I commented to Mike over the weekend that I feel like we live in a vacation location because we’re lucky enough to live one measly block from Lake Michigan. I never thought I’d look at Chicago and feel like I live at the beach, but it’s the truth, we walk down the street and there it is. There are a couple of places that let you get a view back at the city from the water, without being on a boat. We walked out along the North Avenue beach break wall on Saturday and looked back towards the beach and the view couldn’t have been more beautiful.
So many people out doing everything from learning to stand-up paddle board, swim, kayak and sun bath, all with the skyline as the backdrop.
Despite the fact that I love to spend time in the kitchen trying new recipes, the truth is that my lunch routine consists of basically three different options – yogurt with Bare Naked Granola and blueberries, a Morningstar Grillers Original burger on an Arnold’s or similar sandwich thin, or a salad of some kind. Of those three, my real go-to and the one I probably eat four times a week is salad. The composition varies depending on the season and my mood. I seem to go in long phases of certain combinations and right now it’s a salad with greens, toasted edamame, toasted pepitas, diced tomato, ditalini or other small pasta, blue cheese and a splash of balsamic dressing.
Let’s be honest, greens don’t have much flavor and we use them as a supporting character for everything else in the salad. The real star here, the one that sits back nonchalantly and could easily be overlooked, is the toasted pepitas.
They have the crunch and warm toasty flavor of roasted pumpkin seeds, without the mess of the pesky shell. I buy them by the bag at Trader Joe’s (I think they’re marked raw pumpkin seeds or raw pepitas). Store them in the freezer and just toast them up in a skillet by the handful. Store any toasted seeds that you don’t use right away in the cabinet in an airtight container.
I prefer my salad chopped, where everything is cut to about the same size, making it easy to scoop onto a fork and giving a taste of each ingredient in every bite.
After everything is in the bowl, a sprinkle of balsamic dressing and a quick toss are all that’s needed for lunch to be served.