Monday, September 29, 2014

black bean bowl.

bowl4 Last week, I wrote about how I plan meals for our family. This recipe is an example of what might come of that plan. It's hardly a recipe because it was created from the ingredients we had at home on a Wednesday night, but there's no harm in sharing anyway!

It is always best to soak beans for an extended amount of time (I try to start the soaking process before I leave for work in the mornings), but in case you forget (as I did on Wednesday), here's a great how-to for quick-soaking beans. If you're new to soaking beans and would like to read a bit more, this is a well-written and informative article.

bowl1 bowl3 B L A C K  B E A N  B O W L
Serves 2, with plenty of leftovers

1 cup pre-soaked black beans
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup steamed corn
3 small peppers, chopped
1 heaping handful spinach, chopped
1/4 of onion, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
Honey-Lime dressing (recipe below)

1. Cook black beans on a low simmer for one hour (for firmer beans [my preference]), or an hour and a half (for softer beans) with 2 cloves of garlic in 2 cups water, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Add 1 teaspoon salt during the last 10 minutes of cook time.
2. Divide beans into two bowls,* and top with corn, peppers, spinach, onion, avocado, and dressing.
3. We like serving with these chips.

* This is where I save the remaining beans and toppings + dressing in a reusable container for the following day's lunch.

bowl2 H O N E Y - L I M E  D R E S S I N G
Serves 2, with plenty of leftovers

1/2 avocado
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon coconut milk
up to 2 tablespoons water, for thinning
up to 1 teaspoon salt

1. Place all ingredients (except for water) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and combined.
2. If desired consistency is not reached (or your appliance needs a little extra help), add up to 2 tablespoons of water to thin the dressing. Add salt for taste.

Enjoy! xo

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

construct your meal consciously.

My dream kitchen is big and open with beautiful tile, hardwood floors, a wide, sprawling countertop, fresh flowers on every surface, and a fridge full of vibrant, organic produce. I have endless time to cook whatever my heart desires, and there's always a healthful dessert in the oven to enjoy later that evening. (I let my dreams run pretty wild.)

In reality, our kitchen is quite small. It's (more or less) galley style with scarce counter space, a very old oven/stove combination, and the refrigerator door cannot even open all the way (that might give you some reference as to how wide our kitchen is). When I get home, I'm often in a frantic mad dash to prepare something tasty and healthy.

It's all quite imperfect and, truthfully, our kitchen is the last place I want to spend my time. However, I do enjoy cooking if it involves fresh, wholesome, vibrant ingredients, so our little kitchen has to make do for now. I pretty much follow the same procedure for making our meals. I make a lot of bowls: hearty, quick meals that pack a lot of punch and taste great, too.

As a general rule, there's something from every category (above). I include mostly veggies and incorporate items from the rest of the sections, too. Obviously there are no rules to this, but I've found that I have the most success when I build from this template.

Here's to cooking (with or without that dream kitchen)! ;)

Monday, September 22, 2014


weekenders2 weekenders1 weekenders3 weekenders4 weekenders5
This weekend was slow and quiet. Sometimes that's just how we like them around these parts. We took afternoon walks, had late night TV marathons, and ate sesame bagels on a mellow Sunday morning.

Lately I've been thinking about being more intentional with my time. I often feel like I have no free time and it's running me ragged at a fast pace. Last school year, I worked incredibly hard at having more of a work-life balance in order to keep both parts of myself happy and in harmony. It seems almost necessary to dive head first into the beginning of the school year, but I've found that in the middle of September I'm already feeling stretched thin and frazzled.

Working hard and giving my best at my job is important to me, but when the day's work is done, I'm finding more and more that it's equally important to relax, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

it's all beautiful.

beautiful4 beautiful1 beautiful3 beautiful2 Sometimes feelings are hard to put into words. I guess that's why they're feelings. There are people in our lives who don't need us to explain our feelings because they just get it. Those people are called kindred spirits. I hope you have one. Or two. Or three. If you don't, I'll be yours today.

Now and then, it all becomes a bit too much. You feel like you're at the bottom of a well that has a busted pulley system. And you need someone to tell you that it's okay to feel crappy. It's okay to feel like throwing the towel in. It's okay to breathe out all those negative feelings and say, "That's enough for today."

Friends, you can't fix it all. You just can't.

In the age of the Internet, we have the freedom to share whatever we want to share. Often times, it's the greatest triumphs in our life that we choose to parade on social media. And why shouldn't we? Shouldn't this life have more things to celebrate? More people to feel happy for? More pride for our fellow human beings? I think it should, and I'm sure you do, too.

But sometimes, you can look at everyone else's bright spots, and your bottom-of-the-well spot seems that much worse. You look around and you think, "Really?" And there are truly no other words to mutter.

It's okay. It's real and it's honest to feel a bit sad inside. It's even a little bit brave.

Today, I felt it. I felt sad and I felt like I was at the bottom of a well. I wished for nothing more than the feelings to just disappear. I wanted up and out of that well quickly and without damage, please. But I listened to the quietness in my heart and the twisted up feelings in my soul, and I reminded myself that it's all beautiful. Even those bottom-of-the-well moments.

// Above: pictures that make me feel happy.
1 || Glorious blooms. I thank God for them.
2 || Woody's fur in the breeze.
3 || Celebratory selfies.
4 || A peering elk.
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