Monday, February 11, 2013

Recipe: Sloppy Lentils and Tangy Slaw

It's been a while since I posted a recipe here, but my niece has decided to be a vegetarian and her mom needed some protein-rich veg recipes that would satisfy the whole family. I gave her a list of my favorites, most of which I've already posted. This one happens to be easy and satisfies the occasional Sloppy Joe craving.

Sloppy Lentils
(Adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)
Makes 4 to 6 servings


1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small red or green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 TBSP chili powder
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
One 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP yellow mustard
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste


1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the chili powder and stir to mix well. Cook for 30 seconds more, then remove from heat.

2. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours.

Serve on burger buns and top with coleslaw (optional). I like to top mine with a tangy broccoli slaw (mix a bag of broccoli slaw with a tangy dressing made by whisking together about 1/4 cup light mayo, a TBSP soy sauce and TBSP rice vinegar).

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Perfect Moment

As if I haven’t had enough change in my life over the last couple of years, I’m about to take a huge risk. In two weeks, I say good-bye to my full-time employer and embark on the scariest, most exciting journey yet. I’ve been working for the same small government contractor for more than six years now. A core group of about ten employees has come to be like a family to me and I’m sad to see my last days with them come. Still, the excitement of something new is brewing.

I’ve often dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom and running my own business from home, but I never really thought it would be feasible. I just thought it would be nice. Then, one night when Jesse and I were going over the pros and cons of my staying home with our little one for the fourteenth time, Jesse said to me, “I’d hate for you to have this opportunity to do what you really want to do and not take it. I don’t want you to regret that.” Those words have echoed in my mind over and over again as the deadline for a decision got closer and closer. I knew what I really wanted and, with the support of my husband, I let it unfold for me.

There were a lot of reasons to walk away from a good-paying job: a long commute; my desire to nurse the baby for as long as I can; a lack of family in the area who could help with child care and a limited budget for daycare or a nanny; not wanting to miss any of those important early moments; and the chance to take a chance. But there were also a lot of reasons not to walk away: really good health insurance; professional relationships (and friendships); a respectable income; a career I’ve spent years building; and a fear of failing at something new. Despite the cons of leaving my job, deep down, I think I always knew what we would do. I never once looked into daycare for the baby, never once thought about how I would handle the logistics of working and raising a child.

Don’t get me wrong, a lack of independent wealth means this decision was not an easy one—we’re going to be cutting corners, clipping coupons and stretching budgets. I wouldn’t say we’ve decided to live off one income because we CAN. We’ve decided that it’s what we WANT and we’re going to make it happen.

For years I’ve been trying to build up the courage to do something different. I’ve been hemming and hawing, building a business in fits and starts while hoping that the perfect moment to take the leap would come. But it never did. Turns out there’s never really a perfect moment for anything. No perfect moment for falling in love. No perfect moment for having a baby. And no perfect moment for quitting a perfectly acceptable job with a significant and steady income to try something new, something unpredictable and a little unknown.

But we do these things anyway. We find ourselves in situations we didn’t expect or hadn’t planned and we make the best of them. In my experience, more often than not, we realize they’re the best things we could have ever done, anyway. The Universe has a better grasp on what we need (and want) than we do. Maybe every moment is a perfect moment if we choose to let it be.

So in two weeks, when I turn way from that steady, comfortable job, I will turn toward my dreams and I won’t look back. I will look forward, to precious time with my baby boy, to that novel that I’ve been sitting on, to the freelance work I’ve put on hold, to teaching more yoga (and practicing more, too). I’ll look forward to whatever is on the horizon, whether I can see it yet or not, and know that the timing of everything will be perfect.

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