BLAT Salad and Motivational Blogs

I’ve been crazy busy this week after being inspired by some of your blogs.  Squirrel Circus motivated me to really take a look inside my closet, toss out what I don’t wear and re-organize it (see her impressive, motivational post here).  And I did start on that.  So far, 3 bags of clothes over to charity and 6 pair of (sob, ok I’m over it) shoes – much more on it’s way.  My thinking was that I would empty out my closet because of my daughter’s change in apartments whereby I inherit her discards which are always better than what I have.  I was looking forward to a lot of her things moving from my house to her apartment.  Alas, Niki did take some things from here but I seem to have inherited a lot more than she took, including…get this – another couch!  No I do not feel like reupholstering it & it’s in perfect condition so if anyone wants to come pick it up in Massachusetts, you’re welcome to it.

The Squirrel Circus had to go and clean her kitchen!  Well I nipped that idea in the bud and now I’m pretty sure we’re going to completely gut the kitchen including busting out soffets & tearing down a wall (have to be a spring start date though because of holidays).

Okay a little discouraged on cleaning out the inside of my house and we had perfect outside weather.  Again, I blame credit Squirrel Circus for this after looking at her Yard Fail post.  With the heat and humidity we’ve had this year, daytime yard work wasn’t an option for me and with our outbreaks of West Nile and EEE, early morning or evening just wasn’t worth the risk.  So things got a little out of hand but I’m on it now although I keep looking over my shoulder to see if Squirrel’s got her camera on me.

Cleaning out closets is one thing, pitch forks, rakes,hedge trimmers, and shovels – a whole different ball game.  I used to be able to do this all day when I was in my 50’s but now, once I’m down on my hands and knees digging, getting back up isn’t so easy. It’s pretty bad when you have to call your dog over so you can use her back to hoist yourself up.  And yes, I am somewhere in my 60’s in case you missed that but just a word of advice ladies.  I always hear women take their age down by at least a few years.  Are you crazy?  Bump it up by at least a few!  Wouldn’t you rather have someone say “wow she looks great for 65” than “oh man, that one’s got a lot of rough miles on her”?

So hard labor got to me and I needed a break.  My rest breaks seem to be longer than my work breaks but I really had a craving for this tomato/ avacado salad from Susan at Kitchen Inventions (she claims it’s the best salad she’s ever tasted & I’m inclined to agree with her).  I did make some adjustments and added bacon and lettuce just so I could call it a BLAT (Bacon/lettuce/avocado/tomato) Salad.  Thank you Susan – I hope others give this one a try because although it’s a mess to eat (I piled it a little high), it’s a taste sensation.


Now in my creation I started with a layer of lettuce, then tomato, followed by bacon, with avocado on top of that…repeat until you run out of everything (I didn’t use corn because then it would have to be called a BLACT) .  I had to change the dressing a little because I didn’t have buttermilk and I wanted a thicker dressing so I just kept adding mayo until I got it to a thicker consistency.  The dressing:

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used regular)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons  mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

And now I have to run because I just heard that I’m getting another truckload of “stuff” and I promised Niki dinner.  Want to know who inspired tonight’s dinner?  An awesome blogger – BAM … How does Bacon Wrapped Sausage Stuffed Pork Tenderloin sounds?  Thank you Bam!  Thank you Karen!  Squirrel….I’ll be talking to you later!

Fried Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

And by the way, John, my dear sweet husband, although I love you dearly and appreciate that you do the grocery shopping, I’m onto you!  You see I swung by Hannaford’s and what do you know?  Not only do they have brussel sprouts – they have piles of them.

A little background for my friends and readers.  Thankfully, for many years now, my husband has taken on the responsibility for grocery shopping.  With list in hand, he willingly puts his life on the line each week, dodging the stretch limo carts with the kiddie car on front, swerving the speed shopper who’s looking at the shelves instead of noticing that the bumper of her cart has just run over the back of his ankles, and gets our grub for the week just like many other husbands walking around with cell phones to their ears yelling “what?  what is that?  where?”  (grocery stores are notorious for poor reception.)

When my daughter was little, she loved shopping and he would take her along.  Of course taking a kid into a grocery store is asking for the final tally to hit amazing highs so he used the “Is it on the list?” tactic. Of course “it” wasn’t on the list, but bright girl that she is, Niki started bringing her own pencil along on trips so that she could truthfully answer “yes” when the question came up.  He finally caught on when he asked to see the list and noticed things like Kaptan Krunsh, patata chips, and candee in block letters.  At least when she went with him, she’d keep him honest about sticking to the list when it came to things like fresh fruit and vegetables.

Alas, now Niki’s grown and doing her own shopping so John has to figure out that a squash isn’t quite the same as a zucchini and that when he unloads ice cream, potato chips, and Cheez Its, he will be asked “was this on the list?”.  Vegetables?  I started out putting “vegetables for the week” on the list only to get 1 head of lettuce.  Some vegetables are in the “okay if I have to category” – mushrooms, asparagus, even broccoli but just try and put eggplant, zucchini, tomato, or heaven help us ! brussel sprouts and it seems that the grocery store was either “out of them” or “they didn’t look very good”.  But this week, those brussel sprouts were right on Hannaford’s front page as a special so I highly doubt that they “must not have put them out yet”.  I can’t tell you how many great vegetable recipes I’ve seen on your blogs that I’ve had to pass on because they’re “out of stock”.  Now, spinach falls in the sometimes category.  Cooked…unh unh.  Hide it fresh in a spinach salad with a luscious, sweet dressing, some fresh strawberries and fried goat cheese, well that was a winner.  Hope you’re adventurous and willing to try this terrific salad.

Fried Goat Cheese, Spinach Salad
Take fresh goat cheese, make into small patties, and lightly dust with bread crumbs.  Heat olive oil in pan until a drop of water bounces then fry the goat cheese until each side is lightly browned.  Drizzle a little honey on top after cooking.

Serve on a bed of baby spinach with fresh strawberries, drizzled with dressing (I use this dressing for spinach/strawberry salad w/toasted almondsalso):

1     Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I use white balsamic)
1     Teaspoon Dijon mustard
1     Teaspoon honey
3     Tablespoons olive oil

Place the vinegar, mustard, and honey in small bowl, then slowly whisk olive oil in until incorporated.

Shrimp on Avocado – What to eat after getting a crown

Crown and river in Sweden

Today I finally got my crown.  No, not the sparkly one with diamonds and rubies, but the one on top of the post that’s been sticking out of my gums and the last step in the dental implant saga.  That would be the implant I needed after a bouncy Bernese Mountain dog jumped up to give me a kiss, breaking my tooth off at the gum line requiring an oral surgeon to drill out the roots – that tooth.  I’m really glad it’s over ($$$$$) and today didn’t hurt much at all but with the heat and the gums being a little sore, I figure it’s a soft food kind of night.

But first a story from my dentist who was a little late getting to me.  Reason being, he tried to squeeze in a guy during his lunch hour who’d broken his crown over the weekend.  Being a guy, he tried a do-it-yourself quick fix that I’m sure he thought was brilliant at the time.  Apparently, this guy decided to put the crown back on using Gorilla Glue – that is correct, Gorilla Glue. Now I’ve checked my bottle of Gorilla Glue and I just do not see anywhere on the label where it says that it may be used to repair a crown in your mouth.  Your tiara/crown, definitely, but not the one inside your mouth. Plus the guy made a total mess of it and didn’t even line it up very well.

So for this hot, humid night I’m making this tasty avocado topped with shrimp and Russian dressing.  There’s no cooking involved if you get the pre-cooked shrimp.  I made my own quick Russian dressing  – just a combination of 1/2 cup mayo; 1/4 cup ketchup; a tablespoon of red wine vinegar & a tablespoon of finely chopped onion.


Halve the avocado and remove the pit.  Chop cooked shrimp and mound on top of the avocado, then top with salad dressing.  So easy, so fast and easy on sore gums.

Spinach/Strawberry Salad

New England weather… Monday I was wearing a sweatshirt and making baked stuffed pork chops and today it’s up in the 90’s, maybe going to 100°.  I’m very glad that I took care of my Freddie Farkel’s fabric pick up yesterday (yes, it magically ‘appeared’ just as I was calling them).  Unfortunately not having central air might delay the project for the next 3 days.  In my last post I had a video of Moe’s help getting the machines ready but I really hope he doesn’t get quite so involved with this project as he did on this one:

In any case, just the thought of working with heavy fabric and batting is enough to put that project off and I’d say the weather calls for maybe burgers on the grill and a cool salad just like this one:

I was a little surprised when my husband called my attention to this  in some booklet we got from our insurance company on eating healthy.  The combination of almonds and strawberries is really good but what makes this super is the very easy dressing.  I’d say roasting the almonds (unless you have the A/C going) is probably optional.

Spinach/Strawberry Salad

Mix fresh baby spinach with strawberries and almonds (toasted if you feel like it).  Top with this perfect dressing:
1     Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic)
1     Teaspoon Dijon mustard
1     Teaspoon honey
3     Tablespoons olive oil

Place the vinegar, mustard, and honey in small bowl, then slowly whisk olive oil in until incorporated.  Perfect for the spinach/strawberry/almond combination.

Snow Peas and Raspberry Salad

Sorry no picture of this beautiful dish – I couldn’t get a photo before it was consumed so you’ll have to visualize:
Bright green, crisp snow peas in a heavenly dressing with plump, juicy raspberries on top.  You know my presentation skills so I have to believe that the description is more appetizing than a photo of this little salad creation.

Steam snow peas for about 1 minute, then run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  You want the nice crunch of the snow peas so don’t over-do.

Salad dressing for Snow Peas & Raspberry Salad

1     Tablespoon olive Oil
2     Teaspoons raspberry vinegar
1/4  Teaspoon Dijon mustard

Whisk ingredients together & drizzle over snow peas, toss, then add fresh raspberries on top.  This is very colorful, crunchy, and an interesting combination of flavors.

Chicken, Grapefruit, Pistachio Salad

Light, refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day… Which we haven’t had and I don’t see in the near future but last night I just didn’t feel like a heavy meal. After being out the night before until midnight at the final (sigh) Bruins game, I really didn’t feel like cooking anything that required thinking, a lot of work, or heavy lifting.  I did have 4 thin sliced chicken breasts on hand, a grapefruit, and pistachio nuts.

While poaching the chicken breasts in some white wine with a little ground pepper (only takes about 10 minutes) I prepped the salad dressing:

In a medium size bowl:

– Mix about 1/4 cup of mayonaise with 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard (I love the Mailie Old Style whole grain with the seeds)

– Stir in juice from 1/4 fresh lemon
– Add about 2 tablespoons of fresh minced coriander

– Peel 1 grapefruit, remove membrane between segments & mix segments into the dressing
– Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pistachio nuts
– After poaching and letting the chicken breasts cool, cube & mix in to the dressing
– Arrange chicken salad on a bed of romaine lettuce

And tonight, now that I’m a little bit rested I will attempt to make Susan’s Zucchini Pancakes.  I’ve been desperate to try these when I saw them on her site and now I’m just thinking…”how do I disguise the zucchini so that John doesn’t know that he’s eating a vegetable”? Oh well, he’s a smart man.  If he wants his food supply to continue he’ll eat them.