Making Salad While Procrastinating 

I’m leaving on my trip to the state where Serafina lives, in two days! So, of course I’m not prepared and I’ve been putting everything off by watching Korean pop dance videos all week. 

However, if you make salad instead of a packing checklist, people will judge you less. They think you’re just prioritizing your health or some bullshit like that. 

Remember my post about how Serafina and I met? Well, in celebration of our impending reunion, I’ve decided to share the recipe for the Kicked up Kowboy Kale recipe that was so popular at the vegetarian topless bar that we once worked.  Instead of bacon bits, which I assume is on everything with a cowboy theme, we’re using spiced nuts.  It’s a really easy recipe, but makes just enough of a mess in the kitchen that you get pissed off because now you have more fucking cleaning to do before the god damn trip. Fuck. 

Kicked up Kowboy Kale (adapted from the sketchy owners of a 1960s era topless bar in West Texas

Ingredients: 

(If you’re making this for your own vegetarian topless bar, multiply the recipe by 40)

  • 1 bunch of Kale 
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 TBSP BBQ sauce (again, whatever brand you prefer) 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (a drizzle means different things to different people – you have to discover your own drizzles) 

Directions: 

Put the nuts in a pan at medium high heat with the salt, sugar, cumin, maple syrup, and a couple tablespoons of water. Toast them until they are sticky. 

I literally cook everything in my wok.


While your nuts are toasting, prepare the Kale. 

You will not be healthy for me today, Kale!

Here’s the thing about Kale: it’s great for you and all, but I find it chewy and not great to eat in salads (the curly stuff). Solve this minor problem by drizzling a teaspoon of olive oil and massaging it into the Kale in a bowl. It’ll prevent it from being chewy. 

Prepare the dressing by adding the BBQ sauce to the ranch dressing and drizzle onto the Kale. Toss with your hands and make sure it’s all thoroughly covered. 

Taking a page from the book of Serafina, I did not clean the kitchen before doing any of this.

Plate the salad and add the nuts. That’s it. 

I only have a few place mats left, so I didn’t use one this week until I can get more. It’s like formal dresses. You can’t be photographed in the same one twice. It’s the same with placemats.

I will see you soon, Serafina. 
-Mary Ellen 

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Easy Weeknight Lunch and Dinner: Chicken Edition 

So, I wrote an amazing post about Mardi Gras and I was going to bake a king cake and everything was going to be unicorns flying and purple sprinkles everywhere.

But then, the baby decided he hated sleeping, and possibly me.

 

I still wanted a cake so I bought one at Whole Foods. It includes beads, so, have fun, kids!

I only got around 12 hours of sleep total last week. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This isn’t even satire right here. Just me, Mary Ellen, or whatever the hell my name is because I can’t brain things anymore, just pleading with you to understand as I work through this trying time. Thankfully coffee is a thing that exists, and I love it, because otherwise I don’t know how I would have survived. Even the dogs are strung out, and I’m hearing whispers in the shadows that they might be planning to overthrow the baby. It’s a tense time in the house right now, so I unfortunately don’t have time to track down a plastic baby, or bake a beautiful yeast-based cake. My time is dedicated to streamlining as much as I can, and bribing the dogs.

A few things did happen that were important last week. First, I hired a maid to do light cleaning once a week. Serafina has a maid, so I was jealous and got one too. My house is clean. I’ve finally made it to the point in my life where I can hire help. Oh, the American dream. Secondly, I discovered curbside grocery service. I ordered all my groceries online through my store of choice, selected a pickup date and time, and then picked it up. Normally, grocery shopping takes forever with a baby, but this took 15 mins. I know now heaven exists, and its online shopping.

This week, we’re doing salads for lunches. Ew, salads! That’s what I would normally exclaim. But as you get older, and the years of drinking, and binging on powdered donuts and fried cheese start to take its toll on your body. Also, having a baby makes your body weird. My skin is truly terrible. I think a demon is possessing me and drying me out from the inside. I smell weird most of the time too. I’m extra lumpy in weird places, and what in the actual fuck is up with my facial hair? Am I turning into Hagrid? Also, nursing is giving me monster-like hunger and thirst. I really do feel like I’m turning into something you might see on Supernatural.

 

First you eat everything in site, then you start turning on the humans. This is a picture of me from last night. They based the metamorphosis monster on me. True story. Don’t do the math.

This also means that when I eat too much crap, I can feel myself dying, and my body screaming out to me, “please, just one leaf of lettuce, please!” I tried telling my body to shut the hell up, take the donut and stop complaining, but then it gave me sad, puppy dog eyes, and really bad heartburn.

 

See? Almost looks like I’m a capable adult. Almost.

So for dinner, we’re picking up a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods (you don’t have to be a pretentious asshole like I am, you can get a chicken at most grocery stores, or make your own if you’re one of those homesteaders) and then cooking some vegetables to go along with it. It’s easy, because I have appointments in the afternoon, and we can still eat at a decent time, since the prospect of cooking scares the shit out of Annie.

 

It looks good now, but it gets ugly soon.

After dinner, I’ll go to town on the chicken, ripping it apart (Serafina, avert your eyes and your pet chickens’ eyes) and use the leftover meat for a chickpea salad recipe/other stuff. It’s hard to believe I used to be a vegetarian. Don’t worry, I cried while eating the chicken, and while re-purposing it.

 

Yeah, sorry. Forgot to take the artsy pic while it was on the chopping block. RIP, chicken.

When that’s done, the carcass gets bagged to go into a pot to make stock later this week, along with some other bones from a different dinner recipe. Yay for not being wasteful and being budget friendly, right?

 

Chicken and chickpea chopped salad (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

Ingredients:

Two hearts romaine lettuce, chopped and washed

1 can chickpeas/garbanzos, drained and rinsed

About 1 cup leftover chicken, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 cup corn (I used canned, drained and rinsed)

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

BBQ dressing, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

*Note: I didn’t use avocado from the original recipe because I made them ahead for lunches, and I didn’t use cilantro because I don’t like cilantro. I prefer arugula.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except the dressing, in a large bowl and toss. I separated into 4 Tupperware containers for lunches, but you can also serve immediately. Add dressing before serving. I imagine this salad would go great with Greek yogurt and hot sauce instead of BBQ dressing, as well as avocado.

Serve with: Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay.

Milli Vanilli,

Mary Ellen