Random Recipe: Blueberry Caprese Salad

Over the summer, there are specific food dishes that especially hit the spot. All the fresh fruit and berries you can imagine, yummy and cooling beverages, and any refreshing dishes that beat the heat. One of those in our house is Caprese Salad. There is something about mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes that just screams summer. So when I found this recipe from Love and Olive Oil for a Caprese Salad that includes blueberries, I thought – YUM! We made it on the Fourth of July. We were not intending to be patriotic, that was all luck.

I’ve changed it to our liking, but the gist is similar. I spooned a bit on crackers and Chris ate it straight from a bowl with a spoon.

Blueberry Caprese Salad

Yield: 2 servings
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) fresh blueberries
  • 4 ounces mozzarella balls, quartered
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, and blueberries in a bowl. Toss with basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bees do more than just sting

I am someone who spews a crazy number of analogies out of my mouth each day. Sometimes they are just all wrong, other times they are spot on, and then others just somewhere in between. In a meeting yesterday I somehow paralleled a situation with a project with the world without bees. How the heck do those compare?

Recently I read an article that shared if we let the bee population die off what it would do to the produce department in our grocery stores. See these images in this Huffington Post article. It reminds me of scenes from Flint, Michigan. Empty, non-existent. It is actually quite scary. I never knew how much we could be impacted by the lost number of bees.

Sure, bees can be annoying. In the summer, the patio at work where we often have meetings and eat outside is often swarming with bees. They literally land on your lunch and take a seat for a while. I think I even have a video on my iPhone of a bee eating bits of a piece of turkey on my salad. Maybe it was starving? I am glad my salad last summer potentially helped keep one more bee alive.

In all seriousness, bees are something we should dedicate more time to saving. Due to all the pesticides, chemicals, and crap we pour into the environment, they are disappearing faster than we can save them. While I do not know too much about the topic, it is one I want to continue to research. How naive I have been. Study up, otherwise your produce department might turn into a ghost town.

A few articles on the topic:

A World Without Bees

List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

It takes energy to be angry

Yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It started as I was getting dressed in the morning. I was talking to Chris in the bathroom and I proceeded to rinse my contacts with my contact cleaner, not my saline solution. I scream in absolute pain, and Chris had to help me try to get the contact out of my eye (my eye shut completely and I had to pry the contact out). Eventually I was able to get the contact out, and flush my eye, but then it closed completely again. Ugh. What a way to start the day.

This event makes me incredibly late for my first meeting. I am frustrated and cranky that selecting the wrong bottle means for a painful and late morning. I go to a few meetings, and meet a friend for lunch. As I am telling her about my morning I look down and find a bug nestled in my salad. Yes, it was in my first bite too. I am starving and I do not have much time, so I pull out the piece of lettuce move it aside and proceed to eat the rest of my salad. Over our lunch conversation we talk about the days where there is a domino effect where one aspect is off and it continues throughout the rest of our day. She says: “It takes energy to be angry.” What an ah-ha moment for me. At the moment I do not have time and space for lost moments.

After lunch we walk back to our building. It is absolutely pouring down rain. She is trying to steer me away from a puddle I do not see. Yep, just like the rest of my day (contacts, bug) I do not see a puddle that is a foot or two deep and I walk through it and there is no way out. I was all in. So frustrated and discombobulated I think: “maybe I should just go home.” I do not. I move on and go to my next meeting and the one after that and proceed to maneuver through the rest of my day, slightly grumpy, slightly frustrated. I still remember my lunch and her reminder: “It takes energy to be angry.” I have to laugh it off and let it go.

It is hard though. While the events of my day are “first world” problems, these are the days when I think: “why me” or “why do I even try?” The good news is today is a new day. It is fresh, different, and I get to try it all over again. I will be more aware about my contacts and the puddles from this crazy amount of rain we are getting. As for bugs, well I am not even sure what to say. More protein?

“I eat the same thing everyday.”

We are all creatures of habit. I am not one to have to do the same thing everyday, but there are a few things in life that are pretty similar from day-to-day.

As I mentioned in my blog “Phone calls: No thank you” last weekend, during Portland’s mini snowstorm, I caught up on my Fast Company magazines and found the article: “Secrets of the Most Productive People” in the December 2013/January 2014 issue. There was a mention of the CEO of LearnVest. See, I am a finance buff, so I am a fan of LearnVest, a website that helps with personal finance. I receive their newsletter, and understand where the CEO, Alexa Von Tobel is coming from with this quote in the Fast Company article:

“Since the beginning of LearnVest, I’ve never left the office for food. I eat the same thing every single day [an apple, almonds, yogurt, a salad…], and I never sit still to eat a meal. My ultimate goal is to create operating systems for myself that allow me to think as little as possible about the silly decisions you can make all day long–like what to eat or where we should meet–so I can focus on making real decisions. Because mental energy is a finite quantity.”

I get it. I feel like during my work day I go from meeting to meeting, and often barely know when I am going to squeeze lunch in, or eat while at a meeting or at my desk while quickly trying to catch up on emails before my next meeting. Based on the crazy day, the last thing I want to do is think about what I want to eat for lunch. I usually just restrict it to salad. That way I am eating healthy, usually raw food that my body can easily process. However, often there are many different versions of a salad that I can decide from at work which always makes my decision that much harder, yet by just sticking to salad, I have narrowed my options and made my brain not have to think so much in an already busy day. So I am not as extreme as Von Tobel, but agree that often when you have so many other decisions to make during the day, why complicate things even more by having to decide what to eat.

Are you with me?