This past weekend I went to a wedding. Outside of the beauty of watching them become husband and wife, it had me thinking about commitment. What happens when you go from flirting with it to have it living on the insides, this willingness to attach, gambling with your heart, betting you will gain more than you could ever lose?
Writing feels that way to me. When I left a career a few years back, I was betting that I would not only brush past my fears, but that I would take them by the lapel, throw them to the ground and proceed to kick them into submission. It needed to be that serious for me. I saw how easy it could be. I could have spent the next 23 years at a job that admittedly had more lows than highs but I could have scraped by. I could always look forward to being in my mid-50’s and starting over again from there.
But I didn’t want to wait until I was worn down by years of stress and lack of fulfillment. The need to commit to finding out if I had what it took to do this far outweighed staying in misery, even if there was a level of comfort in that misery. I realize I am blessed to put in the work, even if half the time I am scared I am doing this only half-right or not at all. Even when it feels like no one is reading.
I will (and have) made my fair share of mistakes but I don’t have to live with wondering what could’ve happened if I never took a chance on myself.
If I never decided to commit.
Your turn: What have you recently committed to? How has it changed you?
This past weekend, Hubby and I went to another vegan potluck at a friend’s home. This time, it was a cookout complete with barbecued seitan ribs, corn on the cob, garden burgers, potato salad, pesto pasta salad, fresh cantaloupe slices and ice cream. Hubby even baked his chocolate chip cookies again.
My friend’s husband at the grill focusing on his seitan ribs
Pesto pasta salad
Since it was basically the same group, we had an amazing time yet again. I was pretty wiped out from attending 3 events and cooking before we even got there but we looked forward to seeing everyone and of course, it was all worth it. I also realized I had never been to an all-vegan cookout, either. We were all outside, talking, laughing, eating at picnic tables and watching the children run and swing. There’s really not much of a difference.
There’ s comfort in going to a place where you don’t have to explain why you eat what you do but by far, the comfort is always because of the people.
And the connections.
As I’ve written here many times before, it never stops being about the people and the connections.
Tonight, I decided to do things a little differently. Hubby and I are big smoothie lovers and I realized I’ve never featured any on my Meatless Monday posts. I decided to make pesto for the first time, too. I definitely had become a little too dependent on tomato and vegan Alfredo sauces so it was time to change things up. I got the recipe from greenevi.com and the Honeydew and Lime Smoothie was inspired by a YouTube video from Health with Kisha. I don’t remember her exact recipe but I remembered Honeydew melon and limes and I figured I could adjust according to my own taste.
We used a container of honeydew that was 1.17 lbs, the juice of 3 limes and blended it with ice.
Here’s Hubby hard at work juicing the limes for me:
We used organic red lentil penne pasta for our vegan pesto pasta. We love the Explore Cuisine brand for red lentil and black bean spaghetti.
Here’s the recipe:
Pasta of your choice
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
¼ cup of pine nuts
1 cup of fresh basil (tightly packed)
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup of olive oil
1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ lemon (optional)
Prepare your pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile roast pine nuts in a skillet until lightly toasted.
Add basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix pesto into pasta and add cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
Hubby has already said he wants to me cook everything again next week. I fell in love, too. The honeydew and lime smoothie was incredibly refreshing. I can see making that regularly especially when summer hits.
Let me know in the comments if there are any new plant-based recipes you have tried or want to try.
Today, we were on the road back home from seeing family and we decided to stop at Ninth Street Bakery for lunch. It was a few blocks from Duke University. We almost tried the Luna Living Kitchen Chapel Hill location but then we both said it was best to try something new. I was intrigued by a bakery offering several plant-based options. As soon as we walked in, we knew we were in for a feast. The smell alone was enough to buy out the store. Trying to be gluten-free saved me in this bakery. I could have walked out with a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread under each arm. Anyway, on to what we ate.
I ordered the Thai curry bowl, the savory hand pie (don’t think the flour was wheat) and a side salad. Jeff had the dal lentil soup and the savory hand pie. We loved every bit of it. The freshness and the flavor impressed us both. We left feeling satisfied and didn’t think of eating for hours afterwards. It has been incredibly encouraging to find healthy, plant-based options out on the road. It totally dispels the idea that you can’t be responsible for your health even if you travel frequently.
We would definitely come back again. As for next Monday, I already have a recipe in mind that I am excited to try!
I was listening to a podcast earlier today and they were discussing why people don’t try to change or at least don’t stay consistent in their efforts to change. The interviewee pointed out how easy it is to stay the same and do nothing. The interviewer agreed, acknowledging the comfort of being static. Forgive me for not remembering names, I listened to many today while working so I don’t want to attribute the interview to the wrong people.
It got me thinking that of course it’s easy (and convenient) to continue down a path you’ve always gone or to tell yourself the exact same story about your life. “I always do this…I never remember that or I never follow-through on….
It reminded me of a a quote I first heard from Jim Kwik: “Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk.” What if I’ve been telling myself a story about myself, convinced that I already know the ending? And is my mind being programmed by my negative self-talk?
When I engage in negative self-talk, I believe I am giving myself permission to give up. I’ve done it with some of my writing and wellness goals in the past. It makes the bad medicine go down, nice and smooth.
Except that it’s not so smooth, is it? While you’re swallowing, the taste gets a little sour–even rancid, doesn’t it?
When our self-awareness grows, the harder it is to feel the comfort, to convince ourselves we are at ease when we quit. Now that I am writing on a regular basis, I am not choking down anything.
I decided to make a salad tonight. Since the misconception from many people is that vegans only eat salad, I have shied away from posting one. However, I found a recipe for one that is hearty, colorful and sure to fill anyone up. I even made the dressing–Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing! Both recipes come from Jenn S. at veggieinspired.com.
1head green leaf lettuce(chopped) (romaine would be great too)
1red bell pepper(diced)
1cupfresh corn kernels
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss chickpeas with the chili powder, cumin, salt and cinnamon.
Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 20-30 minutes, shaking them around 1/2 way through. Chickpeas should be slightly crunchy…they will continue to crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
Toss the black beans with all the spices and warm in a pan over medium heat with 1/4 cup water. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, avocado and corn in a large bowl. Plate the lettuce mixture on each individual plate or bowl. Add the black beans to the individual servings and top with the crunchy roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with the Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing.
Salad before adding in roasted chickpeas and black beans
Creamy Cumin “Ranch” Dressing
Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing:
3/4cupraw cashews(soaked for 1-2 hours if you don’t have a high speed blender)
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Add additional water by the tablespoon if needed to thin.
Hubby says we should have it every night! The roasted chickpeas, avocado and black beans along with the dressing made this meal as filling as promised. This is the last Meatless Monday I will be doing as part of #bloglikecrazy. Challenging myself to try a new vegan recipe each week has made me push myself. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut with 4 or 5 of your favorites and take-out but this has opened my world up. I will definitely be posting new recipes in the future.
I was thinking recently about the first time I thought I about being a writer. I was around 10 years old. I still have one of my first old notebooks with abandoned attempts of short stories in a box somewhere. One of the stories was about an 11-year old girl named Stephanie who was spending her first Christmas after her parents’ divorce with her father and younger brother. The notebook had multi-colored tabs and I divided my work into ideas, first drafts and final drafts. I was also gifted multi-colored retractable pens. I still remember the glee I felt pushing one color down and watching a new hue pop up each time. The first draft of my Stephanie story was written in a teal cursive.
What I remember most fondly is how I thought this was the beginning and I couldn’t wait to publish my own series of books like Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books and be an acclaimed teen author. I love that I had dreams as a child. One of the most precious things about a child is their innocence. I was allowed to have mine. I had parents who bought me books and notebooks and colorful pens and never once made me feel silly about writing my stories.
They were my treasures. Mine to have. Mine to hold. Mine to keep.