Good Morning, Monday

Lentil Barley Picnic Salad with Ginger-Soy Dressing

Cover with salted water and cook together in a large pot the following ingredients: 1 cup green lentils; 1 cup pearl barley; 1/4 cup wild rice; 1/4 cup brown rice. (Or use whatever combination of legumes most inspires you. Leftover rice can be added to the salad afterward, too; it’s a very flexible salad). Simmer for about an hour, or till tender. Drain. Place in a large bowl with a tight lid.

In a small food processor, puree together the following ingredients: 1 clove garlic; 1 teaspoon salt or to taste; black pepper to taste; 1/4 cup cider vinegar; 1 square inch (or so) peeled fresh ginger; 1-2 tbsp tamari; 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil; and an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of canola or other vegetable oil. A touch of honey or sugar can be added as well.

Pour the dressing over the legumes, and mix. Add leftover rice, if desired. Add your choice of seasonal veggies, such as: grated carrot; chopped cucumber; thinly sliced red peppers. Squeeze the juice of one lemon or lime over top of the salad. Add crumbled feta or queso duro blando, if desired. Taste for seasonings. Cover and store till picnic-time.

This salad is popular with all of the kids, believe it or not. I’m making it for tonight’s soccer-side picnic, and will also serve tortilla wraps with tuna salad or hummus, and spinach; apple slices, and disgustingly mushy brownies on the side. (In fact, the brownies were such a flop, I despair of ever making good brownies. Anyone have a good recipe? I substituted sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds for nuts; maybe that was the problem).


Update on the two-week early rising challenge. I accomplished my goal: rose early to practice yoga on M/W/F of both weeks. And I got up this Monday morning and did the same, though part of me resisted. Part of me always resists. I love my bed. I love dreams. I love sleep. But what amazes me is how much I also love being awake in the quiet house, hearing the birds, and starting my day with exercise. It just takes a nudge to push me across that line from oh my bed how I love you, to hello good morning! I return home awake, energized, and operating much more efficiently than I would had I spent an extra hour and a half in bed. (It has been my habit to rarely get out of bed before 7am, and it’s a rule in our house that no one else is allowed to either). I would like to substitute a run on one of those mornings, but plan to stick to the basic early-rise-and-exercise, three mornings every week.
Eco-confession: I’ve been driving to my early morning yoga class. It’s located embarrassingly nearby. Yes, I have a bicycle. Where is my helmet, where is my lock, why am I never organized at 6 o’clock in the morning? I could get organized the night before. It would take me an additional two or three minutes to bike rather than drive. There is no excuse.
Eco-attempt # 1: I made laundry detergent this weekend. I’m washing the first load right now. If it works out, I’ll post the recipe.
Eco-attempt # 2: We’ve been buying milk in glass bottles. Nice, organic milk. Only problem is, we might have to choose between buying this nice organic milk in glass bottles and sending our children to university. It’s that expensive. But I’m appalled by all the food-related packaging I purchase. Recycling isn’t enough. Ideas?
The house is quiet. I love Monday mornings …
Photos above by AppleApple, who took them from the back seat of the truck on our way home from a soccer game. She took about seventy photos at that game. The rule is that I get to edit as I choose (translation: erase). But she says she doesn’t mind. It just makes her happy to take pictures.

From a Writer to His Younger Self
Gathering Paradise


  1. Tricia Orchard

    I make these brownies all the time. They are quick and easy and delicious! Every time I make them people ask me for the recipe. Here is the link below:

    I wish I had more answers to your eco questions. I agree that recycling is not enough. It is hard to think of a solution that is not too time-consuming or too costly (sadly). I sometimes drive to ValueMart and feel utterly ridiculous and hope that no one I know sees me!

    I am going to try your recipe. I love recipes like that, although my kids do not. Oh well.


  2. Carrie Snyder

    Oooo, thank you for the brownie recipe, Tricia. It looks uncomplicated and good. I will try it out! Once we’ve worked our way through this batch or ooey chocolate goo.

    I’ve driven to ValuMart. In fact, drove there on Saturday while running errands. Kicked myself afterward, and thought–gee, if I didn’t have this truck sitting conveniently in the driveway, this errand would have taken only marginally longer (I could have pushed everything home in the stroller), and I would have gotten a nice walk in, too. I find driving, generally, stressful and boring. I’m always impatient while in a vehicle. It feels like the ultimate waste of time.

  3. Susan Fish

    As for organic milk, we have decided to go the university-for-the-kids route. You aren’t kidding about the price! One thing we do that reduces trash though is we make our own yoghurt – which we adore. It’s very easy, safe and delicious. And I save milk bags – the outside bags for cat litter and the inside ones instead of ziplok bags.

  4. Carrie Snyder

    Susan, please share your recipe/method!! I have never had luck making yogurt and I would love to. We go through several cartons every week. It’s our go-to condiment.

  5. m

    Hi Carrie,
    I’ve been lurking for a few months now and I can’t believe this is the post I’m outing myself on. So many of your posts really resonate with me–I’m also an obscure CanLit mother!

    Check out The Home Creamery for how to make yogurt. We have a yogurt “machine” that my Mom used in the 80s, but the it’s basically just to keep the yogurt at the right temp. The recipe I use is from that book. I also have a great recipe for brownies that use kidney beans, if you’re still looking. We stopped buying organic milk because of the cost, too. It’s that terrible balance, where nothing seems like the right choice!

    I’ve been doing early morning yoga for two weeks now and I’m loving it. I’m lucky, though, as it’s only a ten minute walk from my house. If I had to take transit (we don’t have a car), I’d never get out of bed.

  6. Carrie Snyder

    Kidney bean brownies. I’m totally intrigued. Please share.

    And I’m so glad you outed yourself. Hurray for obscure CanLit mamas! Linking to your blog now … 🙂

  7. katie

    loved all parts of this post. yum!

  8. Leah MacKinnon

    Carrie, another lurker for you (Leah, Kaitlin Muzio’s mom) with a brownie recipe. This one is mildly healthy and is a big hit with our kids. I imagine your family will be overjoyed with all these new brownie recipes they need to taste test for you!

    Fudgy Oatmeal Brownies

    4 eggs, beaten

    ½ cup oil (I use light olive)

    1 cup milk

    2 tsp vanilla

    1 cup flour (could be ½ whole wheat)

    ¾ cup rolled oats

    ¼ cup wheat germ/wheat bran

    1 ½ cup sugar

    ½ cup cocoa

    Optional additions: ½ cup nuts/seeds, ½ cup chocolate chips, 1-2 ripe bananas mashed/pureed (the chocolate chips and banana were in yesterdays version)

    Method: Beat eggs, beat oil into eggs, then add vanilla, milk, and banana (if using) with electric beater. Mix solids, add to liquids, then add nuts/seeds/chocolate chips.

    Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 F for ~30 minutes.

    If you have an 11 x 17 pan I size up by about ¼ when using some of the optional additions.
    Thank-you for your blogs! I look so much forward to them and the way they make me feel less alone in the struggle/joy of this stage of life.

  9. Carrie Snyder

    Thank you for the recipe, Leah (the kids are going to love taste-testing all of these!), and for telling me you’re visiting, too. I really appreciate hearing a connection has been made through the blog. I look forward to writing them, too!


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