Stuffed Zucchini And More

Last night I went a little crazy and relived my veggie heavy days. (Aka, when I was a vegetarian). I had this beautiful zucchini sitting in the fridge and had been wondering what to make with it for the past couple days. Fresh from my parent’s garden and accompanied by ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley, I was feeling the summer garden love a whole lot.

Bonus today! I actually have two recipes that I felt ended up going together beautifully last night. There was my stuffed zucchini, which played the part of appetizer/side dish (in lieu of crispy bruschetta or garlic bread), and my main dish was a simple yet fresh and tasty pasta.

I’ll skip the part where I talk and rumble a whole bunch and jump right into my recipes here.

Firstly.

Stuffed Zucchini

Continue reading Stuffed Zucchini And More

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The Benefits of Raging, And The Art Of Being Pissed

Having a temper is discouraged in our society. We lean towards terms like ‘easy going’ and ‘laid back,’ giving a nonchalant attitude towards the rare anything that could anger us. A temper is confused for cruelty or meanness. I’m definitely guilty of taking pride in my ability to excuse the irksome and I constantly try to overlook others poor behaviour when my irritation is already being cheaply ignored. The description of ‘easy going’ is very much me in many ways, but there are exceptions.

I’m a clean person. So being surrounded by chaos or disorganization pushes me to a new level cleanliness that could only be described as Molly Maid perfection. That can hardly be called easy going! An easy going person would just shrug and toss a pair of dirty socks into the mess, assuming it’ll have its time to be reckoned with; a gift for future-me to deal with. But I’m not easy going about the condition in which I live. People have many facets and each of us have a thing that can and will get under our skin. How we respond to it says a lot about us, but generally, those that react in anger are judged and resented for their inability to mask it. That’s really what it is to deny a temper, isn’t it? It’s a deception, a carefully controlled and masked emotion to protect our reputation as a calm and laid back person. Out of fear or embarrassment we neglect the fury that could be asking us to just be pissed and then condone the ‘strength’ it took to control that urge.

There are tempers that swoop out of control and hurt those around them with carelessness and vulgarity. And I can’t encourage those. What I want, is controlled rage. Responsible but honest anger that doesn’t need to be lessened for the sake of keeping face. Letting yourself feel is a struggle familiar with many people. Too often we try to limit our emotions, whether it be the stubborn cling to not fall in love or the tongue biting clench of true, hit something hard, anger.

One of my biggest accomplishments over the past few years was learning to be angry; learning to hate. Not a petty hate born out of ignorance or annoyance, but genuine, nearly blinding, hate. I learned and seethed in an acceptance of being genuinely mad and let myself be pissed. It wasn’t like I’d never been mad before, but it had always stemmed from my personal transgressions or jealousies. This new emotion I allowed myself was raw and was a reaction to someone who had wronged me. Playing the role of humble martyr, belittling the anger I was deserved and being too understanding were routes I’d always been all too familiar with. Letting go of the cautions of feeling all that was there, I finally let rage seep out, And it was amazing. I spoke with shocking power and emotion that wasn’t in complete juxtaposition to my normal calm demeanour and realized the lies I had been telling myself all along. I wasn’t ok with this person. I wasn’t willing to accept or forgive anytime soon. This was inexcusable of them and I had all the reason in the world to be pissed. Pissed at how cruel they had been. Pissed at their words, actions and hurtful assumptions. Pissed at how they had disappointed me. Pissed at myself for allowing it to have gotten as far as it had out of my own hesitation to being angry in the first place.

The weight that fell from my shoulders along with the honesty of my emotion left my breathing easier, and more surprisingly, smiling. Behind the hot tears that burned the back of my eyes and the solid lump in my throat was a pride only slightly bigger than the rage simmering below it. My words had been mean. My intentions had been to hurt. Every inch of me wanting him to feel how angry I was, how much he had disappointed me. The fight I brought out of the both of us was unexpected but hugely necessary. We needed to be angry. I needed to be angry. He needed to know that this was unacceptable and I was finally strong enough to react truthfully.

Being pissed can be sloppy and reckless. Ugliness can be so easily stumbled into when the red mist descends, but the trick is to remain in control. Say the words that you need to, but don’t forget why you say them. Be honest with yourself. What you feel is not wrong, is not weakness of character. What you’re feeling is important. There’s never cause to snap unwarranted, or throw a fist through a wall. But stealing the heat of an emotion is dangerous in its own ways. You won’t steal the heat of the anger away, you’ll only store it, like hot embers, lying beneath a cool bed of soil.

Commit to yourself, to all of yourself. To the emotions that demand your honesty, and the power to be true.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.

Summer Salad For Protein Peeps

It’s officially summer! I’m only a few skeptical weeks late in announcing it, but my birthday is what I personally use as a marker of the brilliant occasion that is warmth in the land of supposed igloos and dog mushers. (That was a just quick quip at the poor expectations the good old land of the brave have of the Canadian nation. – come on guys, obbbviiousslly we live in yurts).

Anyways, back to the summer celebration. Let me first introduce you to my food season reasoning. I am a huge supporter of sweet potato soup spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg in the fall, of hot chocolates topped with mini marshmallows on winter nights, corn and chickpea salads with a twist of lime and garnished with parsley in the spring and all the barbecued glories of the summer. Not that we can’t revisit some Continue reading Summer Salad For Protein Peeps

Be Brave Little One. A Letter.

You are questioned by everyone including me. There are few triumphs worth praise in your line of work, but keep your head up, little one. The path you walk is lined with doubt, judgement and fear. Insecurity is an ugly coat of speckled sequin you cannot hide and leaves you scratching and tugging at its edges in embarrassment. You’re guilt ridden and feel foolish by your selfish hopes and dreams.

This world is a huge, intimidating place that seeks to challenge you. I will always challenge you along with it. Beneath the pleasure that you seek are painful memories that strip you of willpower and serenity. A past of failures has chiseled your once unscathed gleam and robbed you of your inherent innocence. You may believe that too many moments have been sentenced to the shadows of dark clouds; too many opportunities stolen by your own hesitation and uncertainty.

But, awkwardly, you will maintain yourself. You won’t heed my fears and you’ll be strong. Those that challenge you, most notably me, intend to awaken in you a beast of magnificence. In you, lives the harmony to quell anxiety, the fortitude to surpass the obstacles of ineptitude.

Apprehension has cloaked you for too long.

You are brilliant and hold the secret to success in your tiny existence. Simmering beneath your cool surface is a pool of heat and fire with the potential to blaze a path through your pained past. Despite the hardships you face under my skeptic eye, the beauty and strength you possess will shine.

Stand up, little one. Believe in yourself. Trust in your own sustenance and sneer at the terrors that my mind conjures. You are the defining factor in all that can be blessed upon us and my quiet has no say in your capacity for excellence.

You, my confidence, will bring us greatness in time. Prove my insufferable insecurities to be falsehoods and be brave in the face of my doubt. I am your worst enemy, a nightmare that collects the most painful potential outcomes of all life decisions and replays them on a loop to challenge all that you are.

Be brave. You are only as little as I dare to make you seem. You can be the largest part of me. You are stronger than I give you credit for.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.

Twenty-Six, Quitting My Job, Scared Sh*tless and Feeling It.

At this time, every day, a neighbour practices piano. The tune seeps through the walls and gently crowds our apartment. If you happen to be lounging outside on the balcony, you can close your eyes and steal the performance. It has become a beautiful perk to where we live. I have no idea where the mystery pianist lives, or what they look like, but each time the melody makes its way into our lives, I like to imagine this person calmly sitting before the keys, their fingers moving with purpose and ease. Their commitment to this skill as unwavering and dynamic as what they play.

So today, I sit here, typing to the melody of a slow, heart-wrenching Roxanne and continue to abide to my own commitment. My silence this past weekend was in respect for my birthday. Sweet sixteens filled with giggles and candles, nineteens dipped in screwdrivers and beer, twenty-ones and big old twenty-fives have come and gone. On Thursday the sun set on my 25th year in this world, in this life. Now,¬†I’m into the 26th and I’m a whirlwind of emotions that differ in zero ways from yesterday, or the day before…or the year before. The biggest difference is in the risks I woke with the courage to take. These weren’t new ideas to sweep my mind in the hour of the anniversary of my birth. They have been glimpses of bright light illuminating dreams and hopes that my skeptic mind has scoffed at.

I’ve always been adamant that the change at the end of a date when the bells chime at midnight on December 31st, or the steady lapse of time as an age ticks up on the sunrise of your birthday does not signify real change. They are just numbers, they are just stats. Unless you make them significant, that is. Sometimes we cling to these minute changes because they are changes that can be enough to force our own hands. We mark our own progressiveness, our own decisions, our resolutions in the pursuit of betterment to the rhythm and clock of these occasions. This new number now pin points the starting line. A point to mark growth from, a buoy to cast glances back at to measure distance.

This birthday marks the day I quit my job.

That is a terrifying line. I felt my stomach clench and the breath hold an uncomfortable moment longer in my chest. A fear so deep rooted in the unknown, in needing to trust myself and my motivations. My heart is made up and my mind is staggering with this decision. I feel like I’ve dove into deep water, my back against the dark depths, my face watching the lighted surface stay firmly in one place as I sink farther.

But, I can swim. I know I can. I won’t drown.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.

Schedule

6:15am – Wake up.
6:30am – Run.
7:45am – Stretch and shower.
8:15am – Walk and feed dog.
8:30am – Prep lunch for work and have breakfast.
9:10am – Walk to work.
10:00am to 6:00pm – Work.
6:00pm – Walk home.

A schedule always seems methodical when formatted like that. But, like this, it’s deprived of emotion and can’t be trusted. In between the lines there’s pride and beauty.

When I wake up, it’s with Sam’s sleepy voice lulling me into wakefulness. With the earth under my heels and a morning air that reminds me what it means to be alive, I run. The deep stretch of yoga followed by a moment in meditation as cool water soaks my body leaves me clear. Each day I’m greeted by puppy cuddles and the feeling of unconditional love that my dog exudes for me with no hesitation. Warm water with lemon, fresh fruit and yogurt awaiting me is a luxury I furiously remind myself not to take for granted. Our walk to work follows the bustle of mid-town Toronto, soaking up the sun, the people, the smells of fresh produce and breads and the sense of community unavoidable in the city I know and love. Surrounded by friends and people who admire my ambition and intelligence, I’m awarded with the sense of accomplishment and pride at work that people strive for in life. I’m blessed to have an income doing something that can make a difference to the lives of animals and the people who get to call them their best friends. As I head home, the exhaustion may be wearing me thin, but the evening is beautifully inviting and my home is welcoming and I slow everything as I appreciate the day.

In finality there is peace but a sweet after-taste of what is to come. The end is rarely the end. A schedule is not merely a schedule. Timetables do not dictate monotony. Beauty is fresh and new when your eyes are open no matter the repetition.

Today I got up at 6:15am. Tomorrow I will get up at 6:15am. I can’t wait.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.