3 Bomb-Awesome Salads: The Slow Kitchen

It’s the last month of summer here in Australia (in terms of the official seasons anyway – it tends to stay warm here until late-April at least) and that means it’s the season of salads. Since I stopped eating meat I found I need more from my salads than just leafy greens, cucumber and tomatoes, so I’ve pulled together three of my favourite salads that won’t leave you gnawing on the tablecloth once you’re done.

Aside from satisfying, these awesome salads all accompany other dishes really well and are also great to keep for work lunches and those hot lazy nights when leftovers are just what the doctor ordered.

Plus, like all other recipes in my Slow Kitchen series, they’re simple, easy, healthy and full of real ingredients. Enjoy!

3 Bomb-Awesome Salads: The Slow Kitchen

Packed Salsa
(Makes a big bowl – enough for 4 people as a side)

You’ll Need:

  • 2 ripe avocados – diced
  • 2 corn cobs – steamed, kernels sliced off
  • 2 large tomatoes – diced
  • 400g tin red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
  • handful fresh coriander – roughly torn
  • lemon juice
  • glug of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simply:

  1. Combine all ingredients and top with good squirt of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil.
  2. Mix.
  3. Eat with abandon.

Try serving with:

  • A baked potato topped with melted cheese, natural yoghurt and baby spinach.
  • Chilli con carne or my lentil and vegetable chilli.
  • Steamed fish or a BBQ.

 

Garden-in-a-Bowl Salad
(Makes a huge salad – enough for dinner and lunch the next day)

You’ll Need:

  • handful brussel sprouts – shredded
  • medium-sized beetroot – peeled and grated
  • 1/2 small head broccoli – chopped into florets
  • a few handfuls baby spinach, kale or other leafy green
  • avocado – diced
  • 2 cobs of corn – steamed, kernels sliced off
  • cucumber – sliced
  • tomatoes – sliced
  • 1/2 small head cauliflower – chopped into florets
  • handful green herbs – coriander, basil or mint
  • cup of cooked quinoa or other grain
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simply:

  1. Combine all ingredients (if you aren’t eating immediately, keep the beetroot out until just before serving).
  2. Add or subtract ingredients based on seasonal availability and add more pulses or legumes as desired. (Black beans or kidney beans are also a great inclusion, as is crumbled goat’s cheese).

Try serving with:

  • Pita bread, felafel, pickled jalapenos and natural yoghurt
  • Grilled field mushroom
  • A piece of fish or BBQ

 

Quinoa and Roast Vege Salad
(Makes enough for 8)

You’ll Need:

  • 400g packet quinoa – cooked
  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin – roughly chopped (skin left on – it’s quicker)
  • 3 large beetroot – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 handfuls kalamata olives – drained (I love olives but you can leave them out or have less in your salad if you’d prefer)
  • goat’s cheese
  • baby spinach
  • baby rocket
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simply:

  1. Preheat your oven to 220C / 420F.
  2. Place the pumpkin and beetroot on a roasting tray in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until bottom of vegetables begins to colour.
  3. Pull the vegetables out of the oven, flip and add a few handfuls of kalamata olives to the tray. Return to oven for another 20-ish minutes or until the veges begin to caramelise and crisp up.
  4. Remove vegetables from oven and leave to rest for a little while.
  5. Combine quinoa, vegetables, baby leafy greens and goats cheese in a large bowl and combine well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  6. Enjoy!

Note on cooking (and pronouncing) quinoa:

It’s pronounced KEEN-wah, and the best way to cook it for most savoury needs is:

  1. Rinse in a fine sieve under warm water. Use your fingers to swirl the seeds around and ensure the water runs clear from the bottom of the sieve or there will be a slightly bitter, soapy flavour.
  2. Put in a saucepan on high heat and add double the amount of liquid to quinoa. That is, if you’re cooking 1 cup raw quinoa, add 2 cups of liquid.
  3. You can cook it in water, but I prefer to cook in vegetable stock. Gives it a little more flavour.
  4. Once the quinoa comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat, put the lid on and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Quinoa should be nice and fluffy, with the white ‘germ’ visible in the cooked seed.

Try serving with:

  • Tortillas and natural yoghurt.
  • Lamb or chicken skewers.
  • Felafel and pita bread.
  • Nothing! This is a delicious meal on its own and keeps very well for weekday lunches.

 

Feeling hungry (and strangely virtuous) just writing about these. Bon appetit, my friends!

The A-Z of Simple Living Book

A-Z of Simple Living Book

During January, I ran a daily series on the blog called The A-Z of Simple Living.

I used it to explore many of the foundations of creating and living a simple life – both physically and mentally –  and it really seemed to resonate. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a lot of requests to pull the series into a PDF book so people can refer back to it as and when they need to.

So here it is: The A-Z of Simple Living Book.

It includes all 26 of the blog posts from the series, with links and resources included.

You can grab your copy right here. And please feel free to share this with your friends and family too. The more the merrier!

 

Rethink. Reset.

Rethink. Reset.

If you’re a regular reader of Slow Your Home you probably know my family and I spent December and much of January in Canada. We had our first (magical) white Christmas, we snowboarded, we ice skated, we spent whole days by the fire watching movies and reading books.

It was one of the most incredible holidays we’ve ever had. And it was also the longest time we’ve spent together without daily pressures of work, school, home and general life stuff. We had the opportunity to view life through a wider lens and have come home both refreshed and with a very real need to rethink and reset and our priorities, goals, rhythms and habits.

Because when you’re in the thick of life, it can be hard to get a 10,000-foot view. But when you do and life opens out beneath you, it can become abundantly clear that things need to change.

Since we’ve been home, I’ve been on a resetting binge. Life is going to look really different this year, with our eldest starting school and our four-year-old at preschool two days a week. So my approach to our days and weeks needed to be overhauled. But what’s more, it needed to change because it was no longer working for us.

Resetting our Rhythms

I’ve spent a lot of time rethinking how our days, our home and my work will feel this year and resetting the rhythms that help make it all happen in a (relatively) simple way.

This means I’ve deconstructed all the things that need to happen in our mornings, our days and our weeks, and I’ve put it back together in a way that makes sense to the way we want to live and the way we want life to feel.

I’ve written before about how you can create a rhythm for your days and weeks, but essentially it means looking at:

  • what needs to happen
  • what currently happens
  • what doesn’t need to happen
  • the time you have available for these things

Then plug it in to a rhythm (which is a little like a routine, but not really) that fits your life.

(You can read the full post about creating rhythms here, and download the Rhythm Worksheet here.)

Resetting my Mornings

Early mornings are when I like to get the majority of my writing work done, and last year I fell in to bad habits. I would hit my snooze button one too many times or waste time online (Facebook, reading emails, news websites). This meant I got less done, which would leave me frustrated, and I would carry that feeling through the rest of my morning, constantly feeling overwhelmed and behind schedule.

This needed to change, so I spent a lot of time thinking about my priorities and decided to:

  • stop using my phone as an alarm clock.
  • start getting up at 4am again
  • avoid the internet completely before 9am – this means no email, no messages, no social media, no posting to the blog at all during this time.
  • finish my work at 6:30am and get the rest of the morning underway – regardless of whether I’d finished or not.
  • have a list of no more than 3 things to do every morning

We’re only in the first full week back but I can already tell you that the no internet thing is working incredibly well.

Resetting our Level of Stuff (Again)

Another thing I love about travel? You recognise how little you really need.

After coming home I decluttered even more of our stuff (mostly toys, decor and clothes the kids no longer fit into) and was amazed to see how easy it was to let go, even though we didn’t have a huge amount to begin with.

With toys in particular, it was really interesting to see how the kids reacted to having only a few things to play with while we were away. They each had a little bag of figurines, a puzzle, a board game, a soft toy and some Lego and we also packed colouring books and pencils.

They never got bored. And while part of that was being on holiday and having us around more than normal, I think part of it was also that they weren’t overwhelmed by choice. There was plenty there to keep them occupied but not so much that they didn’t know where to begin.

When we got home, I held a second packing party for the kids toys and no-one has missed a thing.

——

If January had an unintentional theme of Resetting, then February has a very intentional one of Momentum, where my new goals and habits of:

  • writing 500 words (min) every day
  • going to the gym three days a week
  • waking early (4:00am) every week day
  • no internet before 9:00am

become an ingrained part of my rhythm and where the New Year just becomes the year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together and whether I need to readjust again once we’ve settled back in to our everyday rhythm.

I hope you and yours have had a good introduction to 2015. I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting year!

Z is for Zero: A-Z of Simple Living

Z is for Zero: A-Z of Simple Living

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?

——

Zero. We equate it with nought, nothing, emptiness.

But in the final installment of the A-Z of Simple Living series (we made it!) zero has two other, far more positive implications.

First, Zero Impact

First, we want to leave zero impact on those who come after us (or as close as possible to it). We want to minimise the burden for our kids, our grandkids and their grandkids. Simplicity is many things to many people. But one of the common factors in simplifying is our desire to not leave the earth worse than we found it.

Yes, that definitely includes environmental impact, but it doesn’t stop there.

We can ensure, through creating a simpler life, that our zero impact stretches out to include:

  • Debt – we do not want to keep spending more than we earn – both as individuals and countries. It’s not sustainable and it’s not fair to expect those who come after us to pay for our lack of foresight.
  • Stuff – our legacy reaches far beyond the values and memories we leave behind. It includes the house full of stuff, the storage unit, the clutter, the crap, the heirlooms and the keepsakes. Do we want our legacy to include our loved ones sifting through our belongings for weeks after we’re gone?
  • Self-worth – if we spend our days disengaged from family and friends, what does that say to them? It tells them they aren’t as important as our smartphone/email/Twitter/more important people. If we really engage – or, at the risk of sounding cliched, be present – in our interactions with people, we will leave them feeling important. That they matter.
  • Environment – excess consumption, mindless buying, keeping up with the Joneses and buying food that has travelled thousands of kilometres to get to your kitchen – these all add up to impact greatly on our environment. Some view simplifying as having the world at their fingertips by way of streamlining, but I disagree.

These four areas of life sum up so much of what simple living is about. Living sustainably, living simply, living mindfully and living responsibly.

Second, Zero In on What Matters

Creating a life of simplicity is complicated. This we know.

But what we need to do, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the task of simplifying life, is zero in on what’s important.

Find your why, and keep it at the forefront of your mind as you work through life. Remember, simplifying is a step-by-step process. But if you know what is important from the beginning, then you can make your choices based on those priorities.

Ask yourself to list the following things in order of importance:

  • friends
  • partner/spouse
  • family
  • spirituality
  • health
  • work
  • leisure

Add to the list any other priorities you may have, and use these – along with the idea of zero impact – to guide you through the process of simplifying.

There’s almost as much head-work involved as physical work, but as someone who is finally starting to reap the benefits of a simpler life, I can tell you it is absolutely worthwhile.

It’s one of the biggest and best changes I’ve made to my life.

——

Well, that’s it. The final instalment of the A-Z of Simple Living. I hope you enjoyed it! If you missed any of the posts, you can find all of them here.

Regular posts will begin again shortly, as I’m now back from a restful holiday with my family. Really looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings each of us, on the road to a simpler, slower life.

 

 

Y is for Yes: A-Z of Simple Living

Y is for Yes: A-Z of Simple Living

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?

——

Embracing simple living feels like saying no a lot.

  • No, I won’t buy that dress.
  • No, I don’t need to fill that space.
  • No, I won’t overcommit my time.
  • No, I won’t buy into the drama.

And quite often, we need to say no.

But simple living isn’t about withholding pleasures, going without joy or embracing a life of scarcity. It’s about setting yourself free. Specifically, setting yourself free to say yes more often, yes to the things that are important, yes to actually living life.

We can be free to say yes to:

  • space – both mental and physical
  • your kids when they ask you to play
  • engaging more
  • enjoying a cup of coffee with your partner – even if there is still work to be done
  • finding your passions
  • peace and quiet – sitting in the stillness is OK
  • spontaneous adventures and travel
  • getting up earlier

Some of these things you may be already doing, and some you may have no interest in doing. The difference here is choice. We’re making room in our lives – by simplifying – to say yes to more of the things we want to, when we want to.

What do you want to say yes to?

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...