My husband and I spent 8 days in Palm Springs last week and loved every minute! Not only because the weather was in the 80’s but because it is beautiful out there! We drove through a mountain pass to get into the valley and were rewarded with views that ranged from desert to snow topped mountains. Gorgeous!
View from our hotel room
One drawback to traveling is, well, traveling. As my 6’5” husband tried to manage some legroom in an aisle seat, I had to get comfortable squished into a middle seat. 4+ hours like that is not that fun. But we knew the end result was vacation, so we put up with the discomfort and tried to focus on being there. Then we ended up in a strange city that we didn’t know how to get around (thank you SIRI!), we were sleeping in a different bed and generally feeling our way through unfamiliar experiences. I wouldn't change a thing! There is no other way to see what the world has to offer! If you don’t get out of your comfort zone you will never have new adventures.
When we travel I always try to follow the rule of never eating or shopping in a store we have in Rochester. Why travel 3000 miles just to eat at The Cheesecake Factory and shop at Ann Taylor? When we check into a hotel I immediately ask for restaurant suggestions. We found an awesome Mexican place by asking. When we ate there my husband declared he had the best shrimp he had ever had in his life! We found a vegan restaurant called Native Foods by searching on the web. It was so good we ate there four times! That place inspired me to develop a cashew vanilla cream that I can use for frosting. (More on that in a future blog). We also search out interesting places to explore. We found a sculpture garden that was serene and beautiful. We also hiked into a canyon where the scenery was unlike anything we had ever seen. Getting in exercise is important to us on vacation, but can be a bit of a challenge. The gym was full of unfamiliar people but weights are weights. We could modify our programs to fit with the available equipment. I also took advantage of the weather and went for many jogs. I would have missed seeing some interesting scenery if I had just stuck to a treadmill (not that there is anything wrong with that! I use one all winter long!).
Thinking about all the new things we saw and tried made me realize how important it is to push yourself outside of your own comfort zone as often as possible. If you find yourself bored and just going through life on autopilot it might be time to shake things up. Try a new exercise! Try a new recipe! Try a new hobby! Go get that massage you always say you want but never go! Volunteer! Call an old friend or make a new one! Go to a museum! Take a course! In other words, before you settle in to watch the same old tv shows, eating the same old food and complaining that you never do anything, think about one thing you can do to change it up and get uncomfortable! One last example from my life: I belong to three bookclubs. If I didn't I would always be reading the same type of books. I have been introduced to new genres and authors that I never would have tried if not for those clubs. I haven't liked them all, but at least I tried.
To go along with this topic, this week’s recipe is something I might never have tried before if I hadn't been open to something new. I read the name of it and thought, no thanks, but when I read the ingredients I realized I like everything in it, so why not try? I am so glad I did!
Sweet Potato Peanut Soup
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red sweet peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Dash of chipotle chili powder (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
1 cup smooth, natural, unsalted peanut butter
1 10-oz bag baby spinach (fresh or frozen)
Salt and pepper to taste