The Simple Things – Recipe: Italian Salad Dressing


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


Brothers who love each other so much.


Watching my husband be an amazing papa to our children.


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.


Enjoying sweet morning cuddles.


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


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


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


    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.


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.

Trying New Things – Recipe: Shredded Brussels Sprouts


Yesterday I learned a hard lesson.  I baked some cupcakes for someone, and I had never tried the recipe before.  I actually baked them on Tuesday to be delivered on Wednesday.  When they came out of the oven, I knew that they looked different.  But, honestly, I did not feel well and did not want to start over.  I had tried the batter, and it tasted great.


Well, fast forward to yesterday.  The cupcakes were not great.  They were not even good.  And, everyone knew it.  My husband had to deliver the bad news to me.


Baking can be very unpredictable.  I should have tried out the recipe before I ever made them for someone.  We have just been so crunched for time between appointments, events, traveling, and getting ready for Christmas.   However, even though cupcakes do not always turn out the same every single time, I would have known that this particular cupcake recipe was not going to work if I had just tried it first.




Sometimes, though, trying new things turns out wonderfully the first time around.  Such was the case with Martha Stewart’s Shredded Brussels Sprouts that my sister made for Thanksgiving.  It was fantastic.  Out of all of the things at the feast, it was the Green Bean Casserole and the Brussels Sprouts that had me wanting seconds.  I know that people either love or hate Brussels Sprouts.  But, even if you have never been a fan, I honestly think that this recipe might change your mind.  It is truly delicious.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts


1/2 pound thinly sliced pancetta, diced small

Extra-virgin olive oil, if needed

1 3/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (10 cups)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook pancetta over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.
  3. Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings (if necessary, add enough oil to measure 1/4 cup).
  4. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in pancetta.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

And…if you ever make a huge baking blunder, I hope that you have a husband as sweet as mine.  He knew that I needed a little pick-me-up yesterday.  Because, for some reason, it is in human nature to beat ourselves up for the bad days instead of lifting ourselves up about the good days.  However, ending the day with my favorite flowers put a smile on my face and allowed me to reflect on the good that I had learned, in spite of the bad experience.  Trying new things is good…just make sure that it is with family first. 🙂



Accidental Goodness – Recipe: Roast Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

I love it when something great happens, especially when it is by total accident.

Like…getting a first year teacher who turns out to be nothing short of amazing.

Or…finding out at 35 weeks pregnant with #3 that a house is available right next door to your sister.  And, moving in at 38 weeks….so that the new baby girl is brought home to the new home just one short week later.

And….finding Mr. Wonderful the first day of a new job….just as giving up dating had seemed like a viable option.

Of course…it is great when a kitchen/cooking accident is met with smiles of approval…instead of a giant mess. 🙂  I will be honest…I have had both.

Recipe: Roast Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing



Chop lettuce, and add it to a bowl.  Top with olives, goat cheese, corn, and roast.  Add the salad dressing, toss, and top with the tortilla strips.

I put this salad together the other night with no intentions of actually posting it.  But, when I sat down to eat it and saw how pretty it was, I just had to take a picture.  Then, I tasted it, and I knew that I had to share it.  Enjoy…and remember…sometimes the best things in life happen by total accident.