Friday, April 24, 2015

When the Best Part of the Trip is the Return Home

We took a brief overnight trip recently in order to run a few errands up north, and also price some new bedroom furniture. When we were married almost eight years ago, we started out with a card table, two chairs, and a bedroom set that was an old hand-me-down from The Mister's side of the family. Gradually, we accumulated more furniture, a few nice pieces from my grandparent's sale, and a sofa from my parent's house circa 1985. I like to joke that if you attended the family reunion we hosted during the Reagan administration, then you have already sat on my couch. That old thing needs replacing too, but first things first. 

Our trip out of town did not go as smoothly as we had hoped.

We got a later start than planned. When we did get moving, we drove fifteen minutes down the highway when I suddenly remembered that I left a scent warmer on in the kitchen. I knew that would happen the minute I turned the darn thing on. Much to my dismay, our only option was to turn around and head back home to unplug it. I got a head ache from being in the car. Finally, as the sun was beginning to set over the beautiful hills of eastern Pennsylvania, I reached for my camera bag and made a sour discovery: I left my camera battery in its charger, at home.

There was even more nonsense the next day. 

There were some positives, some shopping done, and we were thankful that we didn't have any major catastrophes. No foul weather, injuries, or that most dreaded of all travel nightmares, car trouble. We were even able to take The Little Mister to a restaurant without incident, something we have been unable to do since he was a newborn. A lengthy performance with a finger puppet helped a lot, and elicited many smiles.

When we arrived home, I exhaled so hard that a nearby tree was uprooted. 

We never did find any affordable bedroom furniture, either. I came home and dealt with the same tiny over-stuffed bureau drawers and miniature nightstands that I've been contending with for years. Furniture built for a different time, when people owned two dresses and one pair of shoes.

Two days later I went out to the garden to check on my small spring garden, and saw buds on all the berry bushes, new growth in the strawberries, and bunches of rhubarb poking through the winter weeds. It had all happened so suddenly. When I went to tear out the ornamental hydrangea that I killed last summer, I found it wasn't dead at all. 


Renewal is among the greatest gifts bestowed on us, whether we're worthy of it or not. I can't think of anything better than second chances, new beginnings, and a fresh sunrise each day. 

Perhaps some decent and affordable bedroom furniture could compete with that, but I guess it wasn't meant for right now. Today I'll settle for the reminder growing around me that everything is beautiful in its time. 

Crunchy Pepper Jack Salad with Smooth Avocado Dressing

We've been eating this salad all week, it is so delicious, healthy, and satisfying. I adapted it from several similar recipes to make a salad that is inexpensive but packs a lot of flavor. You can buy every ingredient at a discount grocery store. Just don't skimp on the tasty avocado dressing.

Salad:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 diced red pepper
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 small head chopped lettuce- romaine or butter crunch works well
A sprinkling of crushed tortilla chips

Dressing:
1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. diced hot peppers
1/2 tsp. minced garlic or 1 garlic clove
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
juice of one lime
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)

Blend all ingredients for dressing in a blender until smooth. This made enough dressing for two big bowls of salad, which was fine since two bowls lasted for four meals.


8 comments:

  1. Laughed as I read about your trip:) Sometimes they can be exhausting!

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes leaving the house is more trouble than it's worth!

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  2. HA! Why does that trip sound so familiar?! In case you haven't guessed, we are prone to one thing and another going oddly wrong. Your salad looks yummy and similar to one we are enjoying from time to time in our house!

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    Replies
    1. I could eat this salad every day, forever.

      We won't be going anywhere again, soon. The best thing that could be said is that it made me appreciate being home. :)

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  3. Oh, I think that I've had trips like that, too!
    I am making that salad- it looks so good! Thanks for posting it.

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  4. "When we arrived home, I exhaled so hard that a nearby tree was uprooted." You kill me! And your ability to keep laughing, even through all the stresses and turmoils life can toss at you, never ceases to increase my love admiration for you.

    PS: That salad looks delicious!

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  5. It's kind of nice to hear about other people who started out with barely any furniture and is still trying to find pieces that work better. :)

    And can you believe that I never have bought an avocado? I keep thinking that I should though, and this salad dressing sound like a delicious way to use it.

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    Replies
    1. You should take advantage of Aldi's good price on avocados. They are so versatile and contain healthy fats. I use them on sandwiches, or if they are really soft, as a sandwich spread. This dressing, however, is exceptional. I want to eat it all the time now but it goes best with this salad.

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