Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quinoa, Broccoli & Cheddar Cakes

Spring is just a day away, but winter couldn't leave us without one big shebang: we should be racking up about 8-10 inches of heavy, wet snow today. And with the wood burning stove going and Jason working on our current house project, a new guest bedroom, I'm all for settling down with my laptop and taking a snow day. I love me some winter, but I'm officially waving the white flag. I'm ready for sunshine and milder temps. Fresh air and fresh greens from the farmer's market. Open windows in the house AND the car.

Lunch today wasn't anything fancy, just leftover quinoa, broccoli & cheddar cakes thrown together with some organic baby kale I had picked up the other day. And since I can't get enough avocado these days, I added some as well. It's too easy to get sucked into comfort food day in and day out during the winter, and I often need to make a conscious effort to lighten things up. Otherwise, I'd end up feeling like a giant lead weight. Not exactly what I had in mind for feeling "grounded".

Quinoa, Broccoli & Cheddar Cakes
Muffin tins are a go-to in our house, and we use them to make anything from individual turkey meatloaves to frozen tomato sauce portions. This recipe should yield approximately 10-12 muffins.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 egg, beaten
2 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
Muffin tin, sprayed with olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Rinse quinoa well and add to water, cooking for about 12 minutes, or until they have "popped". Remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.

In a large bowl, add cooked quinoa, egg, chopped broccoli, cheese, salt and pepper, and mix well. The mixture should be a little wet, but sticky enough to form a large meatball-size lump in your palm. Fill the muffin tin with even portions and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes until they are just starting to brown on top.

Happy last day of winter!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dare. Dream. Create.

The other night Jason and I got together for a dinner led by an incredibly talented chef and in the company of good friends and work colleagues. Outside the snow was coming down but we were cozy laughing, swapping stories, eating and sipping wine. It was just one of those nights that was guaranteed to leave us smiling for days after.

But before dinner was even served, I was introduced to a girl that would be stepping into another dear friend and coworker's position. My thoughts immediately went to this idea of a new addition to the team, before I realized that it was a replacement. My dear friend was leaving us, spreading her wings and flying out to start the next chapter in her book and this new girl would be the new her. As the evening went on with a gourmet adventure laced with merriment, the news was still processing in my mind. She was leaving. She was going somewhere else. Oh, my heart.

In any corporate environment, this would be commonplace; a company's employee list ebbs and flows all of the time. But we are still a smaller team that works closely together to create and to troubleshoot. We vent, we support, we laugh. It goes without saying that I will miss her. But much more importantly so, I am so, so very proud of her. Life presents so many opportunities for us to take but, if we're not ready or open to receiving them, we can very well miss them. We shy away from situations that lead to growth if they present unknown situations that scare us. We don't like change, even when change is the very thing we need. We are often scared of what we don't know and that far too often keeps us stagnant in life. Simply put, we have forgotten how to dream and how to create.

As the dinner wrapped up and it was time for us to leave, I turned and let out a casual "Have a good night!" as Jason and I headed towards the door. In a split second, I saw her guard lowering. Vulnerability. Tears began to well in her eyes. We were one of the last ones out of the building and that everyday goodbye meant something more to her this time. She would be facing a bigger goodbye in the future soon and it was scaring her. We hugged. I reassured her. Goodbye wasn't going to be tonight. And because the snow was getting worse, we walked out towards the car as my heart swelled with emotion.

It's possible that she will never read this, but that hasn't stopped me from letting her know how very proud I am of her for having the courage that not many others have to take a chance, spread her wings, try something completely new (and a little scary!) and follow a dream. Well done, girl!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Until One Day Becomes Today

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work among some incredibly talented editors for a very popular pregnancy and parenting website. During that time, I fell in love with reading through many of the members' birth stories, from the so-called easy ones to the complicated ones, TMI ones, heartbreaking ones and beyond. There is something so incredibly heart-warming about bearing witness (if only from a blog post) to such personal, transitional experiences. Perhaps it was my body's way of letting me know that I was in that child-bearing age range...or simply that whenever it was my time, I would be ready. But would I really be?

Spoiler (or-not-so-spoiler) alert: I'm not actually pregnant. But I'm married and it is a topic that comes up pretty frequently. Social media outlets don't let you forget, either, as you watch friends and acquaintances announce their transition to familydom. And while we don't feel ready at this exact moment, we know that this next big life decision is not that far off in the future. It's a very interesting feeling, when something that had always felt so far away in the vague future of your adulthood becomes part of your five-year plan. That said, the big question is...when? We're being careful to make sure there are no real surprises, but how do we picture our life as we get ready to bring a life into this world? Where are we living? What are we doing? How much money are we making? What does our saving situation look like? Have we traveled enough? And then my brain screams, "BUT THERE'S SO MUCH THAT WE STILL HAVE TO DO!!!!!"

I arrived to write this post today from reflecting on two other blog posts, the first written by a dear friend of mine. She and I worked together in NYC and have swapped wedding, marriage, baby and life advice more times than I can count. She wrote a post on her blog, Merital Bliss, about a friend of hers who was breaking down her and her husband's decision to get pregnant. And there's one especially poignant takeaway from her friend's story. It's not so much about being ready (because who is ever really 100% ready?); it's about being less NOT ready. This one brilliant idea stayed with me and I often bring it up in topic-appropriate conversations.

The second bit of food for thought that I got today was from another blog that is one of my guilty pleasure reads -- although I'm not exactly sure how it could be considered guilty. But I've laughed to it and I've sure as hell cried to it. And today, my heart smiled to it. As she recounts the birth of her third child, a new younger brother to two older sisters, she talks about how she thought she originally wanted another girl (before finding out the gender). Her words are simple but so beautiful:

"And while I thought I wanted another girl because girls are what I know, I had no idea that what I really wanted was a boy.  Sometimes you don't know you want these things until fate picks them for you.  And then you're thankful that you don't get to make all your own choices because that would be kind of selfish and boring, and you'd never get to experience your secret wants--the ones only fate knows."
-From Enjoying The Small Things

So I suppose that's kind of it. It's not today or in the near future, and I am so at peace with the present and thankful for our life right here, right now. I'm so happy that there is no feeling of rush, so we keep moving forward until one day becomes today.
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