When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Salad

I don't want to complain about the weather, seeing as how I live in Canada and I realize that cold and snow is part of the package this time of year, but wow, this January has seemed especially brutal, hasn't it?  I've threatened several times in the past week to put a pair of fleece pyjamas on my perpetually cold self, climb into bed with the covers pulled right up around my ears, and hibernate like the bears for the rest of the winter, blissfully unaware of the biting winds and copious amounts of snow blowing every which way outdoors.  And because I am not a bear, and I have a life, and I can't actually follow through on that threat, I find myself staring longingly out the window at the vast expanse of white, wishing for just a little bit of green somewhere to give us a glimmer of hope that indeed, some day, this winter will end!

There is no green to be found anywhere outdoors in these parts right now, people.  And so I've attempted to comfort my winter-weary self by coming up with some new green salads to enjoy in the warmth of  my kitchen (while I half-laugh, half-cry at the frozen, browned stalks of kale I can still see peeking desperately through the snow mound that was once our vegetable garden.  Don't give up, kale!!)

This winter salad is one I put together last week, when two of Matt's brothers (one of whom was visiting from Australia) joined us for a lovely family dinner.  It makes good use of hearty vegetables and fruits that have a nice crunch to them even in winter, and the bright colours and varied flavours are appealing to both the eyes and taste buds.

Winter Salad

You'll have to forgive me for not providing precise measurements in this recipe -- I never measure anything when I make a salad!  Add as much or as little of each vegetable and fruit as you like and I'm sure it will be delicious!

For the salad:

mixed greens
baby spinach
red cabbage, thinly sliced
broccoli, cut into small florets
carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into coins
red apple (I used a Gala), cored and thinly sliced
raw cashews

For the dressing:
(measurements are approximate)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a salad bowl, combine the greens, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and apple.

Place the olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Shake vigorously to combine all of the ingredients.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until all of the greens are lightly coated.  (Any unused dressing can be stored in the fridge for later use.) Sprinkle the cashews over the salad, and then serve and enjoy.

This cheerful salad won't make our long, cold winter go away, but it might help us to forget it about it for just a little while!  Stay warm out there.


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