Chickpeas and Self Love

Before going on vacation, I cleansed. I spent five days drinking nothing but green juice and supplementing those with even more vegetables. In my head I had convinced myself that I had to look a certain way when I went back to Seattle. It had been six months since I last saw everyone and I wanted to prove just how great Texas has been to me.

That, right there, is a little bit fucked up.

I have a very strained relationship with my body, and while I would like to say that I have got “self love” down, I don’t. I don’t like my body a majority of the time. Some days I’m too tall. Other days my shoulders are too broad. I constantly sigh at myself, wishing I could just be a little bit more ______________.

Yep, there’s a tiny violin playing in my head too.

When I saw my mom the first thing she said was, “you look great!” and it felt so good to hear.  I have put so much weight (hehe, accidental puns) in how people perceive me, I am at that point where I’ve resorted to being a pre-teen girl; people will only REALLY love me if I’m skinny and all that shit.

Believe me, I want to change my self-image, I really do. Step one: admitting it on a public blog. Step two: owning and acknowledging those negative feelings. Step three: stop sounding so self-helpy on said blog.  Oops.

Alright, so there I am in Seattle, no longer cleansing. Instead, I’m eating fries and drinking far too much alcohol. And of course my body had a mini internal break down as it craved the 12 pounds of vegetables I had been feeding it. I also let my self-punishing thoughts creep back in, and I felt defeated. There’s something about returning home that left a bitter taste in my mouth. Of course I was happy to see all the people I love, but I fell back into these routines that make my stomach, my heart and my head confused and sad.

Pity party much?

Basically, I was wandering around my old stomping grounds feeling angry and sorry for myself. And then I spent time with my grandma. For those of you that don’t know my grandma, believe me when I say she’s one of the greatest people to ever walk the earth.

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She is my role model through and through, with a strength and acceptance of what life hands her like no one I have ever known. She’s comfortable in her own skin, made clear by her nude portraits that adorn her boudoir (yes, she calls her attic room her boudoir… she rules.)

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Sharing the day with my grandma made me realize that I can grow up to be as classy and beautiful as she is. I need to put aside all this self-deprecating nonsense and remember what she always tells me, “no guilt, no jealousy.”

Because, you see, there really isn’t room for it when you live a full life. And that’s all I want.

A full life.

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* My grandma was such a babe she made it on a postcard. Total bombshell, am I right?

Thai Curried Chickpeas & Cucumber Mint Salad

Chickpeas

  • One can chickpeas
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. green Thai curry paste
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2+1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. oil

Cucumber Mint Salad

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup chopped red onions
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp agave
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped mint

I started with the cucumber salad, as you have to let things sit to soak up the flavor of the dressing. First, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and then cut it into thin slices. Toss the cucumbers with salt in a colander. Let drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes, then tap the colander on the base of the sink to release any remaining water.

She recommends soaking the red onions, as it won’t make them as pungent. I did it because the recipe told me too, but I don’t think it’s technically a necessary step. If you do decide to go that route, soak them in cold water for at least 10 minutes.

After everything has drained and soaked, combine the cucumbers, onions, vinegar, oils, agave, pepper and mint. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and let stand in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

While that’s soaking things up in the fridge, move onto the chickpeas. Oh my god, these are SO GOOD. They are salty and spicy and literally left me licking my cast iron… I don’t want to talk about it. First thing first, make your kitchen smell like a little bit of heaven. Heat up your pan over medium high heat and add the 2 Tbsp of oil and the red onions and garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Next, add in all of the dry spices (except the pepper), the Thai curry paste and the soy sauce. Add 1 Tbsp of water (I used the chick pea liquid, because… why not?)

Mix together and then add the chickpeas. Stir to mix everything together and let cook for about 5 minutes, if it gets too dry and things start to stick, just add a bit more water to the pan.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and the black pepper. Do a taste test and add whatever else your heart desires. Honestly, these bad boys are going to be one of my new go-to recipes. So damn good. These two dishes made for a light and delicious Sunday dinner. And yes, although I was licking the pan and had a coconut milk ice cream bar I told myself, “no guilt”, because that’s the path I am on.

Thanks to grandma.

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Chia Crackers and ATX

And then, just like that, everything has fallen into place. I’ve recently approached my Lone Star life with absolute confidence that this town will match my needs. That I will grow taller, stand straighter, walk with a little more purpose in my step. I have decided that in this city I will discover what it means to find “your path”, whatever that means.

Yes, I do believe that it is a decision you make. I’ve become a firm believer in all those cheesy clichés about being the owner of your own destiny, being responsible for your happiness, pulling yourself up by your boot straps, etc. While all of that may seem too corny to be fully realized, this place has thrown the cheese-ball idea at me, and I’m loving it. (insert obligatory sunset picture here:)

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I realize that everything I’ve recently posted on the internet is over the top in singing the praises of my life down here. But it truly is magical. This is a town where midnight bike rides to swimming holes can be your daily reality. Where opportunities to do something social every night of the week is as easy as breathing and where some seriously genuine people are making this town the friendliest place to be. I couldn’t help but post pictures of my Austin life… it’s just some sort of magic.

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Have you had enough?

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(If that picture doesn’t make you want to read on/move to Austin immediately, I don’t know what will…)

It’s true, I’m overly enthusiastic about this town.  Perhaps I’m just in my honeymoon stage, and once I get over the first year high I will lose my excitement. Just like a relationship, my love affair will probably leave me with moments of frustration and doubt where all I want is to wear a sweater, rain boots and be cozied up with tea in Seattle. And just like those moments in a relationship, where you’re about to throw up your hands and walk away, there will be something to keep me here, something that reminds me that this new town is becoming my home.

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I’ll always have my feet planted in the Pacific Northwest, there’s too much about that place that calls to my heart. For right now though, my hands, heart and brain are all dedicated to this warm, southern town.

Also, I apologize for my lack of writing lately. Turns out when blogging is part of your job, you get a little burnt out. I will find my way back to writing, just need to find the time to fit it in with biking, yoga-ing, socializing and swimming. Life’s hard, ain’t it?

Chia Crackers

From Oh She Glows

These crackers are the real deal. It’s basically an energy bar of awesome, and yes, I did feel a little bit like a bird when I was eating them. They are vegan and gluten-free AND they don’t use oil. Winning. I’m lucky to live near and work at in.gredients, so I can get just a cup of this, and a cup of that. If you don’t have access to chia seeds, you can use flax instead. Mix and match, make the cracker you imagine yourself eating.

–       ½ cup chia seeds

–       ½ cup sunflower seeds

–       ½ cup pumpkin seeds

–       ½ cup sesame seeds

–       1 cup water

–       1 large garlic clove, finely grated

–       1 tsp grated sweet onion

–       ¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the seeds together. In a small bowl, mix the water, grated garlic and grated onion. Whisk well. Pour the water mixture onto the seeds and stir until thick and combined. Season with salt (I also threw in some pepper for good measure.) You can also add in any spices of fresh herbs that call to you.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet with the back of a spoon until it’s less than ¼ inch thick. Not to worry if a couple of parts become too thin, you can patch them up.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, slice into crackers, carefully flip onto other side with the spatula (don’t panic if a few break, these things happen.) Bake for another 30 minutes, watching closely after about 25 minutes, you don’t want to burn them and waste all those precious seeds. Remove from oven once they are lightly golden in color. Allow to cool completely in the pan. They store well in a glass Tupperware, but will get a little soggy as the days go on.

Note: I didn’t spread mine thin enough so they were quite hefty. Next time, I’ll pay close attention to spreading it extra thin, and paying close attention while they are baking to avoid burning. I also failed at getting a good picture of them… They’re really delicious, I promise!