This week has been busy as I’ve tried to get caught up after traveling. The kind of busy where you wake up, run around all day checking things off your to-do list, then your head hits the pillow at night and your out instantly. I’ve always had trouble slowing down and “doing less” – being present and mindful of the moment. I know how important it is; I even posted an article about it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts this week! However, slowing down and being present are not things that come naturally for me; this practice must be tended to like a garden within my soul. The Autumn season is the perfect time to reconnect to your inner-self and slow down to take some much-needed “you” time. The weather is getting cooler, kids are back in school and warming foods are in order. Mother nature even reminds us of this as trees and creatures are slowing down and getting ready for hibernation. Our mood becomes slower as well, seeking more sleep and comfort.
Quite ironically, I had a big milestone this week that stopped me right in my tracks. It brought me to tears in a joyful way and forced me to slow down and be ever so present in the moment. It was feeling my unborn babes kick and move inside of me for the first time. It’s so hard to put into words the emotions this brought on. I already feel such a bond with this tiny soul, yet more in love with him every time I feel a kick. For someone who hates sitting still, I suddenly enjoyed it, anxiously awaiting the next moment when I could be still again to feel a little love bump from my babes. It’s the most beautiful feeling I have ever experienced and the perfect way for my babes to slow me down in this season of reflection and inner calm. Funny how children can teach us things, even when they aren’t even fully present yet!
Thankfully, you don’t have to be pregnant for nature to help you reconnect. Foods that are available during this time of year help us to do just that: warming and grounding root vegetables like beets and contractive vegetables such as hearty winter squash. If your unsure of what grounding and contractive foods mean, let me help. When something is grounding, it brings us “closer to earth”. It helps us balance in a way that centers and calms us. A contractive food helps bring us inward and become quiet. It’s amazing how nature gives us the appropriate foods we need at the exact time we need them.
Enter my all-spice roasted squash with roasted beets and figs over a nourishing kale salad with a spiced tahini dressing. This quick salad has been on repeat in my home for quite a while, but always with a slight difference. I’ve given it a bit of an autumn spin with the all-spice roasted squash, beets, and figs. Even if your busy like I was this week, there are always quick and healthy options like this one to get you through the week. Want to turn this into a main meal? Add some lentils or quinoa or even both for an all-round satisfying meal.
Other than eating this salad, what can you do to become more present and mindful this week? HERE is the article I shared via social media to help you with some ideas….
Allspice Roasted Squash: figs, beets, spiced tahini dressing
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- 1 small acorn squash, sliced into .5 inch rounds then in half
- 4 beets, peeled and quartered
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon allspice
- 1 large bunch kale, cleaned and ribs removed (5-6 oz after trimmed from the stem)
- 4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
- 4 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
- 3 Tablespoons currants
- 6 figs, quartered
Spiced Tahini Dressing
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 4 Tablespoons tamari
- 6 Tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder
- 4 Tablespoons pumpkin seed oil or flaxseed oil
- Preheat oven to 350.
- On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, combine squash and beets and toss with melted coconut oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the squash and beets in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the allspice over the squash. You may need more allspice depending on how big your squash is. The allspice should be generously sprinkled on the side facing up. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until squash and beets are soft and cooked through.
- While the squash and beets are cooking, prepare the dressing and salad. In a food processor: pulse to combine all ingredients for the spiced tahini dressing except the oil: tahini, tamari, water, honey, and ginger powder. Slowly add the oil while the food processor is running. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and set aside.
- For the salad: chop the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Massage the kale* with half of the reserved tahini dressing. Mix in the cilantro, parsley, pumpkin seeds, and currants. Arrange the figs over top.
- When the squash and beets are done, arrange on top of the salad and drizzle more dressing on top as needed.
- *When preparing raw kale for a salad, always massage it with an oil or fat to break down the fibers a bit. You want to rub it with the dressing in between your hands, almost like your crushing and squeezing it in your palms. Massage until the kale has softened and decreased in size by at least half.
Love & Garnish — A Nourishing Kitchen http://loveandgarnish.com/