Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Best Salad Dressing You Will Ever Taste

I love salads. I found a lemon vinaigrette online about a year ago and I have been tweaking it ever since. I can now say, that after months and months of variations, this vinagrette is absolutely perfect and delicious. So tasty in fact, that I just can't keep it to myself. We eat this several times a week in our house (no joke).
Am I skinny yet? Well, no. But hopefully after a couple more months of downing this salad and its variations I will look at hot as Olivia Ward from the Biggest Loser.

Sydney's Spectacular Summer Strawberry Spinach Salad
(I love alliteration... obviously)
Serves 8

1 very large bag baby spinach or mixed spring greens (NO ROMAINE! It has basically no nutritional value except for its fun crispy texture)
1-2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup candied pecans or other desired nut. (Recipe below)
Enough feta cheese to sprinkle on top. (or heap on top depending on your relationship with salty cheeses)

Candied Pecans

Preheat oven to 325. In an electric mixer, beat one egg white until fluffy and stiff. Add 1/4 c-1/2 c brown sugar depending on how sugary you want the nuts to be. Gently fold brown sugar and 3/4 of a costco sized pecan bag into the mixing bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon. (That's a little less than a pound of pecans. Add more pecans if you like them less sugary) Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet covered with a silpat or greased with cooking spray. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let them cool COMPLETELY before you put them on your salad or it will wilt your spinach.

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T sugar or splenda
Zest from 1 large lemon
1/3 c fresh squeezed lemon juice (About 1 1/2-2 large lemons)
Dash of pepper
Dash of salt
*NOTE* This makes a ton of dressing. I never put all of it on the salad or its too wet. Just stick in it the fridge and save it for later in the week.

Okay, here is the fun part. There are about a THOUSAND variations of this salad. Here are some ideas that I have come up with that are (if I say so myself) divine.

Any citrus fruit works great with this vinaigrette. For instance:

Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

Instead of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, substitute orange zest and orange juice.
Then top your salad with fresh raspberries or apples and blue cheese.


Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

Substitute limes instead of lemons or oranges.
Then top with pomegranates or blackberries.

Other ideas: Pears, goat cheese, blueberries, grapes, etc. seriously any fruit is amazing on this salad.
That's it. Happy salad eating!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I worked out yesterday for the first time post-baby.

It was the longest 2.5 miles of my life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Today was Evelyn's first Sunday at church. Thank you Aunt Chels for the adorable outfit and thank you Camee for the darling shoes! I made Ev and myself matching headbands, but then chickened out on wearing them at the same time. I don't want to be one of those creepy moms, but I think admitting that just confirmed my creepiness. Mommy and me outfits is definitely a little weird I guess.
Anyway, here is our family! Ev is 5 weeks old! She was a peach all through church and I'm certain she inherited my rich pool of spirituality.
I know this blog has become the Evie Show, but seriously, look at that face!
Okay, on with the show...

Post-church snuggle sesh.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cousins Gotta Hug

In the prophetic words of Tommy Callahan,
"Cousins don't shake hands, cousins gotta hug."

Here are some quotes from the kiddos this week:
Keith: "Evie, you are going to like this movie." (101 Dalmatians)
Cole: "You are so pretty baby."
Ally: "Baby! Baby! Baby!"
Keith: "Shhhh, shhhh baby. I can't hear the movie."
Cole: "Evie, I'm going to turn you into a werewolf!"
Ally: "Nu-nee!" (Nukie) Trying to shove a pacifier into Evie's mouth.
Keith: "I want Evie to sit with me."
Cole: "I'm going to give Evie a kiss."
Keith: "Evie, do you want this? Here Evie, its a hamburger." (Trying to offer Evie a plastic hamburger patty)
Cole: "Wake up baby." (Trying to open Evie's eyes with his fingers)
Ally: "Nose!" (Poking Evie's nose)
Keith: "Evie is the little baby. Ally is the big baby."
Cole: "She has little feet. Ally's feet are bigger."
Keith: "I want to see her belly." (Poking Evie's tummy)

Here is Woody, playing his harmonica and driving a tractor.

Coley Bear. Yes, he has his hands down his pants.
According to him, his bum is "really, very scratchy."

The face! It still gets me every time.

Cole, turning me into a werewolf as I take a picture of him.
(He is wearing his "wolf ears" from his recent vacation to Wolf Lodge in Seattle)

The kids love to play in "Grandma's House" outside in the backyard.

I sometimes build castles for the kids out of blocks when they are down for their naps. Here is one particular castle that lived about 1.2 seconds once the kids got up. We had to hold them off to even get a picture.

It was so much fun to have Uncle Brent, Aunt Darcee, and cousins Cole, Keith, and Ally come meet Evie. We all had a blast, especially Keith, who smiled tons and impressed us with his tractor riding and walking all over Grandma's house. Please come back Burnetts! We miss you too much!

In other more devastating news, my baby turns ONE MONTH old tomorrow. I am truly beside myself. She's practically driving, graduating college and leaving me. I don't know if I can handle the "growing up" factor.
She officially outgrew her first pair of newborn pajamas, but I'm still trying to force her into them hoping maybe she'll stay little - like a less horrific version of the Chinese binding women's feet. Any ideas on how to make my baby stay little and cuddly forever?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guess Who?

Guess who came to visit baby Evelyn this week?

Mother's Day weekend was wonderful, especially with the arrival of the Portland Zoo. I can't wait to elaborate and share pictures of all the Smart cousins. Cole, Keith, & Ally LOVE their cousin Evie.
Here is a sneak peek at all the love Evie was given by her cousins this week:

Evie and Keith

In addition, I feel so blessed to be this little girl's mom.
Seriously, SO BLESSED! And I don't mean that facetiously.
I love being a mom!

And in honor of Mother's Day, here is the world's greatest mom with her newest granddaughter.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two Years

On May 1st, Nick and I "celebrated" our two year anniversary. And by celebrate, I mean we told each other 'Happy Anniversary.' I wouldn't have it any other way though - a baby may make "celebrating" events and anniversaries a little more challenging for the moment, but the best anniversary gift I ever received is definitely Evie, and I know Nick would say the same thing. Having her has made us appreciate each other in a whole new way and I'm grateful for that.

Here we are on one of our first few dates, about three and a half years ago. This is the first picture we ever took together.

Here we are, two years ago-ish making it official.

I have to say, if year three is as good to us as years one and two, then we're in business. Life is great when you've got a studly hubby.