on making the effort.

image from weheartit
this past weekend it was thanksgiving here in canada. our thanksgiving comes earlier because the bounty of our harvest tends to peak earlier than that in america (as the frosts may come earlier - although here in toronto we're actually more southern some of our southern neighbours!), and i'm happy to think about thanksgiving as an opportunity to give thanks for the amazing bounty we are seeing at the farmer's markets right now (especially thanks to our amazing warm autumn). i was trying to remember last thanksgiving, and honestly i can't recall whether i made a turkey or a vegetarian feast. i am slowly coming to terms with the fact that i am an incredibly forgetful person.
however, this year i was definitely on board with doing a full-out vegan dinner, and we had friends in from out of town (one of whom recently finished a month-long vegan experiment and who i love to talk with about our food & ethics musings) so the appeal of cooking not just for the two of us made it even more fun.
we enjoyed a huge meal, with the main dish being a tempeh & lentil loaf smothered in gravy. i also made garlic mashed potatoes (considered cutting them with cauliflower & parsnips, but honestly how often do i eat a big helping of creamy potatoes? i was happy to indulge) and roasted maple-syrup brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts. the recipes were inspired by chloe coscarelli's holiday feast from her cookbook chloe's kitchen, although i find that her recipes are great starting points but require quite a bit of modification to get them the way i want them (i'll post the recipes once they are perfected!)
in addition, our friends brought roasted rosemary carrots, a deep dark balsamic-infused gravy, and fantastic stuffing. the feast and the company were so good, it almost made up for being away from my family (luckily i got to video call them during dinner and say hi to everyone - a fact that made my night so much better and a little bit harder all at the same time - i miss them so much!)
because there is so much prep involved with making a vegan loaf, i started preparing the day before and pre-made as much as i could. i then spent sunday cooking the last minute items and cleaning & organizing the house. i set our table beautifully (one of my favourite parts of having a dinner party!) and by the time our guests arrived, i felt like i'd been preparing for two full days. but i loved every minute of it. i haven't felt much like cooking for the past few months, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly why. but preparing a big holiday dinner reminded me how much i love being in the kitchen. even though it's a lot of work (before and after), it's so much fun to choose recipes, change them up to make them your own, experiment, and pour your love into making something delicious for the people in your life. so i've decided that even if i'm lacking in motivation, i'm going to make an effort, and make the time, to plan and prepare a real dinner at least once or twice a week. the feeling of satisfaction (as well as the extra day or two of leftovers and the thanks i get from my body for giving it a real meal instead of something hastily thrown together) is well worth the effort.

there are a number of other things in my life that i feel i need to dedicate more effort & time to. one of them is writing here... i've been examining my life lately and there are so many things i'd love to write about, and yet PUREhappiness has stayed so sleepy for such a long time - why is it that the more things are going the way i want them to, the less i have motivation to write them down to remember them? if anything, it should be more important to me at this time to share what's going on in my life, for the family & friends who read here, and to spend the time remembering and savouring the good memories.
perhaps i've become a little complacent - a little too willing to stand still because i like where i'm currently standing. and without the forward velocity in my days, there's no sense of urgency to "get things done" ...and so the extras (like writing) don't get done. sometimes all we need is a gentle reminder of those good habits we enjoy that we've let slide, to re-ignite the flame and get us moving again. remembering why we love to cook, to write, to get outside, and to get sweaty. for me, that reminder was a special thanksgiving weekend that inspired me to do all of those things.

is there something in your life that you've put down that you need to make the effort to pick up again? what do you think could motivate you to make it happen?

happy thanksgiving! xo

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