February… this has been an eventful month so far, and it’s almost half over which is just frightening. As of last week, we entered the era of the Yang Earth Dog, which refers to our placement in the Solar Chinese Zodiac calendar, and a lot is changing — we’re on the start of a complete refresh of energy moving about ourselves and our environments. If this interests you to learn more about it, head to my friend’s blog here — she is a Feng Shui expert and knows all about it.
Another little something is coming up is Valentine’s Day! Some people really dislike this holiday, but I have to be honest… I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. For lack of like, literally never having a Valentine, there’s something really unique about February 14th. The origins of this holiday stem from the Roman romance festival called Lupercalia, where they honored Juno and Pan, two Roman deities. It was based upon fertility, abundance and the dawn of Spring.. which is great, because it’s about this point in the year where everyone’s about to crawl out of their skin from the cold, dry weather, flu-people, and lack of sun tan. The date in which this was celebrated marks our calendars on February 15th – it was only linked in the last few centuries to February 14th, a date to remember Valentine’s persecution (along with Christians at large) during Claudius’ rule. He was jailed for his faith, and befriended a guard whose daughter was blind — Valentine prayed, and the girl regained her sight. As he was about to be executed, he wrote the girl a note that his answered prayers for her were not in vain — signed, her “Valentine”. The idea is that we celebrate Valentine’s selfless love for someone he really didn’t know, but that it was still so pure and ideal… so nice.
Interesting, right? But let’s talk about today’s interpretation of Valentine’s Day. We can get right to it — many people just can’t stand how “commercial” the holiday has become — the pressure to buy gifts, the need to express yourself to someone in a way that can be recognized to everyone around you… yeah, that stinks. But if you take the ancient concept, and mix it with what we can do in today’s world, you can actually have yourself a pretty good day this Wednesday. Starting with numero uno… you!
I feel as though a lot of people are guilty of this — feeling the pressures of your friends, family, social media and world around you about being linked to someone. Have you ever seen a couple and thought, “gosh… they have each other, and I’m just all alone.” I find it rarely stops there… you’ll comb through everything you’ve ever done, down to your outfits, music preferences, where you hang out, just to see if there’s something you may be doing wrong that’s causing you to be single. Sounds depressing, yes? So… why do we do that?
A missing piece of the puzzle is called “self-love”. I’m not talking the corny, light-candles-around-the-tub, treat-yourself-to-chocolates type thing (though this is still fine). Self-love goes much deeper than just treating yourself the way you’re hoping someone will, someday. It’s a regular practice through your thoughts and words, that translates through your actions. There’s a time-old mantra that’s tirelessly repeated (yet very quickly forgotten) is this: in order to find love with someone else, you must first love yourself.
WTF, right??? No. Hear me out.
Your thoughts become words, which become actions, which is the equivalent of sending smoke signals out to the world around you. If you’re miserable with yourself, no matter how hard you try, you cannot hide that from people, and most don’t even understand that they pick up on it. They may not be able to put their finger on it, but when everyone’s vibes are swirling around and you’re basically calling yourself a piece of #$@* within your thoughts… if you wouldn’t tell those same things out loud, face to face with your 10 year old self, you probably shouldn’t do it now. Sometimes you need to fake it until you make it with your thoughts and words to yourself, until it becomes so habitual it feels true.
Turn your negatives into positives (there’s always a way), and catch yourself the next time your thoughts don’t fully capture how great you are. It really does sound cheesy, and it is actually very Dr. Seuss-y, but there’s no one on this planet that’s you-er than you, so you should really take pride in that and love yourself. Starting now 🙂
Whether you’re doing dinner for one, dinner for two, or do what I do and can’t ever figure out how to cook for less than 10… try out this super gourmet (and PALEO! since all the alcohol burns out) red-wine braised short ribs inspired by our kitchen savior, Gordon Ramsay. They don’t look glamourous, but let me tell you. If you’re a meat eater, it is SO worth the wait.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs (Paleo!)
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 4.5 hours
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6-7 thick-cut beef short ribs, bone attached
- 1 large head of garlic, sliced in half horizontally
- 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- 1 750ml bottle dry red wine (nothing expensive!)
- 1 quart low-sodium beef stock
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 Fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, loosely chopped
- Cheese cloth and tie, for the herbs
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. season your ribs with salt and pepper, generously. If you’d prefer to remove any excess fat/gristle, do so now, making sure not to take off any of the good meat.
- Heat your olive oil in a deep baking dish or dutch oven. Sauté for 10–15 minutes to brown thoroughly well on all sides, including the edges.
- Add the bottom half of the garlic bulb, pressing around face down into the oil. If you have bits from the top parts of the garlic, add to the pan. Move the ribs aside and add the tomato paste to an open part of your dish… stir around with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes to bring out the flavors. Once you’ve let it sauté, pour in the wine, scraping up any bits at the bottom of the pan and stirring in. Bring the wine to a boil and let reduce by half, for about 10–15 minutes.
- Add your beef stock, enough so that it covers most of the ribs. Wrap your fresh herbs in a single layer of cheese cloth, and place into the liquid. Bring back to a boil and allow to simmer for another 3-4 minutes, basting the meat with the glaze every so often.
- Place your lid on (or cover the roasting dish with foil) and cook in the preheated oven for 3–4 hours, basting every so often.
- Once your ribs are finished, remove the herbs. Carefully squeeze the garlic out of the garlic bulb discarding the skin, and mash into the broth with a wooden spoon. Spoon the juices over the ribs, covering them all.
- Serve with some delicious Harissa-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, or some warm broccoli salad…. Perhaps some more recipes on the way? I think so 🙂