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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No Child Left Inside

Remember how awesome it was to be a little kid? How you spent so much time in your own head, imagining that your backyard was a pirate ship, your bike was a horse and the woods were your make-believe home? My bestie and I would spend hours on her acre of wooded property, making forts and sneaking into the neighbor’s yard to feed apples to their horse.

Yeah, my youth was pretty idyllic.

I am not sure that outside-all-day, berry-picking, lost-in-the-woods, be-back-by-dusk childhood is all that common anymore. Maybe that is why the childhood obesity rate is 16.9% and why it isn’t uncommon to see seven-year olds with Iphones. What a strange world we live in.

I have decided that if I have kids they will wear recycled pillow cases (fashioned into draw string like dress bags), they will play with wooden toys, live on a farm, play in the dirt and never interact with the outside world. Which means I will live on a commune or be a part of a cult…?

Never let me have children.

I think about kids a lot because I work at a hospital; a hospital that only treats kids. A place where there are a lot of kids who are really sick. It makes me think about how many kids there are that aren’t battling cancer, that aren’t going through chemotherapy every other day, but are still slowly decreasing their chances at a healthy life because of the world and society around them.

Heavy stuff this morning, I know.

All of these thoughts led me to sign up as a running buddy for an incredible organization. Girls on the Run is an international non-profit that runs a 10-week after school program for 3-5 grade girls. It teaches them about positive body image, self love and trains them for a 5k. Basically, it rocks my world.

I spent my Monday afternoon running (let’s be real, it was mainly walking and then sprinting down hills) 3.5 miles with two 3rd grade girls. They were the cat’s pajamas. We talked about school, family, pets, their hopes to go to college together, live together and work as zoo keepers together (bless). It was the best way to spend a Monday. It reminded me that kids are resilient. That perhaps there is a bit of hope when it comes to the next generation.

To top all of this magic off, it is spring and that means rhubarb and asparagus (I am lacking a smooth transition today, oops). After eating a breakfast of vegan, gluten-free banana pancakes with homemade nutella (what?!? So delish) at my favorite spot for a bestie’s birthday we popped by the Ballard Farmers Market.

Perfection looks like bundle after bundle of fresh asparagus. It looks like baskets of fern fronds and bushels of arugula. Perfection is the realization that we are entering the time of year when eating local produce is easy. SO. MANY. VEGETABLES.

Thank heavens.

I bought the rhubarb on a whim. Mainly because it was so beautiful and my excitement got the better of me. This spontaneous purchase resulted in making a batch of rhubarb compote—one of the easiest things to make in the world. This delicious, honey sweetened concoction is best when plopped on coconut milk yogurt or ice cream. Highly recommended.

It is quite the way to ring in the spring. (Rhyming! Huzzah!)

Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Compote

4 cups rhubarb

½ cup water

¼ honey

Juice of ½ lemon

-Wash and cut up rhubarb into thin chunks.

-Place all ingredients (except honey) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

-Reduce to a simmer and cook down until rhubarb is soft—about 15/20 minutes—stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

-After the compote has cooled, pour through a fine sieve to get rid of the excess liquid.

-Add the honey and stir everything together.

-Put in an adorable jar and pop on whatever tickles your fancy.