Thursday, February 28, 2008

"in a pinch"

From time to time, we are all faced with circumstances (sometimes beyond our control, sometimes our own doing) that necessitate choices, sometimes unsavory, to get us from where we are to where we want to be. When those situations present themselves, we are said to be "in a pinch." When things do suddenly go pear-shaped and we find ourselves under-prepared or unequipped, the proverbial sink-or-swim imperative is foisted squarely at our feet. We might not necessarily be chained to explosives with only a Pez dispenser and light bulb with which to fashion our salvation but situations do arise when we all have to channel our inner MacGuyver and use what's at hand to get the job done. I like to embrace those moments when you know you've passed "Rock" and you see that "Hard Place" is fast-approaching. I strive to look on them as an opportunity, a challenge - improvise, adapt, overcome.

So now we find ourselves in a new region, a new state, a new city, a new time zone, a new apartment, with new goals, expectations, responsibilities, and a brand new chance to live life our way. We've continued to foster our vegan and ever GREENer lifestyle and, without the comfort of knowing our way around or exactly what goods and services are readily procurable here, we have begun to find ourselves in "pinches" fairly regularly.

Our first pinch came almost immediately after we began our migration from the pretentious suburbs of DC to the unassuming Colorado hills. How does a former two-a-day Pumpkin Spice Latte glutton cope with hypnotic stretches of asphalt desolation? Although some locales are very supportive of the thrifty and road-weary vegan, we found that not many of them lie along route 70 West. Tired and red eyed we pondered our options in one highway oasis after another and settled on lots of water and anything crunchy to keep us upright and between the ditches. *Friend, you haven't lived until you've foraged the aisles at the Flying J truck stop in Salina, Kansas at 2 a.m. for a vegan-friendly snack.* Needless to say, we safely made our pilgrimage not much the worse for wear and learned that, for our less-remote stay awake needs, Starbucks does offer several viable beverages for the compassionate. Yay for soy milk!

My most recent instance of improvisation and adaptation in a pinch, as many of ours now are, was of a culinary nature. Having set my gaze upon a fridge full of fruits and vegetables left over from last week's grocery shopping and our pantry meagerly stocked with vegan staples, I was pressed to find the makings for a salad to precede last night's dinner. In an Iron Chef-ish flurry, I culled from hither and yon to produce the following:

10-12 brussels sprouts (nearly chiffonade)
1/4 gala apple (julienne)
1/4 small onion (sliced paper thin)
a dash of sea salt
an allegation of cayenne
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

introduce all to a rocket-hot saute pan and toss for about 30 seconds. remove to plate, sprinkle with sesame seeds if you're fortunate.

the subtle sweet nuttiness of the brussels sprouts provided a convincing liaison between the sesame and the apple while the onion and cayenne unobtrusively lent just the right amount of yang to the balance. "....'twil serve."

With that, I conclude my inaugural post and offer in closing that there will always be chances to improvise and adapt to overcome whatever rigors in our lives leave us unprepared, lacking, unequipped, or feeling like we have little recourse. I hope that this blog will help fill ("in a pinch") your need to read, laugh, learn, and perhaps escape YOUR rigors as much as it will help me with mine.