Thursday, May 22, 2014

DO Try this at Home, Volume 3: Slowing Down with Salads (and a homemade Facial!)

I was so happy to get another guest post from my friend, Angella in my e-mail inbox this morning.  When she came to me with the idea of this little guest blogging experiment, I knew I'd love reading her writing.  She's hilarious by nature, and could only have a comical take on her own little blog-assisted crash course in home cooking.  What I didn't know were all of the other side benefits that I would reap from this gig, particularly: 
1)  How much I would appreciate the creative inspiration.  I'm still struggling to find the time I need and want to get creative and actually sit down and write here.  Having Ang out there creating these fun posts keeps the fire lit under me to keep things going and keep on trying. 
2) That she would dig up old recipes that I haven't thought of or cooked in ages and inspire me in the kitchen as well!  In this post she makes a Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint that I originally posted almost four years ago (whoa) in June 2010.  We loved this dish then, but for some reason, I really haven't made it again since, and had totally forgotten about it.  Back it goes onto our menu!  Thanks, Ang!
3) How many totally gratuitous shout outs filled with blog love that she would throw my way.  I feel a bit undeserving, especially given my recent (non)posting schedule, but all of her amazing enthusiasm make me recall what a good thing we had going here at one point in time when I posting regularly, and it not only makes me feel great, but serves as inspiration to try and get back there.  Right now, I'm just totally not worthy.  But thanks, sister.  You rock.

So, without further ado, I give you my soul sister, Ang, and her adventures in facials and salads.  I hope you enjoy her joyful, truthful voice as much as I do.  xoxo
Last week I had an honest-to-God A-ha Moment.  It had been a long time since the power of an idea, or dare I say, inspiration, hit me like a ton of bricks. It came to me in words I have said to myself over and over the past several years: I’m working too much.  Finally those four little words took root. 
It had been the perfect storm of my book club reading “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte, getting sick twice in six months and the 438th stress & wine induced meltdown.  Like most mornings, I woke up the day of my A-ha Moment with a vow to drink less.  Wine is my salve for fatigue, stress and malaise.   It finally occurred to me to wonder what was causing the fatigue and stress and take aim at that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.  AHA! There’s little point in putting band-aids on your cuts while continuing to juggle knives. At some point you realize it’s time to put down the knives.

Or, in the wise words of SMJ, “You can run all you want, eat organic 'til you're green in the face, and cut coffee or alcohol or whatever you decide is a hindrance to your health from your diet, but unless you find a way to manage your stress, total health will never be yours."

So, in honor of my newfound way of life, I did what any sane girl would do.  I gave myself a facial.    And, of course, SMJ was there for me again.  Four ingredients combine to make an interesting looking but delicious smelling concoction.  I admit that I couldn’t be bothered to dirty up my food processor, so I mushed with a fork.
Yum. I might recommend sacrificing some elbow grease for this effort.  It went on clumpy and then looked a bit like baby poo at the end.  BUT, it did make my face feel very smooth and with little effort I felt relaxed and pampered.

Salads were on tap for the week with my renewed sense of health.  The SMJ Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint was so good, I have already made it a second time.  And lucky for me, my local New Seasons had Harissa pre-made. 

I also made SMJ’s Easy Going QuinoaI bought real dried cranberries instead of cran-raisens and the flavor was pretty intense but I loved the different textures of the quinoa, almonds and feta.

Here in Portland, we have the luxury of healthy pre-made salads available at the grocery, food carts and cafes.  But, they are expensive!  And there’s something that feeds your soul as well as your body when you make good food for yourself.  Loving the salad inspirations, SMJ!   Looking forward to expanding my repertoire even further on my upcoming days off work.  

P.S. -  Have you noticed the seriously awesome search engine available on the righthand sidebar of the SMJ blog?  I typed in quinoa and was presented with finds from Sweet Mama Jane herself, finds from links she has recommended, AND links from SMJ's blogroll.   There is a wealth of recipes and information accessible thanks to our beloved Sweet Mama Jane.

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