"Your summer looks so... chill."
My friends have not been shy with their apparent jealousy of my summer thus far. Why, you ask? I'm basically working for myself. I took no part-time waitressing or babysitting or donut-slinging (that was last summer) jobs. In fact, I didn't even apply for any. During the winter/early-spring months, when I could've and (some might argue) should've been applying, I was stressing my eyeballs out over school and my current job at the time. I was wrestling with voices inside my head telling me I wasn't good enough to handle just about anything and everything on my plate - academics, future academics, a social life, a non-existent love life, and weight gain.
All I wanted to do was run into the comfort of my Southern California home, in which the tough Cal Poly professors cannot touch me, in which I can ignore the confusing need to have a social life and a boyfriend, and in which I can hopefully heal my love-hate relationship with food. I wanted to escape. Applying for jobs and searching for summer classes were the LAST things I wanted to do.
I was offered a part-time internship with NuttZo - an amazing, nut-loving company I call "my peanut butter people" - and could not have felt more pulled towards that opportunity, so I snatched it up immediately and promised myself I'd dedicate the rest of my time to developing my cooking skills + my passion for plant-based recipes (and in the process, healing my torn-up, upside-down, inside-out relationship with food).
Despite the excitement and determination that practically oozed from my every word, my parents were a bit more skeptical, wondering about qualifications of the experience, financial needs/income, etc. Understandable. Totally understandable, considering the fact that I'm - speaking exclusively in terms of age here - officially an adult and therefore am socially expected to have most of my shizz together. You probably know the feeling.
Convincing them of the legitimacy of my summer plans required a detailed explanation of how I'd be saving money, budgeting, and allotting my time each day. Again, totally understandable, and actually much appreciated because it helped whip my booty into shape and realize that, if I want to give this whole blogging-(almost)-full-time thing a go, I need to give it damn hard GO.
Let me tell you - it's not all that it seems from the mouth-watering snapchats you may be referring to when believing my summer "is so chill". It's actually extremely HOT - I'm in Southern California, so the weather is literally h o t (or hot AF, if you will), but it's also hot because I'm either standing over the stove or in front of the oven on a multiple-times-a-day basis. I'm running in and out the backdoor to snap pictures of a recipe before bees and flies and even the rare cockroach attacks it. I'm up late at night, editing pictures and, when the text portion of each recipe isn't flowing like I always hope, deep-breathing and praying that something with even the slightest hint of relevance and humor will come to mind. I'm price-checking constantly, making sure I don't go overboard on ingredients or run away with the tantalizing temptation that is... dare I say... kombucha.
There's more, but I won't brag or complain or maybe even bore you would be the better term. All I'm saying is I'm a baby in this blogging world, but I'm a passionate little one and I fall more and more in love with food each day. I thank God that He's introduced me to a life of peace with the food I love so dearly so that I can chase after my dream, without the effing diet-mentality getting in the way. MOVE OVER DUDE BEFORE I RUN YOU OVER.
That's right. I'm comin'. :)
Oh, and about this sandwich! I did everything in my power to come up with a more creative name than what I've got, but I also refused to settle on "vegan tuna salad sandwich". First of all, raise your hand if you like tuna salad - the smell, the taste, the memories (school cafeteria lunch, anyone?). Yeah, that's what I thought. Second of all, my dad has ingrained the idea that my creative vegan recipes deserve so much more than to be called "vegan this" or "vegan that". So, white bean salad sandwich it is!
I highly recommend seeking out fresh-baked, local bread. Makes. All. The. Difference. Search for something hearty, something thick and substantial to balance out the creamy, light salad.
This recipe is no-doubt 100% picnic-friendly and a must for days when turning on the oven is not an option, when leftovers are non-existent, and/or when that tuna salad might sound appealing.
Makes about 4 sandwiches
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
2 tbsp. mustard
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. lemon pepper
thick-sliced whole-grain bread (GF if needed)
mixed greens, for serving
- Mash the beans in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, stir together the mustard, tahini, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and seasoning. Pour this into the mashed beans and stir to combine. Gently fold in the red onion and cucumber.
- If desired, toast the sliced bread at this time. Spread about 1/4-1/3 cup of the salad onto one slice of bread, top with mixed greens and the other slice of bread.
- Serve immediately and store leftover salad in an airtight container for up to one week.