around

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I’ve been taking to the sauna each day after work.  It’s been cold enough here (re: windy) for me to pull out my winter coat heralded from the blizzard days.  It only works because I always feel like I have a lower core body temperature than most.  (Is that physically possible?  Mildly concerning?)  We just discovered a coat closet at work stuffed up with brooms and a vacuum and one of those metal dollies, which tells you how little people don jackets here.  Okay, earlier this week it was in the 70s and I was in heaven, at the beach, glimpsing summer on the milky horizon.  Either way, I’m grateful for both kinds of days.  And I get to be now, since wretched weather isn’t the norm.  The best is pattering rainfall on my bedroom window, the one just above my plebeian floor mattress, as I fall asleep or fall awake.  Somehow the rain scatters at the thought of sunlight and gives us our time to turn our face upwards, reveling in the treasure of the nightly rainfall.  All without living in the sticky, salty tropics.  All without living in the bitter, biting midwest.  I am starting to miss the city so much; always something to do and some place new to explore.  But I know I need to be here now, to finally hear what my breath sounds like without the mask of everything I put on before.

I keep trying to carve out time in the evening for things I think should qualify as “personal time,” including book reading, loom knitting, journaling, yoga-ing.  But I always seem to end up in the kitchen.  Today I played around with charred eggplant, homemade hairspray, cookies, dog treats.  I cannot deny that that is my restoration, my meditation, my happy place.  So often we try to mold ourselves to be “better versions of ourselves” when in fact, we were at the core, living it all along.  I’m all about personal growth and challenging the self, but there’s a call for near-daily realignment with our soul; glimpsed most often in the rituals we conduct naturally.  I want to be an avid reader again, but now the pages of the most interesting story seem to fall open in the cast-iron skillet, in conversations with my brother, snuggles with the puppy, and strong cups of tea.

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Where this fails on the glamorous front, it should win breakfast awards.  I think by this point I’ve really honed in on my CHOPPED skills and started to embrace that I enjoy most what I throw together myself and end up more pleasantly surprised than I do following someone else’s recipe.  When people give their own dishes high accolades and they don’t always live up, I’m usually left thinking I could’ve done it better if I’d just followed my own creative jolts (raise your hand if you’re a narcissist!).  I do the exact same thing which is why I’ve tried to steer clear of offering up actual recipes and more just suggestions and glimpses into my meals and creative processes, since I can tell you I LOVED something but I can’t expect you’ll love it too.  As my mom always tells me, I have different tastebuds.  (And my tastebuds are the BEST!)

coconut milk | frozen strawberries | maple syrup | Dandy Blend | protein powder | pink salt –> blended to pudding consistency and refrigerated

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I’m PREEEETTTY SURE I can digest that cow’s milk butter better than those vegan legumes (I think they’re yellow split peas but not 100% sure (they were hand-me-downs)).  It’s so frustrating when you eat a whole foods diet – almost 100% plants – and you still have times when you don’t feel like your body is functioning properly.  There’s all kinds of tips and tricks to make things more digestible, but believe me, I’ve tried a ton of them and they don’t work for my lifestyle and my body.  I’m cutting out beans, legumes, and other high FODMAP foods for the month of February to see if I notice a change.  Will keep you posted.

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Look at that stack of fresh, raw veggies!  What a rainbow on a gloomy, rainy afternoon.  Sometimes I get to be such a pro at pantry-based meals that I just CRAVE fresh produce.  I’ve been eating a ton of cooked soups and stews, too, lately, so one night I up and took myself to the grocery store and put every raw vegetable in the cart that was calling my name.  Easter egg radishes, sweet peppers, zucchini squash, rainbow carrots featured next to that hummus recipe from Ottolenghi I’ve been talking about.  It’s also likely a huge source of my digestive issues this week but it was gooooooood.

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Up until last week I worked at the gym where we are currently members.  It was great at times, but mostly it wasn’t the (non-profit) political structure in which I wanted to be involved.  I’m so grateful for my time there because it really stretched me to interact with my new community, and now even when I pop in just to use the sauna it feels like an event because I have to stop and talk to EVERYONE.  Also, it’s given me some liberties that someone like me needs because otherwise I’m just too introverted and would rather stay home.  I mean, if shutting myself up in the sauna solo for thirty minutes isn’t introverted, I don’t know what is…

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On a whim, while whipping up homemade hairspray and purposefully burning eggplant, I tossed together these tahini cookies. If molasses was my flavor of Winter 2016, tahini is Spring 2017.  These are hinted with tangerine oil and a little bit of orange-y chocolate frosting.  All from scratch, of course.  Off camera, I also blended up molasses, peanut butter, and coconut oil and froze in little pucks for the wolf pup.  He hangs around our culinary adventures so often and I try to always give him a taste, but he rarely dines.  Those are a special treat just for him and he loves them!

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