Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

I’ve been recently pondering why I continue to “blog.” (I use quotations because I hate that word, a lot, but I’ll stop after this or else it’s going to be annoying.). Working with other people who blog, I’ve heard a multitude of reasons why people write, photograph, tell stories, and share recipes. For some, it’s a creative outlet while others have made it a job. Sometimes I forget, I go through the motions because it’s what I do but on occasion I step back and start to wonder. Why do I put so much time and effort into this? Sure, it’s to share and inspire others to eat a bit healthier, but there’s more (and it’s not the money).

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

It’s a funny thing, really. Broadcasting our lives to hundreds (thousands, MILLIONS) of people. Sometimes when I’m talking to other bloggers I realize how odd the conversation would sound to people who don’t spend part of their life on the internet. I didn’t think about this six years ago when I started (I’ve just recently pulled my first posts back out of draft mode and might continue doing so with the rest from the mysterious 2 years I don’t have post- I hated them all but kept them).

I kept my old post because they show progress. Six crazy years of progress.

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

I’m currently reading Tiny Beautiful Things and I can’t count the number of times I’ve yelled, “yes” or variations of the same. So much truth and so much wisdom. I’ve highlighted so many bits and phrases but the ending to one reply left me in awe. The letter was from a woman, only a year younger than I, pondering/freaking out about not being a legendary writer by her age.

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

I’ve often had thoughts about why I’m not further along in my life. Why I’m not doing more, being recognized more, blah, blah, blah. While for the most part I feel grounded, I am extremely good at focusing on the negative, the lack thereof and forget all the positive, slightly crazy things that have happened in my life: Barely apply to grad school before getting accepted (check), move to work at a bakery for life experience (check), full-time teach at a college at the age of 25 (check), pursue dreams of photography and food (check).

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

So anyway, when I read the words this girl was writing, I saw a lot of myself in her. It seemed rather scary, really. But Sugar’s response is really a good chunk of why I blog and why I think these crazy/awesome/beautiful/funny/insightful blogs are awesome.

“So write, Elissa Bassist. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.”

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

Blogs give us the ability to produce a mass quantity of work. While it could be for writing, it is also about photography, food, fashion, design, crafts, DIY (really, the list is long). These sites of ours give us a chance to keep trying, learning, and growing while getting constructive criticism. It’s an awesome thing. Before I started blogging, I had no idea I would love the things I do now. This little site has helped me find photography and web design and pushed me to become better. Yes, I still take some horrible photos (my father recently called me out on this and I appreciate his honesty) and have my off days- but I’m still growing, learning, and getting better.

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad

On a similar note, if you’ve been toying with starting a blog, do it (but only if YOU want.)  If you aren’t ready to share, keep it private but keep pushing and challenging yourself. I know so many people say that blogs, particularly food blogs, are on their way out. Well, they may be but that’s okay, it really doesn’t matter. I think when starting a food blog the wrong question to ask is, “how can I grow my audience as fast as I can?” and the right one(s) is/are, “What benefit will I get out of blogging? How can I grow from this experience? Why is this important to me?” I promise there is a lot to gain.

{Ps- I want you to know how awesome and wonderful I think you all are for supporting me and my crazy journey. You are all pretty rad and if I ever meet you, I’ll give you a big hug and buy you a coffee (or tea if that’s your thing).}

{Pss- Today marks exactly six years since I started blogging. (I was on livejournal in high school, but I’m not counting that as blogging- that was just teenage angst at its finest.) The blog was Named “Berry Delicious” for which I kept all of four weeks before I changed it to Naturally Ella. Also, for those curious, yes my name is Erin but Ella stands for my initials that include my mother’s maiden name.}

Roasted Cherry, Barley, and Goat Cheese Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Hull-less or Hulled Barley
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  •  
  • 3 cups pitted Rainier Cherries
  • ¼ cup Roasted Pistachios Pieces
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2-3 handfuls lettuce
  •  
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
Instructions
  1. Combine barley and salt in a pot and cover with water, at least 2 cups. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until tender; 45-50 minutes, adding more water if need be to keep barley cooking. Pour cooked barley into a colander and run under cold water.
  2. While barley cooks, preheat oven to 425˚.
  3. Pit cherries and place in a roasting pan. Bake until juice have released and beginning to slightly caramelize, 15-20 minutes.
  4. Once barley and cherries are done, toss with lettuce, goat cheese, and pistachios. Whisk or shake together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey; pour over salad and serve.
Notes
*If you don't own a cherry pitter- an simple way to pit the cherries is to place bottom side down on a bottle and poke pit out with a chopstick or something similar in size.
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