There is no way to accurately express how fortunate I feel today. I try to never take my friends and family for granted, but in the hustle and grind of daily life it can be hard to remember that you're not alone. This past weekend, my 30th birthday weekend, I was surrounded by love and laughter and joy. There is no better way to enter a new decade than to be without fear or regret because you're laughing too hard and are too full of happiness for any of that business.
In addition to having lots of fun celebrating my birthday, I was able to spend some quality time with my sister, Rebecca. We laughed until we cried. She helped me clean my refrigerator. It was magical.
Before the whirlwind weekend began, I had some quiet time with my new favorite salad. I washed ruby red grape tomatoes and marveled at the tiny beads of water on their perfect skin. I toasted cornbread to make croutons that had just enough bite to carry the vinaigrette without turning to mush. There were cucumbers, red onion, kalamata olives and feta cheese involved. Everything was drizzled with a nice lemon-basil vinaigrette. I enjoyed every sweet-salty bite.
If you've been looking for a salad to serve for the 4th of July, this would be fabulous. If you need to transport it, keep the cooled cornbread croutons in a separate container/baggie until time to serve. Add the bread and vinaigrette at the same time and toss the whole lot together.
After my indulgent weekend, I'll be looking to this salad to fill me up but keep me feeling healthy this week.
And with that, I officially begin my first week as a 30 year old. Here goes nothin'!
Makes 6-8 servings
- 4 loosely packed cups baby arugula or baby spinach
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 baby cucumbers or 1 medium cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 1/2 of a small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
- 2 cups cornbread or french bread, cubed
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
- Spread the bread cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until slightly dried. Let the bread cool completely.
- Meanwhile, combine all the salad ingredients except the bread in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
- Add the ingredients (except the garlic clove) for the dressing in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the crushed garlic clove and let the dressing sit for at least half an hour. (Alternatively, you can mince the garlic and whisk it in but this makes for a stronger garlic flavor.)
- Taste for seasoning.
- Add the bread to the salad and toss to combine.
- Drizzle with 1/3 cup of the dressing, adding more if you feel like you need it.
- Toss the salad to coat it with the dressing. Serve immediately.