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Oh, Comfort Food

I'm thinking maybe I won't post my entire Shepherd's Pie recipe. I went bananas over the final result, but my husband didn't (which meant I got to eat almost all of it, so I'm not complaining.) Tim and I tend to have very different tastes, so I've been challenging myself to come up with healthy, satisfying meals that we both enjoy. My Shepherd's Pie did not get me closer to that goal, but it did make me quite happy.

It was probably the mashed potatoes.

Not just any mashed potatoes.

In fact, there weren't any potatoes involved at all.

Meet the stars of the show:Cauliflower (Neither Tim or I are tempted at all by this particular vegetable in its raw form, but roast it? Well, then it's lucky to last 2 days in our house.) 

and Navy Beans.

For the mashed "potatoes," all I did was:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse a head of cauliflower and then break it into pieces.
  3. Put pieces into a non-stick pan. (I actually used two cake pans.)
  4. Drizzle a total of 4 teaspoons of olive oil over the cauliflower, and then toss well.
  5. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, uncovered. Some of the cauliflower will likely turn a light brown color.
  6. Turn off oven, allow to cool, and go about your business.
  7. When cauliflower has cooled, transfer to a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add navy beans (I used a can's worth, drained and rinsed), 2-3 additional teaspoons of oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Healthy comfort food cravings, sated.



Deep Down Honesty Leads to Contentment?

One of the things I put on my deep-down-honest-no-shoulds-about-it-I-wanna-do-this list was something along the lines of spend more time with this girl:I found myself feeling bummed last Saturday when I thought I had missed my window of opportunity for a visit, but was relieved when I was told, "now would be a great time to come over!" So much so that I put no thought into my attire. I just hopped in the car in what I was already wearing.

And then the playing began. We ran laps (as "practice" so she doesn't run out of energy during soccer games. Let me tell you, this girl does not run out of energy!) and played all sorts of imaginative games, all of them involving running. All of them involving me, chasing, dodging, sprinting, brown Old Navy flip-flops, jeans, a lacey tank, and a ruffly t-shirt.

I gotta tell you- I enjoyed every.single.moment. The laughing, games, the let's-squeeze-all-we-can-out-of-life in the air. Even in my flip-flops.

She said,"you're fast!" I gotta tell you, I was surprised at how much energy I had for all that running and really, how much I could run without the proper shoe attire. Maybe it was all the enjoying I was doing, or maybe it was because I had even several Raw Vegan Brownie Bites earlier in the day.Or maybe it was both?

I ran and and played...until mid-run, I feel my tank running low. My stride slowed, despite my will to run further, faster. Alyssa said, "C'mon, let's go again!" I'm telling you, that girl does not run out of energy. I carried her cousin, Jameson, home on my shoulders (because it was the only way either his grandmother Ann, or I could think of to coax him home), and then we all settled down on the living room couches, half cuddling, half sinking into cushions. There were some tears, and there were some "let's play a ga-ame"s, but despite my flagging energy, I went home that night full to the brim with contentment.

This whole being-honest-with-myself concept? It is a very good thing.


I'm a Quasi-veggie, Chocolate-loving, Everything-itarian

Despite the fact that I just ate 2/3 of the Dove Dark Chocolate with Almonds I received in my Christmas stocking (I do still get those! Don't pretend you're too grown-up for a stocking), I do like to eat pretty well.

Although I have experimented with varying ways of eating, cutting out specific foods is not something that works in my life. For several reasons, very few of which are relevant to this particular post. Still, I find myself delving into the vegetarian side of life more and more as of late.

I like meat. It isn't that.But for me, the most compelling reason I ever would become a vegetarian if I did is because it requires many pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat. More people can be fed on a plant-based diet than on a stereotypically American one (that is, a diet that stresses meat as the main dish. The fact that so many people in our world (even our country and our city) continue to go hungry, coupled with the fact that I want serve many people many meals at my house is a motivating factor for me.

But, like I said, I'm not interested in completely cutting out specific foods. As the wife of a youth pastor, I attend church dinners, meals with friends, and parents of "my kids." I sometimes receive gift cards to go out to eat with my husband, and I provide quick meals for meetings. There are sometimes vegetarian options during those occasions (and of course, sometimes I will choose those options), but they are not always the most resourceful options, in regard to health, price, or enjoyment.

And honestly, sometimes hard and fast rules drain some of the joy out of life. For me.

With all of that in mind, there will be many vegetarian meals served in my home. Like the meal I cooked up two nights ago: vegan chili. I didn't take a picture, because the end result is not particularly photogenic, but it is delicious! I asked my husband if the meal was too hippy-ish, and he said no, so I'm going to take his word for it and make it again. Mostly because the whole pot was gone in a matter of two days. In the pot:
-a little olive oil, heated
-a few cloves of garlic, minced, and 1 1/2 onions diced. I sauteed those in the hot oil on medium-low-ish eat until soft
-then I threw in a can of diced tomatoes with mild chilis, two cans of drained and rinsed black beans, a can of drained and rinsed kidney beans, chili powder, and cumin.

I let all of that simmer and then crushed some falafel chips from my recent trip to Whole Foods with Katie. Those were not cheap, but any hearty tortilla chip, or even saltines, would work just as well.

And in the spirit of saving money, I came across this freebie. If you're interested in some free stevia packets, just scroll down to the bottom right-hand side of the page and click on "Free 50-count Box" to get started.