Vegetarian Grain and Kale Salad (and my fav socks!) 2


I have a confession. I’ve never been very good at taking care of myself. Don’t get me wrong. I can cook dinner, do laundry, and make a mean grocery list.

But when it comes to simple things, like buying socks, I just leave them for another day. We’re talking I hadn’t gotten new workout socks since college — which was almost 10 years ago. 

And while you’d like to think that the delayed spending is a testimony to my incredible sock collection, the holes in my toes would prove otherwise. But I just kept on, keeping on until I got the wild idea to embrace my inner Marie Kondo and purge the socks with holes. For six months I kept an old grocery bag by my bed. Each time I put on a sock with a hole, I’d toss it in. My collection dwindled. My need for laundry increased. 

Initially it didn’t matter. It was sandals weather. Who needs socks when it’s sandals weather. Then I held out long enough it was Christmas and there were Christmas socks to be worn. (Yes. I have a substantial collection of Christmas socks. Don’t judge.) 

FITS Socks

But as the days rolled on and the holes persisted, the ‘need’ for socks became quite dire. I occasionally borrowed a pair of Garrett’s. But his feet are big and he’s a little possessive, so I couldn’t wear them when he’s around. I ‘accidentally’ wore home a pair of my mom’s. (They’ve been returned. Don’t worry mom!) 

I found myself eyeing people’s socks at the gym and sending sock picture updates to my friends and family. I researched ‘the best ankle socks.’ (That’s what I like to work out in. Ankle Socks.) I tried on a few pairs at some of the big box stores, like the ones that start with a T, an R, and an N.

You might be thinking this is one of those happy, coming-of-age stories where the heroine finally buys herself a pair of socks. So sorry to disappoint. As luck would have it, I was gifted 10 new pairs of socks. Which means I can probably make it another five years without braving the sock buying world. Except, after having tried on so many socks, I’ve now found two brands that literally give me so much joy it’s irrational. So…I’m probably going to bite the bullet and join the sock buying crowd.

I mean, who gets excited to put on socks? Probably the girl who’s been working out practically barefoot for the last year. But I digress. 

So, if you’re looking for some good socks, here are my two favorites. And if you want to just jump to the salad, you can do that too.

Thorlos

Thorlo XCTU Unisex Experia® Multi-Sport Socks

These came from my mom. (Thanks mommy!!) They are cushioned around the toe and under the heal, while still breathable on the sides, so they keep my feet nice and cool.

FITS Ultra Light Runner (Striped) – No Show

The second brand came from the brand itself as part of the Gear Review for explore:NW, Kenmore Air’s in-flight magazine. (Thanks y’all!!) I dig the patterns and the lighter pastel colors. I’m also a big fan of how they are soft and also breathable.

So now that I’m all socked out and my toes are toasty while I jump and squat my life away, I can get back to focusing on the important things. Like hearty salad lunches and Apple Pie Bars and Duck Chili. 

Around here Sunday’s are prep days. At the very least this means I make lunches for the week. When my prep game’s on point it also means making breakfasts and at least one dinner. But for now, let’s not get too greedy. Sometimes just putting together a tasty salad feels like a win. (Do ya feel me?) 

Vegetarian Grain and Kale Salad

In my humble opinion, a good lunch salad needs a few key components: hearty greens that’ll stay fresh through the week, crisp veggies for plenty of texture, grains to give it some stick-with-you fullness, and a tasty dressing. 

This combo of kale, barley, and veggies meets the mark perfectly! It even had a creamy chipotle dressing to give it some zing. And the best part is, it’s easy to make — whether you’re great at buying socks or not.

Vegetarian Grain and Kale Salad

Makes 10 Salads

Salad Fixings

1 cup pearl barley, cooked as directed and cooled completely
1 cup quinoa, cooked as directed and cooled completely
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch radishes, halved and finely sliced (8 – 9 are normally in a bunch)
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
2 bunches kale, finely chopped (about 8 cups total)
1 cup crumbled feta
2 bell peppers, chopped (any color)
4 celery stalks with greens attached, chopped

Add salad fixings to a large bowl. Toss to full mix. Divide evenly between 10 Tupperware containers. Refrigerate until lunch time! Enjoy with Creamy Chipotle Dressing.  

Creamy Chipotle Dressing

1 cup sour cream
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 TBS honey
1 lemon

Add sour cream, yogurt, peppers, and honey to a blender. Juice the lemon directly into the blender. Blend until smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add water 1 TBS at a time, blending with each addition until desired consistency. 


About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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2 thoughts on “Vegetarian Grain and Kale Salad (and my fav socks!)

  • Janet Storton

    Radiation treatment killed the nerves in my feet and I have trouble walking and being on them all day. Lucky for me your mother, (mommy) is my good friend. She turned me onto cushioned Thorlo Socks. They help! Will try your salad!

    • Mikaela Cowles Post author

      How incredibly painful. I am so sorry! But I’m so glad she was able to help point you in the right direction. She gave Garrett some of those ultra-cushioned ones for his diabetes and they work wonders!