Monday, May 21, 2012

Apple-Cranberry Vinaigrette

Things have been insane around here.  Moving is stressful.  We have our closing this week and I am both dreading and looking forward to it.  Like any commitment, there are a lot questions racing through our heads about whether we are doing the right thing purchasing a home at this point in our lives.  The amount of savings that will be obliterated with all the closing costs alone causes a fair amount of stress.  Then there is the packing, the organizing, the planning, the throwing away of items that we once considered treasures for the sake of freeing up some space.

Mr. Matthew has no idea what is going on.  I wonder how long it will take for him to get used to the new house.  Knowing him, he probably will not even notice the difference just as long as his monkey and his books are there with him.

However, he IS enjoying reaping the benefits from our management company's decision to replace the carpets after we move out.  Since we no longer have to worry about keeping them clean, Matthew has been allowed the following:

1)  To eat breakfast while watching Curious George in the living room.

2)  To wear shoes in the house!

I hope he realizes that he will be doing neither of these activities once we move into our new place!

We took a short break from all the chaos of cleaning and packing to take a hike through the woods.  There is a beautiful 5-mile trail along a creek bed that is so peaceful and relaxing.  A little too relaxing for Matthew apparently.  We had to cut our little jaunt short because the little guy just could not stay awake.  We made it about a mile into the hike before we had to turn around again because he was sound asleep.

The unfortunate thing about that backpack carrier is that it is not conducive to napping, so Matthew's head just flops along uncomfortably.  Neither Paul nor I wanted him to wake up with a stiff neck, so we turned back. Back at home, Paul and I reconnected over a shared peanut butter sandwich.  We had a pretty intense discussion about the benefits of smooth versus chunky peanut butter (Paul vouches for smooth, while I prefer chunky).  It was a dumb subject to debate for 20 minutes, but it was really fun to share a few laughs and relax while discussing something completely irrelevant and unimportant (who knew we were so passionate about our peanut butter!).  Plus, it was nice to take the time to enjoy the place that was our first home as a married couple.  The place where we brought our son home from the hospital.  The place where we mourned the loss of our two angel babies.  The place that, despite its many structural flaws, holds a huge amount of sentimental value for us.  But the time has come for us to move on.

The recipe for today is a simple, sweet vinaigrette that is one of our favorites.  It takes just minutes to throw together and is wonderful on salads with any combination of greens, fruits, nuts, or cheese.  One of my favorite combinations is dried cranberries, toasted pecans, apples, and Parmesan cheese.  Paul prefers pears, candied walnuts, blue cheese, and dried cherries.  Feel free to use your favorite combination!


I love giving dressing away in Mason Jars as gifts.  This vinaigrette turns pink when blended - so it makes an especially pretty gift!

Cranberry-Apple Vinaigrette
from Allrecipes

1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 cup vegetable or canola oil

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the oil.  Process until smooth.  With the blender running on low, gradually add the oil in a steady stream.  Process until thickened and smooth.  Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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