As a part of my Plan for Happiness Project I seriously had to think about the things that truly make me happy. I know it is a weird thing to think about so objectively but I feel it is important to practice these things daily. A few things I tried did not work out so much but there are a few newer ones that I am enjoying immensely. It is an amazing feeling to immerse yourself in the things you love and these are the things I love without a doubt:
4) People watching
5) Anything with an abundance of fresh basil
I didn’t love basil until I was in my early 20’s since I was so accustomed to the shaker of dried basil my mother kept in the cupboard. Fresh basil is a million times better than dried and I am grateful that I have access to it year around but it is best when the weather gets warm and I think we are all quite pleased with the recent weather.
At an old serving job of mine we kept a rooftop herb garden in our patio so the air had a smell of sweat, beer and basil. One of my coworkers at the time is a very petite big haired fierce Italian woman and she loved to sit by this garden whenever it was slow. She had this funny habit of gently stroking the herb plants and then rubbing her herb infused hands on her neck. At first I just thought she didn’t want to be smelly since we were sweating profusely midday in our all black button up uniform. Once we became friendlier with each other I finally asked her why she did this. She said that her mother was an avid gardener but never grew flowers, only plants that you could eat since she had grown up with little money. She said she never minded the thrift store clothes since the family “ate like kings” in the summer when everything was plentiful and delicious. Her mother would come in from the garden to prepare dinner fragrant of sweat, dirt and fresh herbs. Her favourite was a salad with sun warmed tomatoes, olive oil and thin ribbons of fresh basil. Unfortunately she had lost her mother the year previous and whenever she was around an herb garden she would touch the plants and rub their aroma on her skin. She said it reminded her of her mother and felt it brought them closer.
This story has stayed with me all these years and made me appreciate having a meal with someone special. Sometimes a meal is just a meal to sustain your body through the day but other times it is an experience to keep close to your heart.
- ½ cup fresh packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup hulled hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 5-6 tablespoons water
- Asparagus, ends trimmed and tips reserved
- Carrots, trimmed and peeled
- Radishes, washed well and trimmed
- Cucumbers, washed and trimmed
- Extra basil, chiffonade
- Hemp hearts to sprinkle on top
- Put all the ingredients into a high power blender and process until completely smooth. Pour over the salad.
- This recipe is not a make ahead dressing. The basil will turn from a beautiful fresh colour to an unpleasant green.
- This dressing tastes great on any salad, not just this one.
- Certain vegetables can be a bit tricky to cut with a v-slicer or mandolin so use a regular vegetable peeler instead.
- I bought my hemp hearts from a bulk store, which can be a little more cost effective than buying them packaged. Creamy protein packed dressing without soaking the seeds? Hooray!