Strawberry Spinach Salad

This week we have invited some of our favorite foodie bloggers to come share some recipes that they love to use in these hot summer months. So grab your grocery list, sit back and prepare to be hungry because they are sharing a whole lot of yumminess this week!

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Hi, Everybody! My name is Kate and I, along with my blogging partner in crime Sara, write the blog Our Best Bites. If we're already friends, I'm so happy to see you here on one of my favorite blogs (I even have this hanging in my living room) and if we're not, I hope you'll come check us out. Even if it's just on holidays and weekends.

I'm a Utah girl living in Louisiana, and most of the time, the South and I are on good terms--the cost of living is low, the people are awesome, and we're within driving distance of big cities and beautiful beaches. However. This is my fourth summer here and every single July and August, our relationship goes through a rough patch. In fact, as y'all are my witnesses, I will do everything in my womanly powers to be somewhere else for the 4th of July next year (I have some awesome combination of fire ant/mosquito/chigger bites along with a nice side of heat rash all over my legs as I type this).

So yeah...during the summer months, I don't cook (with, say, an oven) unless I can't help it. We drink a lot of smoothies and eat a lot of salads and this is one of my all-time favorites!

I tweaked this salad from my sister-in-law Stephanie who used to make it in my post-marriage, pre-reproductive years, which was also the time when I first discovered this total cooking obsession that has kind of taken over my life in the best way possible. This salad was my first venture into the world of "foodie-ness"--it was not the typical bowl of chopped iceberg and shredded carrots with a bottle of ranch that you so often see at family dinners. It was so simple and yet so incredible--juicy, fresh strawberries in season, crisp cucumbers, tender spinach, and the intensity of toasted almonds combined with the freshness of the Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette totally opened up all these doors for me.

Whenever I'm at Sam's Club (or Costco, when we lived by one) during the spring and summer months and those giant clamshell containers of giant strawberries that are, like, $1 a pound are staring at me, I seriously feel guilty not buying some--it's almost like puppies in the Walmart parking lot on a Saturday. Since two pounds of strawberries are a considerably smaller commitment than a puppy (and better for my mental health), I usually just buy them. Then I make jam. And strawberry sauce. And salads. Like this one.

You'll need a bag of spinach,

sliced fresh strawberries, red onion, and cucumbers (peeled or un-peeled, whatever your preference)...

Toasted almonds (just heat them in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they're golden and fragrant)...

and one recipe of the Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette. If you want to add a little more protein to serve as a meal, you can also add strips of grilled chicken.

This next part is super hard. You can arrange all the ingredients on individual plates...

or you can just shake everything together and let people serve themselves. Either way is delicious and easy...

and a great way to use all the fresh ingredients that are starting to become available.

(Well, fresh except for that chicken, which, unless you're in Portland and are friends with Fred Armisen, probably came from the freezer). Thank you to our friend Brent for sharing the wonder of Portlandia with us).

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Recipe from Our Best Bites and Stephanie Jones

1 10-oz. bag fresh baby spinach
1/2-1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, seeded and sliced (you can peel it first if you want)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1 recipe Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
1/2 lb. grilled chicken breasts, sliced or diced (optional)

Toss ingredients together and serve immediately. You can also arrange the ingredients on individual plates for serving.

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Thank you so much Kate! It's so much fun having you here today! I mean how often do you have girls guest posting on your blog that are the authors of a cookbook you use in your own kitchen??
Kate and Sara are the authors of the Our Best Bites cookbook. How cool is that?

They also have a great blog. You'll most definitely want to check it out if you don't already!
It's full of great recipes (of course) and even some fun crafts and activities to do with your kids! You are going to love it!

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