Hell No to These OKCupid Options. Hell Yes to These Salad Recipes.

Disclaimer: There is no overarching judgment about OkCupid, men, online dating, or anything else to be found here.

The screenshots below are for comic value only. There are actually two different quite decent-seeming guys on OkCupid who I started chatting with this weekend. I say this both to prove the outlook isn’t all bad, but also because I have a story about one of them.

Finally, I have two – no, three – different Paleo-friendly recipes I’m excited about. Feel free to skip to those if that’s your thing. I won’t be offended!

Thanks, Dude, But No Thanks

There is a lot on OKCupid that makes me laugh. Guys click “like” and sometimes message me. If they’ve sent a message, I read that first. The most important-to-me things I learn, however, are in their responses to the questions that are on OKCupid. There is so much I learn that nobody would ever think to mention in a profile.

Suffice to say these are some of the many things that make someone very incompatible with me and my world view:

  • Not a feminist
  • Doesn’t see abortion as an option in case of accidental pregnancy
  • Thinks men should be the heads of household
  • Is looking for a partner to have children with
  • Wants his next relationship to only last one night
  • Couldn’t date someone who needs a great deal of alone time
  • Thinks there’s such a thing as having had too many sex partners
  • Doesn’t keep his sexual exploits private
  • Sees capitalism as having made the world a better place
  • Isn’t an adventurous eater
  • Likes wild parties
  • Would rather go dancing than play scrabble
  • Thinks evolution and creationism should be taught side-by-side in schools
  • Puts more weight in faith than in science

…and so on.

A few months ago, I started sharing some of the more ridiculous things I’d seen with close friends.

Here are some of my favorites. If you enjoy seeing these, please let me know. There’s more of them every day!

Selfish AND A Cheater? Sign Me Up!

The guy openly admits he’s selfish in bed and doesn’t think cheating is a big deal. Next.

Not Everyone Deserves His Respect

This dude started with a weird copy/paste introduction. Then earned bonus points for applying such heavy filters to all his photos that he appeared to be lacking a nose. Really, though, anyone who lumps women into a category with statements like, “I’ll treat you like a lady,” is immediately rejected. I want someone to learn who I am as a human being and develop a healthy dynamic with ME, please and thank you. I have no interest in someone who assumes they know what I want or need based on my gender identification.

He’ll Let Me Shop AND Get Manicures!

We don’t even need to get into the effed up gender assumptions in this one; the codependency alone would make me give this guy a hard pass. Being together is the most important part of a relationship? Maybe that’s someone else’s ideal, but for me, that sounds like a nightmare.

On The Flip Side: A Dose of OKCupid Loveliness

That’s enough of those awful ones for now. As I said above, if you’d like to see more, let me know.

There actually are plenty of profiles that are lovely, including this one:

**fans self**

He’s articulate, values empathy, wants to learn what makes people tick, and doesn’t say a thing implying he makes assumptions about a person based on gender.

Plus, he’s super cute. Let’s face it, cute guys are rather a dime a dozen, but being nice looking on top of being a nice person is a delightful bonus.

He, and the one other gentleman I’ve been chatting with, are both delightful so far. I’ll write more on them if an in-person meeting ever occurs. For now, it’s just nice to have some irons in the fire.

Why Get Dressed Up? It’s Just A Few Errands (and other famous last words).

Sunday was errand day this week. On that particular day, I made only a minimal effort with hair, makeup, and clothing. I needed to find new shoes before flying out of town for my brother’s wedding this week (a topic I’m sure will be covered in an upcoming post because I’m having a ton of emotions about it), then I wanted to pop by the garden center for some more plants and, of course, do the weekly grocery shopping.

It didn’t seem like a day where there was a need to get spruced up. I threw on denim shorts, an old top, and my Birkenstocks, put my still-wet hair up in a bun, slapped on a little tinted moisturizer and a quick coat of mascara, and strolled confidently out the door.

The errands, for the most part, went smoothly.

I’m pretty stoked on these black patent-leather pumps I found at Nordstrom Rack to wear to the wedding:

Plus, the Garden Center had some great options for the area I’m trying to fill in. Both of those errands were a success.

The Cutie In The Supermarket

As for the supermarket…

I found almost everything I needed without issue. They even had perfectly ripe avocados and mangos for the chicken avocado mango salad I’ve linked to below, which is a big score.

However, I’m 90% sure that the cutie whose beautiful words I posted above was at the supermarket when I was.

No, not 90%. More like, 98.3% sure, but possibly higher.

I was pushing my cart through the produce section, moving away from the display of cauliflower and towards the salad greens, and there he was, pushing his cart towards me, moving in the opposite direction.

Folks, he’s cute. Ridiculously cute. Christopher Gorham cute. Swoon-worthy cute. Tall, slender, dark hair, long face and brown eyes, adorable crinkles showing he laughs hard and often…

Christopher Gorham
Christopher Gorham (photo from his Twitter profile) ain’t got nothing on this dude from OKC I’ve been chatting with.

I looked away and kept moving, knowing we were about to pass and hoping if I did nothing I wouldn’t draw attention to myself.

Since Christopher Gorham is still communicating with me on OkCupid, I think it’s safe to say he either didn’t recognize me or he’s an absolute hero among men and didn’t think it odd I would look like total crap while out running errands.

I’m grateful for either, really. And also really hoping that was him, because, dayum. That guy was a snack.

Depression and Cooking

Before posting today’s recipes, I want to quickly revisit something I said in a previous post.

This is probably a good time to mention that I’m the laziest cook on the planet. I hate chopping. I buy pre-chopped onion and will rehydrate dried minced garlic whenever garlic is needed. Given that, this is a recipe that comes together ridiculously fast for me. But even if I were less lazy, the only chopping would be an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic.

A Twist on Life, “My Pot Roast Was More Exciting Than My Date”

This statement has been on my mind a fair bit since publishing those words.

The “lazy” accusation might be another example of judging myself unfairly, of expecting more of myself than I know I’m capable of.

The fact is, I am someone who suffers from depressive spells with pretty great frequency. I have to be very careful about how I expend my energy (see: Spoon Theory). I get run down more easily than most. When I get run down, it can take weeks to pull out of it. Often, I get sick. Regardless, I’ll judge myself terribly for feeling like crap and not having the energy to accomplish normal daily tasks.

Spoon theory has been a popular metaphor for more than a decade among numerous disability communities. The theory uses spoons as a visual way to explain how much energy someone has throughout the day; we all start the day with the same number of spoons. Each action causes us to hand some spoons over in payment.

For most people, they can rest and recover, with a seemingly unlimited supply of spoons. However, there are others who only have a set number to last them the whole day, and once your spoons are gone, they’re gone.

Happiful.com, “What is the Spoon Theory?”

I’m challenging myself, here and now, to reframe my mindset.

The correct word isn’t, “lazy.” The correct word is, “creative.” I find ways to keep myself nourished with healthy food by modifying recipes so I don’t compromise my emotional or physical health. This is a good thing.

It would be good for me to remind myself more frequently that I’m not lazy. What I am is aware; aware of the importance of protecting my energy. I have developed a skill set around this, and it is worthy of pride, not self-criticism.

With that out of the way, onward to the recipes, which follow along this same “creative” vein.

Today’s Recipes:

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Step 1: Put boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
Step 2: Cook on low for 8 hrs.
Step 3: Shred.

Seriously, that’s all I do. The chicken releases it’s own juices so there’s no reason to add more liquid. I don’t add any herbs, spices, or salt. I add appropriate seasoning for each separate recipe I use the chicken in.

Shredding is ridiculously easy if you have a hand mixer. Which I do. It’s from the 1960s and is the one I used throughout my childhood. If it ever bites the dust, though, I’ll probably just pick up this one in its place.

If I didn’t feel like using a hand mixer, well, I love these huge shredding forks for roasts. (The hand mixer doesn’t seem to work as well on roasts as it does on chicken.) They would work just as well on chicken. I like these particular ones because they’re sturdy and dishwasher safe, and they’re plastic so they don’t scratch any of my non-stick cookware.

If using shredding forks rather than a hand mixer, I recommend transferring the chicken (and its juices) into a large bowl before shredding. There won’t be enough room to work with if the chicken is still in the slow cooker.

Which, in fact, leads me to another point — don’t drain the juices. Leave it in when you shred the chicken. If you don’t, the chicken will be incredibly dry, to the point of being flavorless and inedible (in my opinion).

This strategy for shredded chicken works regardless of the quantity of chicken you make. I typically buy the biggest value pack of breasts the supermarket carries and cook up the whole thing at once.

Whatever I don’t use in the first couple days (usually the vast majority of it) will get frozen in a bunch of different containers. That way, I have a protein on hand for quick meals whenever I need it. In the summertime, when I eat salads more than the soups and stews that are my usual staples, this comes in particularly handy.

For example, I used leftover shredded chicken in both of the two recipes below.

Spicy Thai Chicken Zoodle Salad

Seriously: it’s time you treated yourself to a dead-simple, colorful, and super satisfying meal that you can get from fridge to mouth in 10 minutes or less. Use the extra time you save to flop on the couch and watch a trashy episode of your favorite Real Housewives franchise. (Me? I like to savor my zoodle bowl with the ladies from Hotlanta.)

Nom Nom Paleo, Spicy Thai Chicken Zoodle Salad

As per usual, I wound up using this recipe only nominally.

First of all, it’s appeal was primarily because the other day I discovered my local supermarket carries zoodles in the produce section. I love zoodles, but the idea of hauling out my spiralizer, using it, and then cleaning it is way too much for me. (I don’t even chop onions myself, remember?)

Sadly, when I went to the market the other day there weren’t any zoodles. I substituted broccoli slaw, but I missed the flavor and texture of zucchini.

The other thing I changed was to use a full tbsp of sriracha instead of the tsp called for. I like things really spicy. However, the flavor of the sriracha overwhelmed the nut butter (I used almond), so I didn’t do that again.

I’ve now made this two more times, and each time I’ve doctored up the sauce a little. Some cayenne, a little garlic, and some fish sauce really bring it up a notch.

Using this as a base recipe and getting creative with some additions makes this salad what will probably be a new staple for me. So easy! So tasty!

I even mixed up the dressing and stirred it into some shredded chicken, then served the chicken on leafy greens with some other toppings, and it was amazing.

Definitely a new favorite.

California Grilled Chicken Avocado and Mango Salad

Grilled Chicken pairs beautifully with avocados and mangoes in this delicious salad, perfect for those warmer nights you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

Skinnytaste, California Grilled Chicken Avocado and Mango Salad

I love the Skinnytaste website so much. There’s such a fantastic range of easy to prepare, healthy recipes, and this salad is no different.

This recipe called for grilled chicken. Did I have grilled chicken? No. Do I own a grill? No. Would the recipe have been better with grilled chicken? Yes, but so be it. Sometimes we must work with the chicken we have.

Did I otherwise actually follow this recipe the way it was written?

Hell no.

Was the recipe delicious anyway?

Hell yes.

I bought a spring garden mix instead of using baby butter lettuce. I didn’t have white balsamic so I used red wine vinegar. Because I was using my shredded chicken instead of grilled chicken, I topped the salad with crushed red pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and some salt and pepper, thinking that the lack of grill flavoring would leave the salad bland if I didn’t compensate for it somehow.

Holy crap, folks. This is a ridiculously easy and delicious salad.

My only complaint is that cutting up a mango is hard and messy. Are there any mango cutting tips anyone can provide? I had never done it before. I usually just cut a mango into wedges and then eat it off the rind while standing over my sink.

Bonus: What Are You Reading?

Educated by Tara Westover had me completely absorbed. What an amazing, well-written story.

Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create. If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. This was the price I was being asked to pay, I understood that now. What my father wanted to cast from me wasn’t a demon: it was me.

Tara Westover, Educated

Sadly, I’m now done with it. I’m looking for what to pick up next. What have you been reading? Is it something you would recommend?

Cover Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels

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