I love finding treasures, how about you? To me, they often come in the most unexpected places - like this delightful set of salad bowls I'm using for today's Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing. You'll never believe where I found them. Scott and I did a bit of exploring last week, discovering an area of southern Virginia, not far from our daughter's home. We were thrilled to find a recently opened Rails-to-Trails bike path (converted from abandoned rail tracks) that wound for miles through lovely forests, meadows and tiny villages. There was also a classic southern diner (situated in an early 1900's blacksmith shop), where we enjoyed two delicious meals (it was so good, we went back again!), a fun donut shop (we're a bit like hounds; we can always sniff out a good donut shop!), a tour of a delightful local farm and lots of other wonderful new "finds".
We came out with a bagful of fun, but dusty treasures. When we returned home, I scrubbed each item ruthlessly and was thrilled to discover how beautiful my new wooden salad set cleaned up. As I admired it, I decided this set would be perfect to share one of my all-time favorite salads. Before I tell you about this wonderful salad though, I have to share the story of a far greater treasure we discovered that day.
As we browsed through the thrift shop, we had the opportunity to chat with Doug, the manager of The Shepherd's Shop. He explained that all the proceeds from the shop went to a homeless shelter located right behind the thrift store called The Shepherd's Inn. We learned that Doug and his wife Jackie had moved to the area to be near their grandchildren and felt "called" to open up this shelter in 2005 for people who found themselves in unfortunate life situations. The shelter's open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They serve three meals a day and have housed thousands over the years. We were touched by Doug's story of selflessness and caring for those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.
Doug handed us a business card as we left. On the back was one, simple verse: Matthew 25:37-40. It sums up the high calling of Doug and his wife. You can read more specifics about this amazing ministry here. And if you're ever in the area of South Hill, Virginia, be sure to pay a visit to The Shepherd's Shop, who knows what kind of treasure you may find!!
So you see, these bowls are quite special beyond their gleaming exteriors. And the salad ........... oh my, I got so carried away, I almost forgot to tell you about this fabulous salad; not my own recipe, but definitely another treasure It's a winner from one of the most well known restaurants in our area, The Angus Barn. It's one of those restaurants that everyone wants to go to for special occasions. This salad, with fresh spinach, hard boiled eggs, smokey bacon and a fabulous poppyseed dressing, is one of the most popular items on their menu for good reason. It's amazing and I crave it when I haven't bee there for a while.
I was thrilled, when a number of years ago, The Angus Barn shared their delicious salad recipe. Now I can have it whenever I want and that just makes my day. Once you try this Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing, I know you'll be craving it too!
- Spinach Salad:
- 8 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 small red onion peeled, havled and thinly sliced or medium shallot thinly sliced
- 6 medium or large hard boiled eggs* shelled and halved or quartered
- 1½ cups fresh mushrooms thinly sliced
- 6 slices bacon cut in ¼-inch strips and cooked until crisp and golden
- Honey-Poppy Seed Dressing:
- ½ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried mustard
- ¾ cups vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon grated onion
- 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Place spinach in a large bowl. Add red onion, mushrooms and bacon.
Drizzle with 3-4 tablespoon of dressing. Toss lightly. Serve immediately, pass additional dressing at the table.
Honey-Poppy Seed Dressing:
Combine all dressing ingredients in a medium-sized glass jar.
Cover and shake well. Shake again right before serving.
This salad is wonderful just as the recipe is written, but can also be made with optional ingredients, if desired. I sometimes add sliced oranges, sliced pears, chopped apples, dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, crumbled feta cheese, croutons and/or toasted pecans.
*For perfect hard boiled eggs, place eggs in a medium-size saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil, then cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 12 minutes then drain and place in a bowl of ice water to cool. After 10 minutes drain eggs. Eggs can be shelled at this point or refrigerated for later use.