Do you get in those traps where you tell yourself (and everyone within a decent listening radius) that you’re soooo busy, but you’re also like, perpetually stuck in highly sneaky, time-wasting downward spirals? The end of the year brings a lot of heavy, life-y things into the foreground. How did we grow and change? What can I do differently? How can we make it easier? Add to that the million tasks, work, the gift guides, the merry-making… I think it’s easy to feel suffocated by your own life this time of year. Obviously some perspective plays into that, but you know what I mean.
All of the things have been veering on the edge of completely-out-of-my-control lately, so every night before I go to bed, I make a list of things I have to accomplish the next day (FYI: surprisingly effective strategy for getting a good night’s sleep). There’s the normal work stuff on those lists, but there’s also things like”remember to put chia seeds on the oatmeal,” and “eat some vegetables before work,” or “drink at least 3 litres of water,” and my fave: “pause and stretch before getting out of bed.” Cool thing? Silly as those reminders seem, I actually accomplish those little bits. The list makes for some structured intent on the wellness front–less of a wishy-washy, completely distant goal. It’s all right there in a quantified or qualified sense under a bolded date in capital letters.
So the work seems to follow along when I’m penciling out my stretches and veggie snacks. You know how they would strategically schedule nap and snack times in kindergarten? I guess there’s some wisdom there. I’ve been so contentedly living by the list that I’m experiencing pre-emptive relaxation guilt over our upcoming 48 hour trip to Denver this weekend.
This also happened last Sunday when we took a little drive into the city to see a friend for a leisurely brunch. On the way there, my head was muddied with ideas of things I should have been doing instead of taking an entire day away from it all. Once I had that warm coffee cup in my hand, I stopped thinking about maximizing any renovation productivity, ingredients I had to buy for whatever shoot, or how my holiday work schedule could translate into any remote concept of free time. The meal and the gathering around it put me in the moment and brought some sense of relief. I think we all look for that in certain ways–whether it’s from a long day at work, unforeseen challenges in day-to-day being, the deluge of Black Friday emails, those self-imposed trappings of guilt, or obsessive list-making. Relief is release, however you arrive to it.
I decided to throw together this little warm-spiced fruit deal for our brunch gathering and I was so pleased with how it turned out–actually one of the better, simpler things I’ve made in a while. I just had this loose idea for a particularly pretty winter fruit salad with pine-y rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla rooibos tea, a good hit of maple and cool mint. The different bits of citrus and pomegranate are all juicy and tart, the persimmon is soft and delicately sweet, and I like to use bosc pears for a lightly crisp bite. The woodsy sweetness from the syrup helps to veer this dish away from being a simple bowl of fruit, which I generally love to serve alongside a traditional dessert at a dinner get-together anyway, just so that the option to go lightly is there for anyone in need.
WINTER CITRUS SALAD WITH PERSIMMON AND ROSEMARY ROOIBOS SYRUP
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 6-8, depending on what else you’re serving
NOTES: I don’t think a persimmon needs to border on rotten to be ripe. If you’re holding it, it should have the mush factor of a lightly worked-in hackie sack. Also, my favourite vanilla rooibos of EVER is by Mariage Frères (and it comes loose or pre-bagged).
1/4 cup maple syrup
big splash of water
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla rooibos tea
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 ripe persimmons, sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled + segmented
2-3 satsumas or clementines, peeled + segmented
1 pomelo, peeled + segmented
2 bosc pears, cored + sliced
1 small pomegrante’s worth of seeds/arils
juice of 1 lime
handful of seeds (I used sesame + pumpkin)
1 sprig of mint, leaves sliced fine
In a small saucepan, combine all of the syrup ingredients. Put it over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, swirling the contents here and there. Once it’s boiling a bit, take it off the heat and set aside. Allow it all to steep for a good 10 minutes or so.
While the syrup is steeping, peel and chop all of your salad ingredients. Throw them all into a large serving bowl, reserving a bit of the mint and seeds for the top. Toss everything in the lime juice. Strain the syrup in a fine mesh strainer right over the bowl of fruit. Toss it all together and garnish winter citrus salad with the leftover mint and seeds. Serve it up right away.