If you’re a guy reading this, I apologize in advance. This is about chicks. Not hot botox babes with shiny lip gloss but about girlfriends, the kind that I can spend an afternoon with when I’m not wearing make-up and maybe not shoes – even if I haven’t had a pedicure. The kind that I belly laugh with and then cry alongside when one gets divorced or another’s child is struggling to learn to read.
The older I get, the more enjoyment I receive from connecting with girlfriends. Sometimes we meet for lunch, sometimes for a prayer and sometimes over the space of a couple days. And yes, we share and laugh and connect at a deep level and I’m convinced that it improves my mental health.
In doing my research for this post, I was surprised that the health benefits of friendship are expressed as a universal truth. I was unable to uncover any clandestine study indicating that health would deteriorate with increased friendships but also very few studies supporting the value of friendships on the immune system.
Yes, there is a piece of psychological research that studied the effects of friendship on stressed-out hamsters with skin wounds. Not surprisingly, when paired with other hamsters, they healed faster than those left alone to heal. Hamsters with friends also produce less of the stress hormone cortisol, which has negative effects on immunity.
I’m definitely not up for being compared to a hamster with skin wounds but I am willing to accept a universal truth that healthy friendships do in fact, improve my life. I might even succumb to the fact that some of those friendships are with men. But the unfortunate fact is that when I get busy between work and family and other obligations, I’m quick to slide those friendships to the back burner. So what are some ways to insure that friendships remain vibrant and relevant to an abundant schedule?
- Go to a zumba class together or meet at the trailhead for a hike.
- Meet at the pedicure shop and get chairs side by side.
- Stroll through a Friday night art walk together
- Invite them to lunch or over for a meal
So, tonight I’m trying to replicate an amazing dish. And if I’m successful, I’ll wash off my make up and invite a couple of friends to share…
- kosher salt
- 1/2 pound broccoli raab, stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 12 tortillas, 10 – 12 inches in diameter
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 Tbs kosher salt. Add the broccoli raab and cook until tender – about 7 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain well. In food processor: with the motor running, drop the garlic. Add the broccoli raab and pumpkin seeds and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mustard and blend well. Drizzle in the oil. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in parmesan.