Glass is always half full

glassLife really is a treat.  Each day is a new unknown, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

Ok so maybe I am an eternal optimist, but I cannot help but see the world in good light.  I love to celebrate the little things: the small victories, the beautiful encounters, or even the simplest achievements like going for that job or buying that book you’ve had on your wishlist for over a year.  Why not toast to a day without bickering or a day of torrential downpour that led you to your yoga mat and watered the desperately quenched soil?

There are two things that I can assuredly look forward to in a given day:

1.  I will learn something new about myself.  Something will challenge me or awaken inside of me.  That “ah-ha” moment when I understand something about myself a little better. Today, I learned that I love seeing people smile.  It is one of my many natural highs.  This discovery also led me to write this blog post.

2.  I will learn something new about someone else and smile at our differences.  That’s what makes our world go round right?  How cool is it that in all our human likeness, different things make each of us tick?  Today, I learned that a restaurant manager pursued her dream and finally started her own catering branch.  I watched her eyes light up as she shared photos from her latest catering gig.  How rad is that?  She was glowing as she talked… I couldn’t stop myself from telling her how happy she looked and how happy I was for her!  Then, I met my semi-mysterious housemate and learned that she and I had way more in common than I ever could have imagined! Our brief encounter literally changed my day.  Without knowing it, something she said in our conversation lit a fire under me to pursue one of my own dreams.  Too cool.

Trials and tribulations do happen.  But they leave us stronger, and hopefully a little wiser for the next bump in our journey.

Let the glass be half full every day.  After all, happiness is a choice.

xoxo,
Nat’s Knack

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

Miso Butter Glazed Eggplant

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Some nights (most) all I can come up with is bacon, eggs, and a side of peas for dinner. Once in a blue moon, I decide to dress-up the peas and surprise myself with a rush of creativity in the kitchen. Tonight happened to be one of those nights, and boy was I pleasantly surprised!

Dinner consisted of roasted eggplant with a miso butter glaze, warm brown rice, and an aromatic side of peas and greens. Though this meal came together completely organically, it is one I will not forget. This dish has complex flavors with a simple preparation. Perfectly filling, deliciously rich and bursting with bright flavors.  Last but not least, it is nutritious and beyond satisfying. These might be the best feelings to come away with after a meal…
I cannot wait for leftovers tomorrow night!

To make Miso Glazed Eggplant:
Miso Butter (can be made ahead)
– 1:1 ratio rooom temp butter and white miso paste (good quality)
– 2 T Sake
– 2 T Mirin

Eggplant
– 2 eggplants (Japanese or smaller Italian)
– Salt and pepper
– Sesame oil
– Scallions (green onions)
– Sesame seeds

Mix together the butter and miso paste until well blended. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready for use.
Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and brush all sides lightly with sesame oil. Score the eggplant diagonally with the tip of a knife to ensure even cooking (do not break through the skin). Season with salt and pepper and place the eggplants skin side up on the baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes depending on the size. Once eggplants are tender, remove the pan from the oven.
Meanwhile, turn your oven to broil and bring the sake and mirin to a quick boil for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low and add miso butter, whisking until mixture reduces and thickens. After two minutes, stir in the sesame seeds.
Finally, turn the eggplants face-side up on the baking sheet and coat generously with the miso glaze. Watching closely, broil the eggplant for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions.

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Slow Food Sundays: lunch

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Since breakfast is often my main meal on Sundays, lunch tends to be light. Most people would eat brunch and sit comfortably until dinner later that evening. I, however, do not like to skip meals so lunch always finds a place in my day.

The image above represents a typical salad I prepare for myself on Sundays. I simply chop whatever vegetables remain in my fridge after a week of cooking and toss them over fresh greens and a homemade vinaigrette. The vinaigrette mainly consists of honey, whole grain mustard, fresh ginger, garlic, olive oil, and lemon (variations include rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar). I love the zingy combination of honey, ginger, and lemon on my vegetables.

For more slow food posts see breakfast and dinner.
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Slow Food Sundays: breakfast

Slow Food Sundays: breakfast

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“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Sundays are dedicated to relaxation. Not necessarily “rest” but a relaxed approach to all things. My nature is rather anxious, but on Sundays I try to take things slow. Whether I am cleaning the apartment, cooking, or catching up on emails… my focus is on appreciating the little things on this day.

In cooking, the slow food approach is rather unique. In fact, it is a movement that has gained momentum across our globe since 1986 with founders in Bra, Italy. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cook at an unusually slow pace. Slow Food steers individuals away from fast food and promotes cooking with real, quality ingredients. I believe this approach brings gratification back into our meals.

Click here for more information about Slow Food USA.

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Salt + Pepper

Salt + Pepper

With an overwhelming number of recipes available on the internet, sometimes the best answer is to shut the laptop and simply cook. It doesn’t have to be fancy, tricky, or twenty ingredients long to taste good. Some of my absolute favorite meals require the least number of ingredients, freshest whole foods, and simplest preparations. This Saturday, I cooked one of these meals with my friend. To add to the simplicity of our feast – we cooked at his place which had only the bare minimum cooking essentials: salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.

What did we cook?

Salt + Pepper Salmon, Asparagus, Quinoa, and Tomato Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

Bake the salmon, roast the asparagus, toast the quinoa, and dress the tomatoes, arugula, goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette. Presto! Dinner is served.

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