Smile at the rain

Yesterday as my first day of work at the library and by the end of the day, I was worried that my brain had turned to complete mush. The morning was spent at Central trying to understand all the medical, dental, and various supplemental insurance plans and all the various deductions, filling out forms, getting the new employee handbook, etc. My brain was mostly mush by then and then I had to rush across town to my library. Theresa and I then spent the afternoon getting a basic overview of everything. It is amazing how much procedure stuff is involved with working for the city. In essence we were doing a brief tour of the entire universe and now that we have touched on everything, I can start to look at the galaxy, then the solar system, then the planet... while it is pretty overwhelming, I am confident that I will pick it up quickly. I know I am going to have plenty to do and that is a really nice feeling. My co-workers are great, the patrons diverse and I am so excited about how things are shaping up. After a nice long day at work, I came home exhausted made some delicious food, did some more work, got lots of chores and such done and collapsed into bed and slept quite well.

Today thankfully, I did not have my second day of work. Instead I was working from home and took the opportunity to head up to Cougar for a nice 10 mile run. It was raining in the city and all the way up to the trailhead. I headed up the long grinding hill and the rain quickly went away, and turned to snow. It was crazy! It was so cold, my hands were freezing even though I had gloves. My arms were warm though covered with my new pink DeFeet arm warmers that I picked up from Fleet Feet in Bend. Very nice. The run went well and I finished in a pretty quick 1:32, which is about 3 minutes faster than I usually run it. I couldn't feel my hands, but I changed my clothes and headed to the Matthew's Thriftway for the REAL reason that I went up to Cougar- to stock up on Rub with Love, African Peri-Peri spice rub. I bought the only two they had. Delicious! The rest of the day was spent working, errands, napping and running, again. On my second run, I headed out around the neighborhood for another 6 miles. It was lightly raining when I left the house and got heavier as I tooled along. Despite feeling stiff when I got off the couch before my run, my legs shook out quickly and I was moving at a decent clip. The rain didn't even bother me, in fact brought a smile to my face. Why? I am not quite sure, but I find more and more as my new life unfolds that the blissful insipids come more and more.

Most importantly on my run I came up with the fantastic recipe that follows....sometimes I even surprise myself. I had put some sweet potatoes in the oven to bake before I left and was trying to work out the details. I wanted to do something different, fresh and healthy. Though I do not seem to have the mind for blogging today, I definitely had the mind for creating in the kitchen. This is a complete "fast foodie" original.

The Green Monster
(aka Sweet Potato Kale Wrap ups with roasted onion, tomato and mushrooms)

2 medium sweet potatoes, baked at 350 for 45-50 minutes
1/3 cup kidney beans from canned, rinsed
1 small can diced green chilis
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
squeeze of lime
1 tbsp garlic sauce
dash of chili powder
dash of salt

10-12 kale, blanched for 1-2 minutes, until pliable but not too soft!
1/2 bunch asparagus, blanched until tender

1 small onion, quartered
5-6 plum tomatoes, halved
4-5 medium mushrooms, sliced.


Preheat oven to 400. On a baking sheet covered with parchment place the onion, tomato and mushroom, laying them separate and flat. Place the sheet into the oven and roast for 20 minutes, until toasty, golden and tender.

Half the sweet potatoes and scoop out the inside into a bowl, mash with a fork. Mix in rinsed kidney beans, diced green chilis, garlic sauce, cilantro, lime and spices.

On a cutting board or clean flat surface, place two-three pieces of kale, overlapping, stem side up (or cut out stems if they are too thick). Place asparagus perpendicular and scoop sweet potato mixture on top, like this:
Starting at the end closest to you, roll up like sushi, making sure to hold the filling in. This is where it is important to have blanched the kale correctly, if it is undercooked it won't be pliable enough to roll! Take the roll and place in a baking pan. Continue this process until all the kale leaves are used. At this point, you can eat straight away! However, I popped them in the oven for a few more minutes just to warm.

To plate, place two kale rolls on the plate and sprinkle the oven roasted tomatoes, onion and mushrooms over top. In addition, I topped with some sliced avocado, diced cilantro and green salsa.