Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Cashew Salad

Today turned out to be a really really great Mother's Day :) After church Eric and I spent the day eating lunch with his family and dinner with mine, allowing us to see both of our wonderful mothers on this special day. I am feeling very blessed.

This is a picture of my mom and I today - I love her so much :) I am so thankful for her and for everything she's done for me and my family despite her fight with cancer over the past few years. She is currently battling ovarian cancer for her third time and started chemo again just a little under 2 weeks ago. She is a true fighter and has been so strong in her faith through all of this, always looking to God and giving him glory through the good and bad days. Even though she's not feeling the greatest and is very tired, she still helped me throw together this salad today for our family get-together. This is her favorite salad (and mine) and we make it for pretty much every picnic, get-together, or party we attend. Yeah, it's that good :) So here's how you make it!

Start by cutting up a head of lettuce. This recipe doesn't really have exact measurements except for the dressing so just cut up as much lettuce as you think you will need and throw it into a bowl. Next, cut up a block of swiss cheese into small cubes. You can also use shredded swiss, which is much easier, but I like how the salad tastes with the chunks of cheese better. This is really up to you and your preferences.

Throw the cut up cheese cubes in with the lettuce and then add some bacon bits on top. You could use crumbled bacon too if you like the taste of real bacon better and if you don't mind doing a little extra work. Again, you can just add however much looks good... I don't usually measure at all but I think we used a whole smaller bag of bacon bits this time.  

Then, the star of the salad, the cashews! Just throw them on top of everything and mix it all up. A little bit of advice though, if you make this too far in advance the cashews can get a little soft and soggy so I suggest adding them right before serving if you can. 

The dressing for this salad is homemade and really brings together everything perfectly. We've used store-bought poppyseed dressing before and it's just not the same. My mom actually refuses to eat it with the store bought dressing now, which I find kinda funny. The homemade kind really is better though - you can take my word for it ;)

The dressing is just made by mixing the oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, dry mustard, minced onion, and poppy seeds together and shaking it all together really well in a closed container. I usually try to mix the sugar in really well with a fork too because sometimes it can take a while to dissolve into the mixture. Yeah, there's quite a bit of sugar in it ;) The dressing usually requires some mixing right before serving as well because the heavier ingredients tend to settle to the bottom if it sits unshaken for too long. To serve, you can either pour the finished dressing onto the entire salad and mix immediately before serving or serve the dressing on the side and pour it directly onto each individual serving of salad. We tend to pour it on our own salads when we serve this salad now, just because it prevents sogginess and lets everyone choose exactly how much dressing they want on their serving. And that's it! It's really easy and really tasty and it was the perfect salad for Mother's Day today :)

Finally, here's the recipe typed out in true recipe format! Although I said I usually just kinda throw together ingredients without actually measuring, this is the recipe from my mom's actual recipe card so that you all have a true recipe with measurements to follow. The only thing that's listed without actual measurements is the bacon, so you're gonna have to decide on your own how much to add for that ingredient ;) I'm also going to try to figure out how to make my recipes into documents that can easily be printed directly from the blog post without all the pictures and other text, but I'm not sure how to do it at the moment so I may be updating this post later if I can figure it out. Anyways, here's the recipe!

Cashew Salad

Salad Ingredients: 

1 head lettuce
1 cup cashews (or one small can)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese (or one small block cubed)
bacon bits or crumbled bacon

Dressing Ingredients:

3/4 to 1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
dash of salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp minced onion 
1 tsp poppy seeds


Toss salad ingredients together. 
Mix dressing ingredients together and shake well.
Pour dressing over salad just before serving. 

Easy as that! Enjoy!

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