Modmarket knockoff salad

A few days ago, one of my sweet friends, Renee, took me to lunch at Modern Market at Shops of Briargate. This restaurant is AMAZING–locally owned, using area resourced ingredients to make healthy, yummy food. Tons of gluten free options including AMAZING pizza and waffles.  Plus, for $2 I can get a pretty decent glass of red wine.

I got the Superfood salad and loved it so much, had to come home and replicate it immediately for my dinner.  The Modern Market salad has grapes.  I took a look in my fridge and realized, whelp, I’m on a budget and there are no grapes in that fridge.  However, I had a few other ingredients that were calling my name.

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So as I often do, I improvised, using the Modern Market Superfood salad as inspiration for this salad–

The Goddess Protein Salad!

Fridge leftovers:

1 cup cooked quinoa (I usually make about 2 cups of quinoa a week–keeping it in the fridge for breakfast cereal, salad toppings or my absolute favorite — quinoa butternut squash cakes)

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 avocado, chopped

1/2 cucumber, chopped

1/4 cup sheep’s milk feta cheese (I found this at Costco a few months back and it’s transformed my life!–Okay, maybe not my life but certainly my palate–it’s creamy, salty and enhances anything with green in it)

2 cups spinach

1/3 cup roasted baby tomatoes (I bought a huge bunch of tomatoes at Sprouts last week – BOGO – realizing a bit later that they were going bad before we could eat them all.

By the way, if you are live in Colorado Springs and like healthy, organic food but don’t have a Whole Foods budget, Sprouts is your friend.  Since our Sprouts opened up a few miles down the street, I’ve saved between $25-$50/week on organic groceries.  It’s a great shopping experience and on Wednesdays, you can have double ads–meaning last week’s prices AND this week’s prices count)

Back to the tomatoes though–I put them in a 325 oven, drizzled with olive oil and a bit of Kosher salt.  Baked until shriveled and sweet–about 20 minutes)

Dressing: 

1 Tbls Dijon mustard

3 Tbls. white balsamic vinegar (I use Trader Joes–the white doesn’t make my stomach turn upside down like the original version does)

1/3 cup avocado oil (Costco has the BEST price on this one)

salt and pepper

1 tsp honey

Mix it all up together.

Throw all salad ingredients except spinach, avocados and cucumbers in a bowl.  Mix in dressing and stir really well.  You want the quinoa to soak in the dressing.

Put cucumbers and spinach on plate. Add avocados and then throw on the quinoa mix…portions are up to you.

20160203_115523If you’re feeling especially saucy, grab handful of my favorite baked peas from Costco (Bhuju) and throw on top for the crunch factor.

 

 

say hello to mundane

It was a very slow, mundane Spring Break.  I had wrapped up working, traveled to Ohio to celebrate my grandfather’s life and came back to snow, storms and cold!

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The kids, overall, did pretty well.  The complaining was kept to a minimum and we all managed to find a project or two to complete.

My large “to do” list, started almost four years ago stares at me–and I’ve begun tackling the small items.

Today is the first day of “back to school.”  For me, it’s the official first day of “post working mom” life.  I keep thinking I should mark it with something–you know, an Ebenezer stone. Yet all I come up with is routine–wash the dishes, walk the dog, take kids to school, hit the gym, walk the dog, make dinner, walk the dog, get kids and head to soccer practice.

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To the average onlooker, my life probably appears predictable, if not boring.  To me, this is the life I’ve been longing for the past 7 years.  I like systems and routine, mundane repetition and most importantly, space. It’s in that wide open space that I can be present with myself.  I have longed for long moments to just sit and read, journal and reflect.  I’ve desired pockets of time to imagine and create.

20160327_152950964_iOSSo bring on the mundane and routine.  I’ll be happy to say good-bye to the cold and snow but a slower pace of life, please stay!

Before Breath becomes air

 

In a span of just a few short days, two major life events happened. I stopped working after 7 years and my grandfather died.

I have found myself unseasonably tired–bone tired and weary.  My emotions are close to the surface, finding tears come at the oddest times.  My energy is low and my heart is sad.

I’ve been working towards being a stay at home mom since the day I began working 7 years ago when circumstances dictated that I begin a full-time job when we moved to Florida.

Do I regret working?  

No, no regrets.

In these past 7 years, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons that I’m sure I’ll be unpacking for several years to come.

Right now, the most significant observation/lesson I’m carrying with me is this–each season is for a purpose. Without working,  I wouldn’t have treasured this new season as much.

I had to walk in the middle of crazy in order to see how sane mundane and ordinary can be.

As a working mom, my life was filled with the search for balance.  Balancing time with myself with time with my kids and husband. Balancing healthy food choices with the sacrifice of time to prepare those options.  Balancing the self care that running and yoga brought with other care of sports and chauffaur service.  Balancing work obligations with home needs. Balancing work stress and emotion with leaving it at the office every day.  Trust me, if you’re a working mom, you know this list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Working outside the home led me to understanding my value to staying at home.  I had always undermined the importance of staying at home.  Sure, I’d read the articles about why kids need a full-time mom (and trust me, those were just as guilt inducing as the ones about why working full time is best for them!).  I didn’t fully understand how working pushed me into an unhealthy world of never being good enough.  Every spot of my life seemed to tell me, “You’re not doing good enough!”

For me, I’m a full boots-in kind of girl. Give me a task and I’ve give you 110%.  That’s a great quality to have.  However, when it means dividing emotional energy and time between my first priority (my family) and my work, my family was losing every time.

The grass is not greener over here on the stay-at-home side.  I was on bereavement in Ohio for the last week of my work–and arrived home to snow and Spring Break for my kids.

I’m still dealing with a child whose wounded heart ends up lashing out at me most of the time.  I’m still attempting to calm the hyper energy of a 5 month old puppy.  The bills are still there with less money to pay them.  The paint still needs to be touched up and kids are still cranky from lack of sleep and boredom. My empty heart once filled with a BIG presence grandfather is still an open sore.

Yet, in the midst of all this, I think about a quote I read from this amazing book, “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi.

“You that seek what life is in death, Now find it air that once was breath.  New names unknown, old names gone; Till time end bodies, but souls none.  Reader! then make time, while you be, But steps to your eternity.”  

–Baron Brooke Fulke Greveille “Calaelica 83”

 

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Life is short–summed up with just two dates–start and end.  It’s up to me to make time while I am here, focusing on each breath before it becomes air.