Weekend Reading, 10.1.17
October 1, 2017

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy October! I feel as though I’m constantly making remarks in these posts about how quickly time is flying, so I should probably just accept that pace as the nature of things. But, seriously: time is flying. I can’t believe September has already come and gone.

In looking back on this month, I can definitely see that some of the overwhelm I was feeling this week is due to my having been a lot more open and social than I have been in a long time. Yes, there’s school and work and the usual things to do, but I’m also out and about a lot more often.

It wasn’t until last week, when I was reflecting on Rosh Hashanah this year, that I realized how much anxiety about leaving the safety of my home space had been weighing on me. So much was alien and unfamiliar after my breakup with Steven that my apartment became more of a refuge than it ever had been. I needed my home space to keep me tethered to something constant and steady, but at a certain point I think I started leaning on it too heavily, enveloping myself in solitude because it felt less scary than engaging with the world around me.

Now I’m pushing myself to have a more open posture. I’m not pushing too hard: I’m still giving myself plenty of time to feel safe and grounded and rooted down in my space. But I am trying to get out more often, to see and do new things, to connect socially, and to see how it feels not to stay alone with myself quite so much. Prague was a step forward, a literal and figurative adventure. And since my return, I’ve kept the momentum going by making more plans, being more spontaneous, and gently challenging my routines.

For the most part, it feels good. In the last two weeks, I may have taken it a little too far, and by Friday of this week I was feeling a sense of dizziness, an eagerness to be in my home and to rest. I heeded that urge, and for the most part I’ve had a calm and quiet weekend. The week ahead feels balanced: some time with friends, some new people to meet, and space for myself and my work, too.

To avoid extremes is never easy work for me. I’m getting better, but my natural inclination is always to dwell in intense spaces. I respect my passionate temperament, but I’ve learned that my mental and physical health depends greatly on my striving for equilibrium as best I can. I’m feeling proud of myself for venturing outside of the comfort zone lately, but also for having had the good sense to heed the signs of overwhelm when they hit me this past week, so that I could recalibrate a little.

I hope the week ahead brings you a balance of everything you need. Here are some of the recipes and links I’m enjoying this morning.


I love a good sheet pan of roasted sprouts, don’t get me wrong, but I have to admit that I’m almost as partial to them when they’re shaved and sautéed (as in this hash) or simply added to a salad (like this tasty kale and Brussels sprout salad). Now Steven’s got a recipe for Brussels sprout fried rice that I’m dying to try.

I’m always looking for quinoa burger recipes that will be sturdy and toothsome (lots of the ones I’ve tried are tasty, but fall apart easily). This pumpkin and quinoa burger looks like it fits the bill. (The site is in Dutch, but you can use Google translate to see the recipe in English.)

A bright, vibrant flatbread for fall. This one features roasted butternut hummus, chickpeas, Brussels sprouts, and apple. So much flavor and texture!

A protein-rich, nutritious vegan pasta supper: smoky tofu bolognese. I’ve seen vegan bolognese recipes with legumes and mushrooms, and I love this departure.

I can’t wait to make a giant pot of Traci’s harissa stewed black-eyed peas with okra and collard greens, and then to eat it on a cool, autumn evening. Yum.


1. A rising global demand for meat is good news for the pharmaceutical industry, but it enhances the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

2. My post-bacc experience taught me so much about the value of “failure”: not just experiencing it and learning from it, but also talking about it, and thereby creating a culture where we celebrate the value of rejection and wrong turns along with triumph and apparent successes. I really like this article, and I think it applies not only to the sciences, but to other professions as well.

3. Speaking of professional life, a really interesting article on the tremendous toll that incivility takes in workplaces.

4. Research suggests that a punishment-oriented, ultra-disciplinary approach works poorly with challenging kids. A new approach—one that underscores kids’ sense of their own competence and problem-solving skills—shows a lot of promise. This article has the details.

5. Mozambique has the eighth highest global prevalence of HIV infection. Mosaic tells the story of a group of female sex workers who—in spite of political and financial challenges—are proactively helping thousands of people on the margins of their society.

Enjoy the reads. Coming up this week, a hearty, perfectly seasonal stew recipe, courtesy of awesome vegan cookbook author Celine Steen. I can’t wait to share it, along with news of her latest work. Till soon!


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  1. Dear Gena, I love your words about balance in this time of such intense extremes of tragedy, calamity, and deep change and revelation. We are in the sign of Libra and it’s all about seeking the balance, so you are right on cosmic task, if that makes any sense at all to you!! The recipe round up certainly reminds me it’s going to be time to eat brussels sprouts again soon, even out here on the coast! I look forward to these articles as well, and wish you a sweet balance during this week. Thank you!! xoxo

    • ps: yes that article about kids and discipline is a good one! Lots of important food for thought. Read that a while back. Thanks!

  2. The pumpkin quinoa burger recipe calls for “look” which Google doesn’t translate. Leek, maybe??

    • Hi, Debby from Wildgroei here. ‘Look’ is garlic. I’d be happy to translate the whole recipe for you, I noticed the translated version is a bit … off. There are no orange dragons in the sauce.

      • Pumpkin and quinoa burgers with an orange-tarragon sauce

        Makes 4 burgers

        For the burgers:
        – 1 + 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
        – 1 + 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
        – 3/4 cup oat flour
        – 1 sweet bell pepper (red), grilled and diced
        – 2 flax or chia eggs (2 tbsp chia or flax seed + 5 tbsp water)
        – 1 tbsp sambal or sriracha
        – 2 cloves garlic, minced
        – 1 tsp salt
        – 1/4 tsp cumin
        – 1/4 tsp turmeric
        – 1/4 tsp black pepper

        For the orange-tarragon sauce:
        – 1/2 cup fresh oregano
        – 1/2 cup fresh tarragon
        – the juice of 1/2 orange
        – 1 tsp mustard
        – 3 tbsp olive oil

        – 4 bread rolls or hamburger buns
        – hummus
        – lettuce (lamb’s lettuce)

        1. Mix the burger ingredients in a bowl. Press the mixture down firmly and put it in the fridge for half an hour.
        2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a blender.
        3. Wet your hands and divide the burger mixture into four balls. Put them on plate (lined with parchment paper) and form them into burgers.
        4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Place the burgers in the pan and cook them 5 minutes on each side – until slightly browned.
        5. Place them on a bun with the hummus, lettuce and orange-tarragon sauce.


  3. I totally relate to this post. I have been struggling with anxiety for two years now, debilitating anxiety that severely impacted my personal and professional lives. I am in therapy for PTSD and panic disorder and have learned many tools to cope with these feelings, but I often have the urge to isolate myself from the world. I am healing and getting better, but it is a long, painful process. It is always inspiring to hear other stories of how others overcame anxiety; it gives me hope.

    I love your site. I especially love all of your delicious and filling breakfast and soup recipes. I can’t wait to read your new cookbook in January!

  4. Thank you for this. I’ve also relied too much on my comfort zone after the sudden death of a very close friend. It’s nice to read about the experience of another person who suddenly feels alone. The recipes you picked are so perfect for me, too. I find your own recipes so comforting, wholesome, and reliably delicious. You’re the best, Gena!

  5. Hi Gena! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 I appreciate it so much. It seems like we have a lot in common, including our name! I’d love to connect some time. I’m grateful for this post. Thanks again! Xo

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