Seasons – Recipe: Southwest Salad

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As we were driving yesterday, Summer was asking all about the seasons. “What comes after Winter, Momma?”  When I told her that Spring does, she wanted to know what happens during the Spring.

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So, I told her that it is when the weather starts getting warmer, and we celebrate things like Easter and her birthday.  That excited her just a bit.

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Then, she wanted to know what comes after Spring, so I told her that Summer comes after Spring.  She thought about all of the fun things about the Summer, and she decided that she wanted to skip to Summer.

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So, I told her that if we skipped to Summer, we would miss all of the fun things about Spring, like Easter and her birthday.

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Then, she decided that maybe skipping Spring would not be so good after all.

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After our conversation, I thought about everything that we had discussed.  And, then I thought more about how quickly time started passing once I became older, and especially once I became a mom.  While I am as guilty as the next person with wanting some things to get her faster than others (hello, countdown to Summer Break when my littles are all home!), I believe that it is my responsibility to slow things down as much as possible, to truly stop and smell the roses, enjoy the sunshine, and embrace the cold, rainy days.

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As I go through the stores and see swimsuits already out, I hear the sounds of distress when my children think that we have skipped Winter without having a single snow day.  While we might not have snow in Texas this Winter, we certainly do not have to skip it.  We can embrace the things that make it special, just as we cherish the things that make each individual person special, unique, fun, extraordinary.  Even though the stores seem to want to rush us through life, we do not have to jump on board.  We can still enjoy each day, one precious moment at a time…because…to everything there is a season.

Southwest Salad

Southwest Salad

Ingredients

Romaine or green leafy lettuce, chopped

Fresh or frozen corn, cooked

Black beans or pinto beans

Black olives

Crushed tortilla chips

Salad dressing (we used my new favorite Italian dressing)

Instructions

  1. Add lettuce to a bowl.
  2. Layer with beans, corn, black olives, and crushed tortilla chips.
  3. Drizzle salad dressing over top.
  4. Serve with bread.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/01/18/seasons-recipe-southwest-salad/

I had this salad almost every day for lunch during my first trimester of pregnancy with Gabriel, so it brings up very special memories.  For that reason and because it is easy and delicious, it is one of my favorite salads.  It can be served Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, which makes it even more perfect.

Enjoy!

Come join The Salad Social at TidyMom sponsored by The International Olive Council’s Add Some Life.

I shared this recipe at Jane Deere, Creations by Kara, Sugar and Dots, Lady Behind the Curtain, Lil’ Luna, The King’s Court, Polkadots on Parade and This Chick Cooks.

The Simple Things – Recipe: Italian Salad Dressing

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It is the simple things in life that make me so happy.

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Brothers who love each other so much.

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Watching my husband be an amazing papa to our children.

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Witnessing a touching moment between a brother and his little sister. They posed for the picture, but it was what went on before the picture that was so incredibly sweet.

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Enjoying sweet morning cuddles.

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An adorable puppy dog who started our family…and who, over 12 years later, still makes us so happy.

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And, a simple salad (leafy lettuce, olives, carrots, blueberries, and Parmesan cheese) that is made utterly completely delicious by adding this amazing salad dressing to it.  It is so good that we went through the first batch in less than a week.  We eagerly ate salads every night because we kept craving the salad dressing.  I found the recipe on the blog Because Barenaked Chef Said So, and after reading through the comments, I knew that I had to give it a try.  Simply delicious.

Italian Salad Dressing

Italian Salad Dressing

Ingredients

Good Seasons Italian Dressing

2 packets Good Season Italian Dressing

1/2 cup white vinegar

6 tablespoons water

1 cup canola oil

Salad Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried Italian spices

1 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

3 tablespoons water

Instructions

    Prepare Good Seasons Italian Mix
  1. Pour 1/2 cup vinegar into salad shaker.
  2. Add 6 tablespoons water.
  3. Add contents of package, cover, and shake vigorously until well blended
  4. Add 1 cup canola oil, cover, and shake again until blended.
  5. Prepare Salad Dressing
  6. Pour the Good Seasons mixture into the blender.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients.
  8. Blend until smooth.
  9. Refrigerate until chilled.
  10. Serve with your favorite salad.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/01/12/the-simple-things-recipe-italian-salad-dressing/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at A Little Nosh, Miz Helen’s Country CottageIt’s a Keeper, The 36th Avenue, Delightful Order, A Creative Princess, Fireflies and Jellybeans and Domeblissity.

Saving Breakfast – Recipe: Chewy Granola Bars

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As I have mentioned before, my littles are not big breakfast eaters.  So, that leaves me always trying to find something that they will eat that has some nutritional value each morning.  After buying some granola bars for my husband last week, I decided that I could make them because they would likely be A) Better, B) Healthier, and C) More Inexpensive.

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We were all pleased with the results.  The first batch lasted one day.  So, I made another batch a few days later.  They are delicious and can be served as an after-school snack, a healthier dessert option, or a quick breakfast.

I found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen.  From what I could tell, Deb has been blogging for around 5 years, and it is evidenced by her beautiful photography, thoughtful explanations, and amazing recipes.  I love everything about her blog, especially these Thick, Chewy Granola Bars.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

This recipe is very barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Thick, Chewy Granola Bars.

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup M&M's, optional (to make them more festive)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line an 8? x 8? x 2? pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  3. Stir together all the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, peanut butter, honey, corn syrup, and water.
  5. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly.
  6. Gently mix in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
  8. Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes (my oven took 40 minutes), until they’re brown around the edges. They will seem soft and almost under-baked when you press into the center of the pan. But, do not worry, they will set once completely cool.
  9. Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack.
  10. Once cool, remove from the pan and gently slide from the parchment paper onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares.
  11. Store in an airtight container..
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/01/11/saving-breakfast-recipe-chewy-granola-bars/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at Cooking with Karyn, Creations by Kara, Sugar and Dots Lil’ Luna, Mrs. Foxs Sweets, The King’s Court, Polkadots on Parade, This Chick Cooks, Remodelaholic, My Girlish Whims, Lady Behind the Curtain and Hugs & Cookies.