I was eleven or twelve years old, and beyond excited to go to the movie that everyone said made them literally scream and jump out of their seats with fear. Of course my cousin Coco, 13 years my senior, took me. The same cousin who let me watch Candyman four years earlier (I would go on to brag, for years, that Candyman didn’t even give me nightmares, a fact that I wore like a badge of honor and maturity). The same cousin who couldn’t wait to binge on the movie Fear with my sister and me every summer since it came out… in 1990. When I was 5. (While the Marky Mark/ Alicia Silverstone Fear is amazing and the ferris wheel scene taught middle schoolers across the country everything we knew about sex at the time, I’m talking about the earlier movie Fear, starring Ally Sheedy, in which she’s a psychic who uses her powers to track down murderers and ps. it’s the best movie ever). The same cousin who later took us to see The Blair Witch Project… the night before we went on a family camping trip.
But back to 1996 and the most iconic scary movie of my generation: SCREAM. Do you remember watching it for the first time? Remember Drew Barrymore’s amazing hair? And how we all fell in love with Skeet Ulrich and wondered if he was related to Johnny Depp? The next year for Halloween I wore a glow in the dark scream mask (but with platform shoes, a long hippy dress my mom had since the 70s, and a peace-sign necklace. The 90s were so good you guys).
Scream was followed by another classic, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was followed by countless sequels of both (remember Jennifer Love Hewitt getting trapped in the tanning bed!? That scene is the best skin protection PSA around), and a host of other mid-late 90s teen slasher films (not be confused with 80s teen slasher films). To this day, my almost thirty-one-year-old heart still beats wildly for the genre, just as it did when I was a pre-teen. Even with all the predictability, red herrings, teenage love triangles, cringe-worthy dialogue, and over the top scare-tactics, it’s my favorite guilty pleasure.
So it was no surprise that, on Sunday, nursing a hangover from a wedding the night before, I binge watched the entire first season of Scream the TV Series, and devoured nearly an entire frozen deep dish pizza, by myself.
Make no mistake, I have zero regrets about these life choices (my only regret is that I didn’t also make chocolate chip cookies), but there’s nothing like not moving from the couch for a day and eating a giant brick of pizza to inspire lighter, somewhat fresher eating. It’s back on the salad train for me, while I wait patiently for the season 2 premiere of Scream at the end of the month (and for the summer season premiere of Pretty Little Liars in June, because I’m an adult and can watch what I want, damnit).
This salad is my favorite desk lunch these days. To be fair, it’s not really a recipe and is hardly blog worthy, but I can seriously eat it every day for weeks, so I figure it's a combo worth sharing. I love the flavors and textures, it fills me up but feels light and healthy, and it’s so easy to pack for work, because it strictly uses ready-to-go items from Trader Joe’s (no affiliation), though you could definitely try out a homemade creamy cilantro dressing and home baked tofu, if you can pull yourself away from Netflix long enough to actually meal-prep.
PS. Thanks, Coco, for instilling that early love of scary movies... I think we're due for a Fear night!
Baked tofu, 1 piece cut in cubes (I like the flavor called “Savory,” lol)
Cucumber, sliced (I like the mini Persian cucumbers for this)
Dried bing cherries
Toasted almond slivers or pieces
TJ’s creamy cilantro dressing
For work lunch, I like to just store all of the separate packages in the fridge at work, but if you have a bigger company/ less shared fridge space, it’s really easy to pack at home. In a to-go container, add a couple big handfuls of arugula, sliced cucumber (I use one mini Persian cucumber for a full lunch salad), and a spoonful of crumbled feta. Bring the full bottle or a small container of the dressing, or pour a little to the side of your arugula (it’s pretty thick, so it won’t run and sog out the salad too bad while you wait for lunch). I bring a full avocado to work, and use half each day—it’s the one item I don’t like to prep ahead of time, because I don’t want it to brown. Add a handful of the almonds, chia seeds, and cherries just before serving.