Chaos Box

I let myself have a bit too much fun this weekend.

Woops.

After suffering from the WORST allergy attack after doing yard work for a record ten minutes my bestie and I decided to bike to our fave brewery. Mmmmm Interurban IPA, how I love you.

One beer turned into two. Which turned into cocktails and Thai food. Which turned into another beer at the Fremont Solstice Celebration. Which turned into margarita happy hour at El Camino.

my bestie is so stinkin’ pretty.

Worst.

Idea.

Ever.

And when I say worst, I mean best. Best because I spent a summer(ish) evening with my best friend. Best because we always have fun when it is just the two of us drinking too much alcohol. Best because it reaffirmed the idea that this summer will be lived balls to the wall, full of insane ideas explained away by the “chaos box theory”.

This theory was presented by a lovely young lady from Atlanta, GA. After asking me my astrological sign and studying my face for a minute or two, she exclaimed that I liked to put things in boxes.

She hit the nail on the head. If there is something I have to admit (bashfully, and with a little bit of hesitation), it is that fact that I like things to be in their place. I am a planner. I fear change. I like when things are color coded and organized.

I guess this is a Capricorn thing?

Needless to say, this lady suggested that I just put chaos in a box. I take the next two months before my big adventure and LIVE. IT. UP.

Perhaps this will take shape in the form of staying up later than 10 pm. Or it will morph into more road trips to places to see people who make me smile. Perhaps it will simply be the idea to let my hair down (figuratively, of course) and allow myself to live it up.

I mean, I’m only 25 once, right?

I took a baby step in this direction by making a recipe without any hint of a recipe. GASP.

It turned out REALLY good, by the way. Chaos box:1 Regular box: 0

Braised Collard Greens with Grilled Asparagus and a Fried Egg

*I need to work on recipe titles…

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • ½ a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup of brown rice, and 6 cups of H20
  • ½ cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder

Start the brown rice. I like to boil mine in about 6 cups of water, reducing to a simmer for 30 minutes. Then I remove it from heat, drain, and let it sit in the pot with the lid on for 10 minutes. That last 10 minutes steams it and makes it the PERFECT brown rice—which is saying a lot, I know.

Wash and cut out the stems of the collard greens. You can cut these into 1 inch chunks and use them as well as the leaves, which I cut into strips. Wash and snap of the ends of the asparagus stalks.

Feed to your hungry puppy, if one exists.

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and roast asparagus (tossed in 1 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper) for 10-15 minutes, until soft but not mushy.

While asparagus is roasting, heat up 1 tsp of olive oil, and throw in the collard greens. Let wilt for a couple of minutes and then toss in the spices and garlic. Continue to let these bad boys simmer and toss in the ½ cup of vegetable stock. Reduce the heat and let all of those amazing flavors mingle. I kept the collards on the stove the whole time the asparagus was cooking, it definitely cooked down a WHOLE lot, but the flavors were outstanding.

Once the rice, collards and asparagus is done—cook the egg. I am lazy and just popped it into the same pan that I used to cook the collards, and it made it SO MUCH BETTER. The egg soaked up the leftover flavors that were in the pan…

Just drooling thinking about it.

Eat. Enjoy. Thank spring/early summer for giving us all these amazing veggies.

Cheers to the summer of the Chaos Box.

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Astrology and Seaweed

Two summers ago, while working on a farm in Colorado, I had my astrological charts done. The owner of the farm was the epitome of back-to-the-earth hippie. (She kept her placenta in the freezer—she was one day going to plant a tree with it. Or cook it. I can’t remember)

Her and her family lived out in the middle of nowhere on a huge tract of land. They had an outdoor kitchen, solar/rain water showers and their 5-year-old had dreadlocks. Their pack of dogs roamed free and kept away the bears. I learned how to erect a teepee and worked for hours collecting vegetables to sell to the nearby town.

It was quite the experience.

Needless to say, I spent some time getting to know my spirit animal and my true “sign”. What I discovered was that I am a Capricorn/Capricorn, which is somewhat uncommon. You usually have a moon sign that is different from your sun sign.

Not this girl. I am Capricorn through and through.

My closest co-worker is also a capi/capi, and we always fall back on that as our reasoning for acting the way we do. Sometimes it is nice to explain yourself via your astrological sign.

All of this has a point, I promise.

As a double Capricorn, I am so grounded to the earth it is silly. I don’t even have a touch of water or fire to balance me out. This is why I think I love to play in the dirt so much.

It was yet another day of sun in Seattle, and once again I felt the drive to keep busy and accomplish things. I ran/walked 6 miles with the pup, went grocery shopping and got the soil,compost and seeds I needed to get things cracking with my garden. Living in a city means that I rely on my raised bed and my container garden to produce the food I need.

I planted an insane amount of lettuces today—spinach, kale, bibb and arugula. Greens for days. As a vegan, I feel like you can never have too many greens. As the temperatures slowly start to creep up, I will plant the rest of my raised bed so within a few months my backyard will be overflowing with delicious goodies.

All of this planting and weeding and getting my hands dirty in the sun also brought out more of my freckles. Thank goodness for all these beautiful details.

To keep up with the green theme, and to balance my earthy self out, I had an aquatic themed lunch/dinner—which means I ate my body weight in seaweed. Mmm seaweed salad and brown rice nori rolls, I could eat you forever.

Seaweed Salad (adapted from yumuniverse.com)

  • 4-5 pieces whole or cut wakame
  • Warm water, enough to fill medium bowl
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Cubes of extra firm tofu

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp minced ginger
  • ¼ tsp minced garlic
  • Pinch salt

Soak wakame in a bowl for 5 minutes, chop up tofu and green onion. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing. Toss everything together in a bowl, add the sesame seeds and stick in the fridge to let it soak up all the delicious flavors. Eat until your heart says to eat more. Then eat more.

Brown Rice Nori Rolls (adapted from Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook—what else?)

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups sweet brown rice
  • 6 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dried nori sheets
  • Extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Carrot
  • Avocado
  • Scallions
    • Add water, rice and salt into a pot and boil. Once boiling, turn down heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let settle for 20 minutes. Transfer half of rice to a bowl and sprinkle with rice vinegar. (you will have lots of left over rice. Yum.)
    • Cut tofu into strips and marinate in rice vinegar and tamari for 20-30 minutes. After marinating, heat them up in the coconut oil until lightly brown.
    • Cut up carrots, avocado and green onion into thin strips.
    • Lay out the nori, shiny side down and spoon rice onto the sheet, leaving 2 inches on the top and bottom of the sheet. Lay vegetables and tofu at the bottom of the sheet, and roll it all up into a delicious roll of goodness. You can either scarf it down burrito style, or wet a serrated knife and cut those bad boys up into sushi style pieces. Either way it is delicious. Feel free to add any veggies you like… The possibilities are endless.
    • Dip in some tamari, or enjoy on your own. So good, so filling, so healthy.