Warmth and Reflection

Hello Spring! Not! This week’s forecast is snow and in the teens. Oh, my Florida vacation can’t come fast enough. I need sunshine and warmth in my life. So, this week I made soul warming dishes to hopeful help me feel warm.

Reflection… our exhibition night went off without a hitch. Success. I was so proud of my students – confidently sharing their hard work with the families and special guests at the event, trying the healthier recipes their classmates had made, showing pride in themselves, their work, and our school, and being respectful mature young adults when interacting with New York times author, Michael Moss.

I think I’ve made a mark at my school. My first exhibition, check. The warm thoughtful congratulatory comments from parents, teachers and administrators made all of my hard work, sleepless nights, empty wallet, and grey hairs worth it. Having dinner and drinks with my team and Mr. Moss after the event made it that much more memorable. If you haven’t yet, you must check him out. His investigative journalism on processed foods and big food corporations is eye-opening. He takes you behind the scenes and opens a can of worms, that’s for sure. Talking with him about corner stores and the perpetuating system that keeps our poor poor and unhealthy and my plans for the future was the push that I needed. Yes, my first exhibition is over and I should relax, but there’s no time for that. I need to get moving forward, and forward plans — corner stores (where my first exhibition started).

After such a wonderful week at school, my parents came out to visit me and see my new place. It was really nice having my mom and stepdad in town for a few hours Saturday. We enjoyed a bloody mary and brunch at a local favorite restaurant of mine that includes vegan options  on their menu and then headed off antiquing for the day.

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I was able to pick up some old iron hooks with hummingbirds on them (for a reminder of my great grandmother – hummingbirds are her favorite, and she is my favorite) and two old wood crates to use as storage for my textbooks and things. Also my stepdad was able to make my towel hanger that I wanted – old pastry cutter on a piece of barn wood – to match my mason jar planters! 🙂

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Today I woke up early and headed to the gym. I have to get back on my grind with 24/7 bikini time coming up in just three short weeks. It felt really good to get back there after a crazy week away. I also stopped by a natural foods store and picked up some protein powder to add to my smoothies in the morning – just an added boost for that serious muscle building I’m trying to do (haha, not really – just slimming and trimming).

On the menu today — again, think warmth.

First, vegan gluten free lasagna.

2 zucchinis sliced length wise (about 1/4 inch thick)

1 jar of tomato sauce (I used Wegman’s ‘grandpa’s sauce goes vegetarian’)

1/2 cup dry lentils

1/2 cup dry red quinoa

1/2 onion

3 cloves garlic

3/4 cup raw cashews

3/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened

*cook lentils and quinoa in 2 cups water , set aside

*cashew cream – process onion, garlic, cashews, and milk together; set aside.

*Assemble: layer of tomato sauce on bottom, layer of zucchini, layer of cheese, layer of tomato sauce, repeat until all zucchini is used. Top with tomato sauce.

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*Cook in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes, covered.

*Let cool, slice, and serve. Putting some of this in the freezer for Howie when he gets home next – it’s too good for him not to get the chance to try.

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(Kind of hard to see – but cooked my lasagna in my temptations cook set that my momma brought me – a Christmas present a few years ago that I kept packed up until I had a place where I could enjoy cooking in it at)

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Up next, cream of broccoli soup. Normally wouldn’t make this, but I had a huge bag of broccoli florets from exhibition left over and needed to use them up before spoiling.

*steamed whole bag (about 6 cups) and then processed with coconut milk

*sauteed 1/2 onion and 4 cloves garlic in a little bit of olive oil, then added the pureed broccoli, added another 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water, a dash of smoked paprika and black pepper, covered & simmered on low for about an hour.

It’s not the best cream of broccoli soup I’ve ever had – it’s definitely missing something, just not sure what. I’ve never been a huge cream of anything soup person, so not too concerned about mastering this one in the future either.

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For my asian cravings (which you all should know by now based on my cooking that I have all the time), I made cauliflower fried rice.

*saute 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, chopped carrot (in water)

*process 1/2 head of cauliflower and add to sauteed vegetables

*add 1 tsp hoesin sauce & 2 tbs Sriracha, turn up heat to medium and stir occasionally – giving the cauliflower a slight brown color and toasted, or fried flavor.

Lastly, to finish up the rest of the broccoli, I made these stuffed sweet potatoes. I found the recipe on pinterest. These are super delicious and remind me of home – my mom always used to cook twice baked potatoes (with butter, cheese and bacon of course) but here it’s the same concept. I followed the recipe to a T just because it sounds great the way it was written (oops, no I didn’t, I didn’t use any oil) and the cumin really does it.

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Well, off to bed for me. Tomorrow I have my APPR formal observation by my principal … oh the joys of being a teacher. Nothing to worry about, I have an awesome lesson planned with my coteacher where I’m going to be all corny and run around with minerals yelling in a panic that I need my students’ help identifying them. It’s going to be great! 🙂

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