The Revival (and 7 Layer Tex-Mex Pasta Salad)

A few days ago I got called out by a good friend (thanks Yammykins!) on my MIA blog status: I’d not posted since December 21 –EGAD! The truth is that things have been so intense on all levels of being, I literally fell into survival mode. I was stretched emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. My inspiration and creativity was an afterthought and the longer I neglected that side of me, the harder it seemed to be to find the spark and go deep. I was spread so thin and my plate was so full (as it were). I grappled with identities and questioned my contribution to the blogosphere, feeling at times that I was jack of all trades and master of none. My inner perfectionist (you know the one) cut her all-or-nothing card, and, I didn’t have it in me to prevail. On top of that, the reality of limited time and my hectic schedule meant that I really had to focus and let some things fall by the wayside.

Upon being prompted, I realized it was time to make a return to this channel of expression, showing up as who I am now: a recently engaged, soon-to-be Masters of Counselling Graduate! And the timing couldn’t be better! I’ve slowly been making my way back into the kitchen and my heart, head, and stomach are hungering to make, bake, and create again! So please take me back! I apologize for my absence, but I promise it has all felt like part of a divine recipe. I don’t quite know what’s coming out of the oven, but, despite my four month hiatus, I am showing up now. What better way to mark my re-entry into the blog world than with a tex-mex pasta dish, vegan and gluten-free. Life is good!

Tex Mex

Originally inspired by the famous “Seven Layer Dip” that seems to show up at potluck and parties everywhere, this dish is delicious served hot, or cold as a pasta salad. The recipe here is vegan, but feel free to sub in your dairy originals if that’s your thing.

7 Layer Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Sauce

  • 1 pack of msg-free taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and divided
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • ½ cup of your favourite salsa

Pasta Dish ingredients

  • 2 cups kamut or brown rice fusilli, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup mixed orange and yellow peppers, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup of Daiya cheddar shredz
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste (this will depend on how salty your seasoning pack is).

In a high powered blender, blend sauce ingredients together until smooth. Assemble remaining ingredients, letting the pasta cool first before adding if you are going for the cold salad version. Mix in the sauce, sprinkle with a bit more Daiya, and serve!

Christmas: Jumping Ship or Casting an Anchor?

A few inspiring blog posts came my way today that inspired some reflection and that I wanted to share with you all. Not only is today the winter solstice, but this is the last weekend before Christmas and many of us our madly preparing (both mentally and otherwise) to re-connect with those we love. The first post I wanted to share is about Winter Solstice and a lovely way to stop and take stock of this special time of year. The other post is by a passionate plant-based foodie on her tips for staying lean over the holidays. Both caused me to do a bit of an inner check-in about this time of year.

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This time of eating, drinking, and “making merry” is lovely. It is can also be challenging emotionally and with our food. Many of us write-off the holidays as one big “binge” — our black and white thinking might surface again and rather than the all or nothing that we might attach to a bag of cookies, we might apply our all or nothing rule to days of “bad” eating (i.e., I ate like crap yesterday, so I’m  just going to write today off too and eat myself into a catatonic stupor). We might do this with alcohol too –and often the two go hand in hand.

So does Christmas have to be this kind of a resignation? Do we survive the season in a numbed out state and feel badly about ourselves during and after the fact? We can treat the holidays like a free-for-all, a reason to abandon our bodies, or, we can allow ourselves a little indulgence but keep checking in with ourselves. While I enjoy a little indulgence this time of year, I can’t bring myself to completely “jump ship” in the name of the season! Staying grounded, centered, and continuing to connect to my body and internal state, despite whatever stressors or pressures I am faced with, gets me through. That might mean a smoothie for breakfast after a big rich meal. Or maybe it’s a morning yoga set with some deep breathing, or a walk out in the fresh air away from the crowd of people. There are certain things I do not compromise that keep me connected to me. We can be true to ourselves AND allow ourselves to partake in some of the indulgences. So what does this look like for you? How will you stay connected to you through this time?

Enjoy the holidays –and through it all, be gentle with yourself.

xoox