Life as a single parent is about finding an equilibrium between extremes. From Monday through Thursday I do one thing: parent. I rise with my youngest (unless I’m disciplined enough to wake up early and do some morning yoga) and fall asleep with my oldest. I work hard to pack our days full so that the long hours between 6am and 9pm have some adventure and the loneliness of single parenting stays at bay. But there are still inevitable lulls where time stands still and exhaustion from it all overcomes me. Then it’s Friday and for 3 days I am suddenly and completely kid-free. I am relief with the freedom yet feel heartache without my kids near. I feel excitement about filling my time however I choose and yet guilt over that very excitement. Balance between these extremes is a thin line that I walk. It is exhausting and sometimes painful but I have no other choice than to keep on walking.
I have found that staying busy on my weekends in one of the best way to keep that balance. As I continue to wait for grad school to start (5 more weeks!) I have turned my attention and focus to long-overdue outdoor projects. One of the things I’ve been working on is a patio with a built in fire pit inspired by this one. If you follow me on Instagram then you already know you’re invited to come roast vegan marshmallows with me anytime you’d like. I’m also working on building some raised beds so that I can have the garden I’ve been dreaming about for years. And most importantly, I finally got around to building something I’ve been promising my kids for months: a sandbox.
Coincidentally, Monday through Thursday just got a whole lot easier.
The one thing I’ve struggled to do with my time on the weekends is blog. It was something that brought me so much joy for many years but now the creative energy that once was abundant lays beyond my grasp. I’ve been trying to understand why this is and while I’ve come up with many theories, I think the most likely one is that right now life is mostly about survival and in that place there isn’t much room for creativity. It must be said that in no way am I trying to complain about my life or gather sympathy. I am proud to have survived what I did and I am excited to make my life whole and good from the pieces that were left for me. I’m just doing the only thing I know how to do, be honest (with the world, I suppose) about where I am.
So when I feel do inspired, it comes as a bolt of energy that must be created into something delicious. This salad came to me like that a few weeks ago when I was enjoying a (rather boring) salad on my back deck and admiring the work I had recently done in the yard. As I was eating the salad, I found my self thinking, “This salad needs some corn. And some avocado. It would benefit from some blackened tempeh, too, I suppose. Oh and definitely some creamy & smokey dressing”. (Okay, it was a really boring salad) and thus inspired, I got up, walked straight to the grocery store, and fixed up that salad into what it was meant to be.
Full of smokey and creamy flavor with a little bit of spice and tang, this salad has it all. So honor this summer by charring up some delicious sweet corn, picking those ripening cherry tomatoes, and grilling up some smokey tempeh for this perfect and fresh summer meal.
- Blackened Tempeh
- 8 oz. tempeh
- 1 tablespoon chipotle adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 fresh corn on the cob
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of salt salt
- 4 cups chopped romain lettuce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
Chipotle Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hours
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 chipotle chili + 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
- To make the Blackened Tempeh:
- Combine adobo sauce, garlic powder, and salt. Cut the tempeh into ½ inch strips and coat them in adobo sauce. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium hight heat. Add tempeh and cook for 5 minutes, or until blackened, on each side. Set aside.
- To make Charred Corn:
- Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Brush fresh corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place corn on hot pan and char each side, about two minutes per side. Set aside to let cool.
- To make the Chipotle Ranch Dressing:
- Drain and rinse the cashews. Place in a high speed blender (like VitaMix) with remaining dressing ingredients and blend until completely smooth.
- To assemble:
- In a large bowl toss together the Salad Fixing.. Add prepared tempeh and corn and top with Chipotle Ranch Dressing.
- Serve immediately.