De Ma Cuisine

Thoughts Archive

Saturday

18

July 2020

0

COMMENTS

Feeding Myself

Written by , Posted in Burlap & Barrel, Menu Planning, Otamot, Thoughts

I notice a difference when I’m feeding myself well. For example, a couple weekends ago I didn’t eat enough, and what I did eat was a lot of empty calories. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” (Julia Child quoting Oscar Wilde) has a place in my diet for sure. But, I feel a difference physically when I really feed myself. When I ate that way I felt bad all weekend. Physically poor, mentally and emotionally drained, zero energy for anything. Some of that might be unrelated (hello trauma, life, Covid, BLM, hormones, relationships, grief, work, stress…). But, the expression “garbage in, garbage out” seems fitting for my imbalanced food-life relationship of that weekend.

Since then, these last couple of weeks, I’ve been more mindful about what I’ve been eating. I ate things like Tofu with Cabbage and Crispy Rice, Brothy Beans on Toast with Creamy Coleslaw, and a Simple Garden Salad topped with tuna and seeds. And I feel great. The tricky part is the weekends. I’m going to try to make mostly good choices this weekend. It means doing some prep work ahead of time: washing and cutting fruit, making sure there are good options for meals, and picking greens from my garden and washing and drying them. And, remembering to show myself grace when I don’t follow my healthy eating plan perfectly. That’s ok too.

One of my goals for today is to plan our menu. It helps me to start the new week well when I have ideas in place. Here are some healthy-ish meal ideas to help with your menu planning for the coming week.

Dinners

Lunches

Breakfasts

Happy Eating!

*These are affiliate links. I get a small commission for any sales generated from these referrals.

Friday

3

July 2020

0

COMMENTS

Simple Garden Salad

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gardening, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, Nuts, Quick and Easy, Salads, Thoughts, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

I have so much to say that I feel as though I might burst. My thoughts seem to tumble about and get muddied because there are too many to organize. I don’t know where to start.

I guess I’ll begin here. In the garden.

I feel like I should be talking about something other than plants and seeds and watering schedules. But, right now the world is showing me that there’s not a lot of joy out there. So, I’m going to share something that brings me a bit of happiness in the midst of turmoil.

I’ve been growing vegetables for years. My first garden was planted in hard-packed sandy dirt. It was at the top of the driveway of the second Central California house that Tim and I lived in during our second year of marriage. It resulted in five foot tall tomato plants with more fruit than we could eat. It was glorious.

The next garden was in raised beds set on a cement patio in our third house. That garden’s potato yield was incredible. A year or so later we moved again. This time to an apartment in Southern California. We brought a few of the garden boxes along with us and tried to grow herbs and tomatoes. They were always covered by a thin layer of soot from the nearby freeway. But, the real thwarmp that killed them was when the landlord renovated the unit above us and blew tiny paint droplets out the window and all over the garden. I was furious. I demanded to be compensated for the loss. I was. But, it didn’t fix the ruined garden. A couple of years later we moved into a house with a small front yard that served as our outdoor space. We put the garden boxes on the tiny cement patio. I was able to coax some tomatoes and basil to grow, but not much else. The next year I grew one acorn squash and some basil, but the tomatoes got blight.

We finally gave up on Burbank’s insane cost of living and moved to the East coast. Going from an almost year round growing season to one that’s about four months long has been a challenge. Last year I got three tomatoes. Total. And they were green when I picked them the day before the first frost. Green beans have grown well for me in this climate. My hope this summer is for jars and jars of dilly beans. I made some last year and they were delicious. I’d wanted to make pickles again too, but something has eaten all of my cucumber plants. Last year’s pickling cucumbers produced enough to can two quart sized jars. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that that probably won’t happen this year.

Of all the gardens we’ve had, this one is my favorite. Last summer Tim worked so hard to build it. He cemented eight foot posts to keep the fence strong and the deer out, buried the coated chicken wire a foot deep to deter pests, and made it as perfect as I could have hoped for. This summer we’ve added solar powered lights, an umbrella that Tim found at the dump, and mulch to cover the weed mat that lined our pathways. We’ve planted sunflowers, nasturtiums, and morning glories around the perimeter of the garden. Some hanging in pots, some in the ground. I had great hopes that the English peas would grow up the sunflowers. But, the sunflowers have had a rough spring. The same thing that’s eaten my cucumbers seems to like them too.

Whether or not the cucumbers survive, the sunflowers grow, or the tomatoes produce, in the garden is one of my favorite places to be. Nature is great, from a distance. I don’t like to hike or be outdoorsy. So this little space is just perfect for me.

I don’t know if this is where we will stay for years and years. It’s been a tough place to fit in and feel like we belong. That doesn’t mean we should leave. I love lots of things about where we are. The main thing being my home with Tim and Brando. They are not specific to this place. Home is where we are together. For now, this little piece of the East coast is it. And we’ve built a glorious garden to play in during the warm months.

Yesterday I picked some greens to use in a salad for lunch. It’s so simple that it doesn’t require a recipe. Here are the basics:

Simple Garden Salad

Ingredients

  • greens (arugula, spinach, beet, baby kale)
  • fresh herbs (basil) (parsley and chives could be great too)
  • seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds) (chopped nuts would be great too)
  • homemade dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a splash of maple syrup, dijon mustard, and salt)
  • fried eggs or crispy tofu
  • Burlap & Barrel Black Urfa Chili*
  • Maldon salt

Directions

  1. Wash the greens well. Tear into bite sized pieces.
  2. Sprinkle the greens with seeds and drizzle with dressing. Top with fried eggs or crispy tofu. I like my eggs over medium: whites cooked, yolks still runny so that they become a second dressing. Sprinkle some Black Urfa Chili* and Maldon salt on the eggs or tofu.
  3. Serve alongside last night’s reheated leftovers.

*Black Urfa Chili is an affiliate link, which means that I get a small commission for any sales generated from referrals.

Sunday

29

January 2017

0

COMMENTS

New Moccasins

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

Moccasins

I got some new moccasins. I love them. Or at least the idea of them. But, I don’t like them… yet.

They’re made from this beautiful, soft, moose leather. I tried them on when we were in Ontario in September. I’d been thinking about them ever since. I finally bought them at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market on New Years Eve.

I didn’t hate 2016. It had its highs and lows like any year will. At the end it got comfortable, like anything does. I got used to writing 2016. Now we’re in a new year. I have to get used to writing a 7 instead of a 6. That’s the least of my concerns though.

I don’t like my moccasins because they’re a size too small. Done on purpose because their maker told me to. As I wear them the leather will stretch. It will conform to my feet. I will get used to them, and they me. But, right now it’s uncomfortable. My toes are a bit pinched. I want to wear my old slippers. The ones that are so stretched out that my feet fall out if I don’t wear thick socks. The bottoms so worn they no longer retain any warmth. Yet, I long for their comfort and familiarity. I’d rather wear them than the too tight moccasins. They’re easier. But, instead, I’m wearing the moccasins. And with every hour worn they pinch less. My toes stretching the leather gently. Little by little they are becoming mine.

Moccasins2The new year turns the page on a lot of things for us. We’re getting ready to step out of some old slippers, into uncomfortable tight new ones. It would be easier to just make do with the old ones (in this case, Burbank and its ridiculous cost of living). It’s comfortable, our community is here, and we like it. But, it’s not supporting us anymore. Its soles retain no heat. The new year closed the door on our trip too. We’d been gone for so long that life on the road began to feel normal. Ending the trip meant saying goodbye to a season of adventure and wandering. We knew it couldn’t go on forever.

So we came home. We’re packing up, ready to move on. We will cherish the memories of our time in Burbank and our four month adventure, and take on the new uncomfortable road ahead.

Tuesday

17

January 2017

0

COMMENTS

Breaking Up With Burbank

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

We have decided to move. We could have come back home, gotten jobs, and made Burbank work. But, it feels a bit like when you’re in a decent relationship, but there’s no long-term potential. You love them, but don’t want to marry them. We love Burbank. But, we want more. We want more than living ten feet from our neighbors, no matter how wonderful they are (and if you know our neighbors, you know what it means to say this). We want land and a hobby farm and chickens. We want more than a nine to five that brings in the big bucks. We want meaning and purpose and intentionality.

We have lived in Burbank for six years. Our community is here. We’re going to be leaving behind an enormous piece of our heart. But, it is something we need to do. We can’t get ahead in Burbank. For our lifestyle, it’s too expensive. We will never be able to save money for our hobby farm and used bookstore dreams if we’re spending ninety percent of our income on rent. Someone has to put their foot down and say they’ve had enough. We’ve had enough. We won’t rent for years only to never be able to afford to buy a home. For us, that wouldn’t make sense. It won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. The housing market won’t realize that we’re on to something, that the cost of living here is in fact ridiculous. No one will notice. But, it will matter to us. We will be putting our collective foot down. We’ve had enough. We will give you, our dear community, up, because we feel like we have no other choice.

If you’ve met us, we’ve probably bragged about these people. These dear friends of ours. They’ve become family away from family. They’ve walked alongside us, holding us up through job struggles, infertility, and life’s ups and downs. We’ve eaten countless In-n-Out burgers, shared dinners and laughter on our lawn, and pondered life, faith, books and movies for hours on end. Wherever we end up, there are some big shoes to fill.

Anyone want to come with us? It would make it so much easier… I’m not sure we can leave you behind.

Wednesday

23

November 2016

0

COMMENTS

Finding Our Place

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

nebraskasunset2

On Sunday we packed up the car to head out again. I simultaneously like and dislike it. Tim pointed out that there’s something comforting about getting back in the car after a stay. And he’s right. It’s our home base right now. It holds all of our possessions, it carries us from place to place, it provides warmth to our toes on cold days. But, packing up again means one more place that we’re not going to settle in to and make home. One more place that someone else has successfully tamed that we won’t. One more place that’s not our final destination.

We didn’t expect anyone to take us in permanently. Some have offered that we can come back, that we could stay as long as we want to. We haven’t wanted to overstay our welcome (although we’ve tried – sorry parents). We’re looking for permanence in the midst of constant change. That’s tough for me.

I’m a homebody and an introvert. I like my routine and my schedule. I like to know what’s coming. This trip has freed me from a lot of that. It’s shaken things up. But, still, I long for home. Maybe it’s the home we left. I’m anxious to get back, to purge, rearrange, and reacquaint. Or maybe it’s just a home, any home, where Tim and I can settle. I want to find a place for Brando’s bed. I want to set up the kitchen, then move everything again when I realize the silverware is in a wonky place. I want to arrange and rearrange the living room until the couch is in just the right spot.

brandokansas

I find myself dreaming about houses we’ve stayed in as I’m trying to fall asleep. Where I’d put our furniture, whether or not I’d have a cellar, what room I’d choose to be the library – all these occupy my mind as I’m drifting off. We’ve moved many times in the ten years that we’ve been married. Each time I find so much joy in setting up our home. This time feels different though. We’ve never searched this long for the right place before. And I start to wonder if we will know it when we see it, or if we should just settle on something, anything, so long as we can afford it.