“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
I couldn’t resist sharing this quote from Essentialism by Greg McKeown, a book I’m very nerdily listening to on audio while working. This book came to me at the perfect time at the recommendation of my fashion blogger crush, Caroline of Un-Fancy. If you’re into minimalist fashion, you need to go to there.
Essentialism is such a good read this time of year, especially for those looking to purify, simplify, and sift down to what’s really important. It’s so easy to fall into reacting instead of making intentional choices, no?
I believe the above quote puts it exquisitely: We have one wild and insanely beautiful life, it’s going by quickly, what are we going to do with it?
It’s just the gut check I needed for 2015.
As you might imagine, since we announced we’re pursuing a self-published print cookbook this year I am in fact now working on said cookbook. That’s kind of how that works.
It’s a project we’ve been talking about for a while now, and I can hardly express how excited I am to finally be in the midst of it.
But can I be honest? I’m feeling a little paralyzed at the thought of it all. It’s an endurance race and I prefer sprints. The idea of working on something for a whole year is utterly overwhelming to me. How do I cope? Am I even capable? Practically speaking, when will I have time to sleep with a recipe list that’s longer than a college syllabus?
I was journaling the other day and found myself asking these questions:
- Do I need to start doing less?
- Become a better planner?
- Get more zen in the morning and evening to center myself amidst the storm?
Yes, we maintain a blog and an Instagram feed and reply to comments and emails and make products, and although John and I do this full time, it becomes daily apparent how quickly time slips by and how little time we actually have to do the things we say we want to do. We usually end up talking over breakfast about what we hope to accomplish in the day. The joke has become “Well, I’m just going to do everything on my to-do list and then I’ll be happy.”
Guess what? It rarely happens. Too much stuff, not enough time, and more importantly, not enough intention.
This book and this project have me realizing two things:
- I need to figure out what is essential for me to do each day. That is essential.
- Do only those things. Then stop.
Sounds simple enough but then it becomes surprisingly difficult the minute I lift my head off my pillow in the morning.
The good news? I’m not actually complaining about any of this – I’m excited. And, it’s causing me to focus and refine – two very positive things.
The better news? I’ve found a solution to all my worrying and fumbling: Don’t over commit.
Before, I used to put 4-5 things on my daily to do list and that would instantly make me feel anxious and overwhelmed by the day’s activities. I’m kind of a work horse and I like a challenge so overloading had become my default.
Now, I’m scheduling 2-3 things each day. Manageable, achievable, less stress, deep breathe in and out – I can do this.
There is still no doubt a mountain of work ahead of me this year – very meaningful work I care passionately about. Nonetheless, it’s a marathon – I like sprints. But, choosing to tackle only the essentials each day is leaving me feeling much more capable and confident, and most importantly – at ease.
Another thing I’m working on this year? Upping my salad game.
Kale and grapefruit are literally all I think about this time of year so it was only fate that they came together in this simple, 30-minute salad with quick pickled red onions and an easy red wine vinaigrette.
Loads of kale, pomegranate, red onion, grapefruit, cranberries, and green apple make this salad hearty and substantial and loaded with fiber. If you love quick, crisp salads with a balance of tart and sweet, this is the one for you.
Another thing that influences how I work during the day is how well I eat. I’m busy and need quick, simple, healthy meals within reach at all times. Kale Citrus Salad to the rescue.
I think you guys are going to love this salad! It utilizes some of winter’s most gorgeous and nutrient-rich produce and is both delicious and customizable. To make it a complete meal, add your protein of choice – quinoa, sunflower seeds and roasted pecans are a few of my favorites.
If you’re finding yourself feeling a little overwhelmed these days, take a deep breathe and figure out what’s essential. Then, only do those things (or at least try really hard to). Making this salad wouldn’t hurt either.
Friends, here’s to a less-frantic, more relaxed and focused 2015. Cheers!
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 large bundle lacinato kale (~4 cups), chopped
- 1 grapefruit or orange, segmented (reserve any juice)
- 1 tart apple, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries (I used a mix of both)
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- pinch sea salt + black pepper
- 1/2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup or honey if not vegan)
- 1/3 cup olive oil + more for massaging kale
- 2 Tbsp orange juice (optional - to brighten the flavor)
- Berries in spring and summer
- Cooked quinoa
- Hempseeds, roasted nuts, or sunflower seeds for extra protein
- Pickle onions by mixing red wine vinegar, water and sugar in a small bowl and stirring to dissolve. Add sliced onions and let set in the fridge while prepping the rest of the salad. The liquid should cover the onion, so add a bit more vinegar and/or water if needed.
- Add kale to a large mixing bowl with 1-2 tsp olive oil and squeeze over reserved grapefruit or orange juice. Use your fingers to massage the kale to break down the bitterness and stiffness.
- Next add apple, grapefruit or orange segments, pomegranate or cranberries and set aside.
- Prepare dressing in a small mixing bowl by whisking vinegar, mustard, sweetener, and salt and pepper. Stream in olive oil while mixing, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a splash of orange juice to brighten up the flavors, but this is optional.
- Add pickled onions to the salad, as well as the dressing (or reserve it for serving), toss and serve. Leftovers keep up to a couple days in the fridge, though best when fresh.
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings with dressing.