Need Comfort Food?

This ought to do the trick.


Comfort food has been calling my name this fall. Not exactly sure why.

I finally felt a strong need to figure it out.

I couldn’t really blame it on the weather. Wisconsin had the most glorious fall!  I’d gotten in my fair share of reveling in the outdoors: enjoying the foliage, basking in the autumn sun, and breathing the cooler, crisp air.

Despite this, I’d been feeling blah. And meh. Not a whole lot of energy. Not a whole lot of motivation. That should explain my lack of posts.

Granted there had been a lot on my mind.

We were officially empty nesters again. And that was a good thing, yet the transition was not what I anticipated. I enjoyed having my oldest around.

I knew that living at home was temporary. So when she had the opportunity to move back east, we encouraged her to chase her dreams. After all, you are only young once.

But with her moving out, came the realization that life was now different. And that realization was somehow very unsettling.

Then there was my youngest, who was attempting to make a Jordy Nelson comeback in her final year of collegiate volleyball. It didn’t go well. I felt absolutely heartbroken for her.

And finally, my middle born. He’s the strong, silent type, so I rarely know the specifics of what I should be worrying about. He always appears to have his @#^! together, yet I know that’s likely not always accurate. So I worry. I guess it’s a mom thing.

Or maybe it’s just a Karen thing.

Anyway,  I decided I needed to get my act together and kick the blahs curbside. So I took a look at what I could control: my overall health.

Sleep? No problem. Early morning runs made it easy for me to fall asleep at night. I was definitely getting my required 7 hours.

Exercise? I was running in moderation. No craziness. I committed to yoga once a week. I’d take a day off here and there.

Spirituality? I was attending church regularly. Every (okay…almost every) morning I was reading a devotional.

And bonus! I was participating in a book study: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.

Okay. Maybe not a bonus.

This book prompted serious unrest. I mean with a title like that why wouldn’t I feel out of sorts? I was pushed into doing some serious soul searching.

I was troubled by a few things. The first of which was the notion that my story had “already been written”. So, really? What was the point of anything then?

And then my prayer cart was turned over. My prayers were very structured, pretty generic…I start with what I am thankful for, acknowledge my wrongdoings and beg for forgiveness, follow up with a request to take care of those who are hurting.

I felt myself becoming a tad bit cynical as I  dwelled on the whole notion of prayer. I mean, if our stories have already been written, then what was the point?

And what about the people I was praying for? Was God so unfair to answer the prayers of some, but not others? I mean I knew of so many people who were dealing with some devastating situations.

So what good were my prayers? Maybe I was praying for the wrong things. Maybe I was praying the wrong way.

And I hadn’t even touched upon the whole idea of what the heck am I here for? While I am grateful for my job (I feel fortunate to teach my passion and work with a group of people I love), at times I do not feel fulfilled by what I do. At times I feel very conflicted. I question whether or not I am making a positive impact upon this world.

Yep, lots to think about.

So while I was feeling pretty good about sleep and exercise, I was at a loss as far as spirituality was concerned.

And finally…

Nutrition? I knew I ate pretty healthy…lots of whole foods, all plant based. But, I was well aware of the issues associated with a vegan diet. Especially for female runners.

So I researched. (If interested, read more here.)

And as a result of my newfound knowledge, I’ve become more diligent with my iron intake. So what follows is a recipe I stumbled upon as I was searching for iron rich meals. Tempeh brings the iron and the kale brings the vitamin C which allows the body to better absorb the iron.

Plus, I made a new purchase. My son had been telling me for months to get a cast iron skillet as a way of adding iron to my diet. So I did.

Now typically Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that abounds in March, but it tasted mighty fine in December as well. Mighty fine.

And am I feeling better? Yeah. I am.

I understand that life is a series of ebbs and flows. But, I also believe it’s my responsibility to do all that I can to take care of me.


Vegan Irish Colcannon by Gena Hamshaw of




One thought on “Need Comfort Food?

  1. Karen, I think the most telling part of this post is that “life is a series of ebbs and flows.” We see it in nature, and yet we still become disappointed when our bodies and minds act naturally.
    Thanks for your post (and the recipe, which I’d like to try!); it promoted some self-reflection for me as well.
    I can imagine that the empty nest (change of habitat) brought on some emotional changes as well, but thanks for the reminder that it is precisely during such times one should focus on what one can control i.e one’s daily habits etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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