Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Tip Tuesday" And A “Perfect Spinach Salad” Recipe For "National Salad Month"

As we begin the month of May, the weather is getting warmer. This means that you will be outside more and enjoying your days in the sun. As you participate in activities outside, you will want to prepare quick and nutritious meals for your family. Well not to worry, because May is “National Salad Month.” Who knew that a whole month was allocated to celebrate and enjoy the salad? What can be more simple and easy so you are not stuck in the kitchen cooking all day by a stove or oven, so let’s make a tasty salad!

Salads can be served as a main course, an appetizer to stimulate your appetite, a side dish that will accompany your main course, for your entrée which would include your protein, (beef, pork, chicken, or fish) and also for desserts that you can add gelatin and whipped cream for a delicious sweet treat. The salad can be made from many different ingredients, not just lettuce such as, vegetables, legumes, eggs, cheese, and pasta. They may be served either cold or hot, often raw vegetables are added and many sweet fruits.

The word “salad” comes from the French “salade” which has the same meaning. The first appearance of the word “salad” was in the 14th century. Salt is also associated with salad because the vegetables were seasoned with a brine or a type of vinegar dressing. A simple “green salad” or “garden salad” is the most common to be consumed. It is composed of leafy vegetables such as lettuce varieties, spinach, and arugula cut into bite sized pieces. Due to their low caloric intake, salads are a common diet food.  Other vegetables can be added to your “tossed salad” which includes; cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots, nuts, and so many others too numerous to mention. That is what is so wonderful about a salad, you can make it your own by adding whatever you would like to your salad. There is no right or wrong, no special recipe, and you can use what is in season. 

Sauces for salads are often called “dressings.” In our Western culture, there are three basic types of salad dressing; the first is called the Vinaigrette, which is an emulsion of salad oil mixed with vinegar, spices and herbs, plus salt & pepper. The second one is Creamy Dressings; usually a mayonnaise based, but may contain yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk. The last is the Cooked Dressings, which resemble creamy, but are usually thickened by adding egg yolks with a gentle heating. In North America, mayonnaise based Ranch dressing is most popular, with vinaigrettes and Caesar-style follows close behind. Some other popular dressings are Italian, Blue Cheese, Russian, French, and Honey Dijon Mustard.

In my Italian family, there was never a dinner without a huge bowl of salad. My family would always say, that there was, “always room for salad.” Served along side our entrée or at the end of our meal, was mostly a green tossed salad with all the trimmings. An Italian vinaigrette dressing which consisted of the finest olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, and spices which were drizzled on top of the salad. It was so tangy and sweet at the same time. Preparing any kind of salad is easy especially now you can purchase pre-washed salad greens at the supermarket or by supporting your local farmer’s market. So, no matter what type of salad you make for lunch, brunch or dinner, remember enjoy, and make family memories together.

My recipe this week is from a cookbook I received for Christmas from my sister-in law, Lori. “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” This salad is called “Perfect Spinach Salad.” I have the pleasure to participate in my food blogger friend Louise‘s, “Months Of Edible Celebrations.” She is posting to her blog recipes that are taken from cookbooks, magazines, booklets, etc. on Wednesday as “Cookbook Wednesdays.” So stop over at her blog and tell her that I sent you...This dish is so yummy that you will want to make this everyday. So flavorful and easy to prepare. So enjoy a salad in the month of May and be creative with your ingredients.

Perfect Spinach Salad

Total Time: 1 hr
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 6 servings

3 whole uncooked eggs
7 slices thick-cut peppered bacon
1 small whole red onion
1 package white button mushrooms
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 dash salt
8 oz baby spinach, washed, & dried 

Variations: 1. Add 1 cup of grated Swiss Cheese to the salad.
                    2. Add 1 cup of Chicken or Turkey to the salad.

Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Then turn off the heat and allow to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain off the water and add ice on top of the eggs. Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy/chewy. Remove to a paper towel. Drain the fat into a bowl and reserve. Give the skillet a wipe with kitchen paper. Slice the red onion very thinly, and then add to the skillet. Cook slowly until the onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the same skillet with a little of the reserved bacon fat if needed. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. Chop the bacon. Peel and slice the eggs. Make the hot bacon dressing: Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, vinegar, sugar, Dijon and salt to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk together and heat thoroughly until bubbly. Add the spinach to a large bowl. Arrange the onions, mushrooms and bacon on top. Pour the hot dressing over the top; toss to combine. Arrange the eggs over the top and serve.


Tips” For Naturally Cleaning With White Vinegar

  1. Counter tops- clean with a rag and vinegar. 
  2. Drain or garbage disposal- pour in 1 cup baking soda then one cup hot vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes. Run hot water down the drain. (Note: some garbage disposals do not react well to this cleaning method check all manufacturer instructions first.) 
  3. Microwave- mixing equal parts vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a boil inside the microwave. Wipe clean. 
  4. Refrigerator – clean with a half-and-half solution of water and vinegar. 
  5. Dishwasher - pour a cup of vinegar inside an empty machine and run through cycle. 
  6. Plastic food containers - wipe them with a cloth dampened with vinegar to remove stains and smells. 
  7. Lunch Box – place inside a slice of bread that has been soaked in vinegar and leave overnight to remove odors. 
  8. Mini Blinds - Dip gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm tap water. Run your fingers across both sides of each blind. 
  9. Tarnished Metal - make a paste with equal amounts of vinegar and table salt. 
  10. Grease – use a sponge soaked in vinegar. 
  11. Grill – spray a solution of half water and half vinegar on the cooking surface. 
  12. Sponges – placing in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup vinegar. Let soak overnight. 
  13. Grout – let full-strength vinegar sit on it for a few minutes and scrub it with an old toothbrush. 
  14. Germs – spray with full-strength vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. 
  15. Toilets – pour in a cup or more of vinegar and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with the toilet brush and flush. 
  16. Stale odors - wiping down with undiluted vinegar on a rag. 
  17. Wood – remove water rings with a solution of equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil. Rub with the grain. 
  18. Scissors – clean off sticky residue with a cloth dipped in vinegar. 
  19. Odors – place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight. 
  20. Hands – Wipe your hands with vinegar to remove strong scents like onion and garlic, as well as stains from fruit juices. 
  21. Cutting boards – wipe wooden boards with vinegar. 
  22. Mildew – spray shower walls and shower curtain with half vinegar and half water to help prevent mildew.
*****A few precautions when working with vinegar:

Do not add vinegar directly to materials containing ammonia as this could produce harmful vapors. Never use white distilled vinegar on marble. The acid can damage the surface.

Till Next Time……

Copyright © 2016 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved.


  1. Hi Dottie!!!
    Yes indeed, May is National Salad Month and it couldn't have come at a better time:) Although, I enjoy a nice hearty bowl of soup during the cold months, salad really is much easier for the tossing and ease of available ingredients. Spinach Salad is one of my favorites!

    Interesting tips you have provided for white vinegar. I didn't know about the damage it could cause to marble though. I will remember for future reference:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie and thank you for joining us for Cookbook Wednesday. I'll check into that linky problem tomorrow but I'm sure it will be fine:)

    1. Okay Dottie, you're all linked up! Thanks again for joining:)

    2. Dear Louise,
      Thanks for linking me up and your lovely comment. I love spinach anything and in a salad it is so tasty. I used turkey bacon instead of pork bacon, less fat and still so good. The vinegar is used for so many things...I couldn't believe it as well. Sometimes I use the vinegar for my bathroom floor, I just pour it on and then I use my mop with soap to get up the film. It makes the bathroom smell fresh. I love your Cookbook Wednesday. Thanks for having it...Have a great week dear friend.
      Hugs Dottie x :)

  2. The salad looks and sounds delicious, Dottie! I agree with a salad with dinner and we usually have a simple one with vinegar and oil, but can't say that I've ever had it at the end of a meal. :-) This spinach salad looks delicious and I want to try it with all those good ingredients.
    I use vinegar for so many things so I would happy to see your list.
    Have a great rest of the week! Hugs

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am so glad that you enjoyed this post. Yes, when my sister-in-law Lori gave me this cookbook for Christmas I had to try this salad. I love spinach and I used turkey bacon, less fat. The tips on the vinegar are very good, so many uses. Have a great rest of the week. Plus Happy Mother's Day to you dear friend...
      Hugs Dottie :)

  3. Vinegar is such good stuff, isn't it? I sometimes forget how good it is for cleaning things. Although I had forgotten that it doesn't play well with marble. Anyway, such a nice salad. Love spinach! And it's so nice at this time of the year, isn't it? Really good stuff -- thanks.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment. You are correct vinegar is a great product. Glad that you loved the salad. There is nothing like a crisp, cold or warmed salad. I agree, it is a perfect time of year to have a delicious salad, especially when the ingredients are in season now. Have a terrific weekend ahead.
      Dottie :)

  4. Love a good spinach salad. I think recipe is in lots of midwestern community cookbooks. :) It's a favorite for sure. Great tips as well.

    1. Hi Debra,
      Welcome and thank you for your comment. I agree love spinach and in a salad it is awesome. I am sure there are so many different spinach salad recipes in many cookbooks. That is good as it is very nutritious and an easy one to prepare. Glad that you enjoyed the "tips." Please come back anytime. Have a great weekend....
      Dottie :)

  5. Salad has always played an important part on our table. As you say there is always room for salad and we like it with an Italian dressing of olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt.
    It is interesting how Mayonnaise based ranch is popular in Northern America. In the UK I think French vinagrette mustard dressing is very popular and sometimes people use those ready made sauces which are not that great really.
    I love your tips for cleaning with vinegar!Very handy.
    Have a lovely weekend and a relaxing Mother's Day. It is really hot and sunny over here so we might have a picnic in the woods. The children will love it.

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for visiting and your lovely comment. Yes, salad is and always will be a big part of my families table. Everyone loves Ranch dressing as you said in the states. I love a good French Vinagrette with mustard..it gives the salad a bite that is so good. So many uses for vinegar, who knew! Thanks for your Mother's Day wishes, it is still cool here, but they are saying that next week we will be getting warmer days. Hot and sunny sounds like a day for a picnic for sure. We have had a week of rain, doom, and gloom...Looking forward to the sun...Have a wonderful weekend with your children and hubby. Everyday should be Mother's Day! Ciao!
      Hugs Dottie :)

  6. A delicious spinach salad is always a favorite.
    It is so much healthier to clean with the white vinegar solution.
    I hope that you are doing much better Dottie and that your mom is feeling better too.
    Have a wonderful Mother's Day! xo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thanks for your visit and your comment. I agree spinach is my favorite too! Love the tips on vinegar, so many uses for this product! Yes, dear friend I am doing better and my mom is doing the best she can. Thanks for asking and for wishing me Happy Mother's Day..the same to you! Enjoy the day...
      Hugs Dottie x :)