Seattle and Whole Grains

Everything about home was magic. Soul lifting, heart warming, beautiful magic. For nine days I didn’t have to worry about money, about the hound, about my job… about anything. I spilled my guts to my mom, and took comfort in her warm home and understanding eyes. I laughed with my stepmom and dad as we climbed up a mountain, surrounded by tall pines bowed with snow. Christmas eve I did the yearly raid of my grandma’s closet, collecting yet another pair of shoes.

355924877401482529_2573928I shimmied. I shook. I saw all those friends of mine that have claimed parts of my heart. We got starry-eyed off of peach/vodka drinks (dangerous) and I ended the night exclaiming that I “couldn’t feel my face”. Piggy back rides turned into dance parties turned into taking swigs of whiskey straight out of the bottle. Being around those people makes my heart swell to good Grinch levels.

Needless to say, coming home (do I call it that yet?) was difficult. It was heavy and hard. I spent the majority of my plane ride over thinking all of the things that would be missing when I touched down in Texas. How all that I loved was back up in that beautiful city. But I told myself that Texas is worth it. I haven’t even scratched the surface of this fascinating town. This place hasn’t found the corners of my soul. I haven’t given it the chance.

So yes. I did cry a few tears that first night back. I cuddled the hound a little too hard. I felt sorry for myself a little too much. But I got over it. I spent my 26th birthday (oh yeah… that happened) alone, reorganizing my life and making a home for myself. My sister and brother-in-law took me to a fancy dinner. My co-workers surprised me with cupcakes (which my dog decided to treat himself to… four of them, mind you) and sang me happy birthday. My best friend back home sent me this picture. BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT. Then, I agreed to go out with co-workers on New Years Eve, when I would have probably ended up going to bed around 10, giving the hound a smooch on the nose. Oh! And I got offered a big girl job, with the whole package included.

358773387646767365_240755803It was a pretty great “Welcome back to Texas.”

I found myself in the kitchen yesterday. The hound at his proper post, waiting for the tiniest shred of sweet potato. I hummed a First Aid Kit song to myself as I made myself a big dish of roasted vegetables over brown rice. I felt a surge of happiness. It was brief, and it was accompanied with a pang of homesickness. But it was there.

And then do it all with a goddamn smile

So, I am planting roots. I am.

Roasted Vegetables with Whole Grains

From: My brain

  • 15 brussels sprouts, washed and cut in half
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small pieces
  • 4 kale leaves, washed, de-stemmed and cut into bit size pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is a super simple recipe, and is my go to for many a dinner. Turn the oven on to 400 degrees F. Toss your brussels sprouts and sweet potato in olive oil and salt and pepper. You can sprinkle in some extra nutritional yeast if you want (which I always want). Once the oven is warm, roast the brussels and sweet potato for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will want to roast for about 40 minutes, and you’ll want to throw in the kale (which you can toss with a light amount of olive oil and salt and pepper as well) for the last 15 minutes, that way they will get crispy but not burnt. While the veggies are roasting, start your grains. I did brown rice. You can throw all of this over any grain, my go to is usually quinoa, as it will give you some extra protein. You can learn ALL about grains (and how to cook them) from this 101 cookbooks article– I go to her blog for most everything. Cook your grains, and when your veggies are done, remove them from the oven. Then toss your veggies over your grain, top with 1 tsp of nutritional yeast and enjoy. This is a quick(ish) and warming meal. It will probably become your go-to, or it should be added to your “what should I make for dinner” solution.

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Friendsgiving

I love the holidays.

No no. You don’t get it. I LOVE the holidays. I’m annoying about it. I am the kind of person most people want to punch in the face when they think about over zealous christmas freaks. Yeah, I have six boxes full of decorations– what of it? Yeah, I start listening to holiday music on Thanksgiving. And yes, I will go to Starbucks (gasp!) and get a holiday drink in a PAPER CUP just for the seasonal drink.

Deal with it.

Here is the thing: I have never gone through a holiday season as a vegan. Vegetarian? Absolutely. As a vegetarian, I was able to eat an entire block of cheese, topped with some eggnog, swirled in some peppermint ice cream. Now, I have to search and hunt for a coffee shop that has vegan chocolate so I can get a peppermint mocha at least once. And yes, I have considered bringing my own soy nog to a barista– but I fear their judgement.

As the holidays approach, and I’m coming to terms with not enjoying my grandmas cheese platter, I am getting crafty with my vegan menus.

My friends and I just threw a Friendsgiving. 30 people crammed into my living room, drinking whipped cream flavored vodka (I did not partake), and eating an 18 pound turkey. What did I do? Well, I rallied with my three other vegan friends and made a feast of epic proportions.

Knowing we would be the odd ones out, I spent my morning at the farmers market. Making eyes at the cute market boy. I may have purchased more brussels sprouts from him then necessary, but those eyes! I can’t resist. With my tote bag full of goodies (local cranberries… what? delightful), I headed home to prepare.

Here is the menu:

Maple Glazed Tempeh, Brussel Sprout and Apple Salad, Wild Rice and Kale Salad, Broccoli Crunch Salad, Cornbread and Cranberry Compote.

I was feeling ambitious. Heidi Swanson does that to you. 101 cookbooks vegan thanksgiving menu? Yes please.

It was all perfect. The tempeh even had the turkey loving folks admitting it was delicious. (take THAT meat industry)

There is nothing better than farmers market/slaving away in the kitchen/succesful dinner parties to kick-start the holiday season.

Just a FYI– get ready for the CHRISTMAS EXPLOSION that will dominate this blog.

Think I can’t make yoga about christmas? Well sir/madam, I whole heartedly accept that challenge.