My job for the past 3 years has dominated a good part of my brain and my life, and therefore has left little room for tangential online ramblings. That being said, I’m endlessly seeking balance, and so while my resolutions … Continue reading
I’m attempting to be an adult. Do all those things that grownups do. Put away a percentage of my paycheck, talk about the stock market, get pre-approved for a house. You know, general adult-ing. Perhaps it’s because I’m going to be 30 at the end of the year. Perhaps it’s because my brother and sister-in-law brought a little human into the world that has become my everything. Whatever it is, there’s something in the air that’s telling me to plant roots. Instead of trying to scheme what’s next, I’m attempting to slow down and find my footing.
I have always been proud of my determination and drive. I won’t take no for an answer, and it’s something that has brought me a lot of amazing opportunities. I will continue to get loud about the things that matter. I will continue to push and create and dream big. That is just who I am, and some things never change.
This new version is just a little more settled. A little more content with the idea of building a home in a new town surrounded by the people I love more than anything. I’ve always felt that I had to wait for everything to be perfect. I haven’t found my dream man, I don’t know if I want kids, and I am not sure if I have enough money to be considered a real adult… I’m an incomplete puzzle.
It recently dawned on me that I shouldn’t wait around for those things to fall into place. Who knows if any one man will live up to that extremely high bar I’ve set. Who knows if I’ll finally fall into the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ camp of motherhood. Who knows if my savings account will ever be considered robust.
That’s just life, I suppose.
All I know is that there’s a little house waiting for me in a sleepy city south of Seattle. A house with a big yard and sun stained floors. I told my real estate agent that I require 3 things: natural light, a big yard, and a neighborhood I love. The rest? The rest I can fix.
The house I’m working on buying is perfection. It’s a tiny home on a street that is a mile from my family and my best friend. A house that has been lovingly cared for by a man who tends to his garden daily, making friends with hummingbirds and neighborhood crows. He told me the lawn smells like honeysuckle on summer evenings. To say I’m excited to brew sun tea and smell the air this summer is an understatement.
I’m ready to make a home for myself. I’ll let the rest of my unmatched pieces do their own thing… I’ll figure it out, eventually.
One step at a time.
Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata
I did the whole30 in April, which means my life was full of vegetables, fruit, eggs, and seafood. It was delicious and wonderful, but I was ready for some chickpeas, quinoa, chocolate, and whiskey to be placed in my mouth. It’s weird what you crave when you restrict your diet. Chickpeas?! Who knew I loved those little legumes so much.
But back to eggs. God love ‘em, after 30 straight days of hard boiled eggs as your go-to, you get egg fatigue REAL fast. Enter: The frittata, a wonderfully easy meal that hits the spot. Because it’s spring in Seattle, everything delicious is showing up at the Ballard Farmers Market. This frittata was a hodge-podge of all the spring goodness, and it turned out delicious. Feel free to substitute whatever kind of vegetable your heart desires, it’s hard to mess up this dish.
- 6 eggs
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ white onion
- 2 gloves garlic
- ½ bunch asparagus
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped kale
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Warm the olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Saute onion in olive oil for 3 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Chop off the ends of the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces. Throw in the pan with the garlic and onion. Once soft, add in the mushrooms and saute for another couple of minutes. Lastly, add in the kale and wilt slightly. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to eat without burning the top of your mouth (I do it every.damn.time) sprinkle with nutritional yeast and enjoy!
Sometimes all you need is a trip to Utah with your best friend.
I had hit my wall with writing. I would circle around a subject, draft three pages of dribble, and then quit without saving. My words fell flat and I blamed it on the redundancy of my life. I would wake up, walk Zep, work 10 hours, walk Zep again, and go to sleep. Of course this is melodramatic. My life is full of baby snuggles and trips to the top of the Empire State Building. But when I sat down to write, my brain went blank.
And then I went to the desert.
As someone who finds peace in being outside, I knew that the national parks of Utah would steal my heart. I had seen pictures and read enough Terry Tempest Williams to know that this part of the world holds an unmatched beauty. Everything around me was painted in red. The spires were as tall as skyscrapers, the canyons as deep as the ocean, and the dry air was filled with the scent of sage and sunshine.
Tracey and I did what you’re supposed to do on vacation, we meandered. When we wanted to hike, we hiked. When we wanted to drink beer, we drank beer. When the thunderstorms rolled in and the thought of setting up camp sounded awful, we got a cheap motel room and acquainted ourselves with the joys of Moab. We read books and made fires. We went to bed early, snuggling deep into our sleeping bags to fight off the bitter cold of desert nights. We chased the sunset at the grand canyon, running in flip flops to make sure we caught the moment the sun dipped low enough to paint the canyon walls a deep purple. On my favorite morning, we drove to Zion as the sun was rising and spent the morning in the Devil’s Garden. Scampering up rocks and wading through puddles turned to pools, we found ourselves on the top of the world.
And, because we’ve been best friends since birth, we ended the trip in Disneyland. While that place is hell to some people, it’s the place we have always associated with magic. Acting like kids in a candy shop, we got there before the gates opened, making a mad dash to be the first in line for Space Mountain. We made a list of all the must-do rides, eating sickly sweet churros and mapping the best route to avoid the children on the verge of breakdowns.
There is no one I would have rather done this trip with, and I came back a completely refreshed human.
There is so much perspective to be gained when you take a step out of your life and sink into a place of grandeur. The world is such an epic place and we are such tiny blips. So many of my concerns are in trivial things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. There were so many ah-ha moments on this trip, and I am back to feeling like myself. I came home with a very solid grasp of what’s important, and I am determined to move through life full of that desert joy. Who knew Utah would give me so much?
In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breathe, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space–an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness. – Terry Tempest Williams
It’s no surprise that tacos are my favorite food. When shopping for our trip, we knew the first meal on the menu were camp tacos. They are easy, they are delicious, and they can be repurposed in the morning for breakfast tacos. This recipe is best accompanied with a campfire and a cold beer, but if those aren’t in your near future, you can enjoy them in the comfort of your home. Side note: we forgot beans so we substituted chili which was weirdly delicious.
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ½ bunch of dino kale, chopped
- ½ can of chili or black beans
- Cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Sour cream
I think y’all know how to make a taco. But here’s how to do it while camping. Step one, have a headlamp if, like us, you come back after dark. Forget a sharp knife? US TOO! We had a weirdly sharp butter knife, and I only nicked my finger once. Chop up the onion, bell pepper and kale while the oil is heating. Saute onion first for 3-5 minutes, add in the bell pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add in the chili or beans, as dirtying another pan would be silly when camping. Lastly, add in the kale and let wilt for another 2-3 minutes. Add in your spices and let everything simmer.
We transferred all of that to a bowl and cooked our eggs in the same pan because camp dishes aren’t fun. Warm the tortillas over the fire, and then pop your veggie/bean/chili mixture on there, and add some avocado, sour cream, and salsa.
Lastly, put an egg on it.
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.
I leave Austin in five days.
This flat, hot and beautiful place has been my home for the past year +, and now it’s time to go back to Seattle. I’m returning to green trees, tall mountains, salty seas and family. I’ve come to the conclusion that a piece of myself will stay in Texas. This town will always be a second home. It wouldn’t be an honest departure without a love letter, so Austin… this one’s for you.
My Southern Love,
I will miss your warmth. I will miss your wet heat that felt like the biggest, sweatiest hug. I will miss riding my red bicycle through your streets in my cut-offs. I will miss eating tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then for breakfast again. I will miss your friendliness and open arms. I will miss whiskey on tap, two stepping with strangers and late nights with my favorite people. I will miss swimming in any body of water I could find, just as long as it got me out of the heat. I will miss being in the land of fireflies and topo chico.
Austin, I will miss your people. The ones that welcomed me without question. Those people who I would carry around in my back pocket if I could, little reminders of what it feels like to be surrounded with goodness. This town is full of folks who live. Take all of it and shape it into something worthwhile. Austin, you are a neverland. Sitting outside of barton springs in my bathing suit, watching the stars in the 85 degree heat on a summer evening, I looked at my friend and said, “this place is magic…”
Austin, you are magic. You are sunshine, pants, bike rides, food, friends and dancing. So much of my heart will be left in Austin, forever.
I am moving on to the next adventure. I ate the Texas sun, I had year round freckles, I scuffed my boots and turned all my jeans into shorts. Now it’s time to go home. I’m bringing a bit of the south home with me. I’m determined to bring some of the warmth, some of the genuine friendliness, all of the dancing and you BETTER believe I will bring “y’all” with me…
Onward and upward y’all, onward and upward.
Black Bean & Avocado Salad with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries & Cabbage Slaw
This is what my perfect plate looks like. Sweet potatoes are my jam, and when you add in the complete protein of rice and beans, I’m in heaven. And it wouldn’t be a well-rounded meal unless there were some greens, and the cabbage slaw fit the bill. It only seems fitting that I give y’all THREE recipes this time around, because everything is bigger in Texas. All of these dishes are great to mix together and stick into a tortilla, because EVERYTHING is better in a tortilla.
Black Bean & Avocado Salad
- 1 can black beans
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2.5 cups water
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 small shallots, diced
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- ¼-½ tsp salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large avocado, chopped into ½ inch pieces
Cook the brown rice, I use a rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove top, do whatever tickles your fancy. Drain the beans and rinse. In a large bowl add the beans and toss with limes, cilantro leaves, diced shallots and ground cumin. Season to taste with salt & black pepper. After your rice is finished, set it aside to cool slightly before you mix it in with everything else. Peel and slice an avocado, and serve the beans at room temperature, with chopped avocado on top or mixed in throughout the salad. This salad lasts for several days in the fridge, so it makes for the perfect lunch to bring to work.
Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch fries
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Ground chipotle chile
- Garlic powder
In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and chipotle chile powder. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet. Avoid crowding so the potatoes get crisp. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Ovens may vary so keep an eye on them and be sure to cut all the potatoes the same size. It’ll ensure even cooking. Cool and try not to shove them all in your mouth at one time. These are delicious.
- 1 head cabbage, cut into small pieces
- 2 carrots, shredded (optional, I didn’t have any, so I went without… delicious either way)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- Handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp honey (or agave)
- Pinch of cumin
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
Chop up your veggies and mix with jalapeno and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice and honey. Add to the veggies and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Toss until finally coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
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.
- 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.
I have been in Austin for almost a year. As the months have gone by my hair has gotten shorter, all of my pants have become cut offs and Gertrude (that’s my bike) has become my best friend. The beginning of my time here was tough. Change has never been my forte, and although my sister was here, this place didn’t feel like home.
My heart was tethered fast to the mountains and coastline of Washington. It’s the place where I took my first steps, where I’ve held best friends for over a decade. Washington is where my grandma hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas, where I’ve left bits and pieces of my heart. My first few months in Texas, I wore homesickness and nostalgia like a hat, a constant reminder of the comfort I had willingly left behind.
I came down here with the intention to will myself into a new person. Texas was my stepping-stone into shaping myself into a person that shed lingering jealousy, resentment and anxiety. I looked to the Lone Star state as a refuge from all those mountains I had built out of mole hills. Washington, albeit my safety net and comfort, had left me wounded. I hobbled to Texas, hoping that I could sweat out all that had held me from happiness.
Thank the heavens that I found my stride. Back in December, I had it in my head that by August I would be loading up my Subaru and heading back into the grey and green. It was my every intention to stay in Texas for one year, get my “wiggles” out, and then return to normal.
Except normal isn’t a thing anymore. The place I left won’t be there when I go back. My people are growing, changing and shifting into their new roles in life… as they should. We are all figuring out what it means to be real adults—new jobs, new boys, new adventures.
The only constant thing in life is change, and although every part of my nesting self wants to deny it, there’s a momentous freedom in rolling with it.
Texas, with its warm air and wide sunsets has become my home. I have fallen for Austin, with its endless bike routes, swimming holes that make these 105 days tolerable and so many tacos it makes sense to eat them for every meal. This town has swallowed me up and enveloped me in the biggest, sweatiest hug.
I now dream of days riding my red bicycle on the east side, taking pictures when I feel inspired and eating popsicles by the train tracks. My future is my sister and I making cupcakes in the kitchen, walking the pups before the sun rises and watching her nanny boys grow into little men.
I’m here because I chose to start something new. I’m here because life felt hard, and now it doesn’t. I’m here because I goddamn want to be.
Amen to choices, change and new starts.
Garden Fresh Pesto
- 2 cups firmly packed basil
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper to taste
I got this recipe from Choosing Raw, one of those amazing food blogs I follow.
Put the basil, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. Keep the motor running and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add in the salt, pepper, lemon and nutritional yeast and pulse until everything is combined. I ate mine with some quinoa pasta that I mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and kalamata olives. It was amazing. Vegan pesto… yes, please.
To say I need to detox is the understatement of the year.
As it turns out, I give in to peer pressure. Only when this peer pressure dresses itself as old friends from high school who are here to play SXSW. In my head I had every intention of doing what I always do when large crowds of people come around… flee. Instead I found myself in the thick of the madness. 6th street is a place I avoid like the plague when there aren’t an extra billion people in the city, yet I found myself there again last night.
Yes, you heard me correctly. AGAIN. I ended up being there, or nearby, almost every night this week. What can I say? It’s hard to say no to adorable, goofy boys from my past. I was literally walking home barefoot last night at 3 o’clock in the morning after consuming a bit too much whiskey and lone star. Don’t even get me started on the things I ate this week… Ugh.
See?! Detox is an understatement.
All of February I was so good to my body. I cut out wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol. I did yoga four times a week. I walked at least three miles a day. My body was beginning to feel healthy in a way I didn’t know could happen, and I felt SO strong.
March has not been good to me.
My back hurts from forgetting about yoga, I feel like my legs are turning into literal jello and my head hurts from the lack of sleep and alcohol that is pumping through my veins. Turns out that when you put your body through the ringer it rebels by giving you a cold and a lot of “I’m-going-to-be-huge” zit possibilities.
Do I regret a majority of the things I have consumed in the past week/all of March? Absolutely I do. Do I regret staying out late and wandering the sidewalks of the capitol building with crazy friends? Absolutely not. While slightly (or was it extremely?) intoxicated last night I’m PRETTY sure I kept saying “yolo” (as a joke, of course).
You DO only live once though, am I right? SXSW comes around every March and perhaps it’ll be my tradition to throw ALL rules out the window. Or perhaps the next time this festival rolls around and I have five silly boys sleeping in every nook and cranny of the house, I’ll make them a big batch of strawberry popsicles, send them out the door with granola (good performance food) and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Being an old lady DOES have its perks.
Honey Strawberry Popsicles
While it may seem weird to have a popsicle recipe in March, y’all have to remember that I live in Texas. Yesterday it was 86 degrees. It’s prime popsicle weather. If you are in somewhere that still involves scarves and mittens, just dream of summer and keep this in mind the next time the sun decides to come out.
- 3 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1/4 cup local honey
- 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice.
This is quite possibly the easiest recipe around. All you’ve gotta do is pop these ingredients in a food processor or blender, blend until smooth and then pour into the popsicle molds and let set for at least four hours. So good, so simple.
Fall is my favorite season.
The only fall that I have ever known is the one filled with honeycrisp apples the size of my head and my family’s annual trip to the pumpkin patch. It is the fall that is filled with blue rain boots and roasted pumpkin seeds. It is the gathering of friends over new soup recipes and pulling out my overly baggy sweaters.
That is the fall I know.
Yesterday I found myself in shorts and a tank top. Swerving through the flat streets of Austin on my red bicycle. Trying to keep up with a boy who makes biking look like a cake walk. It felt like summer. Warm air and the sound of crickets. Firemen playing catch outside the station.
This is the fall I will get used to.
Until I do find my rhythm with this Texas season, I will make soup. I will sit in front of the air conditioner with my baggy sweater. I will pretend the leaves are changing and that somewhere in this big old state there is a pumpkin patch with my name on it.
Chickpea Stew with Olive Oil Fried Eggs
adapted from Bon Appetit
3 tbsp olive oil, divided throughout the recipe
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 cups spinach
salt and pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked chipotle (the recipe called for paprika, I had none… the chipotle tasted like heaven, do whatever floats your boat)
2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed
5 canned whole tomatoes, crushed
3 cups vegetable broth
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron over medium heat. When oil is hot add 1 garlic clove. Stir until the garlic starts to turn brown and add spinach to the pot. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Cook the spinach until it has just wilted but is still bright green, about two to three minutes. Remove the garlic and spinach and set aside.
- The magazine recommends wiping out the pan. I did no such thing. Woops.
- Heat the remaining olive oil (I used less than 2 tbsp… there were still remnants, and it cut down on the fat content of the dish). When oil is hot add remaining garlic and the red pepper. Add the cumin and the chipotle, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes; stir to coat and let cook for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas start to brown.
- Add 3 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Occasionally mash a chickpea or two to show it who’s boss, and to make the mixture a stew like consistency. After the 20 minutes, fold in the spinach and simmer for another 10 minutes. If it is too thick, add more broth 1/4 cup at a time. I didn’t do this, as I like my stew to be REALLY thick. Just a matter of preference.
- Spoon all of this goodness into a bowl and cook your eggs. I just used the remaining oil that was in the cast iron, and cooked for medium low heat, covering the eggs with a little bit of water to cook evenly. I like my eggs sunny side up with a runny yolk, but do whatever floats your boat. The olive oil makes the edges nice and crispy, which is delicious with the stew. Yum.
- Serve the stew in bright bowls and top with an egg.
* I made some homemade wheat bread with this recipe because every stew needs hearty bread. If you have the 2 hours that it takes to make bread, go for it. We may or may not have eaten two loaves in two days… Homemade bread is just that delicious.