The first 10 days or so of the year have been far more introspective than I’d ever planned. I knew I felt the rumblings of taking a bit of a slow start to the year here on the blog but I’ve approached writing here several times…and it hasn’t come. I’ve been spending time doing something for myself every day. Trying to set in place some healthier routines. Even just little things. Taking the dog for a long walk. Making sure I drink those bottles of water. Taking the time to put a little makeup on.
There are the big things, too. The soul-searching stuff. Trying to figure out when putting myself first (or even second or third sometimes) became so damn difficult.
The pup and I and a dear friend went up to the mountains for the weekend. We both needed a chance to do some soul searching. Have that kind of forced environment with little in the way of distractions to let your mind slow down about work and school and doggy daycare and editorial calendars…and let all the marbles that have been clanging around settle.
Rationalizing some decisions about projects I want to work on this year. The change of priorities to fulfill an almost life long dream versus something I know can come in time and still be wonderful. Sitting in pitch darkness, breathing in that crisp air and putting goals out into the universe over a cup of tea. Decidedly not worrying about the weekend’s food while I worry about sorting through a whole year of food.
We didn’t do much cooking in the tiny cabin kitchen. There was some noshing on chips, a failed attempt to roast beets with no foil (there’s a reason I’d never done this before), an emergency run for veggie sandwich fixings.
There was also fruit.
It is one of my “things to do in the new year” to eat more fruit. As someone who likes sweet but not too sweet stuff – and not a fan of chocolate – I’m trying to get more fruit into my diet. Adding it to breakfast (which I’m also trying to be better about eating) and savory items for easy nutrients, all the other health benefits, and something to curb a sweet tooth before it rears its ugly head. This quinoa salad, made for lunch the day before I left, was a way to use up stuff in the house and it is delicious. Black quinoa, some cherries from the fridge, a sprinkle of pistachios and a few leaves of red watercress for more substance. You can replace the pistachios with any nuts you have on hand – toasted almonds would be quite tasty.
Black Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Pistachios and Cress – serves 4 as a light meal
– In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
– In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring the water/stock to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender but not mushy – this is about 12 minutes for me but depends on the quinoa you’re using. If it’s still got a bit of bite once the water has been absorbed, add a bit more liquid and continue to cook. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork to break up the grains.
– Mix the cooked quinoa with the pistachios and cherries in a salad bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and mix to coat completely. Portion out onto plates and top with handful of the watercress leaves. If you’d like, grind a bit more pepper over the top & sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt to garnish. Serve immediately.