Birthday Celebrations

If we ignore the fact that I was born 12 timezones behind, in the afternoon, then we can say that today is the anniversary of my entry into consciousness!
I say this since people get all teary-eyed looking at echo pictures of their pre-natal babies smiling or doing a jig, without knowing that the frontal cortex, the 'wakey' part of your brain, will not do bugger-all until birth.

Apologies, but my physiology lecturer really hammered this message home.
Excuse my bursting-people's-bubbles routine, I try to clamp down on my cynicism, since I should be all "whoohoo, I can legally drink and gamble in America!" since I hit the big 21 on Monday.

The only thing I have noted as the years pass is my excitement and joy seem to decrease. When you're a kid it seems the last few weeks until you get cake, presents and collect your friends for fun and games are torturous. You make the invitations, agonize over the event you want (pools or gnome dress-up, or a treasure hunt?).....
Now it is sort of more, well.....what do we have time for? Eh, a Monday, my friends are all busy today, so and so are at work, I am not the clubbing type. So I opted to have a good time with my family. A shop session with mum,popping tags hardout! $15 for a Goretex jacket aaannnnnnddd a Kathmandu polyester shell, I was gobsmacked. This just reminds us that shopping at family stores/ hospice/ thrift shops is far superior in terms of price, range and being a li'l more eco-friendly. One person's trash is another's treasure and all that. Followed that up with some seriously delicious Korean dinner.

 Reminder to self, always check that the dish with tofu is actually vegan. This one came with egg, oh the shock! Luckily my dad has the appetite of a horse and the friendly staff made a beautiful customised bibambab after some explaining that crabs were considered animals too. I also enjoyed a fair share of side dishes: beloved kimchi and some potato cube things, hmmmmm.

The dinner actually replaced the original ice-skating plans, because mum  was recovering from terrible headaches that had lasted two whole days. So the actual meal I had planned was pushed ahead a day. Not that I minded, two days of extra-special meals? Bring em on!

Vegan and super easy pilaf? Step up and take a bow!

Vegan Pilaf
~serves 4~

1 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cup water

1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
4-5 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 cups green beans
a few teaspoons nasi spices *
chili paste to taste
2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 can tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes in juice

1 can apricot halves, drained and diced
1 large, just ripe banana, sliced and diced

Bring rice and water to the boil, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. All the water should be absorbed, and the rice should be lightly chewy.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a large pot, or a wok, over medium heat.
Peel and dice the onion and cook until it becomes translucent. Peel the garlic and crush them into the pan. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
De-seed and dice the bell pepper and add to the pan. Cook for a little while.
While that is cooking, boil the green beans for 3 minutes until tender.
Slide all the veges to one side and layer mushrooms onto the bottom of your pan, then push the veges over the mushrooms and cover the rest of the pan in mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook until lightly browned on the bottom, then push them over to make space to lay more mushrooms.

This allows all the mushrooms to brown and be super tasty!
Now add the green beans, tomato paste and puree, and seasonings to taste.
Cover and simmer until the tomatoes have heated through, and allow the flavours to mingle.
Now stir in your cooked rice, apricots and banana.
Don't stir it too much, or the banana will vanish ;).

*Nasi spices can be mixed as follows:
1 part cumin
2 parts coriander
2 parts laos
2 parts ground ginger
2 parts dried oregano/thyme
1 part ground lemongrass

Just stir together spices and store in an airtight spice shaker or container.

Question: How special is your birthday to you?


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