The delight of fruits and vegetables in the summer! Here is the haul we brought home from our weekly/bi-monthly shopping trip to Kowalski’s, Mississippi Market, and Cub. Recently, I heard on a podcast that we should be trying to have at least 30 different types of plant-based food every week. That seemed like a large number to me until I looked at this photo and realized that we were almost to 30 without even including brown rice, our favorite Dave’s Killer Goodseed Bread, Wasa Crispbread, Blueberry Cinnamon Flax cereal, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, black beans, chickpeas, and many more. Happy Friday!
As part of the Ornish cardiac rehab program, our chef prepared delicious plant-based meals for us in the middle of each session. While we have always enjoyed fruits and vegetables, these meals opened our eyes to the many tasty entrees, side dishes, and desserts one can make even when adhering to a strict low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet. There were curries and pasta dishes, soups and salads, tacos and quinoa burgers, and of course, yummy desserts. Since then, we have been cooking as often as we can, trying new recipes and doing a lot of taste testing. 🙂
Today’s recipe is one that the Swingle family shared with us — sticky sesame cauliflower. If you are a fan of sesame chicken, this dish is a good replacement for that. It is medium spicy, so feel free to use less or more sriracha to control the amount of spice. We rarely use oil, so we reduced the sesame oil from 1 tbsp to 1 tsp and added in 1 tbsp peanut butter.
You don’t need to love cauliflower to enjoy this dish. Stephanie actually doesn’t like cauliflower, but this dish is her favorite plant-based meal so far. The recipe comes from the Vegan Huggs website.
Spring is just around the corner in Minnesota, so we have been able to enjoy some walks and bike trips in St. Paul and Minneapolis. If you haven’t tried the Nice Ride bikes yet, we recommend it. On Saturday, we rode from the Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul to St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis to have dinner on the patio at the Aster Cafe and attend an album release event for Rachel Kilgour, who performed with Sara Pajunen, Chris Koza, and Liz Draper. So convenient to get bikes from the station near our home and then return them to the station near St. Anthony Main. No worries and no fuss, plus little expense and good exercise!
I hope the sun and warmth of spring helps to get me going on my cardiac rehab program again, after a bit of a plateau after Christmas. Here is one of my favorite spring poems by the Nobel-prize winning Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. Below each line is my own, very literal translation, intended to convey some of the meaning of the poem but not its poetic rhythm and beauty.
Jeg velger meg april! I choose April
Jeg velger meg april I choose April I den det gamle faller, In it the old falls, i den det ny får feste; in it the new gains a foothold; det volder litt rabalder,- it causes a bit of a ruckus,- dog fred er ei det beste, yet peace is not the best, men at man noe vil. but that one wills something.
Jeg velger meg april, I choose April, fordi den stormer, feier, because it storms, sweeps, fordi den smiler, smelter, because it smiles, melts, fordi den evner eier, because it has abilities, fordi den krefter velter,- because it overturns powers,- i den blir somren til! in it summer is created!
What a difference a few months can make! On the morning of August 5, I had just updated my author biography for the upcoming release of the second edition of Sett i gang 1, the first book in our introductory Norwegian curriculum. Suffering from the effects of a bad cold, I was working from the couch with my Mac laptop, covered up with a blanket on a warm summer day. I felt a little bit funny and could smell something burning. Of course, I googled something like “what does it mean when you smell burnt toast,” but that is the last thing I remember before my cardiac arrest.
Anyway, not to revisit that whole thing again, but I didn’t really get to enjoy that book release as I normally would. That’s why it feels especially good today, exactly five months later, to finish the second edition of Sett i gang 2, the second book in our introductory Norwegian curriculum.
It was really good for me to get back to work on the Sett i gang project once I was home from the hospital and starting to feel better. In fact, it was a type of cognitive rehab for me to accompany my physical cardiac rehab program. In the beginning, I tired easily, but after a few weeks I was able to work more normally again. My co-author Kari has been very patient as I worked my way from being a patient to a full-fledged colleague again. We were also very fortunate to have two incredible graphic designers working with us – Laura for the first three chapters and Erika for the rest. We appreciate their talent and dedication to the project.
And just in case you are interested in learning some Norwegian, here are the links to Amazon where the books can be purchased:
CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay — 10/18/2016
Week by week, Nancy has continued her amazing recovery. The proof is in the pictures! We just finished walking 5.2 miles from our house to Longfellow Grill via Summit Avenue. We are ecstatic to be sitting outside for supper in mid October!!!
Last week Nancy had an appointment with the electrophysiology cardiologist (the doc who placed her defibrillator before she left the hospital in August), and he discovered her kidney numbers were back to normal and her heart MRI could be scheduled. So she will have that tomorrow afternoon already. Please hold her extra tight in your thoughts and prayers for both a calm and easy test as well as a NORMAL result. We are not sure if we will get results tomorrow or not.
Thanks to all for your continued support. We are grateful for each day, each other and all of you!
CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay — 8/24/2016
Nancy continues to recover here at home. She remains an amazing and patient, well, patient. There have been a few wee bumps along the road to recovery — namely a bit of an infection and a whole lot of hives from a new antibiotic — but, to no one’s surprise, she has persevered.
First day of cardiac rehab earlier today. She had to take a 6 minute walk while they monitored her heart. That led quite seamlessly to a 60 minute nap upon returning home.
We also went on a short walk together this evening on our block. She’s looking pretty amazing, don’t you think??? 🙂
I’m just happy she’s alive, happy she’s home, and happy she’s getting stronger every day.