Published April 30, 2013 - Last Updated January 22, 2021
This past weekend I attended an event called The Big Traveling Potluck, where some of the most talented food bloggers in the country gather each year for three days of food, fun and inspiration. The event took place in the countryside of Temecula, CA, at a retreat called Plateau Edge. It was a great opportunity to make some new blogging friends and reconnect with old ones, many of whom I haven’t seen in years. The theme of the weekend was “Invest in Yourself,” and all of the talks were geared towards what that means for us as bloggers and food writers. We listened to a group of terrific speakers, including my friend Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.
Ree said something at this conference that I really took to heart. She spoke about how at one point in her life, she was saying yes to every opportunity, taking on a huge workload. She wrote a New York Times bestselling cookbook, then another. Then Food Network gave her a TV show. All of this on top of a busy life at home on her ranch in Oklahoma, where she is a devoted wife and mother of four kids. Between TV appearances and book tours and regularly keeping up her blog and a to-do list that I can only begin to fathom, she was trying to do it all. At one point, she described feeling like a “shell” of herself.
Around that time, somebody gave her a piece of advice that stuck with her:
Saying no to one thing means saying yes to another.
She shared this piece of advice with us, and the sentence really resonated with me. I’ve recognized this feeling in myself before– the feeling of being spread too thin and taking on too many obligations. You get to a point where you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything on your list to the best of your ability. Have any of you ever felt this way?
I loved hearing this piece of advice from Ree, who is a big role model for me both professionally and personally. She is one of the most positive and giving people I know, and I take her advice to heart. Her words reminded me to step back from time to time and reevaluate my priorities. I came back after the weekend to a to-do list about a mile long, but I was able to look at it with fresh eyes and a sense of calm. I was reminded that it’s okay to say no once in a while, knowing that as one door closes another will surely open.
Since The Big Traveling Potluck has been on my mind, I thought I’d share a potluck-style recipe today. This simple pasta salad is dressed with Meyer lemon juice and fresh basil which gives it a lovely seasonal aroma. The dressing is creamy and balanced with the sweet, aromatic flavor of fresh Meyer lemons. The salad can be served without parmesan to keep it pareve/dairy free, though I do love the way the parmesan enhances the overall flavor of the dish. Enjoy!
Dairy Free and Gluten Free modifications appear in the recipe below. For Vegetarian, make sure you use a vegetarian rennet-free parmesan cheese.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...