On feeling adult. (or the week in which I trade in parentheses for the dash - or hyphen - as my punctuation item of choice)

When did I start staying things like “I think I’ll skip brunch and try to hop on an earlier flight” or “Is there an antique store around here?” or “Well, it’s 8:45 - should we head to bed or watch one more episode of Gilmore Girls?” Since when can I be found ironing a cardigan sweater before a cocktail party or throwing baby showers instead of bachelorette parties? Or talking about school districting lines and property values? When did I end up with a mortgage to pay, a lawn to mow (or rather to watch grow really, really long while I try to swallow the idea of spending $400 on a new lawnmower), a dog to walk, and a compulsion to read Time magazine cover-to-cover each week? 

It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t plan anything for Saturday mornings because I needed to build in time to get over Friday night’s happy-hour-goes-long-and-suddenly-it’s-midnight-at-an-Irish-bar-playing-90s-club-music hangover. 

Adulting, you snuck up on me. I can’t say I’m sorry to see my youth fade away, and it turns out being an adult isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s mostly good, really. You realize that your parents are just people, too. That nobody knows what they’re doing. That having kids can’t really be all that hard because your friend that not too long ago used to chug beer out of an old, smelly boot is now called Dad by two children (and is a great parent!). You sleep more, plan less. I stumbled across this article today that seemed to capture my current life situation with surprisingly pointed ease. Exercise more. Ditch people who drain you. Don’t try to do it all. Think about retirement. Retirement was the furthest thing from my mind in my 20s, and now I go on first dates that talk about 401ks and mortgage rates. And I like it. (Lest you feel great concern for the current state of my dating life, rest assured that I also bring up slightly more interesting topics as well…)

I headed over to Bainbridge Island with my friend Alex this week to do some adulting. We visited a bougie shoe store, took a driving tour to find the local, organic farms, headed into Poulsbo (home to more than a large frequently-advertised RV store. Who knew?) We drank warm apple cider and browsed the non-fiction section in the local book store. We went antiquing. (I can’t believe I just typed that sentence. Certainly it was the first time I’ve ever done such a decidedly old-lady thing… well, except for that other time a few weeks ago that I paid $9.95 for a handwritten grocery list from 1906…). I bought an old wooden box. For $30. Sometimes being an adult is also ridiculous. 

Alex and I also ate our way through the bakeries of Bainbridge, so I returned home craving a hearty, flour-and-butter-free, vegetable dinner. You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent as of late - I’ve been traveling most of the month of October -  so the state of my fridge and cooking regimen leave something to be desired. I did however manage to cobble together this salad from the garden, pantry, and won’t-go-bad-even-after-weeks-of-neglect fridge staples. As fall settles in, hearty greens like kale make for a good salad base. Adding fall produce - apples and carrots - and pantry staples - nuts, seeds and dried fruit - resulted in a pretty tasty and filling salad. 

Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale (I used 3 different kinds from the garden, but typically I buy bunches of lacinato — also called dinosaur or tuscan kale).
1 carrot - peeled into ribbons
Pepitas
Dried cranberries
1/2 apple, cut into “matchsticks”
Shaved parmesan cheese (I would recommend a stronger cheese here, like feta or goat cheese, but this was all I had around). 

1. Fill a large serving bowl with chiffonade kale strips and top with carrots, apples, dried fruit and seeds (you can substitute others you have on hand, like raisins, pine nuts, sliced almonds, etc). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

Dressing

My friend Kendall taught me the secret of this easy dressing. It takes no time to make, consists of just 3 ingredients that I almost always have around, and tastes surprisingly fresh and complex, especially on a hearty green like kale.

Juice of 1/2 a meyer lemon (regular lemons work too)
2-4 T olive oil
1-2 t honey

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Pour over salad and toss to combine.