Archive for April, 2008

**sneak peek**

Yesterday was my first real photo shoot, for Tranquil Living New York (a yoga/spa lifestyle magazine). The magazine is being launched by my neighbor and friend, Kellye, and the shoot was for the first issue. I was so nervous; I kept panicking that maybe my camera settings were changing, the lighting was bad, the pictures weren’t saving to the memory card… and then there was all that anxiety about the uploading/editing (would I lose the originals, would the card be corrupted and not upload the pictures, leaving them to vanish into thin memorycard air?)

The editing process is underway now, but I wanted to give you a quick sneak peak of the results! So, I give you: salad.


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What happens when you have a jar of applesauce and three hours to kill?

Why, applesauce cookies of course. Initially these babies were going to be sugar-free, but I caved when I smelled the ingredients and knew they needed some good ol’ brown sugar (who doesn’t need a little brown sugar every now and then? Diana knows what I’m talkin’ about.)

Can you handle it?

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You might not know this story, if you haven’t known Jon and I since we’ve been, well, Jon and I. Many many years ago (well, about six), when we first started dating, we would only frequent the restaurants near campus. Neither of us had a car, and to be honest, there wasn’t too much gourmet food within walking distance of N.C. State… Not that it would have mattered, probably, since we were broke, and I hadn’t yet forced fancy foods onto him. Yet….

One of our favorite places to go to was Ruby Tuesdays, and I would always get the salad bar, him the burger. He wasn’t big on salad, but I always got a heaping scoop of pasta salad on my plate for him to sneak bites of (at Ruby Tuesdays, there is NO SHARING OF THE SALAD BAR!!!). Jon proclaimed it The Best Pasta Salad EVER, and it was pretty good. It was enough to keep us coming back for more… until one day…

The worst had happened. They changed the pasta salad.

Jon was devastated. It was the only pasta salad he ever liked. Well, that, and once when we went white water rafting, when they fed us on the shores of a West Virginian river…

Anyhow, it has pretty much been my life’s work since then to create a pasta salad that we can both enjoy. But what do you do when one person likes mayo but hates loves olives, goat/feta cheese, and balsamic, and the other person feels the opposite?

Finally, I have solved The Pasta Salad Controversy.

Better than the Old Ruby Tuesdays’ Pasta Salad
(c) 2008 danadishes

1 box rotelli pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water until cool
1/3 yellow pepper, diced
1/3 bell pepper, diced
1/3 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
Newman’s Own Oil/Vinegar Salad Dressing, about 2/3 cup

Pitted calmatta olives (My FAVORITE), as many as you can tolerate!!! (leaving extras to much on as you make the salad…)
As much goat cheese as you can HANDLE!
A sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

This is one of those great recipes where it’s fun to get your *clean* hands into the mix. Start by pressing the garlic into the bottom of the bowl with a spoon. That’s right, really smoosh it around. Then add 1/2 of the salad dressing, 1/2 of the diced peppers and onions, and start mixing it around with your hand while you add the drained, cooled pasta. Gradually add in the rest of the peppers and onions, and the rest of the dressing. More if it seems dry (but remember to watch for pooling in the bottom of the bowl). Salt and pepper the mix.
**This is the part where you separate half of the pasta salad for Jon. The boring half!!! 🙂
Now add the olives and feta and Parmesan and all the good stuff, and serve yourSELF! Yaaay!

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I never liked that Jump Rope Chant. Something about the false rhyme always grated on my nerves. I preferred to jump to “Cinderella dressed in yella/went upstairs to kiss her fella,” &c. Also, the one about school where at the end you just keep counting how many times you jump, and that’s what “grade” you are in.

Anyone up for double-dutch? When the weather gets warmer, I think I will have everyone over for a double-dutch tournament!!! This has nothing to do with strawberries.

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