Friendship is a special gift and one that I am only now, at 27 years of age, beginning to understand. As a child, my family moved often, and while this lifestyle had some advantages, I’ve come to realize that one downside was that I never learned how to be a faithful friend. Perpetually the new kid in school, my freckled nose and skinny legs made me an easy target socially, but even when genuine relationships did develop, they were rarely required to withstand the test of time. It was never more than a few years before another move would happen, all ties were cut, and my life started over in a new place.
Things changed in 2006 when I moved from Texas to the Seattle area, married my sweet husband, and we settled into our first home together. We stayed in our 2-bedroom starter home for just over 5 years, deciding to move recently because our family had outgrown the space. Our new house is 30 miles away from where we were living before, and the distance is just enough to feel disconnected. I am struggling to establish relationships with women in our new neighborhood, and after spending time with a few “old” friends this past weekend, my heart is longing to be closer to these ladies. These relationships have been years in the making, and though it may be more difficult to maintain them now, I am not yet willing to let them go.
One thing I’ve learned over the past several years is that a real friend is someone who loves you enough to tell you when you’re being ridiculous, which is exactly what Amy did when she graciously made the trek to our house last Friday. We were chatting about life and catching up on all the haps when she confirmed what I’d already suspected: that I’d become a hypocrite without realizing it. Somewhere along the road of trying to turn my hobby food blog into a positive cash-flow business, I’d lost sight of why I originally started this project and ceased living according to the values I profess.
I touched on this briefly in a post last week, but my never-good-enough, perfectionist thoughts have been haunting me, especially when it comes to cooking and photography. The joy that I once knew in the kitchen has been all but lost these last few months, and I’ve exchanged it for anxiety and the pressure to always get it right. Having friends over has become a stressful occasion as suddenly I’ve felt like I have to serve amazing food simply because I am a food blogger. All this stress has led to me cooking a lot less and, quite frankly, without a lot of love.
Looking back through some of my recent posts, it’s difficult for me to discern whether this struggle has been evident in my writing, recipes, and photography. I want my work to be excellent, yes, but more importantly, I want it to be genuine. I’m just a regular person like everyone else, trying to feed my family wholesome food. It’s when I lose sight of that reality that I become uninspired and irrelevant.
I’m ready to get back to the basics, and in the spirit of enjoying food as God made it, I’d like to share with you this easy and delicious sandwich recipe. There’s nothing complicated here, and you can of course tailor the ingredients to suite your taste. It’s chock-full of some of my favorite vegetables, but for me, the best part is this mashed avocado with the sunflower seeds pressed in; the combination of textures and flavors is what keeps me coming back for more.
- 2 slices whole grain sandwich bread
- Half an avocado, mashed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Raw sunflower seeds
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Cucumber slices
- Red bell pepper strips
- Radish slices
- Additional toppings as desired: hummus, pesto, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, etc.
- Toast the bread if you wish, and spread the mashed avocado across one slice of bread. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the sunflower seeds on top of the avocado and gently press them in place. Complete the sandwich assembly using the other toppings of your choosing.
Inspired by Sisters Restaurant.