As I stepped into the crisp and bustling night air of Los Angeles nearly two weeks ago, I couldn’t help but look around and drink in my surroundings. I saw the familiar panorama of buildings, all built no earlier than the 20th century. I saw signs in one language, one that is as familiar as my own reflection. I was face-to-face with my stepdad (who kindly picked us up from the airport), whom I hadn’t seen in 12 days. It felt like it had been months. Indeed, it was a moment that I took to register the fact that I am no longer in Italy. I can’t even believe it.
There is something about an amazing trip that is eternal, and I’m not just talking about the pictures. It is the heightened sense that you get for the world and the beauty that other places have – whether through the nature, people, food, or traditions. This stays with you forever. Often times, you end up appreciating your own home more, or in ways you didn’t before. This is a little more fleeting, but still important. Unfortunately, these trips are not without their rites of passage, and every great trip seems to end with a few days of bittersweet reminiscence. I won’t use the term “depression”, because you can’t go on a bike tour through a gorgeous country while surrounded by indulgence on every side and be “depressed”, but it’s easy to confuse the two feelings. Combine leaving Italy with a stressful going-home experience (on top of normal jet lag), and you’re looking at a solid day or 2 of this feeling…maybe a couple weeks.
I guess the point of this entry is to show that if you are currently feeling melancholy after an amazing vacation, you’re not alone. But I’m here to tell you that this too shall pass, and as long as you keep yourself occupied now that you’re back, you will feel better in no time! One of the biggest tips I have in addition to keeping busy is sharing stories of your trip with others. I know it seems counterintuitive, but sharing with others will make increase the longevity of the trip, make others happy, and give you good feelings. Finally, even if it’s super far away, start planning your next trip or special outing! No matter what, there is always more to do, always new places to explore.
To be honest, I am JUST now getting out of this feeling and starting to really appreciate the home I have. Yes, I know you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy for not initially being stoked on coming back to Laguna Beach, but rest assured that do I appreciate it – I simply enjoyed my trip a little too much 🙂
Though I am focused on being back in the comfort of home, I decided to be adventurous with a new recipe today. Unlike last week’s, it is largely of my own design. Granted, I looked around tirelessly for a curry recipe that encompassed all the ingredients I had on hand, and this recipe borrows from them all in some way. It turned out to be a yummy, but very mild curry. Spice aficionados, my apologies for getting your hopes up! Here it is:
Haley’s Rainbow Curry
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Diet Compliance: Low-carb (without potatoes), paleo, vegetarian (if you can tolerate animal products), gluten-free
- 2 13.5-ounce cans of coconut milk (tip: try and get the kind without guar gum, such as that from Natural Value)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 medium carrot, slided into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 1/2 cup broccoli
- 1 small potato of choice (I chose Okinawan purple potato found at the Asian market)
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 5 sprigs of Thai or regular basil (I used regular; Thai is better)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat is the healthiest and best)
- 1/4 cup yellow curry powder or paste
- 3 kaffir lime leaves or zest of one lime (I used the zest)
- cinnamon to taste
1. As a first step, make sure you have all of your vegetables prepared and sitting on the table.
[no picture available; I was too dumb to do this]
2. In a large saucepan, mix the coconut milk and curry paste or powder to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. After it starts boiling, stir until smooth – about 2 minutes.
3. While still boiling, add the chicken broth, carrot, broccoli, red bell pepper, onion, potato, basil, lime, and fish sauce. Stir. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
4. Cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender – 20 to 25 minutes.
5. After cooking, ladle the curry into bowls over rice, noodles, chicken, or just plan. Garnish with cinnamon.
…And there you have it! This is a fairly easy recipe and stores well in the fridge for a couple of days. Again, it is extremely mild tasting, so the (rare) coconut-loving child can have a feast!
Also, if I can maintain the patience to do this, I will start making these nutrition labels (I called them “calorie-thingies” earlier) for each of my recipes. Last recipe didn’t count, because taralli should be saved for I-really-don’t-give-a-dang moments only. This label, I know, is not super comprehensive…let me get there ;-). Note especially that the amount of saturated fat is not listed – trust me, there’s a fair amount in this recipe, being made of coconut and all, so bear that in mind if you are watching your sat-fat for whatever reason (talk to the paleo folks about that!!).
Thought of the Day: Get into a routine of regular exercise early in your life. Later on, you’ll be glad you did.