Monday, December 27, 2010

more than just food

If you know me at all, you know that I love food. Especially avocados.

Though I am known to have quite a sweet tooth, my delight towards healthy, great tasting, mostly vegan food has been growing exponentially (math geek word- I thought you'd enjoy it). And with it, my passion for cooking and creating food has been sparked.

In Bittersweet (brilliant book!), Shauna Niequist says it best:
"From my vantage point, the idea that faith and meaning and all the other important things happen in your mind or soul where no one else can see them is one of the worst by-products of modern Christianity. We are, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, physical beings. And physical isn't negative. If we didn't have bodies, we couldn't feel the sun on our faces or smell the earthy, mushroom-y rich smell of the ground right after rain. If we didn't have bodies, we couldn't wrap our arms around the people we love or taste a perfect tomato at the height of summer. I'm so thankful to live in this physical, messy, blood-and-guts world. I don't want to live in a world that's all dry ideas and theorems. Food is one of the ways we acknowledge our humanity, our appetites, our need for nourishment. And so it may seem trivial or peripheral to some people, but to me, when I'm telling a story, the part about what we ate really does matter."
So here are a few of my recent eats-- not all perfect, but all healthy and satisfying and so much fun to create and enjoy.

First, one of my go-to meals: brown rice, squash, black beans, and as many fresh toppings as I can gather up. Eat with a fork OR scoop up with El Matadors (my favorite method).

Next up-- an attempt at a gluten free version of Angela's Roasted Onion and Tomato Pesto Pizza. I will admit that I definitely didn't make it from scratch, but I did make it between the hours of 11:30pm and 1:30am after waitressing all night, if that counts for anything. :) It didn't turn out as fabulous as I'd hoped, but my roommate Britta graciously joined me in eating it (enjoying it? not so sure) during the wee hours of the morning. I'll have to try this one again sometime.

Another take on the classically delicious squash/rice combo: Roasted Butternut Squash (from the colddd farmer's market) stuffed with brown rice, kale, onions, and carrots. An interesting mix of sweet and savory, but fun and yummy nonetheless. Once again, this was eaten with Britta; we made an exchange: I'd cook her dinner if she edited my senior thesis. Worked out well, I must say!

...and then for Christmas, I received a beautiful new digital camera that takes gorgeous pictures. Right away I called one of my best food buddies and we cooked up a meal at lonely ol' Morris while documenting, of course. Much of the credit for these photos goes to Milly.

This was my first time cooking falafel (confession: it was out of a box)- and it turned out great! We devoured it with wheat pita bread, hummus, onions, tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, avocado, and a side of asparagus. And the final product:

We finished off our food adventure with a long and intense round of Bananagrams. Here's a shot of the WINNER!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you find nourishment of body, mind, and spirit in your food favorites and traditions this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

goodbye, grand valley

This Christmas season has been BUSY. Between school events, graduation ceremonies and celebrations, substitute teaching, holiday parties, cooking delicious food, job interviews, and Red Robin (typical), I’ve hardly had a moment to relax and appreciate the fact that I am now a college GRADUATE!

I know everyone says this, but the past 3.5 years really have flown by… from my time as a dorky freshman in Nerdmeyer to my wonderful student teaching experience this past semester. it's been challenging and rewarding and frustrating and enlightening; full of new experiences and a whole lot of learning. For now, I am grateful for a long term sub position (kindergarten kiddos!) at the school I have been all semester, two rooms down from 'my' class, and that I will still be living with my closest college friends for a few more months of fun.

So even though the future is incredibly scary and unknown, I'm choosing to celebrate today. There is so much life abounding all around me, especially during this sacred and busy and JOYFUL season. I'm looking forward to some time to read, enjoy my family, exercise, cook, and learn about the God who I can trust with everything, including my future.

"However, as it is written:

What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has imagined
the things God has prepared for those who love him—"

Corinthians 2:9

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the season of advent

this is quite possibly my favorite time of year: our lovely home has been festively decorated, christmas music plays regularly, and the holidays filled with family and friends (and no school!) linger up ahead. I have always loved and eagerly anticipated the Christmas season.

but for me this year, advent is somehow bursting with more energy and meaning than ever before. I am utterly mesmerized by the promises of advent, the hope and desire and the ways this season has opened and softened my heart. I'm learning so much about God: his goodness and his love, his ability to have a much better plan for us then we may have designed for ourselves, and his power to make all things new. this season is overflowing with potential for each one of us- this is our time to anticipate, tune in, be still and listen for God's presence now. and now. and now.

Frederik Beuchner says:
"The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment."