Leaves & Pine Cones?

My husband is currently on the road. He left last night (Weds) with his band, Out of Hiding, to play in upstate NY and won’t get back home until tomorrow night. Actually, he just texted me what he ate for dinner tonight a few minutes ago: a tuna sandwich, ham (slices, I am assuming?) and 4 chocolate chip cookies. Oh life on the road.

Soooo, what am I doing with myself? Blogging, of course.

More specifically, I am blogging in the guest room in my parents’ house. They invited me to spend the night so I wouldn’t have to be all alone. They’re so sweet…and most likely in their glory that one of their children is back home under their roof for the night!

Naturally, I took over their kitchen to make a delicious dinner, and let’s be clear that it did not include a can of tuna, mayo, any sort of pig product, or chocolate chip cookies. I could go for some chocolate right now though. (P.s. chocolate is vegan. Companies, like Hershey’s for instance, add milk fat to it which then makes it not vegan. Check labels.)

My parents are incredibly accommodating to my eating choices when I come over, and have even become more conscious of changing their eating habits…but that doesn’t mean my dad doesn’t take every opportunity he can to lovingly tease me. The running joke the he continues to perpetuate is that since I’m coming over for dinner all he has to do is go out back and gather some leaves and pine cones for me to eat. He’s just a regular comedian. 🙂

Well, tonight I proved to him that, heck no, I do not eat leaves and pine cones. Just because food is plant-based doesn’t mean it’s skimped on flavor, or enjoyable tasty deliciousness, or anything really! I hijacked the kitchen and got to work making Red Curry Soup with Rice & Purple Kale, recipe by Isa Chandra at The Post Punk Kitchen (www.theppk.com), one of my favorite sites for vegan recipes. This recipe is super easy, has few ingredients, does not take long to prepare, and yet its soooooo flavorful and absolutely delightful to the taste buds. Major win.

You can check out the recipe here.

The sweet aroma of curry spices, garlic and ginger bathing in a creamy coconut milk broth filled the kitchen. I seriously adore Indian food. Some of my parents’ friends were over and they kept commenting on how great it smelled and looked. One even asked if she could take some home because it just smelled so good she had to try it! AND one of our friends who never tried curry before, and claims to not eat sweet potatoes (I could not imagine this), tried it and liked it. Woohoo!

Best of all, is that this soup got the taste test certified approval of my creative culinary master of a dad. He loved it. The bar has been raised… gathering twigs from the back yard…not even close. I don’t think I will be hearing that wise crack anymore. Let’s hope. 🙂

Now, I am looking forward to the return of my hubby tomorrow night. Luckily for him, there is plenty left over of this home-sweet-home cooked meal waiting for him to enjoy…if I can resist the urge to eat it all!

Have you tried any new recipes that you’ve loved lately???

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FOOD.

Food is incredible when you really sit back and think about it. It beautifully portrays culture, speckling the world with diversity, while drawing all of us unique beings together in commonality.

We all eat. We all need food.

If you are like me, your stomach is growling with the sound of the alarm clock in the morning. As soon as I wake up I am hungry. I typically stumble down the stairs and make myself a cup of tea to get my system warmed up before shoveling food into my mouth, but every now and then there’s a morning when the bananas just look to good to pass by, and I eat one before making it over to the tea kettle.

Anyways, food, it’s incredible.

The scent of a delectable concoction cooking on a stove can lure everyone in the house to the kitchen to discover what has baited their senses. (I once lived in a one family house with 13 people…bacon did it every time. It was like ants from the wood work.)

Food brings friends and families together to enjoy each other and the present moment. We celebrate and commune over buffets, potlucks and perfectly planned out menus. Grandmas pass their treasured recipes on to mothers, who pass them on to daughters, and something like a simple cookie becomes a vehicle of tradition, sustaining memories dear to our hearts.

Beyond the sentimental value we place on food, there is the reality that food holds nutritional value. Food is fuel for our bodies. Input effects output. It is completely fascinating to me that my physical body literally runs on what I put into it; that out of the dirt grows food full of life for our sustenance, and that this food has the ability to heal us.

My husband, Joe, and I got married in June 2011, a little over 9 months ago. Marriage is an exciting time for any couple, obviously including us. Our two lives have forged into one and we are growing a family together.

One day I was sitting in my back yard staring at this massive tree in my neighbor’s yard, and I started to wonder how old it was. How many families have come and gone from these houses around me that have stared at this very same tree? Did a swing ever hang from it? How deep are its roots? Then I had this revelation: Joe and I are like a new tree with fresh roots being planted. We aren’t grafted in to our parents’ trees, but we are growing our own. It was a freeing and empowering feeling all at the same time. In that moment, more than ever, I knew that there were better things for us than the generations before us. We would not struggle with issues – physical, emotional, or spiritual – that we saw our grandparents and parents struggle with, and we would flourish in ways that they did not. I know that this has so to do with so much more than just food, but this is the angle I am talking about right now.

My family is massive and Italian. And, if you don’t know my (AMAZING) dad, he is a cook by trade. So yea, food is kind of a big deal. I love food as much as the next person, and have enjoyed seeing the dining room table dressed with the familiar holiday feastings, but the thing is I don’t have to serve a honker of a lamb on Easter just because my dad did. I can take that tradition and make it better! Every Christmas my Grandma and mom make trays of anginetti. What if I took that cookie in all of its anise-y glory and made it healthier? Is that even possible? I’d like to find out. I won’t mention any names, but I have a cousin who once devoured a pound of bacon in a single sitting. Definitely not going to happen for me, but that may be an obvious one.

My point is that I am building a family with the love of my life, and we are laying the foundation for our (future) children to grow upon. I feel the responsibility as a wife, and one day, mother, to serve my family the very best way I can, and that includes serving them with the most wholesome food within my power to provide.

“She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens…She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’” Proverbs 31:15, 26-29

For me, this meant cutting meat and dairy out of our diet. I will save why I made that decision for another blog post, but I started about 4-5 months ago and it’s been a lot of fun. Since then many people have asked me for recipes, as well as information and tips on eating this way, and that fueled me all the more to start this blog as a way of sharing what I have learned, and what I will continue to learn.

I am glad you are along for the ride. 🙂

Now, it is a beautiful Saturday morning and I have a birthday party for a sweet 2-year-old to attend, followed by preparing our garden for this year’s planting (which will already be an improvement from last year…I’ll try and scrounge up a picture of that mess!), so time to get moving.

Any gardening pros out there? What are your favorite things to grow? Give me all the tips you got!

This is the start.

Within the past nine months, notably, I have:

gotten married to the greatest man in all the world

moved into an apartment in a two family house in the city

planted a Church with some rad folks

not given birth like a gazillion other lovely ladies that I know (And no, I am not pregnant.) 😀

stopped eating meat and dairy

won a trip to Cancun on the Rachel Ray Show (Seriously. Watch it.) http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/show/segments/view/rachael-rays-lucky-you-giveaway-IB-12-22/

started doing yoga

and oh yea…

planned on starting a blog.

🙂