Confession time. Yesterday was a low point for me. I thought about deleting this blog and throwing all of my dreams and goals out the window. I declared to papa tummy that I refuse to cook anymore and we will only be eating out from now on. For a split-second I thought about giving up veganism. I was angry, hurt, and invisible. I felt defeated and hopeless and no one was around to talk to. Everything was hitting all at once. The pressure of the goals I have set for myself was beating down on me. Relentless until I finally surrendered to the tears. I cry maybe a handful of times in a year so I knew this was bad.
I have been trying to work on a business plan for a few weeks. It all began when we went to the movies and watched Chef. It was excellent and really lit a fire inside of me to do something more productive than blindly write about food to an audience of noncommittal strangers. Just like John Favreau says in the movie clip above I love this. I believe cooking is the only thing I’m truly good at. I want to share my passion with everyone. It makes me happy to feed hungry people good food. I decided it was time to start my own food truck business. It was all I could think about for days so I finally started writing down ideas. I even put together the menu I wanted to develop. I went as far as starting to work on the menu items.
Then, I began the business side of research. How much what would cost. What paperwork needed to be completed for which permits. Among all these articles and documents I came across a Q&A feed from someone asking for advice on whether starting a food truck was a good idea in Denver. With each answer read I felt more and more lost. Apparently, Denver is not that promising for the type of business I was hoping to set-up. Before I gave up altogether I got another idea. I would rent a shared kitchen space and develop a specific Compassionate Tummy food line specializing in soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, Southern and Tex-Mex cuisine. I wanted to package my fresh recipes and get them into local food markets to share with the people of Denver. I was feeling really good about this decision. It fit and made perfect sense to carry me into my long-term goals. I was going to create a crowd-funding campaign to help me get on my entrepreneur feet and I wanted to get the word out at our monthly Neat Market. All that came crashing down when I read a Facebook post from Nooch, Denver’s own 100% vegan market. I’ve supported these guys from the beginning and it was my number one goal to get my goods into their store. Someone else beat me to it. It seems another food blog developed their own food line and got their potato salad and pasta salad into their store to sell. Well, potato salad was going to be one of my products.
I started crying right then. Shedding tears on little tummy as I fed her. She stopped nursing and looked up at me with such confusion. This was the first time she’s seen me cry. I couldn’t explain to her what I was feeling and that made me more angry. I have a problem. I get extremely discouraged when I find out I’m not the first one to do something. I get a million ideas a day (barely an exaggeration). Usually a few days after one of these genius thoughts pop into my head I found out someone else beat me to it. This happens way too often. This time was just too much for me to handle. How am I supposed to compete with everyone else out there? What makes me unique? I have nothing new to offer anyone.
In that moment I was small. An insignificant part of this world. Nothing I will ever do could have the effect I want to cause. From there began the shameful downward spiral. Subjecting my poor husband to the nonsensical thoughts running through my head while he was at work. I even said I should just leave him so I don’t hold him back from his life goals. I told him I didn’t want to be a mother anymore because she deserves someone who will show her how to be successful in life. I am not that person. I thought about putting her down for a nap and running away to another state and changing my name. I’m not a horrible person. I could never do such a selfish thing. I care way too much about other people, especially my family, to commit such a disgraceful act. I just don’t want to bring them down anymore.
I came to the realization it’s best for me to not have any aspirations right now. It will only make matters worse when they don’t come true in the timeline I would prefer. As in right this minute. I was reminded that I am a mom now and my focus should solely be on her and her well-being. It raises some questions though. How do all these moms with careers do it? Why am I the only woman incapable of balancing children in one hand and self in the other? This is why I dropped out of college. I knew I couldn’t handle both. I can barely manage this blog and stay sane enough for her so what was I thinking of starting a business for?
Now that I got that off my chest, it’s time for a recipe!
Tamale Pot Peppers with Broccoli Avocado Salad
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free
makes 4 servings
Tamale Pot Peppers:
- 4 large bell peppers capable of standing up
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups homemade pinto beans OR 15 oz. can drained and rinsed
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- Slice 1/4″ off the top of each pepper. Discard the stems and dice the tops. Remove the seeds and membrane from the interior of the peppers and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet and saute diced pepper tops with onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
- Toss in the beans and let them heat for a minute or two. Smoosh the beans with your spatula or spoon until a paste forms with few chunks.
- Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Cook on medium heat until liquid is reduced, this will take about another 5 minutes.
- Stir in cilantro and remove from the heat. Let cool while you prepare the masa topping (recipe follows).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place hollow peppers in a baking dish standing up.
- Divide filling evenly into each pepper and top each pepper with the masa mixture by flattening each ball into a round disc and gently pressing on top.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Switch oven to broil and continue baking for 3 to 5 minutes until masa is golden brown.
- Let cool and cut in half. Serve with Broccoli Avocado Salad (recipe below). Enjoy!
- 1 cup masa flour
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup non-dairy soy-free butter OR coconut oil, brought to room temperature
- In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients. Add vegetable broth and mix until all is incorporated.
- Using your hands add the butter or oil until there are no lumps and everything is mixed.
- Divide masa into 4 even balls. Set aside until ready to use.
Broccoli Avocado Salad:
- 3 cups broccoli florets, steamed for 10 minutes
- handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- juice from half lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.