A gaping void in the corner exists where the tree once stood while its soft scented needles still require vacuuming. I breathe in deep soaking in the quiet. The kids are back in school, the house is still, apart from Lily the pup, chewing on her squeaky toy. Two weeks ago we started a season filled with family, friends and oh so much food and I loved it, savored it, lived it and now the quiet feels foreign and so freaking good.
Before jumping back into work emails I open a newsletter from Brené Brown (http://www.courageworks.com/). In it she shares her new year’s questions that she asks herself every year.
- What do I want more of in my life?
- How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive? More brave?
- At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?
I put off work just a bit longer in order to spend time sitting with these questions. By the time I’ve worked my way through them I see the words laughter, joy, and simplicity repeat themselves. I write fear, insecurity and comparison where she asks what’s no longer serving me. At the end of it I write ‘Honor the simple joys’ on a blank sheet of paper. Not even knowing what it means I follow the nudging as these words float in like a breeze. They’ve not left me since and serve as a soft reminder to soak in our everydays and appreciate them for what they are, not what I think they need to be. Repeating them on a continuous loop in my mind I slow down. Hopefully I can keep this up.
I’m sharing these questions here in case you too need a bit of a push to think through this new year. It’s a great place to start. As is salad. At the end of all the festivities I made no resolutions for big changes in my diet but rather continued the commitment to listen to my body and feed it what it needs. Although I’m not sure it really needed the number of cocktails I enjoyed during the holidays. This salad was responding to my body’s cry for freshness.
This is the sort of salad where you could sit and eat an entire bowl and still feel real great about yourself. The dressing, simply tahini and pickled jalapeños blended together with a touch of salt and enough water to get it to the right consistency, is flavorful and as light as they come. Don’t shy away from the sprinkling of cumin seeds and if you’re okay with cheese I think a fresh salty feta would be a nice addition.
Winter Slaw with Tahini Jalapeño Dressing
1/4 head purple cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled into strips
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 avocado, halved and sliced
1/3 – 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
1/4 cup tahini
1/8 cup pickled jalapeños, drained
1/4 cup water (more or less)
In a large bowl combine the purple and napa cabbage along with the cilantro and scallions.
Blend together the tahini, pickled jalapeños, and salt in a blender or food processor. Add enough water to make a creamy dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Toss the greens with the dressing. Tip the salad onto a platter then top with the carrots and sliced avocado. Sprinkle the cumin seeds and pepitas over top.