One of the biggest messages I love sharing out in the world is the importance of finding things that bring you joy in your life. The more you experience joy, the more you attract it, the more your life flows, the more your life just works for you.
Cooking is one of the loves I’ve been developing over the past year. My mom cooked a lot…we mostly ate home cooked meals…and I enjoyed that. I have many fond memories of her cooking, even when something got burnt or forgotten on the stove, they are all wonderful memories.
For years, I preferred to go out to eat. I loved the feeling of being taken care of, waited on, etc. I loved that I had no mess to clean up and lots to choose from on the menu. I still enjoy going out to eat but have also discovered that I am being taken care of BY ME when I cook at home and that has a lot of value.
I’ve always cooked on some level but my idea of cooking, in the past, was a bit more focused on things that come out of a box, can or bag vs. things that come out of or off of the earth. There’s a special joy that comes from cooking something from scratch. A very special joy.
If we are connected on Facebook, you have probably seen my various posts about food I’ve made or tried to make, as it sometimes turns out. But I’d like to share more about this piece of joy in my life here on my blog. I’ll be sharing recipes and such as I feel inspired and I’ll be taking more pictures of what I make as well. I hope you enjoy them and, should you choose to make something I share, I’d love to hear about how it turned out. I hope you’ll take some time to share.
So, here is my first share with a small picture of what I made. It will be fun to get more detailed and visual over time!
- Ingredients for Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1½ tsp garlic powder
- 1½ tsp dried basil
- 1½ tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp ground black pepper
- ¾ tsp white sugar
- Remaining Salad Ingredients
- 2½ cups cooked penne pasta
- 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup sliced sweet peppers
- 1 cucumber, seedless and sliced
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ¾ cup sliced turkey pepperoni, halved
- 1 can whole black olives
- 1 small jar pepper rings (like banana peppers or pepperochinis)
- Wisk dressing ingredients together in a large bowl. Add everything else. Toss until evenly coated. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.
- Here's what I love the most about this recipe. It's easy, fast and really good. And it's really easy to modify this recipe.
- If you are like me, everything you need to make the dressing is in your cupboard but, if it isn't or if you prefer, you can also just use a jar of Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. We like Paul Newman's the best. Use about a cup or to taste.
- You can also use more or less of the ingredients, depending on your personal preference and you can switch it up and use different ingredients all together. We've used red and green bell peppers instead of the smaller sweet peppers. We've added mushrooms. I've done smaller chunks of the veggies (actually what I prefer but my bestie prefers the large chunks). And the next time we make it, we've decided to try purchasing gyro meat from a local restaurant and using that instead of the pepperonis.
- I also love the balance I find in this recipe. For example, I don't love pepperoni at all but my bestie does so he mostly eats that. I love tomatoes and cucumbers so I eat more of that. In the end, the bowl is empty and we've all had a little something we love.
- We made this salad again and changed one thing. We took out the pasta and put in beans...garbanzo beans, black beans, and great northern beans (who's can looks a lot like the garbanzo bean can LOL). I like the variety...my bestie said he'd prefer just garbanzo beans.