Lazy Vegan: Quinoa, Maple Brussels, & Avocado Aoili

By all accounts, I am a lazy, lazy vegan. I barely make anything from scratch that isn’t intended to be eaten in a scratch-like fashion. You will not see me making my own bread, creating my own tofu, or doing anything that requires more than an hour in the kitchen. I also don’t like standing over the stove. If it’s going to take 40 minutes to cook, I better not be standing there just stirring a pot. My arms have other plans.

I worked from home today, took a yoga class, came home and showered. It’s Jesse’s month for Date Night, so I was told to be ready by 6:30. I had a hankering to grub, but I didn’t want to eat something that would be too filling. I primarily cook out of necessity and I had some sad looking brussels and half a hass avocado in the fridge that needed to be eaten. Enter, my lazy & delicious lunch.

 

quinoa with crispy maple balsamic brussels and avocado aoili

Quinoa, Maple Brussels, and Avocado Aoili

Feeds: 1-2 hungry people (with leftover brussels + aoili for other noms later)

1/2 of quinoa

Brussels:

1 lb. brussel sprouts

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 T maple syrup

2 T canola (or other) oil

garlic salt + pepper to taste

Aoili

1/2 hass avocado

1 T veganaise

1 t lemon juice (or more to taste)

1 t vegan worcestershire sauce

~1 t soy sauce or liquid aminos

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Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Get your brussels. If they are fresh, don’t sweat peeling off any mealy looking layers. If they are like mine, shed those outer leaves until they are nice and green. Cut the stem off and chop all brussels in half.
  3. Pour in balsamic, maple syrup, and oil into a largeish bowl. Whisk the liquids.
  4. Throw brussels in and coat. Show them some love.
  5. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and throw your brussels on there, giving a nice sprinkle of garlic salt and pepper. Place in oven and set a timer to 30 minutes, checking back every once in a while to shake those suckers up and make sure they get crispy all around.
  6. Next, cook quinoa to package directions.
  7. Then, throw your avocado, lemon juice, vegan worcestershire sauce, veganaise, and a smidge of liquid aminos or soy (optional) in a bowl and mush all around until it’s a nice guacamole-like consistency.
  8. Meanwhile, you can start blow drying your hair for your date tonight if you’re like me. I just kept swinging through the kitchen with each layer of dried hair, shaking up the brussels and making sure the quinoa didn’t over cook.
  9. Once the brussels are cooked to your liking, put quinoa, brussels and sauce in bowl. Devour.

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I never post what I cook and eat because I always think it’s not fancy enough, but Jesse keeps encouraging me to share it on the blog since most of what I make is decently healthy and not very involved. It also tastes pretty good, too. I mean, look at how yummy and crispy those brussels are! Yeeeeeee.

Faults

I’m weird about food.

Like, I love it. Maybe a little too much. I eat healthy, I exercise, and I’m in great shape. But, have a pretty dicey relationship with portion control. Heck, forget about applying portion control to food, I have a hard time with it in my life. I want more, more, more.

I’ve talked with Jesse about it – he lives with me, he sees how much I love food. It’s so amazing. I love cooking because I flow when I cook. I don’t think, I just create, and I’m pretty good at it. I mean, what’s better than making a masterpiece and then EATING IT? Nothing.

I’m also always cold. Always. Maybe it’s my thyroid, maybe it’s my tiny hands with their tiny veins trying to regulate my regular-sized body, but I’m just cold. Fingers are popsicles, toes are ice cubes. Playing footsie with me can be a risk to your health. I’m a miserable person to be around when I’m cold.

I’m also kind of moody. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Maybe it’s my thyroid (gosh, darnit thyroid – such a pain). I can go from being really happy to really bummed depending on what happened and bounce back in a heartbeat. I’m mercurial. I’ve always been this way.

I catastrophize. It hasn’t been sunny here in like, I don’t know, forever (see: dramatic). I sat in front of the heater last night in my workout clothes, waiting for Jesse to be ready to work out, and I just pouted. It was late, I was hungry, I didn’t want to work out and it would be like… I don’t know, 1.5 hours until we ate dinner after workout + shower? I hadn’t seen the sun in ages, my skin is dry and cold, and OH MY GOODNESS EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.

Then I cooked, showered, and ate (did I mention I suffer from hanger? (hunger + anger)), I got my new electric blanket, I poured myself a glass of wine, added in some holiday cookies and all was right [enough] with the world. I was back to being pleasant and lovely.

Why am I sharing this with you? One, because I’m not perfect and I’m not happy all the time. I AM A HUMAN BEING. It’s nuts. I’m also just a tough pill to swallow, even for myself. Part of being a therapist is trying to not be mad at yourself when you’re being a crappy human and you can’t help it. Sometimes I eat too many cookies, sometimes I’m hangry, sometimes I’m cold and there’s nothing that can be done about it, and sometimes I’m irritated that I’m irritable and I just can’t (or don’t want to) snap out of it.

But these are things I’m actively working on to be better at. I am light-years beyond where I was three years ago. Nowadays, I feel capable of working on these things, including forgiving myself for being so human. I’m so hard on myself, I worry (while in mid-catastrophizing about everything) that Jesse will be mad at me, or resent me for being unpleasant. Let’s review that tidbit of knowledge: I’m already upset about being upset, but then I’m more upset because I don’t want my partner to be mad at me for being mad. It’s exhausting.

I think about all these issues I want to work on. I think about how much I love cookies and I look at people who intuitively eat almost always and I get down on myself. Then I think, “Why do I behave like this? Why are the cookies so important?” I find my answer. Then I’m empowered with the strength to solve the problem – the cause of the cookie binge – with something healthier than three cookies. Maybe it’s one cookie and something to erase my boredom, because let’s face it – I will never be a woman who says no to at least one cookie.

My health is harder. What do I do, just wear 40 jackets and say, “Oh it’s my thyroid making me moody! I should stop”? Um, that’s hard to do. Just stop feeling a certain way in a nanosecond? I don’t think so. But, you know what? When I know why I feel a certain way, it takes a lot of power out of the negative feeling because again – there’s a solution somewhere in there.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because it’s my blog and sometimes I like to share my vulnerabilities because I know I’m not alone. I know you guys out there have issues with eating too many cookies and beating yourself up about it, sometimes. I know we’re all wrestling with being imperfect, which makes me feel normal. I also know sometimes it seems like I have it all figured out. I don’t and frankly, what a boring life that would be.

I always make a New Year’s Resolution, but I also do this. I sit and think about how I can improve on my life. How can I be a better person for myself and for others? Where are my areas for improvement that I can make a priority for active change? It’s empowering.

So today, I will probably finish off the rest of the cookies I baked and then not buy any at the store for a few months. That will limit my cookie intake. I will layer better, keeping my core warmer. I will call my doctor about my thyroid medication and tell her I’m feeling weird and moody, more so than usual. I’ll wear mittens, I’ll kiss my wonderful boyfriend because he tolerates the grumpy and adores the pleasant things about me, I’ll write this blog post, and I’ll feel connected with you guys because hey – we’re all in this together.

Vegan Thanksgiving 2012

I’ve always hated Thanksgiving. As a kid, I was a picky eater and Thanksgiving was the king of my yearly meals I despised. Let’s be honest here, if just evaluating food by looks (which I did as a kid), Thanksgiving food is the most disgusting looking.

My sentiments about this holiday have changed over the years. Knowing the importance of gratitude, I embrace the spirit of the holiday more. When we went vegetarian, we skipped our first Thanksgiving by just going to Jamaica. We wanted a vacation and we didn’t want to deal with explaining 40 times to 40 different relatives why we couldn’t eat turkey.

This year, I was really excited. We have another friend here in Seattle who is vegan and loves cooking, so we thought, “Why not just do a vegan Thanksgiving?” and that’s what we did. It was the most delicious evening of food, friendship, and more food. I feel incredibly thankful for these two awesome cooks I got to share the table with this holiday. So, you want to see what we ate?

Yes, it was all vegan. It was all delicious (I’d tweak my lasagna recipe, the ratio of cashew cream to other ingredients was off), and I’m super happy with how everything turned out. The seitan roast was out of this world. So good.

All recipes referenced can be found here.

All photos were by my friend Jeewan Ghuman. Thanks for the awesome photography, bud.