Burn it.

Not your baked goods. Don’t burn your baked goods. I’m talking about burning other things. But let’s eat first!

I was lucky enough to enjoy an evening with two of my closest friends this past Saturday, cruising around my beautiful city and generally feeling like the hipster I wish I could be. For dinner, we decided to make a huge salad, featuring collard greens, red leaf lettuce, grilled chicken breast, Roma tomatoes, roasted asparagus, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and Parmesan basil vinaigrette. Phew.

Asparagus is a really pretty vegetable.

The light helped a lot too.

Putting asparagus in the salad was partly inspired by this salad over at One Lovely Life, which may be the sweetest blog I read. That recipe includes the method for roasting the asparagus.

So pretty, right?

The kitchen was getting pretty crowded and busy at that point, and photos were not happening. Here’s the finished product!

Green. Lots of green.

Not the best picture, I know. But it really was delicious! It just felt like a big bowl of health. Raw collard greens are awesome! Hearty and strong. Note: if you’re gonna eat salad, don’t go for the iceberg lettuce. Seriously. Get yourself some kale or spinach or even a box of spring mix. Get some vitamins in there. Iceberg lettuce does nothing for you.

Then came the dessert portion of the evening. I made a strawberry clafoutis, found over at Shutterbean. This is such a simple recipe, and you probably have most of the ingredients already on hand. I just put it all together and stuck it in the oven. Since I was using a pan quite a bit larger than the one called for in the original recipe, I decided to keep checking on the clafoutis in case it cooked faster.

So I checked on it. And it wasn’t setting up. And I waited ten minutes. And it still wasn’t setting up.

I checked again. Hmm. Still the consistency it was when it went in. And then I realized that the oven was cold.

The oven wasn’t on, guys! You can’t even call that a rookie mistake- a rookie would know to turn the oven on! No worries, though. My friend’s parents put it back in the oven later, and when we returned from a show, the clafoutis was finished!

There’s a strawberry in there, I promise.

Clearly this is not the sexiest thing I’ve ever made. Next time, I would put it in the correct sized baking dish. I think it really affected how puffy it was supposed to be. I would also turn the oven on. Definitely. Otherwise, though, the taste and texture were not affected! It’s not especially sweet, which allows the berries to shine through. Clafoutis are a great way to showcase summer fruit, like berries, cherries, and stone fruit.

Let’s talk about burning things, shall we?

My family and I watched Secretariat the other night. Yes, the movie about the Triple Crown racehorse. We just really love horse racing, okay? But anyways, one scene stood out to me that night. The trainer, Lucien, hasn’t had much success until he trains Secretariat. The night before the Belmont Stakes (the last Triple Crown race), Lucien takes out some newspaper clippings from his wallet, all of them detailing his previous losses. Did you get that? He has literally been carrying his failures around with him. But just when you see what they are, Lucien puts them in a mug and lights them on fire. He burns them up.

I am a big believer in energy, karma, vibes, juju, whatever you call it. It comes from the hippie/actor alive and well deep inside of me. I think it was incredibly bad juju, or a ton of negative energy, for Lucien to be carrying those failures around with him. He was right to burn it up and finally move past it. And then it got me thinking.

You cannot carry your failures or your heartbreak around with you forever. You just can’t. Can it sometimes help make you a better person? Can it push you to do better, and influence your success? Maybe. But can’t it also lead you to doubt yourself? Doesn’t it also keep you from truly moving forward, and letting go? I think it does.

Look, I think I’ve learned from my past. But I’m also really good at clinging to crap for dear life. I myself have a problem with letting go of things. It’s not easy. It can be incredibly painful and just plain scary. I’ll give you an example and try to keep it short:

I fell in love with a guy. We were in a play together, and we shared a very emotional scene, just the two of us. He was dark and troubled and lost and all those words good girls like me find simultaneously terrifying and enthralling. We became very close. He was in a crappy relationship at the time. Figures, right? We stayed in touch through the next two years, through the end, resurgence, and final gasps of that relationship, my first year of college, and early last fall. We had always gone around and around in circles about what “we” could be, together, and what that would involve. Finally last fall I thought I might be able to see him in person. We discussed meeting up, our lack of relationships, etc. The conversation quickly turned to hooking up. I knew that that wasn’t what I wanted. I wasn’t going there. We were going to hang out as friends, no hooking up involved. I just wanted to be a friend to him, and see where it would lead from there. He wasn’t interested unless it meant we’d mess around.

And I knew that that wasn’t what I wanted. That was not what I was looking for, and it was not going to make me happy. So I told him exactly that. Needless to say, we didn’t hang out in the fall. And we haven’t spoken since.

Despite all of that, he was still my friend on Facebook, and I kept his number in my phone. Countless times have I looked around on his profile page, or considered messaging or texting him. It’s summer again, which is when I fell for him, and he just kept showing up in my mind and in my dreams. And then I saw that scene from Secretariat, and I realized that it’s time. Some bridges have to be burned.

I’ve unfriended him. I’ve deleted his number from my phone. I’m not carrying that bad energy around with me anymore. It’s not going to hold me back anymore than it already has. So I’m going to challenge you to do a little spring cleaning for your soul. Delete that number in your phone you’re still holding on to. You know who I’m talking about! Unfriend about 20 people. Give yourself a break from social media. Stop the Facebook stalking. Write it out. Listen to some awesome music (I highly recommend Andy Grammer and The Rocket Summer for these moments).

Please do this for yourself. There’s a great big world out there. Get rid of the crap that’s filling you up so you can open yourself to more of the good stuff. The real good stuff.

I am sending you love and good vibes, and praying that you will find the twenty seconds of insane courage you need to do this.

I believe in you!

Gaby

P.S. Um, don’t actually burn things, please. That’s not safe. We all get that the burning is metaphorical, right? Good.

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