Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baking at 3 a.m.

I am in a non-sleeping phase--or to be more accurate, a screwed-up-sleep schedule phase.  I know that many people think my "normal" schedule is a bit screwed up, as they ask, "You get up at 4 or 4:30 to . . . write?"

Yes, because it's quiet and stores aren't open and most of my friends and loved ones are asleep--and so most of the distractions that take me away from writing aren't there.  And so I write and then I feel good, and then I want to get up early--the rewards outweigh the occasional tiredness during the occasional day.

But this week, I've been waking up at 2 or so.  I have been crashing into sleep at 8:30, so I'm getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep, which can be enough.  But it's not my normal schedule, and I don't want it to become my new normal.

Why am I waking up?  I have accreditation documents on the brain, but I don't get up to write them.  Still, in my dreams, I'm writing and rewriting, and waking up with ideas, but waking up too early.  I also have lots of grading to get done for my online classes, and my schedule at my new job doesn't leave me much time to get it done.

It won't always be this way--we're in a time of long hours because of compressing the accreditation process into just a few months.  So, I'm trying to practice more self-care:  drinking V8, looking for ways to consume more fruits and veggies, taking a moment here and there to notice things like the supermoon and the colors of the sunrise and other moments of beauty.

Yesterday I found myself making pumpkin bread at 3 in the morning--delicious and it made the house smell like my favorite time of year, that corridor from Oct. 1 to Christmas.  On Monday, as I worked on a variety of projects, I thought, I need to bring more healthy snacks from home--thus, the pumpkin bread at 3 a.m.

As I was baking it, I thought, how shall I transform this into a metaphor?  I could see it as both hopeful or apocalyptic.  Still pondering . . .

My approach to lunches will stay the same.  Make a big casserole or pot of something and eat on it all week.  I try to make it veggie based, and I'm always looking for ways to work more beans into my diet (I heard the writer of The Blue Zones say that one of the easiest ways to make our diets healthier is to eat a half a cup of beans a day).  Here's what I made on Sunday--it's delicious and easy, made with mostly ingredients that you could keep in your pantry.

Butternut Squash Bean Casserole a la Pad Thai

32 oz. cut up butternut squash (I get this at my local Trader Joes)--cut up sweet potatoes would work too.  This would work with half this amount--I made more for a later dish too
2 cans kidney beans drained
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 to 1 c. rice (I used Arborio rice, even though I wasn't making risotto--worked fine)
1/2 to 1 c. peanut butter

I put all the butternut squash into a 9 x 13 pan and poured a can of coconut milk over it.  We were heating up leftover pizza in a 350 degree oven, so I put the pan of squash in the oven, where it cooked for 15 minutes.  I took it out, and removed some of the squash for a later meal.

Into the pan, I put the kidney beans and the remaining coconut milk.  I put a blob of peanut butter here and there and then stirred it together.  Then I added the rice.  At this point, it will have a Thai taste, a peanut sauce/Pad Thai kind of taste, so you could add grated lime zest and/or something to give heat, like pepper of some sort.

I put it back in the oven for 25 minutes--you want the rice to absorb the moisture.  Delish! 

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