In the summer time
there aren't many things I like more than ..
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night walks .. and a really good book
Lately .. I've been reading Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect. Admittedly .. this one is taking me a while because it's the sort of book I like to savor. A gift from a friend .. with the sweetest hand-written note on the inside cover
I'm just shy of halfway through .. and while I'm not exactly as she describes herself (busy, extroverted, and over-booked) .. a lot of what she wrote feels familiar. I often take on too much .. there are simply too many cool things to do in the world. I get overwhelmed easily and have been reminding myself lately to respect my own pace
The introvert in me requires large amounts of alone time. The puppies spend a few hours at their daycare in the afternoons so I'm able to work .. uninterrupted on my cooking and photography for The Veggies. I need (at least) a forty-five-minute walk around the neighborhood to maintain my sanity .. and utopia is making it to an exercise class that day as well
I've always been nocturnal and love to putter around in the quiet of the early morning hours .. long after everyone else has gone to bed. It's when I do all of my writing. Lately, I've been taking my laptop outside to sit on our back deck underneath the stars .. and listen to the cicadas sing their songs
I've learned most of these things by not having them and missing them terribly
“What's changing everything for me is a new understanding that we get to decide how we want to live. We get to shape our days and our weeks, and if we don't, they'll get shaped by the wide catch-all of “normal” and “typical,” and who wants that?
You can live on a farm or out of a backpack. You can work from your kitchen or in a high-rise. You can worship in your living room or a cathedral. Isn't that beautiful? And exciting? And so full of freedom? You get to make your life. In fact, you have to. And not only can you make it, you can remake it.” ~ Shauna Niequist
A few chapters later she adds
“and I know that ‘should' is one of my warning signs – that frequently I pay more attention to how I should feel about something than how I actually do feel about it.”
I think about it when I'm taking the puppies for their night walks.
We mosey around a few blocks while they sniff everything there is to be sniffed .. and stop for a few minutes to sit in the grass to have their favorite snack. There's something wonderful about the warm summer breeze .. the smell of flowers .. not having to wear shoes or a jacket
On our way home, we pass by their favorite neighbor's house. At this month's Spaghetti Saturday, I asked about retirement. She smiled and said “I'm so happy to simply be .. and let the days unfold however they may”
Perhaps I'll have more nuggets for you when I'm able to finish it .. but these words from two very wise women have been on my mind this week
My tendency is to always over-complicate food. Sometimes a recipe serves as a potent reminder to just let things taste of what they are .. with all of their extra freshness.
I also know that when life gets busy .. I have a hard time finding minutes to cook.
Even though you love food .. who opens the fridge to grab a quick lunch .. only to find nothing that sounds good? You're a little down on yourself because you made the resolution to eat healthier .. and it went by the wayside after the self-gifted box(es) of chocolates when life wasn't going as planned
Believe me .. I understand.
So today I honor you (us?) with a delicious .. nutritious .. and easy to prepare recipe. An herby, fresh Mediterranean style bowl featuring marinated lentils, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber & homemade hummus. Because the best kinds of detox foods are those that actually taste good
It's the kind of meal that comes together fast. While the lentils cook .. you make the marinade and chop some herbs. Toss it all together and lunch is pretty much-taken care of for the week. Easy, delicious, and energizing .. three of my forever favorites
For this post .. I fashioned mine as a Mediterranean-style bowl because I had some homemade hummus, tomatoes, and cucumber on hand. But I also love these lentils on salads, scooped up with Mary’s Crackers .. or with some sautéed veggies and a topper of ripe avocado ..
they're incredibly diverse.
One other item of mention: I used my own slow-roasted tomatoes instead of the sun-dried tomatoes .. mostly because I had them on hand and knew they would be really great
~ Adapted from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon
- 1 cup uncooked French green lentils
- ½ cup uncooked green or brown lentils
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp + 1½ tsp red wine vinegar (or to taste)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best)
- 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1½ tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 1½ cups thinly sliced green onions (about 1 medium bunch), dark and light green parts only
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
- Prepare the Lentils
- Pick over the lentils, discarding any debris before rinsing and draining them
- In a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, add the lentils, along with 4 cups water and bring to a boil
- Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until they're tender.
- Mediterranean Bowl
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in the green onions, parsley, and tomatoes.
- Spoon them into the bowl with the other ingredients (it’s okay if they are still warm) and stir well.
- Season with additional salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, or let cool slightly and then cover and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Stir well before serving