◊ Berkeley Breakfast

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Dear mom,

Beef tenders. Ok. I can handle it. But those photos…

The content of your prep photo could have come out of my intestines. Really mom. How is that food? I’m nauseated at the thought of putting it in my mouth.

I find it strange that you hear happiness in my voice. Excitement, stress, anxiety, nerves, struggle, exhaustion… these are the things I feel.

I don’t think they’re the usual indicators of happiness.

Happiness. What a weird thing to calculate. I think I’m annoyed with it. I’m annoyed with smiling Berkley flowy pants and flower-hat wearing vegan yogis who give big hugs. Are you turning into one of them? It sounds like it. (I’d rather you make beef tenders.)

I’m working really hard at school. My chronic eye twitch is still chronic. If I’m not hunched over my computer, I’m hunched over a camera or notes or a big salad. I attempt a work-life balance with hikes and cooking, but I feel stressed and nervous and pressed for time all of the time. But I’m choosing this life and am (weirdly) excited about it.

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The work I’m doing is hard, time-consuming, confusing and emotionally draining. But I feel that it’s important. And yes, it’s stressful, but feeling that I’m doing something important is thrilling.

Is this what happiness looks like for me? I’m scared.

best served with a cold glass of kombucha, duh

best served with a cold glass of kombucha, duh

One thing that makes me happy is my new favorite breakfast inspired by one of my favorite outside of school friends (here’s her food site): sautéed dino kale, baked sweet potato, sauerkraut and a boiled egg sprinkled with sunflower seeds. It’s a meal that will help you understand how your beef pics conjure up images of things that come out of my intestines.

Crossing the line? You asked for it.

xo

Shaina

I usually prep the kale, egg and potato the night before so that it takes 5 minutes to throw it together in the morning.  Gluten free, paleo and perfect for Passover (also a good way to use leftover Seder eggs and will definitely cure a matzah belly).

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Kale and Sweet Potato Breakfast

Makes 3-4 breakfasts

  • 1 head of dino (lacinato) kale, de-stemmed and cut horizontally into 3 inch strips
  • drop of olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tbs grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 4 eggs, boiled
  • 1 cup sauerkraut (can be purchased at most grocery stores)
  • 3-4 tbs sunflower seeds
  • salt and black pepper

*Part 1: Heat oven to 400 degrees and wrap whole sweet potato in foil. Place on baking sheet and place in oven for 30-45 minutes, until soft.

Meanwhile, heat oil in sautee pan and add ginger, turmeric, kale and salt. Cook for 5 -7 minutes until kale is just wilted.

Part 2: Chop sweet potato into one inch chunks. Top with sauteed kale, sauerkraut and boiled egg, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Add plenty of salt and black pepper to taste.

*To make my mornings less overwhelming, I do part 1 the night before and part 2 in the morning.

breakfast on the go

breakfast on the go

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♦ Happy Spaces

Dear Shaina,

My morning started with instructions from our yoga instructor to bring three things into our minds that make us happy. The recent chatty phone calls from you immediately filled the happy spaces in my brain. I can actually feel the buzz emanating from you over the phone. I don’t remember ever hearing you so excited about school and your life; your professors, your classmates, your project, your friends, your life! And, of course, my happiness is irrevocably linked with yours. Just can’t help it.

It’s not that I don’t have my own sources for happiness. You weren’t the only image that came to my mind. There are so many things in my life that bring me pleasure and comfort and contentment, all of them contributing to my state of happiness. Indulging in the brief happiness exercise reminded me that, like it or not, my happiness is intricately interwoven with the well-being of the people in my life who matter most to me. I like being reminded..and yoga does that for me. Yoga is one of the things on my happy list. It brings me to myself with undeniable honesty and inevitable acceptance…the ultimate happy place.

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I realized this morning that many of the things that make me happy are things that I don’t necessarily indulge in easily or often. I routinely choose easy, convenient, immediately available quick fixes. It takes more effort to read a good book than to play solitaire on my iPad; to invite friends over than to just hang out at home; to research and try new recipes than to stick to the same old familiar dishes. I am not dissing my less effortful pleasures. I just feel like I am cheating myself by not pursuing more balance and happiness diversity.

Tax Trash...Almost Done!

Tax Trash…Almost Done!

I am also aware of what a luxury this pursuit is. I am immensely grateful. In the meantime, I am currently filling my leisure hours with the annual ritual tax preparation and household paper cleansing process. This actually brings both great pleasure and pain as I vow, each year, to do a better job keeping up with the monthly flow. I am making progress…slowly. IMG_5660Spring has arrived. The orchids are blooming. Dad is sprouting seeds for the garden. And Passover is coming. Passover, like childbirth, is one of those events that as time passes (10 or 11 months), the pleasures supersede the pain. I am about to order the fish for gefilte fish, despite the messy smelly ordeal. I bought the chickens for the soup and will set aside a day for that effort with visions beyond the slimy skinning and deboning to the aromatic comfort soup and endless tubs of chicken salad. I will clean the house and set the tables and make enough food to last for the week…and sit back and enjoy the Slivovitz!

Shaina, please keep all the stories coming. They just add to my happiness!

Love,

Mom xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

P.S. Shaina, I know you don’t eat meat, but I haven’t been cooking anything new lately and started looking back at recipes that haven’t yet made it into the blog. I hope you’re not too grossed out. This happens to be a very easy and delicious meat recipe when you’re cooking for a crowd. I always have fish and vegetarian options for people who don’t eat red meat, but every once in a while…there’s nothing like a good piece of steak!

Beef Tenders

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Rest time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8-14 people depending on size of beef and other food options

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Beef Tenders

  • 1 5-7 pound whole Beef Tender

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup salad oilIMG_1853
  • 3/4 cups soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2T dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T coarsely ground pepper
  • 1T dry parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Prepare marinade a day before you plan on serving. Mix all marinade ingredients and place whole Beef Tender and marinade into a ziplock bag and seal with ziplock. Marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Take Beef and marinade out of the refrigerator about 2- 3 hours before serving time and let the beef come to room temperature.

About 90 minutes before serving time, preheat the oven to 500°.

Remove the Beef Tender from the marinade and place on a broiling rack positioned on top of a baking sheet to catch the juices. Pour a little of the marinade over the meat (about a cup, more if you like a lot of au jus).

Place the Beef in the oven on the baking sheet, uncovered, and cook for 5 minutes and then turn the oven off. DO NOT OPEN the oven door. Leave in the oven for 45 minutes. If your Beef is very thick or you like it less rare, leave it on 500° for 6 or 7 minutes, but no longer.

After 45 minutes, open the oven door and remove the beef and let it rest for 15 minutes. Pour the juices in the bottom of the baking sheet into a bowl for au jus to be served with the meat.

IMG_3507 Slice the beef and place on a platter. The meat should be medium rare. Serve with au jus, spicy mustard or horseradish sauce.