Its been a silly month. A busy, hectic, emotional month – but one of the most instructive in quite some time. If the busyness has illuminated anything, it has directed a spotlight at the old adage, “don’t mistake busyness for progress” and right now I need progress. There are many loose ends to this storyline, and I know that something is going to change soon – maybe it won’t be anything but me, and that’s okay too.
The shine of the past month’s stage lights has helped me to see the importance of continual self-care. Unapologetic, self-directed, self-initiated care; the kind that forces me to answer questions about what I want, what I like, what I don’t want, what I don’t like. What do I love? Horseback riding, hiking, reading, meandering window shopping, afternoon wine, and good food.
The last five years have highlighted one of my most fundamental struggles; one that creates a systemic breakdown that triggers dozens of other missteps. Food. From feeling ill to a misdiagnosis, to an eating disorder, to body dysmorphia, to a life changing diagnosis, to being terrified of food not prepared by my own two hands; it’s been a 14 year journey. One of the treatment procedures for anorexia is to form eating plans to combat the compulsive behavior of counting calories; ironically, you “feed” the behavior by satisfying the brain that food (calories) isn’t the enemy. Incidentally, the same process is necessary to ensure that my meals are safe from gluten in the midst of what can be a very busy weekly schedule. Through the meetings and events, knowing where my next meal is coming from (and that its safe) occupies much of my time, and if not well-planned, a panic attack and a chunk of my budget are the casualty of the day.
In a ven-diagram entitled “self care” the intersection of enjoyment and needs is home to “cooking”. Pulling together as many of my “likes” as possible, I’ve decided to take my Sundays back from events and meetings, dedicating time to shopping, meal planning, and cooking. The house is usually quiet on Sundays, and the Campbell Farmers Market is always bustling with activity and beautiful produce. Lately, the morning has begun with a run to the market, breakfast is consumed by stopping at food stands and munching on samples. After gathering fresh, organic locally produced fruit and vegetables, raised by small farmers, the walk home is peaceful – and the rest is what will become herstory by way of this blog.
I’m going to cook my way into having a healthy relationship with food (and myself) again.
Last week, I made homemade granola for the first time – and it was great. Yesterday I made another variation of last week’s mixed berry; this time it was apple cinnamon with homemade applesauce and dehydrated apple bits. Fall brings squash and the heirloom tomatoes from the end of summer harvest. The farmers market had beautiful specimens of both products.
Apple Cinnamon Granola
3 cups gluten free oats
3/4 cups of roasted and salted pepitas
1 cup of chopped almonds
1 cup homemade applesauce (two apples, peeled and chopped, placed in a blender)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp clover honey
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
Mix oats, pepitas, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins in a bowl. In small saucepan warm applesauce, vanilla extract and honey. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and stir until well distributed and all ingredients are wet.
Spread thin on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add in dried apples after cool.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
5 heirloom tomatoes – mixed colors
2 shallot cloves
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper and dried thyme to taste
Warm oil over a medium heat, saute chopped shallots and garlic. Add in pepper and thyme. Lower heat and pour chopped tomatoes into saucepan, stirring occasionally while tomatoes reduce. Monitor heat to prevent sticking or burning. Salt to taste. Add freshly torn basil before serving.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
1 small spaghetti squash
Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half, lengthwise and scoop seeds. Place on parchment paper cookie sheet and roast for 50 minutes, or until skin is easily pierced by a fork. Cool 10 minutes before shredding with a fork.
Perhaps I’ll come up with recipes that will stay with me into my later years, or maybe my Sundays in the kitchen will just serve these moments in time – either way, it’s a beautiful moment in time. Until next Sunday…