I feel as if it has been too long since my last post - ten days has made me realise how much I love each blog post, each creation. It's an outlet for my creativity and imagination, and also a stream of my consciousness limited by only myself.
I understand now that with each post, I will baby my blog even more, as if every addition is grooming and nurturing it so that it will grow and will evermore become greater to me each time I click Publish. I remember how I doubted my perseverance and ability at being able to continue posting throughout the weeks, even months, but I think I've proved myself wrong and done exactly that.
I'm almost at 3 months at 25 posts. Almost.
Mum and I have started making dinner together again, perhaps due to the fact that I've become more relaxed around the kitchen, and have begun to let go of the control I sometimes try to retain when cooking,
"This goes here, and that in this cupboard here."
One day last week, when it was just the two of us for dinner, I cooked up the initial portion of the meal, blended in the spices and then hurried off to my evening dance class. For my return, mum had finished off the cooking, and placed the dish in the oven.
A wonderfully prepared, a collaboration, the meal was ready and hot when I came home.
Although we may not have been cooking at the same time, we still shared the tasks involved in preparation of that particular meal, and later shared the outcome of the satisfying tastes of something cooked together.
Last week, I started a new routine, a relaxing end to my day, and rejuvenating for myself as well. Sunday night, as I got back into the mind frame of starting another week of school, and the many upcoming tests I needed lots of rest to be able to study for, I also got myself relaxed enough to try and sleep at least 7 hours that night, an unusual feat for a night owl like myself - especially Sunday nights when my mind would rather race circles around imaginary stresses and upcoming depictions of events - almost irrelevant worries as soon as morning arises and the alarm chimes cheerily.
I started with the bottle of flax oil that I've been neglecting, previously unaware of all it's amazing benefits. I'm also intrigued to try the jars of coconut oil that are also being shunned to the cupboards, maybe tonight I'll take them out and give them a try too. There have been many positive reviews for coconut, especially for its rejuvenating effects on the human body, and both oils have been found to be extremely beneficial to the skin as well as general health.
I've heard that coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser, can be used as a face wash - although some with oily skin may not agree - is used as a natural anti-ageing remedy, for psoriasis and eczema, and has many other internal health benefits as well. It comes in many forms, and I have included coconut flour into my gluten-free baking flour mix because I just love its sweeter, lighter consistency, and the much appreciated dietary fibre that it also contains.
So by first pouring a small amount into the palm of my hand, the strong smell distinct among the warming aroma of freshly baked gluten-free goodies: chocolate chip cookies, I began by massaging small amounts into my hair, and especially focusing at the ends where I suffer from frizz, and moving to the roots where skin can become dry, particularly in the winter and dryer months.
I felt so good all pampered that evening, as if I was finally doing the right thing for my hair, giving it the nutrients and care that it needed, so much that I decided to do a face mask as well.
We've got our grad photos coming up soon, it's scary, already so close, and I want to look fresh, refreshed, and of course, healthy. As in glowing with health.
So, after rinsing my face with warm water, I mixed together a few drops of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of natural honey, which mum was given by a local farmer when she visited the bees in the valley just outside Greater Vancouver, for product sampling. It felt wonderful.
And just for good, internal health, I ate a spoonful of honey as well.
For the fifteen minutes while my masks worked their magic, I took time for myself, laying down with my eyes closed, but also trying to stay out of the dog's reach, who would only try and lick the honey off my face - and she did try very hard!
Then, on Tuesday evening as the American election played out on the radio and via online streaming, I made it a ritual. Red and blues battled against each other for the last time this year as I mixed together my masks: flax oil for my hair between my fingers before being lathered in my hair; honey and lemon first in a small bowl, and then applied to my face. I wrapped up my hair in a small towel and twirled it on top of my head - I couldn't have felt more like a diva, slippers and robe and all.
The Shepherd's Pampered Pie
I've grown up on mum's homemade Shepherd's Pie with a tomato base to the sauce, but this recipe, combined with multiple herbs and flavours, will have everyone scraping the pot for that last mouthful! (Not that mum's didn't!)
My favourite ingredient of this dish is the rosemary, a warming and comforting additional twist on a familiar family meal. If you don't have some of the ingredients listed, don't fret, the beauty of the Shepherd's (Pampered) Pie is that multiple variations of vegetables can be substituted depending on the season, as long as the herbs and spices are kept constant to achieve that desired taste.
Let the dish cool slightly before serving, so that all the flavours can be detected upon serving, and so no one risks burning their mouths.
2 peeled/diced potatoes
2 tbsp vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
2 tbsp rice milk
1/2 tbsp grape seed oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 onion diced
1 sliced carrot
1/2 c sliced zucchini in half moons
1/2 c chopped broccoli
3/4 c black beans, cooked and drained
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp rice flour
3/4 c rice milk, warmed
1 tbsp vegan butter
1/2 bouillon cube
pepper to season
Place potatoes in a pot with water, and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer until tender. Drain and mash; add butter and rice milk.
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a skillet over medium temperature, heat grape seed oil and add garlic and herbs. Then pour in carrots, zucchini and broccoli.
Cook until tender (10mns), then lower heat. Stir in beans and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium/low heat, pour in grape seed oil and stir in rice flour to make paste.
Add milk slowly, stirring. Add butter, and bouillon cube. When it begins to thicken, remove from heat.
Pour gravy into filling and mix well.
Spoon into a large ramekin, or individual ones, and top with mashed potatoes.
Sprinkle with ground pepper.
On baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes, and then increase the temperature 415° and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until top browns slightly.
Labels: dinner, gluten free, gravy, hot, mashed potatoes, one pot, potatoes, rosemary, sage, shepherds pie, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian