Mum’s The Word

Between my marathon trip to Nashville with my mom just two weeks ago, and Mother’s Day Sunday, “Mum” has certainly been the word lately.

With the launch of Vegan on the Run, and marathon training, I’ve spent ample time since the beginning of the year reflecting on two arenas my mom has been (and continues to be) highly impactful, and two appreciations that we share—running and food.

During marathon training, my mom encouraged me every step of the way, all the way to the finish line. When I found myself battling doubts leading up to the race, she was quick to call me out, set me straight and eagerly share her own marathon trials and stories. She reminded me that although running the marathon was something I really wanted, it wasn’t the thing I wanted more than everything else in my entire life. She reminded me there were other things I wanted and had invested myself in, urging me to keep in mind that it’s all part of the never-ending balancing act.

Yes, my mom’s marathon support has been evident and all powerful this season, but the support dates back to my childhood. If it wasn’t for her, I can’t say how I would feel about running today, or if I would be running at all (something I don’t like to say, much less think about). She exposed me to her own love for running at an early age. Although for me it wasn’t love at first sight, over time this inspired me to develop my own long distance relationship with running. 

On the food side of things, my mom helped me sprout plant-based roots at a young age. Roots that have helped me grow into the vegan I am today. She has always been both health-conscious and animal-loving, and ready and willing to try out whatever I eat. Her official switch to full-fledged vegan at the beginning of the year is a natural transition and another page in her story. As part of a Mother’s Day-inspired special, I shared a snippet of her story in last week’s Live Vegan Meatout Monday e-newletter.

Not only has my mom supported my quest to quit my full-time job to launch the blog and train for a marathon, while moving toward supporting myself as a freelance writer without naysaying or doubting me, she’s been a steadfast sous-chef.

And so, it seemed only fitting that for Mother’s Day we celebrate with a jointly prepared homestyle vegan brunch. My mom whipped up the grits and toasted us some English Muffins that we topped with Earth Balance natural buttery spread and cherry jam.

Grits Tip: The secret to good grits is milkiness. Her grits method is simple, but flawless. Once you boil half of the amount of water called for, add in the same amount of almond (or other non-dairy milk) and reduce to just below a boil. Stir in grits and allow to cook.

I prepared the tofu scramble. Rather than using chopped veggies as I tend to do, this time I included one of my favorite corn and bean combinations. This particular mixture is one I recommend keeping on hand during summer month since it’s both light on the stomach and simple to have ready at all times. All it requires is combining drained cans of black beans, corn, and chick peas, with sliced onion, lime juice, fresh garlic, and pepper, and storing in the fridge until you are ready to munch. The mix can be scooped with chips, folded into tacos (which is what we did Saturday night), or scrambled up with tofu, as pictured here in our Mother’s Day brunch spread.

Sitting down together for this Mother’s Day brunch made for a tasteful, noontime meal before we departed for the beach with two of our best friends, another mother – daughter duo. After several relaxed hours spent at the beach, we returned home so we could respectively collect our thoughts and map out the week ahead.

Ah, the comfort of home. Did I mention my mom is housing me at the present, and putting up with me doing handstands in her living room, on top of letting me cook like a madwoman in her kitchen? That’s right. Last fall after living in my beloved century-old apartment for five solid years, I moved home temporarily in an effort to situate my thoughts, take a timeout, recover from some unexpected life turns and get moving again, in a new direction. Although it’s required ample adjustments and plenty of give and take, ultimately this homecoming has provided us time together that we both count as a blessing (even at the challenging times). It’s a time that will be expiring in the upcoming months as I work toward some opportunities on the horizon. But first, we have plenty of overdue projects, adventures, beach days, and of course, more joint-cooking undertakings ahead of us this summer.