I’m a little jangled right now. My son started his first day of 11th grade, which I dealt with by feeling overwhelmed with stress on the work front. My daughter leaves tomorrow for her second year of college, which leaves me feeling excited, proud, melancholy, and old. Less stressful than Year 1, but still emotional. I took a too-hard, too-crowded, too-much-rap-music (wtf?) yoga class, which made me angry and tearful: My hip is cranky; who are these people who CAN do this class? Clearly I am getting too old. Maybe I will just sing and knit and get fat. Yowza!
Thursday night, I dreamt that my pet parakeet had a new water dispenser and I realized that she could drown in it if I didn’t watch over her at all times. Do you think I am worried about my children? As our pediatrician counseled us at baby-proofing stage, only half-joking: “Never let them out of your sight.”
Friday night, I dreamt that my hair suddenly was much grayer. I wondered if I should begin to color it, debating between being my authentic self and not wanting to look too old. Do you think I am worried about aging? Who IS that woman in the mirror and what did she do with my 35-year-old self?
When doing some back-to-school errands with my daughter, someone made a strange turn at an intersection. I thought about my son beginning to drive and was overcome with the dangers of driving and the fear of losing them to an accident. Which would be devastating. Which led me to musing at how wonderful both my children are. Precious, good, honest, empathetic, better than me, better than my husband. How is it possible that these two amazing human beings are my children? Which led me me to tears at a stop light. Praying that they survive the dangers of everyday living. Overcome with love and gratitude.
Clearly, I am in need of some comfort food. The problem is that traditional comfort foods (Macaroni and Cheese, Oreos and Milk, Pot Roast with Gravy) are too rich. I don’t enjoy these foods. I feel too guilty. And too full. For me, comfort food is simple and easy, includes favorite childhood foods, can be eaten in large quantities, and is healthily guilt-free.
When I was a little girl, we had a neighbor with an extensive garden who would let me eat tomatoes warm off the vine. They were perhaps the most delicious food ever. I never tire of good tomatoes but am usually frustrated that they never live up to my memory of those garden tomatoes. Every summer, my mother would make a simple salad of tomatoes and avocado. She must be one of the first people who put together a simple composed salad without any lettuce. Who needs lettuce!
The local tomatoes have been pretty good this summer. And, ballerina-eating-trick: you can eat vast quantities of tomatoes without incurring a lot of calories. No need for lettuce, the tomatoes form a delicious base for salads and require minimal dressing. While I don’t eat very much meat any more, I do love chicken and indulge in it occasionally. This is one of my favorite go-to salads and is what I had for lunch on this day of mixed and jangled emotions.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette
- 1 small grilled chicken breast
- ½ cup leftover brown rice
- ½ beefsteak tomato
- ½ avocado
- Corn, cut from 1 leftover cob (I always make extra corn on the cob for leftovers)
Dice everything into roughly equal sized small pieces. If you are OCD, like me, you can even make sure that you have the same number of pieces of each ingredient, insuring that each bite has a little bit of everything.
- 2 Tablespoons plain greek yogurt (ballerina-eating-trick: Replace some fats with plain greek yogurt. Adds tang and has fewer calories and fat. I use plain greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches.)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
Whisk together and spoon over salad.
1 large salad for lunch – good for jangled nerves, especially if you share the salad with your college-bound daughter.