Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming -- Blood Orange Salad

So, aside from making it to the final 8 for the Sign Me Sal competition from the Lisa Ekus Group (check out my last post about it), I accomplished a crazy personal goal last night.
We interrupt this blog post to say, OMFG I GOT IN I GOT IN! I am now in the Final Four!! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please refer to THIS POST!) This is crazy, I was certain I'd be out in the first round, nevermind make it this far. I need your support now more than ever! Follow me on Twitter and tweet to #signmesal that you'd love to see Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine as a book (Facebook couldn't hurt, either!). If I make it through the next round, they will be asking for people to vote for their favorite! I am seriously the underdog here--all of the other contestants have much bigger followings than I do, and have way more street cred as writers. I KNOW I can do this and I know I can write a funny, informative book about surviving the "quarter life crisis" through food. I appreciate your support endlessly and thank you so so much for all of the love! Onto the FINAL FOUR!

I swam six laps at the YMCA!!

This may not seem like much but...I CAN'T SWIM.

Well, I guess this means I can swim? Up until yesterday, I didn't think I could. Put me in water, I stay off to the side, thankyouverymuch. No water polo or Marco Polo for me. Give me my noodle and let me float in peace, and in a beach situation I am staying firmly on the sand lest I get carried out to sea: I don't swim.

It's always been kind of a sore issue for me. It's not that I don't WANT to swim, I just get freaked out when my feet don't touch the bottom. This results in swallowed water and near-panic-attacks. And the ocean? Fuggetaboutit. I've gotten knocked over in waist-deep water too many times to even want to venture to dip a toe in. Years ago, I never made it past the intro-level Pollywog 1 at the YMCA despite taking it twice, and since I was 6 when I started I was embarrassed to be the oldest kid in the class. I begged my parents to take me out of it, and they did. Many friends have offered to teach me, but get frustrated quickly when I refuse to budge from the shore, pool edge, etc. These days, when it takes more than an hour to straighten my stupid-curly hair, I have even more of an excuse to not dunk my head in the water. No thanks.

My relationship with water = SITTING IN IT.

In all honesty, I really don't know what happened. My roommate let me borrow her suit, I needed motivation to go to the gym, and I decided it was a good as time as any to see what I could do when I was REALLY trying. I guess I just let my body do what it thought it should do, and aimed for the other end of the pool and didn't stop--I knew if I stopped, I'd realize my feet can't touch the bottom and I'd freak. To strangers, I probably looked like a drowning dog who was ferociously paddling its way across the pool, despite being the slowest person in the lane. 

But I didn't care. I WAS SWIMMING. My roommate and two friends were doing laps, plus my other friend was life guarding, so I felt safe. Today, my muscles are killing me (swimming is HARD, who knew!) but I am happy. I know my form was abysmal and I need to remember to breathe, but that will come in time. The initial fear has been overcome, this is a start. I have accomplished something that, to me, is amazing. I swam. IN THE BIG KIDS POOL.

My cat's fluffy, tail-less butt

FYI: I've decided when I get all verbose like this and don't have relevant pictures, I am going to break up the text with pictures of my cat. You're welcome.

Finn, looking rather dapper.

So, even if I don't get to the final four final two in the contest, I accomplished something awesome this week. And that's enough for me. It's a good lesson: if I want to be a writer, if I want to write a book, I need to just jump in and DO IT. I need to get freelance gigs, work on promoting my blog and myself, and make time to write write write. No excuses. No more saying "I can't" or "I don't have money" or "It's too hard." Just jump in, look for the other side of the pool, and DO IT.

See what I did there? I made a life experience into an analogy. Someone sign me already, jeesh.

Onto the recipe! Blood orange season is already thinning out, so do try this before it's gone completely. I love blood oranges, they're just so pretty and make the perfect Blood Orange Mojito (I drank it before I could get a decent picture, oops). I used this recipe as a base and added a few extras to make it acceptable to the blood orange flavors. It's a lovely little side dish, and pairs well with Asian cuisine. It was actually the side dish for the Curried Chicken of a few posts back!

Blood Orange Salad
3 tbs shredded coconut
2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs brown sugar
2 cups blood oranges, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbs almonds
1 tbs coarsely chopped green onion
2 tsp finely chopped jalapenos
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint

-Toast the coconut in a dry skillet until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

-In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the blood orange, coconut, almonds, jalapenos, and mint and toss well.


  1. Congrats on learning how to swim! It's basically the only form of exercise I enjoy :)

    This salad looks good! I bought some blood oranges the other day because I'd never tried them, and couldnt think of anything to do with them other than put them in my water... Now I know!

  2. CONGRATS ON MAKING IT TO THE FINAL FOUR!!! THAT'S AMAZING! And CONGRATS ON SWIMMING! You are on top of the world, aren't you? I've never had blood oranges, but they look pretty, and your styling/lighting is very nice. Good luck girly!


    Also-I love swimming, congrats on learning darlin!

  4. Yay Ashley! Congrats on making it to the final 4! And you are better swimmer than me, seriously. I can only swim 15 m? LOL. Great salad! I love blood oranges!