March 4, 2011

one day / day one

I did not go to work today. It wasn't a vacation day, or a personal day, or a sick day, though. Starting this week I've switched to a part-time schedule at my job; I'll be in the office Mondays through Thursdays and off on Fridays. Going part-time has been on my mind for a couple of years, since right around the time I finished culinary school, and recently things came together in an auspicious way that's allowed it to happen. It's a change, albeit a small one, so it's exciting and a little scary and unfamiliar at the same time.

Today felt kind of odd -- for the first few hours I kept thinking I was late for work, and then it switched to, well, since I'm home on a day I would normally be in the office, clearly I should take advantage of this found time and get something done - like vacuuming the apartment, or cleaning out my closets, or some other productive activity. And in true Gemini fashion, part of me has been thinking it's only one day a week, what difference can that make? while another part exclaims, wow, it's one day, an entire day!

What's in a day, anyway?

On this first free Friday of mine, there was leisurely drinking of coffee in my favorite chair in a sunny spot in front of my bedroom window. A mellow yoga practice without a single glance at the clock or mental calculation of how much time I have before I must sprint to the subway. A banana coconut chia smoothie for breakfast. A mid-morning trip to the greenmarket, blessedly sans watch-checking. The assembly of a slightly wacky but delicious beet-avocado-apple salad for lunch. A mid-day (day-lit!) photo shoot with a bowl of cute red fingerling potatoes. Right now, reveling in the deep, mingling aromas of red wine, balsamic, and fresh herbs emerging from a pot of stew that's gently simmering on the stove. Those fingerlings are going to end up in the stew at some point. And there's been no vacuuming or swiffering or closet cleaning. Those things can wait till tomorrow.

This has definitely not been my usual, run-of-the-mill Friday.

I'm making a promise to myself that, for the time being, I will let my new Friday freedom unfold as it will and avoid forcing myself to do things I think I 'should' do. Back when I made my New Year's intentions, one of them was to create more space for the two things I like best -- cooking and practicing yoga. My loose free-Friday plan is to open up as much time for these activities as I can, and just see what happens. To be curious and open to possibilities.

Some other things that sounds good to me . . . having a cappuccino at Joe, drinking it sitting down and from a real mug, not a cardboard cup (they're so crazy busy on weekends I usually settle for a capp-to-go). Sun-shiny walks around the central park reservoir, camera in hand. Maybe I'll even attempt a bike ride around the loop this spring (I'm still a novice with my road bike, and riding it on tourist-packed weekends has led to several freak-out moments). Perfect a chewy-crispy oatmeal cookie recipe. Experiment with gluten-free baking. Make (and eat) lots of nori chips. Oh, and work on my napping ability (I'm a terrible napper).

I wish you a lovely weekend, and leave you with two new recipes from my first Friday of freedom.

banana coconut chia smoothie
I used canned coconut milk here; the carton-packaged varieties that I've tried were watery and had a funny, gritty consistency that I found rather unpleasant.

1/2 cup coconut milk  
1/2 cup filtered water
1 ripe banana
2 tsp chia seeds
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
optional: several ice cubes, if you like your smoothies icy

Put everything in the blender, and blend on high till creamy. 

beet, avocado, and apple salad with jalapeno vinaigrette

1 roasted beet, peeled and diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly broken into pieces
goat cheese, crumbled

1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp tahini
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp toasted and crushed coriander seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the beets, avocado, and apple in a bowl.

Whisk together the jalapeno, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and coriander, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Drizzle dressing over the salad and garnish with walnuts and goat cheese.


  1. Wow, lucky you! That's my dream—to have another day or two off a week (while of course getting paid the same as a regular work week). I hope you are productive while enjoying more space in your life.

  2. thanks, LB! Yeah, it would be really nice if the salary stayed the same . . . too good to be true, I suppose :)

  3. Good for you, Fridays off! Thanks to that, we get 2 tasty & healthy good for you recipes! So, keep up the good work,..! Enjoy life!

    I love this banana & ginger smoothy a lot! Yummie!

    That salad looks so inviting too! I love the flavours here!!!

  4. We made the beet/apple/avocado salad for dinner Friday night. Didn't have jalapeno, but did have everything else. The salad was very mellow and delicious, much like your day, which I enjoyed enormously reading about. I think it's so important to live intentionally. And take time.

  5. Thanks, Sophie!

    Hi, Becky! So glad you liked the salad, and thanks for letting me know.

  6. Loooovely recipes, I must try that smoothie as soon as the banana prices are back to normal here in Australia!

  7. Hi Nancy--good for you on this new life change---I know that you will savor these Fridays! Just returned from Costa Rica, and I want to keep and savor those sensibilities for a while. Your coconut banana smoothie looks like a great way to do just that. (Loved the "pipa fria" cool coconut water, sipped right from the green coconut, offered throughout the country!)