Strawberry, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Balsamic (c)2013 La Domestique

Happy May Day to you! Here in Ireland, spring has been slow to reveal herself. Though the weather has been unseasonably cool, I do see a bit more sunshine and the breeze feels a tad warmer with each passing day. I’ve been waiting for the morning frosts to depart so I can plant my herb garden. We’re renting a house after years living in the concrete jungle of an apartment complex, so I’m looking forward to having room for growing plants and a shed to store bags of compost and gardening tools. Here in Cavan we’ve got a lovely local bookshop,the Crannóg, where I picked up a copy of Grow Your Own Crops in Pots, by Kay Maguire and the Royal Horticultural Society. Are you into container gardening? Please do share any tips or plants you love to grow in the comments section.

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Greetings From Ireland and a Recipe for Blueberry Parfait

Blueberry Parfait (c)2013 La Domestique

Greetings from Ireland! We arrived in our new home town of Cavan yesterday and the sun has been shining the whole time (which I’m taking as a good sign). Cavan is in the north, just 15 minutes from Northern Ireland. It’s marked by rolling green hillsides dotted with fluffy white sheep and spotted cows. I like it out here. It’s quieter and more laid back than the big city of Dublin. I will say though, ever since we got off the plane everyone has been so welcoming! People are very friendly and kind here. They do talk fast and I’m often looking towards the husband for translation of what was just said. Hopefully I will quickly develop an ear for it. We’re staying in a B & B owned by a family with three very young boys running around. The whole family is lively and fun and our bed is comfy so I’m quite happy. This morning the mother made us a full Irish breakfast, which was a real treat (rashers, black and white pudding, broiled tomato, Irish bacon, eggs, brown bread and scones)! The husband felt like he was finally back home again.

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Celebrate Spring with Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera (c)2013 La Domestique

Happy first day of spring! I am so excited for warmer days, gardening, and eating tender spring vegetables. How about you? One dish I look forward to enjoying this time of year is Pasta Primavera, or “Spring Pasta.” This dish is a celebration of all things green, open to variation based on what’s available at the farmer’s market or what you have to harvest in your garden. I’ve combined asparagus, baby zucchini, basil, chive, and parsley, but peppery arugula leaves, peas, leeks, spring onions or ramps would be lovely substitutions. Lemon adds a bit of brightness and crushed red pepper contributes a surprisingly welcome heat. Crumbled soft goat cheese serves as a creamy, tangy garnish.

Serve Pasta Primavera at room temperature – it’s perfect for entertaining friends al fresco. Take advantage of the first warm day that comes your way with a bottle of crisp, refreshing white wine and a leisurely weekend lunch on the patio. Buon appetito!

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Irish Brown Soda Bread and a Big Announcement

Irish Brown Soda Bread (c)2013 LaDomestique

Today I’ve got a recipe for Irish Brown Soda Bread to share with you, not just because St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching,

but also in celebration of some big news! As the Irish say, Come here to me, wait till I tell you.

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet around here at La Domestique. That’s because we’ve had a lot going on behind the scenes.

We’ve been doing a lot of wishing, a lot of hoping, and a lot of planning. We’ve been pacing and waiting.

Now the wait is over and IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

We are moving to Ireland!!!

I’ve mentioned before that the husband was born and raised in Tipperary, Ireland, and we’re thrilled to be moving back to his home country.

I’ll be sharing more details as we find a new home and get settled. We’ve purchased one-way plane tickets and we leave on April 1st!

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The Cleanse Begins

Winter Fruits (c)2013 La Domestique

Remember when I said the husband and I were going to do a cleanse? Well, today the cleanse begins! So many of you commented on my last post, showing your support and desire to follow along – I thought you might like to see what our first week looks like. As I mentioned before, we’ll be doing a combination of the Whole Living Action Plan and the cleanse from Dr. Junger’s book, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself.

Why combine two plans? I like how the Whole Living Action Plan is vegan during the first week, and their meal plan provided a guide upon which I could personalize the cleanse. I think Dr. Junger’s Yes and No food lists in Clean might be good for helping me avoid reflux-causing foods and plan on incorporating some of the recipes from the book into our detox diet this week. Also, I’m going to try a few of Dr. Junger’s recommendations, like taking probiotics during the cleanse and drinking 2 tablespoons olive oil every evening. Dr. Junger suggests sauna and deep tissue massage to help the body get rid of toxins during the cleanse, and I’ll be making time for that too. This week is all about eating fresh, unprocessed foods and trying to avoid toxins (pesticides, artificial ingredients) so the body has a chance to heal. Two liquid meals a day and a more substantial lunch gives the digestive system a rest so energy can be put toward detoxifying. I won’t go into much detail here, but encourage you to check out Clean and the Whole Living Action Plan to learn more.

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