Everybody needs family. Everybody needs to be a part of a family, whether it be an immediate family, an extended family, or a spiritual family. A major cultural theme in today’s society is individualism. With individualism, the individual’s focus is on their own needs and perspectives instead of on relationships and groups. Why? I think there are many reasons for this and there is no one person who will have the same reasons as another. I used to be involved with the new age movement. I was really involved with numerology, horoscopes and other things, trying to figure out who I was and what my purpose was. Often times I would catch myself putting myself in a box. My sign didn’t get along with that person’s sign, so therefore we couldn’t be friends, and so on. However, as I continued on my path of searching for the power within me to set me free from the bondages of anger, hurt, and depression, I ended up stumbling across a small church who accepted and embraced me for who I was and walked with me through some of my most painful days on the journey to recovery. I met Jesus on this trip, and from that day forward, I have never been the same. One of the major memories my church family has of me, is I would wear a tea cozy on my head. I was shy, broken, insecure and felt safer if I had something on my head, whether it was a toque, a hat of some sort, or a tea cozy. Hence the name of this blog. Most people just knew me as the one wearing the tea cozy on my head, but never really got to know me until later, when the tea cozy came off, and my healing process changed how I viewed life and myself. Being a young and new Christian, I was like a sponge and taking in all the teachings and readings to heart. I would sit under the older, more mature women and learn all I could from them. One lady in particular is Carol. She became a spiritual mother to me. She loves me and she loves Sean greatly. Before Sean’s mom passed away, Carol would often say she’d be his mom in the west, since his family was all back east. She and Herb have embraced us like their own, and we really love and appreciate them. Since we have been married, for almost seven years, it has been a tradition for the four of us to go out for dinner to experience a new restaurant. Last night was one of those occasions. It was brilliant. Absolute fun. The food was fresh, tasty, and beautiful. The conversation, like always, full of life, laughs, and excitement. We left feeling refreshed and revived. I love family. I love that family doesn’t have to be placed in a box. I love that community can’t be placed in a box. There is just no room for it. We need family. We need to know we belong.
I remember one day in school, when I was a sophomore, student counsellors met with us to look over lists of colleges, universities, and other means of higher education. I felt pressured and trapped. It was way over my head. At 15, how was I to know what I wanted to be? I only wanted to play soccer and garage sale. I wasn’t big on school to begin with, so to think about post secondary school after secondary school, discouraged me. Grades intimidated me. Peers scared me. I remember saying to my friend as we were checking off random schools to go to that it would be fun to own of a sandwich shoppe. I loved sandwiches and I still do, however, I also love to make sandwiches. It has become a family tradition to go to the grocery store and buy fresh buns, cheese, and meats, for our lunches, after church. This Sunday I wasn’t able to go to the store due to a prior engagement. Therefore, I decided to use what I had in the kitchen, and yes, this included Sean’s least favorite thing in the world, the big L word, LEFTOVERS. I ended up making a grilled avocado and orange pepper cheese sandwich with Oh She Glows’ “Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl” leftovers. It was pretty yummy.
Sunday Grilled Cheese with Avocado and Orange Pepper with a side dish…
2 pieces of preferred bread (I like Squirrely Bread)
2 tbsp Grapeseed oil
Shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Orange Pepper sliced thinly
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1tsp spicy mustard
salt and pepper to taste
How To Play:
In a medium size skillet, heat the olive oil at a medium temperature until warm. Place the slices of bread in the oil. I like to have both sides of the bread covered in the olive oil so flip them over before adding the remaining ingredients. Spread 1/2 of an avocado on one slice of bread and mayonnaise and mustard on the other slice. Gently place the pepper slices over the mayonnaise and the cheeses on the avocado. Bring the two slices together and with a metal flipper press down hard on the sandwich and then bring the temperature to a low heat and cover for about 2-3 minutes. Flip the sandwich to have the other side toasted and again press down really hard with a flipper, and cover again for another 2 minutes. When the peppers are warm and soft and the cheeses have melted, the sandwich is finito. Serve with a salad, carrot slices, or tortillas.
For the Lightened Up Protein Goddess Bowl: (Inspired by Oh She Glows)
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup uncooked buckwheat or brown rice
1/2 tbsp olive oil, for sautéing
1/2 red onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
3 cups spinach or kale, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 batch of Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing (recipe below)
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
Lemon Wedges & lemon zest, to garnish
1. Cook lentils and buckwheat according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Prepare the Lightened Up tahini-Lemon dressing in food processor (see below for recipe).
3. In a large skillet over low-medium heat, add olive oil and sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic for a few minutes. Add in the chopped red pepper and tomato and sauté for another 7-8 minutes.
4. Stir in the chopped kale or spinach and sauté for another few minutes, just until tender. Stir in the full batch of tahini-Lemon dressing, the cooked & drained grains and lentils, and simmer on low for another few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the minced parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon wedges and zest.
Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing
Adapted from Tahini-Lemon Dressing.
Yield: Just under 1 cup of dressing
1/4 cup Tahini
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
1 tsp sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 tbsp water, or as needed
1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth.