Well, the chilly season is upon us and a "harvest" of our year just naturally starts to happen at this point. It's like we take stock of all the growth we had, the newness that was created over the year, and what we have achieved and want to move to in the next year. The heart starts moving to gratitude as we start contemplate gratitude and giving holidays. The conversation was getting real with our eldest teenage son over these topics as he is at the prime age to be paying more and more attention to what's going on in the world around us and taking more of an active stock in what is being left behind as the heritage of himself and his generation.
Our discussion turned passionate as he was defending topics I had a suspicion he had little knowledge about, but words he had heard through the grapevine. Certainly, just as it was in our day, his music and what he surrounds himself with is highly influential, and as their budding minds are growing and expanding as they are paying more and more attention outside themselves, teenagers are more susceptible to what they hear as truth, particularly if there is emotion behind it.
In the end, he understood what I was saying when I told him that just because we have thoughts and opinions, that does not give us the right to act on them, and certainly doesn't mean we are "right" and someone else is "wrong". We talked about the truth of media and social media especially, and the right to have opinions. I told him that we encourage him to be a free thinker (this age, meaning "rebel") in the form of being wise; by listening to multiple people talk, hear other opinions, and form truths for ourselves. But even then it doesn't mean we or anyone else are right. Ultimately it came down to the importance of being the best self, finding and developing individual gifts, and serving them out into the world in the spirit of Love, Compassion, and Highest Good. It is, as a parent, difficult to watch soon to be fledgling adult children begin to navigate their own ideas and ways in the world. I am grateful for the time to nurture them, body, mind, and soul as long as they will listen.
And so, as the mind and soul were hopefully nourished, it is time to turn our attention to the harvest of fall flavors, and the body's changing adaptations to colder weather. It is also this time that our bellies crave a harvest of warming nutrients. Now is the perfect time to use comfort foods like squash and potatoes, and warming spices like cardamom, cayenne and cumin.
Knowing we were going to be out and about on a chilly halloween night with the kiddos, I wanted warming foods to warm from the inside out. This is also a perfectly balanced, and complete protein meal. With the rice as our congestor function, the vegetables as eliminators, and the quinoa and tri blend beans making up our builder, a complete protein.
It can be used as a side dish to other entrees, and it makes plenty, and makes a great lunch for the week.
Vegan Squash Jambalaya
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly, include the leaves
1 cup of cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup water.
1 cup diced tomatoes or can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles, if desired
2 cups of garden tomato sauce or any canned tomato sauce
2 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup raw brown rice
1 cup raw quinoa
1/2 cup each of red and green bell peppers
1 can tri-blend beans, or 1 cup dried beans that have been soaked overnight, then rinsed and drained and cooked to tender.
1. Fry 1 Tablespoon olive oil, with 2 cloves of garlic and a small onion, chopped. Add the celery and stir fry until browned. Add the squash and water, stir fry until vegetables are tender. You may need to add more water as it goes. My hot stove produces a lot of steam, so I find myself adding more along the way.
2. Add the tomatoes and green chiles if desired, along with the tomato sauce and broth. Add the spices, rice, and quinoa, and red and green bell pepper.
3. Cover and simmer until rice and quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Watch closely at the end, you may have to add more broth along the way.
4. When rice, quinoa, and vegetables are tender, add the beans, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
What is fun about Jambalaya is that making it as is unrestricted as the name sounds. It's a lot of fun to shake it up, and really ANYTHING can be added: carrot slices, potato cubes, peas and mushrooms. The original recipe creates a perfect foundation for health, and then you can add to it to make what your family will love.