I love making salads like this for lunch, and they're usually not the result of any planning, just what happens to be on hand. I'm happy for any reason to eat an avocado, and it's paired here with crispy cucumber slices, black grapes, kalamata olives, and walnuts. Most salad dressings I make are experiments in on the spot trial and error, and this one was pretty good. Here's the dressing, more or less:
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or sugar)
1 tbsp. capers
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup pineapple juice
salt and black pepper to taste
Winter is oatmeal sesaon, and I can usually carve out a little more time in the cold months to actually cook something for breakfast. Here I tried steel cut oats for the first time, soaked overnight. These were cooked for about a half hour on a low simmer, and still retained some texture - sort of like cooked barley or brown rice. I added yellow and purple raisins during the simmering, so they got nice and plump, along with a sliced dry fig, half a fresh peach, and ground flaxseeds.
I was curious about steel cut oats, but I think the longer cooking time will keep me from replacing regular quick oats, or even slightly longer cooking rolled oats, in my regular breakfast rotation. Good though, and people who know about this stuff say they're really healthy, since they're not processed nearly as much as other oats.
We're now in bird-watching mode, so if that's not your thing you're politely excused :) I do my best to take the pups on a long walk every day, and one of our favorite places in town is Oak Grove park, a beautiful expanse of oak trees on a bend in the Red River near downtown Fargo. In the summer it's a busy frisbee golf course, but I love the winter here because we usually have the whole park to ourselves, so I can let the dogs run around off the leashes. A highlight of the park is the chance to see pileated woodpeckers - today there were two in the park, calling to each other from opposite ends. They're extremely wary of people, but this one kindly let me take a couple of pictures before taking off across the park. They really are amazing animals, and their call is always what tells me they're around - you'll never forget it, and it apparently was the inspiration for Woody the Woodpecker's laugh...
While I was waiting to take a picture, these guys decided to take a breather from tearing around the park. If I can presume to speak for them, this means "forget about the damn birds, let's go play!"