Coming back from vacation is hard enough in the summer, right? Seemingly no responsibilities, nothing but fun, food, family. Yet somehow I am always prepped for my return from the beach in the summer months. Perhaps it’s because there is not much more of a change weather-wise. I drive home for four hours to summer, still. We still get to go to the farmers’ markets, the pool, the lakes, hiking, gardening, I can go on.
This November we went on vacation to Florida (which we have never done before) and because it was so balmy and beautiful, and because we got a lot of precious family time in, I found it harder than ever to come home–even though I love my home. I know it has a lot to do with the fact that it is no longer summer here. The leaves are gone, there’s a chill in the air, and being someone who really does not get along with winter, I feel as though I’ve been catapulted into it with hardly any warning.
So, I’m taking things slowly, all the while realizing more and more that maybe life should be a little slower anyway. Maybe I don’t need to do 10,000 things a day (gym, work, visit this friend, bring a meal to that friend, drop off a toy somewhere else). Somehow in my return to my fast-paced life, I’ve hit a realization that I don’t actually want it to be this fast.
This past Friday I could have done a lot. I had friends here and there, obligations all over town, and instead I decided that what I needed most was to cook at home. I am so glad I made this decision! I felt at peace, whereas normally I like to be out and about and staying at home all day would be overwhelming…this time I found a quietness that I guess I was searching for but didn’t really know how to find. I’m one of those people who can’t sit still. You know the type. The minute I get down I’m back up again. But yesterday was the perfect balance of work and being on my feet (I cooked for 8 hours) and also being alone with my thoughts. It was a really special day.
And to top it all off, I made some extraordinary food, thanks to the work I’m doing reviewing the Vegan cookbook by Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F*ck. It’s been probably 2 months since I’ve been in possession of this book, having been handed it by an awesome Whole Foods employee who began by asking me, “Do you get offended easily?”. Of course, my answer was no, so that was that. I held the book in my hands and chuckled. I flipped through and chuckled. I am not practicing a plant-based diet solely, but it struck me that many of my Vegan readers have been asking for awhile for some Vegan content. What better way to offer that than to review this cookbook?
Since I knew coming back from vacation would be hard, I decided to bring the book with me to Florida and choose enough meals to last us two weeks once we returned. Then, the minute I got home, I ordered all of the food we would need from RelayFoods. That was fun!
I have to say by taking these steps I have definitely made my week easier. Plus I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve loved the food I’ve been making thanks to the awesome recipes by Thug Kitchen and the incredibly high quality ingredients from Relay. I’m going to give an extensive review of the book over the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime here are some photos of what I’ve done so far.
Here are some (just some) of the high-quality Vegan ingredients that I got from Relay. Every time I open up my bags from Relay it feels a little like Christmas morning. I get giddy. This time I had all of my groceries delivered to my front door (!!) for only $12 and it was well worth it.
Tempeh, Tofu and Tortillas–Oh My! I reserved one drawer in my fridge for my groceries from Relay that needed to be refrigerated.
I made a ton of delicious food last week, and much to my surprise, I didn’t miss meat or dairy at all! Here’s my typical loaf of the week that I sometimes make every other day. I brought it to a dinner party with close friends, one of whom is Vegan. It was a hit!
I made this Banana Cream Pie as a dessert, recipe courtesy of Thug Kitchen’s cookbook, and it was so amazing! The pudding was so creamy and the crust was, well, perfectly crusty.
For breakfasts I chose to make a smattering of juices, smoothies and muffins (recipes from the book). Everyone loved everything and it was a great excuse to get out of bed in the morning.
Colin’s favorite juice in the morning is a carrot, apple, grapefruit and ginger juice, so using my juicer I made a big batch for the week. I’ve been loving my green smoothies (oats+spinach+banana+coconut) this week and also THESE muffins:
The highlight of our dinner this week would have to be the Sweet Potato, Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas! The recipe made a ton, so we parceled it out over a few days, pairing it with Spanish Rice from the book and other various salads and soups. I couldn’t even taste the sweet potato (which I was slightly worried about) and the enchilada sauce was awesome and easy to make.
All in all I would call last week’s Vegan experiment a success. I’m really looking forward to cooking more of Thug Kitchen’s recipes this week! Coming up: Pozole Soup, Pepper Pasta, Cauliflower Tacos and Ravioli, plus more!