you leave everything behind. All those things you carry, you just let it go. Sounds like some sort of bliss.

We all know that list goes on and on, but seven seems like a good place to stop. It’s one of those things that won’t ever be finished—just another ellipsis in my life.

How grand.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

The Perfect Peanut Sauce (with Summer Spring Rolls)

You know the sauce. The one you find yourself licking out of the bowl at the Thai restaurant. I never thought I would be able to recreate it, and then I stumbled on a recipe that just about nails it. And yes, I have no shame—I licked every last bit out of the bowl… Like you do.

  • ½ can of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/8 cup Thai red chili paste
  • ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Dash of red pepper flakes

All you have to do is put everything into a pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer, and make sure it doesn’t get burnt, as that’ll do some weird things to the coconut milk. No one wants curdled coconut milk. Let it cool and then eat to your hearts desire. I mixed in some red pepper flakes, because I love some extra spice.

I ate it with some tofu fresh rolls, which is another go-to recipe. This version included green onion, avocado, tofu, red bell pepper, cucumber, grated carrots and thai basil. Yep, it was delicious.

Fun fact about fresh rolls; when you are preparing your rice paper, dip the paper in nearly boiling water. There’s no need to let it soak, just a dip in hot water will get them to the perfect texture. Learned that trick in Texas, of all places.

This really is the perfect summer meal. Add it to your list. (hehe)

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Revitalization & Pizza

My mom called me out. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve updated this bad boy, and I think it’s because when I sit down to write, and I try to be poetic or some shit, it all seems false.

Here’s the reality of my life. I’m busy with work. I wake up, I exercise, I work, I make food, walk my dog and then I go to sleep. Repeat that 5x and then, on the weekends, I throw in a farmers market or two. Who wants to hear about that?

Too bad, you already did.

A part of me wishes I had boys and drama to mull over, but I don’t. I am still fighting that creeping loneliness, but I am just so damn busy that I don’t even want to make time for that horrible thing the world calls dating. I have fundraisers to plan and fitness goals to reach. I’m loving my job, and I now understand what it means to have a “career”, which is terrifying and wonderful, all at the same time. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with these jokers?)BnEOqapCcAACF2_

See? I’m boring.

The BEST news about me being so dull is that I’m 100%, head-over-heels happy. I’ve started taking care of myself again, and even though that looks like a 4:30 am wake up time, I can’t complain. I’m back to riding my bicycle every day, and being reunited with Gertrude makes me a better person. I buy myself flowers every Sunday at the Fremont market, because what is a life if not bright and beautiful?

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I’m all blue-bird-on-my-shoulder and what not, and it’s a wonderful thing. I recently went and saw my brother-in-law perform poetry at the University of Puget Sound. Before hand, I visited with my grandma in the sunshine as we gossiped about her past lovers over ice-cold beer (my grandma is my spirit animal.) And while ALL his poetry blows me away, it’s sometimes nice to sink back into his most well known poem and remind myself… Yeah, shake the dust.

Arugula, Sweet Potato & Asparagus Pizza

A pizza piled high with fresh arugula might make it on my list of favorite things. I know there are plenty of arugula haters out there, so… just ignore this post if you’re one of those. I cracked an egg on top of mine because I’ve added farm fresh eggs back into my life. It’s good without. Do whatever tickles your fancy.

  •  Vicolo Pizza GF crusts (delicious)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Rice/soy/real cheese (grated)
  • ALL the arugula
  • Splash of red wine (if so desired)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and slice up your sweet potatoes. I did mine in thin rounds, kind of like sweet potato chips, that then put them on a pizza… MIND BLOWN! I also chopped up the asparagus, and  drizzled the combination with olive oil and salt, and threw them in the oven.

While those are cooking, warm a tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat, chop up your red onions and sauté! I added a splash of red wine while they were cooking because it was sitting by my stove. That really is the only reason. It’s also delicious.

After the vegetables are done, increase the heat to 425 F.

Then it was just a matter of grating the cheese and preparing the crust, which just means mixing some olive oil with crushed garlic, spreading it on the base, and popping the veggies on when they’re done, finishing it off with cheese. Place the pizza on the middle rack of your oven for 10-12 minutes, and if you’re adding the egg, crack it over the top before the final two minutes of baking, and you’ll have a delicious smack of protein on top (put an egg on it.)

After 10-12 minutes, take it out and let it cool for a bit, then pile it high with fresh arugula. It’s just so good.

Arugula Pizza

Yoga and Chocolate

I haven’t stepped foot on my mat in months. Literally, it has been months. In the midst of giant life changes, I put my health on the back burner. Working long hours means any spare second I have is spent with my hound dog, meandering my new neighborhood.

At the age of 27, I finally live alone. To say I enjoy it is an understatement. To say it has turned me into a hermit is even more of an understatement. A little apartment, all my own. This means I can wander around naked and take my time in the morning… yeah, it’s like a piece of heaven.

And yes, it adds to the loneliness that has become my late 20s, but a sweet kind of lonely. The drink-tea-all-day, listen-to-podcasts, spend-5-hours-in-my-kitchen-in-silence kind of loneliness.

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Solitude is such a breathtaking thing.

So now that I’m settled into an apartment that smells like chocolate and is a block from my favorite bakery, I can address my needs. I can apologize to my aching back that is threatening to give out any day now. I can lace up my abandoned running shoes and start back at square one. I can dust off Gertrude and get back to exploring the streets through the eyes of a red bicycle.

I need to practice patience and start slow. Yesterday I found a yoga studio tucked behind the statue of Lenin and a dumpling shop (have I mentioned how magical my neighborhood is?) I felt my hips questioning my decision to throw them into a hot hatha class, but by the end they were smiling gratefully at me, thanking me for finally giving them some love. Like beating a rug after a long winter, I felt my bones again. I felt my skin sweat and stretch. I congratulated my slumbering muscles on their attempt to wake up. I said hello to my body, greeted it like a dear friend. Kissed my kneecaps and promised to be a little more considerate.

It’s good to be back.

Chocolate Buckwheat Granola

Yeah, yeah… I know. I JUST posted a granola recipe. But you know what? Some days my meals are granola for breakfast, dried mango and random office snacks for lunch and popcorn for dinner. And that’s okay. We can’t always have and make three amazing meals each day. That’s how life is, you know?

Also, this granola is MIND BLOWING, which is to be expected, as I found it on My New Roots, a blog that is nothing short of divine. I like this granola over some coconut milk yogurt with some strawberries on top, but let’s be real… It’s good by the handful.

  •       3 cups rolled oats
  •       1 cup buckwheat
  •       1.5 coconut flakes
  •       1 cup walnuts
  •       ¼ cup chia seeds
  •       ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
  •       ¼ cup coconut sugar
  •       1/3 cup maple syrup
  •       1/3 cup coconut oil
  •       1 tsp vanilla extract
  •       ½ cup cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes, chia seeds and coconut sugar. Roughly chop nuts and add them to the mix. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add honey or maple syrup, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine until smooth. Pour liquid ingredients over dry and fold to coat.

Spread the mixture out in an even layer on a lined baking sheet and press firmly with the back of a spatula—you want to make sure it’s compact. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven, flip the granola and mix it around and then pop back in to make for another 10 minutes.

Your entire apartment/house will smell amazing—I recommend listening to Ella Fitzgerald and possibly sipping on some licorice tea while you bake. Because, why not?

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Memoirs and Granola

I want to live a memoir worthy life. At 85, I want to have too many chapters to write. I want a whole section dedicated to heart breakers, past lovers and how wading through a sea of men led me to some brilliant discovery.

I want to fill pages with adventures. Scribble out notes on paper napkins in the dive bar of some back alley town I happened upon. I want to remember to carry around notebooks so I can channel that artist that is in me somewhere and write about those moments that we think we’ll remember, but we always forget.

I will write about finding myself in New Zealand, about seeing the Northern Lights on a darkened road in Iceland. I will write about late night cemetery wanderings with the one that got away, and how this boy in Texas showed me what it meant to be loved properly. I will sprinkle in humor and a dash of self-deprecating sarcasm.

My grandma, who is my role model and soul mate, is currently working on piecing together the story of her life. Sitting over her typewriter, she pulls her memories out of thin air—her four husbands, losing the love of her life, having a slaughterhouse as a backyard during the depression. Her life is a Gauguin painting, a John Coltrane song, a large glass of wine… my grandma has lived every second to its last drop.

I can only hope for the same.

I have big dreams and tiny seedling plans. I will take my bicycle across the country and work on farms along the way. I will hike the Pacific Crest Trail with my sister. I will learn how to be better at failing, and tackle my stubbornness head on. I will let my walls down someday, for someone. Or I will let a portion of my walls down for a whole lot of somebodies. I will learn to build something important, successfully grow tomatoes, learn to brew beer and turn most last night trysts into star-gazing opportunities.

To start, I will climb a mountain. The other morning I decided I needed to summit Mt. Baker. So, on July  25th , I will climb to fight breast cancer. I am climbing for my aunt, for all the young women out there who came into this cancer and are fighting tooth and nail to beat it. I am climbing for myself, to test my strength, to raise money for breast cancer and to start collecting stories. Climbing a mountain… there’s something worth writing about.

Quinoa, Coconut and Chia Seed Granola

This is the like super healthy fat kid granola. Honestly, once you start snacking on it, you can’t stop. I had it for dessert one night, it’s that good. Pace yourself, or you’ll end up eating the whole batch.

  • 1 1/2 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients (except the fruit and coconut). Spread the mixture out in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and stir to distribute any browning. Place it back in the oven for 10 minutes more. Remove and stir in the fruit and coconut.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes longer or until the mixture is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

I realize this isn't a picture of granola OR Mt. Baker, but it sums up how I feel about the next chapter of my life. Grand things, my friends... Grand things, indeed.

I realize this isn’t a picture of granola OR Mt. Baker, but it sums up how I feel about the next chapter of my life. Grand things, my friends… Grand things, indeed.

Adventures and Quinoa

I don’t want to talk about my job, the weather or what I had for lunch. I don’t want to talk about the things we’ve missed out on in the last two years apart.

I don’t want the small talk.

I want to take late night trips to the ocean, and feel the sand in my eyes after 3 hours of sleep. I want to share a bottle of whiskey on a random rooftop, in a sparkling city. I want to go dig for clams, and share the fruits of my labor, as I have no intention of eating them. I want to ride my bicycle on roads I shouldn’t, taking evening routes where the silence seeps up from the pavement, like a secret. I want to shake off formality and the awkwardness that is first dates, old lovers, and the pain that comes with patching up old wounds.

I want to get into the messy stuff. The messy people. The ones that don’t know the meaning of mundane conversations, that laugh off normalcy, and find joy in the bizarre. These people freak me out. These are the people who are out of my comfort zone. I am risk averse, I am calculated, and I find that my type A personality can be suffocating at times.

But I want to shake the dust. What’s the point of this big, beautiful life if we color in the lines? My time away from home pushed me to grow. It nudged me to let go, if only just a little. I will still always want to plan out my life, I will still make lists. These are things I can’t, won’t and don’t want to deny.

So here’s to those big moments. Living spontaneously. Just living.

Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Grapefruit Slaw

Quinoa Bowl

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • ½ red onion

  • ½ sweet potato

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • ½ red pepper

  • Salt and pepper

  • Dash of cumin

  • 3 green onion stalks

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 cup sweet corn

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

  • Avocado

Grapefruit Slaw

  • ½ small red cabbage, cored and shredded

  • 1 small carrot, grated

  • Juice of 1 grapefruit

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly

  • 4 sprigs of mint, leaves sliced thinly

  • Salt and pepper

First things first. Make your quinoa. Bring 2.5 cups water to a boil, and add in your quinoa. Cook for 20 minutes until water is evaporated, and the quinoa is cooked fully. While the quinoa is cooking, chop up your veggies (onions, sweet potato, mushrooms and bell pepper) and saute  in a dash of olive oil for 5 minutes. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and cumin. Continue to saute until everything is cooked. While the vegetables are cooking, heat up the black beans. Once everything is done cooking, warming up, etc. mix it all together– yum. Squeeze on lime juice and mix together.

Set aside and then make some slaw. All you have to do is combine the slaw ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning, adjust and you’re done! And now all you have to do is combine the two over a handful of arugula, and you’re SET! It’s 100% delicious. Oh! And make sure you top it with avocado. Because what’s a dish without avocado?

yum