I have to admit, this whole quarantine thing is really bringing me to a place mentally that I haven't been to in years on top of giving me totally new anxieties. Every other hour I go from being okay to convinced I have or am going to catch this virus. All this during spring allergy season when my breathing is already sub-par? Ugh. And don't get me started on thinking about my friends and family at this time. It feel like everything is just so out of my control! And in a way, it is.
There are a few things I find comfort in during this time, however. Knowing I'm not the only one experiencing these overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression. Reintroducing calming self care like yoga and meditation back into my daily routine. Cooking for and therefore caring for my boyfriend and his dad (I LOVE cooking in general, but cooking for the people I love is my absolute favorite). This time has allowed me to get creative with what's on hand knowing that a grocery store run isn't so easy to do. And while we may be stuck inside for who knows how long I refuse to let it stop us from enjoying every meal.
**NOTE: Truthfully, I wrote this post before all of the crazy events that have taken place over the past few of weeks. Sure, coronavirus was a concern then, but it hadn't kicked into full gear. I thought about rewriting this to be more appropriate to the time, but decided it best to keep it as is. After all, there was an authenticity to it when it was originally written and why would I want to take that away from it? In all seriousness, I hope this recipe serves you all well while we are quarantining. Stay safe, eat good food, and enjoy.**
When it comes to meat, fish and seafood tend to be my favorite (sorry, pork, you are close but not quite #1). Yet every winter my fish consumption drops as I tend to crave heavier, filling meals. But who is to say I can't enjoy a hearty fish dish? Why does my brain automatically pass it over as if it won't be satisfying?
When people turn 30 it usually goes one of two ways - they either have a mini crisis because they can't fathom that their 20's are over, or they are ready to take on adulthood by the horns. OK - maybe that is a bit of a generalization. A stereotype at best. But there is some truth to it! I recently turned 30 and I'd say I landed somewhere in the middle. I was SO excited to turn 30 (bye bye 20's) and didn't necessarily have a crisis but I made a lot of change happen (because who wants to waste their time doing things they don't care about anyway). I moved into a new apartment in a new neighborhood, quit my job to pursue my dreams, and decided to take better care of myself and my health. After all, I'm not getting younger.
I'm stretching and meditating *almost* daily. I'm being good about being less negative and having more gratitude in my life. I'm trying to sleep at least 7 hours a night. I've already cut back on/virtually eliminated gluten because it is inflammatory for me. I eat significantly less dairy because, well, same. I eat way more vegetables. And now I'm trying to really get some whole grain balance in there.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to be healthier. Not that I wasn’t before, but my sweet tooth was getting a bit out of control, plus I made the decision a couple months back to manage my PCOS with diet and lifestyle rather than with medication (honestly, I hate taking pills. Talk about an anxiety trigger). With this effort, I am learning a lot about not only my habits and cravings, but simple ingredient swaps I can do to make my go-to meals that much better for me.
Enter salmon cakes. I LOVE making salmon cakes. They are crazy easy to do and are a great pantry dinner (I use canned salmon for these). Typically I make these using [gluten free] breadcrumbs and end up frying them in a pan with vegetable oil, but that’s old me. New me swaps for better ingredients that are still yummy and satisfying while being healthier. So this version has almond flour in place of breadcrumbs and coconut oil in place of vegetable oil.
I don't know many people who are thrilled at the idea of moving, especially in NYC. I have to say that I am certainly not, so the fact that I have to for the first time in 7 years this coming weekend is stressing me out a bit. Sorting through years worth of clothes and "stuff" and deciding what to toss/donate/keep and how to pack it is tough! But the one fun thing that is involved? Truly clearing out my pantry!
I'm really testing myself with creativity as I work my way through various cans and jars and packets of food I've had forever but never actually used. I don't need that extra weight for the move and I'm certainly not tossing perfectly fine food out! In this time I've discovered I have like, 8 jars of chickpeas. Don't ask me why. I couldn't tell you. But I'm not mad about it because I've been snacking HARD on crispy chickpeas! Crazy easy to make and they're packed full of protein...which lets face it, I need for all of the heavy lifting I'll be doing this week.
Ali is a Brooklyn based blogger and Certified Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, providing you with healthy recipes to inspire you to cook more at home! She is a firm believer in knowing that eating healthy can be made easy and inexpensive if you simply know how to cook. Whether you are looking for easy weeknight recipes, delicious snacks, or want to try something new, Ali's recipes are easy to follow at all skill levels! For more info about Ali and her offerings, check out the About page.