Spring! And Vegan April

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow, they fade
And then they have to die
Trapped within the circle time parade of changes
(“Changes”, Phil Ochs)

It’s already April and we are, happily, going around the other side of the seasonal loop. Stark branches are budding small green leaves, the crocuses are out in Washington Square Park, my keds saw the light for the first time in six months, and this weekend I wore a short-sleeve dress without a jacket… hooray for Spring!

Because the “Changes” verse is a bit darker than I recalled (but it’s a beautiful song!), here’s a cheerier passage to mark the passing of the seasons. This is from Imbolo Mbue’s wonderful debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, and I identified so strongly with it when I first read it:

Though he loved New York City, every winter he told himself he was going to leave it for another American city as soon as he got his papers. The city was great, but why spend four months of the year shivering like a wet chicken? Why go around wearing layers upon layers of clothing like the madmen and -women who roamed the streets of New Town, Limbe? …He knew he would leave behind the city and its hopeless predicaments if he weren’t stuck in an immigration purgatory.

Every winter, he was certain of this.

But then the spring came, and his dreams of Phoenix evaporated like the dew in Marcus Garvey Park. He couldn’t imagine a city more beautiful, more delightful, more perfect for him than New York. Once the temperature rose above fifty-five, it was as if the city had awakened from a deep slumber and the buildings and trees and statues were singing as one. Heavy black jackets flew away and colorful clothes rushed in. All over Manhattan, people seemed on the verge of a song or a dance. No longer pressed down by the cold air, their shoulders opened up and their arms flung freely and their smiles shone brightly because they felt no need to cover their mouths while talking.

So yes, Dear Reader, it is April and Spring is here and the weather is above 55 F, and the city is indeed on the verge of song and dance 🙂 Part of me knows that winter has a way of making unexpected visits before she takes her leave for good, but I refuse to seriously consider that possibility today. Today, it is Spring in NYC.

Spring is not the only thing that April has brought me this year. April has also brought me another month of vegan eating. This year (unlike last year) I’ve embarked on Vegan April with a sense of confidence, rather than trepidation. I can totally do this. Still, I have at times found myself wishing I’d given more details about how exactly I fed myself. In particular, what did I do in the evenings??

For context, my usual strategy for feeding myself is to cook a big pot of food that I eat from throughout the week, mainly for lunch/linner. Then typically a breakfast of oatmeal in the morning, and something extremely easy to throw together in the evening — like some cottage cheese, a veggie burger, or a bowl of cereal. The bowl of cereal I can still do, but that’s more of a dessert than anything to be honest. Cottage cheese is obviously out for Vegan April, and my usual veggie burger– Trader Joe’s amaazing quinoa cowboy burger– is sadly not vegan. So I need super quick, super easy, nutritious vegan meal ideas for the evenings. (I will happily take suggestions!)

For future reference, here is how I’ve fed myself so far:

I had been hoping that the green smoothie would be enough to get me through the evenings, but I haven’t found it super filling, which is why I ended up making the Masla Mac. Although all of these recipes have been really good– I’ve determined that Vegan Richa is a culinary queen!– I have been especially pleased with the Masala Mac, which may well be the first vegan mac n cheese that I’ve really enjoyed! And even independently of its vegan status, it’s just really tasty.

Literary March

Before concluding, I do want to take a very brief look back at March. I finished reading through the Anne of Green Gables books! I have a post’s-worth of thoughts about Rilla of Ingleside, but I don’t have a posts-worth of time right now to share them so… we’ll see what the future holds.

March also brought me some good news and some fun adventures. In the category of good news, I am officially a Ford Fellow! In the category of fun adventures, there was lots of baking and birthday-celebrating, wandering and museum-going, and some poetry!

See y’all soon with more Vegan April updates!

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