spring green salad

I returned from my first BlogHer Food conference late last night. I woke today feeling a little unsettled.

I had a great time at the conference. I got to spend quality time with bloggers I already called real-life friends, and I met some completely awesome people for the first time (including many of my idols in the blogging and food writing world).


I never caught up on my sleep after waking at 3:30 am on Friday. The fatigue coupled with the amount of people there (500?) and the occasional high school feel was kind of overwhelming for me (that’s code for “I am 40 years old and I cried in public”). Then my plane home was delayed several hours. So I found the whole experience kind of draining.

In an effort to regain some some balance, I tossed together this salad with spring greens from my garden today. I planted seeds a month or so ago, so I’ve got organic baby lettuces and baby Bloomsdale spinach in my garden right now. It’s such a pleasure to eat them after a long and cold winter spent relying on produce from the store.

baby garden greens

I’ve also got these baby red lettuces and young peas; they’re so content with all the rain we’ve been having.

garden greens

To make the salad, I grabbed a few handfuls of each of the greens; I tore them a bit, then combined them with a couple of whole lemon balm leaves (also from my garden: lemon balm is a perennial that came back just beautifully for me this year, but basil would also work well), some toasted almonds, pitted kalamata olives, and chopped preserved Meyer lemon rind. A drizzle of olive oil and a few twists of the pepper mill finished things off…and all was right with my world again.

spring green salad

Related posts I love:
Merry Gourmet’s Good and Bad of Food Blog Conferences
How Not to Behave at a Food Blogging Conference from 5 Second Rule


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  1. 1

    Nutmeg Nanny — May 23, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

    I love that you find a salad comforting. I would have to eat a pound and pounds of carbs to feel sane again :) I also love the use of preserved lemon rind. That would be the perfect little sour bite….yum!

    I’m thinking about attending BlogHer Food next year but not sure where it’s going to be. Although I really loved taking part of the #bhf11pp this weekend so maybe I will just stick to pity parties instead of the real thing :)

  2. 2

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    Haha I did eat some chocolate covered graham crackers from Sbucks in the airport before I came home to the salad. I do recommend going…I will go again, but next time, I will be prepared not to take anything personally, and just to have fun.

  3. 3

    Tessa — May 23, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    I came home and made a salad too! Definitely good to keep it light after a long, tiring, indulgent weekend.

  4. 4

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    Thanks and lovely to meet you Tessa. You were one of the truly awesome people I met, and I am so grateful for that!

  5. 5

    Melissa@EyesBigger — May 23, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    Sorry to hear the experience wasn’t quite what you’d hoped but, I love this salad and I really love that all the greens came from your garden (already! I’d love to say mine were that far along). It looks lovely and refreshing and green. Perfect for spring!

  6. 6

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:13 am

    Thanks Melissa,
    I am sure that in a week or so, I’ll look back on it in a completely positive light. I still haven’t caught up on the sleep deprivation though!

  7. 7

    Lynda - TasteFood — May 23, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

    Winnie, your salad photos are beautiful! It’s true the conferences can be draining and unsettling, a reason why I didn’t fly across the country for this one – but the nuggets you glean are worth it in the long run.

  8. 8

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    I know it was worth it. Hard to rationalize the travel time, expense, and stress, but I am still glad I went.

  9. 9

    Maris(In Good Taste) — May 24, 2011 @ 5:26 am

    That salad would make me feel better too!

  10. 10

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    Thanks Maris! The food there wasn’t terribly healthy (and there wasn’t a lot of it honestly) so I was happy to come home to my garden :)

  11. 11

    Juls @ Juls' Kitchen — May 24, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I just discovered you blog, it’s very refreshing and comforting, just like your salad!

  12. 12

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    Thanks and I am so happy you can by :)

  13. 13

    Oui, Chef — May 24, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    Sorry to hear BlogHer was so stressful, but love the antidote you’ve come up with here, its a beauty of a salad. Glad you’re finally home safe. – S

  14. 14

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    Thanks Steve! It was stressful but also terrific…really. In a week or so, I am sure I’ll have only positive things to say :)

  15. 15

    LiztheChef — May 24, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    I felt the same way after my first conference, to a lesser degree. Leaving family behind was the hardest part for me. Still, the experience does mean so much. And your salad photos are incredibly lovely…

  16. 16

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    Hey Liz,
    Leaving home is hard, spending the money to go is hard (cause the last time I checked, my blog didn’t make me $800 and that’s what I spent!), dealing with all the people is hard…but in the end I am happy I went. Thanks :)

  17. 17

    Nancy — May 24, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    Goodness, your garden is going strong with so many lovely green things :) I just put up my first jar of preserved lemons over the weekend so I’ll keep this in mind once they’re ready to use (I still have a while to wait!).

    I get so overwhelmed by big crowds, especially at conventions — but sounds like you made the best of it!

  18. 18

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    It was worth going, but definitely a challenge at times. LOVE preserved lemons and use them all the time :)

  19. 19

    Kelly Wilson — May 24, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    It looks yummy. I hope you catch up on your sleep and feel back to normal quickly.

  20. 20

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    Me too, Kelly. Me, too.

  21. 21

    Kathryn — May 24, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    That looks absolutely gorgeous! You’re so lucky to have all that fresh produce right in your own yard. I’m more lusting after those kalamata olives, though. LOVE them!

  22. 22

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    Thanks Kathryn…I can’t wait for the rest of my veggies to be ready to harvest, too :)

  23. 23

    merry jennifer — May 24, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    One of the absolute best parts of spending the weekend at BlogHer Food for me was getting to spend so much time with you. I’m so glad to call you my friend, Winnie.

  24. 24

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    MJ- you are always so calm and sane, and I love it. Thanks for your friendship!

  25. 25

    Marisa — May 24, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    I completely understand how overwhelming BlogHer Food can be. Part of the reason I didn’t go to this one was that I could not deal with two such events in a single calendar year. Plus, I absolutely cannot abide the high school/popularity contest feeling that often appears at these conferences. However, I do wish I could have met you! Hopefully someday!

  26. 26

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    I am dying to meet you Marisa. Let’s make that happen sometime soon :)

  27. 27

    Aggie — May 24, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    I hope that salad did the trick b/c it looks beautiful and delicious.

    I cried in public on my first blog related trip. Completely overwhelmed and I was exhausted from traveling and activities that a phone call home kinda threw me over the edge in tears.

  28. 28

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    You know, Aggie, a huge part of this for me was that I fought with my daughter the night before I left and did not have a chance to make up. So I left on the wrong foot, so to speak :(

  29. 29

    Lynn (@Mama_Says) — May 24, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    Winnie, I thrilled that thing are right in your world and that a salad from your garden did the trick. There is something so calming about gardening, harvesting and eating from the fruits of the earth. Terrific photos and your salad looks so delicious! Enjoyed meeting you at FBS and seeing you at the Auburn Market during BHF.

  30. 30

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    Wonderful to meet you too, Lynn…truly!

  31. 31

    JulieD — May 24, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    I’m sorry you got upset, Winnie. It was a long and tiring weekend but to me completely worth it because I got to spend time with gems like you! It was great to spend time with you and I hope to see you again this year! All the best to you and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. :)

  32. 32

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    It’s ok Julie, and spending extra time with you made it all worth it for me. You are such a sweetheart and I am so glad I can call you my friend.

  33. 33

    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — May 25, 2011 @ 5:50 am

    Your photography is stunning!

  34. 34

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:03 am

    Thanks Lindsay!

  35. 35

    Jim (@comfort in crumbs) — May 25, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    Howdy Winnie, I’m so glad we got to commiserate on the walk back to the hotel on Saturday night (Sunday morning) of the conference. I, too, felt buffeted by the accidental snubs and the overwhelming social anxiety of a very large conference. I retreated to my room more time than I care to admit to recharge and put myself together. I’m glad as luck would have it, that I got the time to meet and chat with you.

    I also woke up at 3:30am on Friday (and on Saturday) and defaulted to my normal morning process of exercise to battle fatigue. I wish there had been healthier fare at the conference and all around just better food. I also wish there had been more time for folks to just chat and get to know each other.

    I don’t have a garden, but I’ve been enjoying several green meals since I got back and lots of yoga to regain my balance as well. Such a pleasure to read your post after the BlogHer experience and to see your lovely website.

  36. 36

    Winnie — May 25, 2011 @ 11:03 am

    Jim! I was just thinking about you. About how good it was to meet you, about how I am still so tired and behind on everything and have not yet had a chance to visit your blog. So I am so glad you stopped by. Next time, I am definitely going to make time for exercise- it’s so important and definitely one of the reasons I did not feel entirely like myself in Atl. And yeah- let’s hope for better, healthier food next time! The best meal of the trip for me was the late night snack I shared with Julie on Saturday…

  37. 37

    Jim (@comfort in crumbs) — May 25, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

    Oh believe me, Winnie, I understand. I’ve been stuck in a twitter-tornado since I’ve returned and I’ve barely had a chance to catch up with my e-mail. I’m seriously considering turning off twitter for a day at least so I can get my next post out.

    I’m glad I made the time in Atlanta to run, I just wish I had taken the MARTA to Piedmont Park and taken a run there. My best meal was with an old friend at Sun in my Belly in the Kirkwood area; excellent gouda, zucchini and summer squash omelette with maple glazed bacon.

    I’ve been reading your blog and I’m loving the healthy focus. You’ve been added to my RSS reader and looking forward to reading more of your writing.

  38. 38

    Delishhh — May 26, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    Winnie – Wow – i have been reading all these positive conference post and wish i had gone but then i read yours and now i am glad i didn’t. Only reason i would probably feel discouraged and i like living in my little blog bubble :) I just wanted to let you know that i love your blog and think you do fabulous things!!! Keep it going!

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