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Begin, Again

I recently came across something that I wrote on the first day on 2014. That day didn’t set off to a great start. My oldest, Baron, ended up in an emergency walk-in clinic with an earache that was causing him to shriek in pain. I wrote of the events of the day and how I started to see them as a bad omen for the year. “If this is how the first day of the year started then what’s the rest going to be?” I asked myself.

Thankfully, I quickly stopped that train of thought and realized that, first of all, aches and pains are a part of life and often a reminder of how grateful I am to have most of our days filled with healthy bodies and, secondly, as much as I love a clean start, I don’t need the calendar to tell me when to start. I can simply begin again and again and again.

The same can be said for making and then subsequently breaking resolutions. I’ve made them in the past then broke them shortly after and allowed the guilt I felt from not living those resolutions to hide the fact that each day is a day to start fresh – each hour even. There then is no pressure to hide from failed resolutions because each slip up is simply an opportunity to begin, again. There’s great freedom in that.

When the need arises to begin again, I’d love to suggest you do so with this simple carrot salad. Shredded carrots are dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a few warming spices that hint towards winter because we need whatever we can to feel the warmth in these months. There’s also a bit of red chile which really warms; the amount is really up to you. It’s a welcomed bit of freshness in the season of long-simmered stews, cream-filled braises, and cupsful of hot chocolate. None of which are bad things, mind you.

While I’m not one for resolutions, I’m okay with seeking more grace in 2015 – for ourselves, for each other, and for the freedom to see each day as a new beginning. May that resolve guide us to more health, joy, and love in the coming year.

by Ashley Rodriguez                                                                           

Chef, food blogger, author and full-time mom. You can read more of her writings at


Fresh Carrot Salad                        

This recipe comes from my brand new cookbook, Date Night In, which was the work of resolving to spend more time dating my husband in the comfort of our home. know picnics and winter aren’t synonymous, but I do tend to think of picnicking when I eat this salad. I’m particularly fond of the gentle wisp of cinnamon in the salad that’s warming without making the carrots taste too sweet. Add more jalapeño if you like heat.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

3⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander

1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika (smoked or regular)

1⁄2 fresh red jalapeño pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces / 230 g carrots, grated (2 to 21⁄2 cups)

1⁄2 cup / 15 g chopped fresh cilantro



Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, red jalapeño, and salt. Toss the dressing with grated carrots and cilantro.

This salad can be made 1 day in advance; I’d advise adding the cilantro just before serving to keep it fresh looking.

Date Night In Book Trailer from Not Without Salt on Vimeo.