I just got back from Vegas, and it was hot as f%^#*@((%. I totally forgot what Vegas summer is like, and I think I almost died. There is no escape. It’s like being under a blowdryer. It’s that feeling of when you open the oven and it burns your face. It’s like your body is turning to dust and also you’re pouring a waterfall of sweat at the same time. But!!! I had so much fun. I got to go shopping with my grandma and spent probably three days worth of work on sandals. My grandpa took me to breakfast at the golf club on multiple occasions. I went to the second tiki bar of my life (the first being in Bergen, Norway, fun fact), and I drank all kinds of rum drinks and laughed with my friends. Then, I woke up with my first Vegas hangover. I breathed in a whole lot more cigarette smoke than I have ever wanted to. I also got lost in my own hometown, and I was offended. When did Vegas change the roads?? And, I found a lovely specialty coffeeshop near my childhood home, which didn’t even open until after I moved away! Continue reading “Thai Cucumber Salad”
(May 2018) Note: This is an updated version of a “healthy Caesar dressing” recipe I posted way back in 2013. The dressing recipe is essentially the same, and changes have been noted in the recipe at the bottom!
There’s a restaurant in Reno called Campo that makes a kale salad and, not even kidding, it makes me crave kale salads. It’s lemony, garlicky, and topped with crispy parmesan and a poached egg. I think about it a lot and have considered going there just for a kale salad and their caramel budino, but I don’t want to be judged by the servers, even though I think kale + caramel pudding is the epitome of balance. I guess you could call the salad “famous” by Reno standards, and the original owner of the restaurant was even nice enough to post the full recipe online. Continue reading “Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing”
I feel like I don’t have any good stories to share with you guys lately. I just work and cook and do a little yoga. Is this what post-grad life is?? I get a degree, and I become someone who looks forward to coming home on Fridays and eating takeout pupusas in my sweatpants while watching Arrested Development reruns? Because that’s exactly what I did this past Friday, and it was kind of amazing. Although Saturday I went to a party and had two whole beers sooooo…yay? Raise the roof? I don’t know how to be young anymore. Help!!!
In other exciting news, we also got a new Indian restaurant in town, and it’s the best one yet! And this weekend, I’ll be in Seattle hopefully going to lots of fun bars and coffeeshops. So, things are looking up in the ‘cool department’!
On another note, may I introduce you to one of my new favorite recipes? I didn’t know it was possible to like veggies this much, but omg this carrot salad is sososo good!! I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never seen one here unless I was at an authentic-European deli of some sort, but I’m starting a petition to make it a thing.
I made this salad for Easter, and it was perfect with ham and scalloped potatoes. Then, I used the leftover dressing to make more carrot salad for work lunches the next few days. I’m pretty sure I ate like, 8 servings of vegetables a day that week. I hope this obsession lasts and eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.
For this salad, you can peel the carrots into long, pretty ribbons like I did. Texturally, it’s my favorite, but peeling carrot ribbons takes a long time, and you end up with weird little carrot pieces once you can’t peel anymore. In this case, I just turn them into carrot sticks and snack on them alone. When I was being lazy with it, I just used grated carrots which is way faster and can be done with a food processor. Either way, the real star here is the shallot dressing. It’s slightly-spicy and creamy from the yogurt. I would dip anything into it. If you don’t like carrots, at least make the dressing and put it on some kale or something.
Also! This salad can be made a day in ahead, but put the pistachios on right before serving or they will lose their crunch. Ok? Ok!
Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing
Ingredients for the Salad
2 lbs. carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
4 oz. queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped
Ingredients for Dressing
1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long ribbons. Alternatively, you can shred them in a food processor. Cover carrots with a wet paper towel to keep fresh.
To make the dressing, add shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor. Pulse until combined. Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare salad, add the queso fresco, pistachios, and parsley. Toss with the shallot dressing, to taste. Start with half the dressing and add more as needed. Serve immediately. To make the recipe ahead, combine everything but the pistachios. Add the pistachios right before serving.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Sleep Apnea by Beach Fossils
Clearly, I’ve been having a moment with BLTs lately. This is the second BLT-related post in the past month, which some may claim is incredulous, but I think is completely justified since bacon + bread + in-season tomatoes = heaven. Also, can we take a moment to literally laugh out loud, because in that same Basic BLT post, I went on and on and on about how there are just some foods, such as BLTs, that should be left alone (I believe the direct quote was “BLTs should be BLTs and nothing more”) and then I turn around and turn a classic into a salad. Blasphemy. Who gave me this kind of power?
To make up for my intense hypocrisy, I may even forgive you if you decide to say, put something like turkey on your BLT, which I still believe is just a club sandwich, so if you’re going to get that far, you might as well add some good swiss to the mix. However, I do ask that you maintain your dignity while doing so. If I happen to come across a BLT utilizing ridiculous ingredients such curry powder or sauerkraut as an act of outright defiance against my Rule of Simplicity, we’ll have a problem here, people.
Since it’s Labor Day weekend a.k.a. probably the last BBQ weekend of the year (at least for us colder cities), I thought I’d share this salad recipe, which goes perfectly with Tri-tip and grilled corn, burgers, or brats. It only takes about 15 minutes to mix up, which leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your last late-night patio session of the summer before the fall creeps in. I’m already starting to miss summer and the fresh food that comes along with it, but I can’t wait to share some wonderful fall-inspired recipes that I’ve been testing lately. I hope you love pie, spices, and savory food straight out of the oven, because there’s plenty of that making its way to my little corner of the internet. Also, probably some good sweater and Tahoe pics, since you know I love sharing my fun trips and outfits with you all ♥ Stay tuned for more!
I hope you have an amazing Labor Day weekend with your friends and family!
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Life Itself by Glass Animals
A few weeks ago, my mom and grandma came into town, and we spent our days antiquing with my aunts and cousins. Through my years of antiquing, I have become absolutely obsessed with candlewick glass (although I now lovingly referring to it as bubble glass, because it’s much cuter, and I didn’t actually know it was called ‘candlewick’ until my aunt mentioned it a couple days ago). I have now compiled a whole china cabinet full of candlewick glass, because my aesthetic is an 80 year old in a 20-something’s body unless I’m picking out clothing, in which case I normally fit into the 60s or early 90s decades. But I digress. Candlewick is where it’s at, and although I’m probably too old to play tea party, I can almost guarantee that I will find an excuse to have one in the near future if only to utilize the
four eight tea cups and saucers I have accumulated over the years. But for the time being, I’ve been using it in much more practical ways, like for Thai coleslaw for example.
You may have noticed that the theme around SSL as of late has been all-things-spring, especially if you read my post “Little White Blossoms“, which is kind of hilarious considering that today in Reno, all we had was little white snow flakes…But no matter. I have already decided that it’s spring, and spring equals BBQs which equals coleslaw (and grilled corn and potato chips and watermelon and….stop me while you can). I’m not quite sure why Reno is bringing back the snow and cold weather, but I do know that the spring semester is almost over and that I’m completely on board to BBQ all summer long.
To be honest, I’ve never really liked coleslaw although pulled pork is one of my favorite foods, and BBQs are my favorite kind of party. To most, coleslaw goes hand in hand…but for me? No thanks. I’m not necessarily interested in cabbage when it’s swimming in a pool of runny, sweet mayonnaise encased in a disposable plastic container. Sounds appetizing, right? I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but then I tried Thai coleslaw, and I was forever changed.
Thai coleslaw is not soggy or runny at all, but it is simple to throw together and goes perfectly with pork lettuce wraps (or anything else for that matter). This recipe has become kind of a big deal in my house, and although I can’t claim it’s an original, I have adapted the recipe to fit my needs accordingly. All you have to do is chop up the veggies, and you can throw the dressing on a couple hours in advance (which I prefer). Simple, delicious, and does not require turning on the oven in the summer heat. I would even go so far as to throw some grilled chicken or tofu in there and call it a weeknight, summery meal. (Okay, let’s be honest, I have done that before, and I stand by that decision. I have no shame in my game).
*Song of the Day: Pretty Pimpin by Kurt Vile
While in London, I ate french fries and gelato every single day. I also indulged in a pint (or two) of craft beer. Every single day. For a month straight. In short, my destructive, unhealthy diet was a sober vegan’s worst goddamn nightmare.
Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was prepping myself for an intense detox consisting of straight juiced kale and other horrible concoctions nutrition bloggers insist are good for the body and the soul.
While I didn’t *exactly* end up subjecting myself to some kind of horrible, liquid diet (I mean, last weekend was my birthday, so of course I was going to eat steak and cake!), I was able to come up with some yummy, clean recipes.
One recipe from the mix is this roasted vegetable orzo salad. It’s light and summery which made me extra excited to eat it for lunch all week.
Although I’m longing for sweater weather season with soup-based dinners and a nice mug of warm tea before bed every night, I’m still trying to push as much summer recipes into my life as I can before it’s too late!
This recipe is especially great served over spinach with a little extra dressing and a grilled chicken breast.
On a side note: My heartburn has gone away since I started incorporating more veggies and less french fries into my life. Weird right?!
Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad:
1 1/2 c. orzo pasta (whole wheat if you can find it)
2 zucchinis, cubed
2 yellow squashes, cubed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1 can chick peas, drained
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted
Crumbled feta, for topping (optional)
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
Onion powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar, agave, or honey
Preheat oven to 350* F. Toss zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers in olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Spread onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and let cool to room temperature.
While pasta is boiling, whisk dressing ingredients together until incorporated.
To make the salad, mix cooled roasted veggies with the orzo, chickpeas, and walnuts. Pour dressing over the top and mix to coat the orzo. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Serve with crumbled feta over the top.
Makes 4 entree servings or 8 side servings.
Although I miss the nights of drinking pale ale at the Craft Beer Company in London, eating deep fried foods, and laughing with my friends, I’m also happy to be on a normal eating schedule again!
It’s also nice to not have to take an antacid before bed every single night.
Can’t say I wouldn’t do it all again!
Song of the Day: Smother–Daughter
Reno weather has finally gotten much more sunny and much less rainy. I don’t really quite understand what’s happening but the rain was non-stop for like, 2 weeks.
At this point, I’m not sure why I’m even surprised with crazy Reno weather. One time a few months ago I walked into the grocery store in 80 degree, completely sunny weather and walked outside to a blizzard.
It may not have been quite that dramatic, but it was pretty close. Anyways, that’s typical Reno weather. Welcome to Northern Nevada!
Although I have loved the constant rain, cool weather, and cloudy skies, I’m also really excited for it to clear up so that I can go to Tahoe and lay on the beach next weekend! I’ve heard it’s going to be in the 70s and sunny. Being an OG Vegas girl (where you barely wear clothes from mid-May to mid-August), I’m going to need to wear a swimsuit very soon. Although I definitely consider myself a Renonian at this point in my life, I can’t completely get away from that part of my upbringing.
Anyways, to celebrate the warmer weather, my friend invited me to go to a BBQ that her friends are hosting. To feel like I contributed in some sort (and since I feel the incessant need to please people), I decided to make one of my family’s favorite recipes.
To be honest, I’m not really sure where this recipe came from, but I know my grandma has been making it for forever. We make it quite frequently in the summer, which is why it’s definitely my BBQ staple item.
The recipe itself seems a little odd. It is. I may have even used the adjective “ghetto” to describe it before.
But it’s soooo good, and you definitely need to make for your Memorial Day BBQ.
1 head green cabbage, shredded
4 green onions, chopped
1 c. slivered almonds
4 Tbs. sesame seeds
2 packages chicken flavored Top Ramen
1 c. vegetable oil
6 Tbs. sugar
4 Tbs. cider or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package Top Ramen seasoning
Heat oven to 350* F. Spread almonds and sesame seeds evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until nuts and seeds are evenly toasted. Cool.
Combine shredded cabbage, green onions, almonds, and sesame seeds in a large salad bowl. Set aside.
Combine dressing ingredients until smooth. Toss dressing with salad, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to marinate cabbage.
Right before serving, crush Ramen noodles and toss with salad. Serves about 20.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Thank you to our amazing troops, past and present, who have fought for our freedom.
We are so, so grateful.
Song of the Day: For Emma by Bon Iver
Does anybody (besides me) like the smell and idea of pickles but not actually like pickles themselves?
Because I’m finding that I have that kind of relationship with pickles. I want to like pickles, I just have a hard time with them for some reason.
Probably cause I’m a weirdo.
Which is coincidentally what my roommate thinks I am after I took him to see The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (or to shorten it: The World is a Beautiful Place/TWIABP)
Oh, you don’t know who that is either?
I’m not surprised actually, but you should check them out. I’m a little bit in love with them <3
Uhhhhhh…back to the pickle thing now?
I’m not huge on pickles, although I am trying, but I looooove Thai marinated cucumbers. I don’t know how you couldn’t. They’re kind of sweet and vinegar-y and go great with chicken satay with peanut sauce or homemade ramen just sayin’. Also, they’re way healthier than pickles, so there’s that.
And you should try them about rightthisverysecond.
1/4 c. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red chili flakes, to taste
Slice your cucumber. I really like pickling cucumbers for these because they’re super crunchy, but I couldn’t find any at the store this time, so a regular one works just fine! (Also, this is like, half a cucumber because that’s just what happens sometimes).
Whisk together the vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers.
Mix together. Let marinate for about 20 minutes (or longer if you like it really strong) and then pour out extra vinegar.
“Hey Sara, you need to go get your nails done now”–you guys.
“I know, I’ll try to do better in the future”–me.
(Thank for loving me anyways) (Even when I enter weird made up commentary mid directions).
Put these on everything.
Song of the Day: Space Exploration to Solve Earthly Crises–TWIABP (fitting, yes?)
Also ft. Chris Zizzamia who does an awesome spoken word/poetry collab with the band which you will hear in this song! Cool, right?
Drop what you’re doing right now and make this ranch.
It. Is. So. Good.
Is it sad that I literally had to stop myself from licking the mixing spoon?
At lease I didn’t drink it right?
Well, I did consider it. But I didn’t seriously consider it. So that makes the whole situation better, yes? (Yes, Sara. Whatever helps you sleep at night).
Put this on some iceberg lettuce and you may become the happiest person on the planet, it’s almost guaranteed. (My family actually calls iceberg lettuce “ghetto lettuce”. I don’t really know why, all I know is that it’s so good with a spoonful of ranch dalloped on top.)
Growing up my mom never let my brother and I have ranch with our carrots or other veggies. I guess the word “let” is not the best word. She just simply didn’t serve it. My brother and I were fine eating veggies just by themselves.
In fact, I was never really a fan of salad or other veggies with ranch until a few years ago.
Which absolutely does not mean this will become a regular thing.
Just until the big jar of homemade ranch in my fridge is gone.
So until tomorrow…
1/2 c. mayo
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. buttermilk (1/4 c. milk + 1/4 Tbs. white vinegar)
1/2 tsp. dried chives
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and whisk with a fork until there are no more lumps.
Refrigerate in a jar or covered bowl until ready to serve.
It doesn’t get any easier than that, folks. If you want it to be super flavorful, you may consider doubling the spices. Make it and then adjust according to taste. It really isn’t a finicky recipe.
Have a great Sunday, my dear readers.