I woke up two days ago and thought to myself, "My gosh, how is it already the middle of January?" That's why, I guess, I am writing about the new year well into it. Typically, the passing of one year to another immediately brings resolutions, fresh perspective, and hope for the year to come. For me, however, the passing of 2016 into 2017 took me back in time first. I spent the first 18 days of this year reflecting on all 365 of the previous. Admittedly, I have done some wallowing and a self-loathing (I’m a real pro at these activities). Existential crisis-inducing thoughts like “What exactly am I doing with my life?" and "Was that the best decision?” and “Dang, March was a tough month” have all barged into my brain, gotten cozy, and made their home.
From the outside, you could, understandably, label this process as bad. We should all shake off the past and move forward, right? Totally, I agree, but I don’t think this mini journey backwards has been a bad brain exercise. For the first time, honestly, I took real time to see and experience the triumphs and the failures of the previous year with the perspective of being out of the moment. That process has given me hope for the year moving forward.
I can feel a lot of change coming in 2017 (I’ll avoid a nod to tomorrows political shift, and stay focused on the positive) and I believe positive change begins with shouting out to the world what you wish were different. What better place to do just that than my own blog?
So by now, you've probably guessed that all this doesn’t have a lot to do with kale or sweet potatoes, but this is truly the perfect recipe pairing for words about newness, change, and reflection. This recipe is different from what we typically share (i.e. take a look at our vegetable section, it's hilariously small compared to our sweets section in the archives – so, here's some change!) It’s also a recipe that comes from my past (reflection!). My old roommate in DC shared this with me years ago when I was learning more about healthy eating and realizing kale was not only used for blending with pineapple and blueberries in a smoothie. Every time I make it I’m taken back to our tiny basement apartment and the fall season in one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever lived. It is a good thing from my past that I will carry into every new year to come.
Okay, back to shouting out the change I want to see in myself this year. I want to:
- Say I’m sorry more when I mean it & less when I don’t
- See the positive things in the worst parts of my day & week
- Compare myself to myself and stop comparing myself to others
- Listen to people who I would often rather tune out
There are other smaller resolutions like getting on Instagram less, reading more, and exercising often but those are the big ones. I know many of us are afraid for 2017 and beyond. I know many of us don’t know how or where to begin to create change. I’m only guessing, but I believe it all begins by looking in the rear-view mirror and recognizing how we’ve grown, for better or worse.
- Preheat oven to 450 and drizzle sweet potatoes and onion with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, parsley (you can use other herbs like red pepper if you like heat or sage!) then bake for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- Grab a small bowl and whisk the honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper until well incorporated, set aside.
- Blanche the kale very quickly (1 min or less) and drain with cold water.
- To assemble, drizzle a couple of teaspoons of dressing over the kale, add in the sweet potato and onion mixture and more dressing until well coated, then garnish with goat cheese and cranberries and serve warm or room temperature. (I also added toasted pumpkin seeds for a little crunch!)