My last post was about inspiration, and this one is about exhaustion. Not the discouraging kind of exhaustion that makes you feel like there’s no end in sight, but the kind of exhaustion that leaves you cheerfully spent at the end of the day–content, but without much left to offer.
I started my first external placement for graduate school last week, and I’m in schools working with kids and teachers four days a week for ten hours a day. (In case you haven’t heard me mention it, I’m working on a master’s in speech and language pathology with dual certification as a reading specialist). I am learning and doing so much that I do not know where to put all my thoughts and ideas. I have plenty of notebooks and folders, but there’s not enough space and time to capture everything I want to hold onto. Do you ever feel that way? Please tell me about your own exhaustion in the comments so I can feel a little less alone!
As if that’s not enough, I also have class on the fifth day of the week and one additional evening. Today I had ten hours of class, to be exact, spread out between 8:30 am and 8 pm. It’s interesting to spend the first part of the week working with young children on speech and language, and to then spend a lengthy day learning about motor speech disorders and the anatomy and physiology of swallowing–interesting, but also exhausting.
Do you know what is NOT exhausting? This salad. It’s easy to make and almost no-cook (frying bacon does not really count as cooking, does it?). The creamy avocado, salty bacon, and bitter arugula are tossed with a sherry vinaigrette, and the result is fresh, vibrant, and energizing. I made this salad twice over the weekend, and can’t wait to make it again. It’s good for a light lunch as is, and makes a great dinner when topped with some grilled chicken or shrimp. I’m also really eager to put an egg on it (probably poached), but haven’t tried it yet.
A note on the dressing: I make all my vinaigrettes using a ratio of four parts olive oil to one part vinegar or lemon juice, and then add some salt, pepper, and something to help it emulsify (like honey). As you can see, the dressing separates out into two layers if you let it sit, but it comes together easily with a quick shake. This recipe is really more like a formula: it can easily be scaled up and down to meet your needs, and the proportions can be adjusted to taste. After this sherry vinaigrette, my second favorite dressing of the moment is this recipe made with lemon juice instead of the vinegar. If you haven’t tried making your own salad dressing, I cannot recommend it enough.
Bacon, Arugula, and Avocado Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Yield: 2 large or 4 small servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the salad:
4 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into pieces (about 1″ wide)
4 cups baby arugula (about 4 ounces)
1 Hass avocado, peeled, deseeded, and chopped
Lemon juice, to taste (optional)
For the sherry vinaigrette (makes about 1/4 cup):
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (I recommend O Olive Oil’s sherry vinegar)*
1-2 pinches of sea salt (I use Maldon), or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*If you don’t have sherry vinegar, you can substitute lemon juice or another vinegar of your choice (white wine, red wine, or balsamic would also be good). However, I highly recommend giving sherry vinegar a try–it’s my absolute favorite.
Fry the bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat until cooked to your liking. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon, and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
While the bacon is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shake them in a small, tightly lidded jar, then adjust seasonings to taste.
If you are not serving the salad right away (or even if you are), you may want to toss the avocado with a little lemon juice.
Toss the arugula, bacon, and avocado with dressing to taste, and serve. Extra dressing will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.