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Monday, January 30, 2012

"Act Normal"*

In a criticism class in college, my professor pointed out the absurdity of the phrase "act normal." It's usually uttered when one is caught doing something wrong and one accomplice will quickly tell the other, "Act normal!" when in fact, the situation is anything but. Acting is a performance - being is the true state. But when things are not quite "normal," like my brain lately, "acting normal" will have to suffice and a kind of "fake it til you make it" mentality can actually trigger feelings of "the usual," if not "normal."
So G and I have been "acting normal" with a movie night:

Popcorn with nooch and black pepper, Flying Dog Pale Ale to go with Paper Moon (pretty great, by the way).
Totally normal lunch photo-bomb:

G's apple, my spinach, tomato, turmeric-roasted cauliflower, and sundried tomato salad.
I even played (watery) domestic, cooking up a traditional-style dinner. It took about 4 hours all together, but keeping busy is a big part of my mental health.

This is G's plate from last night. It's a bit hard to tell what it is under all that mushroom gravy. Also someone was in a rush to eat, so I snapped this quickly.
Steamed spinach, mashed potatoes with parsley, black pepper and roasted garlic, Hippie Loaf from the Happy Herbivore cookbook (and online here). The mushroom gravy is from Vegan Holiday Kitchen. G said it was the best mashed potatoes and gravy he's ever had. Indeed, I came home last night at 11:30 to him reheating some more. The Hippie Loaf was pretty good, but I made a couple changes. I used soaked pinto beans instead of canned black beans, bulgur wheat instead of quinoa (I didn't have any quinoa, though it might have been better. Bulgur also makes the loaf not gluten-free anymore), my own seasoning blend, panko instead of brown rice flour, added fennel seed, and about 1/4 c. chopped walnuts. I would add fresh parsley next time too. Okay, so maybe I changed a lot but I like using Lindsay's recipes as guides because they are low fat and oil free, and pretty simple. I mostly picked her recipe because I don't care much for lentil-based loaves. They seem to fall apart pretty easily and beans sounded like a better binder.
Here's my leftover lunch today:

Steamed cauliflower standing in for mashed potatoes. Dinner having been so "traditional" and unlike what I usually eat, was a bit heavy for my stomach.
With salad:

 Anyway, thanks again for the well-wishes, guys. I'm feeling better. G is helping. I hope you all are doing well.

*All mentions of the word "normal" used for the unfortunate lack of a better word. I'm a big fan of crazy, honestly. Normal perhaps should be "not off-kilter." But whatever.


  1. Normal is definitely relative - which reminds me of my favorite Paul McCartney quote. He said, "I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird." So true, right?

  2. Yum... warm, comforting food and popcorn with nooch. Glad to see you're eating delicious food. Healthy, yummy food really does help when I'm feeling "off". I agree that HH recipes are a fantastic starting point recipes.

  3. Your acting normal is delicious looking! I love the mashed potatoes & gravy--I know my G would kill for that plate o' goodness. And the movie night sounds perfect. ((hugs!))

  4. Oh no! What was wrong? Whatever it was, I am glad you are feeling better. Sometimes when one cleanses, they can get a little mental and physical funk. :( Winter just sucks too for mood and health.

  5. That salad looks the best, IMHO! And are you eating off an ironing board?

    Remember, this too shall pass. If you like funny movies, maybe check out Stepbrothers or The Brothers Solomon if you haven't seen them. Bad Santa is also pretty hilarious but awfully dark.

  6. Ha ha! The statement to "act normal" reminds me of being in college. Along with, "maybe if we close our eyes, they won't see us". Oh dear.

    I've been curious about the Hippie Loaf, it does look a little heavy, as you mentioned. Very dense. As usual, I need you to make all of my salads - nutritious, bright, and delicious!

  7. Normalcy is definitely relative and I definitely get what you mean. I'm glad to see that you are doing a bit better. I know it takes time but it seems like you are committed to getting better which is a great thing.

    All of your food looks really delicious! That cauliflower and sun dried tomato salad looks phenomenal and the popcorn looks so yummy too! I've been snacking on air popped popcorn lately too :)

  8. Ha! Stacy's comment actually made me LOL! Eating off an ironing board would be considered conservative for you guys.

    G's photo bomb is very understated. Excellent contribution to the post.

    Coincidentally, just this afternoon, I officially waved the white flag on 'acting normal', keeping busy, faking it till I make it. Picked up the receiver and phoned the shrink. Practically wept with relief when the appointment was scheduled. Gonna get back on the happy pills. May the stronger vegan blogger survive!

  9. I'm assuming you've got a handle on "the usual" and know when to wave the white flag, as Shen says. The food looks good and nourishing and if you weren't holding things together at least a little you wouldn't have been able to put such a fine meal on the table. Thinking of you and hoping you feel better soon.

  10. Jesse, I love it. I don't know if I understand it but it is perfect.

    Nikki, I feel like Lindsay's recipes are almost made to be played with! And it is appreciated!

    Jes, movie night was lovely. I can rarely sit through a movie and G fell asleep halfway through but it was still lovely.

    S&S, the cleanse may have triggered something and the winter is probably not helping but there were also outside circumstances that couldn't be helped. I hope you are avoiding the cleanse/weather blues :)

    Stacy, to be perfectly honest; it's even weirder than an ironing board - the photos are taken on the radiator, covered with an old curtain. I eat off the table but photograph them next to the window (on the radiator) Ha! I will look into the movie reccs; thank you!

    Ingrid; typical college, right? I was mostly concerned that the Hippie Loaf only makes 4 servings! It's so dense we'll probably get 8 out of it.

    Thanks, VAVA. I definitely had you in mind with the roasted cauli and sundried tomato salad.

    Shen, we usually strip naked and eat off each other but like I responded to Stacy; the photos are taken on the radiator. At least you can recognize when it's time to call a third party in; I still kind of hide from that kind of help. I was on pills when I was younger and it backfired on me so I stay away and self-medicate these days. Do what works for you and good wishes to you.

    Andrea, keeping up appearances certainly helps, and even better when it means tasty food. Thank you again.

  11. Okay, I missed where you said why you were feeling low. Whatever it is, I hope you feel better soon.

    You were right - that gravy does look good. I wouldn't have thought to use slices, instead of chopped shrooms. It's funny what you said about your G because after I've gone to bed, I'll hear my G clinking around in the refrigerator for seconds. That's a true compliment.

  12. Is "acting normal", sort of like "looking busy" when the boss walks by? It reminds me of the Woody Allen quote " 90% of life is showing up and other 10% is just being there" ...or something similar. I agree though, that acting a certain way can bring about the actual state of the act of smiling inducing feelings of well-being and so on.

    Anyway, glad your making your way and all the good food has got to help. The loaf dinner looks the business...the gravy does look especially mouth-watering.

  13. That gravy looks AMAZING! I've seen the recipe in Vegan Holiday Kitchen and now I know I must make it, holiday or not.

  14. Thanks, Blessed mama :)

    Rose, pretty much the same idea, haha. You're right about the smiling too! Sometimes it's just so goofy to be grinning like a madwoman, you actually start smiling. I ought to do that more often, creep a couple people out. haha.

    Bianca, he really likes it. Gravy goes on everything; you totally don't need it to be a holiday!

  15. Yeah, normal is totally overrated, crazy is where it's at! Logan and I were actually discussing this last there's a big difference between crazy-happy and crazy-teetering-on-the-edge. So I wish you the crazy-happy variety! :) And I love this - "acting is a performance - being is the true state". Seriously, I want to pin that on my cork board or something. And even as a performer, the best performances are the ones that come from being. They're way more meaningful. Thanks for sharing!

  16. i like the word typical rather than normal. i find that the word normal can be viewed as hurtful or offensive at times. do you think? i have a child with some "special needs" so i def prefer typical to normal when referring to those issues.

    i hope you are feeling okay these days. you are really fortunate to have someone in your life. and you are a person that strives for such health in the food department that i hope you can parlay that into all areas. spring is on its way!


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