Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spinach salad with a strawberry dressing

I hope you remember me. It's been 2 weeks since I have written anything. Well not 'anything'. I wrote out a note to my husband last week on how to cook some pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. And I also wrote out directions on the back of a receipt so that I wouldn't get lost. But on this wee blog - it's been a long time. Not sure where/what happened to the time - but as per usual - it seems to have just flown by.

I had a bit of a flu bug that lasted for over a week. Then we had a week off of our program before the next session started. Then Chris was on holidays for a week. Then I took a couple of days off. Then we went over to Vancouver for a couple of days for a little 'getaway'. And those three weeks felt like I was sort of on a little hiatus or something. I think that the flu really wiped me out - and it took me a bit of time to recover. I think for the past 3 months - I have been so regimented that throwing a week in there where I had to get off track, was something that I really needed to remind myself to breathe. Today - should have been a good day to start things off on the right foot - but not so much. That's ok though. Although I missed my workout and I feel like I skipped school and that my parents are going to 'ground' me - I am ok with it. I have my Cabbage Roll Soup made for the next couple of nights for dinner. My chicken breasts for my Daily Salad - are all cooked and I have a plan for tonight's dinner. The food is all prepped for the week, my workout clothes are cleaned - so I am feeling confident and set to start this week off RUNNING.

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I have to share this picture.

I found this little pig at the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver. I love that shop. They have this great space upstairs with the loveliest gift ideas and little things like this for your home. I have been trying to find a pig with wings for quite some time now. About a month ago, I was in HomeSense, and found one that I really liked. I picked it up by it's front leg and was holding it - thinking that it was so cute - when all of a sudden it crumbled in my hand, fell to the floor, and smashed into a zillion pieces. My first instinct was to cry. Then I realized that crying wouldn't do anything - and just make me more embarrassed. Thankfully it was a Tuesday night - so it was super quiet in the store. The next row over, Margaret, yelled to her friend 'Please tell me that wasn't you Trisha!!'. Trisha yelled back 'Thank god it wasn't me Margaret!'. And I wanted to yell 'Hello Trisha and Margaret - it was me - but I didn't do it on purpose!!'  One of the staff came over and was so nice - and apologized for it breaking??? and then told me that it was probably already cracked.

Breath.

So needless to say, I didn't pick one up that night. Are you wondering why I have been looking for a pig with wings? Well, I will tell you then.

Pigs can't swim
And Pigs can't fly
Pigs can't watch the world go by
Pigs make lovely household pets when winter comes and summer ends
Early in the morning
Early in the morning
Early in the morning
At the break of day

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That was a song that my dad would always sing. I am not really sure what it means. But as I write the words out, I can hear him singing it. He would sing it with a British accent where the 'h' in 'household' was silent.

I really take comfort in the little things that remind me of someone I love and miss dearly. This is something that I feel - but when I think of someone who is no longer with us - I feel that at that exact moment they are with us - their spirit is there with us in some form. And then for those that are far away or that I don't see nearly enough - and they cross my mind - it's just a wonderful reminder of how blessed I am to know and have them in my life.

For example:

When I see a 'KitKat' chocolate bar, or a box of Purdy's - I instantly think of my grandma M. She was a chocolate lover - and I definitely (along with other family members) inherited that gene.

When I see a huge 4 door boat of a car - I think of my grandma B. - and the huge monstrosity of a car that she used to drive - and how I chauffered her around in that when I lived with her - and how it was very much like driving a tank.

When I see someone doubling someone on a bike - I think of my friend Colleen - and how in our small town we were once chased down and pulled over by the police for doubling as it was 'against the law'. And how after that incident - I wet my pants from laughing too hard. Oh my.

And when I tip at a restaurant after a lovely meal - I sometimes a reminded of my mother-in-law. Always very generous and kind when she would have outstanding service in a restaurant - and how she would go up to the server at the end of the night - slip them a toonie - and say 'this is especially for you'.

Memories are the most precious thing - and if there are things that remind of us good times and good people - then I will forever be looking for pigs with wings, or kids doubling 'illegally', or a car that should be a boat, or wonderful service worthy of a good tip.

Now - back to our wee pig. He needs a name. Any suggestions?

Alright - now I should post something about food - since that's all I seem to do is eat and cook and eat and cook. Although, I haven't actually been cooking so much lately.

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This was a spinach salad that I made for Easter dinner. Something so simple, but so tasty.

Spinach Salad Sims Style

Fresh spinach
Sliced mushrooms - about 6-8
Red pepper - sliced into thin strips
Goat cheese - crumbled
Pine nuts - or walnuts - or pecans (I love pine nuts - but unless I want to mortgage the house every time I want to use them in a recipe - I like to use walnuts or pecans as a delicious substitute)

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Dressing
8 strawberries
2 tbsp of balsamic - or creme de balsamic
Pinch of kosher salt

In a large bowl - add in your salad fixings.

In a small food processor - pulse the strawberries with the balsamic and the pinch of kosher salt. The strawberries will puree and become liquid. The sweetness from the berries and the tartness from the balsamic are a perfect combo.

Pour over the salad - gently toss - and you have a delicious salad to accompany any meal. Or be a meal on it's own. Adding a hard-boiled egg, or a chicken breast, would be a great source of protein to go with the salad.

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Alright friends - have a wonderful rest of your weekend. Enjoy a good week, and love one another.

Loves.

Enjoy!

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