Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wings to Fly while Roots Run Deep

I am moved to take a few young adults in to my circle - to mentor, support, and encourage. Every single one of you - and you know who you are - are destined to do very well. You are hard working, kind, carrying yourself with integrity. You are coming in to your own with perhaps less than perfect support, but you are survivors.

I remember how uncertain I was in my twenties, coming to terms with the absolute consequence of failure. Sometimes I felt utterly alone. I saw my own children graduate from their uncertainty, too, through their twenties. One of the great treats of motherhood was to see my children come fully in to their own in their thirties; confident in who they were, their dreams and ambitions so unique to them. I am determined to pass on the same heritage to you.

You have an Auntie watching over you, cheering from the sidelines. You are strong and lovely. I see your hard work and your kindnesses.

  • My own weakness is books so I might make a recommendation here or there. I don't want these suggestions to be a burden, so I will offer a Cole's Notes summary of what that book taught me, and why I think you might benefit. 
  • For wings, I will instruct on resiliency. Many of you have this already, so I will simply explain why this ability will carry you through to success. 
  • For wings, I will cheer on your successes and remind you of your strengths. 
  • For roots, I will build a mythos of shared history. I will tell family stories of heroes who accomplished great things. There are roots of greatness in all of us. This will be your power.
  • For roots, we will build shared tradition. Some way I will find to visit each one of you, at the very least once a year.
You may have guessed that my drive to give support at this time of your lives comes out of a shared history. My own mother in her weakness could not give, only take. It took me a long time to reconcile myself to that loss of what might have been. I had all the love that a daughter could give, but my poor mother could not see it as freely given. It made me very alone at times, and I had to beat away the bitterness. But I did find great friends, mentors, and the motherly along the way.  

I promise also not just to talk about books. 

My first recommendation, The Time Paradox by Philip Zimbardo. The happiest people are those who are anchored in the present allowing a little hedonism, have warm memories of shared traditions of the past, and ambitions for the future.

When I scored myself for my time perspective (the link above has a quiz) I saw that I was pessimistic about my past. This was holding me back. I decided instead to pay attention to the warm traditions that I enjoyed, I have experienced since a lifting of old burdens and a letting go of past hurts. When I walk lighter, I can do more things I enjoy. 

Find your joy.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Seven Day Veggie Challenge

I suddenly got sick of salads so every day this week I will pick up a different vegetable and figure out how to prepare it. 

Saturday, Breakfast
Whipped egg, garden tomatoes, Edamame, Cob's Chia bread

Here's the thing. For the past few months I have been putting together fresh salads from the Buttercrunch lettuce in my garden. Fall has arrived, the lettuce is done and I have been replacing my garden lettuce with the bagged stuff. It's just not the same. Definitely not the same a day old. I figure my sudden dislike for fresh salad is not the veggie's fault.  Respect the vegetable. Instead of trying to pick together a salad with day-old ingredients, I will pick fresh then decide how to prepare. 

Sunday, Dinner

Kale with pasta, bologna, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. I racked up some PC points at Superstore for buying two bundles. Here is the recipe
I substituted the bacon, the sun dried tomatoes, and the Parmesan with bologna, fresh tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. I added a tablespoon of olive oil to make up for the missing bacon fat. I was surprised that hubby gobbled it up, since he has told me many times he does not like his pasta green. It just goes to show that everything goes with bacon. 

Monday, Lunch in my Bento Box
Kohlrabi coleslaw with mustard and carrot. Fine and crisp, great texture. Next time I will peel the Kohlrabi. My coleslaw looks different from the recipe because I grated my vegetables funny. I used my Mandoline to slice the Kohlrabi and my extra fine grater for the carrot. Served with Finn crisps that I tolerate nicely, along with home-made hummus. I freeze mini portions that are just right for lunches. 

Tuesday, Breakfast
Stuffed Bell Pepper with Egg

Here's the recipe I modified with impunity, to my tastes and what was available in the cupboard. Instead of squash I microwaved a potato with the garlic, olive oil and onion. Instead of feta and ricotta I used quark. I scrambled the egg because that is how we like it, and I skipped the marinara sauce. This is served with a bit of reduced sauce from the Kale recipe a few days ago. I could not convince hubby that this was a breakfast, but he promised to try it later. We shall see.        

Why seven days? Wouldn't a thirty day or a 365 day challenge be punchier? Sure, but I have fallen in love with winning. A lesson learned from my year-long weight loss is that goals must be achievable. Seven days I can do. 

Wednesday, Dinner, Okra with Lemon Basil dip and honey baked lentils
I wondered when a web description mentioned, "slimy". But I hardly noticed with these crisp, grilled Okra. The lemony smooth dip might have hidden the slippery part. I replaced the strained yogurt with Quark; much faster to prepare. 

Why all the substitutions you ask? I am watching the budget. If there is a replacement readily available in the fridge, that's what I do. I figure necessity is the mother of invention, far more creative than the canned recipes that Martha Stewart offers. Like all adventures, sometimes the substitution works, sometimes it doesn't.

I was right about the stuffed peppers. Hubby managed to avoid them completely, so I am sending the leftovers home with my daughter. She loved them, by the way. 

Two more days. These last few days will be an extra challenge, as I will be on the road. How does Cheez Whiz on celery sound? Veggie gummies don't count.

Thursday, Breakfast, Fried Green Tomatoes and Peppers with Lemon Basil Dip
I replaced the sour cream with the ubiquitous Quark, and rounded out my supply of green tomatoes (the final fall offerings from the tomato plant) with a bell pepper. The dip is fresh and delicious so I used up the remainder from last night. After this I will not be in my own kitchen, so we shall see what vegetables will be available on the road. 

Friday, Breakfast, Green Onions on Scrambled Eggs

Saturday, Breakfast, Omelet with Tomatoes, Green Pepper, and Onions

I was quite right. Great vegetables are hard to find on the road, though I can't complain about the buffet offered at the Executive Royal Hotel in Calgary. 

That's it! My seven day challenge is over. My confidence in vegetables is restored, as long as I seek them out fresh and in season. And step out of my comfort zone now and again.

During the long winter season, my sister points out that frozen is freshest. That's when I will seek out ways to prepare Edamame and spinach along with the tried-and-true "mixed vegetables".  

This recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin looks intriguing...