Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Traditional Cucumber and Onion Salad

This week I realized that I am 6 months away from my 40th birthday!  Many would be scared by this revelation.  However, I'm actually pretty excited about it!

The my late 20's and the decade of my 30's were a bit challenging for me, "health wise".  It seemed that from the time I turned, oh about 25 (that was a rough birthday year, especially), that my health sorta took a turn for the worst.  The best thing that happened to me in my late 20's when it comes to health changes, was giving birth to our son and welcoming him, into our family.

Ailments seemed to pile onto other ailments.  I pretty much recollect never feeling 100%.  Well, most of that has past.  Now most of the ailments I have, my doc says "are signs of aging"....whhhhhat?!?!?!

In my mid to late 30's I found myself much more interested in my overall well-being and have made special intentions to keep my health at the top of my "To Do" list.

Do I weigh what I did in high school?  No, but I don't know that I was super healthy then anyway...and really, why would I want to weigh what I weighed in high school...I'm fully grown now!

Do I have the physique I had in high school?  No, in my opinion, it's way better!  I'm stronger now than I was then and I hope to keep it that way.  I've got lots of manual labor to come over the next several years, and I'd like to keep most of the painful arthritis at bay for as long as I can by staying active.  I consider my activity level to be "preventative medicine".

As I forecast to what may be ahead in these 6 months before I turn the Big 4-0, I think about how far I have come.  I have a lot more energy than I've ever had.  I'm excited about a lot more things than I've ever been.  I've gotten opportunities to do things that I never thought I would.  I have a bit more confidence than I've ever had!  I FEEL GREAT!  

Am I scared of the Big 4-0, absolutely NOT.  I'm really am looking forward to it!!  I'm looking forward to owning the 40's.  I'm finding my identity.  I'm finding my strength.  I'm at a good place and I want to keep making things even better!

In celebration of the last few decades when maybe I opted out of trying something because I just knew I wouldn't like it, I am sharing a recipe (pretty similar to my mom's recipe) for a summer time favorite; a staple when the garden was in full bloom, of a salad that I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole as a kid.  Now, as an adult, my tastebuds have changed and things I didn't like back then are things that I try, and with any luck, I actually LIKE!

I hope this pretty healthy, lean recipe brings back some memories.  I hope that it will inspire others to try something that wasn't liked as a kid, but likely will really like now, as an adult.

Life's too short to kick all the things of the past to the curb, sometimes we have to revisit them to create a better and brighter future.

CUCUMBER AND ONIONS SALAD (old fashioned, just the way I DIDN'T like it as a kid)

1 1/2 English Cucumbers (you can use regular cucumbers, I like English because they don't give me heartburn)
1/2 thinly slice, white or purple onion (purple adds some beautiful color)
2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar (I'm sure you could use a little less, but this seems to give the right amount of pickling sweetness)
Sea Salt, to taste
1 T ground black pepper

Slice the cucumber and onion, as thinly as possible and place into a large mixing bowl.  Combine water, vinegar and sugar in a mixing cup and pour over cucumbers and onions.  Add ground pepper and salt.  Mix together thoroughly.  Place in fridge for at least 2 hours for the flavors to meld a bit and to chill the salad.  Serve cold.  This salad actually tastes better within 24 hours of mixing because the flavors come together and provide that tanginess that I remember I didn't like as a kid.

I served this salad with a simply roasted Pork Shoulder roast and a baked sweet potato.  The tanginess of the salad, the sweetness of the potato, and the mild meatiness of the pork gave this meal a "Umami"-like balanced meal of flavor.  That's what I read somewhere anyway :)

**This is a much better alternative to cutting a few extra calories that making the Cucumber Onion Salad that uses Miracle Whip or Mayo.  Even my young son likes this recipe!

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