Youth and Kale Salad

I had every intention of writing about my current relationship with yoga. How I sit at an office all day, and find myself too lazy to go to the studio after work.

I was going to make this post poetic and lengthy while describing my love affair with my dainty ankles.

Instead I’m sitting at the corner table in a very crowded coffee shop next to a group of 19 year old girls. Their conversation is fascinating (as I was typing that, frustrating came out unintentionally… woops.) They’ve spent the last hour talking about how shitty it is that they have to work over spring break, and how having sex in dorm rooms is, “so hard”. They then settle into bouts of silence as they all text those boys that have seemed to cause them simultaneous love and heartbreak.

I remember being a freshman in college. I felt dangerous. Hiding tequila in the laundry hamper, I was liberated, searching out house party after house party. Giggling in the bathtub as the cops told everyone to go home. To me, that was what freedom looked like. And god damn, did freedom feel good. I found myself in a few strange beds. I had some hushed conversations with my best friend as I told her where and when to pick me up.

I was a complete idiot.

Yet here I am, 26 years old, judging these ladies. They’ve talked themselves in circles, not digging into anything beyond surface level nonsense. But who am I to talk? I want to believe that when was 19 I was MUCH more mature. I have always had my head screwed on straight, etc. etc… Did I mention the tequila in the laundry basket yet?

Phew… I will get off my high horse and just chuckle with/at these ladies, feeling slightly nostalgic for those times when my biggest worry was getting the boy in African American Literature to notice me (I did, and he was a dream) and what I was going to do on a Friday night.

Now I spend my Friday nights making kale and Brussels sprout salad, writing and getting to sleep before 11 pm so I can stretch my body bright and early on Saturday morning. Alcohol has taken a back seat in my life, and my whole body thanks me for it. My Friday night plans may seem somewhat dull, but boy do I love them.

brussels

And I’m sure for these ladies, Friday nights are meant for parties, drinking out of red cups, and figuring out ways to make the ex-boyfriends jealous. They’d be listening to shitty music while they pretend to know how to dance. I speak from experience.

I still don’t know how to dance.

So yes, these girls come off as somewhat petty. There’s no doubt about that. But they’re also living the shit out of life.

They’re being silly and self-involved and taking far too many pictures of themselves doing absolutely nothing. We’ve all been there, and there’s beauty in it. A simple brilliance in living a surface level life, taking those butterflies and turning them into your everything.

So I’m going to sit here in my corner, listen to my Blaze Foley, sip my tea and be thankful that I’ve grown up (just a little bit) since I was 19. That I find joy in kale salad, how good it feels to get 9 hours of sleep and how lovely it is to mix a little bit of local honey into turkish mint tea.

It’s the little things.

Buckwheat Soba Noodle, Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad 

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

  • 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 10-15 brussels sprouts
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 5 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

Start by cutting up your veggies. De-stem the kale, and roll them up lengthwise, and cut it into thin strips. Throw the kale in a big bowl and toss with 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Massage the kale to tenderize it. Set aside. Next, take your Brussels sprouts and remove any brown or yellow leaves. The original recipe recommends using a mandoline for cutting the sprouts, but I don’t have one so I just chopped diligently until they were paper thin.

Toss those in with the kale. Then you can make the dressing. Mix the remaining sesame oil with the rice vinegar, tamari, ginger and garlic. Whisk together and then pour over salad, mixing everything up with your hand. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Put the salad in the fridge while you cook the soba noodles. The longer you leave the salad in there, the more the kale will soak up all the flavors.

Prepare you buckwheat soba noodles according to the directions. Once they’re done, drain the water and toss in the with kale. You can wait until they’re cool or toss them in while they’re still warm, either way is delicious. This salad is REALLY good. Who knew that raw Brussels sprouts would float my boat?

Enjoy!

buckwheatsoba

Advertisements

The Hound Pup and Coconut Soup

My dog decided to eat a bottle of ibuprofen on Friday. This brilliant decision led to me cleaning up diarrhea as I panic-cried into the phone while the vet told me to get him to the emergency clinic IMMEDIATELY.

Needless to say, it’s been quite the weekend.

For those of you that don’t know me, my dog is my everything. To the point that it might be borderline unhealthy. I usually choose my dog over going out and making friends, and I make sure that my schedule fits around his walks.

What can I say? I owe this dog my sanity.

When I suffered a broken heart, long runs and cuddle sessions with the hound restored me. I filled my emptiness with this 70 pound beast. He’s lived in a cabin in the woods, on a cramped col-de-sac in Seattle, and now he lives with me in a tiny house in Austin, TX.

This dog has been places, my companion on any and all adventures.

391235365223884385_2573928

If you don’t have a dog, you might not understand. That’s okay. Just imagine something in your life that is always there. Imagine something that gives your heart happiness no matter what. Imagine that being fragile and at risk, and you’ll know the panic and horror that is in my heart and brain right now.

Two days later and he’s still in the vet. Seeing him in his kennel, hooked up to IV tubes and looking at me like, “you’re getting me out of here, right?”, broke my heart. He has to be constantly hooked up to fluids so his kidneys don’t fail. Boy oh boy… that damn dog of mine.

Fingers crossed he’ll be okay, and tomorrow morning I will pick up my wiggling body of warmth and I can snuggle him so hard that he’ll squirm just so he can breathe.

Positive thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

This kind of nonsense requires soup. A warm, rich, sweet soup. Thank heavens for My New Roots and her perfectly timed recipe.

Coconut Soup

From My New Roots

  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 10 cilantro roots
  • 6-7 stalks lemongrass
  • 3 shallots
  • 2-4 thai chilies
  • 50 g of galangal root
  • 50 g coconut sugar
  • 12 kaffir lime leaves
  • handful of white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 3 Tbsp. tamari
  • about 1 cup of water

I was surprised at how easy it was to find all of these ingredients. The original recipe called for fish sauce, which I didn’t use (surprise, surprise). I also cut out the sugar (because I’m not eating sugar right now, I’m on a cleanse, remember?) but I left it in the recipe because I’m sure it will make it even more delicious.

First things first, get your chopping done. Wash the cilantro well, remove the upper portion of the stems and set aside for garnish. Cut the lemongrass off where the white base portion ends and discard the tops. Pound the lemongrass until they’re cracked and open. Slice the shallots. Peel and cut the galangal into chunks and pound it until it releases a little liquid. Tear the lime leaves into smaller pieces. Slice the mushrooms. Peel and smash the garlic.

Next, heat the coconut milk, cilantro roots, lemongrass, shallots, chili, galangal, sugar (if using), lime leaves and garlic in a medium saucepan. You’ll want to bring everything to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15 minutes with a lid on.

Then you’ll strain the soup through a sieve into another saucepan. Discard the solids. Add the sliced mushrooms, limejuice, tamari and water until you’ve got a consistency you want. You want the soup to be light, but still creamy. Bring the soup up to a lite simmer again just enough to cook the mushrooms. Don’t boil the soup. Season to taste and serve with cilantro leaves, extra lime and thinly sliced lime leaves. I served mine over brown rice, and it was DELICIOUS

coconutsoup

Lentils and Self Reflection

I want to revisit this loneliness thing. My sister and brother-in-law went out-of-town and the day before they left I felt this suffocating dread. I realized how much I rely on her down here. How much I lean on her to be my sister, my best friend and my companion in all things.

Healthy? Absolutely. I’m so lucky to be this close to my sister (and my whole family, for that matter), being best friends with her is one of the greatest things in my world.

We all know that I’m not good at being alone. That’s why I didn’t leave home until I was 25. Yet here I am, living in this vibrant, young city where I know very few people. My sister knows how this feels, when she moved down here three years ago, she went through the same thing. The difference is that my sister thrives off being alone. She’s good at it.

Me? Not so much.

So last week I found myself freaking the fuck out. What would I do with my time? Why am I such a failure at making friends? I have this weird instinctual self-judgment button, something I find myself pressing when I’m alone.

Guys! Guess what?! I survived! Not only that, but I did find myself enjoying it. I took long walks with the dogs, I threw myself into work, I did a lot of yoga and I spent a mess load of time in the kitchen. The first friend I made in Austin came to visit me at work, and for some reason he has become this person I unload all my doubts on (I think it’s his very yoga, zen like outlook on life.) We sat in the sunshine and I brought up my fear and failure with loneliness and solitude.

His answer?

Loneliness is practice for growing into a stronger version of ourselves.

Amen to that. Here’s to a stronger, more well-rounded me.

photo-1

Warm Lentil and Root Vegetable Salad

Inspired and adapted from Clean Eating (serves 4- or in my case, leftovers for days)

  • 3 red beets, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into cubes
  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms of choice, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Start with the beets and sweet potatoes. After cutting them into cubes, toss the beets with one Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on one baking sheet. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and put on another baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally.

Move onto the  lentils. Combine the vegetable broth with the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Sautee the red onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 5-7 minutes, waiting for them to start caramelizing. Add the mushrooms and the red wine vinegar. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in 3 Tbsp of lemon juice to reduce the sticking in the pan, and aid in the caramelization. You want to sautee everything for about 15 minutes, then keep on low while the rest of the vegetables/lentils cook.

Remove the beets and sweet potatoes, drain the remaining liquid from the lentils and serve. I ate mine over a bed of arugula, because that stuff is like crack to me, but the original recipe calls for sauteed kale or mustard greens. Do whatever floats your boat.

This is a great recipe that fills you up and is perfect for my cleanse- 9 days in! WOO HOO (I feel like a million bucks. For real)

lentil

Food and Chickpea Curry

This weekend I was told that the future of food involves breathing deeply.

WTF.

That was the only thing I could think as this man went on and on about how food is like the internet, and how we HAVE to rethink how we eat. He went on to explain about his creation, the “wiki cell”, food-shaped blobs with “edible packaging” that you’d carry around in refrigerated lunch boxes. Oh, and food that you inhale from these little canisters… because nothing screams “yum” like inhaling powder from a test tube.

I think he could see me rolling my eyes at the back of auditorium.

I spent my weekend at a food conference talking about the innovation of our food system. I applauded all those who are focused on urban gardens and reinventing the local food scene. I raised my eyebrows at those, similar to wiki-cell man, who insisted that we have to reinvent what we’re actually eating and how we’re eating it.

As if eating a carrot straight from the ground isn’t “innovative” enough.

I did glean some really great information from the conference, and am excited to be a part of this burgeoning food scene. To know that there are multiple farms within 10 miles of me gets my heart racing. Swarms of young people, sun-kissed and beautiful, spend their days digging in the dirt, planting seeds and tending plants like they were children.

These are my kind of people.

I spent my weekend inside (it’s 74 degrees here and PERFECT), sporting a name tag and diligently taking notes. This wide world of food is what I care about, and it feels wonderful to know what I want to do with my life.

cb6502b46cc711e2904b22000a1f8c1d_7

Texas agrees.

All this talk of food reinvigorated my dedication to the elimination diet I’ve pledged to do in February… oh yeah, that’s another thing happening in my life. Needless to say, this limits what I can eat (no sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, corn, soy, night shade vegetables, gluten) dramatically.

Thank heavens I live in a city that values unique diets. During my two-day conference I was lucky enough to find a gluten-free, vegan food truck and loaded myself up on black beans, vegetables and quinoa…delicious.

This kind of diet forces you to make a WHOLE bunch of food. It’s a good thing I love to be in the kitchen. Last night I made quinoa/brown rice crackers, a giant batch of hummus and vegan coconut curry. Four hours later, and I have dinner, lunch and snacks for the next few days.

I make the elimination diet look EASY.

I’m anticipating some stupid cravings, and a lot of eye rolls when I go out with family and friends and I order a plain salad with a side of avocado. I’m also anticipating I will feel like a fucking champion. So there you go, roll away eyeballs… I’m going to feel like a million bucks.

Vegan Chickpea Coconut Curry

I didn’t want to go to the store, and was able to pull this off without going to the store . Just goes to show having this kind of food in your pantry allows for all kinds of delicious meals.

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Brown rice (optional)

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Once warm, add in onions and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 3-5 minutes. Add in carrots, chickpeas and cabbage, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in coconut milk and all of your delicious spices. Stir and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, to let all the flavors mingle. Remove from heat and enjoy!

I served mine over brown rice, because I love curry over rice, but it would be good on its own or served over quinoa, white rice, or anything that tickles your fancy. This curry is DAMN good, add this one to your “easy-and-delicious” dinner recipes, it’s a keeper.