Monday, April 30, 2012 / 77 Comments / , , , , ,

Ojai Spa Salad. And some big news.

Last weekend I went on a solo mommy trip to the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. It's under an hour from Santa Barbara and LA, but feels worlds away - in a good way. I only stayed one night, but it was just what I needed to finish a project I've been working on. I have just been dying to tell you about this project and can't wait any longer!
  But first let me show you this gorgeous resort and this fresh salad Ojai inspired.
Spring in Ojai is all about cucumber spa water and Ojai Pixie Tangerines.   I came back inspired to put the two flavors together in a cooling fresh salad. This salad is the equivalent of lying in the sun with cucumber slices on your eyes. Does anyone actually do that outside of movies?

The spa pool where I enjoyed working in silence. I am with a 2 and 4 year old all day every day, so silence is foreign to me. Though I wouldn't trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything, a few hours alone once in awhile is nice. And getting any work done while little ones are asking for snacks and to be held is nearly impossible.

 I love spa cuisine. It's always so fresh, light and veggiefull. Yeah, that's a word :)

It's a shame I don't golf. Wait, nope, there's the spa. Not a shame at all.

Around every corner  there is something serene and beautiful.
A funny thing happened. After one night all I wanted was to get back home to my family. 

Back home I was still thinking about that spa water and all the Pixie tangerines I enjoyed in Ojai.  I threw together this refreshing salad so you could enjoy a little Ojai Spa too.

Ojai Spa Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish 

1 large cucumber 
1/2 cup snap peas 
4 small tangerines, peeled and sliced or segmented 
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil 
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh mint
juice of 1 Meyer lemon 
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked quinoa (optional)

Peel the cucumber. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise. If the cucumber is bitter or has tough seeds, scrape them out with a spoon. Cut cucumber into 1/8 inch slices. Transfer to medium bowl. Add peas, tangerines, basil, and mint to the bowl. Drizzle lemon juice and vinegar over salad and toss gently to coat. Serve over quinoa if desired.

Are you ready for the big news?

I wrote a cookbook! 

At first I thought it would be great to wait until I had the finished product to show you and say a big "Ta Daaaaa!" But I have felt like I was keeping a big fat secret, and I'm not good at secrets. I hate them in fact. You are the reason for this blog, and the reason for the book, so I wanted to share this exciting journey with you. I've been so busy the last few months. I have been testing recipes over and over. Photographing one to two recipes per day during naptime, writing and photo editing at night after the girls have gone to bed. That has left little time for posting here as much as I would like and commenting on my favorite blogs. I wanted to give that explanation to my blogger friends. 

I am beyond thrilled at this opportunity. It has been a lot of work and I haven't had enough time for my real life. You do not want to see my laundry room. But... I feel so lucky. When I was in high school I said, "I want to write a cookbook." I actually started writing one with one of my girlfriends, just for fun. I forgot about that dream for 10 years. And then last year I was approached by an amazing literary agent who thought I should make a cookbook. Isn't it amazing how those things happen?! I wrote a proposal for a cookbook similar to this blog, but with new recipes. Healthy recipes that are favorites in our house. Many inspired by dishes I grew up eating, but made a bit lighter and mostly meatless, and some even are recipes my great grandmother made over 100 years ago. Can you imagine my utter shock and excitement when my agent called and said I had an offer with a top publishing house? Yes, there was screaming. I have been SO lucky. I have a supportive editor and agent who believe in this project and it's coming along even more beautifully than I could have dreamed. The book will be the kind of cookbook that I love to read - hardcover with 100 recipes and more than that number of photographs. There will be stories, tips, and beautiful ingredient and detail photos throughout.

Now starts the editorial process to make sure everything is perfect. The book is set to come out about a year from now. It's been fun to get to a behind-the-scenes look at how books come to be. I'm looking forward to sharing this adventure with you. Thank you for your support of my little blog  ♥

Linking to TidyMom Salad Party
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