Since I arrived in Florida on Tuesday, I’ve been busy settling in. It’s been hectic and not at the same time. Things could get overwhelming when simple trips to the gym or the grocery store were preceded by long walk in the bright Florida sun. But once my daily chores and training were done, there were plenty of down time that I spent in solitude. I did not realize going into the office daily meant I was surrounded by human connection. Now that I work remotely, I miss that interaction.
I’m just a little homesick. Though I’m a seasoned traveler and I’ve gone on extended work trips or vacations before, this time things just feel a bit different. I’m not exactly relaxed in the vacation frame of mind because the responsibility of work and training continues to be the central focus of my life. Yet, I’m removed from the familiarity of daily life. This calls for comfort food that reminds me of home. This means vegan food that makes me feel good inside and out.
I picked up a few meal essentials at Wal-Mart Supercenter but the selection is limited. The multi-cultural cuisine of Toronto have me spoiled and quite a number of items on my shopping list went unfulfilled. I had my heart set on one of my favourite salads of all time, Warm Hokkaido Squash & Cannellini Bean Salad (via Chocolate & Zucchini). I made this many times before and absolutely love the complex mix of spices, tartness, and richness. I shopped and cooked the salad from memory and I knew that I was missing many things. Tahini, pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, pinenuts? None of them went into my basket. In their place, I had honey peanut butter, a lemon, and a bag of almonds. I roasted the butternut squash with a handy little container of ras el hanout and Penzeys cinnamon that I smartly packed.
You know what? Even with all the substitutions, my salad turned out fantastic and totally satisfied my cravings for a taste from home. As for lunch, I made a simple sandwich of hummus, baby spinach, and sliced Pink Lady apples on multigrain bread with a side of apples and almonds. These dishes may sound healthy but it is their wholesome taste that makes me return to them again and again.
Today I’ll pick up my rental car and that will greatly expand the radius of my activity circle. Not only that, the saved time will allow me to pack in more during the day. I’ve already looked up a food co-op and locations of Whole Foods. I can’t wait to taste more local produce!