Thursday, March 21, 2013

Homemade Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Does anyone else get annoyed at the hosts of cooking shows who really tout how wonderful and easy it is to make homemade salad dressing? Such was the case with Clinton Kelly on “The Chew.” Blah, blah, blah my salad dressing is so fantastic and it just takes moments to make. This is coming from the same people who have hair and make-up artists to help them get ready in the morning and have assistants to chop their onions for them. I have no time for those chefs who make these fantastic things with ingredient lists 25 items long that take hours of braising. That’s not real life folks! With that attitude, I hesitate to post homemade salad dressing recipes because there’s nothing easier than buying dressing out of a bottle. I won’t sit here and tell you that your life is going to be dramatically altered after you taste this salad dressing, but I will tell you that it’s a nice change if you are going to spend some time preparing a meal that’s special.

Recently I made this dressing and served it on a simple bed of romaine lettuce. I think I added some dried fruit too, maybe some craisins. I usually try and add some fun crunchy toppings because dear hubby thinks that all salads need “accessories.” Man, he’s become high maintenance in his salad demands J We had some friends over for supper and I made one of our “company” meals. Meaning I usually don’t put that much time or effort into an ordinary weeknight meal for just the family. Our “company” meal consisted of a beef roast with onions and carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy, spoon cornbread and my lettuce salad. The salad added an element of crunch to an otherwise soft meal. The dressing has a nice bite to it, so it adds a sour element that would otherwise be missing.

So if you have a few extra moments and are making a “company” meal, this dressing would be a great finishing touch!

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard (leftover in jar)
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Shallots (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Note: I doubled the recipe as the measurements above won’t yield much dressing for four people. I also used my immersion blender to ensure emulsification, but you could easily use a jar and just go to town shaking. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Irish Fashion Show

We were out of town this past weekend, so excuse my tardiness. Here are a few demonstrations of Lucan's Irishness at Target. It goes without saying that Lucan was SUPER THRILLED about my accessory choices.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Thoughts about going back to work.

On Monday, my second, involuntary maternity leave ends. An employer believed in me enough to add me to their payroll. Needless to say, I have mixed feelings.

Top 200 7 Concerns about Going Back to Work
  • I don't like that Lucan is going back into the daycare system. I think this is one of the biggest concerns for any working mom. We just don't want anyone else but ourselves watching our child. And I'm ashamed to say, dads fall into this category too. I just don't trust anyone as much as I trust myself. I know that the person I am entrusting my child to has more children than I do and has been caring for children much longer than myself. But they just aren't my child's mom! I also think that Lucan is going to wonder if Lance and I don't love him anymore because he has to go to daycare. I know. I'm over-reacting.
  • I'm going to get SUBSTANTIALLY less sleep than I'm presently getting. Prior to my second maternity leave, I was averaging 6.5 hours of sleep per night. Now I'm averaging somewhere around 8.5-9 hours of sleep. I don't know if I can go back to being a functional adult on 6.5 hours. Especially sitting through long, boring meetings.
  • I don't know how I'm going to get anything done at home. When I was working before it was quite normal for me to have almost 2 months worth of ironing to get done at a time. Now, there is never more than 5 shirts that need to be ironed. Obviously this is an important concern.
  • I hate that this is a worry, but I worry about how other CHRISTIAN mom's will judge me about working full-time. Trust me, it's a legit concern. I can count on one hand the number of backhanded comments I've heard about working moms. From women at my church. Don't get me started.
  • I'm going to miss my little man! Granted I'm not going to miss the full-blown kicking battles I go through to change a diaper, but Lu has changed and grown-up so much these past few months. I mean, he knows how to blow kisses and give hugs! That's full-on adorable.
  • How am I ever going to get supper on the table? I suppose this is where I lower my expectations about what supper should look like.
  • A FB friend of mine posted one day, "You can be a good mom and a good employee, but not both on the same day." I keep thinking about that and keeping my fingers crossed that Lucan won't pick up some horrible flu strain at daycare. I remember looking at my caller ID at work and always silently praying that it wasn't daycare.
On the flip side, here are some benefits:
  • A paycheck! Enough said.
  • Paying off my student loans!
  • Wearing my cute work clothes (I've already picked out a week's worth of outfits)
  • The ability to talk on the phone and not have to try and wrestle it away from a toddler
  • Someone else has to convince Lucan that regular -not shells- mac and cheese isn't poison.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thoughts about turning 30

This isn't exactly how I imagined turning 30. Okay, not at all. I always thought that when I turned 30 I would be a lot smarter. Turns out I'm not. I'm sure that this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone but me. Here is what I would tell my 20 year-old self.

Dear Kara at 20,

Savor those naps. They are blissful and won't happen as frequently the older you get. Staying up to 1:30 am to finish your homework? Those days are numbered too. In fact, 1:30 am is going change from being a social time to being a time you would hate to be awake. Trust me, 20 year-old Kara, it's true!

Pay attention during class. You might actually need to use some of that information later on in life. Especially in biblical studies. You don't want to be the only one left out of the eschatology discussion! But then again, most of the skills you'll need to get yourself a job aren't going to come from a text book. Okay, you can think twice about paying attention in class. Work on remembering people's names and store away bits of your conversation to talk about later. This will come in handy.

Cherish the friendships you are making. College is this sweet time when you are surrounded by community and people who are all looking for friends too. Post-college community is possible, but it's a lot harder and takes more effort. Those friendships are equally enriching, but to make them go you're going to have to be more intentional. Stay in one spot. Kara, you are flitting around meeting lots of people, but you need a solid core. Stop being happy with lots of acquaintances and try pouring into just a few people. Acquaintances will come and go, but a good group of girl friends are forever.

Your parents want to do the best for you that they know how. They might not know exactly how to go about doing that, but they just want to ensure that you are happy and that you don't move back in with them after college. There's a reason why it's called "leaving the nest" so get your act together, learn how to manage your finances and be responsible.

Above all Kara, try to enjoy life as it is right now. Not how you wish it was or what it will be like 10 years down the road. Enjoy the here and now because you will never get back those moments again.

Your 30 year-old self

PS - the guy you are dating presently? Yep, you are going to marry him. He's pretty cool and will put up with all your hang-ups about turing 30. Be nice to him, he's going to support you and your wacko dreams.