Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ying and Yang

Ravings: I am not typically at a loss for something to say, especially when I have free range to express myself however and about whatever I want. There is no shortage of opinions floating around in my brain. But these past few days I have struggled with what to write about. And I haven’t really been able to figure out why. But I think I know the culprit.

I went to bed a little early last night. I was just feeling “not quite right.” You know that feeling. When you wonder if you are trying to do too much (I worked, went grocery shopping, did P90, made dinner, and cleaned up the kitchen), aren’t getting enough sleep, or if you are getting sick. As I was lying in bed praying I wasn’t getting sick, it dawned on me that I am sad. It’s that deep, mellow sad that you aren’t even really aware of until you stop to think about it. I was dreading the Christmas sorrow that I knew was inevitable, so I think I just buried it. But in order to do that I had to turn off all emotions. I knew that something was off. I usually like Christmas time and enjoy all the planning, but I have been feeling like I’m just going through the motions. I have to let the wave of loss come over me so that I can feel something. I’m just not willing to go through the holidays in a state of numbness in order to avoid the pain. I’m not willing to sacrifice the joy that I know will there waiting. But I'm also afraid of the pain that will envelope me. It threatens to creep in even as I write this. It's a scary place, but there I know that I will be ok. I've waded through that sorrow before and come out on the other end, and I know that I will do it again. There is comfort in the knowing.

Cravings: Jason and I love appetizer dinner. It just feels like you are cheating, even if you really aren’t. And you can mix food regions and still seem super cool. Our usual appetizer dinner is purchased, pre-made bite size goodies from Trader Joes, but it can get expensive so I tried to recreate it. I can’t say that it was a huge success, but it did taste good and I got to control the ingredients a bit more. The big downside is that it’s time consuming. One of the big draws of appetizer dinner is the little to no prep work. That is not true when you make them yourself. So I have not yet perfected the home made appetizer dinner, but someday I will! On our menu last night: mozzarella sticks with tomato dipping sauce, black bean quesadillas with creamy guacamole, and arugula, apple and radish salad with cheddar cheese.

Mozzarella sticks

1 package of mozzarella cheese sticks
½ cup flour
1 egg beaten
1 cup panko
½ -1 cup oil
½ can fire roasted tomatoes

Unwrap all the cheese sticks (this is the worst part!). Heat oil (I used safflower because that’s what I had) while coating cheese. Roll cheese to coat in flour, then dip in egg, and coat with panko. Fry in shallow pan just until browned. I warmed the tomatoes in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Black Bean Quesadillas

1 package corn tortillas
1 can black beans, drained
½ can fire roasted tomatoes
1 T taco seasoning mix (I make my own. I’ll add the recipe on another post)
1 bag shredded taco cheese

Mix all ingredients, except cheese. Lay half the tortillas on foil lined sheet pan(s). Top each with a bit of cheese, then top with the bean mixture, and then top with more cheese. Lay the rest of the tortillas on top and press down a bit so they stick. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Creamy Guacamole

1 large avocado
2 -3 T plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lime
2 T fresh parsley, chopped (you can also use cilantro)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mash avocado in a bowl and then stir in rest of ingredients. Serve with the quesadillas.

Arugula, Apple, and Radish salad

2 cups arugula
1 apple (I used pink lady)
4 large radishes
2 T chocolate balsamic vinegar (you can use regular)
½ cup cheddar cheese

Put 1 cup of the arugula in each of 2 bowls. Top with thinly sliced apple and thinly sliced radish. Drizzle each salad with 1 T of the vinegar, then top with cheese. (I made CJ another one when he came home!)

Jason’s brother was over last night helping him with some car stuff so we didn’t eat until after 8pm when they finally came in the house. They did even make it past the kitchen and I think I was the only one who used a plate! I think they were starving. But in their haste to consume, they prevented me from taking a picture!

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