Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gratitude and a Hot Lentil Salad

My Dad gave me an article this summer that I still can't get off my mind. It celebrates living a life of integrity and kindness instead of focusing on accumulating the more conventional forms of success, like trophies and money. The article, Redefining the Success and Celebrating the Ordinary, explains that “In this world, an ordinary life has become synonymous with a meaningless life." It is absurd how fortunate I am in so many millions of ways. I grew up with all the opportunities in the world - I could be whoever I wanted to be, and I always dreamt big. I was going to be big. Somewhere along the line, that dream changed. Now I just want to enjoy a good life and be a good person. Gracias a Dios, I feel at peace. We fill our youth (and I see this everyday at school) with the ideas that they have to win, win, win to have a meaningful life, but that's bullshit. Now, there's nothing wrong with winning - I personally love it. But what's being promoted is that it is acceptable to do whatever it takes to be on top. Lying, cheating, manipulating - those are the necessary factors to be the best. I know plenty of winners that are assholes and selfish and sneaky and liars! You know what I'm talking about. Being a good citizen and living a life of integrity are lost, and what are right and wrong become more mirky than they already are. What seems to be a meaningful or important life is actually a life empty of values and truth and honor!

The author of the article says, “Ordinary has a bad rap...there is the idea is that we should always want more,” she said, “but there’s a beauty in cultivating an appreciation for what we already have.” I agree, and I am so grateful for so much! I have a life that is full of love and spontaenity and authenticity! I don't need anything more - except for a little bit more time at the beach! Of course I am always day dreaming and planning for the future...of owning my own café near the water, starting my own tutoring company, getting paid to write and cook!, etc. etc. etc. And even though my dreams and plans change every day, and I'm still very ambitious at work and in my personal life, at the same time I am feeling a deep gratitude for what I have and who I have it with. I'm trying to focus on the present, while still preparing for the future. 

I'm grateful for my caring family and my f'ing adorable nephew and for e-mail and Skype, which make them seem closer than they are. 

Travie's First Snow! 

I'm grateful for laughing until I cry almost every day with my fiancé.

I'm grateful for my job that allows me small comforts here and there, and which allows me to travel home a few times a year. 

I'm grateful for my students. Their humor and kindness teach me much more than I teach them - of this I am sure.

I'm grateful for my friends, both here and in the States. Shout outs to the besties! 

I'm grateful for living in the Caribbean where I see the sun rise over the ocean every morning. True story. And, with coffee, even better!

This is my view on the way to school every single day!

I'm grateful for my good health and for the ability to exercise in the sun in the afternoon with an ocean view.

I'm grateful for the fact that I can make healthy food for me and my fiancé and my friends...

Hot Lentil Salad Goodness

...and for all the millions of things in between.

So thank you to everyone that is a part of my life and for letting me be a part of yours! 

The picture above is one of the many vegan dishes I have been cooked this week, and so far, it is my favorite! Yes, I realize that it's not the prettiest dish I've ever made, but please trust me when I tell you that it is INCREDIBLY delicious! I surprised myself and the fiancé with this one (it is fiancé approved). Everything is fresh and super easy, so this may become a weekly staple! Also, it's nutritional benefits are astounding. Check out the table below to see what I'm talking about!

What's more, the Dijon-Rosemary Vinaigrette that dresses this hot salad blows my mind! The addition of the rosemary adds a kick to what would be a normal balsamic vinaigrette. This dressing will be my go-to from now on. My leftover fresh rosemary is drying outside now in order to chop it up and save it in the pantry for later!

Hot Lentil Salad

Hot Lentil Salad with Gluten Free Bread! The bread is actually a pizza crust topped with olive oil and olives!

1.5 cups cooked brown lentils, drained (I used 2 cups because that was how much was in the bag of lentils that I purchased, which means you may need a bit more salt than what's given in the recipe for the flavors to burst like they should.)
1/4 cup green onions, green part only, sliced
1 cup spinach, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
8 olives, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Incredibly Tasty Dijon-Rosemary Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the lentils, green onions, spinach, tomatoes, olives and walnuts. Mix well and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk together. 

Pour over the lentil salad and mix well! Serve immediately!

Serves: 4

a buen tiempo!

Nutritional Facts: This salad is incredibly nutritious! It is low in fat and high in fiber, which is perfect for my diet. It's also filled with an intense amount of necessary vitamins and minerals! 

Nutrition Facts
  Servings Per Recipe: 3
  Serving Size: 1 serving, 0.5 cup
Amount Per Serving
  Total Fat16.1 g
     Saturated Fat1.9 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat5.7 g
     Monounsaturated Fat7.6 g
  Cholesterol0.0 mg
  Sodium147.5 mg
  Potassium646.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate25.8 g
     Dietary Fiber9.5 g
     Sugars2.2 g
  Protein11.6 g
  Vitamin A21.4 %
  Vitamin B-120.0 %
  Vitamin B-614.1 %
  Vitamin C13.4 %
  Vitamin D0.0 %
  Vitamin E8.5 %
  Calcium5.1 %
  Copper24.7 %
  Folate54.2 %
  Iron24.7 %
  Magnesium17.5 %
  Manganese51.7 %
  Niacin8.9 %
  Pantothenic Acid    8.0 %
  Phosphorus    23.8 %
  Riboflavin8.0 %
  Selenium5.4 %
  Thiamin16.0 %
  Zinc11.7 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds delicious! I'm going to have to try it myself. :)