After a couple of very busy years - the busiest of my life - things are starting to settle down in my life and in my kitchen. In 2016, after nine years at home with the kids while food writing on the side, I picked up my career again and went back to the office Monday to Friday. The steady income and routine has been good for me, but it has meant less time in the kitchen and adjusting to the weeknight scramble to figure out what's for dinner - a routine I know many of you live everyday as well.
On top of that, in 2017 we started planning a major house renovation. And at the start of 2018 we moved out of our house for ten months, relocating four times while the renovation was completed. Builders put on additions at the front and back, re-did the layout, replaced the stucco with siding, replaced the electrical and plumbing, new roof, new deck, new stairs, three new bathrooms and a new kitchen. It has been a journey to say the least, but we are now settled into our lovely new/old house and I am finally making time again for the things that make me truly happy, like knitting, catching up with friends and, yes, writing about cooking. It's amazing how quickly the activities you love can fall away when you're trying to figure out the basics, like where your family is going to live.
Now that I have more free time, I'm in my new kitchen as much as possible. Soon I'll share some photos of what it looks like. For now I'll just say it's a big white kitchen with a long turquoise island, and it's my favourite place to be.
My first new recipe reflects the way I like to cook - casual and unrushed. To do that within my new career woman lifestyle it helps to have some things prepared ahead of time, like this quick chickpea and carrot salad topper. Yup, a salad you put on a salad. It's yummy on its own but best used piled on top of dressed greens for a weeknight dinner salad or a packed lunch as a quick hit of protein and texture. I used pre-cut matchstick carrots which come in a bag in the produce section to save myself time, but you could also julienne them yourself.
I can't tell you how good it feels to be writing a recipe again - you can find it below. I'm finally slowing down to enjoy the good life again. I hope you're getting the chance to do that too.
Quick Chickpea and Carrot Salad Topper
Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625 mL)
1 can (398 mL) chickpeas, drained
1 cup (250 mL) julienned (matchstick) carrots
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbsp (50 mL) canola or other light tasting oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider or red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) tahini
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried thyme
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, carrots and chopped parsley. Add the oil, vinegar, tahini, Dijon, thyme and salt. Stir to combine. Serve immediately on its own or on salad greens, or cover and store in the fridge for up to five days.