Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Working Towards Happiness + Roasted Root Vegetables

Lately, I seem to be carrying a huge burden on my shoulders that I cannot let go. It has also been hard for me to focus on my priorities and I find myself evading responsibility instead of facing it. Smiling, giving, and being happy recently became a challenge instead of just coming out naturally. Something has to be done… I decided to make a list of ten things I need to work on that can hopefully lead me on the path to a happier self.      

Things I Need to Work On (in random order):

1. Listen to my body. Do not push it too hard and take one step at a time to improve yoga poses, run faster and longer, lift heavier weights, and so on. I have to remember that forcing my body to push too hard too soon will only result in injuries. Will I be able to enjoy being active if I’m hurt? The answer is easy: No. So, I need to respect my body by listening to it.

2. Extend my patience and be sincerely patient with everyone around me every day.

3. Quit procrastinating! Do what NEEDS to be done and not do other things to avoid what needs to be done.

4. Do a series of four sun salutations first thing in the morning and send good thoughts to a person I love and whoever I am in discord with.

5. Do a series of four sun salutations before going to bed and think of three positive things that happened during the day.

6. Go to bed before 11:00 so I can fall asleep before or by 11:00. I need at least 7 hours of sleep!

7. Every day, read at least two chapters of whatever book I am currently reading.

8. Not worry too much about what tomorrow is going to bring and just enjoy today!

9. Connect with my loved ones more often and let them know how special they are.

10. Be mindful of my breathing and take long, deep breaths. It’s surprising what a huge difference this makes in improving my mood!

Now, on to some food matters… We have said goodbye to winter a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t resist and had to give these root vegetables a last go and am more than glad that I did. 

This dish has an amazing medley of flavors… sweet, starchy, and a refreshing tart bite from the dressing. Roasting different root vegetables brightened all the earthy flavors… and altogether, it was like vegetable candy heaven. The best part was the delicious beets that turned everything a gorgeous pink!   

Roasted Root Vegetables (Makes 4-6 servings)
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes and Caper Vinaigrette, Plenty

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 parsnip, sliced
1 turnip, sliced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, sliced
1 medium potato, sliced
2 beets, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press

16 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 large basil leaves, torn
freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp capers
½ tbsp agave nectar, maple flavor (or real maple syrup or honey)
½ tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large roasting pan, toss onions, parsnip slices, and turnip slices with olive oil, rosemary, parsley, and salt.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove roasting pan from oven and add another tablespoon of olive oil then toss in carrot slices, potato slices, beet slices, and garlic. Stir well and roast for 20 more minutes.

Remove roasting pan from oven and add cherry tomatoes and basil. Stir well and roast for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by stirring together in a small bowl the lemon juice, capers, agave nectar, and Dijon mustard.

As soon as the roasting pan is removed from the oven, pour the dressing over the vegetables, grind pepper on top to your desired amount, and mix everything well.    

Some notes on how I served this:

- Served this with quinoa and it was great.
- It went well on top of corn tortillas warmed in a pan with melted cheese.
- Leftovers were heated in a skillet and an egg was poached on top. Served with buttered toast or cheesy tortillas on the side… voila, deliciousness!
- Leftovers were also used in a quinoa stir-fry with an egg scrambled in right before the burner was turned off.   

Remember: It is essential to heat leftovers in a skillet to bring back some crunch to the veggies.  


  1. I love the goals you've set. I need to do better at being patient too. I'm a high school teacher...and it's the end of the year. Senioritis all around!

  2. Procrastinating is definitely on the top of my list every time.
    But honestly, this looks absolutely fabulous! Also, I keep meaning to make quinoa, but never get around to it! I keep reading about how it's so good for you, and this and that, but I just can never remember when it actually comes time to cook something! I should write it on my forehead or something...

  3. I think those are great goals! A lot of them I could lift right off the page and apply to myself! :) ESPECIALLY the procrastinating one!

  4. I always try to see the good at all things even the bad ones. This is the only goal that helps me have a good mood almost all days! It is very good that you have set goals and I hope they will help you and cheer you up. The vegetables look absolutely mouthwatering!


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