I try not to make resolutions. In the past, my list of good intentions for the year might as well have been labeled, “Things I Will Do in January but Will Forget by the End of the Year.” They were just that, intentions. It’s a start, right? Maybe so, but by the time each December rolled around, I began thinking the same thoughts as always… “Next year I’m going to eat healthier! Exercise more! Spend more time with family and friends!” The list goes on and on. While these are all good things, I am trying to tear myself away from the idea of a once-a-year resolution, and more of a take-it-one-day-at-a-time approach.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of happiness recently. (It all started when I read this book, which I recommend reading – with an open mind, of course.) All of my resolutions and goals in the past have had the same underlying idea, that in order for life to be good, and therefore to be filled with happiness, it needs to be (nearly) perfect. I will be happy if I have the time and energy to cook a healthy dinner every night this week. Starting every day with a yoga practice will make me happy. I will be happy if all of my free hours are spent being a good friend/daughter/girlfriend/sister/blogger/etc.
Do you know what else makes me happy? When I forget about all of these perfection-seeking ideas. When instead of greeting Ryan with a sparkling kitchen and 3-course meal, I ask for help with the dishes and if it’s OK that we order in sushi. When instead of measuring myself against others, I sit quietly and realize all of the good things in my life. When I am kind and gentle with myself. When I make last-minute plans to cancel my plans and spend a night at home with Percy, reading a book and cleaning up the mess of “everyday life.” When I stop getting frustrated with my body for being tired, and decide to sleep in for no other reason than it feels good. When I catch up with my parents and brother on the phone in the car on the way to/from work; we may not live near each other, but this doesn’t stop me from feeling close to them. When I spend time cooking simple, “unstyled,” not-that-interesting meals that nourish me and make me feel good. These times, when written on paper, do not seem resolution-worthy at first… but to me, are what I need to make room for a full life.
I will continue coming to this space with photos and recipes, hopeful that I can inspire you to cook something delicious. But I hope you are not expecting perfection, and I promise to not expect it of you either.
Now for the farro salad. This was my first time using this delicious little grain, and I was really happy with the result. I used a quick-cooking version from Trader Joe’s, which made the prep time for this dish very manageable for a quick weeknight meal. If you don’t mind raw red onions in a salad you can skip the pickling step, I find them to be a little overpowering (plus, I will pickle almost anything). Barley or wheatberries would make a fine substitute for the farro.
Farro Salad with Arugula & Herb Vinaigrette
- 8.8 ounces farro
- 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 red onion
- White or apple cider vinegar (for pickling)
- ¼ cup dry-toasted pine nuts
- 1 package arugula
For the dressing:
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons pickling liquid (white or apple cider vinegar if using raw red onion)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the red onions:
Thinly slice the red onion (discard the skin). Cover the bottom of a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the onion and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the onion in a colander and add to a glass jar. Cover the onion with vinegar and let stand in fridge until needed (I recommend letting these sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour).
For the salad:
Cook the farro according to package directions. Combine farro, pickled red onions, feta cheese, pine nuts, and arugula. Toss with herb vinaigrette and salt/pepper; serve.
For the dressing:
In the bowl of a food processor, add the basil, parsley, vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse a few times to combine. Then, with the food processor running, pout the olive oil in slowly. Once combined, taste and adjust flavors as necessary.