It’s our first New Year’s Eve together, just the two of us, since Curtis and I started dating. After a few beers and seitan reubens at our favorite restaurant around the corner, we spend the last evening of 2013 in our (emphasis on the our) living room in our pajamas. It’s been a spectacular end to a spectacular year, and every now and then I raise my eyes from my computer screen and smile at him from across the couch, simply over the moon.
Since we don’t have cable, Curtis has hooked the computer up to our TV and found a website that’s streaming the ball drop in New York City. We curl up on the couch together and watch those very cold people in New York from the comfort of our living room, Curt’s heart beating against my face. We talked about how good the year had been for us, how much we’ve grown together since we started dating almost three years ago, of plans for the future. With him living here in Philadelphia with me, being able to see each other every day, it’s hard to believe we used to see each other for a few hours every other weekend before we had to be on our way and prepping for the work week ahead.
“Are you excited to spend the whole next year with me?” I nod my head as the crowd on television begins to count down from ten.
“Will you spend it as my fiancée?” I look down and suddenly there is a ring – a beautiful moissanite ring with a silver band etched with leaves. “Melissa, will you marry me?”
I break into a smile that hurts my face and am aware that I’m suddenly very sweaty. I nod furiously, mustering a “yes, of course!” before grabbing his face in my hands and kissing him as the second hand ticks into 2014.
I’ve never been more sure, or more excited, about anything than I am about starting this chapter of our life together. I am excited to come home to him every night and make dinner together. I’m excited to be introduced as “and this is my wife, Melissa”. I’m excited to always have him in my corner, and to spend the rest of my life in his.
This recipe is one from the early days of our relationship, when we would flip through Curt’s copy of Maribeth Abrams’ book “The 4-Ingredient Vegan”, marking recipes of interest with paper clips and cooking them together in the tiny kitchen of his apartment. This one was a Curtis specialty, always served over a pile of piping-hot brown rice.
I used Stubbs’ Mild Barbecue Sauce in this recipe, but you can use your favorite bottled or homemade sauce. Keep in mind that two tablespoons of Stubbs’ sauce will run you about 25 calories, so alter your nutritional information accordingly.
Easy Barbecue Tempeh
From The 4-Ingredient Vegan
1 8 oz. block of tempeh, cut in half
1 large onion, cut into half-moons
1-2 green or red bell peppers, cut into strips
1 cup barbecue sauce
1. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the tempeh for about 10 minutes. Let cool, and cube.
2. In a large skillet coated with non-stick spray, cook the peppers and onions until slightly soft and lightly browned. Add tempeh cubes and cook until the cubes are browned, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to low and pour the barbecue sauce in. Cover and cook on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often. Serve over rice, quinoa, or burger buns.
Nutrition per Serving: 375 calories, 11g fat, 49g carbohydrates, 21g protein.