Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm a scanner!

“You love everything, right!” Well, yes. “But you get bored and go off on tangents! And you think it’s bad that you keep quitting things and moving on!” Yes, yes, I do! “Don’t! Have some fun with it instead!”

I recently subscribed to Sarah Wilson's blog, mostly because of her "I Quit Sugar" e-book. I immediately found her charming, familiar, adorable and real. So when she posted about things that stuck with her, and linked to an April post about being a scanner, I clicked and dove in. What I read blew my mind and pinned me in a "nail-on-the-head" kind of way that I'm still reeling from. It will take me a while to fully digest the fact that it's okay to just be this way and embrace it.
"Possibly the most reassuring advice I’ve been given"

I'm a scanner! I've always been a scanner. It has bothered me- not that I am one, but that it wasn't an acceptable thing to be! It bothered me from the time I was a child that I had to pick one thing to "be". "I want to be a ballerina, and an actress, and a singer, and an artist, and an author, AND a chef, AND a photographer, AND a veterinarian!" I'd say. Most kids can't name just one. Why have we limited ourselves? It is beyond me! For those who are happy to pick one profession and let that be their definition- if that makes you feel safe and comfy- wonderful and congratulations. I am not you. The thought of that is not a comfy, cozy safe place to me. It is a straight jacket. It is a humdrum hole of dimly lit blandness.

On a slight tangent, that is why I haven't posted on this blog for far too long and most likely have lost most of my readers. The almost-vegan super-chef thing that I rocked for a few years just didn't fit anymore. I had another baby (which I did manage to post about), and became a crazy busy mom of four. I set my camera on the shelf (mostly) and closed my photography business of 4 years. I got really into essential oils and co-wrote/photographed a cookbook (which I also managed to post about- yay me!). I have built, sewn, edited, designed, researched, written, taught, learned, created, lifted, beaten, worked. I want to doula, certify in yoga, go primal, learn to knit and solder, and about a million other things! So this blog is going to be shifting with me. I hope that's okay. There will be recipes and links still, but more personal discovery and discussion as well. I have an aversion to being defined by something I do. I just like to be a me that does (and is good at) lots of things.

This past birthday, I decided what I really wanted was an online Italian Language Course. I was pretty shocked at how many "why would you want to do that?" reactions there were to it when I brought it up excitedly in conversations with friends and family. My first thought was, "Why wouldn't you want to do that??" It's a beautiful language- Latin based and easy to learn, thus a great transition from my minimal Spanish to other languages I'd like to learn as well. It is also, in a way, my personal commitment to make it to Italy someday. And I will!!

I'm finding out that while there are surprisingly (at least to me) many people that don't understand where I'm coming from, there are myriads of people that feel so much like I do. Reading the comments on that blog post made me go, "YES!!" When I read the article things started to fall into place in my mind, including understanding about my husband- my best friend, this man with immense potential that I'm wild about and have wished I could help find his "one passion and career direction" for so many years. I'm pretty sure he is a scanner too. Now we just need to figure out how to embrace it and make it work for us!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where I've been...

When other bloggers don't post much, I figure it's one of 2 things: They either lost interest, or they are up to something. For me, it's been the latter. I'm so excited! *does a giddy dance*
I'll try to still my wiggles enough to type this.
Guess what I've been up to??

My friend Natalie and I have written a cookbook!!! SO excited!! Healthy recipes incorporating essential oils for flavor and health benefit, inspired by doTERRA's Slim and Sassy health program and namesake oil blend.

HERE is the new website for the cookbook- you can get your copy there, and HERE is where else you can buy it-!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Roasted Veggie Lasagna (meatless and gluten-free)

Oh my. This dish had us fighting over leftovers- even my 9, 6, 3 and 1 year old munchkins were clamoring over my plate for the last bite!
I got an eggplant in my produce basket and a zucchini from my neighbor this week. I do pretty well with either- never at a shortage for zucchini love, but eggplant can be tricky to get kids to eat more than a bite of. It was a rainy evening and this mama needed some comfort food, but as there isn't much pasta to be found in my house these days, and ricotta is almost never in my fridge, so a traditional lasagna was out of the question.
Here is what I came up with. It's time-consuming and a little complicated, but so worth it! You could probably very deliciously substitute extra zucchini if you lack an eggplant. I'm all for wingin' it!

Roasted Veggie Lasagna

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot or 5-6 baby carrots, diced or grated
1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
2-3 large white mushrooms, diced
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
Sea salt and black pepper according to preference
1 4 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tbsp neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)

Heat oil over medium heat in medium large pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic. Saute over medium heat until onions start to soften. Turn heat to low, add herbs and salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer until carrots and celery are soft (about 10-15 minutes). Add tomato paste, water, tomato sauce and cream cheese. Combine well, allow to simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to taste. (You could add a big handful or fresh chopped spinach to this- I meant to and forgot, but it would be delicious.)

While your sauce ingredients soften and simmer, you can get to work on your "noodles".

1 large eggplant
1 large or 2 med/small zucchini
Olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt and pepper

Wash zucchini and eggplant well and slice lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices. I used a hot cast iron pan for this "roasting" part, but a grill or grill pan would work well too.
Spray pan lightly with olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Salt and pepper your eggplant and zucchini and lay them out in a flat layer on the pan and cook until browned on either side and softened (as many as will fit- you'll have to rotate them through as they finish cooking until you get them all done). Set aside on a plate as you get them finished.

Creamy part:
No lasagna is complete without the creamy part. I didn't have ricotta or cottage cheese on hand- you could use these if you do happen to have them.
1-1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Time to bring it together:
You'll need about 3 cups of shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese to glue this baby together. Oh- and a little extra Parmesan too.

Preheat oven to *400˚F. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish lightly with cooking spray. Spread a few spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of the pan and lay out a layer of eggplant. Cover with creamy mixture, then red sauce (be generous), then mozzarella. Follow this up with zucchini- lay it out so that the 'noodles' touch and cover the entire surface. Then add creamy stuff, sauce, cheese and more eggplant. Creamy stuff, sauce, cheese, etc. alternating zucchini and eggplant layers until you run out of components or pan space. be sure to finish the top with sauce and cheese. Sprinkle top generously with some extra Parmesan. Bake at 400˚ for 30-35 minutes- until cheese is browned, lasagna is set and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Meatless yet filling, gluten-free yet comforting.

Love on a plate.

*I started this for about 20 minutes at 375 and then bumped it up to 400. But I think 400 the entire time would work great.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quick and healthy: uncooked oatmeal

This blog is a testament that I went through an uber-healthy phase. The dates of the last few entries are a testament that I've been going through a 'quick and easy by necessity' phase. Now is time to combine the two! I discovered a new fav breakfast the other day: Uncooked oatmeal. I don't love the sugar content of instant oatmeal packets, and because I avoid my microwave if I can, cooking oatmeal, though not terribly time consuming, doesn't always fit into our busy school morning. So when I read an article about oatmeal the other day, my first thought was, "How did I go all this time not knowing I didn't have to cook it??" Second thought: I wonder if it's any good? Answer, yes. (It was pretty easy to figure out.)

I've tried it a few ways and I love them all.
Recipe 1:
1 cup uncooked (non instant) oats
about 1/2 cup- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
about 2 tbsp honey
about 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix em together and let sit for about a minute. It's that simple!

Recipe 2:

1 cup uncooked (non instant) oats
about 1/2 cup- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
about 2 tbsp honey
about 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Same instructions.

You get the idea- fix it how you like. I've tried rice milk, real maple syrup, chopped up fresh fruit- apples, berries, mango...

It's awesome! Try it!!