It’s spring in Asheville, and it’s doing good things for my soul. I love all the seasons so much. They all offer so many opportunities for different kinds of introspection. I feel as though I’m very affected by the seasonal turns. I feel like they set the tone for what needs to be happening in my life: what kinds of activities I should be participating in, what kind of music I should be listening to, the foods I should be eating and the mood that should be set… It’s a nice way to be influenced I think. There’s a sense of “coming out of hibernation” in the air. The outdoor seating at restaurants is bustling, there are people out on the french broad kayaking, paddle boarding and sun bathing on the rocks of the shore. You can practically feel the excited energy buzzing off of everyone.
Spring in Asheville always seems to be slow-going and reluctant. The weather can’t make up her mind. She teases us with beautiful days of 75 degrees and beautiful sunshine and then she goes back to a wintery nap for a few days as if she’s too tired to keep it up for too long at first. She comes out of her groggy mood swings eventually, and then it’s glorious, and things bloom and bust at the seems with life and busy energy. I think out of all the seasonal turns, winter to spring is my favorite. As I mentioned before, I love all the seasons and what they represent, but it’s always a nice juxtaposition as the world around me thaws out and the reawakening begins.
This week has been an interesting one. I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what’s next for me. I think I may be experiencing a bit of a quarter-life crisis and perhaps that’s where all this funky moodiness is coming from. Apparently, I’m not alone in this. Many of my peers are in a similar state of confusion and restlessness. Short of a few lucky individuals, most of the people I know in their 20’s are feeling like they aren’t meeting their potential and feel extremely distressed by this. This is kind of a new era. Things are changing in a super rapid manner and it’s hard for everyone to keep up with all of it. But I think this is kind of exciting. (Frustrating, but exciting.) Perhaps the key to staying sane is to stop fighting this current of ever-changing everything, and instead, ride it out. Of course, this is easier said than done. It’s easy to panic when you feel like you’re being swept away from everything that feels safe and comfortable. I guess I need to start getting comfortable being uncomfortable.
I think that might be hitting the nail on the head, though. I have lots of things that I’m starting to think about doing that feel extremely uncomfortable. One thing that keeps coming up is the idea that I might need to go back to school. The thing is, I’m not really interested in pursuing another artistic degree. I am beyond happy that I have my BFA and I worked extremely hard to obtain it. I wouldn’t take back my time at SCAD for anything. It was a monumentally rewarding experience. However, now I feel like I need to use a bit more of the left side of my brain. I’ve always been a balanced-brained person. I’ve always been extremely interested in being creative and I’ve been told by many people that I’m pretty intuitive and sensitive. All that being said, I’ve always tested well in math and I’ve always been fascinated with science, animals and the environment. If I were to go back to school for anything, it would be nutrition.
This thought hasn’t left me this week. I’ve started researching schools and seeing if it would even be possible for this BFA-carting-photographer-creative-type person to even pursue a scientific master’s program. I thought living in Asheville would bring about ample possibilities, but surprisingly this is not the case. If I wanted to pursue some sort of ancillary program in herbology, yoga or massage, there are oodles of choices. But nutrition, not so much. This was just plain mind-boggling to find out. Nutrition is the foundation from which healthy living stems, it would seem. If I’m serious about doing this, I’m going to have to work my ass off to make it happen. I’m going to have to go to a school nearby and take a bunch or prerequisites as a non-degree-seeking student. This means that I will have to pay for everything out of pocket. I could also do an associates degree in biology at AB Tech. There are serval caveats to this though. They don’t really have any nutrition classes and they are missing some of the other pre-reqs. Additionally, I’m not sure if these credits would be recognized by some of the master’s programs out there. On the pro-side of the list, if I were seeking an associate’s I could qualify for financial aid, and have another degree. I’m just not sure how to go about doing this. I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and say that I think it’s going to be too hard and quit before I start. I want to keep my outlook positive and say that I know I can do anything I set my mind to do.
My dream is to one day write and photograph my own cookbook. But I don’t want it to just be another pretty recipe book. I want it to be backed with science and a true understanding of how things are metabolized and how the human body reacts to food and combinations of food. There’s SOOOOO much bullshit out there on the internet and I don’t want to fall victim to the confusion that results from endless contradictory information. I know the basics. I want to know more. A lot more. Like, seriously, a lot.
I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen this week. I made several recipes and lots of salad. I about wore myself out on vegan lasagna and my mouth sort of lost the taste for it after a while, so I ended up freezing a ton of it. I also made this recipe for coconut “buttermilk” southwestern chicken and it was super tasty. I made two servings and had one of them with forbidden rice and zucchini for dinner, and then I cut up the other serving and had it on top of a salad made with arugula, red and yellow peppers, leftover zucchini, and lemon vinaigrette for lunch the next day.
And then there was this recipe for a Butternut Squash and Fontina Galette. Holy shit. First of all, it had two ingredients in it that I just about NEVER let myself have: white flour and cheese. I cut it up into a bunch of small portions and ate it alongside salad, so hopefully the damage was minimal. I still have a little piece left and I made it on Monday.
This is a terrible picture but I was really eager to eat it, so I didn’t take the time to do it justice.
Butternut squash is such an amazing vegetable. It really can be used in so many different kinds of ways. I did a little research on it, and apparently it’s a good food for weightless because it’s nutritious and filling so you’ll feel satisfied after you eat it. Butternut squash is rich in vitamins E, A and C, Potassium, Manganese, Thiamin, Niacin, B6, Folate, Calcium (surprising!) and Magnesium. I’m not really sure what all these things are good for, but I’ll figure that out later. Read More
I really love this food because it’s so beautiful. It has such a lovely orange color. Additionally it can be prepared in so many different ways. It has a naturally sweet flavor, but it’s fabulous in savory dishes. I’ve made butternut squash soup many times and it goes wonderful with the flavors of curry and cilantro. It’s also fabulous as a side prepared with nuts and dried (or fresh) cranberries. This will not be the last time you see butternut squash pop up in this blog I’m sure.
So I’m going to continue researching grad school. I’m going to continue making efforts in the kitchen to make nutrition food, and I’ll be sharing the progress as I go. Stay tuned as new excitement develops.