and other thoughts
This (pic above) is what I saw when I unzipped my tent flap and turned my head to the sky- at around 5:30 this morning. My camera does some strange things that turns the greyness just before dawn into a baby blue color- it wasn’t blue- but I liked how the fringe of the trees framed the picture.
I had stuck my head out to look for the owl that was calling, again and again, getting all its words in before the sun sneaked over the hills in the east. I went outside to sleep last night hoping for an owl- and just as I was beginning to think about coffee and the fire that I was going to make in the fireplace when I got inside- the owl started in. And what a lovely song. Five notes- three in quick succession, and then a breath, and two longer ones. It was a great horned owl.
One of my new year challenges is to spend at least one night per month sleeping out of doors. Back yard campouts count! And so, yesterday afternoon I pitched my tent out in the woods behind the house and retreated after dinner- with my headlamp, three pillows, sleeping bag and sleeping pad in a wheelbarrow- like some great adventurer.
It was a peaceful night, very still and windless. I slept well, got my owl fix, and was indoors sipping coffee, with my tent all packed up, by 7 AM.
This week’s vegan adventures included dishes of the “stuffed and filled” category and, I would offer that they were not the best. I was inspired by the new Forks Over Knives mag for “Winter 2022” and made their black bean and corn empanadas and the tofu and vegetable momos with tomato chutney. Both the empanadas and the momos called for simple doughs but they lacked a certain grace and were each, in their own way, too heavy. I made the empanadas more like a calzone- one big filled pocket. The filling was good- corn, beans, jalapeños, red pepper and onion- but the whole affair was a little flat. The dough was tough and the filling cried out for some cheese. I mashed up some avocado with lemon and served that on top:
The momos had a great filling- cabbage, carrot, tofu, lots of garlic and ginger… but the dough was heavy. The tomato chutney (tomatoes pan roasted, garlic and cilantro) was delish. It’s always fun to make steamed buns but next time, I’d look for a lighter dough. This one was made with ww flour:
Winning in the category of “stuffed or filled things” was the vegan “sushi” that I made. I used a bunch of different fillings: cucumber, red pepper, sprouts, tofu, buffalo spiced soy nuggets, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, asparagus, vegan cream cheese and, of course, sushi rice seasoned with rice vinegar. Wasabi and pickled ginger on the side, of course. I also made a miso soup with green veggies.
The winning dish of the week, though, was one that I threw together on a night when I had a late meeting. It was roasted green veggies on a bed of rice with spinach on the bottom and home-sprouted alfalfa on the top. Simple. Easy. Not pretending to be anything that it wasn’t. (that’s probably why I liked it.)
One more check in: on running.
I’ve finished Week 5 of the Couch to 5 K program, running 2.5 miles three times this week and walking on three other days. Running is still slow. I don’t think I’ll ever regain my former running speed. And running with my Covid stress gut is not fun- it’s like carrying a 20 pound backpack on your front. But I’m doing it. Crossing off the squares on the calendar. Because- why? Some days I wonder. But I always feel good when it’s done, and so, there’s that.
Today we are going to do an icy-muddy-snowy hike up to Center Point Knob, our favorite local spot on the AT. Cheers.