I have a terrible case of cabin fever. Here in Chicago the temperature has been very, very low and the weather has provided snow on top of snow. It’s enough to make anyone go mad. Especially one with a child and lives in a condo. I had no choice but to get out of town.
My husband had some work in Cincinnati, so I decided to pack up the car, grab my daughter, and leave before the next snowstorm was supposed to hit. When I arrived 5 hours later, I stepped out to a balmy 55 degrees! That’s what I’m talking about. No snow, no freezing wind, just a warm and inviting temp.
Quinn gets especially happy to see her cousins. She adores them and can’t seem to get enough. She mimicks everything her older cousin Morgan does. Monkey see, monkey do. It’s pretty amusing for me to watch. They all run in circles for hours on end until they nearly pass out from exhaustion at the end of the day. I wish she could play with them every day, but we could only be so lucky.
When I am there I always like to make a meal for the family. It gives me a chance to try new recipes on a group of people that will give me their honest opinion. I was craving some mediterrainian flavors, but also wanted something easy. Tossing together some things with Orzo was easy enough for me.
Orzo is actually a pasta that looks very much like rice. I love using it for different types of pasta salads. It was perfect in this dish.

Warm Medetarrianian Pasta Salad
serves 6-8
1 box Orzo pasta
4 c fresh baby spinach
2 c cherry tomatoes
1 medium egglplant
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 Tb Balsamic Vinigear
4 Tb Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and cut eggplant into 1″ cubes. Toss eggplant and tomatoes in 2 Tb olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt & pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and cook until well roasted, about 40 minutes.
With 10 minutes remaining, begin boiling 2 qts of water for Orzo. Season with salt. When water is boiling, add orzo and cook until tender. Strain and place in serving dish. Stir in olive oil, then add roasted vegetables, cheese, olives, and fresh spinach. Serve immediately.

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I grew up in a single parent household. As a mother now, I sit in wonder how my mom raised four children on her own without killing one of us. I have to imagine that my worst days with Quinn are probably just a quarter of her worst with us as young children.

My mom started working outside of the home when I was in grade school. She started early, so we were responsible for getting out the door and getting to school on our own. We were quite capable of this, so it wasn’t a big deal. It as lo gave me the liberty to choose my own clothes to wear each day. And boy did I take liberties in doing that.

I look back at some of the outfits I wore and want to crawl in a hole. I guess you could say that I was exploring my fashion personality. One day I would wear a poodle skirt with rain boots, the next day I would dress in my mom’s work clothes going as far as wearing her glasses. One day I was punk, the next prep. I was Madonna, I was Debbie Gibson. I wanted to try it all. The only problem was that I never ironed my clothes. So I could imagine that my fashion identity was totally and completely lost among the mass of wrinkles I had going on. My mom even got a call one day from her sister saying that she saw me walking down the street looking like a total “rag-a-muffin.”

My poor mom was most definitely mortified worrying that every adult thought she sent her daughter to school dressed like that. Thanks, Mom, for letting me have my own sense of style. Now as Karma would have it, my daughter has discovered her own sense of style.

She wanted to go to school in this.

Then she decided on this…ya’ know, to cover up a little.

We compromised on this outfit. Too cool for school.

I have no segue to my recipe. So here it is:

Asian Salmon Burgers

1 lb skinless salmon fillet, chopped into very small pieces.

1 Tb lemon juice

1 Tb sesame oil

2 Tb Wasabi Paste

3 Tb mayonnaise

1 Tb sesame seeds

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs

1 Tb butter

1 avocado

In a medium bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Mix breadcrumbs into salmon mixture.

Form 4 patties, about 1 inch thick each. Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Cook salmon patties until nicely browned and crusty. About 3 minutes per side.

Serve over mixed greens. Top with sliced avacado.

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