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 toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch sea salt
Water to thin, as needed
A few cups winter mesclun or mixed greens
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, honey 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.
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