Life Lately...and a Winter Citrus Salad
Well, this year is off to an interesting start. Interesting, because it’s certainly been unlike any other new year in my adult life. How so, you might ask... Oh gosh, let me count the ways.
1. Chris and I endured “Dry January.” For the first time in over 10 years (not even joking) we went an entire month without a sip of alcohol. And you know what? I lost weight, slept way better, and present day...am quite content with just a single glass of wine on Friday and Saturday nights.
2. I’ve given up coffee, completely. Read: Caffeine free! This was a crazy feat too because this lady freaking loves her morning coffee. From the taste...to more importantly, the burst of energy...it’s one of my most favorite vices. But, I weaned myself off slowly...and it worked. By gradually increasing the ratio of almond milk to coffee till I got to that last cup containing a mere splash of coffee in a pool of milk, I did it. My nerves have been thanking me too.
Okay, but why would I do such a thing? Read on...
3. If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been talking very openly about a subject that’s unfortunately, not talked about enough. Infertility. It’s a real treat, guys. Of course, I’m being sarcastic because it’s nothing of the sort.
Straight up, the struggle is real and the struggle sucks. But you know what doesn’t suck? Science. Because after 2 years of trying to conceive naturally and also trying with the help of drugs and IUIs - aka, the ahem, “turkey baster” procedure...I’m confident we will be getting our little bundle of joy thanks to IVF, which will begin in March. It’s basically the gold standard in fertility treatment but it’s also one hellish process so needless to say, I’m praying our first run with it will work. And to all my church going friends - by all means, add us to those prayer lists.
So with that, I’ve also modified my diet a bit...to appease this stupid condition I have (Endometriosis- read more here, if you’re curious) which has prevented us from getting pregnant, besides a very quick 6-week pregnancy last January. Turns out, caffeine, red meat, gluten, and alcohol all exacerbate this condition that affects 10% of women. So, I’ve cut out gluten, red meat (which I barely touched anyways), and alcohol (in excess) too.
But, I am totally indulging still in delicious things that make me happy. Like this freaking rainbow of a citrus salad with ricotta, olive oil, sea salt, pistachio, mint, and chive. It’s just so, so pretty and also, quite delectable too. The sweet tang of the blood orange and milder/sweeter cara cara oranges and satsuma mandarins...paired with the creamy ricotta and avocado, crunchy pistachios, fresh mint, and drizzle of olive oil and salt to round it all out. Heaven in your mouth, trust me.
So here’s my recipe, that’s not really a recipe at all.
Winter Citrus Salad
(serves 2 as a side salad)
1 Blood Orange
1 Cara Cara orange
½ avocado, sliced in wedges
6 teaspoons Polly-O ricotta cheese, divided
3 tablespoons pistachios, shelled
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 teaspoons chive, chopped small
Using a paring knife, cut the very ends of each orange. Then, stand them on the cut ends and carefully carve along the sides of the oranges, removing all white fiber too. Then, slice in ¼ inch rounds. For the mandarins, carefully peel with your hands, then slice. Arrange on a large plate or shallow bowl. Add avocado wedges and teaspoon dollops of ricotta sporadically on top. Sprinkle with pistachios, mint leaves (I used the smallest ones but you could also chiffonade cut larger leaves), and chopped chive. Drizzle with your best olive oil and then sprinkle entire salad with sea salt. Voila - the brightest most delicious salad for 2!
I’d pair a salad like this with a salmon or roast chicken dinner...but it’d also be quite delicious alongside a tuna or chicken salad sandwich too!