Have you ever noticed that sometimes the anticipation of an event is even better than the actual event itself? The excitement of looking forward to something quite often makes a holiday, vacation, celebration or night out much richer and greater than the sum of its parts. Psychology refers to this phenomenon as the “rosy prospection” and according to researchers, Terence R. Mitchell and Leigh Thompson, it is the “tendency for people to anticipate events as more favorable and positive than they describe the experience at the time of its occurrence.” There are a multitude of variables which contribute to this effect (which tends to be more specific and situational that general optimism), but the evidence shows that it can be beneficial to our present and future disposition to make some short, medium, and long term plans which we can look forward to. Additionally, we can maximize the amount of happiness that we derive from a particular occasion by soaking up as much of these rosy prospection benefits as possible in advance, in addition to savoring and enjoying the moment deeply when it does come.
In light of this truth, I am trying to teach myself to take the time to enjoy the process. It has often been said that life is best understood and appreciated as a journey rather than a destination, but quite honestly this is frequently a struggle for me to live out. My natural inclination is to do, do, DO and I get obsessed with the thrill of accomplishment and checking things off the list. Although patience is a virtue, it doesn’t seem to be one of mine. I find myself rushing through things unnecessarily at times, which can shortcut the experience. One major example was my MBA. I am not sure all the reasons why, but I know that I felt overwhelmingly like grad school was something that I needed to have finished yesterday. I have always had very high levels of energy and no issue with being busy so I was perfectly happy to barrel through my master’s degree (including a few prerequisite courses) in a year and half while working 50-60 hours a week in a management position. I did it and although it went well and was an invaluable period of my life, I feel now like I missed out on some opportunities which could have made it a more enjoyable or impactful. I learned a lot, but I know I could have soaked up even more if I hadn’t been stretched so thin and rushing through it all.
This past weekend, Jon and I had a dinner date and in depth discussion about our potential 3 -5 year plans, hopes, and dreams. It was fantastic conversation and we both fully subscribe to veracity that having a vision and clear goals is critical to ensuring we are on the right path. I believe it was Havilah Cunnington of Truth to Table who recently reminded me that everything we do today is preparation for tomorrow. And as we envisioned and described our ideal future state, we did indeed experience twinges of the rosy prospection and excitement of what is to come in the not-so-distant future. However, we also recognize that there are some definite unknowns in the more near term – including the duration of our current expat status and where exactly we go and what we do even in the next year. Although I think we (especially me) would love to be able to control and plan more than is possible at this point, we are have faith and trust that it will all work out even better than we could ever arrange for ourselves. It’s the perfect opportunity for me to work on enjoying the now, without anxiety about the future or rushing to get there. I can be diligent to work on what I have in front of me and savor up the amazing experience of living abroad and working internationally, while still making daily decisions and building habits which make the future possible.
Although there are plenty of times when productivity, plans, and “sprinting” may be required or even what is best – slowing down often makes life a richer and more satisfying experience. And interestingly, the same is true when cooking. Allowing time and low heat to slowly cook food can result in some of the most tender and juicy of meals. That is certainly the case for this mouthwatering Slow Cooker Balsamic Roast with Cauliflower Mash. Perfect comfort food as the weather turns cooler and a distinctive spin on a traditional “meat and potatoes” type dinner. It’s Whole30, Paleo and really almost as easy as throwing everything into a crockpot before you leave for work in the morning and coming home to a delicious dinner. Of course, the Cauliflower Mash is something that can be made as alternative side to any other meal you are cooking, it’s lower in starchy carbohydrates, but still so creamy and satisfying – it’s a staple in the Vasquez house. And aptly so, deploying your slow cooker can also free up your precious time that would be spent on cooking for “enjoying the process” in other aspects of your life.
- Roast approximately 3 pounds (1.5 kg)
- Large Yellow Onion 1 each
- Garlic Cloves 8 each
- Bone Broth (clean chicken, beef or vegetable stock will work too) 1 cup (235 ml)
- Balsamic Vinegar .5 cup (115 ml)
- Coconut Aminos 2 TBSP
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 1 TSP
- Sea Salt .5 TSP
- Black Pepper .5 TSP
- Cauliflower 1 medium to large head
- Full Fat Coconut Milk .25 cup (60 ml)
- Bone Broth (clean chicken, beef or vegetable stock will work too) .5 cup (115 ml)
- Ghee or Clarified Butter 2 TBSP
- Garlic Clove, Minced 2 each
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic cloves and then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker/crock pot
- Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours - the meat will shred easily with a fork when done
- Remove the roast to a side plate and slice or shred as desired
- Pour the remaining contents of the slow cooker into a blender and pulse a few times to combine and then pour over the roast as a sauce/gravy. I topped with a dash of parsley for a little pizzazz!
- Chop the cauliflower into about 1 inch florets and then place in a large stock pot with a small amount of water. Cover and steam over medium heat until tender. This will take about 10-12 minutes
- Drain the cauliflower and add to a blender/food processor along with all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
- You can use this recipe as side for many other recipes and can add additional spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc. to spice things up and match with your mains!