Singledom and Kale Salad

The other day a friend asked me, “How come you’re single?” I think their heart was in the right place, but it definitely was a rage-inducing moment. The way it was asked was drenched in pity & wonder at how I could be 26 almost 27 and be as single as can be. I laughed it off, shrugged my shoulders and used my age-old adage, “I hate everyone?”, which of course isn’t true. I love people. I really do. But I also have so many deal breakers I find myself tripping over them on the daily.

It’s not for lack of trying or wanting. It’s just for lack of interest. I have had two great loves in my short life, and they’ve set the bar pretty high. While the heaviest of issues gnawed at us until we split at the seams, I loved them with every cranny of my being. You know what I mean, the kind of love that sinks down into your soul and settles there. And without meaning to, I size up every potential partner to what I had… Yes, it’s horrible, but it also means I won’t ever settle. I know what it feels like to be loved so completely that even my bones felt embraced. I know what it feels like to trust and admire and adore. There’s no point in pretending with someone unless I feel the sparks. I know what true, gut wrenching, heart swelling love feels like, and I’m going to wait this one out until it comes around again.

Of course loneliness scratches at me again and again. I pride myself in being fiercely independent, and while my job, friends, dog and yoga keep me busy 80% of the time, that 20% can be achingly lonely. I remind myself that my life is filled with so many beautiful things, but I still have to brush off those self-deprecating thoughts that come up when I reflect on why I am alone.

I suppose my honest answer to my friend should have been, “I’m single because there hasn’t been a person to sweep me off my feet in a long time. I’d rather be alone and occasionally lonely than settle for someone who makes my heart simply pitter. Give me pitter-patter or it’s a no go.”

And that’s what I need. The pitter with the patter. The whole hog or nothing at all. Who knows if or when that will happen, but I’m going to hold out until I feel that again. I remember what it’s like to be filled up to the brim, and I won’t settle for anything less.

Wild Rice & Kale Salad

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with good friends. We ate, drank and loved for 7.5 hours. Just how Thanksgiving should be. As a vegan(ish), Thanksgiving has always been hard. Yes, I indulged in some cheese this Thanksgiving, but I also gorged on so many vegetable side dishes I felt ill for two days (over eating for the WIN…?) Either way, this dish is great for Thanksgiving, potlucks or just as a side for your dinner. I had so much left over it was my lunch for a week, and I wasn’t complaining.

ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped/torn
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start with your rice. Bring 2 cups water and your rice to a boil. Bring heat to low and simmer for 50-55 minutes. While the rice is cooking, wash and chop all your veggies and walnuts and prepare your dressing. Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. After rice cooks, cool before adding in the vegetables, walnuts and dried fruit. Then add in the dressing and enjoy! This is one of those salads that gets better after sitting for a while. Eat and eat and eat.

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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.

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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)

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