catching up + fresh starts

CATCHING UP + FRESH STARTS

First, I’ll play catch up with some dishes I never got around to posting.

Sweet Pea-tato Dumplings in Carrot Greens Broth

Excuse my constant making up of words on this blog, but I’ve got another one for you!  My sweet pea-tato dumplings are made of sweet potatoes and sweet peas.  When it comes to spring, I seriously crave peas, and this is a fun + innovative way to use them up.  I’m also a big fan of using all parts of the vegetable, so I made a broth featuring carrot tops.  The slight bitterness of carrot greens pairs perfectly with the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes and sweet peas.  A whole ‘lotta sweet going on your taste buds will thank you for.

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Whole Grain Porridge

Once in a blue moon, I get this awful canker sore in the very back corner of my mouth.  The pain is so intense that it hurts to swallow, smile, eat, drink, you name it.  Not to mention the awful metallic taste in your mouth (bleh).  I got one a few weeks back which put me out of solid foods for five miserable days.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll get sick of liquids pretty quick and your body will just naturally crave texture.. crunch.. something that doesn’t have to come out of a straw.  I found that I could somehow, slowly (but still painfully) eat soft vegetables and grains which meant one thing – porridge!

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I made big batches, changing it up slightly each day.  The very first day is basic and as the week goes on, you tweak it and add to it so that eventually you’re left with a heaping marriage of flavors.  This dish also ensures that you pack in plenty of vitamins/nutrients/etc. that your body so desperately needs in a time of healing.

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Dressed Up Cannellini Bean Salad w/ Braised Apples + Onions

Take any ordinary bean salad to the next level quickly and easily by incorporating some extra love.  In this case, I braised apples and red onions in a mixture of dijon mustard, balsamic, and maple syrup.  Pour this braised goodness directly over the beans/chopped cherry tomatoes/peppery arugula to create a wonderful steam bath of flavor that disseminates throughout.  Also, by keeping the tomatoes and arugula raw, the comforting nature of braised apples + onions are complemented with a nice touch of freshness.

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Raw Broccoli Stem + Carrot Slaw w/ Almond Vinaigrette

Don’t toss those broccoli stems!  They make great raw slaws given their crunchiness.  I paired the broccoli stems with carrots, and lovingly smothered them in an almond vinaigrette.  Almonds (and any nuts, really) are secret weapons for producing healthy renditions of creamy dressings without dairy (like mayo or cream).  Soft tofu and avocados are great dairy substitutes too, but I think nuts produce the brightest and creamiest vegan dressings of the bunch.

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Sweet Potato + Black Eyed Pea Kale Salad

If you ever catch yourself at a loss over what to make for dinner with limited ingredients, here is a great solution.  Think deconstructed veggie burger meets salad where the sweet potatoes and black eyed peas fill you right up.  These ingredients also soak in vinaigrettes very well, so you’re guaranteed to pull together a flavorful dish.  What more, you don’t need to douse your salad greens (in this case kale) with extra dressing because there’s already so much going on!  Try a bright, zesty vinaigrette for this one.  Great served warm or cold and perfect for picnics too.

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Tri-Color Saffron Infused Quinoa w/ BBQ Marinated Vegetables

Did you really think I was going to leave out quinoa?  lol.  In this dish, while quinoa sits proudly in the middle, the gold star goes to the beautifully marinated vegetables!  My marinade was a bit of a play on BBQ sauce (think sweet, smoky, & tangy).  I let the vegetables marinade all day long so they were just fireworks of flavor by the time we ate them.  Kitchen smells amazing, your family will think you’re amazing, and you’ll feel amazing because it’s all just a bowl full of heart healthy goods.

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And now, for a word on fresh starts coming my (and therefore your) way!

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My recent rejuvena-cation and bouts of downward dogs are soul-cleansing (yes) but also meant to open up new paths and shine a light of contentment back into my life.  Why back into my life?  Because for much too long, I admit to living by the rules and for the rules of how the outside world portrays happiness, success, and purpose.  I have been my own hypocrite when it comes to things like status, hierarchy, progression, materialism, and money.

A few months back, one door closed (that’s a nice way of saying my company shut down and I was let go) and instead of stepping through the next door that opened (taking a tempting new job offer), I made what feels like the scariest decision of my life to do something for me.

An entrepreneur at heart, I have many dreams.  Small dreams, big dreams, dreams that give back to the community and environment.  Right now, those dreams are in the form of pages and pages of bustling ideas.  I hope to bring those ideas to fruition in the coming months and years with the inkling that maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to call one or more of them a dream come true.

But before I can do any of that, I need to be in the right mindset and that’s what I’m working on now.  I refer to it as my detox phase from the corporate world ;) where yoga has been a huge help in re-teaching me how to just be present and content with where I am.  Re-learning to breathe again.  Re-discovering what it’s like to wake up on a Monday morning happy and to have a consistent stream of energy throughout the entire week.

I look forward to sharing my new ventures with all of you!  I know many of you are in a similar situation or know someone who is.  Feel free to reach out at anytime.  Happy to have a chat with anyone :).

“Smile at the world, and it will smile back.”

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