Last weekend, our older daughter graduated from college. I am still trying to say those words out loud without either jumping up and down for joy, or bursting into tears. I actually held it together really well, distracted as we all were momentarily by the appearance of Oprah on the campus, and a fun meal out with one of her best friends the night before the ceremony.
Driving to campus the morning of graduation, however, I turned to our younger daughter and said I was feeling like you do on that last day of summer camp. If you’ve been away to camp then you probably recognize that sensation where you are happy and sad at the same time. Something is most definitely over and you are leaving your friends behind. But you are also going home which, for me and I hope for our daughter who went to camp for a number of years, was always a positive.
I made it through the ceremony without shedding a tear, eager to capture the moment on camera afterwards, shuffling the family to a few locations on the campus. Distracted by hunger, heat and fatigue, I made it through the afternoon after some food and a nap. It wasn’t until we were together again at dinner, toasting the new graduate, that a tidal wave of emotion completely overtook me and I burst into toddler tears. Honestly, in the middle of the restaurant I felt like I was having a tantrum, suggesting that the clock needed to be turned back immediately as I. WAS. NOT. READY. It was a humbling experience.
Is anyone ever really ready?
For me as a parent, the transition from high school to college seems like a breeze when I look back now, the structure of the school year still an integral part of the family dynamic. Now it’s clear, the bandaid has been ripped off as she begins her next chapter. Happy and melancholy all rolled up into a neat package.
The good news? She is definitely prepared. Even though I may not be ready to watch my daughter go, this is the natural order and somehow my heart tells me she is still going to need us from time to time, and maybe some more time in between. At least, I hope so. What more can I ask?
After a fair amount of travel that included lots of meals away from the kitchen, I came home with a great urge to cook. Salads were especially on my to-make list as they provide an excellent means of reseting after a week of indulgence. Salads are also timely as it’s Memorial Day weekend so cookouts and impromptu pot lucks are around the corner.
I know some people have one go-to salad they like to entertain with or bring to a group dinner. Personally, I am always experimenting and especially like to use salads as a means of using up leftovers as well. But the recipes I prepared this past week were mostly ones I have prepared in the past and wanted to retest for the blog. This week I am sharing one I adapted just slightly from one of my favorite blogs, Sprouted Kitchen.
Now, don’t be turned off by the tofu if you aren’t a fan. I wasn’t either, although extra firm is my favorite and crunchy, as it’s prepared here, is really wonderful. My only real memory of tofu growing up is one of my college roommates used to slice it and eat it on a cracker with a generous sprinkling of Crazy Salt. I didn’t like the way it looked one bit.
But, after giving it a try and knowing that our vegetarian daughter likes it, I have tried to embrace it as a protein option. You could absolutely substitute some grilled chicken or even pork tenderloin with excellent results.
The first time I made this salad it had just come over my newsfeed and I happened to have all of the ingredients (with a few substitutions) on hand. We were going on a car trip and I thought it would travel well. It did, and I shared some with my friend Donna who was taking care of our dog. We both loved it.
I came back to it this week and made it for daughter 2 and her friends from high school who we invited to dinner. With the exception of one friend who couldn’t eat the salad due to a nut allergy, the other girls loved it as well. I think you will too. My adaptations from the original are using a red onion instead of scallions, adding a jalapeno, using salted cashews for more flavor and using honey in the dressing rather than agave. I’ve also tried to provide measurements for some of the ingredients as carrots come in all shapes and sizes as can bunches of cilantro.
Crunchy and colorful with a spicy and tangy dressing, it comes together pretty quickly and keeps in the fridge for a couple of days, although the tofu will eventually lose some of it’s crunch.
If you make it, please come back to the blog and leave a comment with your thoughts!