Archive | August, 2009

It’s Getting Hot in Here {recipe: spinach salad with sweet mustard vinaigrette}

8 Aug
From Spinach Salad

It has been over 100 for, like, the entire summer. Ok, not the entire summer, but most of it. The most exciting news on the weather channel is that each day brings us to a new record of hotness. Not good hotness, like what a nice lululemon outfit can do to any workout-woman, but bad hotness, like my-plants-are-scorched, I-pick-out-my-outfit-for-the-day-based-on-what-shows-sweat-the-least, and my-dog-refuses-to-go-outside-in-the-afternoon hotness. Bleh.

So, that being said, I offer you a cool, crisp salad in place of a hot, baked dessert item.

Oh, and spinach was on sale, $.98/bunch and blueberries $.99/pint last week at the a-maz-ing grocery store I go to each week in search of its stellar sales. More on that later.

From Spinach Salad

Here you have it:

Spinach and Blueberry (or any other fruit you have: strawberry, peach, nectarine, etc.) Salad  with Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette.

Serves 6

1 bunch (12 oz) spinach, washed and dried with stems removed

1 cup berries or other chopped fruit

Roughly cut spinach and toss with fruit.


1/2 white onion, chopped

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. yellow mustard

1 tsp. salt

1/3 c. white vinegar

1 c. vegetable oil

2 tsp. poppy seeds

Mix all ingredients except poppy seeds in blender or food processor until smooth, pour into serving dish and stir in poppy seeds.

Side note: We ate this dressing on everything once the salad ran out. It is delicious.

From Spinach Salad

Everything Can Wait {recipe: toffee shortbread bars}

2 Aug

Everything can wait.

From toffee cookie bars

My work ‘to do’ list is organized and pristine, nothing is crossed off.

The floors in my house are grimy and there are dishes in the sink and I head out tomorrow for a four-day conference that will have, perhaps, no down time.

But, it can all wait. Erika and Micah are having a baby. And Jon and I aren’t going to miss a second of it. Somehow, what I would have stressed myself out with tonight has found a way to fit itself into tomorrow’s schedule. Tomorrow there will be time. Now, we wil wait in the waiting room among family and a now-empty Domino’s pizze buffet complete with four boxes of cinnastix (courtesy of the father-in-law).

Rewind 38 weeks and three days ago. Erika called about an hour after peeing on a pregnance test that gave back two lines unstead of one. I feel like I have been waiting a long time and it is not even my baby. I can’t imagine how long it has been for her and Micah.

Ten weeks before that, we sat in their living room and talked abou the domestic adoption that they were pursuing wholeheartedly, until the news that would follow. And, only five weeks before that. we met at a mutual friends’ house. So much has happened in a year. Our relationship has progressed so quickly: meeting, birthday celebrations, camping trips, adoption plans, tuesday night conversations that went so late they ended in overnight stays  in guest rooms, dinner parties, pregnancy news, holidays, early-morning grocery trips, late-night dinners, more pregnancy news, and now, childbirth.

It has been 30 hours. That is a lot of hours.

They are going on 40 hours of no sleep, 30 hours of labor, and 28 hours of no food for Erika. Laughs and joking have turned to prolonged waiting as she pushes through resisting a cesarean delivery. It is go time. We, in the waiting room, hear there is lots of pushing going on in the delivery room. What was once soft, mood-type lighting in her room has I am sure turned into a spotlight show, with bright lights and lots of instruments and hairnets. All so glamorous.

Well, Erika, this one is for you. I think we polished off a plate of these cookies after dinner one night a few months age 🙂

From toffee cookie bars

Toffee Shortbread Bars

adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces almonds, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9-x-13-inch pan.

Beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, then add brown sugar and beat on medium high until fully mixed. Add in vanilla and beat for 30 seconds on medium-high. Turn mixer to low and mix in flour and salt. Press dough into prepared pan. It will be thin.

Bake until shortbread is golden brown,  firm at edges and slightly soft in center, about 30 minutes.

Take shortbread out of oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the shortbread. Place back in oven for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and using a spatula, spread the chocolate out evenly over the shortbread. Sprinkle the almond pieces on top of the chocolate. Let cool. Place in fridge for 30 minutes and then break into pieces.

From toffee cookie bars

Good luck, E. It’s 9:36 and I think you’re almost there.

Pre baby, Oct 2008
Pre-baby, October 2008
New Year’s Eve, 2008
May 2009

July 2009