I’m no stranger to traveling alone. In fact, if I go someplace fairly far away, even if I’m visiting someone, I prefer taking the trip by myself.
There are a few reasons behind this — aside from the fact that I need time to myself to unwind, I can be very productive on a train or a plane. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve written a good chunk of the posts on this blog on trains to Baltimore or New York, or airplanes to Los Angeles.
I am a creature of habit. I like left window seats by train, and right aisle seats by air. I listen to a handful of playlists, but when I travel, I generally stick to full albums. At the moment, Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane is helping draw out thoughts and emotions that I tried to coax out hands that type them earlier this week. Side note: some of you associate your emo days with All American Rejects and teenage boys who wear eyeliner. Back in high school, I crushed on clownish nerds who skipped the classes to play classical guitar in the parking lot, so my emo days align more closely with Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz.
Alone time is something I’m almost always itching for — it’s something that’s rare for me, because much of my free time is spent dedicated to the government, or to Google. And while I vowed to dedicate a certain number of hours this week to freelance work and blogging, I found myself in a series of Mad Men wormholes this week.
The choice of television show seems appropriate, now that I think of it — workaholics in the creative industry, each at varying stages on the happy-to-miserable spectrum.
When I’m not traveling, one of the few moments I generally get to myself is breakfast on a Saturday morning. As someone who spends Saturday nights at the gym or working at a coffee shop, waking up early and refreshed on Saturdays gives me a few hours of alone time before texts roll in and I set out for my day. So naturally, the food blogger that craves alone time cooks breakfast, for one.
Growing up with a Filipino mother, one of my favorite things to eat as a child was rice and soy sauce (some of you cringe, but the simplicity of rice and soy sauce makes me salivate). And sometimes, my mom would make fried rice with the leftovers. She’d scramble a few eggs, and I’d give it more soy sauce. As I type this, I realize why I’ve always struggled with carbs.
These days, I try to eliminate rice from my diet. So I’ve taken my childhood comfort food, and made it a little healthier, and a little more grown-up — I buy quinoa instead of rice, throw in a good chunk of fresh ginger, and top with green onions from my window garden.
It’s a good relax-in-bed-with-samurai-sudoku morning meal.
And when I crave company, well, I make something a little more fun. But when I need my morning in bed, the simplest meals are always the most satisfying.
Ginger Fried Quinoa, for one
1.5 cups cooked quinoa
A few tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (adjust to color and taste)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
Green onions – just an inch or two, diced off the tops
1 clove garlic
1 or two eggs
I generally keep a container of cooked quinoa in my refrigerator, in case I need some sort of quick meal or a backup lunch — but if you don’t, just cook some up according to the instructions on your package.
In a small frying pan, combine soy sauce with your quinoa over medium heat. Let it sit for a few minutes, and in the meantime, mince both your garlic and your ginger root. Add those into the pan, along with half of your green onions, and turn up the heat. I like to pat the quinoa down into a patty, so the bottom parts get crispy.
Taste as you go, and when you’re happy with it, go ahead and transfer your fried quinoa to a bowl. It generally takes about 10 minutes on the stove for me to get to that point.
Then, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel, grease with olive oil, and fry an egg or two to the yolk consistency you prefer. Serve on top of your quinoa, and top with the remaining green onions.