Tuesday, November 25, 2014

virtual book club + thanksgiving menu

In honor of my brother's upcoming visit, I've decided to (finally) read his favorite book. He's always been a voracious reader and it's time to get out of my comfort zone.
My parents will be pulling in the driveway around noon tomorrow, and for the first time ever I am hosting my very first Thanksgiving. I am breaking out my fancy serving platters, wedding silver, white napkins, and using our dining buffet for the first time as a serving station. As my friend Taryn loves to say, Wahooooo!  

I am ecstatic and have been pacing around the house all day in anticipation. This year the meal is a group effort. Our great friends are smoking the turkey and bringing the appetizers, and we are making the sides and dessert. I've been contemplating the menu for weeks and here is the final version!

Honeycrisp apple sangria (I've made this recipe three times and it's a WINNER)
Rubus Shiraz Barossa (a steal at 13 dollars a bottle)
...followed by Black Box Cab Sav (the 2nd round of wine...only rich folks get to drink top notch wine all night and we are po' folks!) - but BB is smashing good wine at a value!


Cornbread Stuffing (Paula Dean)

Pecan Pie (Ree Drummond)

And of course a big smoked TURKEY! As you can see, we decided to keep it simple this year with a few really great sides, and I love that we are scaling down and choosing quality over quantity. My "bigger and more is better" mentality with all things is taking the sideline this year, and I am choosing to scale back and focus on spending time with the people we love. 

from my sweet little 6 week old turkey! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

four weeks old + newborn essentials

Our baby boy is already four weeks old, and he is the sweetest little bundle of joy. I'm so lucky to be at home with him to see all the small subtle changes that are happening. He can suddenly put a death grip on my fingers and has the most adorable grumpy face I've ever seen. 
It's taken a month to feel like I have a handle on the Charlie show, but now that we are settling in to a routine with naps, bath time, bed time, and one middle of the night feed I'm ready to get out in the world a bit and actually cook a little! My mom has stocked our freezer with delicious meals so I have been enjoying my favorites for the last month. I literally skip into the garage every morning to make a selection from our freezer. I get to choose from her chicken gumbo, black bean soup, chicken lasagna, and beef bourguignon, and yes I know that I am spoiled rotten. This winter I am going to do a special feature on freezer meals with my mom's top 5 recipes. Truly, the best gift you can bring to someone that needs a boost is a homemade freezer meal. It's love in ziplock. 
This week I'm trying a weekly meal prep in an effort to eat more real foods without having to fuss with fixing anything at lunch time. I'm getting pretty tired of my flat out wrap turkey sandwichs, so yesterday I roasted sweet potatoes, made taco meat, grilled chicken, and quinoa. I have a vegetable drawer full of spinach, romaine, and bell peppers. I already feel great starting the week out with lots of healthy lunch options in the fridge. 

For the expecting or new moms out there, here are my top ten lifesavers from month one (all purchased on Amazon except the Milkin' Cookies and Moms on Call)

If you are wanting to surprise a new mom with a treat - the Milkin' Cookies are phenomenal. I love both flavors, and was introduced to them as a gift from a work friend. Freezer meals and wine also do wonders for the soul! 
  1. Halo microfleece sleep sack - I use the SwaddleMe during the day and Halo at night
  2. Fisher Price Rock n Play
  3. Chico stroller caddy to match our Keyfit 30 car seat - I can fit 100 dollars worth the groceries in the bottom basket 
  4. Mylicon gas drops and Gripe Water
  5. Moms on Call book (this would be the ONE book I'd buy looking back), along with Bringing up Bebe 
  6. Graco white noise machine - the swaddle and noise are key to daytime naps
  7. Mam pacifiers
  8. Earth Mama Angel nipple butter - essential for breastfeeding moms!
  9. Milkin' Cookies - I have one every afternoon with a small cup of coffee
  10. White newborn onesies and Aden + Anais swaddle blankets - Charlie lives in these every single day

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Virtual Book Club

Any Maeve Binchy fans out there? I've been wanting to read one of her novels for ages, and I think I picked a good one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

As long as I can remember, Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has been my favorite. A waffle cone with two scoops used to be the ultimate treat, saved for straight A's on report cards and the like.
Fast forward a few decades, and here I sit looking for healthy nutritious snacks to keep me fueled while I'm nursing Charlie. Unfortunately, ice cream is not on that list, but this greek yogurt dip is perfect! I love honeycrisp apples, and this dip is so good I hid it in the fridge so as not to be discovered by other household members. 

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt 
from Family Fresh Meals

1 cup plain Fage greek yogurt
1 tablespoon nut butter (peanut butter or almond butter)
1 tablespoon sweetener (maple syrup or honey)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
dash of sea salt

Mix ingredients together and stir well. Enjoy on it's own or as a dip for apple slices.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

HalloWeekenend has arrived and they are calling for snow in the valley! There is no better fall treat than roasted pumpkin seeds and a cold Sam Adams Octoberfest, so this year we decided to perfect our pumpkin seed roasting technique.
For inspiration, I looked online and visited a few of my favorite blogs (Simply Recipes and Oh She Glows) who start by boiling clean seeds in salt water. We like really crunchy seeds, and this technique promised to deliver. It's quick, easy, and DELICIOUS. Since we were left with two pumpkins and a baby on our hands, we took full advantage and got a yearbook worthy picture, the kind that would be super embarrassing a few years down the road! 
On a side note, I followed these instructions and made the best grilled cheese sandwich today. What did I do differently this time? I grated the cheese, used a cast iron skillet and melted the butter in the skillet before adding the bread. Definitely worth the extra few minutes for the end result. If you're a little lazy, Amy's Organic chunky tomato bisque is a longtime favorite of mine. 

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
adapted from Simply Recipes
  1. Clean seeds using water and colander.
  2. Boil seeds for 10 minutes in salt water (I used 1 tsp salt and 4 cups water for 1 cup of seeds)
  3. Drain the seeds and pat dry with a paper towel
  4. In a large bowl or roasting pan, add olive oil and desired seasonings. Then spread in thin layer on roasting pan. (I used Tony Chachere's)
  5. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, then stir and bake for additional 8-10 minutes. Taste a few seeds, depending on the size you may need to roast for a few more minutes.
  6. Enjoy with a delicious cold October beer! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Five-Chip Cookies...and a BABY!

We welcomed little Charlie to our family on the 13th of October, and the last two weeks have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Josh and I felt like we were ready for a family and had always planned on it, but didn't realize just how ready we were until we held our 7 pound 5 ounce baby for the first time. I always knew Josh was meant to be a father, and I fell in love with him all over again seeing him hold and snuggle our boy.  
I didn't realize how HARD it was to have a newborn in the house, and I have a whole new respect for all the moms out there. It's one thing to read the baby books and conceptualize life with a newborn, and another to live it in real time. It's a 24/7 job, and most days just taking a shower and putting on a little makeup feels like a small victory. I also didn't realize how much joy a baby would bring to our lives. It's exhausted bliss. 
We are all doing great, our pediatrician described Charlie as "perfect" on our last visit and Josh and I are adjusting to the erratic sleep that comes with a newborn. I'm taking my own advice to focus on what really matters, and up until today the blog has been far from my mind. 
Last night Josh was telling me about a five-chip cookie he had years ago while hunting in Massachusetts, and it was served crumbled over vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with maple syrup. Since I haven't made a new cookie in awhile, I found this recipe and spent my "me hours" in the kitchen today baking these delicious treats. The combination of peanut butter and oats in the cookie along with all the chips is divine. 

Five-Chip Cookies
from Taste of Home magazine
Yield: 4 1/2 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup EACH milk chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips and butterscotch cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chips. 

Drop rounded tablespoons two inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cook before removing to wire racks. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

exchange Busy for Meaningful

As I was reading my book yesterday (the 7 habits) one sentence really stood out to me. 

It is possible for people to be busy - very busy - without being very effective. 

I'm not sure why we glorify busy in this country, as if staying constantly "busy" was a noble feat that we should all strive for. Have you heard the phrase "busy is the new happy"? I'm not buying it. Often, I think we stay busy doing things that don't really matter.  I love this print below from Emily Ley so much that I framed it over my desk. 
My goal this week (while waiting and waiting for baby Charlie) was to spend my time effectively, doing things that matter. What did I do? I made dinner for my husband and we ate at the table and talked during dinner (no phones allowed!). I read a chapter of the 7 habits every morning. I organized my office and craft closet. I had an afternoon coffee date with an amazing friend. I talked to my brother on the phone for awhile. I read up on infant portrait photography and dug out my tripod. 

Honestly, it's not that I did that much, I was by no means "busy", but I felt like I spent my time doing the things that mattered. Once you realize what is truly important to you, it becomes clear what activities are aligned with your priorities. If you value your friendships, plan coffee dates and girls nights. If you value your spouse, plan a weekly date night. If you value spending time outdoors, go for a hike or a bike ride.  Just decide what you value, and the rest becomes clear.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Virtual Book Club

One of the best feelings is curling up on the couch under a soft blanket, with a mug of steaming chai tea and your favorite soft sheepskin house shoes, while its 38 degrees outside, listening to your boxers snore, and propping your kindle up on your 40 week pregnant belly to dive into a new novel! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Skinny Chicken Parmesan

If I could only visit one blog every day, it would be Skinnytaste. While I love cooking recipes from Ina Garten and my family cookbook, I try to balance those with healthy recipes that I make for us most of the time.  When we splurge, we take off the brakes, but the truth is that we feel better when we eat more vegetables and lean proteins and less carbs and ice cream. AHEM. Says the 40 week hormonal pregnant lady. 
And then this BEAUTIFUL cookbook arrives at my doorstep. That's right, Gina of Skinnytaste has published a cookbook and the recipes and photographs are glorious! Tonight I made her Skinny Chicken Parmesan over spaghetti squash with my favorite sauteed kale with garlic. I already have three more recipes bookmarked! 
Skinny Chicken Parmesan 
from Skinnytaste cookbook
serves 6

Cooking spray or oil mister
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), fat trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
9 tablespoons part-skim mozzarelle cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with oil.

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 6 cutlets. Season both sides with salt.

In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan. In a small bowl, combine the butter and olive oil. Brush the butter oil on both sides of the chicken, dredge the chicken in the bread crumb mixture, and put the chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray oil on top of the chicken.

Bake until golden on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over and bake until the center is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a large, deep covered skillet, cook the marinara sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the baked chicken in the skillet and top each piece with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Cover the pan and cook until the cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

*I served my chicken over spaghetti squash*

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

I just so happened to be working last week on the lucky day that my colleague brought this soup in to work, with enough to share! Seriously, this is THE BEST soup I've had this year. Last year I was crazy about Hungarian mushroom soup, and this year I am crazy about this recipe. Bonkers. It's incredible, especially if you are a fan of kale. Kale has been my #1 favorite vegetable for some time, and I don't see that changing.
The best news: thirty minutes. That's how long it takes to make it, if you short cut and buy chicken broth and a bag of ready cleaned and stemmed kale. Subtract more time if you buy frozen diced onions. This afternoon I started from scratch, and enjoyed the time chopping onions, garlic, kale, and potatoes while listening to Sam Smith radio on spotify.  I'm feeling generous, so I'll let you in on a little secret. Roasted garlic triscuits are my new kryptonite, and are perfect with this recipe! Of course one can never go wrong with a crunchy baguette either. 

Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
from The Candid Appetite

 - 1 pound spicy italian sausage (use regular or mild for a less spicy version)
 - 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
 - 1 large onion, chopped
 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
 - 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
 - 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
 - 2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped, about 4 overflowing handfuls
 - 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 - 4 medium or 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced
 - 8 cups chicken broth or stock, 2 boxes
 - 1/2 cup heavy cream (can substitute milk)
  1. Heat a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Once the pot has heated through, add the sausage, which you removed from the casing. Using a wooden spoon, begin to break up the sausage and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has fully browned. Remove the crisped sausage from the pot and transfer it to a plate or bowl. Set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to medium, add the butter or oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Stir, scraping down the bottom of the pot picking up the browned bits of sausage with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and translucent about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to sauté until the onions have caramelized. Add the chopped kale in batches, allowing it to wilt down as it cooks. It might seem like a lot of kale but it will cook down, just like spinach! Add the nutmeg and stir. Cook the kale for another 3 minutes until it has turned bright green and completely wilted down. Throw in the sliced potatoes and cooked sausage.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock or broth and bring it up to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are cooked tender and soft. Taste the soup for seasoning, at this point you may add more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes, if desired. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, stir in the heavy cream. Serve right away with some bread on the side. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Carry Your Own Weather

I'm going to share a story today from years ago.  I swear my dad got personal amusement and pleasure in torturing my brother and me, though always with a higher purpose. We resisted, but he was the boss. I use the word torture loosely, but it was just not the fun stuff most parents did with their kids. Not the going to the ballpark kind of stuff. I think most parents try too hard to make their kids lives easy, to focus on fun and being friends. 

My dad adopted a different approach. The wake up early, get your tush out here and help me cut down trees and carry lumber kind of stuff. Sometimes physical labor, sometimes mentally challenging tasks like understanding how to balance a checkbook, or sometimes instances like I am about to share. On a family vacation we were driving to the Outer Banks, and dad decided we would start the vacation by listening to the audiotape version of  Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. The book is now a sort of family joke yet also a book that has come to mean a lot to each of us individually. My brother and I can exchange a look in about 2 seconds that screams "seriously". Yep, seriously. You are going to listen to this book, and then we are going to talk about it. 
I love this image - posted on this blog with a great lesson! 

After working a challenging weekend in the ICU and dealing with a few personal things, I was reminded of my favorite tip from Steven Covey: Carry Your Own Weather. I may just have a little umbrella tattooed on my body, as I think if there is one thing I need to be reminded of every day, it's that. We get to choose our reactions, our moods, and set our own internal barometer each and every day. Put on negative glasses, and you will find negativity all around. I'm wearing my virtual sunnies today - and damn it, it feels good. Not because everything is good, but because I'm looking for and choosing to see the good today. 

With all that aside, Habit #1 is Be Proactive. We all have the inner power to choose how we feel and how we react to the various circumstances and instances in our lives.  Here is a paragraph from Steven Covey: 

“Your life doesn’t just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tortilla Dip

This is one of my Grandma Shirley's famous recipes which is in our McLean family cookbook. She would bring this dip to gatherings and parties, and it was always a crowd pleaser. 
The kitchen has slowly evolved into a sanctuary for me, a place where I can escape to recharge my batteries, find balance, and cook for the people I love. As I was in the kitchen today, I thought about how my grandma had a boy first (my dad) as did my mom, and I am just a few weeks away from joining them in being a mom myself to a little boy. While I am a little scared, I know that the overwhelming joy that comes from being a mom is going to amaze me.  I'm also going to bribe my girlfriends to come and play with me and Charlie by offering this dip along with large glasses of wine! 
You can layer this dip in a 13x9 pyrex glass dish, but I prefer my 15x7 ceramic serving dish I found at Marshall's to really show off the layers. 

Tortilla Dip
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans (or 2 (9 ounce) cans jalapeno bean dip)
1 cup mayonnaise (can substitute cream cheese)
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 avocados
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Tostitos scoops or pretzel chips for serving

Layers from bottom up:

1 - refried beans OR jalapeno bean dip
2 - sour cream and mayonnaise mixed with taco seasoning
3 - guacamole (avocados, salt and lime juice)
4 - scallions and tomato
5 - black olives and shredded cheddar cheese

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekend Inspiration

I've been a long time follower of the blog Zen Habits, and Leo recently posted one of the best articles I've ever read on eating well as a lifestyle. He also posts about minimalism, the concept that less is more, and getting away from technology (TV, cell phones, etc) to live in the real world of people, friends, and the great outdoors. His blog is like a breath of fresh air with it's simplicity, beautiful words in a simple black and white font, with no ads or extra noise. It's a ray of sunshine. Enjoy! 

click HERE for article

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

Tonight I'm baking batches of cookies for the guys in my husbands family. This Saturday is the annual target shooting and survival extravaganza, and I am a firm believer that our best performance occurs when are bellies are full of good food! They are a competitive bunch, and I'm steering clear of the place until the awards ceremony at the end. I'm sending Josh with containers of cookies, and decided to add a new one to the list of old favorites. 
If you claim to be Southern, I just assume that you grew up eating banana pudding, barbecue, and homemade biscuits. I'm not born and bred Southern, but boy have I fallen in love with the South. I like fancy Southern food, simple Southern food, fried chicken on Sundays, and grits with any meal. I'll eat them with butter and salt, or I'll eat them jazzed up with gouda cheese and chicken broth. YES. 
While this is a cookie version and lacks the creamy pudding and crunch of the wafers, it's perfect for tailgating, gatherings, or camping. If you're looking for the real deal, I'd suggest Paula Deen's recipe

Banana Cream Pudding Cookies
from the recipe critic

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 oz package banana cream instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and banana cream pudding mix. Set aside.
  3. In your mixer cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix together. Add the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Finally, add the white chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Virtual Book Club

I absolutely LOVED the last book I read called the Perfume Collector, and needed a break for a few days to really think about the story and the ending.

Next on the list...

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I've already told you guys that I've been craving Greek food since I've been pregnant. Salty kalamata olives, french fries doused with Cavender's greek seasoning and dipped in tzatziki, and of course my favorite gyro sandwich.

With that being said, WHY IN THE WORLD am I just now discovering Pastitsio - often described as greek comfort food or greek lasagna! If you know me and have been holding out on me, I may never forgive you! I'll be adding this to my recipes for company, since you make a giant pan and pop it in the oven to bake for an hour. That way, when your friends or family arrive, you are prepared and can relax while this delicious dish bakes in the oven. 

I've watched Ina make this recipe a few times on her show, and the last book that I read was a strong reminder that watching is not doing! I took that advice and spent the afternoon in the kitchen making Ina's recipe, and it was so worth a few hours. I've already packed up to go containers to share with my favorite friends who love Greek food as much as I do. 

from Ina Garten

Tomato meat sauce:

3 Tbsp good olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 large cloves)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup Greek-style plain yogurt, such as Fage Total

3/4 pound small shells (I used Cavatappi)

For the meat sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beef and lamb, and saute over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until it's no longer pink, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Drain off any excess liquid, add the wine, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the bechamel, heat the milk and cream together in a small saucepan over medium0low heat until simmering. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and thick. Add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the meat sauce, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggs and yogurt and set aside. 

Add the pasta to the meat sauce, and the mixture into a baking dish. Spread the bechamel evenly to cover the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes and serve hot. 

Simple Garden Salad - with the McLean family dressing

 Is it silly to miss a last name, because though I love my new last name, I was always so proud to be a McLean and at times (like typing the title of this blog post, in my current fluctuating state of hormones) I got a little teary eyed!

My mom is German, and this is her go-to dressing that comes in a little packet and is so easy because you just add water and oil, and shake it up in a little jar. It's fresh and simple, and reminds me of home. 

Simple Garden Salad
1 packet Knorr Salat Kroenung Garten Kraueter (buy in bulk on Amazon)
(garden herbs vinaigrette mix)
3 Tbsp oil (not olive oil)
3 Tbsp water

Mixed greens

+ any other toppings you would like