Friends, this weekend I did something completely terrifying.
I told the story of one of my lowest, most difficult experiences to a group of 25 strangers.
I was part of the leadership team that put on a young adult retreat at my church, and in a moment of clarity/insanity, I signed up to give the first talk.
I spoke about a time when fear took control of my life, and the process through which I let go of all the negative voices vying for space in my head and found some peace.
Three weeks ago, I gave a practice version of the talk to the retreat leadership team of six people, and it was terrible. The talk was still in its rough, early stages. I was awkward and nervous, and even though everyone was generally encouraging and supportive, I left with the sense of regret and deep shame that can only follow opening yourself up to real vulnerability.
Part of me considered calling the whole thing off. Six people had already judged me and most likely considered me a little crazy. Should I really increase that number?
Another part of me knew that this was just part of the process, and if I was truly was going to let go of the fear, I had to share my experience.
Me being afraid to talk about my experience with fear=letting fear win.
So I did it. The worries I’d had all week dissipated Friday night as I talked with many kind people at dinner, (the glass of red wine didn’t hurt either!) and when I went up to the podium to speak, I felt ready. Maybe even a little excited.
The amazing thing was that this time after speaking, I felt no shame or regret. In fact, I felt joyful and relieved. Over the rest of the retreat, I received a lot of positive feedback from people who had been through similar experiences or just connected with my story in some way.
Me sharing my experience with fear=me kicking fear in the ass=peace.
I’ve been on a high from it all weekend.
Deb Perelman is my idol. If you have not read Smitten Kitchen, you are missing out on life.
Anyway, then we made these:
These look like mini pizzas, but I am calling them Greek veggie melts, because that is what they are. They’re inspired by an incredible Greek restaurant called Santorini’s that my mom and I went to last weekend in Florida.
Essentially, it’s a piece of pita bread piled high with a combination of fresh and frozen veggies, plenty of garlic and feta cheese, and then covered with mozzarella and baked to oozing cheesy perfection. Using a frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mixture saves a ton of food prep time, and roasting them beforehand is the key as it prevents the rubbery texture that frozen vegetables can sometimes have.
I was convinced nothing could come close to the veggie melts we had last weekend, but I’m proud to say these are just as good, if not better. (brushes shoulder off)
I kind of want to eat this everyday.
Friends, thank you for reading my rants on life and food. I hope you have a peace-filled week!
Greek Veggie Melts
4 pieces whole-wheat pita bread.
2 12 ounce packages frozen broccoli, carrots, & cauliflower (I used Birdseye Steamfresh)
1 package baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced.
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ tbsp olive oil, divided
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425.
Thaw the 2 packages of frozen broccoli, carrots & cauliflower, either by leaving them on the counter for 30 minutes or zapping in the microwave for a minute. You don’t want to cook them—just thaw them out!
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread out the broccoli, carrots & cauliflower, along with 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. (I like to cut the bigger pieces of broccoli and cauliflower in half) Roast for 20-25 minutes, giving the veggies a flip about halfway through. When you take the veggies out, reduce the oven temperature to 375.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions, mushrooms, and oregano/basil/parsley in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until onions are beginning to caramelize. Add in the can of crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat. Stir in the roasted veggies and feta cheese.
Remove the aluminum foil from the baking sheet and lay out the pita bread. Load your pita up with the veggie feta mixture. (You will probably need 2 baking sheets, or you could cook these in shifts) Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is gloriously melted.
“Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired…..we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? …Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions. You don't have to add anything in order to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It's only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!”
Anthony de Mello, Awareness