Happy Birthday To ME!

Today’s the day.  I am no longer a carefree youth, doing things with reckless abandon.  Not thinking before I act.  Speaking out of turn.  Acting on impulse.  I am now a mature, boring adult with an early bedtime.  Because today, I am 27.

Eh, who am I kidding? I still speak out of turn and act on impulse.  I laugh at inappropriate times and try not to take anything too seriously.  But yes, I do have a much earlier bedtime than I used to.  I like to think that I’ve aged like a fine wine.

Not that I ever drink wine. Or even really know anything about wine.

Cheese. How about I’ve aged like a good cheese?  That’s an analogy I can really get on board with.  I like to think that in my 27 years on Earth, I’ve accomplished quite a bit.  For example, in my 27 years, I’ve accomplished the following:

– Gave birth to and raised a daughter who is already smarter, taller, more beautiful than I will ever be.  The kid is more gorgeous than Heidi Klum and more intelligent than Madame Curie.

– Married a movie-star-good-looking guy who makes me laugh all day, every day.  Isn’t the ultimate goal to laugh a lot? And no, I haven’t gotten any wrinkles yet, despite the eternal laughter.

– Purchased and raised my very own dog, who despite her aloof and stubborn nature, finally comes to me when I call her across a sea of other dogs.  This is a big victory for me.

– Got promoted from a lowly part-time position to a senior position and managed to dig my roots in, despite the fact that I add smiley faces at the end of every e-mail.

– Have seen U2 three times, once with Bruce Springsteen making a cameo appearance.  Yes, this is an accomplishment for me.  Or at least something I like to brag about as often as possible.

– Have published articles in the local newspapers as a freelance writer, complete with the byline “By: Kim Ropars, Freelance Writer”.

– Bought and then returned a very expensive mascara because I was adult enough to realize I didn’t need it.

– Mastered the art of using chopsticks.

Ah, yes.  These are just a few of the many accomplishments I’ve got to brag about in my life. I also graduated from college despite the fact that I had to take calculus, statistics and physics.  I bought my very first brand new car.  I’ve tried oysters!

Man, my life is full!

And yet, I can still think of things that I want/need to do in my remaining years on this planet.

– Have my writing published in a magazine, preferrably Mental Floss.

– Get the ultimate dream job, working from home while spending the days writing and possibly cooking/eating.

– Own a bloodhound (and if B were any type of awesome man, he’d let me get the one that is only 25 minutes from our house…).

– See U2 again.

– Send Abby to the best college possible and then watch her surpass me in the career world as well.

– Eat at wd-50 and meet Wylie Dufresne.

– Bake a 3 layer cake with raspberry filling, iced with buttercream icing.

And now, on this day that I switch from pop to classic rock, I present you with one of my new-found favorite recipes.  You know sushi, right? The California Roll.  One of the greatest foods on the planet.  I want to spend all day sitting around, watching trashy tv and eating sushi.

Never going to happen.

So instead, I’ve made some portable sushi that can go with me to work.  A California Roll in a Bowl, if you will.  Now, I’ve taken some creative liberties here.  Instead of using any sort of rice, I used farro.  And since there isn’t anything remotely resembling the seaweed wrapping in here, you might not consider it a California roll.

It does have all the other elements, however.  Imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, a rice-ish substance (the farro).  Top it with a little soy sauce and wasabi and you’re good to go! Feel free to add the ginger as well, but ginger makes me want to gag.

And if you’re asking “Well, Kim. Why no cake?”  The answer is simple.  I hate cake.

Bowl of California Roll

Adapted from Spark Recipes

1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped into matchsticks

1 small carrot, peeled

1 cup cooked farro

8 to 10 pieces imitation crab, chopped

1 avocado, diced

Optional: soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger

Step one is to cook your farro.  It took me about 25 minutes and so while that sat cooking on the stove, I completed all of the other steps.  Check your package for instructions.  I used 1 cup farro and about 2 cups water to cover in a sauce pan.

Seed your cucumber.  A great tip is to use a soup soon and just scrape on the inside of the cucumber.  Do it over the trash can so the guts of the cuke can fall right into the trash.

Then slice your cuke in half, then in half again.  Very carefully cut those halves into match sticks.  I cut the matchsticks in half lengthwise so they weren’t as long.  Toss those matchsticks into a bowl.

Next, grate your carrot into the bowl.

Grab your imitation crab and give it a rough chop.  This part is all about preference.  I preferred smaller chunks.

Right around now, your farro should be finished! Take that off the stove top and let it cool a bit.  Then, once it is cooled, toss that in with your crab mixture and stir it well.  Dish some of your mixture into a serving bowl, top with some chopped avocado and serve with soy sauce and wasabi on the side.

I just poured some soy sauce right on top.  It was so tasty!  And yet, still healthy! Wahoo!