By Cassie Johnston
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Sometimes I get jealous. Even though I have an incredibly wonderful life (awesome family: check, dream job: check, roof over my head: check, money in the bank: check, a rad new haircut: check), the green-eyed monster still pops out every now and again just to make sure I don’t get too confident.
A large chunk of that jealousy stems from a feeling of inadequacy (doesn’t it always?). I see someone doing something better/different/more creative than me, and immediately think, “Wow, look how inferior I am. I’ll never be as awesome/creative/successful as them.” Sometimes it’s the truth—I’m probably not going to be the next Martha Stewart—but more often than not, it’s a feeling that’s really not founded in reality.
For as long as I can remember, people have called me “creative,” but I always felt like a bit of a poser. Sure, I can pick out colors and take a decent picture of food, but as far as truly, trend-setting, innovating creative? That’s not me. It never has been, and I don’t think it ever will be. And for the longest time, I thought that meant I was a failure.
Back in a previous life, when I was a full time graphic designer, I experienced this feeling of creativity inadequacy all the freaking time. Why couldn’t I just think of the next big thing? Why was I so good at hitting singles but never could hit the home run?
I think a lot of what led to my demise in that profession was that feeling of inadequacy (among other things). For some reason, I thought entering a new, but equally creative, profession would solve it. Um, no. Sometimes, I still get that same feeling of inadequacy when I scroll through my Instagram feed and see all the AMAZING and CREATIVE and GROUND-BREAKING and TOTALLY AWESOME things other recipe developers and bloggers are doing. Why didn’t I think of that? Why am I not that creative?
And then I remind myself that there is beauty in simplicity.
The truth is, aside from my penchant for sparkly nail polish and addiction to cruising antique stores for vintage bakeware, I’m actually a pretty simple country girl. I like that I live in the middle of nowhere so no one just shows up at my door. I like that I can get ready in less than five minutes. I like that my uniform is jeans and a t-shirt. I like that my bedtime is frequently before 9pm. And I like that the food I love to cook and eat the most is simple, easy, wholesome dishes that anyone can make. I’m not a super creative, super trendsetting, super unique person—and you know what? I’m okay with that because I think that’s exactly how most of us are.
You know how I know this? Because the most popular recipes on my blog aren’t the ones I think they’re going to be. They’re never the ones that I spend hours brainstorming in my head and crafting. They aren’t the ones where you have to go to the health food store to special order ingredients. The most popular recipes on my blog are the ones that are normal, easy, simple everyday eats. The ones with just a few ingredients. The ones that aren’t really ground-breaking or creative. Like this simple, delicious, and totally me Avocado Caprese Salad.
This salad is pretty much my favorite summer lunch. I try to make sure to always have fresh mozzarella balls (I like the perlini size—AKA “pearls”) and avocados on hand in the summer so I can make this when basil and cherry tomatoes are coming off fresh from the garden.
The key with this avocado caprese salad, as with all simple food, is to really focus on getting good ingredients. Since there isn’t a complicated flavor profile going on, you really want to make sure the flavors that are there are the best possible. Use fresh basil and tomatoes (hence why I only tend to make this in the summer), snag a ripe avocado, and make sure to use good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I actually order good extra virgin olive oil from Amazon for dishes like this. I don’t use the expensive stuff to cook with—I reserve it only for “raw” eating in salads or dips. Enjoy the simplicity!
This Avocado Caprese Salad is summer in a bowl! Use only the freshest tomatoes and basil to add tons of flavor to this healthy lunch.
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I was smiling reading your post. Because I think you are one of the most creative people on the internet! The other day I was trying to think of colors/themes for my son’s 1st birthday party and I was totally clueless! I was thinking, I wish I had a bff like Cassie to help me figure this stuff out. We are definitely our own worst judges.
That recipe looks amazing btw ;)
Aww, you made me smile. :) And your son’s birthday is going to be awesome! Just fill it with love, and it’ll be beautiful.
Every morning I sit at work and make sure I find a few minutes to stop by your blog.. instantly my mouth watered when I seen this! Altho simple, this is such a delicious recipe.
I understand how everyone has that little green monster ( being from NYC i am def jealous that you have a farm and fresh grown foods! ) but you are one of the most creative bloggers Ive come across! side note- you are also the only blog I find myself commenting on :)
I just want to say keep up all the good work and thank you for this simple but yummy recipe! <3
It’s so funny, because even though I love my country life, sometimes I see NYC on TV or in the movies and get so jealous of the city life. All that diversity and culture and FOOD in such a small area. Amazing!
And thank you for taking time out of your day to check in. It really means a lot to me. :)
while overly complicated recipes may look great and all that but at the end of the most of us are able to relate to simple, easy recipes and i love that about your space. i want to be inspired by real person, wholesome food, and someone who i can relate to.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Sometimes the simplest things are the best! We don’t need the over-the-top, six million ingredient dishes! This is perfect!
Something about summer just begs for simple food, doesn’t it? I agree, simple is better!
This is my go-to summer salad! We eat it all the time and when company’s coming for a BBQ I always make it and get asked the recipe. I don’t really have one because I change the seasoning all the time. Right now I’m on a huge kick of Herbamare Salt and Rice wine vinegar. I’ve also gone through a long stage of using Oregano. Yum!
Oh and I forgot – Cucumbers are a must too!
Oh man, that vinegar sounds like an AWESOME idea. I’m definitely trying that next time. :)
IT says to enjoy immediately, how quickly does it go bad, could it be prepped the night before for the next day’s lunch and still be considered “fresh”
I wouldn’t recommend it. The avocado with turn brown pretty quickly, and the basil will start to turn once you cut into it. If you want to pack it for lunch, I recommend packing the individual ingredients, and then just mixing right before serving.
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