Roasted Veggie Dip

Let me tell you about this crazy meal I made for dinner.  I prepared a baking sheet with a variety of vegetables, gave them a stir in olive oil to coat them nicely, then sprinkled a bunch of spices on them.  I popped them in the oven until they were nicely roasted and lightly browned. This is when it gets crazy.  I decided to dump the roasted veggies into my mini food processor and whip those veggies into a dip.  I was in a dipping mood!

I made my own dipping chips, too!  I know, super crazy!!  A resident at one of the buildings where I work told me about a grocery liquidation store that sounded too good to be true.  It was quite a distance from my house, so I was hoping it would be worth my trip.  Oh my, I was not disappointed!  Organic, gluten free, dairy free and vegan items could be found in abundance! Not just some random off brands, but many of my personal favorite brands that are part of my regular shopping trips.  I was having my own internal happy dance as I filled my basket.  Among the amazing buys were Udi’s brand gluten free tortillas.  Let me tell you what I paid; two packages for one dollar.  Yep, you read that right-2/$1.00!!  For real!!  The expiration date is good.  Although I enjoy this brand often, I don’t usually buy these tortillas so I can’t tell you what might be “wrong” with them that would bring them to liquidation.  They are fabulous to me and I turned them into chips!!

Stick with me here while I tell you I took it even further.  Food Radical went wild in the kitchen tonight!  I had kale in the fridg that was calling to me, so while the oven was on I just transferred those tortilla chips to a plate and added kale pieces to the baking sheet.  I drizzled some apricot oil over with a sprinkling of sea salt then popped them in the hot oven.  A few minutes later I pulled out beautifully crisp kale chips!

There you have it.  This is one wacky dinner.  I’m here to tell you it’s dang good!  Mixing it up and doing it different is my thing.  Now, I’ll be getting on with my dipping!

Roasted Veggie Dip

2 medium yellow carrots, sliced into rounds

1 large zucchini, sliced into half moons

4 large radishes, quartered

1/2 small yellow onion, sliced

Add veggies to a bowl and drizzle olive oil on the veggies.  Mix to coat then add spices of your choice.  I used basil, granulated garlic, parsley, salt & pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender.

Kale Chips

1/2 bunch of curly kale, torn into bite sized pieces

Add kale to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil (or apricot oil) to coat. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and sea salt.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 4-7 minutes.  Watch closely!  They bake quickly.

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Candy Cane Beets

Did you catch my recent faux pas?  Somehow I accidentally posted a paragraph of my draft writing the other day.  I am not a fan of the new post layout WordPress uses.  It’s not very user friendly for me!

You may have noticed I made some visual changes to my blog.  I have been playing around with it for some time.  I think I like how it looks for now and it is giving me what I want in layout design.  Some of my writing will be moving away from food and recipes.  I have found that writing thoughts and sharing life musings is healing for me.  I’m giving deeper consideration to a book writing endeavor.  I have been encouraged often so I’ve gotten a bit more active by studying more formalized writing.  It’s fun to try out my creativity in other ways.  Writing was always a favorite creative outlet for me as a child, teen and young adult.  I am finding the joy in writing again as I rest solidly in my “middle-age” years.

I have been giving serious thought to lots of new ideas recently.  I am a dreamer for sure!  I am a doer, too!  I’ve been rather bored with my current vegetable choices these days and long for the peak season of produce abundance.  I just planted my first set of indoor vegetable seeds!  Yay for veggies of the future!   I’m giving container gardening another try this year.  In the meantime, I have been on a quest to find a little more excitement in my veggies that will make my palate happy for them.

Check out what I found!  Have you ever seen one of these??  It’s called a candy-cane beet!  Isn’t it pretty?  Now, if that doesn’t make me want to eat my vegetables, I don’t know what will! IMG_3639

It tasted quite mild and is delicious raw.  I sauteed part of it which brought out a bit more flavor, but still very mild so that it picked up spice flavors quite nicely.  It does not have the robust, earthy beet taste like red beets.  I like this beet sliced raw in a salad best.  If you find one, pick it up and give it a try!  Break out of your veggie doldrums, too!

 

 

Lamb Logs Over Rice

Lamb logs? Really? I’m sure you must be thinking, what the heck are those!?  I wanted to make lamb kafta but didn’t have all the ingredients.  I also didn’t soak my skewers.  I wanted to eat my lamb, so here we have lamb logs!

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I tossed this all together, being inspired by other lamb recipes I’ve seen recently.  I think they turned out really flavorful and were delicious!!  I laid them over white jasmine rice that I made with turmeric root infused water.  Turmeric is a bright yellow root with powerful medicinal properties.  It’s main use is for the anti-inflammatory properties, but there are a wide variety of benefits in turmeric so I sneak it in whenever I can to make my body happy and healthy.  It didn’t turn out as yellow as I hoped so next time I’ll grate it into the rice water instead of just dropping chunks in.

I even got fancy and made a sauce!  I used plain Greek style coconut yogurt as the base.  I squeezed in the juice of one lime, added pinches and dashes of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, paprika, granulated garlic, cumin, parsley and coriander.  Gave it all a mix and, Wow!!  Fantastic! I drizzled it generously over the lamb and rice, snapped this picture then got to it!!

Here’s what I did to make my lamb logs taste divine.  You can adjust the spices to your liking.  I just guessed on the amounts and had fun!

Lamb Logs

1/2 pound of ground lamb (the best quality you can afford)

1/4 medium yellow onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tblsp. olive oil

Spices-granulated garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, fresh ground pepper, sea salt, parsley, powdered turmeric, powdered ginger.

Mix all ingredients until well combine.  I made four balls of the meat mix and molded each into similar size “logs”, arranged them on parchment paper and refrigerated them for several hours. I grilled them on the cast iron grill top, turning them occasionally for even grilling and used my instant read thermometer to let me know when they were done.  160 degree internal temperature is recommended for medium done, which is what I like.

Give this recipe a try or play around like I did.  If you enjoy lamb, this is worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Professional & Personal Worlds Merge

I attended the most fascinating workshop this week.  This FREE event, a workshop entitled “Too Much Stuff” was sponsored by our county task force on hoarding.  Throughout the day we were encouraged to tweet  #pdxstuff  to call awareness to hoarding disorder.

I wanted to attend this all day seminar after recently having direct experience in my work with a hoarding resident who was at risk of eviction.  My goal for attending was to leave with a better understanding of brain functioning in people living with hoarding behaviors.

I certainly walked away with what I intended and so much more.  I had some surprising personal insights that shed light on behaviors I witnessed with my ex, “M”.  I was reminded of our last conversation before she told me to leave.  It really wasn’t a conversation; more like “M’s” inner monologue leaking outward because I made a feeling statement about something that was bothering me.  In the usual off topic ranting, what I heard from the babble was “M” didn’t like seeing my things around the house.  I remember being hurt and confused.  Simply put,  I lived in the house.  That’s why my things were there.  Additionally,  as in countless times of the past I attempted a real conversation about something that was bothering me and in the usual way,  I was left bewildered by the behaviors of “M” with no real resolve to the original concern.  I understand now why I let so much fall to the wayside,  but what I didn’t understand until I sat in that workshop was how much the fear of hoarding played a role in “M”‘s behavior throughout our relationship and was ultimately the catalyst for the demand that I move out.

By “M”‘s own admission, her family of origin has hoarding behaviors.  So much so that it led to decisions “M” would make in her own life.  It was the subject of many conversations.  I heard story upon story of hoarding tendencies that thread through the family lines.  Me,  person of stuff–not even close to the true definition of hoarding,  had sufficient belongings that “M” was well aware of when I moved in.  We had a room we called “the office”.   Essentially, it was an unused space with furnishings and a bunch of, well…clutter; “M”‘s things.  That clutter was different from mine though because it was hers (the illusion of having control)!  Really,  it was “M”‘s ironing room and a place to dump paperwork.   I moved in with craft supplies, taking over said “office”.  Multiple times I listened to “M”‘s complaints of the “cluttered” office.   Multiple times I asked to help me create space for my things so it didn’t look that way.   That never happened.

From the general obsessive behavior and the need for perfection to the constant concerns that the house had too much stuff (it didn’t),  I learned in this workshop that “M” displayed nearly every characteristic of a person with hoarding tendencies.  However, what I determined was that the deep seeded fear of hoarding is what kept “M” from the actual act of it, almost!  Lest I mentioned the shed full of rocks in boxes that weren’t mine!  It was truly a mind blowing day for me.  I found myself saying “wow” under my breath on numerous occasions as I had “ah-ha” moments.  Do you ever have those?  Suddenly something makes sense, it “clicks” and things all come together in your mind like a wave of instant awareness.  I have had so many of those surrounding my past relationship.

Although the demand for me to move out was on the heals of an issue “M” saw as borderline hoarding on my part, that demand truly had nothing to do with my belongings and had everything to do with the boundaries I set for myself in how I allowed her family members, specifically her adult daughter to treat me.  That is where the truth lies.

I moved, getting rid of nearly all those belongings “M” complained about.  I let them go with relative ease by the way, because I do not have a hoarding issue.  I now have a lot more knowledge of this widespread issue and I had some amazing insights that helped remind me I was not the problem in that relationship, as “M” would have wanted me and likely everyone else to believe. That workshop was another reminder that “M” really did (likely still does) have some serious mental health concerns that were not being addressed.

Since I blog mostly about food, let me not forget: we were on our own for lunch and because it is safest for me to eat my own food, I brought an amazing salad that was simple yet hearty and filling.  salad

The workshop was walking distance from the house I shared with “M”, who no longer lives there either.  I was compelled to go by because I was in the neighborhood and hadn’t been by that place since I left.  I was curious.  It looks the same.  I had no twinge of missing it or the neighborhood as I wandered by.  In fact, I found myself being grateful for right where I am and so glad that part of my life is in the past.  All this from one workshop!  My love of learning, professionally and personally will never end.

 

 

 

Simple Pleasures

The alluring sunshine gleaming upon the city enticed me from the views on my deck,  down the hill and to Portland’s waterfront.  The north end is lined with cherry trees coming into their peak as fluffy cherry blossoms create tunnels of pink.  I wanted to be encased in their beauty.

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Go down now, I thought; go while the sun is out.  Feeling the call to find things I love about Portland,  I thought walking the cherry blossom lined waterfront would fill me with the joy of simple pleasures found in this city. Perhaps a walk among the trees and the sunshine warming my skin would lift my spirits on an overall dreary weekend thus far.

It has been a good long time since I have felt my love for this city. Returning from a wonderful trip to North and South Carolina did not bring a new appreciation for Portland.  I find it even more detestable.  I wanted some simple reminders like cherry blossoms,  the portrait of beauty for so many Portland neighborhoods.

I had an easy drive down the hills toward the waterfront.  Positive attitude, camera and creativity were primed to be impressed only to be confronted by the endless battles for street parking.   Where every minute matters on days with Portland’s precarious weather,  I tested out my North Carolina learned aggressive driving skills to score a spot close to my destination.   In the less than two block walk,  I was greeted with drizzle as I entered the north end waterfront.  Momentarily in awe at the impressive show of pink,  I reached for my camera to snap a few pictures then began my tree lined walk.   Keeping with my feigned optimism,  I told myself a little drizzle is okay;  classic spring time in Portland.   Keep focused on the beauty and wish for that sunshine to show its glow any moment.  I quickly snapped some more pictures being careful to protect my camera from the drizzle turned pouring rain.  I was able to catch just a couple more perfect shots when the wind did a fast dance among the trees creating cascades of pink pedals whisking across the park,  whipping the heavy rain sideways,  blowing off my hat and pelting my face as I hurried back to my truck.

Completely soaked,  upset wet dog in my arms,  I grumbled as I got back into the truck, trying to conjure up what little bit of positive thoughts still remained.  I encountered an inordinate amount of traffic and my short trip back up the hills took me triple the amount of time.  I was met with several irrational drivers whose unsafe driving frayed my weary nerves.

Arriving home,  as I walked my deck to the front door I found exactly what I wanted-a gorgeous sunshine upon the city,  creating a glimmer that made me pause in admiration and enjoy the beauty of Portland.  I guess I find appreciation in my city from a distance more accepting these days than being right in the mix of it all.  I took that message and gave it thought as I created a comforting chicken stock,  made from the bones of a whole roasted chicken.

Sometimes the simple pleasures are right in our line of vision yet we are too busy looking past them as we seek something better.  I discovered that investing time in my kitchen with an occasional glance out the window to appreciate my views was the simple pleasure I needed to bring me back to a place of gratitude.  Not necessarily for my city,  but for my current journey that for now,  still exists in Portland.

Traveling Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Traveling outside of my familiar city always brings into question the types of foods that might be available for me to eat.  It can be difficult eating safely in areas that do not have the abundance of choices available to me that Portland offers.

Whenever I fly,  one of the most important planning tasks I must accomplish is food preparation.  I want food for my flight and a bit to have on hand in case choices are slim in Charlotte.  Honestly,  I just prefer my own food.  I focus on making snacks and breakfast foods.  I find that lunch and dinner are easier meals to enjoy at restaurants because I can almost always find something on the menu to eat.  It is rare that I find nothing, though it has happened.  Remember that failed cross country road trip I took?   I wrote about it here:  Hello From Wyoming!  My goodness,  what an experience that was!  Currently,  plans are being created to try again,  this time for a successful cross country road trip later this year!   That awful trip is also my reminder to always have plentiful supplies of my kind of food on hand when traveling!

For my latest travel adventure,  I’ll be flying to Charlotte, NC.  In less 24 hours I’ll be hanging out with my boy!   I am so excited!!!   I have not seen my son in over two years and it has been about three and a half years since I have visited him.   This is a long over due trip and visit!!   Even better;  my daughter will be traveling from Boston to join us in Charlotte.  I get to be with both my kids!!!  Did I say I am excited?!!   I am elated we’ll all be together again!!   This time it will be in happiness;  the last time being my mom’s death when we were all together.  We have all kinds of fun things planned and I am looking forward to playing for days with my kids.  Gosh,  do I need this vacation!!   I have taken several small trips over the past year,  but it has been nearly a full year since my last big adventure to Boston.   Remember that trip?  Boston Bonanza  was a blast!   Check out all the food I enjoyed!!   I’ll see how Charlotte has progressed in that area in the years since I have visited.

I make and bring food I know can travel well and remain relatively intact after getting knocked around in my bag.   I have breakfast for the plane,  lunch to eat at my layover,  or more likely run like a champ to my next gate and eat on the plane!   We will see how this lay over goes!   I have a few of my kind of  “essentials”  I like to have on hand tucked away in my carry on.   I am ready for my east coast adventure!

Check out some of the yummy food I am bringing along for my trip!  I didn’t get a chance to grab a picture of the egg and turkey bacon mini casserole I’ll be eating for breakfast in the morning once I settle on the plane.  You know I’ll be eating good!

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savory breakfast pancakes

 

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layover lunch pizza!! YUM!!

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two kinds of hearty, nutritious breakfast cookies!

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can’t forget the treats! gf/df snicker-doodles! Oh, yeah!!

 

 

FoodRadical. Getting Radical. Reflection. Change.

It has been a good, long time since my last post, hasn’t it?  A year has ended and new beginnings are upon us.  Today marks one year of living in my amazing “nest above the city”.  I am hoping this year is bringing you all continued peace and happiness as we make our way into 2016.

2015 was an amazing year.  It was my “bucket list” year.  Do you have a bucket list?  I’ve had a mental one for years.  Some of the things on that list are grandiose like taking a trip to Ireland, which I did a few years ago.  That was such a great one, I plan on checking it off twice!!  There are small things too, but desirable enough to earn a spot on my list, like make friends with a mechanic.  I did just that this past year!  In fact, I now have two!  I feel silly happy that I got to check off several “bucket list” achievements in 2015.  It put a little pep in my step each time!

My last post, Be Kind. Eat Kind. My Kind of “Kind” Bar I hinted at stressful times. Another one of my bucket list goals was to buy a new truck.  I did buy a truck only to wreck it hours later in a chain reaction six car accident on one of our local highways.  It was a horrible rainy night and there were many accidents throughout the city.  I honestly do not know how I walked away unscathed.  My arms were a bit sore, I imagine from my steering wheel death grip.  Otherwise, no injuries at all and for that I am truly grateful.  Other drivers in that mess were not as fortunate.  My truck got it good, but it is now fixed, looking new again and driving fine, thanks in part to my new friend!

I got a new addition to my household in 2015.  Isn’t she adorable!?  Getting a dog was not really on my bucket list, but I have wanted one for several years.  This sweet thing came to me a few months ago and has quickly worked her way into my heart.  She’s perfect.

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Got my rain coat & I’m ready to ride!

After eleven years of working in a different career I accepted an amazing new job back in my degree field of social work  in 2015.  It is a job that suits me perfectly.  I have found what feels very much like the dream job I have desired in my mind for years.  Pretty cool, right?!  My job satisfies my need for a creative outlet and immerses me in the kind of work that gives me such passion.  I completely love my job even when I have had a day from hell.  I wake up every morning excited to start my day.  This job keeps me very busy and as a result, I have far less creative energy or time for my blogging.  Finding the sweet dance that balances my mind, body and spirit is my daily challenge.

Although you have not seen posts recently, I have been working “behind the scenes” to change up my blog a bit.  It is a slow process.  It is not quite ready to go pubic.  I can feel the desire for change in my blog, yet I am still ironing out the direction I would like to see it take.  Be assured you will continue to see delicious food and recipe posts!  There is still creativity happening in Food Radical’s kitchen!

2015 was about change.  Abrupt, forced upon me change.  In a post earlier this year, Dip. Dip. Depression. I described what had happened to create this abrupt change.  This is the dark side of 2015.  There have been rough times and I have struggled.  In the midst of it I was constantly blessed with serendipity; my reminders that where I am is good and right.  2015 guided me to where I am currently in my life.  I am so deeply content; happy on my new path.  I feel focused and determined to continue checking off those bucket list items. These past few years have taught me that there is no time like the present.

Do what you love now.

2016 will be about change.  This time it is planned, gradual and deliberate change.  Food Radical will be making radical change in 2016.

I feel more alive and awake than I have felt in a very long time.  This past year has been incredibly transformative.  I never could have imagined the magic I have experienced in this last year.  It has renewed my faith in people; there are so many generous and giving souls in this world.  It has given me hope for the future and grounded me in the comfortable security I needed in moving forward to shape my new life.  That platform is where change happened.  It has been pivotal in goals I’ve established for myself.

As I look to this coming year I think of the accomplishments I have made and those yet to come.  I am living more wholly in my life, feeling more authentic and courageous.  This year will be about change.  I imagine it will be the most radical change I have experienced thru far.  Unquestionably, I am ready to embrace the abundance before me.  I will end with a quote from one of my favorite spiritual leaders.  His passing a few months ago left a deeply sad place in my heart.  His words have been my inspiration this past year.

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” Dr. Wayne Dyer.