I love my in-laws.
How rarely those words must be uttered, I know ...which makes me even more grateful. This last week they have been visiting, and I kid you not, it is the most relaxed I have been in months. Granted, I have taken a back seat in the kitchen ... and I mean I am sitting so far in the back of the bus I can't see the driver type of back seat. What is for breakfast, lunch and dinner tomorrow? I have no idea ~ but I know there is a plan and it will be delicious. I am on vacation in my own home. Unbelievable.
My one worry - how can I ever repay the kindness? A gift? Maybe. Flowers? This seams silly, as I would be the long term beneficiary as they don't travel well... The one thing I know I can do is pay their generosity forward. I hope to have the same opportunity to care for others. They have shown me how to do it with style, grace, ease and enjoyment. And, it gets better. I get to learn the "secrets" of the family's favorite eats, such as for Nancy's Sweet Salad Dressing.
One cost cutting measure we have employed is making our own salad dressing. Rarely (okay never) do I have time to make a salad specific dressing, so I am starting to make dressings ahead of time in saved salad dressing bottles. Not only is it economical, but it also feels good to pour my own dressing out of a nice glass bottle. This salad dressing is wonderfully sweet due to the addition of some maple syrup (the REAL stuff) and simple. We had it recently on an arugala, pecan and pear salad ... mmm, delicious.
Nancy's Sweet Salad Dressing
This dressing is best with the highest quality olive oil you can afford ... uh, which for us is the cheapest! All these ingredients can be varied to taste and what you have on hand, but here are the basics.
1 1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried or fresh herbs such as dill and/or thyme
1-2 Tbl maple syrup
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a salad dressing container with lid and shake vigorously. Taste dressing and adjust seasonings accordingly. We have kept this dressing at room temperature for two weeks and continued to use and enjoy it. Hope you will too...