Hey there! How is your weekend going?
Mine has really been lovely. Really, truly, lovely.
As with almost every other Saturday, I was lucky enough to go to the farmer's market with my mom. After last weekend's mishap, going to my favorite market was like a home-coming. Fearing yet another kale shortage, I immediately made my way to the far end of the market in search of my favorite farmer. We saw each other across the bustling crowd and locked eyes. It was just like a perfect love story with us smiling... except, of course, instead of two lovers, my story involved a veggie-loving girl and kale.
[My pursuit of kale was fulfilled with 2 beautiful varieties, per the farmer's suggestion. More kale? Count me in! Also pictured are about 1/4 of my leaf lettuce and two bunches of red romaine lettuce for J and my mom.]
Lucky for me, I was not the only one who was excited. My favorite farmer and I exchanged a few words, expressing our love for all things fresh, local, and organic.
[Broccoli and giant cauliflower]
[Carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, summer squash, and bell peppers]
[Blackberries (x2), strawberries, and raspberries (x2).]
[Cantaloupe (the sweetest EVER) for my grandmother and for my mom, peaches and bananas.]
[Seriously, this cantaloupe was amazing, and I burned out on cantaloupe a while ago. Thank goodness for samples!]
That is when it all started. I was clearly extremely happy to be there and it seemed the other farmer's were, too. As I strolled around more, my other usual farmers also greeted me with more-than-usual chipper welcomes.
[This bowl of oatmeal welcomed me back from the market in true style. Any guesses as to what it is? I am fairly predictable when it comes to weekend oats...]
I am a big believer that positive attitudes are contagious, but it still seemed like there was something more. And what is that? It is love, my friends. I would even venture to say farmers love produce more than me, and that is definitely a lot.
[When veggies become the main course and beans are just a side, you can truly call yourself a veg-head. Even my black beans were upstaged by the pumpkin in my delicious black bean pumpkin patties.]
Amazing is really the only word I can come up with to describe these farmers. Day after day, they work at the mercy of Mother Nature for what they hope will be a good harvest. And organic farmers have it harder still, wrestling with weeds and unwanted pests without aid. Most farmers do not make very much money, but from what I see, they are rich in many other things.
[This dinner actually did not take very much work. Sure, preparing polenta takes time, but it is mostly just spent waiting.]
[Preparing it with broccoli and nooch made it all the better.]
Farmers' dedication made me reflect on the little things in my life that fill me with joy. Today, for example, I was lucky enough to spend time with my grandmother. Now that I have moved, we no longer live together. She has been a strong presence in my life for as long as I can remember; accordingly, I miss her very much and cherish our (now more sparse) moments together even more.
[One little thing that made me very happy last night was this Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt. Such a simple thing, but not to me. After a few years of excluding coconut and pumpkin from my diet because of a supposed allergy, I am happy to report that I am now symptom-free.]
[As a final test of my allergy, I decided to try this yogurt. Even though it was the plain flavor, it tasted sweet to my sensitive taste buds; it was still very enjoyable. When it did not seem to bother me, I went all out in celebration. Chocolate coconut pudding with raspberries? Yes, please!]
After my yoga practice, we made our way to Whole Foods for a little shopping trip. While this may seem like a strange place to spend time together, it was perfect for these two foodies. (Like grandmother, like granddaughter, right?) It used to be a tradition of ours to go to the gourmet market by our house on Friday nights before closing; the store was our personal paradise to explore.
[My grandmother mentioned to me today how much she enjoys thin crust pizza. Clearly, it is like grandmother, like granddaughter again because I do have a special place in my heart for my Ezekiel "pizzas".]
[Enter the Indecision Tortilla Pizza: one half covered with a pumpkin-hummus spread, the other with fresh basil and spiced tomato sauce.]
While today's journey was a little different, it was no less special. We took our time walking down the isles, chatting and laughing all the way. We talked about everything from how to soak dried beans to my grandmother's new love of yoga (!!!). Actually, we had so much fun that we decided to go to the gourmet market, too. A little nostalgia as a way to buy time together never hurts.
[In honor of my grandmother's decision to make fresh beans, I decided to have a black bean-millet bowl with yellow squash, broccoli, and cauliflower for dinner.]
[In the bowl: millet, black beans, carrots, and avocado.]
[I proceeded to mix it up with with salsa, chili powder, and cumin. For a girl who is really trying to like avocados, I think I might have finally succeeded with this dish. More avocado-ing followed.]
When it was finally time for us to part, I was sad to say goodbye to my grandmother, but still felt happiness radiating from inside. It is truly amazing what just a little time with our loved ones can do.
[Before we parted, I shared a bit of my new Raspberry Lime Hint (bought while in the store from extreme thirst) with my grandmother. Our response: lovely! For some reason, "lovely" just seemed to sum up this water perfectly. There was definitely a "hint" of raspberry and lime, but nothing overpowering. It was refreshing and delicious; I would buy it again as a treat!]
All in all, today was an amazing day. I truly feel blessed for everything in my life. To all the farmers out there, and everyone else, too, thank you for doing what you do; sometimes you do not know how much it really means.
Who and what are you thankful for in your life?
Have a lovely day!
P.S. As a simple thanks for shining your light in the world, I posted the recipe for my Bliss Muffins. I hope you enjoy!