Heyyyyyy-o, and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.
I am tragically void of pumpkin pie, and of pumpkins in general at this particular moment. The holiday kind of snuck up on me, as it tends to do living abroad, but this year more so than usual.
I keep looking at my calendar in complete disbelief at the pace with which we're moving through this year. My baby is turning two next weekend. Halloween is practically here. Then Christmas? What is even happening right now?
Luckily, we will have a do-over for American Thanksgiving, which we are usually a bit more organized about. Or, my friends are, and I always bring the pie. If I *was* having pumpkin pie today I'd be making this Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Pie, which is the best and so easy to make.
I know for many people it won't exactly be a "normal" Thanksgiving this year, which I think is the theme of 2020 in general. But if you're celebrating this weekend I hope you have a good one in whatever shape or form it takes place this year. May your hearts be full and your bellies satisfied.
I haven't been sleeping very well lately. I don't know why - hormones? Anxiety? My brain being an a-hole?
In any case, I'm looking for solutions. I've started taking melatonin on Sunday evenings (normally the worst night of the week) and rather than raiding my stash of kid's melatonin gummies (those are for jet lag, if and when we ever start travelling again) and got my hands on an adult dosage.
I'm also thinking of investing in a weighted blanket. I know people rave about them and I figure it's worth a try.
Thoughts? Have you tried one? How heavy do you go? Will it ruin me from sleeping with an ordinary blanket if I'm sleeping somewhere else?
Remember sleeping in other places? Remember going on trips?
I've been in a weird mood for most of the week, which may be related to crappy sleep (see above) or stress or something else that I can't quite put my finger on. I got a BIG promotion at work, which is flattering and great and super exciting, but also has been a lot to process and means needing to find ways to manage my time more effectively as there is suddenly a lot more on my plate.
On Thursday I reached a point in the day where I realized I was simply not productive anymore, so decided to shut things down and go out for a walk. It was a nice afternoon and I was craving a beer, so thought I'd walk for a bit and then stop in for a drink somewhere.
Except that I couldn't pull the trigger. No matter how cute a place looked or how many free barstools I could see, I just couldn't make myself walk through any doors. At one point I stood on a street corner, completely paralyzed by indecision, for a solid five minutes trying to decide if I should do another loop and try again, or just go home.
Eventually I went home, drank a beer and ate a bowl of popcorn for dinner (not what was on the menu plan!) and then went to bed super early. I was just... done.
As I was walking around I found myself wondering, why the funk? I've got a super cute apartment, time to myself for the first time in years, just got a big promotion at work and things are going well for the blog. Outwardly, everything looks great.
But eventually I found myself wondering, why not the funk? I mean, everything is completely bonkers right now. We're in the midst of a global freaking pandemic with no apparent end in site. I'm not sure when I'll next see my family. I'm less than three months into a separation from a 17-year long relationship.
So why am I continually surprised at not being completely fine? None of us are fine!
In an attempt to figure some of this sh*t out, I've taken up an *almost* daily yoga practice. Nothing too hardcore, just 20-30 minutes, and then 10-ish minutes of meditation and breathing at the end.
When I'm meditating, I picture myself sitting on the sandy ocean floor, at the bottom of a deep, dark sea. Everything is quiet down there, and calm, though the surface might be chaotic. It is dark, but I am filled with glowing, golden light, and when I exhale a column of tiny golden bubbles works it's way towards the surface.
I haven't found any answers down there in the dark, but it feels soothing to be looking for them in any case.
My friend Amy suggested I also start doing Morning Pages, an exercise from the book The Artist's Way, that involves writing three long form, handwritten pages of whatever comes, first thing in the morning. It's tricky to get this done every single day (because: kids) but just like the breathing stuff, it feels soothing to be doing it.
Has anyone tried this? Loved it? Hated it? Learned anything from it?
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week we kicked things off with a seasonal favourite - the Pumpkin Chai Latte. Made with REAL pumpkin and naturally sweetened, this beats the heck out of any coffee shop PSL.
Next up, a brand new recipe for Spicy Roasted Hokkaido Pumpkin Wedges. This is SUCH an easy and delicious vegetarian side dish, and since you can eat the skin of this winter squash, the prep goes by in no time.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is trending.
1. How to Cook Mung Beans. I know I know.
2. How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Purée. People are making pies!
3. Chia Fresca. Still refreshing, even in the autumn.
4. Cinnamon Roasted Apples. Mmmm, so good.
5. Amazing Vegan Gravy. Welcome back to the top 5, old friend!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Emily left the following comment and 5-star review on my Homemade Pumpkin Purée recipe:
It’s just so easy to do this, I don’t think I’ll ever buy canned pumpkin again.
Yes! It is SO easy to make it from scratch and you'll feel like a freaking boss when you do!
THIS WEEK’S MENU
For the love of all things good and pure, I STILL have not gotten around to that caramelized tofu thing that's been on the plan for the past several weeks. I'm thinking I'll make it tonight so it's ready for tomorrow, or will at least use it for packed lunches this week.
Sunday: Leftovers / Caramelized tofu thing.
Monday: An easy pasta recipe I'm testing for the blog.
Tuesday: Quesadillas. I saw a recipe from my grocery delivery for "taco quesadillas" made with taco meat in them, so I figure I'll try that to use up some of the veggie mince that's in my freezer.
Wednesday: Big ol' kale salad.
Thursday: I'm going out to dinner with a couple of friends.
Friday: Thinking we'll call it an and have takeout since we'll be prepping for...
Saturday: Odie's bday party! I think it'll essentially be snack dinner as there will have been a lot of treats on hand.
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
1. Pumpkin Spice Lattes: How unhealthy are they anyways?
2. You've got to laugh: why a sense of humour helps during dark times.