The Salad Stands Alone

I made this salad for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it made me very happy.  My husband and I each took our first bite and sat back and said “Wow!  This is better than it should be!”  This was definitely a case of the final product being surprisingly better than the sum of its parts.  Now, understand… my husband is totally not a “salad” guy…. and the fact that we had a lovely grilled steak with this and he even noticed the salad speaks volumes.

The original recipe comes from Eating Well magazine and is designed to have the sliced steak served on top.  As I said, we did do that the first time, but this salad is definitely tasty enough to stand on its own.  As a matter of fact, I made the salad, sans steak, last weekend for Easter dinner with friends.

Spinach Blueberry Salad  – serves 4

1 cup fresh blueberries, divided

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3 Tbsp fruity vinegar (I used a raspberry vinegar)

1 Tbsp minced shallot

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp walnut oil or canola oil (I used walnut)

8 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Pulse 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup walnuts, vinegar, shallot, sugar and salt in a food processor to form a chunky paste.  With motor running, add oil until incorporated.  Transfer the dressing to a large bowl.

Add spinach to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Divide the spinach among the 4 plates.  Top the spinach with feta and remaining walnuts and blueberries.  Enjoy!

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Sometimes…Ya Gotta Dance!

This week, on a very cold, rainy day, my husband and I made out way to our first Chicago Cubs game.  It is late April and we are bundled up in long underwear, polar fleece, parkas, etc…  As we make our way down our street talking about if we are going to make it past the 3rd inning in this weather, I happened to glance across the street and immediately stopped short.  There, through the living room window of a lovely house, I spied my Quick Qi.  A little girl – I’m guessing she was about 3 – appeared twirling and dancing with such unbridled joy that her exuberance could be felt across the street.  But what made this unexpected moment even better was what she was wearing….. absolutely nothing!  She was totally naked and couldn’t be happier.  My husband and I went on our way chuckling and enjoyed 9 innings of fabulous, but very cold, Cubs baseball.  And we won!

Delighted to meet you??

Yesterday I was out on my walk/jog.  As I was approaching a corner, there were two women, each holding a leash to their respective dog.  At the end of one leash:  a large, obviously young Husky… very excited to be meeting a new friend.  He was dancing and whining, crouching down and wagging his tail like crazy.  The other leash??  That one had the tiniest “tea-cup” Chihuahua I’ve ever seen wearing a knitted sweater with a monkey’s face on the back.  This Chihuahua could really have cared less about this encounter.  He looked bored beyond belief.  Not scared, not aggressive…. simply bored.  It was funny.  It was adorable.  In a word, it was delightful.  I did not have to interact with them to enjoy it, I did not have to go out of my way or change my course, or even slow down.  It was right there in front of me to observe, enjoy and move on.  I honestly don’t remember the next couple of blocks of my jog because I had been so entertained by that little slice of life on the corner.  Anything to take my mind off of jogging makes me very happy indeed!

Welcome to Donna’s First Quick Qi

Welcome to Donna’s Quick-Qi – Everyday Moments of Joy

According to Sheryl Crow, “If it makes you happy…..It can’t be that bad”.  I am totally on board with that.  I’m learning that I don’t really need to work so hard on being happy. The key is to take pleasure in little, unexpected moments.  I am getting good at noticing them, relishing them, in a sense “collecting them” in my mind.  If I find enough tiny, little things that delight me during my day, I find that when I reflect on my day, it will have been a good one… I will be happy.

And so I present the start of my blog, Donna’s Quick-Qi –Everyday Moments of Joy.  Obviously this is a fun little play on words, Qi, or Chi being the Chinese term best described as “positive life force”.   Here, what I am hoping to do is to share, hopefully on a weekly basis, some of the things in life that truly make time stand still for me. Not forever, sometimes not even for more than a second.  Just a little quick moment of joy … a Quick-Qi, if you will.

I’m certainly not trying to document what gives my life meaning and makes me truly, deeply, happy (being healthy, having a fabulous husband, cooking, eating, traveling and being “Mom” to one of the world’s dorkiest cats) — although I can guarantee that during this blogging adventure said dorky cat, various recipes, places I’ve traveled and certain moments living life with said fabulous husband will all make an appearance in some fashion.  No, what I am talking about here are those instantaneous, unexpected, totally-not-connected-to-my-everyday-real
life kind of moments.  Something I may see, overhear, taste, or otherwise experience that, for that instant, makes time stand still and makes me forget everything else.

What is the purpose of this blog?  I have no idea.  It is just something I’ve been thinking about… ruminating over… and basically feeling is in me and needing to get out. Everyday pleasure in little unexpected moments.  I hope to see them, steal them, and share them with you.

More soon!