Wilted Spinach Salad with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
½ bag (4.5 ounces) fresh baby spinach
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pieces WASA Fiber Rye Crispbread (may substitute any WASA Variety)

Directions

Soak raisins in a small bowl with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a 12 inch skillet. Add pine nuts, garlic and sauté until garlic turns yellow.
Add spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until spinach is slightly wilted. Add raisins and toss.
Serve on platter with WASA on side or crumble WASA crispbread into salad.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 250
Total Fat 18 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 253 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary Fiber 16 g
Protein 7 g
Calcium 109

Holidays are Changing

I’m trying to talk my parents and in-laws into coming to our place for Thanksgiving.

Ever since leaving for college at age 18, I’ve traveled over the holidays.

My hubby and I are moving in early November, and we’ll hopefully be settled into our new place by Turkey Day. I’d hate to move in and then turn around and leave right away. Plus, it sounds fun to host the holidays. Of course, I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, but a minor detail, right? I can figure it out.

One year I asked my mom if she’d teach me to cook the turkey. I arrived at her house ready to tackle the bird and learn how to make stuffing. My grandmother was visiting too. The two of them have been taking on Thanksgiving together forever, and despite my good intentions, everyone fell into their normal roles that year. My brother helped mash the potatoes, my dad prepared to carve, I found myself setting the table, pouring the wine, and arranging the relish tray. My mom and grandmother had their own rhythm and didn’t need anyone – including me – butting in. Or maybe I simply got distracted watching whatever movies my brother had rented from the video store. Either way, I never learned how to bake a turkey. (Actually, bake or roast?)

This year will be different. My grandmother no longer travels. One of my brothers is married and will be away. I’ve pegged the local, sustainable farm where I plan to purchase Mr. Tom. (For any vegetarians, here are some recipes I stumbled across on GentleThanksgiving.org).

My parents jumped on the chance to come to my place for a change. I hope my in-laws do too.

Times are changing. Times are changing.

Part of me is nervous about altering the rhythm of our holiday, but I’m excited too.

That Was Easy

I wanted to pop two pills.

After taking the summer off, I played tennis for nearly two hours yesterday and my legs ached from my hips down to my ankles. Also, I had a headache.

Oh, how I wanted ibuprofen to be the answer! Pop the meds, mask the pain, and let me go to sleep. But I decided to hold off. A few little thoughts floated around in my head: What is my body trying to tell me? Could yoga help?

The headache was probably because I was dehydrated. It was hot on the courts. I drank some water and then set the glass down on a table. Sitting on the floor, I raised my arms over my head, clasped my hands together, and turned my palms towards the ceiling. I lowered onto my back and squeezed one knee into my chest while keeping the other leg straight. Switched sides. I did a few spinal twists to remove the stiffness in my hips. Gentle, easy stretches. And I felt so much better afterwards.

That was easy. And it took less than twenty minutes – the time it would’ve taken the ibuprofen to reach my system.

Open My Heart

How many times have I been in Dandasana (Staff Pose) during a yoga class and listened to the teacher say, Open your chest? Same with Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and many, many other poses.

My friend and fellow blogger Michelle of Full Soul Ahead was in a guided meditation when she heard the teacher say, “We often hunch our shoulders as a way to protect our hearts.” Michelle blogged about the symbolic meaning of that tendency over here: Open Heart. A beautiful post and well worth checking out.

Not that long ago I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and came across the passage where a recovering addict had prayed continuously that God would open his heart. When the man was rushed to the hospital for surgery, he remembered thinking, God, I didn’t mean literally! (The story goes something like that – I don’t have the book with me to look it up).

Anyway. Open my heart, God. What a great prayer. I realized today that it’s so much easier to “open my heart” when things are going well. When life is good, my work is being published, my husband and I are laughing together, and the sun is shining, it’s so easy to take a big breath and stand up tall and let my chest expand and be graceful and appreciative and joyful towards others and towards the world.

But when dark times come…oh, those are the moments where I tend to get frustrated or angry and want to quit. But I think maybe it’s during those times when the heart needs to open up and grow most of all.

Sunday Crowds

I don’t know what I was thinking. Hmm. I guess I was thinking that I had a few free hours, so why not sketch out a menu for the week and stock up with ingredients at the grocery store? Off I went – the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend – and as soon as I walked in the door I realized my mistake.

What a zoo.

I tried to practice my yoga breaths as carts jammed the aisles and children blocked my path as they played handheld video games in front of the eggs while their parents taste-tested the artichoke dip. I tried to remember I had just come from church and I should be patient and kind and gentle and not cave into my mounting frustration. Breathe. Breathe. BREATHE!

Egad.

I do not do well in crowds.

The trick to grocery shopping (at least the one I go to in my town) is to hit the store early Monday morning. It’s empty and open and I can take my time reviewing my list and making sure I have everything I need for the week. When I had an office job with less flexible hours, I’d go to the store late at night. I’d have to step around boxes of fresh shipments, but it was better than being piled in an enclosed space with too many people. My goal is to get away from stores almost entirely – next season I’m signing up for a CSA subscription. And I’m continuing to explore year-round farmers’ markets (for some reason crowds don’t bother me as much when I’m outside) and buying local food through other direct methods. But I’m in transition, so for awhile I’ll be heading to the store at least once a week. On Monday mornings. Š