Autumn, slowing down and lentils for supper

It’s  Autumn,  kids are back to school and summer ends and it feels like we leave long days to more structure and fresh beginnings, yet,  I always feel pulled to slow down and rest more. To breath and just be. The pull can sometimes feel like a tug of rope with my life.  It calls to me and I feel it deeply. I just have to make the choice to slow down amidst all that is going on. I just need to be ok with slowing down and just being.

I feel the pull  as I drive along streets that are decorated with brightly colored trees against a gray sky.  I feel it when I smell warm tea rich with spices. I feel it as I head to work in  the morning and the sun is just peeking out. I feel it as the sun sets shortly after I get home from work.

I feel the pull to slow down as I shop the produce aisles and see the many different squashes and other items that need to simmer, bake and roast.  I feel the pull in my menu planning as I plan heartier meals. As salads are traded for soups.

Sometimes I am at work and I look out the windows and I see the rain falling and I think what a perfect day to be on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. I confess it’s where I am as I type.  I have the smell of sandalwood lofting in the air as well. It’s grounding and warming  to my soul. I am home after a wonderful morning out at a coffee shop with a friend I have not seen in ages. This to is when I feel this slowing down. I crave time to just be with my friends. The warmth of friendships makes the cold air and gray days seem not so bad.

The funny thing about autumn is it is a time of change, winds pick up and we are sitting on the edge of what should be the happiest of times but often for a lot of  folks is a time of high stress, expectations and a lot of crazy activity. I am talking about the holidays.  In my day job I run a flower department and the holidays can be a high time of stress for me but I so enjoy helping others with decorating their events with fresh flowers and seeing their smiles.  I see and hear a lot of stressed out stories.  I know my own stresses and how I put to high of expectations sometimes on myself to be able to do it all and keep smiling. Why do we do that? What do you gain from it?

After a time of high stress, that had me  a few years ago, I took myself one night to a book store where , with cup of tea in hand, I found Dorie Greenspan’s cook book “Around my french table”.  It was heavy and filled with things that looked delish. I bought it. I somehow stumbled on a cooking group where weekly they cooked a recipe out of the book, then posted about it. I  blogged a few times  on recipes I cooked with the group.  This book made me think of what my grandmother had told me about her time in France and how different the women are there. It’s such a different pace of life. My bucket list has “live in France for at least a month” on it. I do plan to make it happen.

A slower pace of life is what is needed right now. Among the  holidays that are coming,  one still needs to slow down and enjoy what is going on. Not just rush full speed ahead and recover in late January.

I am planning out my Thanksgiving this year and am very excited to be having friends and family at my table this year. I nearly flipped out thinking  we have to many for my table but who cares? We can eat wherever. It’s going to be about love, family and friends and some good food.

To avoid burnout over the next few weeks I’ve made my mind up to be even more diligent about my self-care.  To even amp it up. I am a sensitive person and I know I need to make sure I carve out quiet time for my mind , body and soul. I am not like others who can just go , go , go. That is ok. If you can go or you need lots of rest, you are who you are and that is just fine.

Here’s some of what’s on my list of self-care for this busy season.

1. Yoga- not just for exercise but for my mind. It’s amazing how wonderful this is.

2. Meditation – because everyone should learn to just sit in the quite and unplug.

3. Rest– I am going to take advantage of times I can just rest on my couch on a rainy day

4. Eat regular meals –  this keeps my blood sugar regular, especially if I am making healthy choices.

5. Pleasure – saying yes to that cup of coffee with a friend, snuggling with my  grandson or kids or husband. Curling up with a book, knitting. Taking time out for me doing things I find pleasure in.

As I mentioned before,  I found that french style cookbook and enjoyed the stores Dorie tells as she cooks. That book brought me a lot of pleasure and enjoyment that cold winter. The connection to others cooking the same recipes brought warmth to my heart and many a good laugh as some recipes didn’t work out to well.  The following recipe I found in  Fine Cooking Magazine. I did a few minor changes to it. Mainly because I was coming home from work and was looking forward to enjoy this but didn’t want to spend as much time in the kitchen that night as we had other plans. I did however want a meal I could sit and enjoy. I did so with a nice glass of wine and some crusty bread. For a brief moment I imagined I was in my own little flat in Paris.

 

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Warm French Lentil Salad with Chicken Andouille Sausage

1 pkg (17.6 oz) steamed lentils (I used Trader Joe’s)

2 tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 pkg Trader Joe’s Chicken andouille sausage (or your favorite smoked sausage)

1 cup of white wine

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tsp Dijon Mustard

Sea Salt

Olive oil

1/4 cup fresh-cut parsley

1/4 cup fresh-cut scallions

pepper (to taste)

 

1. Heat a deep skillet and place some olive oil in it. I used about 2 tbs. Add your garlic, onion and carrot and cook for 2-3 mins untill the onion is translucent. Add sausage and stir for one to two minutes. Then add wine and enough water to cover the sausage. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down and simmer for 15 mins.

2. Make vinaigrette in a bowl by mixing red wine vinegar, mustard and pinch of salt. Add 5 tbs of olive oil in a stream and using a whisk mix.

3. Add the lentils to the skillet along with the vinaigrette and stir until everything is warm. Top with scallions and parsley and fresh pepper.  Serve with warm crusty bread.

 

What things will you do to take time out from the buisness? How will you de-stress this season?

Until next time,

Blessings,

Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

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