by Caroline

One of my favorite things, among the many small things that I love about my kids being in school until 2 PM, is that I have time now to make and eat lunch at home.

Last year, when my youngest was in preschool, I left the house at 11:30 AM to pick him up. It was too early to eat before leaving the house, and usually by the time we got home, I was too hungry to do more than warm up some leftovers or make a quesadilla or something else not particularly inspired. A snack might have been a good idea, but then I wouldn’t have been hungry for lunch until 2 PM, which doesn’t work well when you’re living with small people who need dinner at 5:30.

You see the little problem.

Now, I don’t have to leave the house until 1:30. And that gives me the necessary time to work all morning, and then rummage around inside the fridge and pantry and come up with a salad like this. I realize we’ve been posting a lot about salads lately; Lisa’s herby green salad is a staple in our house, too, and garbage salad is a regular in my lunch routine. Earlier in the summer, when I was I reminiscing about our glorious French vacation I posted three new recipes. Because salad can be a great meal for lunch. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it doesn’t need to take any longer to make than to heat up leftovers. But sometimes, the right combination of ingredients doesn’t present itself to you unless you can give it a couple moments of thought. And then maybe the combination, once you see it, seems so obvious it’s hardly worth remarking upon. But if the ingredients are fresh and you have thirty minutes to eat in peace, perhaps with a book by your side, the meal feels like a remarkable gift indeed.

So here it is, today’s fall spinach salad:

Spinach leaves
Halved red grapes
Crumbled goat cheese
Toasted walnuts
Balsamic vinaigrette

Toss and enjoy.