Fruit & Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Holy guacamole these past few months have been crazy! A lot of things have happened. I finally finished my first year of graduate school, not without a plethora of studying and poor eating habits, but I am done for the summer! To be honest, I am missing my usual routine of class, work, working out, dinner, studying, and bed (lol that is the biggest lie ever). I moved home and am living with my parents this summer. Yep. Twenty-three and living with Mom and Dad. Living the dream. But actually, I am enjoying getting to spend so much time with them. I have become my family’s personal chef and have tired to figure out how to fed my picky family. I’m trying to keep myself sort of busy by having three part time jobs. I nanny 1-2 days a week, I work in Dad’s office when he and his administrative assistant need extra help, and I am working with an amazing non-profit by helping the organization to prepare for their re-accreditation process. But don’t worry, I have so much free time that I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’ve been lucky so far that I have been able to see my friends from Drake (SQUAD I’m lookin’ at you 🙂 ) As well as my Grandma Miller. These visits have kept summer fun so far! This is the first time since I have been 16 where I have not really had steady work. I am trying to soak it all up since this will be my last summer before… well…adulthood and no more summer breaks. I think all adults should get a week off in the summer to be bums and drink and stuff. I would vote for a Presidential candidate who could make that happen (hint hint to all the candidates out there reading my very important blog). So basically, summer thus far has been very relaxing and pretty uneventful UNTIL NOW.

Sunday afternoon I was minding my own business laying on the couch watch Greys (surprise surprise) and I hear my phone go off in the other room. I figured it was my friend Kaylee confirming our plans to go to the movies together later that evening. My sneaky and kind of nosy Mom was walking my by my phone and saw my text and who it was from. She gasped and could not form coherent words. Finally, after what felt like a million minutes of suspense, she tells me that I better come look at my phone. So I got up and walked (lol nope. RAN) to my phone where I was then proceeded to freak the duck out. My best friend in the entire universe had just gotten engaged and I could not even handle it. Kaylee Mae Rudolph has been my best friend since we were three years old. That is 20 years of friendship. TWENTY YEARS, PEOPLE. So to say that I was ecstatic would be a major understatement. I have never been so happy for another person in my entire human existence. Kaylee and Alex are so well-suited for each other and I am so excited for them to begin their life together! Cheers to the happy, newly engaged couple!

In other news, I made a salad for lunch. Not nearly as exciting, but still worth noting. Salads are always good, but this one was great. Definitely a great salad for a hot, summer day. It was really easy to prepare (obviously, its a salad…). I put a handful and a half of spinach in a bowl and topped it with chopped strawberries, apples and pears. The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds and I didn’t already have those at home so I used sunflower seeds instead which tasted just fine mixed in here. I made the dressing in a food processor by adding all the ingredients and pushing “blend.” When preparing for this meal, I asked my Mom if we had red wine vinegar (which is an ingredient for the dressing) and she said “Yes, we have that.” So when I go to make the dressing and see no red wine vinegar in sight, I get a little confused. Apparently, we did not have any and my Mom didn’t buy any at the store so I had to improvise. I used half of 1/4 of a cup of white wine vinegar as a substitute. I don’t think it made a difference at all so use whatever one you have already at home! You can also add some chia seeds into the dressing to add some extra good stuff to make you feel better about yourself (that’s what I did). I topped off the salad with some of this delicious dressing and chowed down. Like I said, a great mid-day lunch option for those hot, hot summer days. My goal this summer is to try to be more regular about my posts so keep a look-out. If I fail, feel free to send me “friendly reminders.”

Recipe:

http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/04/28/fruit-and-spinach-salad-with-strawberry-vinaigrette/

Ingredients:

Spinach, apples, strawberries, pears, sunflower seeds; white wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, water, poppy seeds (or chia seeds) and some more strawberries.

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