Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy Father’s Day out there to all the Daddy’s!
As I look back on the last post from March, I have been trying to figure out where the past 2 months may have vanished to. I am sure there was a lot of learning and thrifty-ing going on. I am positive there were some amazing adventures that were had. I also know that it was busy. Busy seemed to be an enormous theme for many of the people that I encountered over the past few months. Way too much stuff to get done and not enough hours in a day to do it all.
Karen had talked about how nice to-do lists were – write it down and take it out of the mental clutter. My to-do lists required a file system this past spring. At one point there were 12 tabbed lists, and I felt like I was losing my mind trying to accomplish anything. But, slow and steady wins the race, and I am down to just 5 tabbed to-do lists, and I am maintaining (ish). Just getting to the end of the school year has helped my mental clutter a lot, and cleared out a few to-do sheets, at least, until next fall!
So why are we, as a whole society, feeling so unproductive and mentally exhausted? If you google “reasons why we are unproductive” you will find a bigillion articles dedicated to this phenomenon. Each of us are busy in our way. We have jobs, families, hobbies, passions. Each other these parts of our lives are important and require time and effort. I’m not here to tell you how to prioritize your life, because I’m obviously trying to figure mine out, too. But after reading this particular article (https://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-1-reason-youre-not-productive.html), I think a key factor for me is to try to focus on one thing at a time. I need to work on allotting a certain amount of time to a single project, before I mentally jump to something else. And there lies the key – staying mentally engaged in one project, and diminishing the distractions, whatever those “distractions” might be in an individual’s life.
Seems simple, right? It’s always the simple answers that seem to win in the long run. Good luck as we battle this crazy “busy” phenomenon. Remember, we are all in it together, so let’s help each other out. Be kind and patient with each other. One person’s busy is not any different or less important than someone else’s. And honesty, we are suffering our own personal messes. It’s not a contest. Show more compassion and less judgement.
Well, that got a little deeper than I anticipated! Let’s lighten things up a little bit and talk future food preservation (because, Hello Gardening Time!) and I’ll leave you with a seasonal recipe. As we continue to grow our gardens it’s always good to know or learn new ways to prepare and preserve our bounties. Even if you don’t garden, but want to save some of those delicious farmer’s market delights for later, here are some interesting ways to keep those pleasures around a bit longer: http://www.homepreservingbible.com/608-5-ways-to-preserve-fruits-or-vegetables-other-than-canning-freezing-or-drying/
And talk about a seasonal recipe – the only way this could get better is if you could pick these ingredients up locally! (Thanks to https://www.wellplated.com/spinach-strawberry-salad/ for the recipe!)
Spinach Strawberry Salad and Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing
For the Strawberry Spinach Salad:
- 3/4 cup raw pecans
- 1/2 small red onion — very thinly sliced
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach — I also love a 50/50 arugula and spinach blend
- 1 quart strawberries — hulled and quartered (about 1 pound)
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese — buy the block-style feta, not pre-crumbled; the texture is much better
For the Poppy seed Dressing:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Toast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the pecans smell fragrant and the center of a pecan is tan when the pecan is broken in half. (Do not walk away from the oven in the last few minutes of cooking. This is when nuts love to burn.) Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop.
- Place the sliced onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad (this keeps their flavor but removes the harsh onion bite).
- Prepare the dressing: In small mixing bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients—vinegar, oil, poppy seeds, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper—until well combined. (Alternatively, you can shake the ingredients together in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid).
- Assemble the salad: Place the spinach in a great big serving bowl. Add the strawberries. Drain the red onion and add it as well. Drizzle about half of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat the leaves. Assess the amount of dressing. You want the spinach leaves to be nicely moistened but not swimming in dressing. Add a little more if needed to suit your preferences. Add the feta and pecans. Toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately, with extra dressing on the side as desired.
- Dress the salad as shortly before serving as you can. If you don’t plan to eat it all right away, dress only what you plan to eat right away, then store the leftover, undressed salad in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Refrigerate leftover dressing in an airtight container (a jar is perfect) for up to 5 days, then shake before serving.
And with that my fellow Thrifty Sisters, have a wonderful Father’s Day. Enjoy the start to summer and good luck trying to tame the “busy” in your life. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun, and be good to each other.