Chilling Out

With the exception of a couple of holiday parties and a football game, our calendar has been void of activity for the past two weeks. We’ve slept in, gone for walks, seen a movie, made some nice meals and caught up on odds and ends. Whether you refer to it as down time, chilling out, R&R or simply recess, this lack of activity holds a lot of promise as a way to recharge. Want to amp it up even further? Go offline.

Ice Box Pickling

Ice Box Pickling

The American Association of Pediatrics has delved deeply into this topic as they examined the value of recess as a physical outlet for children. What they discovered however, is that the benefits extend far beyond the physical into the realms of social, emotional and cognitive development. The concept of unstructured play enables kids to come back to the classroom more ready and able to learn.

I’d like to argue the same as I move into the new year. This down time with my family is going to allow me to return to my office in a better state, more able to tackle the challenges ahead of me. And, I think it’s an appropriate practice to consider on a daily basis. As we sit in hours of meetings, we actually lose our ability to process information. It’s not enough to just change topics. Rather, we have to take a break.

According to Dr. James Levine, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, “the work should break up the break”. So schedule it in; a walk, reading a chapter of a book in another room, a phone call with a friend or a healthy snack.

As I contemplate what to do with mountains of radishes in our fridge, chilling out appears to be the appropriate response once again. This very simple ice box pickling uses a lot of vegetables fast and produces a beautiful and delicious snack that can be enjoyed when taking a break. They make for terrific host and hostess gifts as well.

Ice Box Radishes and Carrots
adapted from honestlyyum.com
makes 4 pints

Ingredients:

  • 2 bundles of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 – 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 jalapeƱos, thinly sliced
  • handful of cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • kosher or sea salt

In a small saucepan, heat the two vinegars, sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer until the salt and sugar has dissolved. Allow this to cool to room temperature. Prep the vegetables. This is a terrific use for a mandolin if you have one available.

Mix together the sliced vegetables and cilantro. Place into pint sized glass jars. Pour vinegar mixture into each up to the rim.

Mandolin magic

Mandolin magic

Put the lids on the jar and store in the fridgerator. Enjoy within two weeks.

Great Host and Hostess Gifts

Great Host and Hostess Gifts

Have you built appropriate restful breaks into your schedule?

Leave a comment

51 Comments

  1. I pickled black radishes last spring! These look so beautiful and bright.

    I hear ya on the “chilling out.” EVERYONE needs a little unstructured time built into their schedule. We had a snow day here on Friday and it really allowed me to unwind.

    Reply
    • Rachel, did you peel those black radishes first? I have to admit that I never quite know what to do with them. Hope you are staying warm.

      Reply
      • I did NOT peel them. They were good, but they are such a HARD (in texture) vegetable. The pickling helped a bit, but I have to admit, I didn’t finish the jar!

        Reply
  2. I agree, Tammy. Unplug, shift routines, relax. It’s the best way for me to refill the creative well. Great (and pretty) use of the mountain of radishes!

    Reply
  3. Such truth to the recess for both children and adults. Perhaps if our go, go, go society really realized that, we would all be happier. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Yes!!! The busier our days, the more we benefit from breaks and breathers to keep ourselves sharp and on the ball ~ think of it as a short Intermission in the midst of a concert.

    Giving ourselves small (and large) rewards as we move through jam-packed days pays dividends in productivity, mood, and stress levels.

    And your recipe looks delish!

    Reply
    • I really liked the notion of work breaking up the play. And this is a really easy way to use up some produce and make a spectacular looking gift Nancy.

      Reply
  5. Good idea for radishes. I have a bountiful crop this year. But my carrots are still not bigger than a fingernail pairing so those will have to come from the farmer’s market.

    Reply
  6. Kevin

     /  January 5, 2014

    Yum. Thanks, Tammy!

    Reply
  7. Love radishes in a pickle like this, and I’ll steal your idea of jalapeƱos when radish are back in season here.
    As to down time, it has to be right – however we had enforced down time of the illness / virus kind so I’m ready to get back into the office for different reasons!

    Reply
    • Oh! I can understand not enjoying that down time. I have one sick kid right now and it really isn’t any fun. Will you go for your long ski holiday again Claire?

      Reply
  8. Mmmmmmm,….a lovely side dish, I say: Yum Yum yummmm. In spring, when I have my home grown radishes, I Will make this tasty recipe. X

    Reply
  9. Lisa H

     /  January 5, 2014

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation! We are relaxing this holiday season as well, and we are all feeling the better for it.
    I agree that recess is much more than just a physical release of energy. It re-energizes our brain as well. Removing ourselves from the classroom or office is also a great breather.
    Those refrigerated pickled veggies look like what my mother would make when I was a kid. She had a huge plastic jug we could reach into any time for a snack. The longer they were in the fridge, the spicier they became. Enjoy!

    Reply
  10. What a great post, Tammy. Such wise advice. We need rest and relaxation to perform in between. More would be accomplished, if we would all remember to value our downtime. I like the pickled veggies idea, too. Now that the holidays have fattened me up, I need to trim down. Blessings to you…

    Reply
  11. OMG! That looks super tasty and contains to of my favorite things, carrots and radishes. You’re lucky to be able to relax and wish you more days of chillaxin.

    Reply
    • Thanks Toby. Thanks for stopping by. You’ll find an awful lot to do with radishes and carrots here.

      Reply
  12. Yes yes yes! I completely agree! :D It’s scary how my cognitive abilities decline when I can’t take breaks in between – after a few hours, I even lost my ability to talk properly, it’s a motor thing from exhaustion I guess, because I can’t speak the words anymore and what comes out instead is just word salad. Very annoying and frustrating! So I have to take not to get to that point.

    The pickles look wonderful! Definitely something I want to try! Pickles have intrigued me for some time, but I haven’t tried making them yet because I thought it was difficult and shied away. :P Bookmarking this now! :D

    Reply
    • There are many varieties of pickles. The benefit with these is that you can make a very small batch but you cannot save them for months. It allows you to tweak the recipe. The next time, I am going to reduce the sugar.

      Reply
  13. Tammy,
    I’ve been enjoying the downtime–for once we chose not to go visit family over the holidays and instead spend it at home, together. It’s been pretty lovely, I admit. Having pets, especially a passel of dogs who have expectations of multiple walks a day, helps enforce the ‘get up and move’ aspect when I’m working from home.
    I’m not sorry I just used up the last of the Fall CSA farm share radishes–because I’m looking forward to making a jar of these when the Spring share resumes. (And at the rate we’re emptying jars, I’ll have plenty of sizes to choose from by then!)
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • That’s what we decided also Kirsten – to stay home and it is nice to take a stay cation. I think you can use this method to pickle about anything. I have a lot of salad turnips now that I need to try.

      Reply
  14. I have some pickles in the fridge done this way, from my last harvest of radishes. I try and have an hour of ‘me’ time every day to do just what pleases me :)

    Reply
  15. Absolutely, cheers to chilling out Tammy!

    Reply
  16. Wonderful advice! I did that too – best friend Sue was here for 3 weeks and we mostly hung out – it was TOTALLY what I needed. Thanks, Tammy and happy new year!!

    Reply
  17. Beautiful photos and beautiful sentiments! It sounds as if your 2014 is off to a great start!

    Reply
  18. Your radishes look very fresh and delicious!! You are so right about the advice of “switching off”. What I need to work on, is I feel guilty if I’m not checking my emails or working on blog content etc. I need to learn to completely switch off… great advice!!

    Reply
  19. My whole holiday was restful! Yay! Now time to start the new year.

    Reply
  20. Hi Tammy. So happy to read you’ve been doing some R&R for yourself AND it looks like you’ve been doing some pretty wonderful things for your family during that time. I love radishes & carrots and I seriously wish I could reach into the computer to taste some in that bowl! I wish you a great 2014.

    Reply
    • Your next assignment sounds wonderful. As you know, I’m a big fan of this part of the world with the dramatic scenery and outdoors. Hope your 2014 is void of any mishaps and presents you with a multitude of opportunity.

      Reply
  21. Isn’t it ironic that something as healthful as good food can get so stressful sometimes? I love your concept of planning for restful breaks. I have been working on living in the moment more often, instead of always building some type of plan in my head…

    Reply
    • One of the most stressed times was when my husband and I attempted a raw vegan diet. I loved the outcomes but the planning did me in. Now we try to do “raw Thursdays”.

      Reply
  22. Another use for radishes! I love it. :) These look beautiful as well and I really like the hostess gift idea.

    Reply
  23. I love refrigerator pickles! And radishes! I also love recess! :)

    Reply
    • All good! These were easy to make and worthy of fridge space. I’m about to do another batch.

      Reply

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