Love Real Thai Food



September 2016



Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze

Written by , Posted in Thai Recipes


Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of shifts in my life as I transition from student to young professional. Obviously there are a lot of great things about this transition (hooray for getting paid!), but there are some things that I definitely miss (like skipping my morning engagements to sleep in an extra hour; “it’s just one class…”). On some days, the transition seems easy. I’ve been in university for six years (!!), and I was so ready to be outta there. On the other days, those six years of student habits die hard, and I just really miss certain aspects of my old, carefree life.

Today, as I was surfing around on Pinterest, I actually found something that opened my tired, naive little eyes a bit wider:Why is it that common sense is never my instinct when I’m looking to solve a problem? Shucks. I’m not as smart as I thought I was. Well, maybe.I actually do a pretty good job in other aspects of my life when it comes to moving on to that next chapter. As I mentioned, I’ve been doing yoga a lot recently, but going to the same type of class 4-5 times a week isn’t as rewarding as it was in the beginning. So I progressed, and I progressed very measurably. I decided to take the next step and move up from hatha, the slower, tamer, and very beginner friendly yoga, to power flow, the faster and requiring-more-muscular-strength yoga. And you know what? I loved it. My mat was drenched in sweat and I wasted a good hair day when I had to re-shower afterwards, but I definitely felt like I’d done the right thing in moving on and up and trying something new. +1 for Erica.

And in further reflecting, I’ve been doing a slammin’ job of trying new things when it comes to my meal-experimentation too. I discovered a phenomenal, vegan cheese sauce that will (and has, I’ve seen it) knock the pants of even the most fanatical cheese lover. Who doesn’t love finding a new favourite food (I’ve literally eaten it about six times in the last 10 days, not including leftovers!)? I know eating isn’t exactly a ‘new chapter’ for most people, but for someone like me, facing the digestive limitations that I do, it’s a new chapter in dinner-fulfillment for sure.

So why is it that I can’t seem to stretch this to my work life? I’ve set my goals (as you might already know), but sometimes I have difficulty overcoming certain obstacles (usually my own pride) to meet these goals. What this quote gave me today though was this: as a co-op student (i.e. doing 4-month work terms throughout my degree), I was content to go to work every day, blend in, dress for mediocrity (in terms of how professional I looked), and do what I had to do. At the end of the job term, I’d take my dad’s advice and ask for a reference letter. The letters never came.

Why? Because I wasn’t exceeding, and I wasn’t noteworthy. In a forest full of trees, I was nothing special, at least in the eyes of my employer. So now, today, I realized that I can’t expect to be living and working like I did as a student, and somehow receive different results. For the math-savvy out there (you know I had to go there), it’s just a formula. If you don’t change the formula, you don’t change the final product.

I’ll be honest, I have made some progress on my goal for the week, but it’s not what I hoped it would be. If I want to be noticed, for my work and for my professionalism, I need to stand out. I need to learn to swallow my pride, ask someone for a coffee chat, organize a lunch get-together, and be involved. Move on to the next chapter.And you? What are you going to do to take the next step? I’m not asking you to run a marathon tomorrow or anything, but I am suggesting that you ask yourself “What’s next?”. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a while, do it, or start working towards it, I dare you. And if it isn’t, maybe you should think about it. And if that’s too hard still, I have something stellar for you to try, and that you’re going to love.

Vegan Butternut Squash

Macaroni & Cheese (from Oh She Glows)

1 butternut squash (peeled & chopped) or 1 cup canned squash/pumpkin
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter (I used non-dairy butter but you don’t need to)
3/4 cup almond milk (you could, again, use regular milk if you’d like)
1 tbsp cornstarch
6 tbsp nutritional yeast (this is what gives it the great cheese flavour. I found mine at a health food store!)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 servings of cooked macaroni
Vegetable mix-ins (my favourite is sautéed mushrooms!)

Directions:(if you’re using fresh squash) Preheat oven to 425˚F. Mix chopped squash with olive oil. Roast for abotu 40 minutes, uncovered, until tender.Prepare the cheese sauce in a pot on the stove. Add butter over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in the nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, and salt. Whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes)

Cook your pasta according to package directions.

In a blender or food processor, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash. If you have a hand-held immersion blender like I do, you can add the squash chunks straight to the pot and blend in there. If you’re using canned squash, just add it straight to the sauce and stir until blended.Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni to the pot, as well as the mix-ins, and stir until thoroughly heated.

Be absolutely amazed and shout “I can’t believe this is vegan!” (I still do this when I eat it)I am aware that the word vegan scares the boogers out of carnivores people, but this recipe is
absolutely, 110% meat-lover approved (I promise). So no matter what you’re going to do to push your limits this week, make it count. And if you feel so obliged, leave me a comment to tell me about it. I’d love some inspiration myself.