Salads and Sauces

I’m back! And I’m eager to shared thoughts and ideas with you. Today I thought I’d start out with some helpful ideas about eating “in”. Living alone has posed interesting problems to solve, among them food preparation. I love to cook but cooking for one can be a challenge. Ed and I took turns cooking. We’d alternate weeks. It made meal planning and food preparation fun. The week that you were the chef, you shopped, cooked and cleaned up. That gave your spouse a chance to be a “guest” at home. For me, that made my weeks as chef fun – planning what to serve. And I loved my time as a guest. Not only did I get a break from the kitchen, I also enjoyed some yummy meals as Ed was a pretty good cook.

Now I have a new appreciation for the way we dealt with family meals. Now it’s all me – breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I’ve been exploring ways of preparing simple and healthy meals that provide variety but don’t take lots of time. If there is food in the refrigerator that is easy to serve up, I’ll go to it first. But it’s really easy to slack off and binge eat stuff that is not nearly as healthy.

Salads are a mainstay of my diet but they haven’t always been so. They take time and planning. I now try to keep a variety of veggies in the refrigerator at all times. My basics are lettuce mixes, zucchini, celery, onions and cabbage. I almost always have these available. And then depending on what’s in the market, I’ll add radishes, daikon, peppers, fennel, tomatoes. These vary from week to week. Other salad supplies include olive oil, a variety of salad dressings, olives, and pickles.

Every few days I’ll mix up a bowl of greens using my basic salad mix. I’ll dress them with olive oil and store them in the refrigerator. They are my salad base. I have salad for dinner almost every night. I’ll serve up a bowl of these greens and then add some extras from the weekly shop. I finish off the salad with a bottled dressing and most of the time, dinner is ready in less than 10 minutes.

I’ve shared this idea of prepping a salad base with friend, and like me, they are surprised to discover that the base will keep well for three days in the refrigerator. The lettuces don’t wilt because the oil keeps the moisture in the leaf as long as there is no salt on the leaves.

My favorite dressings include:
Trader Joe’s Feta
Trader Joes Goddess – with Tahini as the base
Trader Joes –
My own simple mustard viniagrette

These dressings also make wonderful sauces for roasted veggies, meats and fish. I use them regularly to amp up the flavor bland foods.

Sometimes I overdo it and have leftover salad. Rather than tossing it out, I use it the next day as a sandwich or burrito filling.

Lessons From Geese

Lessons From Geese

Last year PaperWorks presented members with the challenge to repurpose
a cigar box. The challenge was titled “Outside the Box”. It made me really think about what can happen outside the cigar box as well as inside!

I have a file of favorite quotes and went through it to see if anything spoke to the challenge. I found the page with “Lessons From Geese” and immediately realized it was just right for my cigar box! And revisiting it today made me realize how appropriate it is for this time in our lives when we are facing the pandemic and the isolation that the quarantine has brought to our lives.

The box is used as the “stage” for geese in flight. I’m sharing this with you today in the hope that it will inspire you to maintain connections with your family, friends and community because they are necessary components to the life that we aspire to. We can not thrive without others in our lives.

The text below was written by Dr. Robert MacNeish and made popular by Milton Olsen, a minister and bird lover.

Lesson One –
As a goose flaps its wings, it creates “uplift” for the birds behind it. A flock of geese flying in a “V” formation has 70% greater range than a single goose flying alone.
People who share a sense of community with a common goal can get there quicker and easier because they are traveling in snych with each other.

Lesson Two –
When a goose falls out of the flock’s formation, it feels the drag of flying alone, and quickly rejoins the flock in formation to gain from the “uplift” of the bird it is following.
If we have “goose” sense we stay in formation with folks headed where want to go. We accept their help and give help to others.

Lesson Three –
When the lead bird tires, it falls back into the flock to enjoy the lift power of the bird in front.
It pays to take turns, sharing the leadership and hard tasks.

Lesson Four –
Geese flying in flock formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up speed.
By encouraging the others in our flock to do their very best, we will reach our goals.

Lesson Five –
When a goose is wounded or sick ad leaves the flock, two geese drop out and stay with it to help and protect it until it is able to fly again or dies. Only then do they resume their journey.
If we have a s much sense as geese, we stand by each other in tough times as well as good times.

I like to read these goose lessons from time to time to remind me of my role in the “flock”. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us about interdependence and to me it is a fundament truth which requires daily acceptance. The older I get, the more I realize the wisdom and importance of this basic lesson in being human.