photoAfter realizing that I was posting quite a few food posts on my regular Instagram, I recently decided to make a little branch off account of only foods – @altairaeats. I meant to follow this up immediately with more blog posting about food, but didn’t end up getting around to it until just now. So here we go. Food pooooooooost.

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This week’s food post is a quick overview of the meal shown above. Let’s break it down by item!

The green stuff – it’s kale! here I used black kale (otherwise known as dino kale), and I prepared it in the simplest way possible. Basically, clean the kale, then cut into very fine strips. Finely dice a clove (or two) of garlic.

In a cast iron pan set to medium heat (the type of pan doesn’t actually matter, but cast iron on the stove will give you dietary iron so it is the best), melt the appropriate amount of butter (a tsp?) and toss in the garlic. Shortly thereafter, toss in the kale. Stir regularly with a spatula or whatever. The thing about kale is that it is VERY difficult to ruin. Just keep stirring it around in the pan every once in a while until it reaches the consistency you’d like. Prefer it a little chewy? Cook it for less time. Like it crispy? Keep it on the stove a little longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, but it’s up to you.

Tofu and mushrooms!

My go to marinade for tofu is roughly… 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped, 2 tbsp of tamari, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup, Sriracha to your desired spiciness, a dash of liquid smoke. Mix up the marinade, cube a block of firm tofu, add the marinade, and let sit for as long as you have (ten minutes to overnight). In this case, I chopped up some cremini mushrooms, preheated the oven to 350, then once the oven was ready, tossed the mushrooms onto a pan, and tossed the tofu over it, making sure that the extra marinade coated the mushrooms. THROW IT ALL IN THE OVEN. Again, timing is what you want it to be. Check on your tofu and mushrooms after about ten minutes, stirring. Then peak into the oven and give everything a stir every few minutes until the mushrooms reach the consistency you desire.

Butternut Squash!

This recipe is lifted directly from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, so don’t feel comfortable posting it here (though you might be able to find it with a google search). I have to say, this cookbook is just the best. The butternut squash is roasted with cinnamon, and then topped with a cilantro mixture, and a spicy yogurt mixture. I would never have thought of this combo on my own, and it is a serious delight. Any guest in your home will be pleasantly surprised by this incredibly fragrant dish that is filled with all sorts of wonderful flavours.

I had also planned to add rice to this dinner, but I didn’t time things properly. Womp womp.

That’s all! Expect more food posts in the future, and check out @altairaeats on Instagram if you’re just interested in the photos. Woo!



Learning to doubt the doubter

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Stop Worrying print by Sandi Falconer

I’m a self doubter. It’s what I do. Am I ready for this? Do I deserve that? Am I good enough?

I’ve worked really hard to overcome these doubts on both the career and friend fronts. And while I’m still not quite where I would like to be, I’m getting there. My outlook in these realms is immeasurably better than it would have been a few years ago, and I’m even starting to feel comfortable saying that I’m doing a good job (as a self judger/doubter, this is actually no easy task, let me tell you!).

For some reason though, the strides that I’ve made platonically and professionally have for the most part utterly failed to translate into the romantic areas of my life. For years and years, I have lamented, “Where do I meet the right person?! So many of the best dudes are in solid relationships already. Internet dating is terrible. I am not interested in the type of guy who is usually interested in me. I only ever have connections with people who are moving/dating someone else/living far away. Ugggggggh.” But the truth of the matter is that even if I did meet a person who possessed all of these qualities that I desire in a partner, and even if they did show interest in me, no relationship would come of it. Why? Because deep down (or shallowly down?), I just don’t believe that anyone who I really admire/desire/swoon over would ever have any interest in me whatsoever. I don’t think that I have enough value.

I recently went for a Tarot card reading (JUDGE AWAY. WHATEVEEEEEEEEEEEER) and one of the things that the cards said was that I, “desire a stable/secure relationship, but refuse to accept opportunity that arises”, and further that I, “fear what I cannot control about myself”. Oof. And honestly, I can’t say that any of this was at all surprising.

It’s true. When potential does come along, I work so hard to come across as though I’m as unaffected as possible. This is because 1) the person probably has no interest in me anyways, so DON’T PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE, ALTAIRA! YOU WILL BE REJECTED AND LOOK LIKE A DUMMY AND BE SAD; and 2) if I show any weakness, and not just strength and all of the good parts of myself, then they will definitely hate me forever, and not only that, they will tell everyone what a messed up horrible weirdo I am, and life will be a million times worse than if I had just kept my life to myself and never even tried at all. RIGHT?!?

So great. I know that I have work to do. The problem is that I am not entirely sure how to do the work that needs to be done? What steps do you take to make yourself really believe that you’re enough, and to stop thinking that you’re less than you are? How do you foster vulnerability? How do you master romantic confidence? How do you not just awkwardly avoid and run away as soon anything even remotely related to a romantic situation happens?

I do not know the answers to these questions, but I guess asking them at all is the first step? I’m starting a self directed practice of acceptance and commitment therapy, and I am confident that this will begin to lead me down the right path. It’s hard – changing the story that you’ve been telling yourself for so long. But hot damn, life’s too short not to try.