Saturday, 23 June 2012

Caesar Salad Dressing ...a sure-fire way to "de-stress" for study success!

This is not my Sari...but I think you get the idea!

Sara is in exams...she cloisters herself in her room to study...I come in for a quick peak and see my sweet girl, sitting on her couch, surrounded by papers, notes and textbooks...it is like she is stranded on a deserted island of academia with no hope of rescue for at least 2 more days.

Oh how I remember high school exams, so much information that needed to be committed to memory...studying for so many hours that you brain starts to ache...then writing the exam and discarding everything you just learned so you can cram the next subject in there!

The difference between Sara and me is that she is a great student, bright and well-rounded, and I was not.  I didn't develop a love for learning until I went to universsity, where the floodgates opened and education was transformed from a drudgery to a delight.  

I have told the girls many times before to seriously consider staying home for their undergraduate studies.  We live in a fantastic city that boasts 3 universities and a number of colleges...why not live with us - eat well, dwell well, and avoid the additional burdens that going away adds to an already stressed student's life?

When I was in university, I lived with my parents.  I worked during the day, and studied at night.  My evenings and weekends were spent poring over textbooks and notes...reading, re-reading, highlighting, typing notes, reducing the notes to short form, and then further reducing them to point form.  Who had time for cooking and cleaning and laundry?  Not I, and I was fortunate to have a mother who just wanted to see me surpass her achievements, so she indulged me by taking care of the day-to-day life stuff, freeing me to devote my time to work, study and socializing.  Thanks Mom...now, as a mother myself, I am able to see just what she did for me, and only now can I fully appreciate her efforts, her devotion and the sacrifice of her time just to make my life easier.  

Which brings me to the present day...right now there is little I can do for my sweet Sara, except try to be there and support her where I can...are you guessing where this story is going?  Where is always goes...to food!  

To add insult to injury (a favourite expression of Mom's, by the way), Sari has come down with a cold and nagging cough...bad enough that she is back on asthma meds to help her heal.  The timing could not have been worse if we had planned it.

So what can I do?!?!?   Nouridh my baby, feed her foods that she loves and that will give her strength...pastas, proteins, and salads, of course!

In recent years Caesar salad has lost its appeal...it tastes fantastic during a meal, but all the garlic and seasonings wreak havoc on my aging system.  None-the-less, Sara loves Caesar salad, and I wanted to cheer her up before her math exam, so I added it to our dinner menu.  

On the way home from our final tutoring session before the exam, we stopped at Metro to pick up some simulated bacon bits (what's a Caesar without it?!). Then we headed home, and I put all the fixings together and went to the fridge to get the Renee's Caesar Dressing...it wasn't there!!!  Where had it gone?!?  I was sure that I had a bottle in there...well, there was no time to dwell on the missing salad dressing, the troops were starving...so I pulled Norene's Meal-Lean-I-Yumm, now Healthy Helpings cookbook and looked up dressing recipes (page 278).   Seemed easy enough, but I didn't have all the ingredients.  So, I decided to wing it, using her recipe as a guide.

Sara loved it!!  She said it was flavourful yet not overpowering, and because there was no anchovy paste, she wasn't left feeling queasy afterward.  The best part for me was that Becca and Carlo gave it the thumbs up too.  An added bonus was that I didn't suffer any after effects from this dressing either.

So I guess Caesar salad dressing is back in the running as a regular option for our dinner salad and no longer relegated to a treat we indulge in once every couple of months.  I hope you enjoy this recipe, a Norene-based Naomi original, as much as my family does.  

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful weekend filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Naomi's Caesar Salad

Salad Ingredients 
  • lettuce - cut or torn into bite-size pieces (I use romaine or iceberg)
  • Caesar croutons (any brand will work, I prefer No Name or PC)
  • "bacon" bit (I keep simulated on hand but you can use the real deal if you prefer)
  • parmigiana cheese, grated

Dressing Ingredients
  • ½C mayonnaise (I use Hellman's Olive Oil mayo) 
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp  each of salt and pepper
Method

This is a shitarein recipe.  Prepare your salad (notice there are no measurements for the salad ingredients...I toss in whatever looks like it will satisfy my family depending on how hungry we are - although I must admit we eat tons of salad, and I will take any leftovers to work the next day.  I then mix all the salad dressing ingredients, pour over the salad, toss and serve!