Sometimes, you just need a day for yourself. For weeks, my stress has been like one big rubber band ball, tight inside my chest. I’d manage to loosen a band here or there, by eating dinner outside, taking a long walk or reading with a glass of iced chai. But almost immediately, the band would snap back into place, tightening back around the ball.
So I decided to spend an entire day getting pampered and relaxed. I started with a long bike ride, then headed out for a haircut, manicure and pedicure and acupuncture treatment. In between my appointments, I sat in coffee shops, sipping fruity iced tea and alternating between Barbara Kingsolver’s La Lacuna and Jen Lancaster’s The Tao of Martha. And other than a few Instagram photos, I was completely unplugged from 11 to 11.
It was incredibly luxurious and self-indulgent. I came out of my final appointment, my acupuncture treatment, feeling calm, happy and a little drowsy from falling asleep in the chair. The day was exactly what I needed.
Let’s all try to remember to do this from time to time: to take a day to unwind entirely, to do what relaxes us and releases our rubber band stress balls. Deal?
The past few weeks have been busy and intense, so I've been focusing on light, simple meals that are packed with vegetables and have enough leftovers to make a good lunch the following day. This farro salad fits the bill exactly. If you don't have farro, this salad could also be good with cooked barley or quinoa instead. And if garlic scapes are no longer in season near you, a basil pesto would work as well.
- 1 cup dry farro
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 handful garlic scapes (about 18 scapes)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 small carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
- In a small saucepan, cover the farro with the water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncover and reduce the heat to medium-low, simmering until the water has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the garlic scape pesto. Whir the scapes in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Garlic scapes can be a bit unwieldy, so be sure to scrape down the sides a few times to get any pieces that are caught in the lid of the food processor. Stream in the olive oil and lemon juice, and taste the pesto. Add a bit more lemon juice or olive oil as needed, to taste. The pesto should still be thicky, not liquidy.
- Toss the cooked farro with the pesto, which will melt a bit in the hot grains. When all the grains are covered in garlic scape pesto, toss in the zucchini, carrots and mozzarella. Serve warm.