Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing

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IMG 6818   Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing

Happy June 1st!

Lately, my meals have been all about the H20. It’s easy to get dehydrated without knowing it, but I have to be especially mindful of my water intake now that I’m taking the hot yoga classes, sweating out water I didn’t even know was there. One way that I sneak in a little extra water is having a cucumber with my lunches. Cucumbers are mostly water and they are just so versatile. Throw them into a salad, scoop them into yummy dips, pump up a smoothie, or top a sandwich.

This cucumber mint salad is something I’ve been enjoying lately. It is refreshing, light, with a hint of minty goodness. It goes along perfectly as a side to my favourite avocado and veggie sandwiches.

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IMG 6786   Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing

The dressing is great with just a touch of sweetness added in. The agave goes along nicely with the mint and a pinch of salt helps bring out the flavour even more. You can have fun playing around with the dressing…there isn’t an exact way to make this salad and that’s why I love it!

IMG 6792   Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing

…and….hydrate!

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My set up:

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I know, it’s like finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist right? ;)

Back on Track Month Recap

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At the beginning of May, I wrote a post about being in a major slump. In early Spring, I was side-lined with a Sciatic injury for over a month. Shortly after that, I was sick for 2-3 weeks. This, combined with crappy weather, had me feeling really out of balance in all areas in my life. I felt out of shape, my cravings were all over the place, and I just felt like I lost my zest for life.

On May 1st, I decided to make some small changes that would add up over time. Not only was my birthday approaching, but I knew that I wanted to get things back on track for the upcoming Summer season.

So, I devised a plan!

I first had to identify the slumps in my life and then create solutions for each:

SLUMP

SOLUTION

1) Sickness Stick with healthy flu fighting habits.
2) Sciatic Nerve Injury My sciatic nerve isn’t sore anymore (yay) and I want to continue stretching and yoga as a preventative measure.
3) Exercise I was unable to exercise during much of April (except for the elliptical a bit during the sciatic injury) and I’m feeling out of shape. My solution is
to create a few exercise goals that I will be able to stick to in May. More on this below.
4) Eating For me, it is extra difficult to eat healthy when I’m not working out. When I am working out, I find it much easier to eat healthy. They go hand in hand. My eating in April has been all over the map. I lost my appetite and taste buds during my flu so I have had no desire to eat vegetables like I usually do. This also left me craving super sweet foods. In May I need to get my eating back on track.

 

Then, I broke the slumps down into achievable goals for May.

Exercise Goals For May & How I did:

Exercise Goals: Strength – Stretch – Cardio – Rest  every week.

  • Strength: 1 Body Pump class per week
  • Stretch: 1 yoga class per week (I’m going to try hot yoga soon), plus stretching after workouts
  • Cardio like running, hiking, elliptical 5-6 days a week for ~30-60 minutes each.
  • 1 Rest day a week, or as needed

 

How did I do?

  • Strength —> Body Pump: I didn’t achieve this goal! I did just 2 Body Pump classes in May.
  • Stretch –> Hot yoga was definitely the surprise of May! Little did I know that it would not only be a great stretch, but also a killer strength class. My muscles have gotten so much stronger since I started hot yoga and I prefer it over Body Pump.
  • Cardio –> I achieved this goal, focusing on elliptical, walking, and low-mileage running 6 days a week.
  • Rest: I took 1 rest day a week.

 

All in all, May was a fantastic month for getting my exercise back on track. I’m so thankful I put my fears aside and tried hot yoga because now I can’t see myself without it.

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Eating Goals For May & How I did:

  • Eat more veggies: wash & chop up a bunch every Sunday and keep in containers in fridge as a time saver.
  • Green Monsters few times a week
  • Juicing most mornings
  • Structure Meals and limit snacking: Good sized breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, light dinner & treat.
  • Cook! I’ve been going through a major cooking slump (basically not wanting to cook at all), but I want to get back to cooking more dinners and having more structured meals.
  • Meal Planning: Along the same line of cooking more dinners, I need to plan out meals that I can cook each week. I hope to do this on the weekend before grocery shopping for the week.

 

How did I do?

  • More veggies: When I went to the grocery store, I was mindful to fill the cart up with mostly veggies and fruit. Having so much produce in the fridge forced me to use it up before it went bad, so I definitely increased my consumption.
  • Green Monsters: I’ve been enjoying a few Green Monsters a week and so glad to have them in my diet consistently again.
  • Juicing: I was juicing every morning for the first two weeks in May and then I fell off the bandwagon ever since. I’m very hot and cold with juicing. Sometimes I love it and other times the thought of cleaning the machine just makes me run from it!
  • Structured meals and limit snacking: I did not achieve this goal! I’m such a snacker and often do not take enough time for proper sit-down meals when I’m busy. I need to continue to work on this in June.
  • Cook: In May, I still struggled with cooking slumps on and off, but I think I have finally gotten my groove back. Making large meals with leftovers has been a great time-saver for quick lunches and leftovers.
  • Meal planning: I wouldn’t say I have been good for meal planning or that I even enjoy it, but I do try to plan my meals 1-2 days in advance now. I will never be a weekly meal planner though! It’s just not in my personality.

 

While I didn’t achieve all my eating goals for May, I still consider it to be a success. My eating feels back on track and much more balanced. My cravings for sweets have gone down a bit too.

In just 1 month, I feel like a lot has changed. My energy has increased and I just feel happier all around.

I’ve realized that slumps aren’t always a bad thing; they tell us that something is out of balance and we need to change. While this can be uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking, approaching it with small, achievable goals can help. If I hadn’t gone through my slump, I probably never would have fallen in love with yoga and rekindled my relationship with myself. While I consider exercise and eating goals to be important, my biggest gain from this month has been an unplanned one- improving inner peace and self-love.

Coming up, I’ll tell you what my goals are for June. In the meantime, let me know if you have any goals for this month!

What do you hope to achieve in June?

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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen June 1, 2011

This looks awesome – so refreshing. I’m with you I need to be more mindful of my water intake.

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Mariah (picturespupsandpies) June 1, 2011

I LOVE your food (and all other) photography! THe cucumber salad looks delicious and refreshing. Perfect for a hot summer day! I am just starting out learning more about food photography, and am looking for a tripod. Do you have one you would recommend? They seem to be all over the map- price wise, size wise, and function wise. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 1, 2011

Thank you!

I don’t have a tripod to suggest because I don’t like mine! It’s not user friendly and not smooth to move around. Maybe someone else can suggest one? :)

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Holly @ The Runny Egg June 1, 2011

In June, I want to finish strong at my marathon on June 18th — no time goals for me, but I want to feel good about my performance. Other than that I want the “usual”: continue to eat well, exercise consistently, take the time to read, relax and recharge, focus on my relationship with Jason as well as God.

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Julianne June 1, 2011

This is so inspiring! I started eating healthier and working out in the beginning of March and was loving it and felt great. I hurt my knee in the beginning of May and haven’t been able to work out since. My cravings went up like crazy and my desire to eat healthy went way down. It’s great to know that’s natural and I’m not just weak! I will start planning some goals to work on until I’m healed and on track!

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Kelly June 1, 2011

Yum! I love cucumbers and that looks delicious!
My main goal for June is to stick with some type of continuity. I’ve got a big cross country trip coming up and I’ll be gone for 2 weeks. I tend to just lose it food wise when on vacation so I want to continue to be mindful of what I am putting in my body and making sure I am still being active.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 1, 2011

continuity is a great goal! Especially over summer and vacations :)

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Julie @ Shining From Within June 1, 2011

I have been H2O deprived the past few days too! Yesterday I ate a hugh jass cucumber because I couldn’t get enough water in me.
My goals are to stop snacking so much (I am like, the queen snacker) and to ‘rekindle my love for myself, exercise, and health’ as you put it.
I also hope to get my jucier working but it’s a pesky little machine..

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Jill H June 1, 2011

Your food pictures look so delicious. I love that you showed us your set-up (in the other post). That came right after I thought, I need to tell her how much I love her food photos. :) Glad to hear you’re getting better!

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Apron Appeal June 1, 2011

My goals for June are just to make what you’ve posted – 2 days after you’ve posted it. thanks for doing all the work! ;) That sounds so rude but that is what I’ve felt like I’ve been doing lately. You’re menus are perfect for summer -fresh and light. My favorite part though is scrolling through your recipes to see how you achieve “creamy” or “cheesy”. Coconut milk, I’ve got that on hand, can’t wait to try this.

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cathy June 1, 2011

i love how you face challenges, angela: identify the issue and plan out solutions. and thanks for being honest about what worked and what is a work-in-progress. it’s wonderful that a set-back got you into hot yoga! always great when a disappointing situation can result in something positive happening.
in june, i want to appreciate each day, fully – this is my favourite month of the year. and this weather is a perfect start!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 1, 2011

I love cucumber salads, especially with fresh herbs. They are like the epitome of summer to me. Great job with getting back on track in May!

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Natalie June 1, 2011

I love the gorgeous photo with the fork. Amazing how the colour of the onion matches the purple in your background. My fav food picture of yours!!

You’ve inspired me for June. I’m going to do the couch to 5k program 3 times a week and try at least one hot yoga class – and drink tons of water beforehand so I don’t get sick like my last try (a few years ago)!

Foodwise, I want to find chia seeds and Amazing Grass powder and try your VOO!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 1, 2011

thank you!

Couch to 5k sounds like a great goal :) Goodluck! I’m thinking about training for a 5k too…

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Holly June 1, 2011

I started Couch to 5k on Monday, it’s my third attempt. I finished attempt #2 last year but lost my momentum afterwards. So this time I’ve already registered for a 5k in September to cement my commitment.

Natalie, I’ve tried the chia seeds and the Amazing Grass in my VOO and they are fabulous! You will feel full of energy. This morning I made an Amazing Grass and chia seed smoothie with soy milk and banana after my morning Couch to 5k workout, it was perfect to fuel me through my morning.

My goals for June are to continue with the Couch to 5k, and I’m starting a Yamuna Body Rolling class on Thursday which will be fun, and to work on reducing the stress in my life.

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Eat Hike Sleep Repeat June 1, 2011

Thanks for sharing this – especially your struggles with cooking and eating healthy. Reading your blog and seeing the great food, I guess I assumed that this was sort of second nature for you.

Yup, cucumbers are hugely hydrating. I put a whole one in my juice each day, and sometimes even take juiced cucumbers with lemon to my hot yoga classes.

Self-love! A great goal and personal reminder :) Yes, yoga can be a great contribution to that. I’ve been doing yoga 5 days a week, but our classes are changing for summer. So, June’s goal is to establish a home yoga practice. Getting my room ready this weekend!

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Carar @ EAT. PRAY. RUN. June 1, 2011

I printed this recipe! I love that you used lime juice — i’ve found it adds a whole different dynamic than lemon!

I agree it’s so much easier to eat healthy WHEN you are working out. You just feel like doing what’s best for your body when you’re working hard to keep it healthy!

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Melissa June 1, 2011

I love that you’re honest about falling into slumps. It’s so reassuring to see that I am not the only one. I had been in a huge rut since finishing school in April and not having a job… I am terrible without a routine. My eating and workouts were all over the place. I signed up for a 10K (my first race.. I’m scurrred) on July 1st to motivate me back into running! It’s already helped me get back on track. Like you, working out and eating right go hand in hand for me.

P.S. I finally made my first green monster yesterday……. I can’t believe it took me so long! I was hesitant because my blender sucks lol but it was divine. I’ll be having another today!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 1, 2011

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 1, 2011

I have been LOOKING for refreshing summer recipes– this looks perfect!!! It’s too hot for anything else! ;-)

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Shay June 1, 2011

I’m not sure what I hope to achieve, but I decided, thanks to your inspiring post today, detailing your honest achievements and barely-missed marks, I’m going to post my june goals on my blog for all to see.

I really appreciate your honesty!

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Shanna, like Banana June 1, 2011

Being more content with “stuff” which I know sounds vague, but I’m striving just to be more at ease in the everyday and not get too antsy about the little stuff.

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 1, 2011

I love cucumbers. I’ve been eating them like crazy these last couple of weeks. You’re right, they’re so versatile. I think my favorite way to eat them is thick slices, hollowed out with shreds of veggies + ginger inside. Think cucumber made nori wrap aka sushi. SO good!
Great work on your goals, Angela! When I go to the grocery store I load up on the veggies first and try to fill the entire bottom of the cart with produce. By the time I’ve gotten to the other isles, I haven’t got much room left. It’s a great trick haha

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AdrienneCarolyn June 1, 2011

Congrats Angela I think you did great!! My May goal was to run outdoors 5 days a week (after rehabbing a hip injury) but poopy Toronto weather kiboshed that one! I still made sure to weight train, run or elliptical, and stretch almost everyday though! Cheers to the sunny weather now, June will be ALL about the outdoors!!
Salad looks perfect by the way, can’t wait to have it for weekend mid-day meals!
..oh and double cheers to the farmers markets now open!! Much easier to eat healthy because shopping them is so fun!

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Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 1, 2011

That cucumber salad is definitely what I need during the summer. I always eat minty cucumbers with yogurt and on top of falafel in a pita.

Nice job on your May goals! I never really set health/fitness goals, but just try to do my best to feel as healthy as I can :)

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jenna June 1, 2011

i love the creativity of this salad! i would never think to put coconut milk in my cucumber salad! it sounds really good.

:) great job on your goals! You have me very curious about hot yoga! too bad i dont’ have a studio close by! :(

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Red Deception June 1, 2011

That salad would be perfect for a picnic!

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Mikayla June 1, 2011

Can I just tell you I LOVE the colors of this post??? The light green cucumber and flecks of purple onion are sooo gorgeous. I love the map(?) behind it too. You really have an eye for great photography and colors. Thanks for sharing!

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Leah (the kind weight-watcher) June 1, 2011

I have a few goals for June!

Food: Stick with Intuitive Eating, really focusing on one principle at a time (following the book Intuitive Eating)

Exercise: 1500 minutes total, mixing up my usual cardio routine with some DVDs and some pilates

Weight: Maintain or lose only up to 2 pounds. I’m finally at a healthy weight that I love and am pretty happy to stay here. But if my happy weight is lower, that’s fine, too!

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Laura @ Backstage Pass June 1, 2011

“I know, it’s like finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist right?”
Haha! Your setup is beautiful, I especially love the table cloth!

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WIERDGREENMAN June 1, 2011

A higher GPA!

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Carly June 1, 2011

Dill is such a fantastic herb! And the napkins are super pretty – where did you pick them up?

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Jen @ keepitsimplefoods.com June 1, 2011

Gorgeously refreshing salad! I’m all about upping the H2O. To make it more fun, I drink a log of sparkling water with citrus. Yum! I’m also gearing up for engagement photos at the end of the month, so I’m trying to squeeze in extra workouts and cut back on portion sizes (which is easy to do when it’s so hot outside). ;)

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Brooke June 1, 2011

I love how you identified each “slump” and found solutions for each. I had a baby in February and all has been turned upside down. My sleep and eating habits have been disrupted so my energy levels have dropped. I find it very hard to get any exercise in. I’m going to try your idea of writing it down. Thanks :)

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Maria June 1, 2011

“I love how you identified each “slump” and found solutions for each.”

I second that! I like it how you go from feeling bad to indentifying the issues and getting into action. Taking action is for me usually the way to prevent periods of feeling down.
Thanks!

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Jen @ keepitsimplefoods.com June 1, 2011

Gorgeously refreshing salad! I’m all about upping the H2O. To make it more fun, I drink a lot of sparkling water with citrus. Yum! I’m also gearing up for engagement photos at the end of the month, so I’m trying to squeeze in extra workouts and cut back on portion sizes (which is easy to do when it’s so hot outside). ;)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 1, 2011

Woohooo! Well done on your goals for May, Ange! I’d say you’re definitely out of your slump now and going strong! I’ll be posting my goals for June tomorrow, and I’ve tried to keep them fairly well-rounded. Last month I managed to keep my basil plant alive, finish my 100 mile running challenge, as well as a couple of others. Looking forward to a strong June as well – and I think you should be looking forward to some al fresco meals on your fancy almost-finished new deck!! :)

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LT June 1, 2011

Hi! I just started reading your blog recently and I love it!
FYI – I wanted to mention, in case this could be your issue too, that about 3 years ago I had sciatic issues caused by my piriformis muscle getting inflamed from running and cycling. It’s apparently very common for runners. Amazingly, it took about 6 months and seeing 3 different chiropractors to realize that it was the piriformis inflammation causing my sciatic pain. (And then a month later, there was an article in Runner’s World about the condition!) It took about 3 weeks of rest and light stretching of the muscle, then easing back into running and cycling, and it hasn’t hurt since. Just google ‘sciatic and piriformis’ and there is a ton of information.

Here’s the Runner’s World article: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-286-289-12630-0,00.html

and another site: http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-sciatic-pain-piriformis-syndrome

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Maria June 1, 2011

People think I’m crazy when I tell them that cucumbers are my favorite food. I just love how refreshing they are. I buy a ton, chop them up and keep in the my frig for quick snacking.

Your plating is absolutely beautiful – the colors are so eye-catching!

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Nina @ Sweating It June 1, 2011

Awesome post, I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love love love cucumbers in the summer. Also, I think you may have inspired me to try Hot Yoga… I’ve always been curious and you may just have pushed me to do it!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) June 1, 2011

Beautiful post, Angela!

“Hot yoga was definitely the surprise of May! Little did I know that it would not only be a great stretch, but also a killer strength class. My muscles have gotten so much stronger since I started hot yoga and I prefer it over Body Pump. “–

All of that…YAY! And I am so happy for you! I never want to be the squeaky wheel, the ‘preechy’ one about how great yoga is…people have to find it for themselves. That IS one gift of yoga just manifesting, too, really. But I am sooo happy you found it. And are loving it!

And I totally agree w/ your last bit about slumps and that they’re a way of telling us that something is off track, out of balance, and that we must recenter, refocus, and reexamine things and choices til we get back on track.

So happy to hear you feel back on track. Thank you for your honesty in sharing what’s working for you and what you want to focus on going forward, too.

And thanks for sharing your photography set up. That is BETTER than Santa Claus for me.

The purple placemat/napkin under the bowl is the PERFECT addition to that shot. It’s so Tartlette/Helene. I love it! Beautiful work!

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faith @ lovelyascharged June 1, 2011

This is the month that I ditch my scale! I’m terrified but also very sure that its for the best!

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thehealthyapron June 1, 2011

I was feeling much the same way in late april/early may. I love how you broke down your goals and aren’t beating yourself up for the ones you didn’t quite fully achieve. I’ve also been in a cooking slump…jsut dont feel it (would rather spend less time on meal prep and more time outside!!) and juicing…love it but also the thought of cleaning it most mornings makes me cringe (we also go through hot/cold patches!)

Hope you have a wonderful week! My main goal for june is to keep loving myself!

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Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) June 1, 2011

I want to do 60 min. of physical activity every day (whether it be lifting weights, cardio, going for a light walk, or yoga!).

I also want to take more ME time :) be a little selfish and put myself at the top of my priority list!

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Andrea June 1, 2011

What a beautiful cucumber salad! I’m not a huge fan of mint in salads, but I bet if I replaced the mint with dill I would be in love with that refreshing summer salad :) For June, I’m aiming to continue on a trend of going to the Farmer’s Market each Saturday and really incorporating local, seasonal produce into my meals and baking! It’s a fun challenge to buy whatever is in season and then meal-plan around it, I find, and then I get less stuck in a rut. I also want to be outside as much as possible when I’m not working, to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings from beyond the screen of a computer.

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McKella June 1, 2011

Mmmmm, I love cucumber. My goals for June include getting more yoga and stillness in my life, experimenting with simple raw food, and going to see the Spiral Jetty. And ringing in my 23rd birthday with a bang!

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