There are some things in life, for which you happily take your time,
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and for me the past few days, it's been writing thank-you cards
As I licked the last of the envelopes, I couldn't help but think how thankful I am for all of the wonderful people who fill our life. There are beautiful flowers in our window sill, a plant on the desk in my office, and healthy chocolaty snacks on the kitchen counter. Not to mention all of the texts, phone calls, and emails that have found their way to our inboxes. They've been filled with such sweet thoughts and some awfully good advice.
All were get-well-soon gifts and thinking-of-you wishes from friends, family, and neighbors.
After a few days spent in the hospital last week, it's taken me longer than I imagined it would for my every-days to return to normal. Finding it's been a season filled with lessons to be learned, with more than a few I wasn't quite prepared for.
Not that any of them have been bad; in fact, quite the opposite. It's been good for me to feel a bit out of my element, for with it has come the realization that I can even find comfort by sitting in a different chair around
No matter how much time has passed, there are people who always feel like home to me. The afternoon she stopped, she carried a bag loaded all things designed to make a person well: fresh pear, apples, and pomegranate juice, along with an invitation to come for brunch.
So this past weekend, I wasn't in my usual position with food-stained cookbooks scattered about the kitchen waiting for the doorbell to ring. Finding myself instead, sitting as a guest at her dining room table, listing to funny stories, and happily waiting to be fed. Admittedly, it felt humbling at first, and more than a little uncomfortable as I much prefer if it's my waist the apron strings are tied around
As we enjoyed her company, I couldn't help but ponder what sharing a meal really means. Realizing a different paradigm was long overdue, one in which it's ok to serve others, but at the same time realizing it might be ok to let someone serve me as well.
There can be lessons to be learned through humbling ourselves, letting someone else perform the heavy lifting
and allowing ourselves to just .. be
The reality is we'll all have seasons in life, where we'll need to surrender ourselves to the generous gifts of friendship and love from those around us. Maybe there is a new baby in the family, or perhaps there's been a tremendous loss. Maybe you've just accepted the promotion at work you've always dreamed of. Maybe the day has just been hard, and you need a bit of a boost to muddle through.
As these days have passed, I've needed to remind myself from time to time that it's ok to simply sit at the table without bringing anything but myself. That in those moments, it will be just fine to let my husband fill my water-glass, or take care of some of the extra chores around the house.
To waste energy by dwelling on guilt or shame seemed to somehow rob the beauty found by simply taking a seat, and quietly saying “thank you.”
It's been good to learn, practice, and let it soak in. Knowing very soon, I'd be ready to serve again.
For those who hold a deep passion for food, it's one of the ways we actively care for those we love. The way we create the space for life, relationship, and love in the best way we know how around the kitchen table
Let's not forget though, that it can be nice to give those who love us back an opportunity to do for us as well
This salad, we brought with us to her house for brunch. Inspired by a beautiful new cookbook, out just in time for Spring. I couldn't resist making this salad. As the author describes, it's a hodgepodge of some of her favorite things, some of which have been substituted with mine
“As with all salads, the quality of ingredients is important. The avocado should be ripe, but not mushy. The leeks sautéed crisp, but not oily. The greens fresh and dried well, allowing the dressing to lightly coat each leaf” ~ Sara Forte
A note about the dressing, if the salad isn't for you, I encourage you to give the dressing a try on its own. My goodness is it good. Throughout the week we've used it as a drizzle on top of roasted veggies, as a dip for crackers, a spread on sandwiches, and stirred into cooked grains for an added flavor boost.
It's forgiving; use whatever herbs you have on hand, though always allowing the basil to shine through. As the author mentions, it can be thinned with olive oil or lemon juice if you'd like to use it as a salad dressing. For dips, thicken it a bit with more yogurt or good quality mayo
Overall, the salad is hearty, yet light, sweet but also a bit savory. A touch of spice, a bit of tart, crunchy and chewy, bright, as well as deep. It's comfortable and yet un-fussy. The perfect addition to a meal designed to ease back into a daily routine.
The kind of meal made for pulling up a chair and settling back in at life's table. It'll be a joy to get to feed you again
Spring Rainbow Salad
- 2 tsp clarified butter (or coconut oil)
- 2 large leeks, white parts only, sliced into thin circles
- fine-grain sea salt
- 6 - 8 cups salad greens
- 1 cucumber, diced fine
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved (or ⅓ cup dried)
- ½ cup black lentils, cooked
- ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, and toasted
- 2 avocados, pitted and diced
- ½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- Crisp the Leeks
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat
- Add the leeks, along with a pinch of sea salt and cook, stirring infrequently to allow the edges to crisp (~ 6-8 minutes)
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool
- Prepare the Salad
- Wash and dry the greens
- In a large salad bowl, add the greens, cucumber, cherries, lentils, half of the avocado, walnuts, and goat cheese. After the leeks have cooled, add them as well
- Toss the salad with the dressing to taste.
- Top the salad with the remaining avocado, and serve immediately
Everyday Green Dressing
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 green onions, white and green parts
- 2 Tbsp capers, drained
- ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 1 ½ Tbsp honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- zest of one large lemon (organic is a good idea here)
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (or good quality mayo)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups firmly packed basil leaves
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup fresh chives, chopped
- ½ cup fresh dill, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- In a food processor, pulse the garlic, green onions, capers, sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, honey, lemon zest, and juice. Pulse to combine
- Add the cider vinegar, yogurt, Parmesan, basil, parsley, cilantro, and with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil
- Taste and add more seasonings, vinegar, or oil, if desired
- The dressing will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to a week