I've noticed that during the really rough times in my life, having a supportive group of friends to lean on always helped to make the tough times pass a little more quickly. Not that the pain went away altogether, but the people who cared about me did a great job of keeping my brain and body occupied so that I didn't feel so alone with my troubles. Praying for God's help was always first on my list, but the friends who stood by with a shoulder to cry on or jokes to make me laugh to the point of hurling were often times God's greatest blessing to me. Those friends are my "rough riders"
One of my very favorite "rough riders" is Kim, from Cravings of a Lunatic. I'm not sure if she realizes this, but the very first time I read Kim's blog was just two days after my my mom passed away of complications of Parkinsons Disease. On August 28, 2011, my sweet momma went home to Heaven, after a 5 year battle with a horrible disease. The next day, I was a hot mess. I was feeling MIGHTY depressed and sorry for myself, too...after all, I was now an ORPHAN! My dad had died many years before from heart disease, when he was just 48, and I was only 15. The next day, August 30th, through a strange twist of fate, I decided to browse the Internet for some good recipes to cheer me up. That's when I came across Kim's post for mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was at that moment that the stars aligned and a little orphan girl in Wisconsin was linked up with a little lunatic orphan girl from Canada. Kim's post made me smile for many reasons, and it didn't take me long to learn just how much we have in common. Well, besides our obsessions with bacon and caramel.
You see, Kim lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the anniversary of the day her Mom passed, she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita's Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her stepfather had a heart attack. Jen's stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day.
The ladies reached out to other bloggers (myself included) and we're all sharing stories about how heart disease has touched our lives. So today, in memory and honor of "Momzie" (Kim's mom), we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours. We all hope that you'll share your stories with us today as well.
Since heart disease is hereditary, and it's also a rising epidemic and one of the leading causes of death, I think it's become more important than ever for me to find ways to incorporate heart healthy foods into my diet. This farro salad is one of them.
Often used as a substitute for pasta or rice, farro is a gluten-free grain with a nutty flavor similar to brown rice. It's rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E. In this particular salad, I paired it up with some dried cranberries and some crunchy Granny Smith apple pieces, added a few walnuts for some healthy fat, and tossed it with a citrus & honey basil vinaigrette dressing. I can't even begin to tell you how yummilicious this salad is! I could have easily added a protein like cooked chicken or turkey to it, or even some shaved Parmesan cheese would have been a perfect topping.
I felt like it needed a little more pop of color, so next time, I may serve it over some baby spinach or with some Spring greens.
As simple as it was, I ate a 1 cup portion for lunch and felt INCREDIBLY full and satisfied!
I hope you make and enjoy this heart healthy recipe. Oh, and will you please do me a favor and hug a loved one tightly for me? We just never know how long we'll have them, so it's important to make the most of every moment...
I love and miss you, Momma and Daddy!
After you've had a chance to look over my recipe, you might want to hop around and check out some of the posts from these other amazing bloggers!
- 3/4 cup farro, uncooked
- 2 Tablespoons grape seed oil, divided
- 1/4 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 large gala or granny smith apple, cored and diced
- 1 Tablespoon chopped basil (I used 1/2 tsp Pampered Chef Sweet Basil Spice)
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup Craisins
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak farro in cold water for 20 minutes; drain well.
- Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Add farro and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain well then rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain again, then transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add apples, stir well and cook until slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Transfer apple mixture to bowl with farro. Add basil, lemon juice, remaining 1 Tablespoon oil, walnuts, Craisins, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.