“Keep it simple, keep it honest, keep it you.”
For the past month I feel like I have done nothing but eat. And eating out of tune with my body and its needs. Between social work events, Thanksgiving, holiday parties, and even an engagement, a clear way to celebrate is with food. It is true, I absolutely love food and enjoy eating delicious meals with family, friends and colleagues, but I have lost sight of my favorite aspect of food … its healing, wholesome property. This past month I have resorted to convenient quick fixes for meals … cheap granola bars, chocolate covered treats from the office, donuts, pizza and more pizza, fizzy mimosas at multiple weekend brunches … I am on overload and have lost the rhythm of feeling good in my own skin. Digestive issues and frequent hazy, out of touch moods have set in, which is my body signaling SOS.
Today, I reunited with my true self and volunteered to teach a nutrition education class to first grade students at a local public school. Education and recipes for cranberries (perfect for the holidays) was the theme. Giggles of delight at the sight of these red, juicy berries rang throughout the room. Faces puckered at the taste of the sour flavor. The experience was beyond humbling. The little first graders were so excited to learn, taste and share thoughts on the different cranberry assortments. In case you are itching to know, we offered a half of a raw cranberry, a dried cranberry, cranberry fruit leather, and cranberry juice (which turned into a kiddie cocktail spritzer with lime & sparkling water. It was cute to witness little one’s ‘cheer’sing’ to one another). Students were encouraged to take one mindful bite as we moved through each item. Watching the children truly experience each scent, flavor and texture brought me back to the beauty of eating for health. One simple bite to help soak in the joy and energy that food can provide to us.
Upon leaving, I felt inspired to cook for myself again. I was yearning to get back to basics. I chose my favorite go to recipe to return to simplicity. I knew this particular recipe was meant for tonight when I was asking the man from produce where I could find the “box of fresh beets”. He immediately told me I was making a mistake if I purchased beets from the box and proceeded to show me the fresh, local beets that were on sale. He said, “you must feed your body properly in order to stay strong” and explained to me the various ways to cook beets. Beets are intimidating and sometimes messy to cook, but I took him up on the challenge. This kind soul was helping guide me back onto the feel good path – he even gave me gloves free of charge to help with the dirty work ; )
This recipe is one my good friend and I always make together. In fact, I believe she likely is the one who taught me how to create this delicious arrangement (thank you, hugs to you B!). It is a simple, “go to” recipe that almost always tastes delicious. This recipe may be a familiar one or a brand new one, but whenever and wherever you decide to make it, I hope it helps you feel grounded.
Beet & Sweet Potato Arugula Salad
1 large beet, peeled, cut into smaller pieces, steamed for 15 minutes (please wear gloves to protect your skin and clothes – beet juice does stain!)
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into smaller pieces, tossed in tablespoon or so of olive oil, roasted with fresh rosemary and thyme at 375 degrees for 30 mins
A bunch of fresh, peppery arugula
Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons raspberry blush balsamic vinegar, half tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon raw maple syrup, crack of pepper & salt.
Toss salad ingredients and dressing with pecans for an extra crunch.
** Try experimenting with different herbs/seasonings for roasting potatoes, balsamic vinegar’s for dressing and nuts each time you put together this salad. Doing so helps keep this one an oldie but goodie.