Spiced Sweet Potatoes and PecansWhen you’re dealing with grief, people will often tell you to look for the positive. And you want to say, screw off. You don’t understand my pain. But you don’t. You say, you’re right, thank you, I’ll do that. And you go on your day, biting your tongue, in sorrow. And then, months will go by, and maybe you’ll begin to start looking at the positive. It’s so hard to see the light through the cracks. So, so hard.

2016 was one hell of a year. And today, it will be over. I want more relief than I have. I want to know that magically, I’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will be better. I completely understand that is not possible. But there’s something about a New Year. Some glimmer of hope that good will come from all of the destruction of 2016.

 

At the end of each year, for a few years now, I have worked up my annual year-end review, which includes:

  • create new vision boards that help me align my passions to my life’s work (this year’s boards are posted on Instagram, if you’re interested)
  • review the previous years’ 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year goals, to make sure they still fit with my current path, and to see where I’m at in achieving them
  • write out my goals, both 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year, and develop ways in which I can achieve those goals
  • write out everything that was great in 2016

The last part, I didn’t want to do; I’ve been putting it off. It’s hard to look for the good when you’re dealing with the worst year of your life. But at the same time, it’s so important. So I did it, I wrote it all out. And it’s incredible. I accomplished so much, many of which I forgot about or overlooked. And most importantly, I accomplished most of my 1-year goals.

 

Here’s my highlights of 2016:

#1. FAMILY

I didn’t know we would be dealing with the worst year yet, but we got through it, and we’re stronger. My husband, myself and his mom, we make a great team. We had no idea how much we would need each other, and the three of us stepped up to the plate. We know now that we can get through anything. We are strong, and we are survivors. And we are closer than we’ve ever been. We have opened up and shared more about each other than ever before. We’ve allowed silence, and we’ve allowed laughter, and we’ve allowed sobs, and we’ve held each other’s backs, and kept each other from falling, and we’ve asked important questions, and most importantly, we listened, without judgment. These moments are priceless.

In addition, starting our own business (see #2) allowed me to have more free time to spend with my mom, on the random days that she gets off as a teacher. I never had those days off before, and now I have more flexibility in my work schedule, so I can spend more time with her. And those days with my mom (and dad too, not leaving him out, but his schedule’s a bit nuttier), no one can ever take them away from me. I am lucky to have them.

 

#2. CRAFT & COMMUNICATE

We did it, together. We built a business. I quit my job. I QUIT MY JOB. That, alone, it may not seem like much to you, but it was HUGE for me. It was something I wanted to do for a long time, and it kept building and building and building. If you are one of my close friends or my husband reading this, thank you for dealing with my questioning and doubt and fears for so long, and thank you for encouraging me to go for this.

We saved, and we planned, and we crafted our marketing/design agency, and here we are. And, amidst sorrow and pain and not being able to see through the darkness of many days, we have clients. Multiple people have trusted us, and I’m bragging here, but I’m so proud of the work we’ve done this year. I can’t believe this is my life. This has been in the works for a long time, but I put it on my 1-year plan in January of 2016, and we did it. It was so, so hard to quit. And it was so worth. If you’re in corporate America (especially in middle or upper management) and want to read my story, you can learn tips all over this blog, in multiple 2016 posts. Good luck. And go for it.

 

# 3. YOGA

Oh my, can I just say, I TEACH YOGA. Holy, holy, holy shit. So, I forced myself to put that on my 1-year plan in January. It was forced. Like, I had to hold my right hand on top of my left hand to make it write those words down. Because it was so, so scary for me. Because I am not a pro. I LOVE teaching and I LOVE yoga but I didn’t think I was “good enough” to teach yoga. I don’t know all the asanas. I don’t know all the muscles. I can’t help everyone. But you know what, I am a good yoga teacher. I stumbled at first, and I will continue to stumble. And I won’t ever be “perfect” or great or excellent, because that’s not the point. I’m good at this because I offer my heart every single time. I match what I’m offering to the students in the room. And we laugh. And we fall. And we have so much fun. And at the end, we are all smiles. And that, that is why I love to teach. And wow, I get to do it, every single week. Can you believe it? I can’t.

Also, looking back at 2016, I got to attend workshops with Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Seane Corn and Tias Little. Holy smokes. I am blown away.

And I get to study with the best teachers in DFW, every single week. Seriously, I am so, so lucky.

 

#4. THIS BLOG

One of my major goals for this year was to write every day. And so I planned out this blog – one recipe a week, except for the weeks I was traveling. And, here we are: one year later, there’s 64 healthy, vegan recipes on this blog. 64! I’m psyched and proud of that, and what’s even better is I have tons of ideas and recipes in the works for 2017. Many weeks this year I didn’t think I’d come up with anything new to make, and I certainly didn’t think I’d come up with a topic to write about. And here we are, one full year of recipes and journal posts. I’m so happy I am doing this.

 

# 5. TRAVELING

First off, we went to Costa Rica in January. I’ve been wanting to travel to different countries for years now, and I’ve never felt like I had the time or money to do it. (Here’s the stupid thing – you ALWAYS have time and money to travel to other countries. This is one of the most important things you could be doing. Talk to people, visit other cultures, and you’ll see WE ARE ALL THE SAME. Make plans to do it, now. I sure am!) And I got to do it this year. I can’t wait to do it more. Costa Rica was incredible, the hiking, the freaking awesome cabin we rented, the vegan options, the fresh juices, the live music, the people. I actually forgot that trip happened this year, and it was beautiful.

This summer, my husband and I went back to Flagstaff, AZ, for a little cool mountain air seclusion. We love Flagstaff, and this small city never disappoints. Incredible hiking, views, beer, vegan food, talking to strangers over coffee for hours (who needed to come into your life at that exact moment) it’s surreal. It’s perfect.

My mom and I went on our annual trip together, and we chose Santa Fe. You know my love of New Mexico, so of course, this week was awe-inspiring: food, people, hiking, views, lavender fields, artists…all enclosed in the prettiest land I’ve ever seen.

And finally, I got to visit my girlfriend in her cute new town of Grand Junction, CO. I remember last year, her texting me, hey, can you talk? And of course, us getting on the phone within minutes, and her saying, so remember how you said you visited Grand Junction last year, and you liked it? Can you tell me more? I have a job offer… and the rest is history. And it’s so cute there, and their lifestyle has expanded by about 1000%. Fresh mountain air, incredible hiking, awesome people, art, food, wineries. I love it.

You can read more about these places and where to eat healthy, yummy foods by typing in Costa Rica, Flagstaff, Santa Fe or Grand Junction in the search bar.

 

It’s funny how all of this can happen in a year, and some of it can be forgotten. There’s something nice about setting aside time to look through the year and list out the best parts. Even in the worst of years, there’s many highlights.

So, what was the best part of 2016 for you? And have you worked on your 1-, 5-, and 10-year goals? I recommend you setting aside a day or two to work on this. The tools are online, (read my last 2-3 blog posts to get the worksheets I recommend) or you can attend workshops wherever you live. I’ll be back at The Sanctuary Yoga Room’s Goal Planning and Life Refining workshop hosted by Rebecca Butler next Saturday. If you’re into goal planning, go to this workshop. It’s so worth it. Hope to see you there.

And cheers to a better 2017!

Print Recipe
Year-End Spiced Sweet Potato & Pecans
Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pecans
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 1-2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Avocado Cream Sauce
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 1-2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Avocado Cream Sauce
Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pecans
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside for 1-2 hours, or overnight if you have the time.
  2. Het your oven to 350. Toss the pecans with the remaining olive oil, chili powder, and salt. Bake for 8 minutes, and then set aside to cool.
  3. Increase your oven heat to 425. Cube the sweet potatoes into 1/2" bites. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. chili powder, and the cumin, and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway, until fork tender.
  4. Make the avocado cream sauce: rinse and drain the cashews and place in a high powered blender. Add the avocado, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, salt and water. Blend on high until creamy, adding more water (1 tbsp. at a time) depending on how creamy you prefer.
  5. Serve on a platter of rice (as shown) or on top of tortillas, or as a side on its own. There will be enough avocado cream sauce to last a few days, just keep it covered in the fridge - it's perfect for dipping veggies, chips, or on top of any taco!
Share this Recipe