Hello!

Welcome to Praise Seitan! Food, Beer & Travel From the Heart of Seattle. It's a food, beverage and travel blog that combines recipes and globetrotting tales with personal stories about my journey of healing and self-discovery.

I hope you enjoy my fun, flavorful and healthy vegetarian recipes. Enjoy, and all hail our vegetable overlords!

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Re-Emergence (+ Roasted Vegetables)

Re-Emergence (+ Roasted Vegetables)

Hello, friends. It's been a while.

In the spirit of openness and understanding, I want to share why. A few months ago, my whole world turned upside down.

I could write a book about everything that happened, but to make a very long story very short, my husband got lost in drug and alcohol addiction and lost his mind. I was forced to flee my home and stay at a friend's house—and, eventually, to file for divorce, to escape the cycle of addiction and mental illness I'd been living under for years. This broke my heart and changed every single aspect of my life. It took me a good while to get my feet back under me, but ever-so-slowly, things are starting to take on at least a semblance of normalcy.

Today, I have my own place, I got a new job, and I've been able to get back in my kitchen. I share my meals with friends and family whenever possible—but most of the time, it's just me. The act and art of cooking is still one of my greatest forms of therapy; while I'm in there creating, I can almost forget about the chaotic events of the past seven months.

Almost. On the days I dish up one serving instead of two; sit down alone to eat in front of the TV; have no one to discuss the meal or the day or anything else with; when it's just me and the ghosts I ride with, it's still a hard and lonely time.

Those days are cause for reflection. I've realized that sharing a meal with someone I love has always been an intimate and important part of the day, a tradition that started when I was a kid. It's been an adjustment getting used to a new way of being. My mom always had a meal ready to share with the family, and any friends who wanted to join us. Our dinner table was a safe station in the chaos we were all trudging through—a sentinel in the dark. And it wasn't even about the food; my mom would be the first to admit she wasn't a huge fan of cooking. It was that everything laid on the table, from the main course to the loaf of bread warmed in the oven and draped with a towel, tasted like love, comfort, and the reassurance that I would always have a place set for me—no matter what.

For this reason, dinner time has always been the calm center of my universe. No matter what crisis my family was in the middle of—no matter how sad or scared or in distress we were—we sat down around the table almost every night, and we ate together. In hospitals and treatment facilities; in houses and studio apartments; with husbands and fathers and partners who came and went; whether it was the whole family or just a few of us, as long as we were sitting down to dinner, for a few minutes of the day, everything was okay.

I've tried to carry my mom's tradition to all of my households over the years. Regardless of the circumstances, my little families and I have always eaten dinner together as often as possible. Unfortunately, those families tend not to last.

These days, I feel like I'm living in a haunted house—surrounded by photos of families past, sitting on the furniture of my failed marriage, looking at the artwork of my failed relationship: the one that got away. I wish I had made different choices. But wise people have told me that we keep reliving the same experiences until we learn the lessons we need to learn from them. They tell me the Universe has a path for me, if I will only listen to my true, inner self, and follow it. 

And you know what? I finally believe that. Once I've learned what I need to truly know, the path will be revealed to me. 

So I keep the faith. I try my best to take care of myself. I breathe in and out. I get out of bed every day. I get ready, and take care of my tiny household, and take the next indicated step. I am making new friends. I am experiencing new levels of joy and insight. In many ways, I enjoy life more than I ever could before. I am sad a lot of the time—but a little less so every day.

Best of all, I am determined. This will not take me down. There is one thing I finally know in my heart: It will get better. It's already starting to manifest, and the more good I put out into the Universe, the more good I get coming back to me.

And through it all, I always have my kitchen.

I've actually been experimenting quite a bit since I started living alone. When there's no one else who will go hungry if it's terrible, why not try new, different and possibly strange things? It's brought me some cherished moments of fun and creativity.

These have all been on the menu:

Greek Skillet With Tofu, Kale and Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette   This was a "use up everything in the fridge" recipe; first I pan-fried the tofu, then tossed in zucchini, bell pepper, kalamata olives, some leftover roasted broccoli, baby Thai eggplants, mushrooms and kale. I also tossed in some pre-made fig-balsamic vinaigrette and finished it with crumbled feta.

Greek Skillet With Tofu, Kale and Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette

This was a "use up everything in the fridge" recipe; first I pan-fried the tofu, then tossed in zucchini, bell pepper, kalamata olives, some leftover roasted broccoli, baby Thai eggplants, mushrooms and kale. I also tossed in some pre-made fig-balsamic vinaigrette and finished it with crumbled feta.

Roasted Autumn Roots With Thyme and Parmesan   One of those meals that's so simple, you won't believe how delicious it is. Toss carrots, parsnips and radishes with olive oil, salt and pepper and a bunch of fresh thyme. Roast at 400 for 30-40 minutes and finish with shaved parmesan and candied pecans or walnuts. 

Roasted Autumn Roots With Thyme and Parmesan

One of those meals that's so simple, you won't believe how delicious it is. Toss carrots, parsnips and radishes with olive oil, salt and pepper and a bunch of fresh thyme. Roast at 400 for 30-40 minutes and finish with shaved parmesan and candied pecans or walnuts. 

Soba with Shiitakes and Scallions   A quick-and-easy weeknight noodle dish: buckwheat soba tossed and stir-fried shiitake mushrooms and scallions, tossed with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil and topped with sliced avocado and black sesame seeds.

Soba with Shiitakes and Scallions

A quick-and-easy weeknight noodle dish: buckwheat soba tossed and stir-fried shiitake mushrooms and scallions, tossed with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil and topped with sliced avocado and black sesame seeds.

Berbere Veggies: Variation 1   My first incarnation of a recipe I'm working on for a forthcoming blog post: roasted vegetables with Berbere spice mix, couscous, rainbow chard, parsley and mint and pan-fried halloumi.

Berbere Veggies: Variation 1

My first incarnation of a recipe I'm working on for a forthcoming blog post: roasted vegetables with Berbere spice mix, couscous, rainbow chard, parsley and mint and pan-fried halloumi.

Variation #1, before the halloumi.

Variation #1, before the halloumi.

Berbere Veggies: Variation #2   With sweet potatoes, 7-minute eggs, stir-fried Swiss chard and chard stems, harissa, pine nuts, feta, and pickled bell peppers.

Berbere Veggies: Variation #2

With sweet potatoes, 7-minute eggs, stir-fried Swiss chard and chard stems, harissa, pine nuts, feta, and pickled bell peppers.

Berbere Veggies: Variation #2   This time with scallions, toasted pine nuts, crumbled goat cheese and 7-minute eggs.

Berbere Veggies: Variation #2

This time with scallions, toasted pine nuts, crumbled goat cheese and 7-minute eggs.

Berbere Veggies Leftover Remix   I love it when leftovers are better than the original: What was left of Variation #3, along with pan-fried za'atar tofu, kalamata olives, poached egg and tahini. The best version yet!

Berbere Veggies Leftover Remix

I love it when leftovers are better than the original: What was left of Variation #3, along with pan-fried za'atar tofu, kalamata olives, poached egg and tahini. The best version yet!

 

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Mine is still being written. But I'm pretty damn sure it's going to be better than what has come before.

xx

Wishin' and Hopin' Vegan Pesto Primavera

Wishin' and Hopin' Vegan Pesto Primavera

Spiced 'Suitcase' Pasta With Labneh

Spiced 'Suitcase' Pasta With Labneh