Black Fig Food

Me, Where A Hole Used To Be….

By December 3, 2017 My World

As my cookbook collection continues to grow, I find myself going back to the very same one time after time.  Frida’s Fiestas:  Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo, gifted to me quite a few Christmases ago,  is my go-to culinary connection to a culture lost.  About this time every year, I bust it out and cook up a storm of authentic Mexican dishes just to feel a little bit closer to my heritage; Papas en Salsa Verde, Flag Rice, Corn Pudding with Poblano Cream Sauce.  It is my favorite cookbook in my collection as it reminds me of an “Uncle Rico” moment…the summer I found a huge part of me in New Mexico.

In that summer of 2013, I took a dual credit Art History and Drawing course called Sketching the Southwest, visiting various museums, Hispanic cultural exhibits, and historical landmarks of New Mexico.  A whirlwind of emotions plowed me over from the experiences I encountered.     

 For myself, being a ‘real’ tourist for the first time in my life meant a great deal to me.  I was able to experience and become consumed by my travels for longer than three days.  I absorbed impact calories from so much art that I developed a yearning to live it.  A strong inner experience grew apart from my culturally stagnated position I had been in for years.  My experience urged me to search for the bona fide in the sense of a reality I wasn’t familiar with and wanted to learn.  I wanted to connect with the disconnection of my culture lost. And so…I share with you, excerpts from my final paper ( which I LOATHED writing) and project from the course.

An old traditional aura throughout the streets of Old Town Albuquerque mixed with a new energy filled with gift shops and tourists gave me a sensation of intrigue.   I fixated on the ‘old’ and was inquisitive of its history.  Walking through the town square was an observation of that history in an open air museum.

A tree was just a tree until I viewed it from the other side.  Suddenly, I saw a three hundred year old cottonwood tree symbolic of miracles depicting a vision of the Virgin Mary seen by Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531.

Upon entering the Town Plaza, my eyes absorbed the San Felipe de Neri Church, the convent of Sister Blandina and the home of Ambrosio Armijo, a Union soldier who built his home in the 1880s which is now the Placita Restaurant on the square.  The devotion to family, faith, and tradition were existent in their design.   For instance, the 125 year old staircase was just a staircase until I learned that it was imported from Spain in 1872 for the wedding of Ambrosio’s daughter to accommodate her 30 foot long wedding gown train.

As I embraced the nostalgia from day one of my tour of the Southwest, I was eager to visit the Hispanic Cultural Center.  Being able to fit the visit into our schedule a day after we had planned, was a very positive sign for me.  Had I not gone, I would not have experienced such a powerful connection with several exhibits. The Scraps of Life short film, produced by Gayla Jamison, echoed a haunting depiction of strength and family bond; two elements weak within my own familial history. The numerous grieving mothers, sisters, and wives of missing murdered Chileans during the Pinochet coup d’état 1973-1990 banded together to look for truth and justice.  The tears of a hopeful wife who had not seen her missing husband in years were symbols of faithfulness of a love that never died.  I found the film to be an extremely powerful starting point for the Stitching Resistance display.  The beautifully stitched layers of sackcloth and burlap arpilleras were a compelling narration of the film.  Human rights issues and violations, abductions and disappearances, women and community wearing white shirts to symbolize peace and black skirts to symbolize mourning were the stories created within each arpillera.  They served as a guarantee that the lives lost were never forgotten.

The Estampas De La Raza exhibit of Contemporary Prints in the Albuquerque Museum conveyed a more personal connection for me.  It was a manifestation of my coming to terms with self identity.  As I studied each print, I took note of the artists’ portrayal of the Chicano Movement and its traditions….its icons both secular and spiritual that have kept the culture alive.

In La Ofrenda (1988) by Ester Hernandez, a Latina is depicted as a Chicana who is proud of her past yet very much a part of contemporary American life.  She is comfortable with her identity adorned with a tattoo of the Virgin of Guadalupe on her back and a contemporary hair style.  She looks as though she is carrying her heritage with her into the future.

Although, Purgatory Mary (2010) by Germs (Jaime Zacarias), did not necessarily portray Chicano struggle like other works in the exhibit, it was a compelling piece celebrating more than one cultural experience.  The main figure in the print is a blue multi-tentacled ‘Mary’ with hands and eyes ostensibly derived from Buddhist sculpture.  One of the many tentacles holds an iPhone with a Los Angeles Dodgers logo as the screensaver.  Another tentacle is wrapped around a pinto bean (baby Jesus) and other tentacles spell out Germs across the composition in graffiti fashion.

Experiencing tourism in the Southwest was a revealing, educational, and inspirational absorption of art.  It fed my soul with a rich and ever-changing culture defined by passionate artists in various ways.  From the petroglyphs, Navajo textiles and pottery, to the Nuclear Science Museum and contemporary area artists’ studios, New Mexico’s art scene proved to be more than just red chili ristras hanging from an adobe home.  The scene, art, and museums were a very important catalyst to inspire the tourist within me to become a better artist.   More importantly, those same things gave birth to a thirst I’d never known; a thirst for commonality with art, history, my own culture and a self-confirmation that I do exist.

The Hispanic culture and art that I experienced with its richness in tradition, respect for family unit, and religious romanticism reached out to me louder than ever.  Coming from a predominately white upbringing, I felt a strong yet forgiving resentment brewing within me for the culture I had been given in exchange for the culture I had lost.  I came to recognize that the culture I was handed was not given in vain. My mother, who grew up extremely poor and was taken out of school at an early age to work in the cotton fields and pecan farms, wanted a ‘better’ life for me.  Her passion for wanting to raise me in an unfamiliar culture, subjected me to racism and lack of acceptance. I was completely ignorant of my own culture.

After my travels, I realized it was time to embrace the culture that had been absent in my life for too long.  So…for my final project for the dual credit course, I blending where my mother came from, where she placed me, and how I tried to wipe away that layer to expose myself to my culture lost.

Me… Where a Hole Used to Be – 2013 Installation

Ruthie Landelius

Acrylic on vellum, coroplast and cardboard

         Art, music and food have always been of great interest and inspiration for me.  They merge into a Trinity of expression which speaks to creativity and self discovery.  I cannot do one without the other because my aesthetic is informed by and relies on the feelings and information derived from the experience of each.  Influences from New Mexico have allowed me to realize that this “Trinity” had taken me full circle.  From multiple trips to this region, I had experienced new food, new music, and such penetrating art that threw me into a deep investigation as to who I was, who I am now and how I exist.  The progress of my self-growth has become an essential catalyst to the significance of the art I create.

Throughout my life, I have felt an overwhelming sense of loss without truly understanding what that loss was.  I had discovered that I had missed out on an amazing Hispanic Culture most of my life.  I had always known of this particular culture, I just always viewed it from the other side of a looking glass.  For years, I have hidden my talents out of fear of rejection.  Now, I have a drive to create artwork that connects with the things that constitute my being.

My mother’s old antique sewing machine with a dish of pecans and cotton resting on top represents Irene and her past.  The combined earthy browns are reminiscent of a dry heat in San Saba, Texas; her birth place.  The wood is thirsty for oil just as you become thirsty for water once you have eaten a pecan.  Please, eat a pecan.  The bright colored frame with the Sacred Heart above transports me to a welcoming Mexican hacienda; one that I had never known.  As I tug at my pearls and smear my lipstick, I attempt to remove the stress of having to fit in, be proper and innocent.  I cannot be Sandra Dee.  I can only be me, surrounded by vibrant welcoming colors, with my satin rimmed fedora, my Black Flag punk rock t-shirt, and my ink.  I search for me, where a hole used to be.  I am a Chicana.

UPDATE ON ART INSTALLATION:

Sadly, it was thrown away due to a poor storage choice on my part (under my bed) and a lil’ pup who liked to pee (under my bed).

 

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Passion: Fig and Blackberry Pizza with Mascarpone and Olive Tapenade

By November 19, 2017 Food, My World

This is Izzy.  She’s the one who looks like she’s about to stage-dive off the steep mound of dirt.  She’s one passionate kiddo.

Passion.  If we do not have it, are we wasting our lives?  I don’t really mean, “wasting OUR life”.  I mean, “wasting A life.”  An opportunity to really feel something…anything; gratitude, awe, true desires of our hearts that make our veins burn with anxiousness to take it in… are all within our reach.  Are we grabbing it when we see it?

In picking up a habit of journaling every morning, I often slip into a deep “aha” moment at times.  One morning, not too long ago, I had one of those aha moments about the power of passion.

Recently, I witnessed someone else’s passion…my very own kiddo’s passion.  Izzy has always been that fearless soul; at age 3, jumping into a 10 ft.-deep pool without knowing how to swim, sneaking out hammers and nails to work on crafts at age 5, and to this day at age 11, eating fresh onions for a snack.   I don’t know….maybe she’s just an adrenaline junkie or a masochist.  Like, what kid does that?!?!  This past summer, she developed an interest to learn the ukulele and began playing non-stop until her little fingers yielded blisters.  It was a prime example of where passion outweighs pain.  I was completely awestruck.  The difficult part for me was to step away from my own narcissism in thinking, “wow, look at what an awesome job I’m doing raising this kid to be passionate about something!” I had nothing to do with it.  Instead, I realized, I was witnessing this incredible little human experiencing the growth of passion all on her own.

Sometimes we get so caught up with keeping passion alive within ourselves, we miss opportunities to see it cultivate in others…guilty one, right here!  In this day and age of social media and self image being front row in our “priority bank”, it is important to step back and away from our own narcissism in order to recognize and acknowledge someone else’s passion.  I feel we have become our own paparazzi…self-cheering section, if you will.  I am not suggesting we brush our accomplishments under the rug.  Toot your horn when you want to!  We all all bad-asses at different times in our lives.   I am simply saying, slow down and just LOOK AROUND.  Passion is within others everywhere and can actually be an inspiration to us all if we just pay attention to its presence.  Although I won’t be eating fresh onions for breakfast any time soon, I will, however, be looking forward to finding that good ol’ passion out in the world…starting with this Fig and Berry Pizza!

Fig and Berry Pizza with Mascarpone and Olive Tapenade 

I love a little salty mixed with sweet so, I added a few dollops of olive tapenade and crumbled feta onto the pizza before sliding it into the oven.  You won’t be sorry.

1 container mascarpone cheese

1 vanilla bean, split and beans scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sugar

Pizza dough recipe or store bought to save time

4 to 5 fresh figs, sliced

1/2 cup fresh blackberries, sliced

1 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup olive tapenade (recipe below)

Prepare pizza dough as directed (3 1/2 hour process).  Combine mascarpone, vanilla, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.

When dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roll out dough onto a floured surface.  Place pizza stone in oven for about 10 minutes to get nice and hot.  With oven mitts (duh), remove stone from oven and transfer pizza dough on top.  Spread mascarpone over the pizza, then top with figs, blackberries, feta, and olive tapenade.  Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until mascarpone is bubbly around the edges and crust is golden brown.

Olive Tapenade

1 can black olives, drained

1 jar kalamata olives, drained

1 jar green olives, drained

1 small jar capers, drained

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme

olive oil

Add all ingredients into a food processor and process while adding a slow stream of olive oil.  Be careful not to over process olives into a paste.  Top over fig pizza or serve with toasted pita chips.

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Sunday Mix-Tape and Breakfast For Dinner: Frittata Love

By November 12, 2017 Food

Say what?  Breakfast for dinner?  Did you also say you wanted a super cool playlist to jam to while whisking your damn eggs?  I aim to please….myself and then push on to you!  I am horrible at figuring serving quantity because I have no idea how hungry you may be… I don’t know your life!  Seriously though, this will feed 6 to 8…depending on your “sharing mood.”

Potato and Mushroom Frittata

1 bag baby tri-color Yukon potatoes or just plain Yukon

1 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt and pepper

1 container fresh baby portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme

8 eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 cup finely shredded Gruyere cheese

fresh dill for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.  Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in oven on baking sheet for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat an oven safe large non-stick pan over medium high heat.   Add a glug of olive oil to hot pan then add mushrooms, red bell pepper, and onion.  Saute until onions become translucent and water from mushrooms has evaporated.  Mushrooms should have a lightly crisp brown sear on at least one side.

Remove potatoes from oven and add to pan with vegetables.  Add thyme and set aside.

Whisk eggs, ricotta, almond milk, cheese, and dill in a large mixing bowl.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Add egg mixture to hot pan with vegetables.  Cook over medium heat until eggs begin to cook around the edges.  Place pan in oven and let bake for 20 minutes or until egg mixture is completely cooked through.  Last few minutes of cooking, switch oven setting from bake to broil to brown top of frittata.  Using oven mittens, carefully remove pan from oven and set aside to cool before serving.

 

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A Forever Home Is Within Ourselves

By November 5, 2017 My World

Nature is a funny gal.  She never disappoints when I am looking for comfort and answers.  Here in Georgia, I often stand beneath the tall pines to feel a calm come over me.  With their statuesque presence, they hide me from the world so that I can take a moment to meditate and, simply, just breathe.

Back home in Texas, on the eve of Halloween, I was driving through one of my favorite neighborhoods and passed a beautiful home I have always admired.  Its gorgeous blue minty color,  I swear I can taste.  It has always reminded me of a cool blue taste in a stick of gum.  With its warm wooden embellishments and rich seasonal decor of illuminating jack-o-lanterns on every porch step, the home suddenly made me crave hot caramel sauce and pumpkin spice apple crumble.  And so, I began to profile the lady of the home.

Is she a sixty-eight year old lovely woman who stayed at home to raise her children and now has all the time on her hands to drop an insane amount of Benjamins at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s while her physician husband is saving lives and sleeping with his nurses?  Does she buy all of those things to mask her pain from an unhappy marriage?  Do I create this horrible scenario in my mind about her only because she gets to have this beautiful home and I do not?  The answers are no…I am certain her life is damn near perfect.  How awful of me to think otherwise.  Leaving my judgement on the street corner, I drive on past the house to a busy outlet and think to myself, “Will I ever have MY forever home?”

What IS a forever home, anyway?

During my first marriage, I used to dream of what my ‘forever home’ would look like…that place the kids would come home to during Christmas break from college to reconnect with childhood memories…..the home where I could babysit my grandchildren.   I looked and looked for it for two decades, all the while moving from beautiful home to beautiful home every three years, not realizing that those homes were as good as it would get.  After my divorce and fifth year in my rental home, I came to a sad realization I may never have it.  Sad…….OR is it?

Later that day, I found myself unintentionally driving past another home.   This particular home was the place I spent my early years as a sticky-faced baby in cloth diapers and then, a rather shy and quiet young girl through my junior high years…and the house was fucking gone.  I tried to muster up tears but, I just couldn’t.  I even made that squint-y face we all have come to love and know when we are on the porcelain throne ….still, I had nothing.  I sat in my car in total shock thinking, “How dare they tear down my childhood home! I didn’t get to say goodbye!”  I looked for something….anything to take as a souvenir.  All I could find were the memories in my head.  Memories of learning to ride my bike in the backyard, watching my father twist the heads off of chickens so we would have an evening meal, burying our pet cat after it had gotten hit by a car and then digging it up a year later so we could see its decomposition, and hiding behind the big tree by the alley, giggling at smut magazines my brothers and I would find….it suddenly hit me.   A home doesn’t necessarily keep memories alive.  Memories (wonderful and gruesome) stay alive in our minds.  THAT is the place where our forever home truly resides.

……and, nothing lasts forever.  Time and change make sure of that.  Seasons come and go along with a stronger inner growth within ourselves.

…..so that we can get through this thing called life, forever moving toward anything that strikes us as beautiful or makes us want to continue to grow.

 

 

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It’s finally happening…

By October 15, 2017 Food, My World

As many times as I have tried to ignore it…as many times as I have attempted to look the other way, I have finally met eye to eye with the aging process.  It has come at me hard with so many physical and emotional red flags.  In the words of my eighteen year old… “I am shook.”  Let’s count these fucking flags, shall we?

I now have a bottle of “Home Advil” AND a “Purse Advil.”

I am having to wear carpel tunnel wrist bands at night just so I can get to sleep.

A little bit of vanity has gone out the window along with my hands.  They are starting to look like the witch’s in Snow White….true story.

I almost ran over my lawn mower dude the other day because I couldn’t hear the blind spot detector on my car.  So, I’m basically losing my hearing and attention span.

There is now a very a sad truth I wear granny panties.  Here’s a tip…when the top of my “unders” practically touch my bra strap, it is time to go shopping, homegirl.

I caught myself drooling at tapioca pudding in the baking isle but then quickly snapped out of it remembering I needed panko.  Talk about some disturbing shit….

“Root touch ups” are becoming waaaaaaaaaay more frequent than before.  Who the hell is paying for all this dye?!?!?!

Pill popper, achy hands, hearing loss, grey hair….why am I even complaining???  The fact is, we are all getting older and some never even get to experience the aging process at all!  So, take the damn Advil, wear those comfy “unders”, let the grey hair flow, continue making memories and smile at the ones remembered, and in the words of Thug Kitchen,  “Eat like you give a fuck.”  Incorporate more spices with healing properties that promote longevity into your diet and recipes.  Turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro, curries, cardamom, ginger, cayenne, garlic….whatcha got to lose? We aren’t getting any younger.

Indian Spiced Lentils with Cilantro Mint

1 cup dried lentils

3 cups vegetable stock, more if needed

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 of an acorn squash, sliced very thin, seeds and pith removed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fresh mint

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 yellow onion, roughly chopped

crushed red pepper flakes for garnish

dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss squash with olive oil and then place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside.

Add lentils in a small sauce pan with stock and cook over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are softened but not too soft.  Add coriander, ginger, curry powder, cumin, salt, and turmeric to the lentils and reduce heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes.

Combine cilantro, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and onion in a food processor.  Pulse ingredients until they resemble a paste.

Ladle lentils into the center of a soup bowl with plenty of stock then gently dopple cilantro mint into the bowl.  Top lentils with a few slices of acorn squash, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, cinnamon and serve.

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Half-Ass Recipe of Soup and Croutes

By September 27, 2017 Food

As I stepped outside into the crisp cold autumn air this morning wearing a dress (I’m such a dumb ass), my leg hairs stood straight up in shock.  It won’t be much longer before they will get to WAVE in this air….you know, with No Shave November being just around the corner and all….but more importantly, the time for making fall soups is finally here!!!!!

Once a week, I clear out my fridge of all the red-headed step veggies and throw them into a nice “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” soup.  You all know what I am talking about…that half of a red onion, those few carrots beginning to not be so happy to see me, and an entire head of purple cabbage minus a small missing piece used for shrimp tacos last Tuesday night.  I’d be so damned happy if stores started selling shredded purple cabbage (not slaw) in itty bitty “one serving” packages.  Until then, I will use the leftover head to make a vegetable broth for soup and whip up a batch of croutes from leftover artisan bread.  I’m not even mad that my broth turns purple.  I waste nothing.

This week, I had green onion, that damn purple cabbage, portobellos, a roma tomato, coarse sea salt, pepper, and parsley to use for my soup broth.  I added about 1 gallon of water to a stock pot along with veggies and kept it at a slow simmer for about an hour, then strained everything through a fine mesh sieve and discarded the lifeless veggies.  Back into the pot the broth went…

I then added about a cup of dried beans (any of your favorite variety will work) to the broth along with two bay leaves and simmered for 2 hours, adding more water if needed.  Don’t roll your eyes at me while whispering, “Who the hell has time to wait for two hours?!”  Uhhhh, you do!  It’s just two Real Housewives or four Chopped back-to-back episodes…..mmmhmmmmm.

After the beans cooked to a toothy texture, I removed the bay leaves, added butternut squash, fresh corn cut right off a few cobs, a half cup of wild rice, and one head of broccoli florets.  I let it hang out over a low heat for another 45 minutes and then served with my Croute recipe.  You can find the recipe here along with a bonus soup recipe..my favorite one, actually.  You’re welcome.

If you get into the habit of doing this once a week, you can stock pile your broth in smaller batches by freezing it in zip lock baggies.  Anytime you need a little or a lot, it will always be there for ya!  I use it for other quick soups during the week.  Or, if you ARE in a pinch for time, you could always buy a box of organic from the grocery store.

On the same day of making this particular soup, I was able to use the veggie broth to steam a batch of vegetarian Asian Pot-stickers.  I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen (thanks to my masochistic ways) so all of this cooking really does not phase me.  I REALLY DO stand in front of the stove, barefoot but NOT pregnant, thank baby Jesus.  I digress….

I make these quite often, however, I was recently introduced to The Giant Asian Pot Sticker.  Seeing these prepared with a large egg roll wrap blew my mind on so many levels.  I just had to try it.  I usually make smaller dumplings (vegan or pork-filled) which can be a little more time consuming so, I was happy to see, where I was making 24 at a time before, I could now make four big ones!  Edamame Mushroom filling tucked into each wrap, lightly fried in a splash of sesame oil then steamed with the flavorful broth…yeah, this shit sent me over the edge with delight.  But, I will have to share this recipe on another day.

Happy broth making!

 

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Autumn, Vintage Finds, and Heirloom Bliss

By September 24, 2017 Food, My World

My time home is coming to a small pause as I wrap up the week and prepare to head back to Georgia.  I was super stoked to be here to witness autumn (my favorite season) slowly creeping in along with the Tri-State Fair into our city.  It is a time for that long awaited seasonal wardrobe change to hang from my clothing rack and cherished fall recipes to adorn the table.

The most perfect end to my week started the moment I stepped foot into Back & Forth Thrift Store.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love things with a history, a past, a story….it is here where I found heirlooms, once belonging to another human being, meant to be mine.  The energy I felt, coming off of the pieces that caught my eye, were stabbing at my heart, inspiration, and wallet.  Let’s just say I was murdered…and what a wonderful way to go.

It was refreshing to discover a new local thrift store with the most splendid set-up.  Although I sometimes welcome the idea of clothing grouped by color, I appreciated the garb mixed together (but still grouped in sizes) in various patterns, styles, and hues.  I like to hunt for my “high” rather than have it handed to me so, it worked out for me.  The owner, Kristie, and her staff (Korree) were so kind and went out of their way to help me find my inspiration.  I scored some really beautiful vintage Everlast Metal serving platters (there’s still some left, you guys!) and a few pieces to add to my wardrobe.  As I began walking around the store, I thought of my friend, GaLena, who introduced me to this wonderful store.  I vindictively thought, “I beat her here today.  I will take what she hasn’t seen yet.”  I’m a bitch like that…but I still love her.  She too has found her own inspiration at Back & Forth by curating and selling vintage clothing and lifestyle items online and in pop-ups through Lena Von Vintage.   Check her out.  I guarantee, you will find something meant to be yours.  And if you’re local, visit the fine ladies at Back & Forth!  They’ll have you strutting away like George Jefferson with purchases galore in tow.  I was totally George the other day…dreaming about serving some heirlooms on my new heirlooms!

Kick ass vintage Everlast Metal platters for food inspiration

I got a pretty sweet fuchsia dress and printed delicate blouse to pair with my favorite orange coat for the fall.

Vintage Amber Glass for the perfect “after dinner” dessert

Faux Snake Skin Pumps

Romantic Silver Tea Set for your Downton Abby moments

Inspiration in Color Contrast

Simple Oven Roasted Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

The flavor in these roasted sweet little gems is completely insane!  If they aren’t going into a salad, they end up straight from the oven into your mouth.  For a little extra flavor, you can add fresh garlic, thyme, and a drizzle of balsamic…whatever you’re into…you do you!

1 container mini heirloom tomatoes

1 glug of olive oil (about a tbsp)

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish.  Roast tomatoes in oven for 30-45 minutes or until they begin to brown and pop.  Remove from oven and add to pasta dish or refrigerate for salads or any other favorite recipe of yours.

For a delicious lunch with leftovers to make love to later, just combine the roasted tomatoes with your favorite whole wheat pasta and veggies along with my Arugula Pesto recipe.  For you carnivores out there, just top with grilled chicken or sliced skirt steak and a little Parmesan.

 

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CH CH CH CH CHANGES….

By September 17, 2017 My World

There comes a time in our lives when we discover, after 46 years, we actually don’t know shit.  Who’s 46, by the way?  I’m not 46….YOU’RE 46.  Anyway…..

Taking a short hiatus to reboot, recharge and re-evaluate one’s self can for sure be a shock to the system in a very good way.  I took a break from work to become more mindful of my surroundings, reacquaint myself with all the pretty things in nature and step back to see just how messed up my program of self-care, or lack thereof, has been for years.  And, I discovered A LOT.

Here are the things I learned:

1)  Not just one, but, ALL four dimensions (Physical/Body, Mental/Mind, Emotional/Heart, and Spiritual/Spirit) of our well-being must be activated for any one of them to benefit ourselves to the fullest.  If one quadrant gets out of whack, they all shift out of place.  Plain and simple, all of it needs to jive, folks.  We need balance.

2)  In most instances, there is no right or wrong.  Mostly, it is I who makes a judgement.  It is I who chooses to believe in what I see as right or wrong.  Rather, I need to be more mindful on finding what is helpful and what is not helpful to me.  And, any one of you may disagree with this and that is entirely okay.

3)  Just 10-20-30 minutes of meditation or a bit of Qigong every morning does wonders to my “I don’t want to” attitude.

4)  Getting a wild hair and telling myself “I’m going to hike eight miles today” (even though I haven’t exercised since the seventh grade) and actually fucking doing it, is one of THE best feelings of accomplishment in my life as of yet.  Although, I was expecting to see a huge Blue Lagoon-type waterfall or perhaps a Jurassic creature as a reward for my hard work at the turn-around point, I was stoked to have achieved it only falling just once and shitting myself twice.

5)  Practicing gratitude can protect me from being envious or jealous, help me sleep better at night, and give me balance to be open and accepting of my life lessons.  In the words of Rumi, a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet – “Where ever I am, whatever my condition is, I need to try to be a lover”….so next time you see me, you better pucker up!

6)  I was shown how and why change can be a scary thing and learned more about understanding the process to make it easier to accept.  I have had unrealistic expectations to change before and would self-sabotage my attempts.  I learned that by taking smaller steps toward change and not be intimidated by the bigger picture, I can commit to that change and maintain my progress.  Consistency + Time = Change, bitches.  Have a healthy self-esteem.  Be optimistic.  Have a vision.

7)  I REALLY needed to rethink my food environment and exercise program, you guys.  Mix a crazy eating (or no eating) pattern with life’s imbalances and little to no time for exercise, I had a stroke with my name on it just waiting to happen.  I discovered I was not taking control of what I ate, when I ate, and when I exercised.  I have plenty of time to take care of myself!  Oh….and a bottle of olive oil is supposed to last me wayyyyyy longer than a week.  With the help of some smart individuals (you know who you are), I learned what I have been doing wrong this whole time and have begun taking steps to snuff that shit out!

8)  I have been in a dark place before and hurt people I cared about more times than I want to admit.  But, I cannot turn back the clock to fix it all or beat myself up about it anymore.  I have to just look at those events as lessons learned (for both parties) and walk forward taller with the best intentions and kindness.

Thank you to everyone who enlightened me, held my hand, and told me to just live.  Most life-changing hiatus ever…

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Sunday Hot Mix and Asian Broccoli Apple Salad

By August 20, 2017 Food

Asian Broccoli Apple Salad

 I have so many different versions of this fucking salad, it’s hilarious.  Sometimes, I add cauliflower or shredded purple cabbage but I keep broccoli center-stage so that I don’t have to change the name of the recipe.  For this particular recipe, I had a “Waldorf feel” idea in my mind (hence the Vegannaise) but, I just couldn’t help turning it towards an Asian direction.  You can certainly play around with this recipe as well by adding a little miso paste to kick up the salt factor, switch out the cranberries with dried blueberries or chopped dates, or add walnuts….just turn on this week’s playlist, get in the kitchen and go in hard!

1 bunch fresh broccoli, broken into small florets, and stem, roughly chopped (yes, you can eat the stem)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 honey crisp apple, cored and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup frozen edamame

3 carrots, shaved or cut and sliced into thin sticks (or pre-shredded variety from grocery store)

2 tbsp Vegannaise

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional)

grated nutmeg (optional)

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

*Meat Eaters:  accompany with grilled shrimp or salmon. Use real mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip…just no) instead of Vegannaise.

Combine broccoli and the next five ingredients in a medium salad bowl.  In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the Vegannaise, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.  Add half of the dressing to vegetables, stir until combined, then check for taste.  Add more dressing if necessary.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nutmeg, if desired, and serve.

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Sunday Post-Punk Hot Mix With Breakfast

By August 13, 2017 Food

Hot mix is not a bad ass batter for waffles.  Hot mix is a bad ass playlist to accompany you in the kitchen.  Brandon jokes with me all the time about “hot-mixing” when I cannot listen to an entire song without changing it to the next.  Guilty.  So, here is my playlist of hot mixes I have been digging this week.  Wake up and feed your body and soul, and GROOVE!

Although they fall apart after a few days, these Rise & Shine Bars are an easy and delicious “grab-and-go” breakfast for those busy mornings.  I say, let them fall.  When crumbled, they make a nice muesli over yogurt and berries.  Or you can take a little more time and rustle up something more substantial and satisfying!

Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash

1-14 oz package firm tofu, crumbled into small pieces

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 sweet potatoes (skin on), cubed

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 green bell pepper (pith removed), roughly chopped

1 bunch green onion, julienned

2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

garlic chili paste for topping

alfalfa sprouts for garnish

In a small bowl, combine tofu, turmeric, and garam masala.  Set aside

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cube potatoes.  Add coconut oil to skillet, then potatoes, bell pepper, green onion (save a bit for garnish), thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir potatoes, then cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 5 minutes then stir potatoes, cover once more and let cook for another 10 minutes, check midway to avoid burning the potatoes.

Uncover lid and add tofu to skillet.  Cook for just a few minutes or until tofu is hot.  Serve with chili paste, remaining green onion, and sprouts.

This week is a killer post-punk playlist (one of my favorite musical subcultures) for you to get rad while you make brekky.  The Spotify list is only up for a week so, be sure to check it out before it’s gone.  I’ve included a list for you slackers.  Enjoy!

Talk About The Weather-Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Cool-Pylon

You’re Driving Me Mad-The Cravats

Green Fingers-Siouxsie and the Banshees

Change-Killing Joke

Ghosts-Abecedarians

India-The Psychedelic Furs

Road, River, And Rail-Cocteau Twins

Dark Spirits-Red Temple Spirits

Somewhere-The Danse Society

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