LB, as well as some others in my life who shall remain nameless, have often told me I'm a "worry wort." LB tells me constantly that he worries that if we have children, that my worrying will turn them into crazy kids. Then he realizes that my worrying has already (obviously) rubbed off on him because he is worrying about such things. It's true. I do worry a lot. I worry about our dogs. Our bird. Our friends. I worry about our health. About getting older. About being a good teacher. About being a good scientist. About not getting my post in on time for HotM even when I am the host (some worries are grounded).
In fact, LB and I were just talking over breakfast this morning about one of my worries. One day shortly after we had gotten our dog Samson as a puppy, I had my back turned to him as I was cleaning and he started drinking out the mop bucket (I only use biodegradable, earth-friendly cleaners in my house, but still). When I saw what he was doing, I snatched him up, carried him outside to LB in a flurry and started worrying that he was going to get horribly sick. At this point, Samson started squirming around in my arms and biting them with his sharp little puppy teeth (he was a little nippy when he was little!), and so I dropped him. Oh lord, I started crying. First, I worried I had damaged him by dropping him (I dropped my baby!), then I worried that he didn't like me!! I was a little emotional at that time, which probably didn't help. It was after this conversation this morning that LB once again brought up his own worry about my worrying. Our kids really will be crazy if we have them.
I am in an endless struggle to eat healthier. My worry of the heart disease that runs rampant in my family helps fuel this. Some time ago, in an effort to get more greens into our diets - because I was worrying about our health, I instituted "Salad Days" at our house. This was back when I was enamored with the Food Network Show by Ellie Krieger because all of her food was healthy, and many of her dishes were salads. Even though it began as a household fad and has at times disappeared from our cooking repertoire we are still very likely to have a big salad as one of our meals during the week. The latest installment of this was the Grilled Sweet Potato Salad you see above. I used local ingredients, but you can improvise with what you have available. Better still? It's super healthy - far more so than any regular mayonnaise-based potato salad anyhow (though I do love my mom's potato salad I have to say. Even better is that the theme for this month's Heart of the Matter is "Heart Healthy Salads." The always lovely and inventive cook Ilva is our host this month - go check out the round-up for lots of delicious salads to get you through these days when vegetables are a plenty!
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
2 small Okinawan sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise
a handful of sunflower sprouts
2-3 handfuls mixed baby lettuce
a big handful of green beans
a very small red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium-sized slices whole wheat baguette
toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 inch knob of ginger root
2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
Ready your outdoor grill or grill pan on medium. Lightly brush the sweet potatoes and bread with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper (you can even do the beans on the grill too if you'd like - I blanched these) and grill them until they get nice grill marks (by this time your potatoes will be cooked through, or at least ours were). As these are cooking, you can blanch the beans and mix together the sprouts, lettuces and onions.
To make the dressing, put everything together in a small jar with a lid, close it and shake until it becomes emulsified (you could also add everything except for the oil, mix and then whisk in the oil slowly, but this is just easier and faster. When your potatoes and bread are finished, cut the bread into small squares for croûtons, add them to the lettuce mixture and toss everything with the dressing. Then you have a healthy, filling salad with lots of fresh ingredients and a bit of an Asian flare!