Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lunchin' with the Holly Berries

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon with the Holly Berries. While this was the first time I attended, these ladies have been getting together for several years. I'm so glad I freed up some time in my day to dine with them!

We all live in the same neighborhood; passing one another on the street, waving from our porches, and occasionally stopping a walk for a chance to chat. How lovely it was to be able to get to know one another a bit better during lunch at a local restaurant.

There were about 15 women in our private dining room. Miss B made the introductions, as there were several newcomers. We learned of the new baby in our neighborhood, as well as some upcoming surgeries and updates of ongoing illnesses of other neighbors.

We prayed for all of our neighbors, each other, and gave thanks and praises for our time together. Miss B was so organized, she even had cards available for all of us to sign. We passed those around the table and returned them to Miss B, who will mail the "We Missed You Today" cards to the ladies who could not attend. I enjoyed the opportunity to chat without children interrupting, and getting to know my neighbors. They are all a truly lovely group. The name "Holly Berries" is derived in part from our neighborhood name, but also because these ladies are a support system for one another.

Like a berry provides nourishment for the birds, these ladies provide for each other when sickness befalls or just to share a sweet treat. They cast a bright glow on one another when all around you seems to appear gray and bare. They sustain you with prayer during the Winter seasons of your life. I'm blessed to have such wonderful ladies who care about me, my family, and one another. I think "Holly Berries" is a perfect name for them, and am honored to be a "Berry" too. :o)

Warm Spinach Salad
Not only did I enjoy the company of the Holly Berries, I also enjoyed the food!
We ate at a fabulous local restaurant which serves fresh and gourmet dishes with locally grown produce. The portions appear small; however, they are seasoned to perfection and you leave the table satisfied. I ordered the Warm Spinach Salad, and it was an excellent choice. It was delicious! I found a recipe that seems very close to the salad I ate, and can't wait to try it. Adding some chicken, steak, or salmon would make this a great option for an easy dinner. Here it is for you to try too:

1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves

4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

4 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled

10 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup honey

2 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste
1.Place spinach into a large serving bowl, top with hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, 4 crumbled strips of bacon, Swiss cheese, and almonds.

2.Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in  onions and garlic, and cook until softened and translucent, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and 2 crumbled strips of bacon; season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook until hot.

3.Pour hot dressing over spinach and toss to coat. Serves 4.

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