Everything is OK

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

My life is a living version of Groundhog Day. Each day inevitably starts at 3am, as I stir myself awake and realize all over again that a) there is a 400lb child in my stomach (ok, I have no idea what she weighs…but I’m certain it’s a lot) and b) she doesn’t want to come out. I get up and drag myself to the living room for a snack and watch something on Netflix until Allan gets up around 5am – at least one of us deserves to get a good sleep. I go back to bed around 5am and get up at 9 to the sun hot on my face. Coffee, smoothie, check emails and make a goal for the day. Typically, that goal is to clean [insert room in house] or work on a recipe, get laundry done and try to keep my mind occupied on something other than this pending labour. I water the garden, and usually myself while I’m at it, and go for a walk. Make dinner, greet Allan after work and spend the evening together. Sleep. Repeat. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette
Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Waiting for our baby to actually arrive brings a whole other set of emotions I hadn’t intended on feeling. I wasn’t prepared for the mental game of being overdue. Discouragement, disappointment and frustration. Those feelings are new to this journey that’s otherwise been so positive and joy-filled. I’ve learned so much about my body and how incredible it is during these nine months. I’ve learned to love the hell out of my nooks and crannies, curves and lines. I’ve prepared and planned, researched and spent time with other moms I love and admire. But what I hadn’t worked on was the trust part of pregnancy and labour. To trust that my body will make things happen when it’s ready and to not feel discouraged or frustrated with it’s disinterest in my own timeline. “Are you still pregnant?!” “Is she here yet?!” “Wow – she just doesn’t want to come out, eh?!” These questions, though asked with good intention, are the bane of my existence these days. It’s hard to answer them every day and not feel like I’m doing something wrong. An influx of “Have you tried this?!” “My friend said you should do this” “We did this – it worked right away!” flood my phone and email. We’ve tried it. She’s not here yet. And that’s OK. I’ve decided to stop panicking, stop pressuring myself and start trusting my body. She will come when she’s ready. I would love to have her naturally and at home, as planned. But maybe that won’t happen… and that’s OK too. It’s all OK. My body is OK and doing what it needs to to ensure a healthy baby comes out. I trust that the decisions I’ve made over the last 9 months will lead us into a healthy labour and delivery. And so my groundhog day(s) continues as I wait. And set small goals for myself to accomplish each day as mundane as they may be. And yes, I’ll let you know when she’s here. Believe me. You won’t have to ask.

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

This was a “whatever you got in the fridge” salad that came together beautifully. Hearty and packed with a multitude of textures, flavours and colours. The cherries gave it such a welcome pop of sweetness against the tangy lemon dressing and crunchy fennel and celery. It’s easily adaptable to what you have on hand, too. Swap out the grains, the greens, the nuts. Maybe you prefer a creamier yogurt-based dressing. If you love cheese, some feta or bocconcini would be delicious. It’s all good here, go with your gut.

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

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Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette
makes 6-8 servings

Salad
2 cups cooked grains*
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1 small bulb fennel, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 tbsp fennel fronds (optional)

In a large salad bowl, toss all the ingredients together.

Vinaigrette
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground toasted cumin
1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a mason jar (start with 1/2 cup olive oil) with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until combined. Taste and add more olive oil, lemon or salt, if needed. Pour over salad and toss to combine.

*I used spelt berries and barley but one or the other would be lovely. Alternatively, brown rice or Bulgar would work!