Vegan Quesadillas w/ Sweet Potato & Kale

Vegan Quesadillas

 Lead with your heart.

Lead with the part of you that loves quiet. 

Lead with the part of you that isn’t afraid.

I leave Boston for a few minutes every time I make fresh tortillas. In middle school, we learned how to make them from scratch, in a skillet, with butter – the right way. Every time I smell fresh tortillas I think fall. I first learned to make them outside underneath the sky in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It wasn’t romantic just fourth grade, with all the awkward limbs and gelled hair. It was fourth grade and I can still smell the butter in the pan. Every time I taste tortillas I am comparing them to that moment, in the woods, when everything was made from magic.

I think of all the things I must know by smell, from eucalyptus in San Francisco to oak or pine up in the mountains. I think of all the links my brain has between memories and smell that I will never know until they happen.

This weekend, we finally picked up our Christmas tree and the apartment is screaming California. Kevin loves the smell when we come home and I keep thinking about how different it is for the both of us, him being from the city and me from the mountains.

For me, the pine tree is fresh air.

A year ago, Kevin and I decided to make our own holidays. We still celebrate all the others, but we added on our own. In December 2013, we were both burnt out, looking for a change. Last year, we started to teach ourselves new skills and believe in our hearts.

We named December 14th the Day of Empowerment. Barring all cheesy criticism, the name stuck. This was a thing.

A year later, here we are. Our apartment is starting to feel like home. We started the morning off with recipe planning for our dinner party next weekend. We sat on the couch and I pitched ideas to Kevin. He doesn’t really have to say anything and I already know his vote – savory, with more dipping sauce than actual food.

I’m staying here for the holiday season, in Boston, with a window full of cacti and a better chance of a snowy Christmas. I’m trying to stay more. To let people get to know the parts of me that always want to run. This Day of Empowerment, I’m challenging myself to face my fears. To remember every beautiful moment by smell.

To live, in the part of me that isn’t afraid.

– Vegan Sweet Potato Quesadillas – 

Vegan Quesadillas

5 oz kale
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp nutritional yeast

1 sweet potato
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped rosemary

1 tbs roasted cashews, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a medium pot, bring water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Peel & cube one large sweet potato. Once the water boils, add potato and simmer 8-10 min. until sweet potatoes are soft to pierce. Once they are soft, drain and mash with a fork or hand blender. Mix in salt, pepper, and rosemary.

While the sweet potatoes are simmering, wash and strip 5 oz kale onto a baking sheet. Massage with 1 tbs of olive oil and sprinkle with nutritional yeast & paprika. Bake in the oven for 6-7 min. until kale is lightly brown.

In a vegan tortilla, place sweet potatoes, kale, and roasted cashews. Garnish with chipotle salsa. Cook in a pan on each side for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.