Sometimes, though, I find it hard to relax and do nice things for myself. I make a to-do list in my head, and feel unaccomplished if I don't finish it. I get into the mindset that since it's a day off, I better hurry up and do something since I might not have time to during the week. I also don't see the point in treating myself to something relaxing and soul-nourishing -- I'd rather spend the money on something practical, like food, than something I really want, like a kombucha or flowers. With the economy like it is right now, we're penny-pinching -- this isn't the time to be frivolous with money.
Yesterday, however, I realized that I need to be nicer to myself. I need to relax. It's okay to sit and meditate. I'm much happier if I go for a walk downtown, window shopping with a cup of tea warming my hands, or go for a stroll with Andrew around one of Portland's many trails. It makes me a better person, a less stressed out person, a more focused person. I made it a point yesterday to relax, do nice things for myself, and not to feel guilty about it. Isn't it funny that it's hard to do feel like it's a valid thing to feel relaxed?
corner store for ages, and decided that it was high time I got a bunch. They're something both Andrew and I can enjoy, and now the kitchen and dining room are filled with both color and fragrance.
Next, I ordered some shoes. I haven't gotten new "dressy" shoes in almost a year (and my last pair cost me $5 at a second hand store) and really wanted some to wear with skirts, since Spring is on its way. I have a really hard time justifying buying clothes or shoes for myself, but I couldn't pass these up. Although I would have rather bought these locally, I had a gift card lingering around from Amazon, so this treat ended up costing me only a couple of dollars. I can't wait for them to come in!
After lunch, I realized how lovely it was outside. I knew I'd have to go into town to pick up Andrew from work, so I figured I'd go in a bit early to enjoy the weather and walk around. All that walking made me thirsty, so I treated myself to tea at Market House Coffee, in the Public Markethouse. I love walking around the Markethouse -- there's a wonderful cheese shop downstairs, and they just renovated the upstairs to include some new restaurants. There's a shop that specializes in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches called Peanutbutter Jelly Time and a lovely soup shop called Kamasouptra, which both have gluten free bread (and soup) options. I made a mental note to check these places out as a treat with Andrew while I made my way over to the coffee shop, which had an impressive array of teas to choose from. I love chai tea and had never had chai green tea before, so I had to try it. They also had almond and rice milk in addition to soy milk, which made me very happy.
After tea, I commenced walking around town, and headed to one of our lovely local bookshops, Longfellow Books. I headed for the cooking section, where I found The Best Food Writing for 2009 used for $3! Score! I know the stories in here will inspire me with my food writing here on the blog. Turns out Longfellow's wanted to treat me too -- they had free copies of Poetry Magazine's latest issue. Pretty awesome. Reading instead of staying stuck to the internet all day has been a goal of mine, and these too books (along with my recent Harry Potter addiction) will help that!
After bringing Andrew home, I decided to keep my Sunday nourishing my making a dish I had been craving -- a version of Eggplant Parmesan. This is one of those Sunday meals I distinctly remember my mom making. I'd help her dip the eggplant slices into the egg and milk mixture, and then into the breadcrumbs. It was so warm, just out of the oven -- I'd sneak a nibble of it even though I was well aware that it was too hot to eat. The contrast of the rough skin and the delicate flesh surrounded by the texture of bread and the full flavor of cheese is a taste I can almost recreate on my tongue through imagination. After going gluten free, I knew there had to be a way to make these without splurging on gluten free bread or breadcrumbs. Looking in my pantry, I figured that oats would do the trick, if I blended them up a little bit in the blender. Instead of Parmesan cheese I used the cheddar that we had in the fridge, but you could use whatever sort of cheese you want. Goat cheese or even vegan cheese would top these lovelies off in a delicious way. When I took them out of the oven, I ate them, even though they burned my fingers a bit. Oh, was it fantastic. The seasoning added just the right touch and aroma, the oats mimicked the bread crumbs and even added a bit of extra complexity. I served these alongside some other "Sunday" dishes, but for the sake of not making this post super monstrous, I'll save them for later. For now, here's my "Oated Cheesy Eggplant":
Oated Cheesy Eggplant
- 2 tablespoons salt.
- 1/2 medium-sized eggplant, cut into diagonal slices to maximize size about 1/2 inch thick (I made 8)
- 1 cup gluten free oats, blended a bit in the blender so that you can still tell that they're oats, not a flour
- 1/4 cup cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons Italian Spice mixture
- olive oil
I ended the day reading my book and listening to some great music with Andrew. I felt totally relaxed and refreshed, and just all around good. Although it seems like my day of being nice to myself ended up being a shopping spree, I think it was more the actions of enjoying these things. Taking time to smell my hyacinths and decorating our apartment with them, taking a long sip of warm tea while enjoying the weather, spending time with a good book. Taking time to nourish yourself and relax doesn't have to involve money, and usually I don't buy things for myself. You can take time to meditate, to journal, to call up an old friend and talk.
I think today I'm going to continue the trend and practice yoga and meditation this afternoon.
What do you do to relax and nourish yourself? Do you have a hard time relaxing? Do you hold back from buying things for yourself? How was your weekend? I hope you all have a great Monday!