Friday, February 13, 2009

I Feel LIke A Spring Chicken (Salad!)

Check out these little cuties!  I love violas!  They bloom all summer long in the garden, and apparently all winter too!!! We had a bit of a thaw the last couple of days and finally got rid of the mounds and mounds of snow, thank goodness. Well I popped around to check on my garden and what do you suppose…these perky little troopers (word of the week) were just flowering along right under the depths of the snow!  How I discovered them was kind of magical.  I ventured out in my tiny little yard at night after a rainy-drizzly day, I think it had warmed up to around the 50’s that day according to the weather report, it felt SO good outside.  That first breath of spring air, ahhh.  So there I was peeking around at my flowerbeds as much as I could by the yard light, when this cheery little gal caught my attention!  I was marveling at the full perfect bloom, imaging it just going along, blooming away like nothing had changed underneath all the snow, with new buds ready to pop too, when I noticed something moving.  Then I really paid attention.  There was all this energy, I’m not kidding you guys, there’s something about spring right?  We’ve all felt it.  I’m probably never going to live this down… but it’s worth saying so I’ll risk it.  I took a closer look at the rustling leaf and it’s been nudged out of the way by the fattest earthworm, who appears to be in a big hurry!  Once my eyes kind of zoned in I see another, and another, and another, there are worms all over the yard!  But the best way to describe it is that they’re in supersonic mode!  I have never seen so many fat worms moving so fast, it was like they had a big party to get to! “Lot’s to do.  Busy, busy, busy, got to get ready for the big Worm Cotillion.  We don’t know how long this thaws going to last, best get crackin.”  You may be thinking, well it was wet, they were coming up for air like worms do when it rains.  Maybe, but there was not one worm on the cement, isn’t that peculiar?  So you can see I give a lot of thought to this kind of thing. It’s curious.  It makes me a part of the mystery of spring and I like that.  Back to the violas, I would really encourage you to get some violas. Wow!  In the summer, they’re the first thing I see when I head out the back door to the yard.  And it’s like there are all these many tiny faces straining to peek over the lawn edging in greeting, “ Hi” “Hi”  “Hello Melis”  Like my own personal cheering section! But now that I see how resilient they truly are, well it’s something I wont forget.  
Last fall I planted some daffodils and I could see that one of the new bulbs is reaching for the sunshine already!   I can hardly wait to see what variety it will be!
And here’s my little army of sunshine left for me by the previous owners.  They were kind enough to plant a sturdy row flanking the east side of my house.  They are already quite well along!
To finish today’s spring theme I thought I’d share my lunch with you!  A spring chicken salad, it’s a very simple salad.  It looked pretty when I was fixing it for lunch and I thought my foodie friends might like it, so I snapped a photo.  The quantity is for one, you could bulk it up quite easily if you have a bigger appetite or are serving more folks.
 Spring Chicken Salad  
  • Baked chicken breast, cooled and sliced thinly on the diagonal. Arrange on salad plate.
  • Peel, core and chunk half a honeycrisp apple and toss over sliced chicken.
  • Cut sugar snap peas into thirds until you have about 1 cup, add this to your salad plate. 
  • Dress salad (about 2TBS more or less to taste) and toss gently, make it look pretty and dig in!
Dressing

  • 1/3 cup honey, warmed for about 30 second in microwave
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • Salt, pepper, seasonings to taste.

Place all ingredients in small canning jar or other jar with a good tight lid and shake well to blend.  Store in refrigerator.


Baked Chicken Breast

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Pat dry 4 boneless skinless chicken breast and place breast side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I also used Penzeys, Sunny Paris Seasoning and a tiny bit of Cayenne, but if you don’t have those no worries, use your own favorite seasonings.
  • Flip the chicken over and season the other side.
  • Sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs, just a scant dusting for texture and a little bit of flavor, it also helps seal in the moisture.
  • Place a little slim pat of butter on each chicken breast. 
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until done on the inside.

If you haven't already, check out Penzys Spices, they have the best spices and their prices are pretty amazing.


Ok all you spring chickens, in parting this week, lets take our queue from the viola, no matter how humongous the “snowdrift” bloom on my friends!

 Blessings Friends!

Melissa

2 comments:

  1. That little bit of spring was just a tease! I'll be glad when it's for real. Have a great week!

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  2. They are delighdful little, always blooming, sweethearts, but beware! They also grow and spread like wild fire and can take over any environment. I planted a few and have tons now where nothing else can grow. I always loved them as a kid but Dad hated the way they spread all over the nice green lawn. ha ha ha

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I'm a crafter, knitter, tinkerer, who always seems to have a project or two on the launch pad. I love to share what I'm working on and I love to see what other folks are working on too, so please comment and let me know where I can see your latest creation!