Sometimes it just takes a simple new something to bring some freshness and pleasure to life. When approaching the one year-mark of living in a pandemic, these things are especially welcomed. Can you believe we have been living in this twilight zone for a year? Some students and I were talking this week about how the memories of this time last year are flooding us and it’s a lot to process.
Last week my friend Melissa introduced my family to her simple kale salad (massaged and lemony) and recently I discovered a couple of new pens and a journaling prompt. Each of these has brought simple pleasure to me! I wanted to share.
Joys are always multiplied when shared.
Melissa’s Lemony Massaged Kale Salad is a 6 ingredient, 6 minute salad that is so bright and tasty that Lucy has been asking me to make it for her school lunch. For the first time in a year she got to return to in-person learning (praise the Lord) and she is trying to find yummy, healthy things to pack. Kale is so hearty that you can have it dressed and ready and it won’t get wilty or soggy during the day.
coarsely chopped kale
drizzles of olive oil
1/2 a lemon
shredded parmesan cheese
a handful of croutons
Buy cut kale, or chop yourself- coarsely, removing the hard ribs. Place in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil to coat and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Then massage for a few minutes. Melissa said she thinks of this as exfoliating the kale. 🙂 While you do it, take this opportunity to take a few, deep, cleansing breaths. When the kale feels softened and fully coated, add a full squeeze of 1/2 a lemon and toss, then add croutons and parmesan and toss. I do this all with my hands, since they are already committed to the oiliness from massaging. I hold firm in my belief that our hands are our best kitchen tools.
If you have some leftover crusty bread, you can make some homemade croutons. When the end of a loaf is left and it’s too hard to eat, I cut it into chunks and freeze it to make croutons.
Cut bread into pieces.
Toss bread in olive oil – I drizzle a little over the bread or use olive oil cooking spray, as it coats more evenly.
Place in a 400˚ oven for 10 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Keep in an airtight container and you have tasty croutons at your fingertips to add to a salad.
Pens and Paper: I am sincerely trying to be a user of digital tools for organization. I have come a long way and the pandemic has helped usher me into using a digital calendar, since the majority of my meetings are online and require a Zoom link. However, I love paper and pens! And I find list making, note taking, and organizing my life to be much more effective and tangible with physical materials! My favorite pen is Uniball micro and has been for a decade. However, I have recently come to adore both the Muji pen and the Paper Mate Inkjoy gel. I’m more of a roller ball person, as gel sometimes is too thick, smeary and gloppy for me, but these are both gel and have none of those undesirable qualities. The Paper Mate is thicker and so therefore is better for some functions. The Muji is finer, which I especially love for annotating books. If you love a good pen and think it would bring a little lift, it’s a pretty cheap thrill. (I’m loving this notebook – Leuchtturm1917 and Moleskines have been my go-to for years.)
Gratitude Journaling: When looking for a centering activity to start my class recently, I found this post with some inspiration and parameters for gratitude journaling. I appreciated the instruction and when we did this activity at the start of class it gave me great clarity and a shift in focus from the overwhelmed and worn down mindset with which I had entered. Here is the link to the prompt.
Hoping you find a simple pleasure or two this week to bring something new and enjoyable to your days.