Self Love and Spicy Tofu

My body and I, we have a complicated relationship. I adore my thin ankles, I think they make me look dainty. I love that I have a smattering of freckles across my nose, across my chest. I am grateful for my strong, long legs.

Yes, I am grateful. But I also live in this silly world of ours where we place so much importance on physical appearance. So much of our world revolves around if we are “beautiful” enough. And I’m not sure where my self-confidence issues came from. Perhaps they came from always being the tall, “athletic” (or was it big-boned?) one in the group.

For some reason all of my closest friends are 5’4″ (or shorter) little waifs. I’m pretty sure I could blow them all away in one breath. They’re all stunningly beautiful and petite. There is this picture from our sophomore homecoming dance where I literally looked like a giant. I towered over them in a HORRIBLE purple tulle dress, short spiked hair and gloves up to my elbows (I suppose we all had that princess fairy tale… eh?) I think of that picture as the epitome of self-doubt. First of all, why didn’t my friends take me aside and tell me I looked straight up ridiculous? Secondly, WHY AM I SO MUCH BIGGER THAN MY FRIENDS?!? Not a good feeling to have as a braces clad teenage girl.

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This is my usual hair style and face… I kid, I kid. I got a LITTLE more style since sophomore year.

Needless to say, I have a love/hate relationship with my body. This body is the one that ex-lovers have described as perfectly curvy. Curvy, eh? That damned “C” word can be interpreted in SO MANY WAYS.

Alright, alright, I’m done whining. Here’s the thing, deep down I know that I am so blessed to have a healthy body. Everything works. I am able to wake up early and walk 3 miles. I can go to yoga four times a week. I can dabble in running, play a round of volleyball, and when I sit all day at the office, my body survives.

I am blessed.

So this brand new year brings about all kinds of changes. New job, new independence, new outlook.

2013, I’m going to make you the year of self-love. Enough of this “I wish I was…” This year I’m going to feed my body real, fresh food. I’m going to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, studying my recipes like textbooks. I’ll enjoy whiskey when I feel twirly, drink a few when a cute boy wants to teach me to two-step. I will make decadent chocolate desserts, the ones that you serve with ginger ice cream. When I feel like it, I will take a day to reset and dedicate myself to kale.

I will acknowledge my luck. Kiss my knees that are dressed up in freckles, smile extra big in the mirror and pat myself on my back for any and everything.

Here’s to you, 2013.

Spicy Tofu and Wheat Berries

From: PCC Natural Markets

This was one of my favorite things to get at PCC when I lived in Seattle. It was spicy, filling and damned delicious. I think one of the reasons it is so good is because it MAY be dressed in a whole lot of sesame oil, but whatever. The original recipe calls for spelt, but I had wheat berries, so I used those instead. Either will work. Both are delicious. This salad is full of good things, and tastes like heaven in your mouth, so go for it.

  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 16 oz firm tofu
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup cabbage, chopped

Start your wheat berries. Ideally, you want to soak them overnight. If you didn’t (I didn’t) you can put 1 cup of wheat berries with two cups of water in a pot. Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce heat and let cook for one hour. Drain any excess water, and then leave the lid on to let the kernels continue to steam. Set aside. Combine the tamari, fresh ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, cayenne pepper, sesame oil and olive oil. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cut your tofu into cubes. Add in 2 tbsp of the dressing, and gently toss. Oil a baking sheet, and line the tofu up on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Chop all your veggies, and once your wheat berries are done, toss it with 3 tbsp of dressing. Once your tofu is done, let it cool for a little bit and once everything is cooled throw it all together, topping with the leftover dressing. Enjoy. SO GOOD.

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