Monday, July 20, 2009

I Love The Rain

I love the rain. For some people, rain days get them down. I get exhilarated, at least until I realize that it is not Tuesday and I do have to go to work. Then I crawl back under the covers and dream about a morning of rain and no commute.

To add to the fun expectations brought on by showers (puddles, wet toes, frizzy hair) I also go to play tag with my umbrella which decided to conk out on me as I left my front stoop. No biggie. I forced it open and made my way to the car and then to the office.

But all things are solved with cupcakes, especially from the Cupcake Spot. They were handing them out at work and if it were any other run-of-the-mill place I would have passed, but not CS. Mine was butterscotch and so delicious, it was worth the treat. (Butterscotch Babies - Delectably buttery toffee cakes with vanilla butterscotch icing)

Luckily, the rainy morning brought a sunny afternoon. Mondays are always draining so I reserved my resources and saved cleaning up the storm’s debris for tomorrow. Instead I made a healthy dinner, to make up for the cupcake. I went with the Florida-themed Confetti Shrimp Salad (The confetti is all the colors in one bowl.) And a salad like this inspired one of those “just-me” moments*. No TV, no distractions, just me and the salad and a glass of water with lime and I delved into all the crunchy, sweet, savory and delectable goodness this creation had to offer. Yum. Being healthy never tasted so good.

Confetti Shrimp Salad
Peeled, raw shrimp (about 7 or 8 per salad) marinated in lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt.

While the shrimp soaks, make the dressing by combining the juice of 1 lime, equal amounts olive oil, minced jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, salt and pepper. I put mine in a jar and just shook the hell out of it.

To let the flavors meld in each bowl, I made the salad. I used chopped romaine and baby spinach as the base. Now comes the blast of color:
Per salad
½ cup sliced strawberries
½ mango cubed
¼ yellow and/or red pepper
¼ avocado cubed
A big pinch of chopped cilantro

Grill the shrimp and throw away the marinade. Top the salad with the warm shrimp and a touch of dressing, a little salt and pepper and toss.

For the next day keep the fruit separate from the lettuce and cube the avocado at the last minute then dress.

*Just me: Several years back when I was in massage therapy school, I was considered a bit of a wonder since I had delicious meals every night for break. Even after working 8 hours during the day and going to school four nights a week, I was still able to treat myself well with home-cooked meals most nights. The other students were a bit jealous and yet curious at the same time.

One woman asked me if I like to cook, and I answered in the affirmative, like she couldn’t tell. She then went on to explain, “I love to cook too, but it’s just me so why bother.” This really struck me as odd. If not for “just me”, then for who else? In fact at the time I was dating someone who didn’t let me cook for him even once in the year and a half we went out, but that never stopped me.

From that point on I developed this philosophy that “just me” isn’t a bad thing. Whether single or not, a person should honor who they are and what they love. I went on a pilgrimage to change the negative connotation of that phrase and give it the light it deserves no matter the roadblocks and there have been many.

I once had a friend who said that I was ridiculous and was just hiding from having a relationship with this philosophy. Of course, she also tried to convince me I was lonely and that I needed to be married and have kids in order to be fulfilled. She was single, over 40 and bitter, we don’t speak anymore.

So “just me” moments are those where I honor my time alone and value my own companionship. If I don’t value it and find myself great company why would anyone worthwhile ever want to share time with me? Do you have any “just me” moments you would like to share?

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