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Archive for April, 2012

In honor of my blog’s 10,000th page view, I wanted to celebrate with 10,000 of something!

Which is why I made this:

It’s like 10,000 tiny celebrations in your mouth! And, it’s quick and cheap and easy to make, not to mention 100% vegetarian and healthy for you even if you do put meat in it. 🙂

Here’s how:

Ingredients

10,000 grains of brown or wild rice (or approximately 2 cups)

4 cups of vegetable broth (or 4 cups water with a dash of salt)

2-3 tbs olive oil

1 onion

5-6 garlic cloves

1 tsp chili powder

1 bell pepper of your chosen color

2 cans (or 3 cups) cooked beans

1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes

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1.Place rice in a pot with four cups of vegetable broth. You could also use water and a pinch of salt, which is cheaper and easier to find.

2.Preheat oven to 225F. Bring rice to a boil for 1 minute. This part is important, as I have learned through experience.

3.Pour the super hot rice mixture into a covered casserole. Get it into the oven as soon as you can (without burning yourself) in order to seal in all that steamy goodness.

4.Set your kitchen timer for 30 minutes.

5.Rinse out and dry your pot for the next step.

6.When the timer goes off, set it for 30 minutes again.

7.Immediately heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

8.Chop up an onion and sautee it for a few minutes. Add a diced bell pepper and several cloves of chopped garlic, plus a couple dashes of chili pepper. Cook a few more minutes.

9.Stir in a can of diced tomatoes with their juice. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.

10.Add in two cans (about 3 cups) of beans. Simmer another 5 minutes to heat throughout.

11.Take rice dish out of oven and mix in the bean mixture. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Enjoy!

PS–This recipe makes about ten cups of food, so be sure to have some friends or storage containers close by.

PPS–Each serving provides about 10g of protein. Even so, we agree that this dish might taste even more spectacular with a little local venison mixed in. Sorry, Bambi.

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It’s been several months since I’ve posted more than a few words or phrases to accompany my photographs. It’s hard to find words to say when you feel like you don’t have any left in you.

Spring is here, and I couldn’t be more relieved to see it. Before this past winter I never gave any serious thought as to whether or not I might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I mean, winter sucks and all, but it’s not unbearable, right? Well, not for everyone. For some people, winter is unbearable. And this winter, I was one of them.

For me, it is the shortening of the days that sends me into a gentle downward slope. In September, even when the days are still fairly long, I notice the way the light begins to change. By 4pm the sun begins its threatening descent, even though it prolongs the process for another three hours or so. I begin to feel occasional urges to crawl into bed as soon as I get home from work. The transformation within myself is so gradual that I don’t even notice that I’m slipping into a darker place. By the time Christmas rolls around, it’s a chore to stay out of bed, and I’m too far gone to think that spring will be able to bring me back.

The thing about depression is this: when you’re depressed, you feel like you’ve been depressed forever, and nothing will ever cure it. It doesn’t matter how many times the cycles shift and come around a million times over; depression is like the metaphorical bell jar that covers up and distorts your entire past, present, and future. And how does one go about escaping the vacuum it creates?

Fortunately for me and others affected by SAD, spring does bring relief. As days grow longer I find myself coming home from work and thinking, yeah, I’m tired, but I think I’ll save that nap til later. Next thing I know it’s an appropriate time to go to bed, and I don’t have to feel guilty for indulging my tired mind. With spring comes a greater intensity of light and color, and more opportunities to get outside and warm the skin. With spring comes growth, and opportunities for distraction from mental trouble.

Even so, it can be hard to want to come back from a dark place when the world outside is getting brighter. I see and enjoy the signs of spring and new life appearing all around me, but I am still not yet quite myself. It takes an effort to regain interest in former pursuits. It’s easy to think that I have nothing more to say, simply because I have been silent for so many months. It’s easy to stay inside because my body has grown accustomed to the comfort of my own home. It’s easy to stop sharing when you have felt for months that the people who care are few and far between.

Spring has arrived, and has done her fair share. For me and for all who suffer from winter depression, it is up to ourselves now to do our part and pull ourselves out of the melting snowpiles. There are walks to be had, and sunshine to be soaked up in copious quantities. There are flowers to be planted and books to be read outdoors under trees. There is much to be done and enjoyed in life, and preparations to be made to make the next winter more bearable. Spring is here.

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