My word for 2017 is “redesign.” Though this is hardly a new activity for me. You may remember I wrote a “Reflection” devoted to how I’ve redesigned myself through several careers, picking up fantastic skills with each job, that my next employer has always benefited from. I started changing careers back in the mid-90s before it was professionally acceptable. Consequently, through my years of interviewing, I’ve gotten a LOT of questions and criticism about switching jobs, and have even been labeled by a family member as “never satisfied.” Sometimes my insecurities get the better of me, and I buy-in to those judgments. But on my best days, I don’t look at myself or my decisions through their lens. I prefer to think of myself as ever-evolving. Narrowing-in on what it is that makes my heart sing. My friend Cassie calls me “adventurous.” And I really like that version of my story! Curious. Willing. Open to trying something new, to see if it fits.
Earlier this year, I mentioned that I’m redesigning myself into a freelance grant writer. I’ve fallen so in love with telling my stories here on BatchBitch.com, that I’m trying to make a “go” of telling more stories. Grant writing is all about story-telling … conveying the stories of nonprofit organizations to funders, to see if the missions of the nonprofits match the priorities of the funders. Grant writers are matchmakers, of sorts. Thus far, I like that aspect. Trying to write a compelling story of why the funder ought to find the nonprofit attractive. And researching evidence to make the story even more intriguing.
It’s not without its struggles, though. Writing, and the creative process, has very high highs, and very low lows and the voices of my insecurities have been a bit louder these past few months than I’ve experienced in awhile. And nonprofit organizations don’t always have sustainable programs, which means that no matter how compelling the story, they aren’t always going to get funding. Resulting in rejection, which can be a tough pill to swallow and has led me to question myself and my redesign.
And then along comes my friend Lynne, to encourage me to not to feel like I have to make a permanent decision. To approach grant writing and other professional endeavors with a sense of exploration, to see what they’re like and to see if I enjoy them. Come to think of it, she, too, uses the word “adventure.” And so does my friend Stacey, and my friends Rachel, Gloria and Erika.
I was reflecting on all of this as I cooked for our little family this week. Redesigning. Adventure. Exploring and trying something to see if it will work. And I’m pleased to report the results below with my recipe for Moroccan Meatloaf. I’m MORE pleased to be able to publicly thank my friends for their support. And validation. Bless the validation and encouragement of friends! (To bring you a giggle, read this article about friends and validation.)
But back to cooking and recipes … If you haven’t tried it yet, wait no longer and make a batch of Smitten Kitchen‘s Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint. It is DELICIOUS and you will want to eat the entire batch:
I made it for our Veggie Snacks one week, and Mr. Batch and I liked it so much, that I redesigned it a bit, and incorporated it into this recipe:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add garlic and spices. Stir frequently and cook for about 3 minutes, until you begin to smell the seeds and spice toasting. Give thanks for your nose and sense of smell. 🙂
- 3/4 teaspoon harissa (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Add harissa and lemon juice to pan, and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute more on low heat, stirring frequently.
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and grated on a box grater (or in a food processor)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Add to saute pan, stir to combine, and cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. You want the carrots to expel their natural water content, so as not to make the meatloaf “water-y” as it cooks.
Allow cooked carrot-mixture to cool.
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced
- One 6-oz. container of crumbled feta
- 1 pound of ground beef (or ground lamb, or a combination of the two)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- several grind of freshly cracked pepper
Combine these ingredients in a large bowl, and add cooked carrot-mixture. Shape into a meatloaf and bake at 350-F for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut into meatloaf to make sure it is cooked throughout.
I ate this with boiled potatoes, roasted baby zucchini, roasted onions and steamed broccolini. I kept 2 portions of the meatloaf refrigerated, and then froze the other 3 portions to thaw as I was ready for them:
To keep the dish vegetarian, you don’t need to cook the carrots, but you certainly could. I cooked 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and 3/4 cup brown rice, separately. Then combined the cooked grains, and added the rest of the ingredients above (minus the meat, of course) and got five very generous 1-cup portions for Mr. Batch’s lunches this week:
If you leave the feta out of each version, they become #dairy-free, and the meatloaf becomes #paleo.
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