Last year my dear friend Karly mentioned that she started seeing a business coach. She was struggling to find balance with her quickly growing career while juggling a busy personal life, and found some much needed support and accountability with a coach. Consider me intrigued! I admire her for taking the initiative to get outside help with running her own business, and for gently planting the seed in my own mind. As I wrote in my last post, asking for help has never been my forte, but I’m lucky to be surrounded by many self employed friends who are always eager to share their sanity-saving tips.
Life got busier than ever with our new family and work. The business coach idea fell off my radar, as I didn’t think I could add one more thing to an already full plate. Looking back, it probably would’ve helped me more than it didn’t, but recently, it was as if the universe was giving me a gentle nudge to go for it. Don’t you love when that happens? First, our friend Chris mentioned his business coach, and what a great experience he’s had over the years. Then, I saw Karly recently and she told me she’s been seeing her coach for over a year now with amazing success (and I’ve noticed the positive changes, too). Well, that was it. In the words of my girl crush Mindy Kaling, Why not me?! I decided right then and there that I would make time to give it a shot.
Our first session started with an exploratory exercise. My coach presented me with “The Wheel of Life”. It has various labels on it like “career”, “fun”, “personal growth”, “money”, “significant other”, “health”, “friends/family”, etc. Then I rated each one on a numerical scale from least to most satisfaction. The poor little wheel was so imbalanced by the time I was finished. I wasn’t the least bit surprised since I’ve felt like a wagon with 3 wheels for a while now, but this exercise helped me decide on a few areas to improve. Even though my original intent was to focus on business, I realized that personal growth, or lack thereof, impacts every single area of my life. I think it makes sense to start with this area as I’m sure it’ll have a positive impact on all the other areas too. I’m in my early thirties, but I occasionally feel like my personal growth is stuck in the last decade (or on bad days, maybe my first decade of life, hah). Is this just me, or can you relate to that feeling?
I can’t even tell you how many insights I had in our first session. We set some goals in a few categories, and I came up with some potential solutions to issues. Before we met, I decided that I wasn’t going to sugar coat things or make excuses for myself; as a result, our conversation was authentic, passionate, real, and inspiring. One thing I love is the accountability that I now have to follow though with goals. Rather than simply saying, “oh I’d love to hire a team some day…”, I’m actively moving forward with the goal! I don’t want to stand in my own way anymore. It’s amazing how much we can hold ourselves back by telling ourselves the same stories each day. The question is – what would YOU do if you got out of your own way?
This is my favourite method for cooking butternut squash—chopping it into small cubes and roasting until it's tender and slightly caramelized. I have to exercise some serious restraint not to eat the whole pan straight from the oven! The squash cubes are layered on a base of fluffy quinoa and topped with creamy chopped avocado, sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. It's super simple, but delightful. My best tip is to make sure you season this salad properly. Quinoa and roasted squash will fall flat without a generous seasoning of sea salt, so don't be shy. I also like to keep some Herbamare on hand when serving so others can season with additional salt if desired. Be sure to see my Tips below on the many ways you can change up this salad! Thank you to my friend Karly for inspiring this recipe. She brought this salad to a recent get-together and I knew I had to try recreating it at home.
For the roasted butternut squash:
- 1 large (3-pound/1.4 kg) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt, to taste
For the salad:
- 1 cup (200 g) uncooked quinoa
- 1 large ripe avocado
- Fresh lemon or lime juice, to taste
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For the squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Spread the chopped squash onto the baking sheets and drizzle 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive oil, if using) over each sheet. Toss to coat. Spread the squash into an even layer (being careful not to overcrowd the squash) and sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt.
- Roast the squash until the bottoms are just starting to brown in some spots, about 40 to 50 minutes I don’t bother flipping the squash halfway through roasting, but you can if you’d like.
- For the salad: Once your squash are about 25 minutes from being done, begin preparing the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and transfer to a medium pot. Add 1 3/4 cups water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender and fluffy. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and remove from heat. Season the quinoa with salt and pepper to taste (I recommend a generous amount) and stir to combine. Keep the lid on until ready to use so it stays warm.
- Just before assembly, pit and chop the avocado so it’s ready to go.
- When the squash is finished cooking, spread the warm quinoa onto a platter or spoon it into a large bowl. While the squash is still hot, spoon it on top of the quinoa before adding the chopped avocado. Garnish with a couple more pinches of salt and a small amount of fresh lemon juice (or lime juice) drizzled over top (you can also try lemon or lime zest for a twist). I use a light touch with lemon juice as it can quickly overwhelm the other flavours. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.
Want to change this recipe up? Here are some fun ideas for how you can create a new dish!
- Add some minced garlic to the cooked quinoa for a subtle garlic flavour
- Sprinkle some garlic powder or nutritional yeast on top
- Boost the protein by adding black beans, chickpeas, or any bean of choice
- Try experimenting with spice combinations like cumin + chili powder + cayenne; cinnamon + nutmeg; curry powder + coriander, etc.
- Finish with fresh minced herbs such as parsley or cilantro
- Sprinkle my Pecan Parmesan on top for a nutty crunch
- Add finely shredded kale, chard, or spinach for a boost of green power
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Photography credit: Ashley McLaughlin Photography