It is September first today. I just had a conversation with people who hate September. They explained it was the end of summer, the end of flowers, gardens and all things associated with decay (their words). I love September. I got married in September. To me it signals beginnings, new paths and stationary. I was in school for about 22 years. To me September 1 is more of a new year than January 1. During my university years I spent this time of year packing up for my new (likely dumpy) rental in the big city of Victoria or Vancouver. I was equipped with new clothes, hugs from my family and friends and a renewed sense of adventure and independence. It wasn’t like summer was over. There were still enough sunny days to meet for drinks on a patio, wander around campus or wait in a really long, outdoor line-up for a parking pass, student loan documents or used text books. Plus there wasn’t any homework or tests to study for yet. It still feels strange to not be doing those same things even though I have been out of school for five years now.
Soon enough I will be packing my own children’s packsacks for their first day of school. In the mean time I have spent the last while thinking about a lot of other new beginnings. My in-laws have moved closer to us and there are many tiny, sweet babies around. I have also been thinking a lot about friends who have lost a tiny, sweet baby and a recent cluster of my patients getting life altering and potentially life ending diagnoses. New beginnings can be thought of as the end of something. Maybe it is then end of something good or not, but I try to look to the potential of the future.
On the up side of summer winding down: no more crazy chasing/bribing/begging toddler sunscreen applications. I wanted to fit in one more salad recipe while the sun is still shinning: Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad. I use canned chickpeas, easy and affordable. Make sure to rinse them well under cold, running water. It will remove about 40% of the sodium. You can buy low sodium canned beans, but I think they need some salt for flavour.
Chop the spinach very finely (you can use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl. In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, sugar, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Process til it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for about 10 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge to blend the flavours. Adapted from here.
I think cilantro makes this salad taste so fresh and is a great compliment to lime. This is an interesting way to use spinach. It appealed to me because I am not a huge fan of raw spinach. I find the texture kind of spongy, not a problem when you grind it up. The chickpeas (or garbanzo beans if you are over 50?) add a ton of protein and fiber. Heart healthy olive oil...we have a winner folks. So celebrate the end of summer and welcome the next stage, season, adventure...
Tiffany McFadden, RD