MARSHMALLOW FLUFF AINT GOT NOTHING ON ME.
Growing up, my family went to Luby’s a lot on Sundays after church. It was a guarantee we’d be in line with at least one group of ladies wearing giant hats & bright suits. I love a good buffet & seeing all the choices. First up were the salads, & I always went with a classic fruit salad or the marshmallow fluff. How that made it in the salad category, I’ll never know. It’s probably the same person who included mac ‘n cheese in the vegetable side dish category. Ordering the LuAnn platter kept my order pretty steady—I’d order either the chopped steak with cheese or the turkey if they had dressing & cranberry sauce that day. Sweet potatoes were my favorite side, but sometimes I’d get okra if I didn’t think my sister was up for sharing a piece or two. And of course, the finale was the roll—that beautiful, hot piece of bread was my favorite part. We didn’t always get dessert, but when we did, it was always a tough choice. Banana pudding? Strawberry shortcake? Space-like Jello? And always iced tea. I haven’t been to a Luby’s in a long time. I think I’d still love it, but I try to save fried food & marshmallow fluff for special occasions. Part of it is knowing the importance of what I put in my body, & part of it is sheer vanity, if we’re being honest.
I went to a doctor a handful of years ago to have some blood work done. My eczema started flaring during my pregnancy with Collins & was still proving to be a problem after she was born & my hormones seemed to otherwise normalize. Plus, my sinuses were horrible, & it felt like they always led to an infection. Always trying to solve problems internally before I treat them externally, I went to this holistic doctor to see what was going on. The paperwork with the test results was intense. There were things they tested for I didn’t know existed in my own body. It was cool to learn about. When my doctor was going through everything with me, she gave me the good news that overall, I was super healthy. I’ll never forget the analogy she gave me to explain the next part. She said imagine every person has a cup inside their bodies. The cup holds all the junk we put in our bodies, & we don’t feel long-term negative effects until the cup overflows. Every person’s cup is a different size. You have a really tiny cup.
I still treat symptoms & problems externally when I need to—but I do believe a lot of those symptoms can be controlled by the way I feed & treat my body. And that meant I should probably focus more on the green salads instead of the classic fruit salad & marshmallow fluff.
The thing is, I love food. I love reading recipes & baking with my kids. I love dinner parties & cheese boards. So even when I’m making a salad, it’s going to be a GOOD salad. This girl isn’t wasting her ability to taste on old romaine & watery tomatoes.
Thankfully, I have fresh produce right at my fingertips. No, I don’t mean in my garden. I would love to plant & manage my own garden one day—but I can barely keep my eyelids open past nine as it is, so I think it’s better to leave it to farmers markets & grocery store to supply my produce needs.
The nice thing about salads is that unlike baking, nothing has to be exact. You can play with your ingredients & come up with a new creation all the time. I like to make my salads in bulk because chopping can create a mess, & I’d rather not have to repeat it for a few days.
This is the salad I made last week.
Mixed Greens (one tub of pre-washed greens)
1-2 bunches romaine
2 bunches broccoli
Handful of green beans
1 red bell pepper
A bunch of Brussels sprouts
1 red onion
3 sweet potatoes
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Chop your sweet potatoes & red onion, & put them on the parchment. Drizzle with avocado or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for around 25 minutes or until it’s all browning & everything smells like it’s melting into butter. Pull your parchment off the pan & let the veggies cool.
Wash & tear your romaine into small bite-sized pieces, & let them fall in your salad bowl. Take a pair of kitchen scissors to a few big handfuls of your mixed greens & cut them into small pieces over your romaine. Mix it all together. Your hands will work just fine.
Chop up your broccoli—I just use the florets. The stems do nothing for me.
Chop your bell pepper.
Trim & chop your green beans.
Layer them all in your salad.
Using your nifty mandolin or a sharp knife & super steady set of hands, slice your Brussels sprouts (trim them first!) & fennel bulb (cut the stalks off first!). Add them to your mix.
Mix in your cooled sweet potatoes & onion.
Pull off the feathery greens from the fennel stalks. Garnish your salad with these so you can impress yourself with your salad ingenuity.
You can toss the whole salad with olive oil & balsamic vinegar or toss each individual serving. This salad serves several, so I dress each individual serving so nothing gets soggy.
Bonus: if you want an extra dose of color & sweetness, toss in some fresh blueberries at the end. Trust me.
Take that, Luby’s. Just kidding. I still love you.