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Posts Tagged ‘great spinach salad recipes’

final

Insurance is an interesting commodity. A business where you purchase something you’re not supposed to use. In particular, car insurance irritates the life out of me. You might go along for years with no accidents or dings on your record, then someone slams into you. Once the damage is reported and repaired you are rewarded by an increase in your monthly premium or could lose your insurance entirely. The same is true of homeowner’s insurance. It’s nice to know you have it but you really don’t want to put a claim in unless you want to pay more for the privilege of doing so. What a convoluted business practice. Yes?

Another thing that I find a bit confusing are time shares. You pay to own something technically you own but can only use for two weeks out of the year. Hmmmm. These are things on ponder on lazy days like today when the only thing moving are the white puffy clouds passing by the window.

I enjoy these marketing strategies. Perhaps I’ll open a car lot. You pick out a car you like. In turn, I will sell to you with the stipulation you can only drive it two weeks out of any given year. The rest of the time the other “shareholders” will be using it. Naturally, I will receive a nice commission for setting you up with such a juicy deal.

While on the griping dais, I’m incredibly tired of getting all these robo calls. Kudos for the woman who actually sued and was awarded $1,500 per call for each annoying interruption in her life. Taking all the right steps initially she first asked not to be called again, then reported them, even filed suit, and yet the calls continued to roll in. Ours come in at the same time every day, usually as we take our seats for dinner. Blocking doesn’t work because they switch numbers and the game is on again. There should be better regulation, and hopefully will be, now that someone has slammed her foot down and said “NO MORE”. One voice really does make a difference. My mother gets a ridiculous volume of these calls asking for money. She called the other day to tell me a man she could barely understand called to tell her she’d won two and a half million dollars. That is good news. Now my deck can get done and I can sit on the beach sucking on straws. Fortunately, she’s savvy enough to know these are not real. They prey on the elderly or vulnerable people among us like sharks in a heavy swimming area. Actually the sharks are doing what’s expected of sharks, it’s the people I find disgusting.

To add to the mix of my busy week my computer seems to be feeling the tension as well. Several times I’ve had to reinstall programs to get them to kick back into action. Apparently I’m in good company as I heard both the stock exchange and United Airlines suffered computer incidents resulting in complete shutdown of their functionality and angry customers asking what the hell happened. It is scary to realize how dependent we are on our computer systems to keep us moving forward. Our Achilles heel, if you will, in a way. Such a vulnerable spot for people intent on causing mischief or worse.

Another interesting piece of news surfaced this morning. An airline seat manufacturer has actually come up with a way to cram more passengers in coach, or steerage as I’ve come to affectionately think of it. Amazing. Already you’re practically perched in your neighbor’s lap! The new suggestion verges on disturbing. The drawing shows a seat facing forward with a seat directly next to it facing backward. This would mean sitting facing a stranger possibly for five hours or much longer. How uncomfortable. Why not just stack us like plastic lawn chairs on the patio? It’s not like we needs our hands free to eat.  Also it’s come to light the airlines are in collusion with one another to keep the price for a seat on the rise. For all the extra cost to fly there is no money left over apparently to pay anyone to guard our luggage. They’ve laid off luggage “guards” to save money so they can add to that huge profit margin they keep racking up. Crooks are now waiting at the baggage kiosks to help themselves to whatever unchaperoned bags happen to rotate by. Suggestions from the airlines regarding this are that passengers not stop to use the restroom on the way to their way to the baggage area. This also may not be a viable plan. Somewhere I read they’re thinking of downsizing the restrooms on planes as well. Should this be the case since you cannot turn around in the ones in use presently, using the downsized restrooms may well only be an option for anyone under eighty pounds. I swear I’m taking the train from now on.

I’ve got the vacation blues. Really want to head out to a warm beach and a couple of days of floating in the ocean followed by margaritas at a busy beach bistro. Instead, we’re having our deck refinished. Sigh. It’s good, but not nearly as good as feeling the sand squishing through my toes, not nearly as good. Making the deck decision really wasn’t ours, nature had taken its toll and either we refurbished our deck or walked of our front door into thin air. As we basically live on the second story of our house the thought of either repelling to the driveway or installing a zip line didn’t seem doable.

So, having relieved myself of my frustrations I know feel light and refreshed while you probably are wondering why you read this darn blog.

I do a lot of spinach variations but this is my favorite. My family loves the fried cake on the side. I use this fried cake idea for dessert with berries and ice cream or any fresh fruit and whipped cream. Yum, and yum.

Fruit and Spinach Salad with Fried Cake

Fruit and Spinach Salad

l 5 oz. pkg. baby spinach
10 ripe strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 6 oz. pkg. fresh raspberries
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin

Honey Dressing

5 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. beef boullion granules
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with salad.

Fried Cake

6 pieces golden loaf cake (purchased or homemade)
2 Tbsp. butter

In large skillet melt butter over med.-high heat. Add cake to pan and brown on both sides.

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1Our plans to attend Rick’s daughter’s wedding went just about as expected for my life. We had to rent him a suit because his went out of style about ten years ago. All this being a bit last minute for us, we found a place downtown renting formal wear and had Rick measured. The suit arrived at the store the two days before we were to leave. Stopping by for a fitting the pants were perfect, but that last late night donut stood in the way of the button meeting the buttonhole on the jacket. Oh-oh. A pinch of panic nipped at my spine. Not sure which size to move on to we called the people supplying the suit, or the saleslady did. Rick was measured again and a debate ensued about where to go from here. I asked if they could send the next two sizes in case the one up doesn’t work, or another glazed twist comes into view. Unfortunately, this wasn’t possible I was told. Prom season in full swing all their suits are in high demand. One size would have to be picked and fingers crossed. Naturally. So, we closed our eyes, pointed a finger at one size on the page, and made a decision.

After that experience we came home and I started packing. This was to be such a quick trip you would think a pair of clean underwear and a tube of toothpaste would suffice. Since there’s a wedding and rehearsal dinner packed in the middle, it required appropriate clothes for each so took a little planning. Literally I threw together an outfit for the wedding. I found a pretty skirt and located a top that went perfectly. At another store I picked up a feminine lacy shawl. A necklace and earrings were added, a pair of shoes purchased and I was good to go. At least as good as I get. Noticing my blouse needed ironing I wiped the cobwebs off my ironing board and set it up. Laying my blouse across the board I pressed one shoulder. Immediately a dark blue stain became noticeable draped across the top of the sleeve. Really? Now there was no time for me to run about finding something else to match so I flew downstairs and applied everything from carpet stain removal to Easy Off to the stain and tossed it in the wash. “PLEASE”, I thought, “let this come out”. My ulcer was working itself up to a frenzy in my nether regions. Ach. After an hour I heard the machine click off. Closing my eyes I retrieved my blouse and prayers answered the stain had disappeared. Yea for my team.

This brought to mind my prom days. I went to three proms during high school. My own and two at other schools. Two in my junior and one in my senior year. I was majoring in boys my junior and senior year and got an A for effort both years. All this promming required only one dress as each dance was at a different school saving my mother considerable outlay. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth girls had their shoes died to match their dresses. I know. Peau de soie, I believe, was the fabric the shoes were made of. Apparently it lent itself well to dying.

At the last of the three, my date and I went out to dinner with two other couples prior to going to the dance. By this time I was a year older, two inches taller, and probably slightly filled out from the twelve-year-old boy physique I’d been rocking the year before. The dress was a rich shade of peacock-blue. Fitted just to the waist, with a long flowing skirt, it had been snug to begin with. Add a fully loaded baked potato, a steak, a couple of yeast rolls and butter, plus dessert, and there wouldn’t have been room for a skinny gnat to take refuge inside. What? I was a teen. Feeling as though exhaling was my only option I managed to fold my body into the back of the car before I heard the sound of tearing fabric. Truthfully, that lovely blue fabric never had a prayer pitted against the slabs of cheese sauce the restaurant loaded on the once healthy broccoli they served on the side. Like lava squeezing forth from an erupting volcano my back let itself out of confinement and was laid bare for all to see. Not good. Not good at all. Dropping the two other couples at the dance we made a quick trip to his parent’s house, the closest one to us. Surveying the damage his mother took out the sewing box and in a half an hour literally sewed me into my dress. Back in the car and breathing wee breaths of air we went to the prom. A made it through the night without passing out or vomiting, which was amazing because I spent most of my time thinking I was on the brink of both. This gave me compassion for all the women going before me whose bodies were pinched, strapped, and corsetted into submission all for the sake of beauty.

cute-shar-pei-puppiesAll wrinkles seem to iron themselves out if you wait long enough. My life has contained enough wrinkles to put together a litter of Shar-peis but I keep rolling along.

I will write of the wedding when I catch a breath and pull my apron out of the drawer.

This eggy spinach salad is delicious. We ate the whole bowl between the two of us.

Spinach and Egg Salad with Sesame Seed Dressing

1 bag baby spinach
2 avocados
5 radishes, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
3 hard boiled eggs, cut in wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Place all salad ingredients in salad bowl. Toss with dressing just before serving. Serves 4

Sesame Seed Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. lemon infused olive oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. sesame seed oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together ingredients. Chill for 1 hour.

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Photo by Susie Nelson

Photo by Susie Nelson

You may have noticed it’s getting expensive to live lately. Hamburger meat is running around the same price as steak used to be, and yesterday they announced a better choice than beef might be lobster. Really? I have to admit I didn’t think I’d ever hear that statement on the air. We’re staying home for Easter this year. Between the price of gas, scheduled road work, and traffic it just isn’t doable. Lamb is on the menu. I was going to serve guacamole but with avocados at a premium, and a bag of limes requiring taking a second against your home, I’ve opted instead for deviled eggs. The chickens, it seems, are still in production and not out for higher wages.

Boo, the Queen of Cats, went to the vet last week for her annual shots. I chose a vet with a free first visit coincidentally touted as the best vet in the area. The ad said the office was in Cedar Ridge, an area I was unfamiliar with. Programming the GPS, Boo and I took a beautiful drive curving around unfamiliar rural roads ending up in a small mountain community. While conducting an examination of my most uncooperative feline, the vet noticed a small nodule about the size of a pea on one of her ears. As familiar as I am with my furry friend, I had not noticed the growth lurking beneath fur of a similar hue. Once the exam was completed the vet suggested the nodule be removed along with a teeth cleaning. Couldn’t we just brush more often? As nice as the doctor seemed to be I sensed there most likely was a charge associated with such happenings. I inquired as to what that charge might be. After some shuffling, hemming, and the necessary hawing she said the teeth cleaning ran around $240. Not bad. Of course, there were additional charges associated such as anesthesia, biopsies, and the like. Uh-huh. It was “the like” charges which concerned me. On exiting she indicated a follow-up email would be forthcoming with a total estimate for the needed work. I told her I’d look forward to the good news.

The following day as promised I found an email in my inbox with a subject line “estimate for Boo Boo”. The $240 charge for the teeth cleaning was buried nicely in between a full page of “the like” charges totalling $989.42. Hmmm, that’s darn close to $240.00 but not quite there. I knew the “the like” charges would be the killers. Good Lord. I had a sun damage spot removed from my face several years back for $120. Perhaps I should take Boo to my dermatologist.

It has been week of estimates. After having a neighbor pass by with his dog informing me I was sitting in a bed of poison oak while weeding, then escaping near ruin by getting a running start down my steep hill out front ending in my repelling off my garbage can, I put out some feelers for a spring clean up person. Several people came by to give me an estimate. Gardeners hereabouts charge $50/hour for their services and don’t seem in the least enthusiastic about providing them. Constantly I scratch my head at contractors who pay to run ads in the newspaper but don’t really appear to want anybody to respond to them. One man seemed annoyed that I would actually call the number provided when he was in the middle of his tuna sandwich and whatever TV show was playing in the background. Bottom line for the job was $200. Sigh.

Feeling in that spring cleanup kind of mood, I also asked several carpet cleaning reps to come out and give us a quote on getting the upstairs carpets cleaned as well as the stairs leading to the second floor. $200 was the going rate here as well. It cost us less than that to cover twice the area in the old house, less than a year and a half ago. Up, up, up, and away we go.

While in the market with other Easter shoppers it seemed no matter what section of the market I found myself in someone was complaining about the prices. Particularly in the produce section where sinister looking men with scars and beady little eyes wearing trench coats were huddled in the corners dickering with customers for the pink slips to their cars in exchange for the bags of limes hidden beneath their jackets. I signed over the SUV. Margaritas sound good with the steaks on Saturday, black market naturally.

Once my items had been rung up I mentioned in conversation I was looking for a gardener. I realize this isn’t exactly an easy segway from “do you want plastic or paper”, but we had been discussing how everything was blooming early this year as sneezing could be heard all over the building. In a conspiratorial tone she wrote something on the back of piece of register paper and looking over one shoulder pushed it in my direction. On the paper was a name and a phone number. “Thank you”, I said, “but I don’t need limes”. Shaking her head she explained this was the name of an excellent gardener in the area who did good work for a reasonable price. What! I promised to guard this secret with my last breath. I was going to ask if by any chance the man moonlighted as a cat surgeon or carpet cleaner but a line was forming behind me.

This is right up there with my favorite salad. Mangoes were on sale today. Yea!

Strawberry Mango Spinach Salad with Lime Poppy Seed Dressing

1 pkg. baby spinach, rinsed and torn into large pieces
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 mango, peeled and sliced
20 grapes, halved
1 orange, peeled, and sectioned
10 large strawberries, sliced thin
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper

Distribute spinach on four plates. Top with remaining ingredients distributing 1/4 on each plate. Add a grind or two of black pepper according to taste.

Lime Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. dried mint
4 Tbsp. key lime juice
2/3 tsp. sesame oil
1/3 cup red wine vinaigrette
1/2 tsp. salt

Whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use. Pour over salad.

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