Do you guys ever just have one of those days? Not necessarily where everything goes wrong, but when things do go wrong, you’re just completely rendered incapable of handling them. So for example – today, I was feeling kind of down because I felt like my food photography was just kind of meh. Although, to take a grain of salt, it is a tall order when you’re comparing yourself to rockstar food photographers/bloggers like Laura or Jessie or Ashlae. And I just had gotten my first DSLR in April. As in April that was last month. Yep.
So here I am, completely beating myself up because I feel like my photos are lackluster. I decided to go to my parents’ house, just to spend some time in the farm country I call my home, and regain some perspective. And what do I do as soon as I walk in? I lose my apartment keys. I mean, they just completely disappeared. I have no idea where they went – and, needless to say, a two-hour search with my dad that nearly destroyed the washing machine (where my elusive keys were last sighted) was completely fruitless.
Now I’m sitting at home with my pup Ivy, and we’re both tuckered out from our adventure in the woods (which we were able to fit in pre-keypocalypse). It’s hard to fathom why I felt that losing my keys was the harbinger of the end of the world, so shortly prior to this moment. I’m honestly kind of kicking myself for becoming so flustered at this small inconvenience – the human capacity for short-sightedness never fails to surprise me, particularly my own. Especially when considering the greater perspective of the world, I feel even worse about my inconstancy. There are so many problems facing our planet, many of them matters of life and death – world hunger, lack of clean water, the exhaustion of Earth’s finite resources – and here I am losing it over a pair of keys.
But as I get older and am becoming (hopefully) wiser, I realize that while we must never lose sight of the greater, global problems, we must allow ourselves to experience our humanity. While that’s not an excuse to be completely awful to everybody, it is okay to be flustered and frustrated and impatient. Trying to deny inevitable emotions just makes them worse when they resurface. Having moments of weakness is being human. And as I’m sitting here, listening to this beautifully peaceful song by one of my favorite artists, with Ivy laying on my feet and snoring softly, I feel almost at peace with my own imperfection.
Philosophical musings aside, let me pull a total 180 on you all to talk about this salad.
One way I amend myself to living the #CorporateLife (read: sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day) is by coming up with really creative lunches that I can look forward to while I’m crunching numbers. My criteria for a work lunch are:
1// Must be full of FLAVOR! No boring lunches for this gal.
2// Must be healthy – nothing like trying to get a bunch of work done with a ton of junk in your stomach.
3// Must be light yet filling – Filling enough so that I don’t have the 2PM munchies, but not to the point where I’m about to fall into a food-induced coma at my desk.
This salad was borne out of this criteria. All of the ingredients serve a purpose – kale, for healthy nutrients; millet, for grain-y satisfaction; chickpeas, for protein, fiber, and spice; red onion, for tanginess and bite; and sauerkraut, for probiotic goodness.The resulting combination of flavors is just… WOW.
The ranch dressing I’ve created as the “tie-it-all-together” factor for this salad was a result of my frustration at the vegan ranch recipes I found online. First of all, blogosphere- y’all need to chill on the dill!! Secondly, ranch should be creamy, flavorful, and mouth-wateringly savory. Most of the recipes I saw online were some permutation of cashews and dried herbs; which is fine, but not what I wanted for my salad. The resulting ranch dressing I created takes its main flavor from its secret ingredient, red onion, which I find gives it a more realistic and authentic taste compared to using dried onion. And while it contains dill, it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly dill-y, either. I think I’ve found a pretty good combination of flavors, and I hope you all love it as much as I do!!
Chopped Kale + Kraut Salad w/ Millet + Sunflower Ranch Dressing
- 2 Cups Organic Rainbow Kale chopped
- 2 Cups Mesclun Greens chopped
- 1/2 Cup Cooked Millet
- 1/3 Cup Red Beet Sauerkraut or any sauerkraut you like!
- 1/4 Cup Red Onion Chopped
- 1 15- oz Can of Chickpeas
- Drizzle Olive or Flax Oil optional
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/8 Tsp Cumin
- 1/4 Tsp Paprika
- Pinch Cayenne
- 2/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds
- 3/4 Cup Almond Milk
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- 2 Small Cloves Garlic
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 3 Tbs Chopped Red Onion
- 1/8 Tsp Dried Dill
- 1 Tsp Dried Parsley
- 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil optional
Millet + Chickpeas
Start by cooking the millet and chickpeas ahead of time. To cook the millet, combine one part millet to two parts water, place on stove, and bring to boil. Once water is boiling, cover pot, bring heat to a simmer. and stir occasionally until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. I usually like to make at least a cup of millet so I can have extra to use afterwards!
For chickpeas, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse and drain can of chickpeas, making sure they're as dry as possible. Combine chickpeas, oil, and spices in a bowl and mix until chickpeas are evenly coated. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake chickpeas for about 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth and creamy. I find the dressing tastes best when it's been chilled in the fridge for a bit!
Putting It All Together
Chop 2 cups kale and 2 cups mesclun greens, and combine with about 1/2 cup millet, 1/3 cup sauerkraut, and 1/4 cup red onion. Drizzle with as much sunflower ranch dressing as desired.
Serve and Enjoy!
Song of the Day:
Mayla – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros