“The challenge to every individual is to determine the diet that is right for him and to implement that diet in a way that does not divorce him from the company of fellow human beings at mealtimes. Each person’s ideal diet is usually discovered through a combination of study, observation and intuition…To make us healthy, our food must taste good; it must be digestible, and it must be eaten in peace. Even whole foods, properly prepared according to traditional methods, do us no good if we eat them with a grudge; they will not confer health on the person who does not forgive.” Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions
This beautiful salad is not for the faint of heart–it has strong herbs (dill! it’s intense!), but the addition of allspice adds a beautiful and unexpected depth.
Barley + Pomegranate Salad (from Ottolenghi’s Plenty)
1 cup pearl barley
6 celery stalks, cut into small dice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 T sherry vinegar (I used white wine)
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
2/3 tsp ground allspice
salt + pepper
3 T chopped dill
3 T chopped parsley
seeds from 2 pomegranates (I used 1 and it was plenty!)
Rinse barley with cold water, then place in medium pot and cover with fresh water–bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender (but will still have a bite). Drain the barley and transfer to a mixing bowl. While it’s still hot, add the celery, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice and salt + pepper. Stir and set aside to cool completely. When it’s cool, add the herbs and pomegranate seeds–fold them in gently. Add more salt + pepper to your taste–enjoy!
I took this picture when we were traveling back home after visiting my family for Christmas. It is to me the embodiment of winter in the mountains–rolling fog, gray skies, the tiniest bit of blue peeking through. It is also a picture of how I feel in the winter–a desire to hibernate, nest + be cozy, while knowing that spring is just around the corner.
In years past, I have found it challenging to attempt a New Year’s Resolution-esque cleanse, and I am now connecting that to my wintertime feelings of slowing down + staying in. A new year is always a fresh start, yes, but it falls right in the middle of a dark winter that encourages stillness and quietude. I don’t want to start a juice cleanse + rigorous exercise routine on January 1st–I want to eat soup, take a grounding yoga class, and curl up to watch a movie. (Of course juicing and exercise are wonderful things–I’m just expressing my own seasonal feelings. I’ll rendezvous with juicing + rigorous exercise in the spring.)
Right now I’m seeking comfort food–nourishing, fulfilling, warming, and grounding. “When we turn to food for solace, we should choose dishes that are an expression of our principles and beliefs, not an exception to them, ” writes Tamar Adler about what comfort food should mean in this lovely article (that also includes 3 delicious-looking comfort food recipes).
Another great resource for eating comfort foods that still express principles of healthy eating was in today’s Goop newsletter about adding superfoods to your winter diet–easy and delicious for body + soul alike.
This soup from Good Things Grow is next on my list to make–health + comfort can and should live together in harmony!
In this hibernation season, commit your time and energy to your own supreme well-being, and respect your own potential to heal + to be whole. Be well!
Chicken + Barley Soup
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup barley
small bunch of swiss chard, chopped
1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne
Heat some olive oil or butter in a soup pot over low-medium heat–add shallots and garlic and stir frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, cayenne, and a sprinkle of salt–stir to combine everything and cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetable broth and barley–cover and bring to a boil, then reduce back to medium for around 20 minutes. Check the barley for doneness, letting it cook a bit longer if needed (barley will be toothsome, but should not be crunchy!). When the barley is done, add the chicken + chard and cook until the chicken is warm and the chard is wilted, around 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, stir, and serve!
Delicious, filling oatmeal made my early new year morning so much brighter. Besides the familiar coziness a bowl of oatmeal provides, oats improve resistance to stress and support the system being in healthy balance. They also stabilize blood sugar, regulate the thyroid, soothe the digestive + nervous systems, and reduce cholesterol. Oats have a high unsaturated fat content, which provides a sense of stamina + warmth, and a feeling of being grounded.
Overnight Oatmeal (fully inspired by Heidi)
Serves 2…or 1 person 2 mornings in a row..
1 cup of rolled oats
2 2/3 cup of water
1/2 an apple, chopped
handful of sliced almonds
drizzle of maple syrup + pat of butter
Before bedtime, heat a tablespoon or so of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the oats and stir them around a bit as they toast, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the water–let it sit overnight. In the morning, heat the oatmeal on medium-high for at least 10 minutes–beyond that, let it cook to your desired consistency (longer = thicker).
Scoop out a bowlful and top with butter, chopped apple and almonds, and finish with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt.
Cheers to a happy + healthy new year!