Salad Ballad

In March of 2009 Troy and I became first time home owners; we finally had a place to call our own!  Shortly after moving in we began a project that we had been dreaming about, our garden.  Looking back at that adventure the words of British poet, Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy come to mind:

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

I was so excited to be able to till our land and plant a garden!  I went out and rented a tiller, which ended up being a POS but luckily our neighbor let us use his.  A good friend of ours tilled the plot of land that I had selected and then I went out to purchase some plants and enjoyed planting them with my daughter, Sophia.  My then 15 month-old vegetable lover was very excited to be assisting and ate one of the squash plants; that ended up being alright though because we had an abundance of squash from the other plants.  I was so proud of that garden, it was one of my few successful gardening attempts.  Remember, this is something we dreamed about and when I dream they are vivid bright dreams of lush gardens and well as my past record shows, I’m actually a “black thumb” or as Urban Dictionary likes to call it: “A wanna be gardener who kills plants.”  So last summer we ate a ton of salad and vegetables from our own garden and each time we ate the produce we had produced I got a warm-fuzzy  feeling.

Around the same time that we were tending to our garden something else began to grow.  Ok well not a something but a someone, and that growth would lead to the birth of our second child, our son, Theodore (aka: Tedy – and no, I did not spell his nick-name wrong, there is only one “d” in Theo”d”ore so there’s only one “d” in Te”d”y and Troy thinks we named him after his favorite President, Theodore Roosevelt where as I like to think we named him after my favorite Patriot’s Football player, Tedy Bruschi).

For those of you that have been pregnant or been around a pregnant woman, you understand that a pregnant woman tends to get some sort of food craving.  While pregnant with Tedy what did I crave?  No, may sweet tooth stayed just the same, super sweet.  Yes, if you guessed based upon the theme of this blog, salad was what I craved!  So much so that I can recall eating salad every single day, at least once a day, for the last week – I even had a salad for lunch and dinner the day that I went into the hospital!  However it was winter so I really only wanted salad from two places, and it was all because of the type of dressing they have.  The first place was Francesco’s Restorante Italiano (check out their website: http://www.francescosrestoranteitaliano.com/ even better, if you are ever in Williamsburg, Virginia just go there – it is by far the best restaurant in town).  The second place was Ichiban in New Town, Williamsburg – an Asian restaurant.  I still crave salad from both places on a regular basis but I am trying to save money and not eat out as much.  Every once in a while I will go out to lunch with friends and indulge in a good salad from either place.

My sister introduced me to something/someone amazing, that has forever changed my life and the way I look at food, that will have to be another blog post for another day.  That person is Bethenny Frankel and her books: Naturally Thin and The Skinnygirl Dish.  Below are some pictures of my salad creations, as you can tell although I am not pregnant I’m still craving salad!  Yet sadly we did not plant a garden this year, and I am truly missing what could have been.

As I was listening to NPR today, one of the speakers made what I thought was a crazy comment (mind you the show was about one of my other soap boxes and not salad) about making vegetables taste good.  I was like what, are you insane, vegetables are delicious and with kids, you just have to make it fun sometimes or simply, put it in front of them, they may surprise you and actually eat it!  Sometimes it’s all about the presentation and I know I’ve been “plating” my food more often, even my salad, rather than slopping it on a plate.  It’s amazing how something so simple can be so good!

Today’s salad, and the inspiration for this post was on the Asian side (because of the dressing).  I am currently on a quest to find a really good ginger dressing similar to the one served at Ichiban yet sadly my quest is not going so well.  This salad contained romaine lettuce (it’s my favorite) with diced carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Asian Salad

Asian Salad

As you look at a couple other salads here, my tip to you is to have fun with it – anything is possible:  as Bethenny says in The Skinnygirl Dish: “Salads are a great way to use what you have because the greens provide a fresh crunchy background for meat, chicken, fish, grilled vegetables, beans, or whatever you feel like eating.”

Salad with Chicken Salad

Salad with Chicken Salad

Some folks are interested in my Chicken Salad recipe; it’s my take on Bethenny’s Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad from The Skinnygirl Dish.  I am allergic to nuts so there are no almonds in mine and I’m also allergic to mayo since it contains eggs so I used non-fat plain greek yogurt instead.  To get the complete recipe and use what you have, buy the book or check out: http://www.bethenny.com note that I’ve also made this with blueberries and yellow mustard since that’s what I had at the time.

A Summer Salad

A Summer Salad

All of this writing about salad makes me want another one – hhmmm…what else can I create?!

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