The work day was coming to an end. I was at my home office working on an article, and any moment I expected to hear my husband put his key in the lock and walk through the front door.
I adore this time of day.
I used to dread it, but I’m in a honeymoon phase. Dinnertime is almost here and I’m so in love with cooking.
Oh, sure, I’m thrilled to see my husband too. I enjoy hugging him and kissing him and sitting down together to talk about our days. But not that long ago, early evenings felt a little burdensome. Inevitably one of us would look at each other and ask: “So what are we going to do for dinner?”
Ugh! What a dilemma. We were usually at a loss because our cupboards were bare and besides, we were sick of the two recipes that we rotated through night after night after night after night.
Ever since we committed to making fresh, wholesome meals from scratch (or mostly scratch), our evenings have changed drastically. Our kitchen, for the first time ever, is abundant. We have fresh fruits and muffins, ingredients for homemade pizza, and spinach lasagna ready to reheat. We have a refrigerator full of red lettuce, apples, cherries, and tomatoes. Also we have a huge bowl of salsa because I’ve been on a salsa kick. (Basically, for the salsa I use the recipe from this book, combining corn, tomato, onion, pepper, carrots, black beans, parsley, garlic powder, and paprika. Then I add a little lemon juice, raw honey, and Dijon mustard for the dressing. I use it on everything – on top of mixed greens for a nice salad, as a topping to a veggie sandwich, on top of brown rice, as a dip for baked tortilla chips, etc.).
This week I’m experimenting with a variety of homemade salad dressings. When it comes to salad dressing though, my forever favorite is simply balsamic vinegar on top of baby spinach. I usually throw in pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and sautéed shitake mushrooms. The original recipe (which I copied from a menu in a restaurant whose name is slipping my mind) also called for bow tie pasta (I use tri-colored).
Tonight for dinner we’re having taco salad, and I’m going to mash up some avocados to make guacamole as a veggie dip. I’m excited about this.
People! How come no one ever told me cooking can be so fun?
Broccoli. Used to like it as a kid. Then one day I ate it and threw-up later that night. Haven’t touched it since. We’re talking 19 years of no broccoli. That’ too bad considering it’s one of the best vegetables out there – packed with nutrients, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
As I continue to adjust my eating habits, I am always looking for new ways to add vegetables into my diet. Broccoli is one vegetable my husband loves, so I usually steam a little bit for him and make something different for myself – spinach, green beans, whatever. But the other night I was boiling some Barilla whole grain pasta. I drained the noodles and poured some organic pasta sauce over the top.
As I was scooping out the broccoli for my husband’s plate, I decided to mix some of the florets in with the pasta and red sauce. Yum. I love broccoli again. But only this way. I’m the same way with asparagus. Can’t really stand the stuff plain (unless of course it’s picked fresh from my own garden), but I will eat it in an omelet. Go figure.
I’m trying to talk my parents and in-laws into coming to our place for Thanksgiving.
Ever since leaving for college at age 18, I’ve traveled over the holidays.
My hubby and I are moving in early November, and we’ll hopefully be settled into our new place by Turkey Day. I’d hate to move in and then turn around and leave right away. Plus, it sounds fun to host the holidays. Of course, I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, but a minor detail, right? I can figure it out.
One year I asked my mom if she’d teach me to cook the turkey. I arrived at her house ready to tackle the bird and learn how to make stuffing. My grandmother was visiting too. The two of them have been taking on Thanksgiving together forever, and despite my good intentions, everyone fell into their normal roles that year. My brother helped mash the potatoes, my dad prepared to carve, I found myself setting the table, pouring the wine, and arranging the relish tray. My mom and grandmother had their own rhythm and didn’t need anyone – including me – butting in. Or maybe I simply got distracted watching whatever movies my brother had rented from the video store. Either way, I never learned how to bake a turkey. (Actually, bake or roast?)
This year will be different. My grandmother no longer travels. One of my brothers is married and will be away. I’ve pegged the local, sustainable farm where I plan to purchase Mr. Tom. (For any vegetarians, here are some recipes I stumbled across on GentleThanksgiving.org).
My parents jumped on the chance to come to my place for a change. I hope my in-laws do too.
Times are changing. Times are changing.
Part of me is nervous about altering the rhythm of our holiday, but I’m excited too.
A few weeks ago I was in Tulum, Mexico for a week of yoga, meditation and silent beach walks. I arrived at night after everyone else had gone to sleep. Inside my cabana two flickering candles revealed a comfy bed draped in mosquito netting with a welcome card on the pillow. I picked up the card and read what was written. Holding it next to my heart I smiled. Then I crawled under the covers and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning as I was journaling in my notebook, I thought about the card and scribbled down what it had said: You are worth loving. I had a funny feeling that what I wrote wasn’t quite right, so I went back to my cabana to double-check. Sure enough, I had misquoted the card. It actually read: I am worth loving.
Notice the difference?
Why is it so easy to believe others are worth loving, but so hard to believe it about ourselves? Why is it difficult to say? To know? To live?
This isn’t a narcissistic kind of love; rather, it’s a “love your neighbor as yourself” kind of love. Eating mindfully, treating ourselves with kindness, practicing yoga — these are ways we can love ourselves by being stewards of our body and soul.
I began practicing yoga years ago after watching my then-boyfriend (now husband) ease into a backbend with grace. To this day I still can’t do that, but it doesn’t matter because self-love is about accepting myself for who I am, not what I can achieve. I will be blogging about yoga twice a week for the Eat Wasa Feel Good team (my partner, Zandria, introduced herself yesterday as the vegan blogger).
So here’s a warm welcome to you, loved one, and an invitation to join me on this journey. Feel free to post comments, questions or ideas. You can also e-mail me or visit my personal blog, Roughly Speaking.
Oh, by the way, my name is Jenny. And I am worth loving.