*First of all, congratulations to Carolyn, winner of Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”! Thanks to everyone who signed up for my newsletter. There are still two more great books to give away. Next up is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
If you haven’t signed up yet, go now! I’m choosing winners at random from my entire email subscription list. (Scroll all the way down for more info.) The next drawing will be on Tuesday, December 23, and the final one on the 30.
Now, let’s talk about some writing – and eating habits…
During the thirteen years I lived in Brooklyn, I rarely went to Starbucks. Why would I? I lived in the land of Quirky Cool Coffee Shops (that’s a direct quote from the linked article, by the way, I’m not trying to be a snob), and besides, the closest Starbucks was too far of a walk.
But I love writing in cafes, and the closest one to me in Brooklyn was a little sliver of a cafe called Steeplechase, which had the most delicious cinnamon chip scones (alas, not gluten free). I used to go there once a week when my son had a sitter.
When we moved to New Hope, I knew I’d have to find a place to write. Sure, I had a whole house instead of a tiny apartment, but the thing is, I like the background noise of coffee shops. Plus, I love coffee.
I tried seeking out a cute little independent shop, but seating was a problem. The local Starbucks, however, has some rather comfy armchairs. Did you know they now offer a blonde (light) roast? It’s pretty tasty and far less intense than their dark roasts. Just my personal preference because I know plenty of people who can’t get enough of their regular sludge, I mean coffee.
Anyway, I was also pleased to see that they added some healthy and hearty food options to their menu. Including this awesome salad, which to my knowledge, is gluten free (though not labeled as such):
(Yes, it’s sitting on my dashboard because I was too hungry to take it home for a proper photo shoot.)
So, after buying it several times, I decided to make it myself. It’s a bit labor intensive, but it makes a week’s worth of lunches (unless someone in your household steals half of them…)
DIY Kale, Brown Rice + Roasted Veggie Bowl
Stuff to buy:
- big old bag of Kale
- pre-chopped butternut squash
- golden or red beets
- shredded carrots
- shredded red cabbage
- brown rice (or grain of choice)
- dressing of choice, I used a Tahini Sesame kind to mimic Starbucks
- olive oil, salt, pepper for roasting veggies
- small/medium plastic or glass containers for storing each portion
To make things easier, look for precut and shredded veggies, frozen and steam ready packages of broccoli and peas (or whatever veggie you’d like, edamame would be great). Pre cooked brown rice would be awesome. Can you tell I love short cuts?
1. Chop up your kale into bite sized pieces. You really don’t want to try to eat a piece the size of your head.
2. Roast your butternut squash by peeling and chopping into bite size pieces (unless you bought pre-cut). Toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast at 400 in a casserole dish or on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for about thirty minutes. Let them cool.
3. Roast your beets. Beware they will stain your fingers when you peel them, even golden beets! But they are SO good, and pretty, it’s (almost) worth the effort.
4. Cook your rice. I used short grain brown rice for a nice chewy effect, but you could use ANY other grain like quinoa, millet, etc. I have a rice cooker that I’m terribly in love with, but you could use the quick cooking kind or pre-cooked.
5. Microwave your other veggies like broccoli and peas. The best kind is the one you steam in the bag. I LOVE the single serve packages.
6. Assemble your assembly line. Put stuff in bowls, try to make it sort of organized. Put your kids in front of the TV so they stop asking you why there’s food all over the counter.
7. Then put it together! I put the kale on the bottom and then added everything else on top. I made 4 portions, but probably could’ve made another.
My daughter was very intrigued by my efforts and wanted to be in a picture. That purple stuff on her cheek is face paint. Created by me. Yes, I’m multi-talented. Just don’t ask for anything but a flower or a rainbow.
Then make sure you hide them in the fridge just in case your veggie averse husband or partner or housemate or child catches wind of your kitchen witchery and tries to steal your lunch. Which totally happened.
What are your guilty (or not so guilty) coffee shop pleasures? Do you prefer to write in cafes or at home?
And don’t forget about the…
CONTEST! WIN A FREE BOOK!
This week’s giveaway book is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, a clever and entertaining book filled anecdotes about his life interspersed with practical advice.
I had it in my collection for years, but for some reason it took me almost a decade to pick it up. Big mistake. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re in for a treat.
All you have to do is sign up for my email newsletter and you’re eligible to win. The results of this random drawing will be posted here on Tuesday, December 23rd.
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Looks so yummy can’t wait to try!
Thanks Janice! I really need to make a new batch – and then hide them from Steven.
You’re lucky I don’t live in New Hope because I would totally steal your lunch.
(Although we could meet in a Starbucks to write together. I do like comfy armchairs.)
Ha! I’d love to meet up and write with you in those comfy chairs 🙂
Yum! I have been going to Starbucks for years but we finally have a Quirky Cool Coffee Shop hear in Ridgewood. I love it!!
Oh how awesome! I do like to support the independent stores when I can, however, the people who work at my local Starbucks are so nice and friendly, which they weren’t always at the cool places in Bklyn.
Sadly I can’t drink coffee but I do love Starbucks. I have never seen that salad here, it looks absolutely yummy and I will be trying out your recipe. I prefer writing at home because I am easily distracted and nosy (nothing like eavesdropping on other people’s conversations) – also it doesn’t help that our local Starbucks is where my friends and neighbours ‘congregate’ 🙂
The salad is so good! I wish I could replicate the dressing because it’s almost the best part.
It’s funny, I find working at home more distracting because I can so easily go online, or pet the cat, or consider folding laundry (though I usually pass on this). At Starbucks, or wherever I end up, I bring headphones and listen to music. This way it tunes out any annoying talkers, which drives me bonkers. I’ve also used earplugs for this same reason 🙂
Dana, this is SO impressive and ambitious but I can see it’s not as hard as it looks. I think people (like me, sometimes) are unnecessarily intimidated by food prep. It’s ALL about prep, isn’t it? This is an awesome idea! And I agree it’s been impressive to see new options at Starbucks.
Thanks so much Nina! It’s funny, because I’m actually terrible at prep and meal planning, so this was definitely ambitious for me. I had no idea how much prep it would be, however, it wasn’t “hard” prep. I cut corners whenever I could, and to be honest, next time I do this I’ll probably skip the beets because that’s labor intensive (peeling, staining your skin, chopping and roasting separately). But it was SO nice to have lunch all ready to go.
I’m late to this but totally obsessed with this salad! What do you do for dressing?
Hi Lindsey! You know, I do prefer the Starbucks dressing because the tahini and lemon flavor is so wonderful, but the closest I could get was a bottle of gluten free (b/c that’s what we need around here) soy sesame dressing that was okay. Next time I might make my own. Tahini is easy enough to find and I saw some simple dressing recipes online.