Hitting Refresh

>> Monday, July 25, 2016

At this point in summer, I always feels like I'm hitting the refresh button on life. We get back from vacation, and I'm finally sick of eating pizza and everything otherwise bread and cheese, fudge, ice cream, and more. I feel inspired to make to-do lists and work goals. I get this immense urge to clean and purge our entire house.

To lean out my closet.

To cut my hair (I'm contemplating a pixie).

Though it's only July, I start to feel like fall is coming around (my favorite season!), and I imagine pulling out the crock and simmering applesauce all afternoon. I think about crunchy leaves, cuddly sweaters and blankets, and trips to the pumpkin patch. Then I tell myself to stop rushing summer already!

I turn 33 this week. Thursday. My birthday. My own personal holiday. A new year. For whatever reason, this point in July always marks big changes and big possibilities. Ever-personal resolutions. I get visions of the woman I want to be and -- for a while -- feel like I can become her. I make strides.

This year? I'm tired both mentally and physically. I have the desire to do all these things and many more. I feel the inspiration welling inside of me. But the hours in the day don't permit me to do much more than sit on my butt with a colicky infant on my breast. I do multitask and use one of my free hands to draw sloppy mermaids with my soon-to-be early kindergartner. (Yes! She got into the transitional program -- we're so happy to give our girl more time before true kindergarten!)

What to do with all this energy? I decided to cook dinner. It was a small victory. I've not done much more than assemble sandwiches and speed through Hello Fresh meal cards as of late. Doing something small like slicing cucumbers let me feel like I had at least some control over my current destiny. And thank goodness for borrowing a baby swing that freed up my back to move swiftly around the kitchen!

Here she is:

This recipe is based on one from the Moosewood Simple Suppers cookbook. It's a variation of the Vietnamese Noodle Salad that appears on page 111. Can I tell you how great it feels to cook from a book? To page through countless recipes and decide that -- YES! THIS is the ONE! On another note, calling dinner supper makes the meal so much more fulfilling, no?

Here's what you do:
  • Chop one cucumber, one carrot, 4 scallions, and whatever other veggies (maybe cherry tomatoes?) you like and toss them into a large bowl.
  • The dressing: Mix together 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1-2 teaspoons red curry paste, 1 heaping tablespoon crunchy peanut or sunflower butter, pinch or two of salt, 1/4 cup chopped basil, and the juice from an inch of grated ginger. 
  • Cook up 8 ounces of buckwheat soba noodles. Rinse them with cold water and add to the veggies in the bowl. Toss everything in the dressing and serve with tofu croutons.

For the tofu, I used these instructions, tossed the cubes in arrowroot powder, and instead of parchment or anything, I just sprayed the baking sheet with olive oil and baked for 40 minutes.

I have a lot of thoughts to share this week. Obviously with a birthday around the corner, I'm feeling particularly introspective. Plus, I'll be back soon with notes from our wild Wildwood vacation. There was a last-minute opening at a rental Stephen's family has used for over 30 years. We snatched it up on a Friday morning and left Saturday at 6AM.

Do I recommend traveling with a 5-week-old? Stay tuned . . .

Oh! And today is also dairy free day # 1. I'm overwhelmed thinking about it, since my favorite food group on vacation was burrata cheese. I started my day with some vegan overnight oats. I don't love the texture, so I'm not sure if I'll repeat. Anyway, I'll share my progress and any changes I see in Eloise's colic or reflux habits.

Peace out!

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