All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Annual 1st Day of Spring Traditions

 A trip to Rita's.... 

Planting pansies....

And a thank you to my neighbor for all her help with shoveling this past winter.

Farewell winter, welcome spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome Spring!

Beauty in the Ordinary....

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My mom used to make "Dublin Potato Salad, a unique corned beef, cabbage and potato salad, every St. Patrick's Day.  I enjoy continuing the tradition.  Food traditions and memories associated with anything food are very meaningful to me, and I was looking forward to making this salad today.  This year created a dilemma, however.  Ever since watching the movie Food, Inc. late last year, I determined I would no longer eat beef that was not grass-fed, and certainly not produced from a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), not so much because of the animal cruelty issues, but more for food safety precautions and the nutrient value of the meat.  I had been deliberating over my position ever since reading Michael Pollan's  The Omnivore's Dilemmabut it took viewing Food Inc. to cement my intentions.   Of course, I'm willing to make exceptions from time to time, especially when eating out or dining with others, but more and more I'm convinced it's the prudent and conscientious way to go.  Plus, I firmly believe that voting with my food dollars does more to change this country than casting my vote in any political election (much to the dismay of friends and family who vote faithfully!!).

So, what to do about this family recipe and my yearly St. Patrick's Day tradition in light of my new conviction??  I decided for one day, I could make an exception and buy canned corned beef, closing my eyes and mind to pure wisdom so I could place more value on the healthy benefits of celebrating tradition, enjoying simple pleasures, etc. ... ONLY to arrive at the grocery store and find the shelf completely bare of any canned corned beef!  I assumed that all other St. Patrick's Day observers had planned ahead and purchased their corned beef before me, so I asked the stock boy if he could find a can for me in the back.  He informed me that there has been a recall on corned beef for the last few months and that the shelf has remained bare.  What?!  The more I thought about it, the more grateful I was that it wasn't even an option.  But, now what?  I didn't want to trash my plans for celebrating the holiday, but how can you make a corned beef, cabbage and potato salad without the corned beef??  What in the world could I substitute for corned beef?  Then it dawned on me - why not go back to my local, in-season food mantra and use something I had on hand or in the freezer.  Chicken!  OK, I can do that, I had some moist, tender roasted chicken breasts in the freezer, but what about the taste, the combination of flavors??

Surprisingly enough, it was tasty.  I still would have preferred the color and the flavor of the corned beef (hence, no picture), but knowing that the pasture -raised chicken is not only good for me, but doesn't pose any food safety issues quickly dismissed any of my disgruntled feelings. 

How many other times do we miss out on the good things that are right under our nose because we think we need a certain thing, a certain ingredient, a certain way of doing something??
Food for thought!

OK, here's the recipe, courtesy of my mother:

Dublin Potato Salad

2 T. vinegar
1 t. celery seed
1 t. mustard seed
3 medium-large potatoes
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 c. finely shredded cabbage
1 12-oz. can corned beef, chilled and cubed
1/4 c. finely chopped dill pickle
1/4 c. sliced green onion
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t. salt

Combine vinegar, celery seed and mustard seed; set aside.  Meanwhile, pare and cook potatoes in enough boiling, salted water to cover for 30-40 minutes until done.  Drain and cube.  While potato cubes are still warm, drizzle with vinegar mixture.  Sprinkle with the first 1/2 t. salt; chill thoroughly.  Before serving, add cabbage, corned beef, pickle and onion.  Combine mayonnaise, milk and the second 1/2 t. salt.  Pour over corned beef mixture; toss lightly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Healthyful Pursuits

Broccoli sprouts atop potato slices,

Chicken Barley Soup,

Cinnamon sprinkled on homemade applesauce,

Green tea and those supplements....

Glimpses of Spring

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hip Knit Hats

I want to learn how to knit these cool hats!  I'm tired of feeling like an old maid knitting dishcloths (even though I LOVE knitting them - shhhh - don't tell anyone....), and am ready to move on to something adventurous, not just a "lapghan" (a really, really big dishcloth!).  I stumbled across this cool  hat book today at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and kept arguing with myself re: purchasing it:

"Seriously, do you really think you're going to tackle these?"
"But I could knit them for Christmas presents!"
"Yeah right, they probably won't even fit.
And just when would you find time to do that?
Besides, good yarn is expensive!"
"But, it's on sale - it's 40% off...."

In the end, I decided the book was worth the money for the inspiration alone, whether or not I ever attempt them.

P.S. - I'm still enjoying the book....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Worth Contemplating

"Don't let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become."
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding