Tag Archives: eat

Day 40: my happy place.

Okay, first of all, did anyone else realize that the forty days of lent only lasted until Palm Sunday? Because I did not. Embarrassing.

But that’s not what I want to write about. I just want to write about how happy I am with today.

I woke up and read a book in bed for a while. I did some foot-strengthening exercises as cross-training (did I mention I ran 18 miles yesterday? Because I did). I made some breakfast. I went to church, where my pastor gave a wonderful sermon about pruning thorns from our lives. I went to Trader Joe’s with two friends I haven’t seen in AGES due to our busy schedules. We went back to their place and went for a long walk. We had lunch together and caught up on our lives. Kristina did some work while Michelle and I curled up on the couch and did computer puzzles together for a while. Then I drove home and spent three hours puttering around my kitchen.

Three hours. Of nothing but kitchen time. Okay, fine, and watching Gossip Girl on the laptop perched on my counter. But all I did was play! How about a list of what I accomplished?

1. I put away all my groceries.

2. I reorganized my baking cupboard. I put nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and dried fruits into tupperware containers to get rid of the bag clutter, and it looks so much nicer now! Still some work to be done, but now I have a better idea of what I want the space to look like.

3. I cooked up some quinoa in preparation for another recipe.

4. I made chickpea cutlets from my favorite vegan cookbook. It’s a favorite recipe, which my carnivore boyfriend likes.

5. I made sunflower seed pâté from Thrive, to have for snacks for a few weeks. It’s pleasantly rich! I think it’ll be nice and filling, with a good boost of protein. Thrive is the greatest book, by the way. It’s about vegan nutrition for athletes (and general folks), and I’m slowly using more and more of his recipes, especially surrounding my workouts. The pre-workout pudding got me through my eighteen-miler yesterday!

6. I made banana bread energy bars, also from Thrive. I’ve been meaning to make my own bars for a while, and I can’t resist anything that has banana in it, so this seemed like a perfect primer. They’re in my freezer at the moment. Is it snack time tomorrow yet?

7. I made veggie crackers from – you guessed it! – Thrive. They JUST came out of the oven! Thrive author Brendan Brazier recommended them to go with the sunflower spread, so I followed his advice.

8. Oh, I did take a break in there to EAT one of my chickpea cutlets! I put it on a toasted ciabatta roll (an impulse purchase from Trader Joe’s – I love a soft ciabatta) with some of the sunflower spread and a pile of spinach. A lovely little supper, enjoyed while watching Gossip Girl. I keep it classy.

All in all, a very productive night spent in my favorite place – the kitchen! I can’t explain what it is about the kitchen, but I’m so happy in there. I love having my hands busy and getting up close and personal with my food. I love having a product at the end and knowing I made something delicious all on my own. Call me a ’50s housewife, but I love puttering around my kitchen.

It’s one of my spiritual gifts, I think. The only thing I love more than puttering around my kitchen is giving whatever said puttering produces to someone else. I love to cook for my boyfriend or my friends. I love to bring baked goods to church coffee hour or bible study. I love taking God’s raw gifts, turning them into something delicious, and sharing them with his people. It’s such an organic gift, something that goes straight into caring for the bodies he gave us. The bodies we use to do his work and love each other.

My happy place, folks, is the kitchen. Bon appetit. And amen!

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Day nine: love languages.

My friend recently asked me what my love language was. And it caught me off guard.

I didn’t really know how to answer. I’ve never been great at waxing poetic about my emotions and usually can’t muster up anything more than “I love you” in a serious relationship. I hug like a champ and happily dole out shoulder massages to any who call upon me, but I don’t really consider that my love language. I like giving gifts at Christmas and birthdays but don’t ascribe much to the practice of exchanging material goods outside those occasions.

To be honest, the answer came to me much sooner than today. But I laughed out loud at myself today when I thought how long it took for me to figure it out.

My love language is totally food.

I show up to every bible study with bread or cookies or hummus. I constantly hustle my boyfriend out of the kitchen when he’s over for supper because I want to cook for him. I regularly bring treats to work for my colleagues. I always volunteer to provide snacks for church fellowship events. I love the hands-on aspect of cooking and baking, and I love knowing that what I make will be fed to those I love.

This evening, I made spicy white bean dip, peanut butter cup cookie balls, chocolate chip cookie dough balls, and chocolate chip cookie dough blondies, all of which I will bring to church tomorrow night for our Friday night coffee house worship service.

It feels like feeding the sheep to me, like feeding the hungry hundreds with bread and fish. Just providing for the most basic needs of my brothers and sisters, making their nourishment a little more special, feels so good and right to me. It’s how I say I love you. Some people say it through music, through volunteering to balance a budget, through giving gifts. I say it through food.

Take and eat. This is my love, given for you.

Day seven: it’s okay to want simplicity.

My friends can vouch for the fact that I love to cook. In the past two weeks, I’ve made green pea and lemon risotto, lemon-garlic focaccia bread, spinach quinoa bread, hummus, spicy white bean dip, chickpea cutlets, banana ice cream, quinoa salad, chewy chocolate raspberry cookies, strawberry milkshakes, and a plethora of oatmeal concoctions. I can happily putter around my kitchen for hours. The more complicated the recipe, the better.

And yet… my supper tonight was a green smoothie and four pieces of toast. Simple, easy, comforting.

No, I didn’t have a bad day at work. No, I’m not homesick. No, I’m not pining for my boyfriend. I’m not lonely or stressed or sad. I’m actually quite happy tonight.

So why am I having such a simple, comfort-food meal? Because I wanted it, damn it.

English majors are allowed to read Twilight. Marathon runners are allowed to go for a short jog. Accomplished pianists are allowed to play “Heart & Soul.” Seamstresses are allowed to make fleece tie blankets. Chemists are allowed to make baking soda/vinegar volcanoes.

Being good at something doesn’t mean you always have to reach for the top bar. Being good at something simply grants you access to a wider range, from the complicated, difficult stuff to the easy, beginner stuff. You have permission to enjoy all of them. It’s okay to do the simple thing even though the complicated thing is within your reach.

Of course, in order to become good at something in the first place, you do have to reach for the top bar every so often. You can’t expand your range without doing so. But pushing your limits and trying something new makes the occasional return to simplicity all the more rewarding.

I am perfectly able and equipped to make a fancy risotto or a hearty soup. But you know what? I wanted toast and a smoothie.

It’s okay to choose simple. Enjoy your toast and smoothie.