I was thinking about ways to begin this post, and the expression “it’s just one of those days” sprung to mind. It’s Monday, and in spite of what was a rather quiet weekend for me, I feel tired. I’m sure that living in a sauna (and by that I mean New York City in mid-July) isn’t helping. I’m over spending my Sundays as a refugee at Barnes & Noble to avoid running up my ConEd bill as I work, but I know the heat’s not likely to break for another two months. I missed seeing my friends early this summer, yet now that my schedule is (finally) easing up, I feel harried trying to make time for everything I couldn’t do in June. (If there is anything sillier or more self-indulgent than being stressed over making time for summer activities with good friends, please let me know.) On top of these things, today wasn’t my most delightful day at the office.

In the midst of my self-pity, fortunately, I read Sophia’s latest post. It too began with irritation, but it ended with the conclusion that her problems are, in the grand scheme of things, easily surpassed, along with a remembrance of her blessings. I’d do well to remember the same. A funk is no fun, but it’s only a funk. And in my experience, there are numerous things we can do to slip out of our funks, just as easily as we slipped in. For me, those things will include, but not be limited to:

1) Finishing the latest Tana French novel. I don’t get to read for pleasure often. When I do, I seek out either the heavily cerebral, or the intensely entertaining. Tana French’s novels qualify more as the latter, but she’s no slouch; the writing is tight and brilliantly plotted, and it’s a joy to read.
2) Cooking the yellow beets I found at the farmer’s market yesterday when I get home. I love yellow beets! Good taste, without scarlet colored palms.
3) Thanking my lucky starts for my air conditioning. My ConEd bill might be high, but my apartment is cool.
4) Reminding myself that having friends to see and things to do is what makes my life so blessed. I may fantasize about escaping to a log cabin in Maine when the weather gets like this, but I’d be very lonely. And I’d miss Lincoln Center a lot.
5) Planning my Labor Day trip to San Francisco! Hooray for Chloe, who slyly persuaded me to meet her and her husband there! (OK, she wasn’t very sly. She didn’t have to be. She basically told me she was going, and I caved.)

These are all very good things. In fact, just thinking about them has made the funk lift a bit. A few hours from now, I expect it to be long gone.

Something else than makes me feel less funky? Coming up with tasty raw vegan renditions of popular non-vegan dishes. For example, tuna salad.

I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to share a tuna salad recipe with you! What’s wrong with me? It’s a perenially popular dish, and one that clients of mine frequently beg me to recreate. I’m not the first raw foods lover to come up with a replica–there are tons of them out there, and they all resemble each other–but I do think I’ve perfected my home version, which is made with sunflower seeds. It’s tasty, tart, and reminiscent of the original, but not fishy enough to send my fellow vegans away in a fit of squeamishness. It’s great for lunching or snacking, and like all nut pates, it goes nicely in collard wraps as well as salads. Enjoy!

Raw, Vegan Tuna Salad (serves 4-6)

1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked at least 2 hours)
2 pickles, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 tbsp pickle juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
7 g dulse, shredded (or 2 tsps dulse flakes/granules)
1 tsp mellow white miso

Place sunflower seeds in a food processor fitted with the S blade and pulse till they’re well combined but not totally smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again, till everything is broken down and uniform. Serve!

I like to eat my mock tuna salad in collard or romaine wraps, but I especially enjoy it as a dip:

It’s also lovely served up next to a salad. Note that the carrots are optional: in this photo I’d made the dish without them because I didn’t have any on hand, and it was still divine:

This is a perfect treat for non-vegan friends who are joining you for lunch. It recalls a known dish, but it also shows what a little vegan creativity can do! For the many of you who I know will ask, it should keep for about 2-3 days. But I recommend using your kitchen intuition about it.

Before I go, I was also recently asked to review my new salad spinner, the Zyliss Easy Spin. My verdict? It’s OK. I think my old spinner, which had a knob you pressed up and down on, rather than a cord you pulled, was actually much more powerful. But this was cheap(er than others), and it’s getting the job done:

As long as my kale is dry, I’m pleased.

Thanks for bearing with my slightly cranky monologue,. Your turn to vent: how did your Mondays go, and what little things tend to snap you out of a funk quickly?


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