On Wednesday my husband Brett turned 32!
That means we are 7 years apart now.
It sounds so weird to say that my husband is 7 years older than me. In my head, that’s almost as if I’m saying we’re 10 years apart. It also makes it sound like he’s either really old or I’m really young. The crazy part is that I always think of us as the same age, and so does everyone else. When we lived in Florida and would walk around UCF’s campus, students would ask what year we were in college. All our friends forget that we’re far apart in age too.
When I think about all the things my husband Brett has done in his life, that’s when I start to remember our age difference…and also his crazy, adventurous spirit, which is still raging! He’s traveled to more countries than I have, hitch hiked in New Zealand, ridden on mopeds in Nepal and Thailand, hiked the grand canyon, bungie jumped, had an amazing Engineering job for three years, lived in 6 different states, ran a marathon, worked at a mentoring company in the inner city of Dallas, bought a house, and the list goes on!
Seriously, I found a winner!
And this past week we had some fun times celebrating his life. On Sunday we went to a New York Yankees game with some of our friends. Beforehand, Brett got to enjoy one of his favorite meals so far since moving to New York City: eggs with a side of Nova Scotia Salmon from Barney Greengrass. The guy was literally beaming with satisfaction afterwards!
Then on Wednesday night all of our closest friends and co-workers went to one of our favorite party/hangout places in the city called The Royal Palms to play shuffle board and oversized Jenga and connect four. It’s amazing how childhood games can become so much more fun when they’re oversized! We also went to our favorite ice cream shop called Ample Hills Creamery and again, Brett was in heaven. It’s really the best ice cream we’ve ever tried and all of our friends agreed. They even have an amazing dairy free Chocolate Sorbet which doesn’t taste icy or “vegan” at all.
Well, this isn’t exactly the way I was planning the post to go, but I can’t help but gush about my husband and celebrate his life! He’s so stinkin’ smart (helloooo engineer) and uses his smarts to bless others. He’s thoughtful and so loving. He’s amazingly athletic and pushes himself to achieve his goals. He’s studious and can focus for hours, even while I’m jumping from thing to thing. He has the most adventurous spirit of anyone I know and I try so hard just to keep up! He’s willing to eat any veggie filled, whole food, vegan meal I serve him…nutritional yeast, tofu and all. I feel so blessed to be married to him!
Speaking of vegan food, let’s talk about this Southwestern Vegan Power Bowl, shall we?!
This meal is so easy to prepare is it’s very versatile. I wouldn’t even consider this Southwestern Vegan Power Bowl a recipe, but more of a put-a-bunch-of-delicious-ingredients-into-a-bowl-and-top-with-salsa kinda meal. Feel free to adjust the main ingredients or even the seasonings to suit your taste! I love roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, veggies, salsa and avocado (which I forgot in the photo shoot!)
One other ingredient I used is kale and lately I’ve discovered that a lot of my friends don’t know how to prepare raw kale. For the longest time I never knew how to prepare kale either, so I thought I would share what I’ve learned. To break down the tough kale leaves with an acid and the strength of your hands. I usually just squeeze some flavor of vinegar or lemon/lime juice over the top of my de-stemmed kale and use my hands to forcefully squeeze the kale leaves between my fingers. The acid from the juice helps to break down the stiffness of the kale and takes away a lot of the bitter flavor. Once you massage the kale, you can add your dressing!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 organic sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
- 1/2 head of kale, de-stemmed
- 1 lemon*
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- spices of choice: paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spread your cubed sweet potatoes onto a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle your desired seasonings overtop and roast the potatoes for about 30 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through, until fork tender. Set aside.
- In a medium sized sauce pan, cook the quinoa in water (or vegetable broth) according to package directions. Fluff and set aside.
- While the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooking, place the de-stemmed kale into a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top of the lemon and use your hands to work the acid from the lemon juice into the kale leaves. Be forceful and really "massage" the kale so that the leave break down. You want them to become soft and also decrease drastically in size. Set aside.
- Once the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked, you can assemble the power bowls. In a bowl place a serving of each of the following: cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potato, massaged kale, black beans, bell pepper and avocado. Top everything with salsa and dig in!
*Lime juice would work great too!