I made a pit stop at Whole Foods on my way home from work the other day. I pulled into the crowded parking lot, snagged a pretty decent spot (to my surprise), parked my car like a pro and headed in on a broccoli, grapefruit and almond yogurt mission. After grabbing what I needed from the produce section I continued on and strolled through the remaining isles finding myself reaching for items not on my list (hunger, maybe?). When I finally made it to the check out line, after covering seemingly every square inch of the store, I waited patiently for my turn. As I waited I adjusted my grip on the heavy basket to get a better angle for unloading. Jeez, it was heavy. As I placed the groceries neatly onto the belt I watched a grapefruit roll past a bag of kale popcorn, artichoke hummus, knock into the corner of a dark chocolate bar until finally colliding with a bag of baby carrots. Hmm, I wondered, I don’t remember grabbing that bag of baby carrots. While my items made there way toward the register, I stood making small talk with the cashier becoming distracted by her excessively bright pink hair which was half tucked into her beanie. I wondered if I could pull off pink hair as I simultaneously adjusted the elastic around my messy bun. I suddenly felt the itch for a change in hairstyle. She caught me staring and I smiled before glancing down at my feet. After I paid, I lugged the weighted grocery bags single arm as I dug through my coat pocket for my keys with my free hand. I placed the bags securely into the back seat of my car and headed home. While I made my way I still wondered when I happened to grab the baby carrots.
Once home, I put a few of the groceries away and began to prep the brocolli to have with my leftovers (see recipe below). As I stood there staring down at the green bunches and directing the blade into each stem I suddenly felt a knawing in my stomach. Hunger. Okay, now I was definitely hungry. I hastily tossed the pan layered with broccoli into oven and shut the door. Without thought, I ripped open the closest food package and found myself shoveling a baby carrot smothered in hummus into my mouth. I sighed, leaning up against the counter, as if that one bite might just save me. Jeez, I didn’t think I was THAT hungry.
Then it happened…
As I dipped another carrot into the plastic container I stopped letting it just sit, alone, in the container of hummus. I paused a moment and stared at it. Then the thought came to me…Was I that little baby carrot? Was I stuck like a carrot in hummus? I pondered the idea for a moment slowly pinching the lonely vegetable between my fingers, twisting slightly and releasing it from its place. I popped it into my mouth and closed my eyes. My chewing slowed, noticing each bite as my teeth came together. I am this carrot, I thought. I am stuck. It suddenly occurred to me how really, like really, stuck I have been. Not physically stuck in a container of hummus, of course, but stuck in my thoughts. I wake up everyday and everyday I have the same internal battle of worry of what’s NOT happening right now, fear of not achieving all that I want to, doubt of traveling the unknown path of life…my life. It’s this way of thinking that things are meant to happen a certain way or by at a certain time and if they don’t it means failure. So there I was, standing in my kitchen, like a baby carrot stuck in hummus, just trapped in a medley of chickpeas and tahini…
I shook my head. No, I don’t want to be that carrot. I don’t want to wake up with worry, fear or doubt that I can’t have all that I desire, that I’m not able to achieve everything and anything that I want to. I don’t want to believe that if things don’t go as planned it means I’ve failed. No, I don’t want any of that. We get so caught up by a world where social media, television and those around us seemingly portray ideal lives that we get blinded by what’s reality, as in real life, behind closed doors, the truth. The truth is that there is no such thing as the perfect or right way, there really is no right or wrong time for anything. The perfect life is one in which YOU make it. It’s one where you don’t become a carrot and let your mind get the better of you. Where you don’t let outside influences determine how it should play out for you. Where only you can determine what you get out of each and every day. When you can soak up this moment and just be without worry, fear or doubt in your heart. It’s one in which you wake up grateful for your life in this very moment because it’s in this very moment, not yesterday, not tomorrow, not ten years down the road that is truly what matters most and it is exactly where you are meant to be.
Serves: 6/ Prep time: 5 minutes /Cook time: 4 hours
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 small medium onion, chopped (about 1 c)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tbsp)
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, unsalted
- 1 c water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- sea salt to taste
- *optional: fresh chopped cilantro, quinoa, brown rice or cauliflower rice to serve (Use cauliflower rice if keeping grain-free.)
- Add the chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Next, cover with onions, garlic, tomatoes, water and olive oil.
- Add in the chickpeas and seasonings and gently stir to combine (make sure to keep the chicken at the bottom).
- Cover the slow cooker and let cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
- When ready, shred the chicken with a fork and turn down the temp to keep warm.
- Serve over grain or veggie of choice and garnish with cilantro.