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Italian Spinach Salad Part I

June 27, 2010

Today, my friend Emily and I are going shopping for the fabric she’ll use to custom-make my bridesmaid’s dress for my cousin Nicole’s wedding.  It’s candy pink (the fabric), and the wedding is in 55 days!

In preparation for this wedding (details to follow, but here’s a sneak preview: St Lucia, August, private, 4 days at the beach with no kids, reunited with beloved Nicole, slumber-party themed bachelorette party), Emily and I have been planning a dress that reflects the way I feel about myself regarding this whole affair: I need a proper cut for a married mother of two, but something cute and islandy enough to look nice next to the other bridesmaids.  Emily said “I just want to make you look good” which is a really nice thing to say, and also, me too.  I want to put maximum effort into this dress because I want to put maximum effort into this wedding, this marriage, this friendship.

Let me tell you about the bride, my cousin.  (Our mothers are sisters.)

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know Nicole. Both of my earliest memories involve her. In one, a rabid stray cat got into our house! My Grammy and mom have turned over the couch and are trying to shoo it out the door. Grammy is shouting to someone, maybe grandfather? “Get the baby out of here!” and it occurs to me, looking back, that the baby they are referring to is Nicole. Since I’m only 2 1/2 years older than she is, that’s a pretty early memory! I also remember, very fondly, the time I successfully locked her in the bathroom. (The lock was on the inside of the door… is it my fault that she was too dumb (at age 1) to unlock it?

Actually, I have so many memories of playing with and getting in trouble with/because of Nicole. Whenever we get together in person, we usually bore everyone around us reminiscing endlessly about all of our childhood shenanigans. I ‘ll spare you, but here are the keywords: Spaceballs, bike-riding, you’re a jerk, yardstick, swimming pool, barbie car. Connect the dots and you’ll see two little girls being raised in a very crazy but loving family.

Over the years, our relationship has taken on the tone (I’m guessing, since we are both only children) of sisters. As kids we were close, and played together and annoyed each other. As pre-teens and early teens, we tormented each other. As young adults, we fought with each other as we sussed out just who exactly we were and how we fit into the world. As adults, we’re best friends. I call Nicole whenever I have any decision to make, big or small, and whenever I need to vent about my/our crazy family! I can honestly say that she’s the person I trust the most in the world; somehow, even though we are sooooo different, we just GET each other. I guess we’re the same in the ways that count.

I think it’s such a blessing when someone finds true love in a happy relationship. I am so grateful that Nicole has grown into such a mature and content person; she inspires me everyday to be the same!

Anyway, I really really love Nicole and feel so blessed that I can be a part of her relationship with Tom. I’m hoping that I can show her, during my stint as her bridesmaid, just how much I admire her!


So, Emily and I are both running incredibly late.  In fact, she’s 46 minutes late and I’ve written this entire entry while waiting for her.  It’s really not her fault; she’s basically the busiest person I know in real life.  She and her husband own/run a record/hat store, and Emily makes all the hats.  Yesterday, they were out of town at a craft fair, and got in late.  Now today, she’s fabric shopping with me, and tomorrow?  She’ll be behind her sewing machine, churning out hats faster than I can decide which of her lovely hats to put on my kid’s head this morning.

Anyway, Emily and I are both pinching pennies, of course, because we’re smart ladies, and so we decided to pack our lunches and make a day of the road-trip element of this shopping experience.   We’re armed with a swatch of candy pink fabric, full lunch bags, and The Book of Lists.  I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a butter lettuce and bologna sandwich, blueberries, carrot sticks and Italian Spinach Salad.

It’s gonna be a fun trip, and I’m especially looking forward to eating the Italian Spinach Salad that I packed using spinach from my grandfather’s garden, sausage, tomatoes and onions from the farmer’s market, and dill from my own garden.  I chose this recipe because I wanted to find a way to include the summer sausage I found at the farmer’s market, and although the recipe I found called for bacon, I think the sausage was a nice touch.

Italian Spinach Salad modified from Taste of Home


1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 medium tomatoes, diced
Bits of diced summer sausage
2 diced green onions
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds

Combine in a manner that seems delicious to you!

Anyway, a simple lunch, a really fun road trip, successful fabric finding, and the kindness of strangers (more about that later) make for a very happy dressmaker!

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