To say that I am a little hard on myself would be the understatement of the year, and I know that I am not alone in that either. I get it from my parents, and my sister is the same way. I wouldn’t go as far to say that we are a family of perfectionist, but we’re not far from it either. We don’t really give ourselves much of a break. After a day of work, coming home, doing the dishes, trying to squeeze in a quick run, deciding not to go for a run and having a snack instead, making dinner, instagram-ing our dinner, prepping lunch, doing the dishes again, passing the vacuum cleaner, doing laundry, folding laundry and making something so totally un-necessary like kale chips, you know, for snacks, Matt often turns to me and says, ‘Ya about done yet?’ Right. Then I plop down on the couch and have passed out within 10 minutes. Not really giving my best self to him, but man did I ever get shit done. Checking things off the to-do list and keeping the house clean and tidy in case kinfolk magazine happens to drop in. Yes, I know, it’s not really working out for me.
The other day we went for a ski tour, and all the do the dishes – make the bed – leave no crumb behind – control EVERYTHING came crashing down on me. The climb got hard, I was far behind and it was windy and cold and icy and I was slipping everywhere and I just COULDN’T DO IT! I couldn’t get a grip, (actually literally and metaphorically), and I was frustrated and negative. I stayed in that place for far too long and it took me a moment, a couple deep breathes and cursing Matt a few too many times in my head to get out of the ‘you can’t do this‘ to the ‘hey, at least your out here.’
I said in my last post that I am not a big believer in new years resolutions, but as life would have it I think that one has presented itself to me. I am all about having integrity with your work and striving for improvement and for setting + achieving goals, but sometimes you just have to chill the hell out. So what, you’re not perfect? Ya, welcome to the club, there’s like 7 billion of us. Matt has made me promise him a few more days spent on ‘his terms.’ Wake up, grab a quick breakfast, toast and jam or just bread if that’s all we’ve got and we’re running late. Go for a ski of sorts. Come home, make lunch/dinner, pasta right out the pot most likely and then nothing. Do – Nothing. And while the idea of letting a pasta pot dry on the coffee table while I ‘do nothing’ makes me a little un-easy already, I think that’s exactly why it needs to happen. Maybe not everyday, but I know every now and then I just need to let it all go. He deserves more from me. And I owe it to myself. To not let things build up and get lost in the I‘m busy checking things off the to-do list that I forget to just be and end up reaching a breaking point halfway up a mountain. So, (gulp), here is a promise. A promise to leave a few more crumbs on the floor, and every now and then, to just letting things be.
Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fragrant Black Rice, Orange + Dates
This is, in every sense, a very typical meal around here. Roasted roots, grains + greens with some spice, a few nuts and seeds and a good dressing. Plus the fragrant rice makes your house smell like mulled wine – happy days.
The recipe uses one whole orange, the zest goes in with the rice, then the juice and pulp get blended into the dressing. The dressing, (oops!) was a total after thought so it’s not pictured but definitely brings the dish together. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a day or two.
Vegan + Gluten Free. Serves 4.
Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 4 small sweet potatoes or 2 large, cut into chunks (if organic keep skin on!)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (if on hand or make your own)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, or more or less – depending how spicy you like it
- Good dose sea salt + black pepper
Fragrant Black Rice
- 1 cup black rice, preferably soaked overnight
- 1 knob fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb, peeled
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A few large pieces of organic orange zest
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups water
- Handful each flat leaf parsley + cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 3-4 dates, pitted and chopped
Dressing + Salad
- Juice + pulp of one orange
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cold pressed organic sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- Pinch sea salt
- Water to thin, as needed
- A few cups winter mesclun or mixed greens
What to do
- Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C
- Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and cover with spices, salt + pepper, toss to evenly coat and combine. Place in the oven and roast, flipping once, for about 35-40 minutes or until tender and soft.
- Meanwhile, place rice, ginger, cinnamon, orange zest, water + salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender. About 25 minutes if soaked, longer if not, about 40 minutes.
- Make the dressing, juice the orange and then tear at the pulp to remove and leave skin and membrane behind. Place orange juice + pulp, olive oil, sesame oil and a pinch of sea salt in a small blender and combine. Taste, season and thin with water if desired.
- Once the rice is cooked, toss with herbs, almonds, sesame seeds + dates
- Toss greens lightly with half the dressing, serve with rice, roasted potatoes and extra dressing on the side. Garnish with a little extra zest and any reserved nuts or seeds.