Summer Stone Fruit Salad

The past few weeks have felt a little challenging. I've felt sad about some of the events happening around the world. And on a more personal, immediate level, I've been going through a period of time where I seem to have an exorbitant amount of paperwork to tend to. I can't think of anyone I know who relishes the act of diving into administrative tasks (although I know you're out there, you lucky souls, you!!), but that doesn't mean that organization and getting all of your ducks in a row isn't absolutely essential. As human beings we tend to seek the path of greatest comfort, so I resisted my pile of paperwork at first. But as you can probably guess, this only made me feel worse. I came to the point where I realized that I was spending all of this time THINKING about doing these tasks, so I might as well just get up off of my booty and actually DO them. And when I finally took that leap (I feel silly referring to this as a leap, but hey, in my case it takes a leap to get into all of that paperwork goodness), something wonderful happened. And yes, it's creativity related (or else I wouldn't bore you with my relationship to administration). Even after only checking some of these items off of my to-do list, I felt like I had created this new space in my mind and in my life. Space that I could now fill up with fresh creative inspiration. This whole experience was a gentle reminder of how important it is to sometimes focus on the boring, organizational stuff. If nothing else, so that you can feel fully supported in knowing that everything is in order when you're turning your attention to the fun & creative work.

What does all of this have to do with summer stone fruits? Well, not much really. Apart from the fact that while I was taking care of administration, and feeling a tad stressed, I reminded myself to turn to things that bring me joy. And right now, one of those things are summer stone fruits. The fresh farmers-market kind, all ripe and juicy and sweet and yummy. I just can't get enough of them. When I bite into them I feel like I'm biting into summer, and all that's wonderful about it; the sunshine, the warmth, the colors and the joy. When I'm at the market, I get so excited about all of those beautiful plums and nectarines and peaches that I sometimes go a little overboard and buy a few too many. Which is totally okay. Because it inspires me to create awesome new recipes to share with you. Like this one. I love dishes that are savory-sweet, and this is definitely one of them. Also, the high-enzyme content in the stone fruits makes this salad really easy to digest, so that your body can access all of those immune-boosting, creativity-building nutrients. Bon appétit =) 

Ingredients (for one large bowl) 
(use organic whenever possible)

1 6oz bag  baby spinach (heirloom spinach is delightful as well, if you can get your hands on it)
1-2 cups of your favorite summer stone fruit, chopped into pieces
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup crumbled goat or sheeps milk feta
1/3 cup pine nuts/ slivered almonds/ sunflower seeds for extra crunch

Salad Dressing

3 tbsps. mustard
2 tbsps. coconut aminos
2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1tbsp. raw honey

Guidelines

Combine all dressing ingredients in a cup or a small bowl, whisk together and set aside. Combine all salad ingredients, except feta & nuts/seeds, in your favorite large bowl. Mix dressing with salad. Garnish salad with feta & nuts. Depending on how much dressing you like, you may have some left over, it'll store wonderfully in your fridge for your next salad adventure. 

Creativity Boosters

All summer stone fruits have amazing creativity boosters. So regardless of which ones you choose, you'll be nurturing your creative vessel (aka, your bod =)). Here are the properties of some of them:

Peaches ~ Peaches are rich in beta-carotene, which protects your cells from free radical damage. In order for your body to be able to absorb beta-carotene, it requires fat (1); the olive oil, avocado & feta in this salad takes care of this =). Peaches are also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium & iron. (2)

Nectarines ~ Nectarines have a similar nutritional profile to peaches (they belong to the same species), and they actually have slightly higher concentrations of Vitamin A and C. (3)

Plums ~ The fiber in plums helps to regulate the digestive system. As someone who has experienced a sensitive tummy in the past, I love any type of food that is easy on the stomach and promotes digestion. I feel like I can function so much better creatively when everything down there is working smoothly ;-) Plums are also awesome for your nervous system, thanks to the high concentration of vitamin B-6. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates serotonin production, which supports sleep, appetite and concentration. (4)
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Enjoy your beautiful bowl of summery stone fruit sunshine and may it bring some brightness into your life if you're experiencing any dark moments!

with love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Salinas// photos by: Leah Salinas

Sources

(1) Britton, Sarah. My New Roots: Inspired Plant-based Recipes for Every Season. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2015. Print. p. 150
(2) ttp://foodfacts.mercola.com/peach.html
(3) ttp://superhumancoach.com/benefits-of-nectarines/
(4) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-plums.html