Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bits of My Weekend: Volume 1

Michelle at Six in the City has started a new tradition over at her blog that I thought I'd hook up with... a photo essay of the weekend. What a great incentive to take more pictures! And it is... but I need to take even more!

Here's my first Bits of My Weekend (and it was a lovely weekend! Did anyone hear my heart stop during the Canada-USA hockey game. Cuz it stopped there for a minute or two!):


For more info on Bits of my Weekend, check it out here.

Oh Canada!

Here's a little song in honor of my "other" home-country! I do love me some Dwight!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

Crazy week! It's been awhile since I've had one of those Friday-to-Friday-without-posting weeks. I have a gazillion good reasons, but let's just move past that, shall we? Thanks, I appreciate the understanding. And, being that it's Friday night, there's a bunch of gratefulness to spread around.

* Grateful that the fundraiser I've been helping with took place this week and it went well. Full room with lots of great supporters!

 OK, so our room didn't look QUITE like this, but we did have a lot of colorful balloons and it was festive and springy. But we DID have an ice sculpture, how cool is that?



* Grateful for my men. Such wonderful guys who show me love love love. The conversations we have all together as a family always make me smile when I think of my men.

* Grateful for pesto. And the smell of fresh basil, like the kind growing in my Aerogarden right now!

* Grateful for red pears. We're kind of addicted to them around here right now. With the lack of fruity variety in the winter, the noble pear stands out as a favorite!

* Grateful for friends. Coffee, planned or spontaneous; lunches too. And for good advice and great understanding, listening, laughing, even occasionally snarking. Just mild snarking, of course.

* Grateful that we've been windless for so long. Yes, that's a backhanded way of saying the wind is back, dagnabit. Last night was doable in the sleep department but tonight feels sketchy already... we'll see... but it's been nice to have it calm for the past few weeks. I'm looking forward to that again!

* Grateful for fellow grateful people. I found a group called Good List Daily and have become a contributor there. I know, daily? It's a little much. Ha. Makes my weekly gratitude look a bit wimpy, no? It's a challenge--especially to read and comment on others' lists, but I think the effort will be beneficial in my daily gratitude-ness. I'll keep you posted.

* Grateful that my friend Jen's chemo is going well and that she has such lovely and creative friends to accompany her to her chemo parties. I will be crossing fingers and toes that the next scan shows her tumor to be obliterated.

* Grateful for eggs. I think I'm in the mood for omelettes in the morning!

* Grateful that the Olympics are almost over so that I don't have to feel guilty for not watching them. What kind of heresy is that? I have become increasingly frustrated with the NBC coverage, and the lateness that they hold the "good stuff" until, way past my bedtime. And using the dvr hasn't worked since I've been too busy during the day to even skip through that on fast-forward. So, I've been keeping up with stuff by reading about it online, which is such sad solace, frankly. I'd love to see someone else get a shot at the coverage and show NBC how to get it done!

* Grateful for humor and laughter in even tense situations. Watch this great clip from the Bonnie Hunt show (love her, I know I say that every time I post a clip from her show) about a 911 call from a 5-year-old girl. I was surprised she was only 5--seemed so much older with her articulation.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend from Wind Central. Send thoughts of quiet our way. Much appreciated!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

What a fast week. Maybe that's because of the holiday? Or maybe it's just all that Olympic drama? Probably not. Just a lot to do, and limited hours to do it in. Whew. Apparently being awake in the middle of the night doesn't actually help to get things accomplished, you have to GET. UP. AND. MOVE.

So that quickly leads me to my thankfulness for:
* Coffee. If I were to write a letter to coffee, I would sign it "As Ever," because my love for coffee is true.

* Sleep. I know, this isn't a great thing to follow up my love of coffee with, but, like Tiger Woods, normal rules don't apply to me. Ha ha. Couldn't resist. It's hard to admit I need help, but I do. Oops, slipped into Tiger talk again. I'll stop now. Regardless, I'm looking for some good sleep this weekend!

* Sunshine. It's been wonderful to see more of that golden orb this week. The fog and gray have still swept in and out of the valley, but the spots of sun have been wonderfully welcome.

* The opportunity to go on a field trip with Seth's class today. We went and looked at a local home that is beautiful and unique, and for sale! It was built into the topography of the area, of recycled materials, in a loosely-eco-friendly style, and it was quite impressive. The 70 verses of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall that the older boys sang all the way there? Not so much.

* My thoughtful and kind spouse. My lovely mid-week bouquet of flowers is brightening my kitchen, even on the gray days!

* My countries. I like having my Canadian heritage, I like being American too. It's been a blast to cheer for the Canadians at the Olympics... but I'm not generally opposed to US gold medals either. I'm easy to please that way.


* Twitter. Really have been enjoying playing around again with that silly medium. Followed it after Tiger's chat this morning... pretty funny. I try and mix up who I'm following so there's a good brew of fun and practical stuff too--good links, work-type advice, and then someone really hilarious and silly. I can't turn down a good laugh!

* Pretty smells. Still in love with my Daisy.

* Words words words. Love those quotes. Found a new site that has lots of goodies. And I always love it when I wander across good words in great settings. Like the following:

Love the sentiment here.

And there.
And very much there.

* My parents, that they are safe and sound on their wild travels to their Panama Cruise. Let's just say it's been a not-too-hot travel day... but as my aunty MJ says, they have all the Bad Travel Karma out of the way  now, so she can take off to Hawaii tomorrow, no problem! Yes, I'm sure they were thrilled to take one for the team, MJ! Happy crusing, Ma and Pa.

* For good people to work with. This fundraiser is cranking itself back up again for another go, and it just wouldn't happen without SO. MANY. good people. Today I spent a couple of hours getting all the tables sorted out--who goes where, with whom, eating which meal choice. I know I'm nuts, but this is actually the part I really enjoy. The logistical ins and outs...

* Popcorn, apples and Junior Mints. Yep, Junior Mints. Try not to be too shocked. The mints were just discovered in my not-so-secret candy stash and oh how happy just the sight of them makes me!

* That song and dance shows like Glee exist. I know I haven't always been the biggest fan, but I've mostly gotten over the whole creepy teacher guy and find the show fairly entertaining. I don't know if I'd call myself a "Gleek," but I am always up for a good Jane Lynch character, so I'm looking forward to the new season, which starts soon. And rather than show you the new trailer--anyone could do that--I am sharing a clip of Jimmy Fallon in tribute to Glee. I like the Jimmy. Enjoy.

* A weekend, before the next full week unfolds before me. Lots on the plate again next week--fundraising lunch, getting ready for a catering the following Monday, and all the little ins and outs of family life... so glad for the peace and quiet before the storm.

Hope your weekend brings the same. Peace.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday 13: Randomness

Really. It's my only option this week. Between the wakefulness at 2:30 a.m. and the running around like a crazy woman the rest of the time, I'm a wee bit fragmented. I have a few Thursday 13s in my drafts folder but they all looked like too much work to pull off, so it tribute to my fragments, here's some random for your Thursday.

 1. I got a piece of art framed this week and I just love it. My mom painted it for me for my birthday. Isn't it beautiful? I have very talented and artistic parents, tis true. And, I love going to the frame shop and picking out mats and frames... I think I freak the lady out with my decisiveness. What can I say, I like what I like!

2. I have been going to the same hairstylist for more than 10 years now. I like that she knows pretty much what to try with me, and what not to. I hear horror stories and just shake my head...

3. If I had a makeup person, they would be bored. Much like framing and hair, it's five minutes and I'm outta here.

4. I'm really not as homely or tedious (I hope!) as those past two points make me sound. Just low-ish maintenance. Don't tell that to my husband, who gets precious little counter space in the bathroom...

5. Seth found his lost thermos at school this week. Well, technically one of his teachers did, but how thrilling for him (this is a rather special... ie: Mom spent too much on a thermos for hot soups at lunch). Not much tops the drama of lost stuff for him these days, so this warranted a mid-day happy phone call from school. Love those.

6. I talked with a local university class about interviewing tips and tricks this week, and it reminded me how many amusing experiences I've had in conducting interviews, but it also reminded me that interviewing is hard work and I feel for those looking for jobs right now. I remember hearing discouraging things about the job market when I was graduating from college almost *cough* 20 *cough* years ago, but that seems really pale compared to how it looks out there right now. I hope I didn't scare them too much, but I hope I was adequately uptight about the need for a grammatically correct, typo-free resume.

7. I am ready for spring eating. There is asparagus in my fridge and I'm excited to eat it. Soon.

8. I was watching the Westminster Dog Show with my mother-in-law this week and we both fell asleep. While this is understandable for her, it's a bit sad for me. Sigh. Looking forward to getting caught up on sleep this weekend.

9. I started out strong on the Olympics but life has caught up with me. Too busy during the day and I've completely forgotten to dvr them. I know it's not too late... there's always this weekend.

10. I'm a little chagrined, however, to admit that I know what's going on with The Bachelor. I'll climb back up on my high horse and say I don't always get sucked in, but this year I have, sort of, with the last two or three shows. It's not interesting until the end anyway--who wants to watch a guy go on dates with eight women? But then, I ponder, who wants to watch a guy "falling in love" (if I hear that phrase ONE. MORE. TIME. I might just lose it...) with multiple women. It's really creepy. And like a train wreck, I can't look away. But it makes reading these reviews (warning, not so "family friendly" language-wise) of the show so much more entertaining! Just pick already, Jake, go get faux-engaged and then break up in six months because cameras aren't following you around recording your every romantic moment. And what's really frightening? This is the longest paragraph of this post. Shudder.

11. I really enjoy getting notes in the mail from my grandma. They are rare these days and precious to me. I have kept most anything that's had her handwriting on it for the past few years. I had a loosely formed resolution to write to her more this year and have fallen down on that... need to get it up and going. Time's a wastin'. Handwritten notes in general are a lovely thing. I need to get THAT habit up and rolling again. I was doing so well there for a minute or two...

12. I don't know what I'd do without lists. I love lists, and I especially LOVE crossing things off the list. No wonder why I love Thursday 13...

13. Our breakfast shake still rocks my morning, every morning. I love it.

Hope your Thursday goes well! And if it doesn't, take heart that Friday almost always tops Thursday.

For more Thursday 13 participants, go here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's dinner for two: Manicotti

Valentine's Day, and what to make for dinner?

Not that long ago I posted a Thursday 13 of recipes I have on my to-do list. And of course, I then got distracted and haven't looked back at the list much in the past couple of weeks, other than the salad dressing recipes and a few ebelskiver omelettes I foisted on Seth last weekend... but when I was pondering what to make my love for Valentine's Day dinner, I knew the homemade manicotti I found on food52 would be a good option.

I culled pieces of the dish from various places. I knew I wanted more than just ricotta in my filling, so I found a spinach ricotta filling at to go along with the crepe recipe from food52. I relied on a jarred marinara and the whole dish came together quite quickly.

The first time I tasted manicotti with a crepe in place of a pasta tube was in 1988 in Sydney, Australia. I was on my own in the city, a squeak of a 19-year-old (well, was I ever a squeak? Maybe not...). I had just landed a studio apartment close to the city center and was gearing up to look for a job waiting tables when I happened upon an Italian restaurant on one of the main thoroughfares downtown. I sat down for dinner and did it up proper--manicotti for my main course and a blueberry ricotta cheesecake for dessert (is it any surprise that I remember this meal more than 20 years later? No, not if you know me.). Apparently I was already a cheese freak, and no one argued with me at the restaurant, of course. In fact, when I inquired about possible employment as I was paying my bill, the manager on duty told me to come back in the morning. I was hired on the spot by what turned out to be an exremely neurotic showgirl-turned-restauranteur's wife and so began a six-month adventure at Cafe Giovanni's.

Oh, but the crepe, the crepe. It made an impression. I didn't even know that a crepe was an option to wrap around the filling--Giovanni's also had a beef cannelloni as well--but I loved it the minute I tasted it. It was so fresh and seemed like the perfect vehicle for the ricotta--no thick, chewy pasta standing between me and my cheese!

Spinach-ricotta manicotti
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups whole milk, plus more as needed to thin the batter

1 pound fresh or whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Asiago cheese (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped frozen baby spinach, thawed and drained, excess moisture pressed out
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg

1 jar (28 oz) marinara sauce
Extra Asiago to sprinkle on top of pan prior to baking

Add the pasta ingredients to the bowl of a blender. Blend, adding more milk a bit at a time, until batter is a pourable consistency. Heat a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Brush pan lightly with oil, if needed. Hold pan at an angle, and swirl pan as you pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Cook 30 to 45 seconds, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. And don’t forget, the first one or two might end up being sacrificial until you get the hang of swirling the pan.Transfer to a flat dish or tray. Repeat with remaining batter. You should have 8 to 10 crepes by the end.

For the filling, mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Once the crepes are cooked and cooled, spread a large spoonful of the filling mixture across the surface of each shell and spread it out before rolling each up into a long tube.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Place each rolled up crepe in the pan as you finish with them. Once the pan is filled with rolled up crepes, pour the remainer of the marinara on the crepes and sprinkle a half-cup of grated Asiago on top.

Bake in the oven until warmed through and bubbly, about 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven.

We ate our manicotti with a tossed green salad and breadsticks! Very amore!

Oh and this? This is what happens when chocolate cupcakes won't come out of their cute little heart molds. I'm posting this so you're not under any false impressions that everything turns out pretty in this kitchen. Not so. But it WAS still yummy. Chocolate cake and vanilla bean ice cream and strawberry freezer jam from a dear friend (thanks, Sara!). Layered and delish.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


"There is no remedy for love but to love more."
- Henry David Thoreau


"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
- Mark Twain


"When you are in love you can't fall asleep
because reality is better than your dreams."
- Dr. Suess


"If I know what love is, it is because of you."
- Herman Hesse


"Love doesn't make the world go round,
love is what makes the ride worthwhile."
- Elizabeth Browning


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
-Lao Tzu


I hope your Valentine's Day is filled with love. Romantic love, kid love, sibling love, parental love, puppy love, you name it. Just love.

Images from Hello Tiger, littlealouette, I am Baker, pen and ink journal and Rockett St. George.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

So, he days are getting longer... it's after 5 p.m. and still light out, how amazing is that? And today started with sunshine, had the usual gray in the middle and now is ending with some sunshine too... I'll take that. On to the list!

* Great week with Seth. Lots of fun mixed in with the usual hum-drum of homework, trumpet and basketball. He had a blast getting little gifts together for his secret buddy at school this week--he was a "stupid cupid" for a 6th grader. I know, who thought that up? I guess a fun, non-gender-specific way to celebrate what will be a life-long angst-ridden relationship with this Hallmark-y holiday. Better get used to it now, eh?

* Many, many reminders this week that I am blessed beyond in the spouse department. Seth is often one of those reminding me, which is a double blessing too.

* Thankful for my family, near and far.

* Thankful for my committee of folks as we approach our event week after next. Everyone's been working hard and it will be great to see it all come together! I'm especially grateful to have a co-chair this year who will [crossing fingers] take the reins next year and take the event to the next level.

* Thankful for fun new places to eat in town. A Walla Walla landmark went away at the turn of the year--a deli called Merchant's, Ltd. (where I actually worked way back in 1989 or so...)--and a local restauranteur added to his dynasty. One of my favorite's--T. Maccarone's--took their lunch service down to the new place, called Olive Marketplace and Cafe--and will still do dinner at T. Mac's. OK, more than you wanted to know. But. Still. Great lunch, fun new vibe to the place, and the kitchen was rocking with more than just lunch coming forth:  fresh pasta and baked goods that looked really fab, in addition to fresh cheese and fresh fish... happy day!

 * Grateful for the Olympics. For the pagentry and hype, too. I have gotten all high-horsey in the past about "Why, they spend enough on the opening and closing ceremonies to feed a small country!" Well, yes they do. But this year I'm going to just leave that sentiment alone and enjoy the games. There's nothing like celebrating hard work and achievement, and the Olympics is the culmination of that for many athletes. I hope the injuries stay to a minimum (so so sorry to hear about the Georgian luger today) and hope that the games bring a spot of joy to a lot of people.

* Thankful for stories, and people willing to tell them. I was listening to StoryCorps this morning on one of my multiple trips into school for Seth (don't ask, it's been a LONG week in the "forgetting things" category) and was struck by the story I heard, as I have been with each story, whether I've read it or listened to it. Check it out... very moving.

* Grateful for creativity. So it's no new thing that I like words and color and creativity... and all together I like them even more. Check out this chair by an amazing artist, Sally Nencini. Doesn't this look like a chair I'd like? Or one I'd say "I could make that" and add it to the list the size of both arms of projects either already started or in my head. Ah, if only time flowed on forever... but, dontcha just love the chair?!

* Thankful for sergers! Have you ever used one? They rock. I am working on a small project related to the fundraising event coming up, and am borrowing one. What a dream. I am whizzing along and getting it done, all the while marveling and whomever invented such a clever machine. I think a serger is going on my wish list for my birthday!

* I am grateful for community. And not just my community, but community as a concept. As I know of people going through rough times and trials, it is good to know that there are people who will reach out and lift up and encourage a tired and weary soul.

* Grateful for soup. Still in that mode, even though it's getting springier and springier out there... I'll switch to asparagus and spring peas and baby lettuces soon...

* Grateful for sleep. A couple of nights of wakefulness remind me how very much I love a good solid chunk of sleep. Hoping for more of that this weekend!

*Grateful for color. As. Always. Found this great post at a fun blog, Color Me Katie, recently. The post is titled "Chalk Walk," and the pictures tell the story, sort of. But check out her blog--it's a lot of fun.




* Thankful for reminders of my childhood. I follow this funny site called Indexed, and there is a little drawing, daily, of an obscure notion. Some are pretty funny. This one reminded me of my brother, when we were kids, and his habit of standing with the fridge door open. My dad would give him grief about it and his standard response was that he was warming the room. Yeah. Sure. And I think he still maintains that if you leave a refrigerator door open for long enough, it will indeed warm the room. This index is for you, Shelby.

And here's a little Valentine's index for you too..

I actually found myself drawing one of these this week to explain a concept to myself. I know. Weird.

Speaking of weird... check out these kids. Only the Brits, eh?! Such cuties. I think I need some chocolate!

I hope your weekend holds many good things. Peace.

Art at the very top by notebookdoodles.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Music for your Wednesday, except it's Thursday. Fail.

It took me until 7 p.m. on Thursday evening to realize that it isn't Wednesday. Doh.

This is a bit different from what I usually post, music-video-wise. But I found it on a beautiful photography blog I follow, chookooloonks, and was just mesmerized. The sentiments are really sweet. And now it's stuck in my head. Happily.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feeling Olympic love

T-minus 2 days... and it's already building... That full-on fanatical, medal-counting, Canadian- (and, yes, American too...) anthem-singing Olympic fever. And I'm soooo ready to roll with it. I need to snag back the Olympic program I stuffed in Seth's Christmas stocking and get the dvr fired up for my favorite sports!

Here are a couple of videos to get you in the mood. This first one is a Vancouver time-lapse. Kind of dreamy.

This second video came my way just this morning (thanks, Ma!) and hit a real sentimental nerve with me. The whole "Super, Natural British Columbia" concept was really hot when I was a kid (it's kind of subtle in this ad, but I'm glad they haven't done away with it entirely), and boy did we have fun with the "super, natural" part of it. (In case you don't go immediately to a tween sense of humor, think natural = nekkid. Yeah, pretty tween of us.) But I actually got a little choked up seeing Michael J. Fox in the ad, since I have a real soft spot for him from way back too.

I'm so excited for the Olympics to start!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top Chef Masters, Round 2 (and a roundabout-very-late restaurant review)

So the cast of the upcoming season of Top Chef Masters has been revealed, and there are some fun and exciting chefs to watch. I know I wasn't a big fan last season--it was all too respectful and professional, I believe I said. Alas, I can't help but be excited to give the show another shot; I'm a sucker like that. Good food, good chefs... maybe a couple hotheads in the bunch, I'm sure!

The new season starts April 7 on Bravo! Plenty of time for the excitement to build between now and then...

Competing chefs for this season, and their restaurant (or, at least, their flagship):
Jody Adams -- Rialto Restaurant, Cambridge, Mass.
Govind Armstrong -- 8 oz. Burger Bar, Los Angeles
Graham Elliot Bowles -- Graham Elliot Restaurant, Chicago
Jimmy Bradley -- The Red Cat, New York, N.Y.
David Burke -- David Burke Townhouse, New York, N.Y.
Wylie Dufresne -- wd~50, New York, N.Y.
Susan Feniger - Street, Los Angeles
Debbie Gold -- The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.
Carmen Gonzalez -- Chef Consultant, New York, N.Y.
Maria Hines - Tilth, Seattle
Susur Lee -- Madeline's, Toronto
Ludo Lefebvre -- Ludo Bites, Los Angeles
Tony Mantuano -- Spiaggia, Chicago
Rick Moonen -- Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
Mark Peel -- Campanile, Los Angeles
Monica Pope -- t'afia, Houston
Thierry Rautureau -- Rover's, Seattle
Marcus Samuelsson -- The Red Rooster, New York, N.Y. (This is odd. Marcus is usually listed as the chef of Aquavit... and The Red Rooster has no web site that I can find... mystery.)
Ana Sortun -- Oleana, Cambridge, Mass.
Rick Tramonto -- TRU, Chicago
Jerry Traunfeld -- Poppy, Seattle
Jonathan Waxman -- Barbuto, New York, N.Y.

Looking at all the different web sites for the restaurants just now was amazing--there is such talent out there, such diversity, it will make for a great season, I'm sure. They seem to be going with a broader chef base this time, fewer of the recognized "grand master" names like Chiarello and Puck and Bayless. There are a few bring-backs from last season--Ludo Lefebvre... Mark Peel... Wylie Dufresne--and I'm not sure the purpose of that. But I'm most excited to see how Marina Hines of Tilth of Seattle, does. I had the sublime pleasure of eating there late last summer with a good friend after getting together and trying on wedding dresses for her upcoming nuptials this summer. Well, she tried on dresses and I watched and gave thumbs up and down and inbetween...

Tilth fed us an amazing meal--one of those experiences where each bite is better than the one before, the portions are exactly the right size so you leave full but not stuffed and even have room for dessert. Truly a quintessential summer dining experience. One I am craving right about now when the freshest thing in the grocery store is... apples from cold storage? Can't really think of anything that is getting delivered right now that's not be trucked a gobzillion miles, or coming from cold storage...

But let's not dwell on that. Summer is coming again, eventually. And even though it's months later, here are a few pictures from the evening at Tilth. Forgive the iPhone shots, it's what I had on hand...

This amazing little appetizer had goat cheese on a cracker, with a sliced fresh fig on top. Wonderful.

Dear friend and bride-to-be Kate. 

Mid bite. A common look for me...

Ricotta gnocci. Light as a feather.

 Corn flan in corn soup. Amazing.

Another amazing soup, cucumber I believe...

Now it's really gotten dark in the restaurant; the candle has to come o-so-near. This is a dish of heavenly little squash--zucchinis and patty pan squashes, steamed just so with a nutty pesto on top. Summer eating at its best! I swear we ate dessert too, but I must have been in a slight food coma and forgot to take pictures. (That or it just got too dark.) If you're ever in Seattle in the Wallingford area, check out Tilth. A quiet, unassuming little house with a patio out front, very cozy seating inside, and wonderful service throughout the evening.

I know these pictures don't do the meal or the evening justice. It's a reminder that I should post immediately after the experience, since the summer menu is long gone (the food had much better names than I was able to tag above)... but this meal is in my memory forever. Thanks for a lovely evening, Kate! Let's do it again, soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Keepin' my word: Salad day

Just to prove that meant what I said about some leafy greens today, here's my salad post! But I didn't stop with just greens, oh no. This is one of my favorite winter salads. And I swear, there really are greens under all that other stuff, really!


One of Sher's favorite winter salads
A couple generous handfuls of greens--I used romaine and arugula
1 red pear, sliced
2 Tbsp. chevre, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Croutons to taste (you can see from the picture I was in the mood for croutons! Freshly made just yesterday!)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Champagne vinaigrette

Assemble and devour. I did!

We love croutons around here. Our small person can sidle up to a bag of croutons and do serious damage. And I like to make them myself whenever possible, but have neglected that task recently. In my kitchen binge yesterday, I decided to remedy that.

Homemade croutons
2 loaves homestyle bread--one wheat, one sprouted wheat, cut into 3/4 inch dice
Olive oil, rosemary oil, vegetable oil--whatever you have on hand and is your flavor choice
Salt and pepper
Garlic salt

Chop the bread up and toss with the oils in a big bowl. I usually drizzle a little oil, stop and stir, drizzle some more. I used some of the rosemary oil I still have on hand and it made this batch especially lovely. Add salt, pepper and garlic salt (or minced garlic cloves too!) to taste and spread over a couple of baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then flip the croutons with a spatula and bake for another 10, or until roasty toasty and golden. Cool on the counter before storing in an airtight container. These will get eaten long before they could possibly go stale!

And I claim not to like bread. Obviously that's nonsense.
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