As to fix

05 . 23 . 13

Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-8 Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks_1

We need more storms. The garden loves it and so does my spirit. When dark clouds build out West over the mountains I put a kettle on for afternoon coffee, throw open all the downstairs windows, and ready my reading chair with a book. Elizabeth Gilbert shared once in a TED talk how early cultures believed they had a genius, “a divine spirit that came from a distant and unknowable source,” that waited to pounce on people with “moments of brilliance… showing them new ways of doing things, bestowing new songs to their ears.” Gilbert described how the poet Ruth Stone often could look out, standing on the farm, and see a poem come barreling toward her over the landscape. It was chasing her, and she had to get up and run, as fast as she could, back to the house before it passed through her, blowing onward to find another poet. Ideas don’t always come sweeping over me with genius or brilliance or poetry, but I have found that if I sit and be present to a good storm, the thunder can shake loose new perspective in my heart that I usually need urgently, badly. Like Ruth, I have to be diligent and be waiting in the ready to capture that perspective fully.

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And so, last week, I found myself  wrapped in an old blanket in my reading nook, and tried surrendering to the energy of the storm. I was distracted about an earlier email from a reader that had left me unsettled and self-conscious about where I find myself pivoting from in this point of life. I know she meant well, truly, but her advice was somewhat bruising. I acknowledge and accept that by publishing parts of my life for the world to read, I make myself open to judgement and critique — both of which happen so rarely I feel silly even bringing it up — but it does reflect on the tricky business of having a blog. We, as writers, may feel a distinct and coherent story building month to month, year to year, but most often what our readers experience are “al a carte” moments, snippets of this phase and that. We, me, you, don’t always get the full picture. We can’t. And that’s okay. It’s not supposed to work like that. All that we are and all we believe cannot be packaged and delivered consistently in 1,000 words or less, so we chapter it all out, and continue, in earnest, to practice non-attachment and patience with those we invite into our lives (and living online spaces) — lives that are very much in-progress and under construction. This experience, of course, is magnified 10x in the flesh with strangers and friends and those we share toothpaste. But anyway…

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Grilled Carrots with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce over Lentils Happyolks-16

My point in sharing this singular, harmless experience with a reader is to spotlight how, gulp, I too sometimes walk dangerously into the book of someone elses life, mid-chapter, and assume a level of authority or perspective based on the information I think I’m bearing witness to. Por ejemplo… Shaun and I have friends who have recently separated after a year of marriage and honestly I’ve been terribly hung up about it. Not about the divorce at large — as I don’t believe destinies or soulmates to be fixed things — but just about the loss on an energetic level for all of us young folk in love, angsty, and in becoming. There is a sense of sadness and realization on the whole, in life, not all good fights can be won… and it kinda blows. I look at these friends falling apart and see ALL of us falling apart, as we do, as we grow as individuals and in partnership and community. “No!!!” This was my knee-jerk reaction. ”Don’t let it break! WORK like fucking hell, friends! Relationships are hard!” It wasn’t until shaking the dust of that earlier email that I really realized how my consternation about the situation is entirely related to my own heart, my own struggles, and how when I look at these two beautiful people, wishing so desperately that “it all” could be fixed, I’m really just seeing the ways I want to fix myself. A bit of nemesism, really. And we do this, as humans, so often. We try to fix people as we would like to fix ourselves. We see our own lives mirrored back to us in the lives and choices and pain of others. We want them to be okay, we NEED them to be okay so we can be okay, too.

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We see only what we see. Every day we get the opportunity to observe and take part in the lives of others, in the middle of their perfect and un-perfect chapters, with our opinions, often well-intentioned, knowing only what we know. I think it’s important, every single day, to try and step back and ask ourselves how much of our experiences with others are projections of our own desires, expectations, attachments. We have to remember that nothing needs fixing. We were put here to love, and that’s pretty much it.

So here’s what I’m thinking. Let’s all make a pact and try, really hard, to check our attachments at the door when experiencing the journey of another. It’s going to be hard. I know. Especially because half the time we don’t even know we’re caught up in the first place. Let’s try not to fill in the gaps for them. Not try to play out the before and after. Let’s just be with people, where they are, and love them, without judgement. Let’s be real with ourselves and recognize when and how and why we get caught up in the compulsion to mend. That’s where the genius is, people. Storm or not. Let it barrel on.

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Grilled Carrots over Lentils with Horseradish Yogurt Sauce 

  • 2 bunches spring carrots, stems reserved for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups french lentils 
  • 1/2 cup carrot greens, chopped
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chives, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

Horseradish Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup full fat yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp (or more) grated fresh horseradish
  • dash of salt

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Cook lentils until al dente, nearly 20 minutes. Rinse and set aside.

Rinse the carrots and remove stems. Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast on the grill or under the broiler until blackened and soft through the center (10-20 minutes, depending). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt and lemon juice. Grate garlic and peeled horseradish root on a microplane grater over the yogurt. Add a dash of salt then taste. Do you need more horseradish? If you’re like me, you like the kick and will need to add more. Cover and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooled lentils, olive oil, spinach, parsley, chives, carrot greens, shallot, and salt/pepper. Distribute the lentil salad on a serving platter and top with grilled carrots. Fetch sauce from the fridge and drizzle yogurt generously over the carrots. Garnish with carrot greens.

(Serves a crowd)

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  • Attachments like these–of the expectations and hopes kind–are especially hard to let go of. But by letting go, I’d like to believe that we’re letting in more than we could’ve ever dreamt of.

  • “We were put here to love, and that’s pretty much it”

    I love these words. Thank you for the reminder.

  • This dish is such a stunner!! Love that sauce especially!

  • Beautiful, wise words. Just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you…

  • I’ve been contemplating the same sort of things lately, remembering a saying I once came across that goes something like, “The root of what bothers us about other people can often be traced back to what bothers us about ourselves.” It’s something I remind myself of often. Sigh. :) I must say I’m in love with this carrot dish- you had me at horseradish!!

  • “We want them to be okay, we NEED them to be okay so we can be okay, too.”
    resonating with these words a lot these days, thank you…

  • Lovely, Kelsey. You’ve written this so beautifully. Glad I found my way here to read it.

  • Laurie

    ….perfect morning read. Inspires a more loving ME. Thanks!

  • Kelly Williams

    This was just what I needed to read. It’s funny because while your recipes are delectable and the photography stunning, I find myself reading your blog for your words. And while so many of the blogs I follow, I just scroll through to see if anything catches my attention, I always take the energy to stop and read yours. Great perspective on entering another person’s world, and how we can never truly understand that world since we have not been there all the time. I, too, will take these wonderful afternoon rain showers (and thunderstorms– which is my favorite part) to let my mind unload on the parts of life that are tangled up.

  • Such good reminders. I am definitely guilty of trying to fix others’ problems, when in reality most of the time people just want someone to listen and just be with them. Something I really need to work on.
    Beautiful recipe, too, by the way.

  • That first paragraph is amazing. I love that image of Ruth Stone.

    And, I so appreciate your thoughtfulness. It’s hard not to try and fix others – I spent most my childhood/early adulthood trying to do that to my family. It wasn’t until I let go and let them live and be, and embrace their roads (whatever they looked like), that I truly began to see them and love them. ‘We want them to be okay, we NEED them to be okay so we can be okay, too.’ – so true. It’s so hard not to make everything about us.

    Those last two paragraphs will stay with me for days. So many good words.
    Love to you.

  • I do miss those brilliant storms, the ones that turn the sky black, rush in without much warning, bring gusts of wind, thunder, and lightning. It’s been years since I’ve seen one. Living on the west coast, we mostly get drizzle, occasionally we’ll get a hail storm, but nothing like back home. This dish looks so tasty. Rich in colors, beautifully presented.

  • I loved reading this post, and admire, respect and agree with the sentiment you propose. But allow me to present another perspective.
    What we consider good writing is what resonates with us. A story well-told, a thought well-elaborated. Good writing creates vibrant imagery, the license and access to step into another story. To feel about that different life strongly is to empathize. But on the flip side can also be judgement.
    Having a flash opinion on what a person is expressing comes easy and quick, but to process that in writing in an email to said person takes much more thought and consideration. If that email you received was truly well-meaning, that is the part to concentrate upon; the fact that a reader was so involved in this lovely place you have created that she chose to interact with you in order to tell you what her thoughts were about something you wrote. I think that reinforces the strength of your writing. I’m an architect and for me, it is not the work that is deemed to ugly or rough that is tragic or failing, it is the sort that is so neutral in its existence that it garners no reaction of any kind. Because beauty is subjective, one might love something that someone else thinks is brutal. The point here is that it was strong enough to make us feel something.
    What I’d take away from your email experience is that your writing made someone feel strongly. It was vivid and compelling and far from neutral.
    Even so, I say this in the hope that even though the interaction may have been disapproving, it had no vitriol. Anything mean or disparaging deserved to go straight into the trash, where it belongs.

  • beautiful. and your words of “we NEED them to be okay so we can be okay, too” rings so true. we need to stop judging people, and just love them.

  • Kelsey // Happyolks

    Hi Sharmilia.

    Just to be clear — There are no salty feelings towards the exchange with this reader, and I welcome, WHOLEHEARTEDLY, with hands outstretched, any thoughts or advice or wisdom readers come here to share. I am blown away by the kind regard and sincere care of all who come here. I reference the email (one, of dozens each week) to amplify and own up to my own issues surrounding these friends and their separation — how often, our need to “fix” others is a reflection/projection of our own lives and how WE experience the world through them. This is my goal with this post, to make myself vulnerable and share an “on the ground” situation that highlights all of our tendencies in this regard — even when it comes from a place of deep love and care.

    Separately, what you say about writing to evoke emotion, I agree with completely. If it causes any sort of reaction, stirring in the reader, then I have done at least a little good in the world that day. It is good to feel things. Visceral or otherwise. And to come full circle, the emailer did that for me. She stirred something in me that eventually shed light on a real-life situation I’m working through. That’s a gift.

    In love and light,
    Kelsey Brown

  • You have wisdom far beyond your years on this planet. You are truly an old soul….and I mean that as a huge compliment. For most of us, it takes decades (if ever), to come to this understanding of allowing space for others. And even then, it comes in small waves and sparks, something we remind ourselves of on occasion rather than a philosophy of life to be lived out. I shall bookmark your page so I may read and re-read it in an effort to remain open with others and allow them to just be.

  • Oh, I love this, the photos are beautiful and the subject looks divine! I was looking for something to accompany my grilled salmon and potatoes for tonight. Simply perfect, thank you for the inspiration today.

    Wow, I wrote the first sentence without READING just viewing your photos. Then went back and absorbed your words. You speak the truth and it is a nice reminder. We have very close friends/family on their way to separating and it is good to remember to check our attachments to how things “were” at the door and leave it open for new experiences. The storms are passing through our little valley here and the air is crisp, clearer and free of dust.
    ~beautiful.

  • Just as carrots have deep roots so do many people. But not all. Deep rooted people can often weather the storm. Shallow roots often don’t hold. Some have the tenacity to plow through and keep going and others do not. Unfortunately many people are judgmental, though they will be the first to tell you they aren’t. The good thing is to stay true to your values and then you will be true to all. The hardest part is sometimes figuring out what we value. And these carrots look of value to me! Thanks.

  • I wish we ever had any storms here in California. :) This dish of carrots and lentils looks so beautiful and hearty and delicious! I could eat it by itself for lunch quite happily. :)

  • The line of sharing too much and looking and seeming perfect is very tight rope; I still do not have my balance. There are often times when I want to open up and talk about my problems, but I always fear that someone else has even bigger problems and I’ll come off as petty, bratty and ungrateful. It’s tough. Like you said, blogs are voyeuristic, they never tell the whole story, and they’re not meant to. It’s tough to judge, but we all do.

    And that Elizabeth Gilbert TED talks speech she gave on creativity is one of my favorites.

  • I have a confession. When I see you’ve written a new post I often try to put off reading it, almost like savoring that last bite of dessert, hoping to make it last and last. Your words and recipes are always so inspiring that I want to savor them and make them last. Thanks for another beautiful post and recipe :)

  • “We were put here to love, and that’s pretty much it.” I think you say it all there. Love those around you, love the moment you’re in, and be sure to love yourself. As others have said here, I’m always so impressed by your words… how you can express such deep thoughts and emotions in such a clear and beautiful way.

  • I was sneakily reading this at work where I was standing behind the demo station, passing out free samples. It is SO easy for me to get snarky back there. So judgemental about how people respond to me, how many they take, how they’re speaking to their kids…it’s ridiculous really. I know that everyone has their story, but I needed your reminder, in your poetic way, to be the lover of people I so desperately want to be. Even if they don’t say thank you and even when they take four samples without asking me. I will choose love. PS. I get to see you soon!

  • Love you words. Something that I’ve been thinking about lately. We shouldn’t impose our thoughts to fix others just because as you had said “we NEED them to be okay so we can be okay, too”

  • I love the way you write, absolutely inspirational. Beautiful blog

  • Jules

    I broke up with my boyfriend of nine years last year. And though I was the one who decided to end it, I am struggling hard with this decision (still, even it is now a year ago – it feels like it was yesterday), and I still have phases regularly when I double-guess this decision: “Can I throw away love? Can I reject someone who truly loves me? Isn’t it too rare? Whould we grab and hold it once we get love by someone?…” This is a constant debate with my moral me, my philosophical me – and the me that still sees my ex-boyfriend trying to get over this kind of deadly slap and still cares. I want him to be ok.
    Anyway:
    I just started to cry of relieve when I read your words “not all ood frights can be won”.
    Thank you for hitting the spot. It just made me be a bit more forgiving to myself.

  • thank you for this post. everything you wrote are things i’ve been feeling + thinking about lately, which you put so eloquently into words and made me feel just a bit less alone.

    hugshugs.

  • thank you, a simply beautiful dish!

  • Lentils are my absolute favorite, and I’m always on the look-out for new recipes and variations of preparation. Can’t wait to try this one!

  • This is almost unbearably pretty. Lentils and carrots go so curiously well together! Thanks so much for the inspiration, as always.

  • There is so much that is beautiful about this post, I don’t know where to begin. *ahem*. Thank you for mentioning poetry, because I feel like that is something most souls are lacking these days. Thank you for having the same knee-jerk reaction to others’ strife as me (“work!”) because that is reassuring. And also because I love the phrase “us young folk, in love, angsty, and becoming.”And thank you for food. Always for that.

    Cheers,
    Daisy

  • Laura

    This post is almost unbearably timely for myself, albeit in a half-joke-y/mostly silly kind of way that I’ll recount here, purely in the interest of giving you a little laugh. And honestly, I’m not trying to make light of this. The weight of trying to fix is heavy, it’s persistent and takes so much to let go and be. But anyway, the story…

    I live right by an American border crossing and have a post office box just on the other side of the bridge that I get all my shit from Amazon etc sent to so that I can avoid shipping costs (and lie to customs about what I’m bringing back into Canada upon return, oops). So I had some stuff I needed to pick up, a few books, doodads and a shipment from Free People (TOTAL necessaries). So yesterday my mum offered to join me on the trip if we would just stop at the one local grocery store over there to pick up some exclusively ‘merican goodies. She is the busiest lady ever but sure, anything to make her happy. She ends up buying a lot. I bought my weight in Justin’s choco-hazelnut butter etc etc.

    We go back to her house to have lunch and I’m helping her put away these groceries and there’s like, no room in the fridge/cupboards. I start laying into my usual waste not, want not routine. “WHY do you have all this food?!?! Mum, you need to minimize all this shit in your life and just make everything easier on yourself. You have so much to do all the time and now all this food to make and go through?! It’s crazy! It’s enough! Blah blah, well IIII certainly don’t need a million dollars blah.”

    …After she just kindly took the time to hang with me + drive me to the post office box that I rent exclusively for shit that I buy on the internet.

    Anyway, longest comment ever. Biggest love for you ever. xo

  • yes to the storms.
    yes to the hubris.
    (well, no, or course. but yes, so familiar)
    yes to the working hard, hell, high water, what the hell.
    yes to roasted carrots and lentils and yogurt that smacks you upside the head.
    double helpings, actually. all of the above.

  • Ahh this recipe is so beautiful, and your photos are so dreamy & gorgeous!!

    And what you wrote — I think the key to living a full and connected life is EMPATHY. Empathy opens us up to other people, it makes us stronger in heart even when we want to close ourselves off, even when it gets more complicated to wrestle with other people’s fears and life problems.

    like William Blake once wrote, “And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love.”

  • Storms fill me with that same energy, an unsettled sense that settles in to me with an soulful electrical charge. I get how one needs to climb inside the roar and find what the message is saying as it batters our world. A gentle rainfall does wonders to my creativity, too, like a constant tapping away at my brain, opening up tightly closed portals.

    Amazing salad, as always.

  • This is the first time I’ve seen your blog (found via Pinterest), and I feel so moved by this post. Your words are just beautiful. They have touched my soul today.

    The recipe looks delicious, as well. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Beautiful writing! Very true words.

    And this dish looks spectacular! So beautiful and vibrant–I absolutely love grilled carrots. So, so good. I wish I had a garden at my disposal!

  • I love this dish, and most of all I love “chapter” as a verb.

  • This is the second time I’ve found your blog at random and I couldn’t be more content with reading this post. I’ve been thinking this same series of thoughts today, but you’ve put them into words so beautifully. Allowing space for others is a challenge I struggle with, even with my own husband. My happiness hinges so much on his happiness, and so forth… I think it’s a good thing to be so empathically connected to others, but it’s necessary to take a step back and remember to remove the filter we self-impose.

    -McKenzie

    ps. The chapter thing resonates soooo much. Thank you.

  • I love this, Kelsey. It’s hard to present the whole when we write short snippets of our lives. It’s easy to assume you know someone because you piece together a blog post or two on a weekly or bi-weekly basis…and it’s easy to think you know the answer. I think it’s a humbling experience to have a blog and to be open to other people’s assumptions and opinions. But I completely agree – we need to be better about checking those things at the door, and knowing that we are all human, imperfect.

  • “We were put here to love, and that’s pretty much it.” ♥!♥ Brave and beautiful posting, girl. Thank you!

  • I am dying to try this dish, so wholesome and fresh. What really struck me about your post was your writing. The honesty was refreshing. Few posts touch so deep into the soul.

  • Julie

    As i sit here and read this, its hard to comprehend how young you are with so much knowledge and awareness. It is so hopeful. It took me years to figure these things out…and still learning. You are living life. Enjoy it. Really sit and marinate in it. And, you are right, its all about love. Not just the love from a partner, but your friends and family…even the love from a stranger when you open the door for them.
    I truly enjoy your blog. The recipes are great, but I read this for your fantastic writing. I hope you are keeping a journal, girl. This is going to make a great book someday. Best wishes

  • “We were put here to love, and that’s pretty much it”

    Most beautiful words I have read in a while… well put and thank you for writing this post.

    Love the recipe as well :)

    Kristina
    organicyogikitchen.com

  • Your writing is so incredible. It’s very rare that I read solidly through long posts like this, but I just couldn’t stop reading yours. Just beautiful. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I found out not long ago that friends of our family are getting divorced, and I never in a million years expected it. It reminded me to never, ever compare what I have to other people’s lives and relationships, because you can never tell what’s going on behind the masks we wear.

    http://www.ciderwithrosiebee.blogspot.com

  • Everything about this is a keeper. The words, images and recipe are all ones to come back to, over and over again.

  • Lovely and truthful as always. Here’s to you and your fabulous recipes.

  • I’m really enjoying your photography style. It’s unique and makes me feel I’m right next to you making the recipe! I recently started my own site, nodietsallowed.com, and trying to learn from amazing bloggers like yourself. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy the beautiful photography!

  • This post is absolutely beautiful. The recipe looks delicious and I love, love, love your style of photography. Also, your writing is insightful, warm and a joy to read. Thank you so much.

  • How do you get your Parsley to grow so well?
    Mine seems to turn yellow and shrivel after a few days…

  • tina

    wow. i got here through a link and i’m so happy i did.
    that was a beautiful thought very beautifully stated.
    thank you for giving me something to think about.

  • Thanks for sharing the poetry of your life.

    ! !
    U

  • I just received a bunch of carrots in my weekly share from our CSA program… now I know what to do with them! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • Kelsey this is SO beautiful and resonates with me deeply. xo, e

  • This is fantastic!

  • su ling

    yum, i will harvest my lentils from my garden and get this dish out

  • The images are simply gorgeous. I love the inspiring ingredients and pairing of seasonal ingredients with complementary spices.
    Elle

  • made this as my main dish for dinner tongiht. really delightful flavors. If only my mom had roasted carrots when i was growing up, maybe then i would have actually eaten them instead of trying to feed them to the dog!

  • Dilini

    Thanks for this recipe!! I had never tried carrot greens before and I love lentils to bits.

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I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.