Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pear Pecan Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

We got a crate of pears from Costco, trying to add more variety of fruits to our normal ones we always eat. They were getting a bit mushy, as you can tell from my photos... try making this salad before your pears are this soft. But, mushy or not, I needed to find a way to use these pears, and here it is! Unfortunately, I forgot to add the red onion to the salad before we ate it!! It was buried in the overstuffed cave that is my fridge. That was what was missing, so don't skip it! This salad is gourmet.

The night we ate this salad, I had also made a huge pot of soup and worked an 8 hour shift for my job while trying to care for a clingy baby who isn't happy that I'm weaning him. I know it may have been a bit crazy and overdoing it, but I had all this food in my kitchen that needed to be used! And I wanted to create a delicious and nutritious meal for my family. Then, right before Seth came home, I talked with someone who was quite angry. I let their anger rub off on me. Then I was telling Seth how this person took their anger out on me, and during dinner I took my anger out on him. I was exhausted and over stretched, and I behaved inexcusably. I am ashamed of it.

You know that phrase, "What your kids really want for dinner is you." That works with husbands too I think. And "When Mama is happy, everybody is happy." It works the other way around as well, "When Mama is unhappy, everybody is unhappy."  I am sure that Seth would have preferred a happy, loving wife who's glad to see him, who speaks a comforting word, and eat peanut butter sandwiches, apples and popcorn for dinner than a grumpy, overextended, resentful wife who's worked too hard preparing a gourmet meal that we eat in a stony silence. Even John, though 15 months old can tell when Mama ain't happy.

Let that be a lesson to me. I am going to try to be more balanced in my expectations for myself, and therefore help myself be less overwhelmed. Even though I want to prepare excellent meals for my family, help with our income, talk with people that I love on the phone, I need to keep my priorities straight and slow down. So, on a day that you aren't overbooked, try this gourmet pear salad and serve it up with heaping spoonfuls of love.

Serves 4-6
Pear Pecan Salad
- 2 heads Romaine, washed and chopped
- 3 large handfuls organic spinach, washed and torn
- 1 cup cauliflower, washed and chopped (or shredded carrots)
- 1/3 cup craisins (or raisins)
- 2 Tb. raw pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
- 1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced or sliced
- 1 cup whole wheat croutons (this is a good recipe, I just don't use the cheese)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 slightly firm pears, diced or sliced
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
1. Combine all ingredients except pear, avocado, and lemon juice in a large salad bowl.
2. Drizzle lemon juice over pear and avocado and then add them to the salad.

Tip: If you want to have left overs (this is a pretty large salad), then keep pear, avocado, croutons and onion separate to be added to individual salads.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette (You can make your own or use store bought)
- 2 Tb. Veganaise or light mayonnaise
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. dry stevia or 1 Tb. sugar
1. Combine all ingredients in a dressing cruise (or other container), and pour over salad unless you plan on leftovers. If you want leftovers, dress individual salads.

 Tip: Serve with a warm grain dish (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc.) to make it a meal

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