Easy Summer Millet Salad

The state of my kitchen is a pretty good indicator of my mental health. If I’m feeling good, I use stuff up and keep things pretty tidy. If I’m feeling low, a lot of fresh produce gets composted and my dishes pile up. One thing that really gives me a mood boost is pulling together a recipe from the ingredients we have on hand.

I had been meaning to make a millet salad to take in my work lunches. Lately I’ve really been loving a grain salad over spinach with a protein thrown on top. We had some millet in the pantry so I had planned to make a lemon chickpea millet salad I found online. But I procrastinated because last week we had a lot of lunch meetings and I managed my way through without preparing anything.

This past weekend my parents came into town and brought some garden-fresh produce. After they left, I was sitting on my couch thinking about how to use everything up before it went bad. Initially I was thinking about making a pasta salad, since I scored a couple boxes of pasta on sale for fifty-five cents. Then the idea to make a summer millet salad hit me. I hopped up and started pulling ingredients out of the pantry, fridge and freezer and started boiling some water for the millet. Here is a rough recipe for my easy summer millet salad.

1 cup millet
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs — I picked some thyme, basil, parsley and chives from my garden.
1 can chickpeas
1 cup frozen corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing (more or less to taste)

Bring water to a boil. Add millet and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Cool millet slightly and mix in the remaining ingredients. (I used up some Wishbone brand basil dressing and then mixed together some balsamic, olive oil and Italian dressing mix.)

You could serve this as a side dish, but I am eating it as part of a bigger salad for lunch. My lunch mix includes about 2 cups of spinach, chopped cucumber, a generous scoop of millet salad, some black olives and either a couple canned sardines or some fresh mozzarella.

40 before 40: Week One Update

I’ve been easing into improving my habits and reaching my goals on about half the things in my “40 before 40” list. Here is an update on how I’m doing…

  1. Write 40 blog posts. Not counting this post, my blog post count is 2 down, 38 to go.
  2. Hike/walk/run 40 miles. In deciding to set this goal at 40 miles, I knew I was making it easy on myself. In reality, I hope to exceed this, but I also want to take it slow to prevent any injury. This week I’ve walked three mornings for 30 minutes. This usually adds up to about 1.4 or 1.5 miles but I am only counting the whole miles, which means I’m at 3 with 37 to go.
  3. Cook 40 new recipes. This week I made red beans and rice for dinner, cornmeal mush with strawberries for breakfast, and I prepped a millet salad for this week’s lunches. That makes 3 down and 37 to go. 
  4. Declutter 40 items. I’ve been working on clearing out my magazine stash. If I count each magazine, I’m already up to 6 items, but since I probably have 40 magazines in my nightstand basket, I’m just going to count them all as one item.
  5. Do a 40 day social media detox. I haven’t really started working on this, but I have outlined some strategies to make this a lasting habit rather than a gimmick that I’m done with after 40 days. 
  6. Go 40 days without alcohol. My bff is moving away tomorrow so we’ve had some going away functions with drinks. I’m officially up to Day 3 with 37 to go.
  7. Go 40 days without caffeine. I’ve started cutting back on my morning coffee so that I don’t suffer withdrawal headaches. This week, I’ve gone from unlimited coffee (typically my only source of caffeine) to 8 ounces of coffee in the morning.
  8. Go 40 days without sugar. I picked up The Case against Sugar on a trip to the bookstore this week. I’ve only gotten into the introduction, but I hope this book will help motivate me toward accomplishing this goal.
  9. Clear the magazine rack. I’m down 6 magazines with a lots to go. I could do this really quickly and pitch them all in the recycling bin at once, but that seems almost sacrilegious to me. 
  10. Take things to Clothes Mentor. Clothes Mentor is a consignment store for gently used clothing. I called the store to find out what hours they buy clothes. The next step is to check the tags on the clothes I want to get rid of to make sure they will take those brands. My instinct is to wait until I’ve cleaned out every closet to take one huge pile of clothes, but it is more likely that I will complete this task if I go as soon as I have a few items to take.
  11. Make vacation photo album. I’ve transferred all the pictures from my phone and our camera to my laptop and I’ve chose a Shutterfly theme for the photo album. We received a Shutterfly coupon in the mail this week so my goal is to complete this before the coupon expires. 
  12. Finish rag rug. I have worked on this pretty consistently throughout the week. I’m surprised to note that I’m almost finished with it.
  13. Read five books. I think I’m currently reading five books all at once. They include 21 Days to Resilience, Getting Things Done, The Case against Sugar, Rez Life, and a re-read of Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me?. But it doesn’t actually count until I finish one.
  14. Exercise 3 times each week. I should’ve been more specific and said “strength train 3 times each week.” I’ve identified some body-weight exercises for my shoulders, abs and butt and I am working on slowly increasing the repetitions. My strategy is to do three days on separated by one rest day. So far so good.
  15. Stop using my iPhone an hour before bed. I’ve done this one day. The key is to use my other alarm clock but first I have to figure out how to damper the volume of the alarm because it is super loud and my husband always jumps when it goes off.
  16. Incorporate GTD. I’ve been reading a little of this every day and am really striving to do better with the collecting and processing steps.
  17. Work through 21 Days to Resilience. I’ve completed Day One.
  18. Stay under my grocery budget. I set my grocery budget at $400/month. That is an average of what we’ve spent over the last four months. I’m well within budget and hope to decrease my budget slowly as I pay more attention to what we’re spending at the grocery store. 
  19. Journal every day. Check.
  20. Do daily Bible study. I try to identify a verse for every day at the beginning of the month. With our recent vacation, I was woefully behind, but I’m caught up and moving forward.