“Fifty Shades of Green” Summer Salad

July 23, 2015
"Fifty Shades of Green" Summer Salad - The perfect combo of sweet and savory with a chive dressing to hold it all together .. This little green summer number is a favorite

“In that moment I knew, the way you know about a good melon”   ~ When Harry Met Sally

Mel and Carol 1-680x

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This past week, a family waited and prayed.  A day that had started like any other had turned in the blink of an eye.

“She's in ICU; they're doing all they can.”

Two days later a call from my sweet husband while I was out for an afternoon walk

“Word came after you'd left.  She's gone”

I sat for a while with my thoughts that beautiful summer day, thankful for the peaceful little park that finds me about halfway along my favorite route.

Their last visit through Iowa came only a few months ago, and we did what our family always does when special guests of honor arrive.  We spent the evening at our favorite place, telling funny stories over a glass or two of wine while eating steak and stringy onion rings

“Do they know what a joy it was to have them visit?  How I always loved seeing their RV parked at the top of the drive?

Thank you for always making the time, and spending it with those you love.”

Mel and Carol 2-680x

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“Do you see that girl?  One day I'm going to marry her, and two weeks later we were married, and it's over fifty years later,  and we're still married”   ~ When Harry Met Sally 

They visited the year I bought my first car, a 1970's VW Bug,  and it was my Uncle who taught me to drive a stick.  At six-foot-four, he barely fit in the passenger seat beside me

“Does he know, all these years later, that I still won't own a car with an automatic transmission?

Thank you for teaching me.”

I started dinner that afternoon when I got home from my walk, needing to make something that seemed a bit more special.  By evening time, as I lit a candle and set the table, the house was filled with good smells, sadness, and most of all a spirit of


I've waited twenty-five years to find my husband, and I sometimes wonder if the only thing either of us really wants now is a decent shot at twenty-five or so more.  We're at an age, as well as a stage in life, where we're wise enough to realize that we'd be fools to take any of this for granted

This precious life we have is a gift, and certainly not a promise.  Just for today (this tiny moment in time), we hold that fragile gift intact, in the palm of our hands.  Our good health, our togetherness, our love, our future

"Fifty Shades of Green" Summer Salad - The perfect combo of sweet and savory with a chive dressing to hold it all together .. This little green summer number is a favorite

“I thought he was crossing the room to talk to Maxine, because people were always crossing the room to talk to Maxine. Instead he was coming to talk to me”   ~ When Harry Met Sally

Sometimes their cross-country trips were planned, other times, like their last, not so much.  “She decided it was time to hit the road,  so I smiled and said, Baby, I'll get everything ready to go.”

“Do they know they've always felt like home?

Thank you for the beautiful example of marriage lived, so very well.”

There's nothing like a few days spent in the hospital to remind you just how precious a day not spent in the hospital truly is. Nothing like a small health scare to make you thank God for every body part that works

Nothing like a small operation and a few hours lost to anesthesia.  The kind of experience that makes you profoundly thankful for your own messy, mundane, yet wonderful life.  Nothing like checking out for a day to make you want to shout with joy, because of the simple fact that you're allowed this time

to check back in

I never asked though I wonder that's partly how they felt because it's how they lived their days.  Filling them with things and people who truly mattered and brought them joy.  Grandchildren, friends, family, and most of all

each other

You Wear White

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You know where we met?  In the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago in the North.  I rode up nine extra floors just to keep talking to her. Nine extra floors    ~ When Harry Met Sally

We're a card-playing family, and when they came, that's what we did.

“Do they know I loved to watch them together?  Thank you for being a shining example of what long, seasoned love is all about.”

The darkness seemed to come early that night, our candles burned low, and the bottle of bubbly neared its end.

Looking at the man across the table, I couldn't help but wonder how we ended up here ourselves; all of it seeming more vivid in light of the events from the week.  With so many years suddenly behind us, and maybe not quite so many left ahead

A reminder to live them well, and maybe borrow a playbook or two from their beautiful, decades-long marriage.  When I ask myself what that would be, the first words that come to mind?

“Be kind to each other”

Such a formidable challenge, such an essential instruction

                                Video Credit:  YouTube – Justin Girdler    (When Harry Met Sally – Love Stories)

“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I  love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich.  I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts.  I love that after I spend the day with you, I can smell your perfume on my clothes.  And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely and it's not because it's New Years Eve.  I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”   ~ Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

When they came to visit, they always told the best of stories

“Do they know how much I enjoyed simply sitting with, talking to, and being around them?

Thank you for sweet words of wisdom, passed along over all of these years.”

We lay in the dark that night, a kitty purring by my pillow, a puppy nestled between us, snoring from under the covers.

“Take good care of her, she's pretty special,” he whispered from across the pillow.  “It's the last thing your Aunt told me as we said good-bye to them that night and ..

I promised her I would”

Does she know how much she will be missed?

"Fifty Shades of Green" Summer Salad - The perfect combo of sweet and savory with a chive dressing to hold it all together .. This little green summer number is a favorite

A salad I made as part of our dinner that night, and boy, was it ever good

Looking for something a bit different, I ran across it as a community pick at food52.  This little green summer number is definitely worth adding to your list of recipes to try.

Crisp cucumber, tart Granny Smith apples, crunchy pistachio, sweet golden raisin, and a sparkly greek yogurt and chive dressing holding it all together, without a lettuce leaf in sight.  Bits of salty blue cheese only sharpen the taste



~ Adapted from Food52

"Fifty Shades of Green" Summer Salad


  • Salad
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • ½ English cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ - ½ cups crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature ( or gorgonzola)
  • chive dressing (recipe below)
  • chopped chives, for garnish

  • Chive Dressing
  • 1 ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp full-fat Greek yogurt (or crème fraîche)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ Tbsp fresh chives, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Salad
  • In a medium-sized bowl, add the apple, avocado, and lemon juice, and gently toss (this will help the apple and avocado not to oxidize)
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, and toss with the chive dressing. (You may not have to use all of the dressing, depending on how you like your salad)
  • If necessary, add extra salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with chopped chives.
  • The salad can be made up to 3-4 hours in advance.
  • (If you're making the salad in advance add in the room temperature cheese when you serve)

  • Chive Dressing
  • In a blender (or food processor), add in the garlic, champagne vinegar, creme fraiche, honey, chives, salt, and pepper. Process until well combined.
  • With the blender still on, through the top, stream in the olive oil. Blend until well combined.
  • Taste for salt and pepper.
  • Set aside
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 320
Total Fat 21.7g
Saturated Fat 5.9g
Carbohydrates 26.1g
Fiber 6.1g
Sugars 16.5g
Protein 7.8g
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  • Reply Barb July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I’m so sorry. Savor those lovely memories…

    • Reply sexyveggie July 28, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Barb .. thank-you for your always kind words.


  • Reply Barb Brown July 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Lovely tribute, Ali! I really love the way you write.

    • Reply sexyveggie July 27, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks so much Grandma Barb! Many hugs from afar .. xoxo

  • Reply Five Shades of Green Salad | Good Foods, Good Looks September 23, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    […] Source of photo: http://www.veggiesbycandlelight.com/fifty-shades-of-green-summer-salad/ […]

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus February 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    A beautiful tribute as always and your right, we should make the most of the life that we have because we never know when it might be taken from us. I had a friend who last year was killed abroad and she was only 25, I was so saddened by her death but what was even more sad was how much more of her life that she had to live. She always lived life to the fullest and I am afraid that many of us don’t x

    • Reply sexyveggie February 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Thank-you Ana for your sweet words. I’m so very sorry about your friend.

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