If you're wondering whether this furry darling is our new farm dog, I hate to disappoint, but lovely Valentine (she showed up on a certain holiday, I'll let you guess) was only a brief guest at the farm. She showed up, cowed around for 3 hours, barked at McFarmer halfheartedly and then commenced to lick us constantly and beg for love.
Also, she kept sleeping on the carrots.
Unfortunately, she didn't stick around long enough for me to find her a home. Sometimes that happens with the down-and-out pups that wind up on the farm, and you'd be correct in assuming it breaks my heart all the more. We're no strangers to these unexpected visitors who speak no English and wag their tails. In fact, we've seen over a dozen since starting the farm in 2013. Luckily--and with no little effort--we've found the majority of them good homes. Quick PSA: dogs dumped on lonely country roads don't actually vanish into thin air. Help me spread the word.
To make me feel better about the unknown future of yet another sweet dog who I came to adore in the space of a sunrise and sunset, I might have eaten a lot of Girl Scout cookies and perhaps a copious amount of cheesy Valentine's Day candy. Not a proud moment, but an earned one.
And then, I needed salad.
Luckily, our lettuce crops are BOOMING, and there's no shortage of salad fixin's, so I was rescued from convenience food and emotional eating by the nutrient-rich, energizing and colorful offerings from our fields.
I'm sure you've had those moments. You haven't had a good infusion of green for a spell, and your body lets you know it's time. Your teeth long for the crunch of a carrot, your colon quivers for fiber. Maybe you've been traveling, or you've been on a rare bachelor weekend eating nothing but twizzlers and pot pies (I'm onto you, beloved partner of mine. I know what happens when I visit my mother.)
For me, they often come on the tail-end of a long road trip, once you've become snowblind to the miles of Cracker Barrels and plastic-wrapped ho-hums in freeway gas stations. They're also invoked by post-holiday revelry, after seasons where maybe you ate a little more cheese log than is good for you, drank a little more nog than your body needed, and tucked away more than a plateful or two of sugary cookies.
Perhaps you have no idea of what I speak, but if you do---then you know similarly of the desperate, liver-squeezing need for salad.
In truth, salads are what my McFarmer and I eat the most around here. Amid the scramble and wind-down at the end of the day, it's easy enough to snag a few heads from the beds before we head for the kitchen, toss in whatever other fresh vegetables and proteins are within reach and call it a day.
The McFarmers' favorite salad dressing:
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon of whole grain mustard or djion type mustard
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
*If the McFarmer feels saucy, he glugs in a bit of honey as well. Divine.
Shake it all up, and store in the fridge. Lather with all your choicest greens.
And if you want a professional salad-eater to give you her intimate play-by-play for crafting that perfect giant bowl of tasty foliage, here we go...
1. Use plenty of greens. Mix it up with textures. (Lettuces of all types & colors, baby kales, chards, mustards, broccoli leaves, etc.)
2. Add at least 2 other vegetable families. (Shredded carrot or beets, avocado slices, chopped broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage, red onion slivers,etc.)
3. Add acidity. Toss in pickled/vinegary items. (Store-bought pepperoncinis, any homemade pickles taking up room in the back of fridge, capers, etc.)
4. Add protein. In our house, we use a lot of feta, hard-boiled eggs and black beans. (This is also a great supporting role for last night's leftovers. Cold chicken, bacon, turkey, steak, etc.)
5. Croutons. I'm just never satisfied with my giant mound of salad unless it's topped with oven-toasted, golden nuggets of love. Or you can just call them croutons. Here's a great guide from 'The Kitchn' for making them at home--they'll taste worlds better and it really is a snap, so there's no excuse for not giving homemade croutons a try.
Here's to balancing your cookie woes with bowls of farm-fresh harvest.
And whether you use the love nuggets or not, we wish you a very happy salad!