Punchy tofu larb over cabbage, carrot, and cucumber slaw with fresh edamame and sprouts
It's nice that a new year gives us a sense of beginning. Symbolic as it may be, this year is fresh, new, unblemished. And I, for one, can say that I needed that. Whether I aligned with the year, or the year aligned with me, the timing was really just right. The month of December was like slowly waking up from a long nap - and not with disappointment or resistance, but with awe. I was slowly waking up to my life. All year I felt this kind of deep dissatisfaction, and I kept wondering why the things I usually enjoy and take solace in were not bringing me a sense of fulfillment. I should know this by now, but I'm woe to forget, that this is a backwards approach. These things are not the source of my joy, but and expression of my joy. The problem was internal. The problem was perspective. It's so simple, yet so evasive. But as soon as my focus changed form what I was doing (or trying to do) to my perspective, I started to wake up. I felt gratitude. I could see the beauty around me. I could see the traps I was setting for myself and how easy it is to avoid them with a little bit of consciousness and awareness. I felt contentment. Inspiration. Hope. I felt a lot of things I hadn't felt in a while, and I felt them deeply. Months later, I still feel this way, but I realize that I must play an active role in maintaining it. I have to pay attention to my perspective and to how I react to things. I have to choose to acknowledge the beauty around me and to engage in it. I have to cut off negative thoughts at the source rather then feeding them. Tending the mental and emotional garden. It is an active processes of maintenance and care, and I am grateful for this renewed opportunity to do so.
A crunchy, yolky, bitter, fresh, crisp spring panzanella that comes together in no time
Something really exciting is happening right now. Spring. Going to the market when the season changes is one of my very favorite things. Just as I'm starting to tire of brussels sprouts and broccoli (that's a ridiculous statement- who gets tired of broccoli?) the asparagus, peas, and young onions appear. To everything- turn, turn, turn - there is a season - turn, turn turn. And that season is turning to spring before my eyes. Everything is waking up, leafing out, and getting down to business. I hacked down most of the winter garden to make way for summer. The weather here is already starting to feel like summer, so I'm fast-tracking all of the garden preparation. Tomorrow's going to be a busy day. After hitting the market this morning though, I wonder what great treasures I mat have unknowingly cast into the compost pile. During our Saturday morning market shop, Chris came across a big bundle of arugula flowers from Sage Mountain Farm. Arugula flowers (which are abundant right about now) are the most unexpectedly delightful thing I have tasted in a while. Only slightly bitter and surprisingly nutty. I grabbed a bunch and some dandelion greens and knew what I'd be making tonight.
A fresh, raw salad that delivers in texture, flavor, and nutrition
I've struggled with balance so very many times in so very many forms throughout my life. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I don't. Lately I've been trying to find the balance between going with the flow and taking decisive action. I like having a plan. I like routine. But I also like spontaneous adventures and getting so wrapped up in something that I forget who and where I am. That's how I tend to feel when I get out into the garden. I go to water something and 4 hours later I've weeded the whole yard, planted a few trees, set up a trellis, and harvested a basket of peppers. Any "plans" I may have fly right out the window. I value that and I need that. But I also need some degree of structure and regularity. It's important to me to maintain certain habits and maintaining these habits requires having some semblance of a plan for the day. So I'm trying out a new approach to balancing these aspects of my life. Set out with objectives and a plan in my head for the day, but allow myself to get lost in each thing that I do and prioritize what I'm feeling passionate about in that moment. If I feel terribly distracted and can't get any work done, then I should go do what I want to be doing instead and not feel bad for taking a break from work. But when I do get into working on a project, I shouldn't just stop at 5 o'clock. I should power through until I get to a satisfying finishing point and not feel bad for skipping yoga and getting dinner started late. Have a plan, but remain willing and ready to re-adjust. Fighting against myself takes too much energy and is much less fulfilling.
A cool refreshing summer salad
I'm a morning person. I like to wake up with the sun, when the neighborhood quiet and the birds are calling out to one another. I like to sit at the table by the kitchen window drinking a hot americano and eating a nice little breakfast while Chaco makes excited howls at me from the other side of the glass, waiting to be taken out for his morning walk. When I've finished eating, we head to the park and run around in a big open valley there, breaking every so often for a snuggle session. And when we get home, I like to spend a half hour or so watering whatever needs watering and checking up on each individual plant- ensuring their happiness and taking notes of anything that looks off. Then it's straight to the shower and the start of getting ready for the day ahead.
I like mornings.
But I do not like rushed mornings.
Hi there! I'm Cara- plant ecologist, gardening addict, and whole foods enthusiast. My whole life revolves around plants, including my kitchen. Join me here at LWM each week as I post local, seasonal, plant-based recipes and write about my never ending quest to find balance and tranquility in this crazy little world.