Wednesday, June 17, 2009
GNI and Spinach Salad!
Girls Night In is often more fun than Girls Night Out. Rather than scouting for a good parking space, jostling for a table, and paying restaurant prices for food and drink, many women are opting for GNI as an affordable, and more relaxing, alternative.
My first GNI was about six years ago when I moved from a large apartment into a much smaller place. Despite the tight quarters, with a galley kitchen and a living room the size of a match box, eight of us gathered to enjoy a few hours together. Everyone brought something to share. I provided the drinks and dessert (I typically provide the dessert!) and we had a great time. It started a monthly round-robin of sorts, with one friend offering to host the next GNI, and another the one after that. We all looked forward to sharing our own homes and hospitality which allowed us to get to know each other quite a bit better than if we were spending time in restaurants or pubs.
The other night a number of friends with our daughters (and my grandson Henry) gathered at my friend Diane’s home. We enjoyed Diane’s Chinese chicken salad, Tina’s terrific spinach salad, Lynn’s home-made macaroni and cheese, and a key lime pie for dessert! It had been a long time since we’d all gotten together. We laughed over shared memories and talked about the future. Henry entertained all by scooching -- fast as lightning -- his mode of transportation rather than crawling. He’ll be walking any time, but for now, it’s something to see him sitting upright, his movement powered by thrusting his arms up and down simultaneously as his little legs pull back and forth!
Since that first GNI I’ve enjoyed many fun evenings with friends in and out of our homes. Every now and then we head to downtown Saratoga Springs instead of someone’s kitchen, when there’s that need for a spontaneous get-together and you just want to sit and talk, and get waited on! But when you have time to plan a casual evening together for no other reason than to enjoy each others’ company, nothing is more relaxing than a Girls Night In.
Here are the makings for that wonderful, simple spinach salad. The ingredients are listed but quantities are up to you:
Baby spinach leaves
Crisp bacon, broken up into bite-sized pieces
Blue cheese crumbles
Very thin slices of red onion (if desired).*
Glazed pecans or walnuts
Toss all together, and serve raspberry vinaigrette dressing on the side.
Make it a meal by adding grilled chicken or shrimp, and serve with a crusty loaf of bread.
*You can tame red onion a bit by soaking slices in ice water or milk for five minutes or more before using. It removes some of the bite.
Photo credit: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/2285422/spinach_Full.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.ehow.com/how_2285422_boost-health-five-healthy-foods.html&usg=__FkmNhujG7WILRPuSLF42bu_-oLk=&h=564&w=498&sz=60&hl=en&start=65&tbnid=0cmymJdBe0COUM:&tbnh=134&tbnw=118&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dspinach%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D60