A sweet and savory farewell to summer: Strawberries and poppy seeds, who knew?

My doctor called me the other day, he had the results of my recent blood work. I have thyroid issues so he takes my blood every five or six months. And he kindly tests my cholesterol levels as well. So thoughtful.

I knew the results were not going to be pretty. I have not been eating well the last several months, or actually, years. I have so many great excuses. But really, that is all they are, excuses. My Mom’s health declined rapidly over the past few years and I lost her in May. I could easily say it is too difficult to eat right while I was traveling to and from Blacksburg. I am too busy. I am never home. There are more, I never lack for excuses.

My mom had a lot of good excuses for not taking care of herself too. And hers were by far more noble than mine. For her, putting others needs before her own was a given.  She was selfless to her own detriment. I wish she had been more selfish in her approach to her own health. I am still sad that my Mom let those excuses get in the way of taking care of herself.

So, I know I need to eat better. I know I need to exercise more. I will just have to become as mindful with the healthy as I am with the sweet.  Of course, I am never going to stop baking. And thankfully there are plenty of healthy people I can corrupt at work. But I will start broadening my obsessive cravings. So I googled poppy seeds, minus the almond paste. I mean, two pounds of poppy seeds are not going to go away on their own.

So as a double hurrah farewell to summer I thought I would pair the elusive poppy with the summer strawberry. I found a great recipe for Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing at For the Love of Cooking blog. I share my mom’s affinity for raw spinach so I think she would have enjoyed this. Like her I have never understood the appeal of cooked spinach, and I don’t think I ever will. The apple cider vinegar gives the cucumbers an apple-y taste. I also recommend some chopped walnuts sprinkled in if you are looking more for a meal than a side salad. Enjoy!

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