Thoughts on marriage

marriageBeing married is a funny thing. We take someone we love and are so excited about and then we make them ordinary. I am a yoga teacher and every once in awhile someone asks me if I still love yoga, even though it’s my job. Of course, I still love it, but it’s different. It can get boring sometimes, like anything, the more familiar you become with something, the harder you have to work to keep it interesting.

When my husband was my boyfriend he existed for only me. His relationship to his friends and family didn’t really include me, his co-workers, his hobbies, his quirks… I could approach it all like one of those sushi menus where you simply check off what you want and ignore the rest. Once you get you married, you get it all. All the relationships that didn’t include you, are now as much yours as the vows you took. It’s more than choosing every item on the menu, in marriage you have bought the whole restaurant.

And it gets even more complicated when you have children. Your husband is now a father, and you regularly discuss, among other things, poop, which eventually gives way to the only thing less exciting; youth sports.

Before we were married, and even into the first years of our life together, my nighttime routine didn’t just involve teeth brushing and face washing. I would also carefully choose a pretty nightgown before heading up to bed. I now insert a mouth guard to prevent tooth grinding, wear a compression garment to relieve pain in my right hip, and pull up an old pair of sweats. I can’t even remember what it felt like to be self conscious around my husband, but my hunch is that the more comfortable we are with someone the less they give us butterflies.

Sometimes, when we are in the car together, Colin will run out of his own material to think about and ask me what I am thinking. When I actually hear my thoughts out loud, things like “I was trying to remember which car just had the oil changed, or wondering why the A&P was able to charge a dollar more for cherries than Stop & Shop even though they are right across the street from each other.” I am startled by how boring they are, but what I love about Colin, is that I can be that boring, I can wear a mouthguard and he will still snuggle close to me in bed.

To me a good marriage is one where you can be dull, or restless, you can be grumpy, or tired, or giggly, or hyper. You can obsess out loud about details that your spouse doesn’t care about –like whether or not your neighbors are really going to leave their garage that color– or the cost of gas. Sometimes, when I bring up a subject like Yoga, which I love and Colin doesn’t, I can see his eyes glaze over, but he loves me, so he will let me discuss the ins and outs of a pose or yoga drama and politely offer his thoughts if it seems like I need them.

I used to look at couples who had been together a long time, who would go out to dinner and sit silently, or bicker over details and think to myself “that won’t be us, no way, we can talk until the phone battery dies, we never bicker…”

Now, I hope that we’ll be able to just sit together after 50 years and look at each other, and see all our faults, our bad haircuts, our quirks, our missteps, and still enjoy being together. No one believes in me more than Colin, he takes enormous pleasure in my successes, and can almost always re-frame a disappointment so it stings less, and because he really see’s me and I know he really see’s me, I have started over time to really see myself, and to believe that maybe I really can do anything.

Sometimes, I look at new couples and I am envious enough to hate them a little. I would love to go back to a time when I could pretend to be glamorous and funny all the time in front of Colin even if we both knew it wasn’t real. I would love to still get that little chill when I knew he was coming home, instead of just being relieved that now that he is here, I can maybe deal with our kids less.

I don’t think that butterflies, and chills are sustainable. Not because people are inherently incapable of staying excited about each other, but because when we first fall in love it isn’t just about the other person. It is the thrill of finding someone who believes that you are funny and attractive, who laughs at your jokes, and is willing to believe that you never wear sweats to bed. Someone who can look at you and see this very best version of yourself and believe that it is actually you. That is thrilling.

So, the butterflies disappear, and fly off with all the illusion, but what they leave behind can be way better. What they leave behind, is the comfort of knowing that if you let someone love you — with your mouthguard in, an ace bandage around your waist, and high school sweatpants– they just might. When someone loves you that much, you learn to love yourself that much too, and that is what happiness feels like.


What kind of vegan hippie helper is that….?

HippieHelperWhat kind of vegan hippie hamburger helper is that? Joked my husband as he entered the kitchen. I usually make dinners big enough that I can throw the leftovers into containers for the kids lunch for school the next day. I thought I had made enough tonight that I could get two meals out of it at least, but I was way wrong…they ate everything, and asked me to make it again, right then, like round two…… So, what I thought would carry us for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow, was such a hit that I had to make it twice. Next time I will just double the recipe. Best part is, it took about 10 minutes to assemble, and 30 to cook….

1 package of organic extra firm tofu
1 can black lentils
2 cups brown rice

For the sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp Soy sauce (GF)
¾ Tbsp ground ginger
¾ Tbsp ground garlic
¼ cup fresh spring onions
¾ cup warm water
1 Tbsp peanut butter

For Garnish:

¼ cup spring onions
¼ cup fresh chopped basil
¼ cup fresh mint
¼ cup fresh cilantro

Put all the ingredients for the sauce either in your blender or use a hand mixer but blend them together. Pour the sauce into a large, oven safe pan that will also hold the rest of your ingredients. Add the tofu, drained and cubed, and the lentils also drained. Put the pan in the oven at 350 uncovered for 20 minutes. While that is baking, cook your rice. Add the rice to the baked tofu and lentils when they are both done,
mix them together. Add the fresh cut herbs right before you serve….Next time, you will wish you had doubled the recipe!


The last gasp of winter vegetables….

Today is the first day of spring, but no one has told the vegetables. We are in the weird space where the winter fruits and vegetables look edible but don’t taste like much, and the berries and lettuces of spring have yet to appear. So, tonight for dinner we did our best with the last gasps of the winter vegetables. It worked out because, I have been want to making pumpkin soup in a pumpkin, and it was now or wait six months….I actually used large Kabocha squash, because real pumpkins were nowhere to be found.

PumpSoup1I cut the tops off the squash and scooped out the seeds. In a separate bowl I mixed the spices, almond milk and olive oil. You could use other kinds of milk easily, also, this would be great with chunks of bread added at the end.

2 Kabocha Squash, with the seeds scooped out

In a separate bowl:
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cloves
2 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 ½ cups Almond milk

Depending on the size of your pumpkin/squash the amount of milk you need will vary. After you have mixed up the spices and the milk, pour the mixture inside your pumpkins. I put some foil between the hole I had cut, and the top that fit neatly in, when it cooks the top could shrink and fall in.

Bake at 350 for an hour. When the flesh of the pumpkin is soft but not collapsing, pour the mixture into the blender. Scoop the flesh of the pumpkin that has been softened by cooking, careful to leave a thick enough layer to act as a bowl. Blend the softened pumpkin and milk mixture and pour it back into the pumpkins, and serve.

As always, my kids will eat it because they find eating out of the vegetable fascinating….It was very filling, so after everyone was stuffed I threw the remain soup and the disinegrating pumpkin bowls in the blender and made a thick soup that will be great for lunch tomorrow.


Something for everyone…..

I have one child who dreams of pasta, he loves it in every shape, with every sauce or vegetable. He prefers it to dessert, and would have it for every meal. His brother will eat pasta as a base for other foods, but certainly does not have dreams of rigatoni with olive oil, basil, and salt. His dreams are filled with fruit. Today, I splurged on two containers of organic strawberries, and raspberries. They were a fortune, and he had eaten them all, before I could point out that they were for sharing….

So tonight, for dinner I split the difference. We had pasta in a cashew, avocado, pesto cream sauce and Vegan key lime pie in a graham cracker crust. They both tried and liked the other’s favorite thing, and each boy felt like they got a treat. The rest of us got to enjoy their favorites and everyone was completely stuffed by the end of dinner.

Pasta1For the pasta, I used fresh gluten free pasta, it can be hard to find but most specialty markets carry it. I went fettuccine, one of these days, I will learn how to make it myself. The sauce was:

2 cups of soaked cashews
2 small avocados
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil

Throw it all in the blender, if it is too thick you can add a little water. Add it to the pasta after you have drained it, and let it all sit for a minute in the same pot. I garnished with red pepper flakes and fresh basil…


KeylimePieKey Lime Pie

Prep this about 3 hours before you plan to serve it, after you have prepared it you put it in the freezer to set.

The crust:

1 box GF graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp melted Earth Balance coconut for baking (vegan butter would be fine)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup agave
Press into a greased pan and freeze for an hour

For the filling:

2 12.3 ounce boxes of tofu drained
1.5 whole limes chopped, with rind (use one if the are big)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup agave
¼ cup Tucuma Powder
¼ tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Blend in a high speed blender and pour into your pie crust after it has set, put the pie i the freezer for about two hours. I garnish with strawberries and pomegranates because I like the mix of sweet and tart.

½ cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil

Throw it all in the blender, if it is too thick you can add a little water. Add it to the pasta after you have drained it, and let it all sit for a minute in the same pot. I garnished with red pepper flakes and fresh basil…