For your listening pleasure this fine autumn morning: Mumford & Sons, Ghosts That We Knew (Album Version)

Mumford & Sons
Ghosts That We Knew
Babel

I strongly believe that music has the ability to set & change our mood. As I was walking on my university’s campus this morning, I really could have used this song playing as my personal background music. It puts you in a relaxed, pensive mood & really helps you to appreciate the evolving beauty of autumn. The colors on the trees seem more vivid, & you can suddenly understand the awesomeness of nature & the purpose of the changing seasons. I know that’s a lot to expect from just a simple song, & maybe it’s just the musician & philosopher in me, but wouldn’t you just love for your day to suddenly change gears & to have a new-found warmth in your soul? Seriously, though, what do you have to lose?

Enjoy, my loves.

First Post Jitters & A Quick, Little Recipe

It’s finally here! My first-ever post on Practically!! For a long time, I wasn’t sure this day would come. I finally committed to making Practically! happen & for the past week, I’ve been wrestling with an impossible choice: what will my first post be about?

Obviously I want it to be impressive, but I can’t just put off posting until I come up with “the best post ever!” The whole point of Practically! is to help make your life simpler, more practical, lovable…& I realized a complex post would not achieve a single one of those goals. So I’m starting simple.

I won’t hide that I’m terrified of this post & what it could (or rather, could not) lead to. I want the internet to like me! I want people to read my posts & say, “That girl…she knows what she’s talking about.” It’s taken me a really long time to accept that not everyone will like me in real life, so tackling that same issue on the internet makes my palms all sweaty & my heart all racy…I just really, really hope you like me, internet! So I suppose, here goes nothin’!

I decided to spend the weekend at my Dad’s house as it’s Homecoming at my school & I have mountains of work to complete for Monday. Staying at school would ensure that I’d make the excellently horrible decision of spending all the money I don’t have going out with time I can’t afford to waste. So I made the 35 minute trip up to my Dad’s.

I was not-so-pleasantly greeted by a pathetically stocked fridge (sorry, Dad). When it came time for lunch, I was at an impasse. How could I make a decent lunch if there was hardly any food?! (Besides 34, 827, 349, 823 opened salad dressings, some jello & a whole bunch of bread & carbs that I can’t eat**) As I continued to scour the refrigerator and pantry, I finally found a few ingredients that I could potentially make work together: a mildly overripe asian pear, celery heart rejects, a can of tuna, raisins, a scraped spoonful of grape jam, a small amount of several different kinds of greens, and a quarter of a tomato. With the help of a few pantry staples, I turned these unwanteds & leftbehinds into a delicious lunch! I’ll call it, Sweet Tuna Salad Salad

Note: This is a great example of when I throw a meal together with random ingredients & I encourage you to modify this recipe to, not only what ingredients you have available, but what ingredients you like! Knowing what you think tastes good together is the first step in having the confidence to make meals without recipes (I’m looking at you, Mom).

Here’s what I used, how I prepped the ingredients & an amateur photo or four I intend to post on Instagram later to tout my awesome, healthy eating, fake chef skillz.

Sweet Tuna Salad Salad
Serves 1 (a fairly hungry 1)

Base Salad:

  • Mixed Lettuces (I used romaine, spring mix & baby spinach)
  • 1/2 Asian pear (cored, segmented into wedges & cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces)
  • 1 Celery stalk (sliced vertically in half then chopped)
  • 1/3 tomato (cut into 2 wedges & sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)

If I could have, I would have added some pistachios & fresh onion & bell peppers, too. Oh, yum. Next time, for sure.

Wash all produce & combine/toss. Plate.

Tuna Salad:

  • ≤ 1/4 C Raisins (or grapes, if you have ’em!)
  • 1 can (= 2 pouches) Chunk Light Tuna (pref. packed in Water)
  • 1 celery stalk (sliced vertically in half then chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion powder (or to taste)*
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic salt (or to taste)*
  • Mayo, to taste (enough to hold ingredients together)

*notes: I generally use fresh onion (Vidalia or sliced Green/Spring/whateveryouwannacallthem) and garlic (~1/2-1 fresh clove) with a sprinkle of sea salt. Dear ol’ Dad didn’t have any of that on hand & I often use these 2 spices to substitute in a pinch. It still tastes great! For a healthier version: use a 50/50 mixture of fat-free plain greek yogurt & mayo.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Scoop & place atop center of base salad.

Sweet Grape Vinaigrette:

2 Tbsp Grape jam (“WHAAAAT?!” Yeah, I know, but trust me.)

1/2 Tbsp oil (I used an herbed olive oil a family friend made, but canola or vegetable will work fine, too)

1Tbsp White distilled vinegar

Combine ingredients in a small side bowl (like a little glass Pyrex dish). Mix vigorously with a fork until mixture is uniform. Drizzle over both salads on your plate!

You can also use a Raspberry or other sweet fruit vinaigrette, but what fun is that! Feel free to experiment with berry purees, too. I love making my own salad dressings 🙂

Bon Appetit! Jouissez!

Sweet Tuna Salad Salad 1

Sweet Tuna Salad Salad 4 Sweet Tuna Salad Salad 2 Sweet Tuna Salad Salad 3

I sincerely hope you all enjoy this Sweet Tuna Salad Salad! I loved it! The dressing was my favorite part! Always remember to substitute ingredients in & out to suit your tastes! The person who knows what you love most is you, so to make this lunch truly something YOU enjoy, you have to have the confidence to get a little “wild & crazy” with your salads 😉

Xs & Os

Sea

P.S. As this is my first post (but this applies to always), I’d love your feedback! Did you love it, like it, or maybe just not so much? Questions, comments, suggestions & love notes are always welcome! If you’d rather not post publicly, check out the “Contact A Girl” page!

**Regarding my statement about the carbs I cannot eat: I have a lipid disorder called Severe Hypertriyglyceridemia that restricts me from eating a lot of fun things like carbs, sweets, alcohol & saturated fats. I can still enjoy these foods occasionally, but am generally very, very limited on allowance. At some point, I’ll probably do a “personal” post to explain it in more depth. In the meantime, inquiries are welcome. I’m pretty open about it, as it affects my everyday life.