Vegan Mushroom Duxelle

Vegan Mushroom Paste

I don’t think it needs to be said that this year has been crazy. We are all living it day-to-day at the moment. For those among us, who are lucky enough to have safe shelter, we are indoors. We wait, patiently on some days, for time to pass and dull out the might that is Coronavirus. It has become a long wait. Amidst all of the turmoil and anxiety, food has become an emotional coping tool. Making this vegan magical mushroom paste is one of the things that brought me so much joy.

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A bowl of butternut squash soup with white beans blended smooth in a white shallow bowl with a chunk of bread

Butternut Squash and White Beans Soup

Cooking has always been a comfort to me. In the midst of a raging pandemic, cooking has become an essential self-care tool. In this moment, cooking sometimes is a burden. I have pretty much been cooking all my own meals from scratch. For this vegan Butternut Squash soup with White Beans, I actually cooked the beans. Some days I love it. Cooking is a distraction from the rising infection and death toll. On other days, I wish I had the choice of take-out. But I can’t at the moment because it is not financially prudent.

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Serving a scoop of chipotle mujadara with rice, lentils, and corn into a white plate with a wooden spoon

Chipotle Mujadara

A few years ago, I went primarily plant-based for a few weeks. At that time, I was constantly looking for new food options. Mujadara is a plant-based options that has remained a favorite of mine. What is there not love about rice that is cooked with onions and spices? The other thing I always loved about this dish is the blend of lentils and rice. I sometimes feel guilty about eating white rice but the addition of the lentils boosts the nutritional profile. A few months ago, I put together a version of mujadara that features one of my favorite spices, chipotle pepper.

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Chipotle Chili topped with yogurt and cilantro

A Decade in Review

A Decade in Review

A Decade in Review

Recently I have come to realize I am very future-oriented. I am constantly looking forward to what is coming next. This is really clear if you have ever had a meal with me and I am already talking about what I should cook next. That’s just the way I roll. The danger in this approach to life is that I constantly feel like I am not quite where I am supposed to be. Instead of seeing everything I have done, I am always so focused on what I have yet to achieve.

Lately, everyone has been sharing their highlight reel on the net. Yes, I call it a highlight reel because very few people are honest about the struggles they have overcome. Social media has made us all into good editors. I am not going to lie. While I was reading some of those reels and feeling down about my own life, I was asking God “when?”. It was like this every time somebody talked about buying a house, or landing the corner office or having a baby. Then after the expected bout of dejection, I took a step back and looked at my own life. And this is what I saw on my reel.

I finished my second Master’s degree at the beginning of this decade.

I earned an MSc. in Management from a university in England. And at the end of this decade, I am in the early phase of moving into a brand new field, nursing. Currently, I am in school completing classes towards a BSN and I feel ecstatic about the things I am learning.

I discovered that I love teaching. I did a year of service in Ibadan teaching at a public grammar school for children from poor families.

Then I moved to Boston and became an educator at a big company. While working in retail, I realized I want to be a health advocate and chose to go back to school to become a nurse. This decade is really when I realized I love working with people.

A Decade in Review
I moved around a bit at the beginning of the decade.

My decade started in England and then I moved to New York then Lagos to Ibadan then to Boston. I have now lived in Boston for almost 7 years. There is something about feeling like I am where I am supposed to be that makes me glad that I took the time to find the place that suits me. There have been many lonely days and nights. I have also had many moments of amazement that I am brave enough to seek new fertile grounds. Like I feel I really chose to be a small fish in a big pond this decade

In the midst of all the moving, I managed to start a business with my sister.

We co-founded and managed a fashion business that actually employed a small team of people. We ultimately decided we needed to close the business and I chose a different path back to the US. Those days working with my sister would stay with me for a lifetime.

I expanded my sense of empathy in this decade.

I feel like I have always been an empathetic person. But looking back, my empathy seemed conditional. Living life and discovering that having control in life is an illusion made me take a step back. Discovering my own pain and the pain of others expanded my heart and made me more likely to offer grace instead of judgment.

In many ways, I have come to understand my own mental health in this decade.

I have had some of my saddest and most depressing days in these last 10 years. But I have had more good days than bad. I’m finally learning how to prioritize my peace, set boundaries and center my need for happiness. I say learning because it is a process that has no end. As my life evolves, so does my practice of self-care. 

A Decade in Review
I became Black.

I know this is a weird statement to make because surely I have been Black for my whole life. But, the thing is I really discovered the social construct that is Blackness when I moved to Boston. Who would have thought Boston would be where I would learn about racism, micro-aggressions and the ways bias hinders achievements in Black lives? I could write a whole dissertation on this.

I found love.

Not just romantic love that makes me feel seen and supported. No, I also found the love that makes friends turn into family. I discovered the love of self that makes it easier, not easy, to be selfish about taking care of myself. Oh! that  self-love is beautiful and terrifying because suddenly I am telling people, “ Yes, I am smart.” Love is beautiful especially when I take a step back and see the evolution of the relationship with myself and my people.

A Decade in Review

Writing this quick review of my decade made me realize that I have so much to be grateful for. The one overwhelming thing about my life how much privilege I have been afforded. Sometimes I get lost in my struggles of my earning enough money or not being married or owning a house. However, lately, I am also taking a step back and recognizing the privilege of my life. I have had so much autonomy over the course of my life, especially in this past decade. I have had the luxury of making a decision based on the pursuit of happiness. Chasing happiness and emotional fulfillment is a luxury. For that, I am grateful!

Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken WIngs in a bowl, dusted with specks of sesame seeds and spring onions

Every Little Win #1

Every Little Win

This week has been really intense for me. I have had two competency tests. luckily, I managed to fit in numerous practice sessions before my final assessment. Then I went for my exams and passed it. One of my instructors was curious about how the semester was going. My friend and I mentioned casually that we had passed our competency testing. And she looked at us and said, “you should say it with a smile. This semester is really hard and you need to celebrate every little win. It would help you build your confidence.” Continue reading here!

Drizzling oil on a platter of peach tomato salad with feta crouton

Peach Week: Peach Tomato Salad with Feta Crouton

Yes, it is Peach week on this blog. Also, yes, I am posting about a salad with a recipe for feta crouton because a peach tomato salad is simple. Some peach slices with tomato slices on arugula are all I have on the plate. So humor me. This combination of the Peach Tomato Salad with Feta Crouton blew my mind away. So here we are!

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