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Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Salad

Summer is finally here and in full swing! Move over soups and stews and bring on the fresh amazing produce and light bites! 

So as some of you may know from following my Instagram, we recently moved. These last few weeks have been very hectic and I realized that it has been a month exactly since my last post! If you've moved, you can understand how little downtime you get. So we went from a townhouse in Buckhead to a 'house house' in the 'burbs....yep, never did I think at 26 I would already be living in suburbia with no kids; but it happened.

Let me give you a small back story and then we will get to this fabulous recipe....
We were going to buy our townhome. We really loved the location and saw that it had great bones. We lived there for right at two years and from the moment we moved in we just knew it was ours. I made all of the updates and fixes I would to my own home, even though we were just renting. It's where we evolved from our late-night party scene at the college bars to our upscale dinners and cocktails out at the newest and trendiest places. The best part? We were about 2 miles from all of it! Yes, it was heaven.

Strangely enough, our small community of townhomes had been quite out of our age range. Most of the tenants and owners were in their 60's-80's with a few odd ages in between. We didn't mind. It somewhat gave us a sense of relief after going from such a young apartment complex. At the old place, we always found beer cans in the bushes early in the morning, loud terrible 'trap' music playing on nights we had to wake up early for work and of course the oh-so-annoying dog owner who always "forgot to bring a bag". I can't tell you how many shoes ended up ruined. Yes, the townhome was a great upgrade. 

What's funny about life is no matter how much you plan and budget and make arrangements for your future, you're never really in control. We learned that quickly with our home. We were ready to buy. Then, new neighbors stepped in...

I swear..there wasn't one drawer that opened our toilet that flushed that I didn't hear. Every conversation through the wall was crisp like I was listening to a soap opera. Try having friends over at the same time? Forget about it. It was like a competition to see who could be louder. Call me old school, but I really value a little thing called privacy. 

So we decided to start looking. I tell you, I would wake up at 4:00 am and see a property that had JUST surfaced on Zillow and by the time I contacted the property management team, there were already 5-6 people who applied. Without even seeing it!!!! After we had made our decision we received a two-week timeline to move. I was so stressed we were going to end up on the streets or worse...back home with my parents.

I logged on one morning to Zillow as I had done for 5 days in a row, and found a spot that wouldn't be available for another two weeks. The pictures showed no appliances and dead grass. Honestly, I didn't care. It had the perfect amount of bedrooms and bathrooms and was about 40 years newer than our old spot. Jet tub? BONUS! Screened porch? Talk dirty to me...

I oversold the place to Garrett (my boyfriend) so that we could go ahead and apply. We were the only applicants at that time. Which I wasn't sure whether to feel excited or scared by. I really hoped we didn't make a huge mistake. We were called the following afternoon to view the property. Yellow exterior with green shutters...eek. Not very 'chic' but I can work with it. White brick fireplace....okay growing on me...amazing lighting and screened windows throughout - I'm starting to love it. Deal sealed? Backyard. The photo online was taken in the winter and didn't even capture the whole thing. It is absolutely huge. We signed that afternoon. Now I can't wait to start planting my jasmine and hydrangeas and cooking herbs....we really lucked out. 

The house has come together over the last month but still needs some work. I can't wait to share our BBQ's and improvements as we work on it. Summer is always such a nice time to move because it brings new life for things to come in the next year. 

Here is my favorite summery salad to share with you and your friends:

For this salad you will need:
Champagne Dressing from Girard's
Red Onion
Spring Mix
Blue Cheese

Begin by cutting your asparagus into thirds and placing them into a skillet of water, medium heat.

Once bright green remove them from the water, and place them in an ice bath.

Now let's start on our walnuts. Put about 1 cup of sugar into a pot and set your temperature to low-medium heat (about 5).

Keep a close eye. Sugar can burn very quickly. You will see the sugar start to turn amber in color. Be sure to mix it with a spatula or spoon to keep the temperature even throughout.

When the sugar is ready, it should look like this. Immediately remove from heat and pour in your walnuts.

I like to use raw walnuts for this salad.

After you toss the walnuts in the melted sugar, toss and mix it thoroughly. The texture will be similar to a rice krispy treat. Once you feel the walnuts are well coated and set, remove them from the pan and spoon them out onto wax paper or foil.

Wait for the walnuts to cool and harden. (about 1-2 minutes) Then you can break them apart with your fingers or put them in a Ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin until they are small morsels.

After the walnuts are done, give a fine dice to your onion. Use about 1/4 of your onion for the salad.

By this time, your aspargus should be chilled and ready to go in.

Combine everything together, toss and serve. Let me know how everyone like it!


1 package spring mix
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sugar
1/4 red onion, diced
1/3 cup craisins
6-7 asparagus
1/4-1/3 cup blue cheese
Champagne dressing to taste (I prefer a light coating for this salad)


Cut asparagus into thirds, removing stems. Fill a pan of water and place asparagus in the pan. Cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally until asparagus is bright green and tender (about 4-5 minutes). Then transfer asparagus into an ice bath. Set aside.

Place sugar into a pot over medium-low heat. Keep a close eye over the sugar as it heats. Continue stirring the sugar until it becomes amber and melted. Remove from heat and add your walnuts. Toss the walnuts in the melted sugar until well-coated. Spoon your candied walnuts onto wax paper or foil and wait until cooled. While cooling, begin cutting your onion until finely diced. By this time, your asparagus should be chilled. Remove from ice and place asparagus pieces onto a drying surface such as a kitchen towel or paper towel and allow to dry. Pour your walnuts into a Ziploc back and crush with the side of a large knife or a rolling pin until they come smaller morsels. Now you may assemble your salad. 

Take a large bowl, and pour the spring mix. Follow by adding asparagus, candied walnuts, onion, blue cheese, craisins and dressing. Toss and serve.

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