The Story of 30 Year Old Hair

One day, Alessandro and I were talking when the topic of his hair came up.  I asked if he ever considered doing something different with his hair, like growing it out or combing it another way, and he said no.  "At this point in my life, my hair is what it is," he said.  Then he told me a story.  

When he was a young boy he hated his hair.  His hair had "a deep part," that he recalled parting with a comb every morning.  Exhibit A.

It was cute when he was little, but things started getting out of hand as the years passed.  Exhibit B.

By the time he was in high school, he seemed to have gotten the part under control. Exhibits C & D.

But he knew that things for his hair just had to get better.

He remembers being envious of his Dad's hair.  It wasn't that he particularly loved his Dad's hair, but just that his Dad's hair was what it was always going to be.  His Dad had grown up hair, and that was something Alessandro strived for.  He would often think to himself, "I can't wait to be old, like 30, so that I can have grown up hair."  And as he was telling me this story, he realized that he was now 30 and finally had that 30 year old hair that he once longed for.  

And man, was it worth the wait.  Exhibit E.

Alessandro the day his hair turned 30, September 2, 2012.


Plant-Based Dinner: Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Mmmm, these lettuce wraps are good!  Got this recipe from this great vegan food website, and made a couple of tweeks.  Here's the scoop. 

One bunch of Romaine lettuce 
Noodles (preferabally Asian instant noodles, but in a pinch, you can substitute whole wheat noodles)
Raw cashews (raw cashews are white in color and when I first saw them I thought there was no chance they would be as good as roasted, salted cashews, but they actually are. Even the kids like them). 
Green onion
Hoisin Sauce (which is like an Asian bbq sauce)
Soy Sauce

How To: 
Cook your noodles and set aside.  Crumble your tempeh into a bowl and set aside.  In a skillet over medium heat, cook 2 cloves of minced garlic in a bit of oil or broth of your choice.  Chop up two stalks of green onions.  After the garlic is fragrant, add the tempeh, a handful of cashews, the green onion and 4 teaspoons  of hoisin sauce.  Heat thoroughly.  Serve with noodles on lettuce and enjoy! 

A couple of notes:

  • These would be great with other toppings too, such as toasted sesame seeds or water chestnuts. 
  • I have used both Asian instant noodles and whole wheat noodles and don't notice a difference.  Al claims they're better with Asian instant noodles. 
  • I made this once when my nieces, Ava and Maya, were over and they wanted to help cook.  If you have kids, crumbling tempeh is a great job for them.  They had a lot of fun doing it and helping out.  (Although neither of them wanted to eat the wraps because as Ava said, she doesn't like lettuce."  
For more of my plant-based recipes, click here.  


A Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I try to never go without it so I make sure that I have a few go-to options to turn to throughout the week.  Four of my favorites are:  (1) toast topped with avocado and cherry tomatoes (bread of choice is Avalon's wheaty wheat), (2) this cereal, (3) a tropical smoothie, or (4) baked oatmeal topped with fruit. 

I'd like to share the baked oatmeal recipe with you.  It's very delicious, satisfying, healthy and is made in advance for added convenience.    

Baked Oatmeal Squares *Adapted from this recipe*

Dry ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:
1-2 mashed bananas (1 large or 2 small)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and mix together.  Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8 x 8 baking pan (I use spray olive oil). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  

After the batch has cooled completely, you can cover it tightly and leave at room temperature.  

At breakfast time, cut a square (a whole batch makes 9 squares) and serve over warm almond milk and top with strawberries, blueberries and bananas.  My method is to pour a shallow amount of almond milk in a microwave safe bowl, place a cut square of oatmeal on top, and microwave for 1 minute.  (Our microwave is from 1979 so heating in a better functioning device may take only 30 seconds).  You want the milk just warm, not hot.  

The final result is a warm, chewy, fresh, fruit filled bowl of goodness to start your day off right. 

I hope you try this recipe.  If you do, I'm certain it will become a go-to breakfast for you and your family.  It's so good it sometimes doubles as dessert around these parts.  


P.S.  If you're like me and wondering if you can substitute agave nectar for brown sugar, don't do it.  I tried it and it was a bust.  It's perfect as is.