The Task Tamer

It's Just the Beginning!

Teri 06/27/2016 Comments

Last Tuesday was June 21, also known as the Summer Solstice. It is the longest day of the year and the official start to summer. That day is always depressing to me. 

 

I love summer because I love the heat. My favorite temperatures all start with an eight and involve being outside for long periods of time. Sitting on my back porch, enjoying a glass of cucumber water or fresh brewed iced tea while reading a book is one of my favorite pastimes. Riding around in a golf cart with my husband while he golfs and I read is another wonderful way to spend the day. Getting out for an early morning walk when the world is quiet and the birds are tweeting for joy at the start of a new day is the best way to wake up! 

 

So are you asking why I get depressed on the first day of summer? Because somehow, in my brain, I think if the longest day of the year has come and gone then the days are getting shorter and summer is coming to an end! Crazy, right? Heck, it isn't even July yet! The kids in the neighborhood just had their last day of school! It is 90 degrees out and will be in the eighties or nineties for the foreseeable future! So what’s my problem? I need a serious new attitude about this. 

 

Just like with anything involving your mind, changing the way you think and act takes serious work. I recently looked back at the blogs I have written since I started in 2013. In one of the first, I wrote about creating a habit. It takes 66 days to develop a new behavior. If you can stick with it for that long, chances are it will be incorporated into your daily patterns. I am going to spend the next 2 months reminding myself summer is in full swing! Until the fall equinox on September 22, the days will be longer than the nights and the temperatures should be where I like them. No more bundling up just to get out of bed or go outside! I will not look at each day as another day closer to snow, but as another day to embrace our gorgeous summer season!

 

What is something you would like to develop into a habit? If you start now, by the end of August you will have accomplished whatever you chose. It could be something like trying to change your outlook from negative to positive or incorporating a new activity into your routine or maybe even breaking a bad habit. One day at a time will get you there. As for me, I need to create lots of memories to get me through the long, cold winter that is still months and months away! 

 

This time of year is a great time to experiment with fresh food because it is everywhere! If you want to get into a habit of cooking more, this is the perfect time to make that happen. As always, do not to be afraid to experiment! Adding, substituting or removing ingredients in recipes will make each dish your very own. The recipe I used this week was an appetizer that I turned into a main dish. It came together quickly because I had pesto sauce in my freezer. Feel free to make fresh, though, or use your favorite jarred. 

 

Artichoke and Mushroom Rice with Pesto 

adapted from The Kind Diet

 

Ingredients:artichoke mushroom rice

1 cup brown rice, rinsed

2 1/4 cups water or broth

3 tablespoons cooking oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons mirin or favorite cooking white wine

2 teaspoons amino acids or soy sauce or tamari

2 garlic scapes, chopped or 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, chopped

2-3 cups sliced mushrooms, crimini or button or a blend

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired

1 tablespoon olive oil

Splash of your favorite white vinegar (champagne, rice, etc.)

1/4 cup prepared pesto 

 

Directions:

  1. Combine rice and water (or broth) in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 40-45 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium. Whisk oil, balsamic, mirin and aminos and add to warm pan. Add garlic, mushrooms and onions, stir well. Cover and let cook 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft and mushrooms are a deep, rich brown. Uncover and allow liquid to cook off, another 10 minutes.
  3. Once rice and mushrooms are cooking, place artichokes, jalapeño, olive oil and vinegar in food processor. Process until slightly chunky.
  4. To serve, scoop a half cup of rice on plate, top with a generous scoop of artichoke spread, top again with a generous scoop of mushroom mixture and finally add a dollop of pesto on top. 
  5. Enjoy!

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