Tim and I live in the downstairs of a 1940s-style house; I may have mentioned this before. If you walk into our living room from the front porch, you see built-ins around the fireplace, stuffed with the combined libraries of 20+ years of separate lives: a few textbooks, many novels, the guidebook and accompanying tapes for a ‘How to Speak Italian’ course. For the first few months we lived together, the mantel between these shelves was completely bare; December brought a $5 fresh pine wreath from Aldi, which we left mounted weeks past New Year’s; we finally threw it in the fireplace in February, planning to watch it burn, but it’s still sitting there. In its stead are perched a giant canvas engagement shot, a few framed prints and a wooden letter “M” I spray-painted white in a few Pinterest-driven weeks last winter.

3 fresh peaches

Besides the ottomans and the rug, everything in this living room is either from our previous apartments or hand-built by Tim; that’s true in most of the house. The leather couch: from his old apartment with two other guys. The coffee tables: my former nightstand and Tim’s former filing cabinet. As we usher you through to the dining room, we’ll give you the biographies of the entertainment center (built a few weeks before the wedding), the dining table (finished in those days when I was in Chicago making wedding favors) and the buffet (brought to our house just after we got rid of our first Christmas tree).

It’s a small and cozy two-bedroom, just the sort of place you’d think of when you think young newlyweds. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm, with beat-up hardwood floors, painted but paneled walls, white crown molding and natural light brought in through lots of windows—at least one in every room.

Fresh peaches and baby spinach

While you’re sitting at the table, we might tell you how last summer when we toured apartments, this place was last in the long line of possibilities we looked through and, by far, the best. I’d kept a list back then, with all the things we’d hoped for in our future home: an extra bedroom, a garage, windows in the bathroom and kitchen. This place had every one. And sometimes, still, we can’t believe we live here.

After we hand you your plates, piled high with baby spinach and roasted peaches and goat cheese, we might whisper that we’d stay forever if it weren’t for the smell of smoke filling our bathroom lately or the strange phenomenon we witnessed when our neighbor removed items from our trash can and took them to his backyard (!), or the growing desire we both have to plant a garden and, to watch it grow.

Baby spinach on plates

We talk to you from the kitchen, a white, 100-square-foot galley-style space with gray laminate countertops and a floor our landlord laid before we moved in (chosen primarily, we think, because it’s the cheapest kind they sell at Home Depot). There’s a white stone bowl with red tomatoes to the left of the sink and a handful of peaches set beside it.

Tim and I cooked together when we lived in different states and would visit for quick weekends; we cooked together when we lived in Nashville in different houses and traded dinners at his place or mine; but now, in this little house, we cook together constantly, swapping tasks and sharing chores for every meal.

I wipe down the counters one last time before we join you at the table, and Tim reaches into the fridge, past spinach and Pecorino and yesterday’s zucchini fritters, to grab the water pitcher, which, we apologize, is for some reason, the only drink we have on hand today.

Honey-Glazed Peach Salad for Two

Around the table, sitting at mismatched chairs beneath a vintage glass chandelier with cobwebs on it, we look at our plates, like we do most nights, and they’re as colorful and full as any from a five-star salad course in town.

Honey-Glazed Peach Salad Plate

Closeup of Honey-Glazed Peach Salad

With you, we give thanks. Because if any part of our simple, newlywedding life is mature and adult-like and settled, it’s not our careers or our furniture or our savings plans—in truth, we’re more likely to buy extra produce than new stocks—sitting before the spread before us, enjoying it with you, we know, it’s this, the way we eat.





Honey-Glazed Peach Spinach Salad
Serves two

Eating this simple summer salad feels so much like dining in a fine restaurant, I told Tim, I don’t know why we don’t make salads like this more often! They’re a perfect example of how making food pretty on a plate seems to make it taste better.

Ingredients:
Baby spinach, a couple handfuls
3 fresh peaches
1 Tablespoon honey
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, cubed or crumbled
Crushed walnuts, a couple tablespoons
Basil olive oil (We received some from O & Co)
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
ROAST PEACHES
Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice peaches in half and remove pits. Place peach halves, cut side up, in a baking dish. drizzle honey over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the smell of peaches is exploding in your kitchen. Once they’re done, remove to a plate or cutting board and slice.

ASSEMBLE SALADS
Take two plates and cover them with handfuls of fresh baby spinach. Arrange the peach slices on top. Cover with crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Add crushed walnuts almost as a garnish. Enjoy!

(Disclosure: O&O Co sent us the basil olive oil used in this recipe, but all opinions expressed here are our own.)

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn

    First things first, this has all the markings of a perfect salad. Colorful, fresh, textured – a summer beauty. Secondly, I swooned as you described your home with Tim – I love the history of your furniture and belongings – how some was ‘hers’ and some was ‘his’ and now it’s all come together as ‘yours.’ And finally, last but not least, it is too weird that your neighbor is taking your stuff into his backyard. Is there a Tim & Shanna shrine back there or what?

  2. MaryAnn

    Beautiful, beautiful salad! And I love the fact that you can describe your home furnishings by distinguishing which pieces your husband made; I can do that too, & it makes it all so much more ‘ours’.
    And as far as your neighbors taking stuff from your trash, welcome to the midwest! Sometimes we put stuff out there & make little bets about how long it will be before someone comes along & takes it *giggle*

    1. Shannalee

      I remember your saying that somewhere before, MaryAnn (Instagram? blogs?), and I love that about you guys, too. And is Nashville the Midwest? Either way, I don’t know, man, I’d understand if we left out a chair or a sofa or something, but trash from the bin? Something weird is going on… super weird!

  3. Laura

    I would love to sit down to this lovely salad with you fine folk on a summer’s eve; mismatched chairs, bizarre neighbour, tall glass of water and all. This is the kind of thing I’ve been eating constantly the past couple of weeks. Just perfect.

  4. Amy P

    If I’m ever in your neck of the woods I’m going to invite myself over to eat with you both:) That salad looks delicious and I love hearing some of the stories of what you’ve surrounded yourselves with.

  5. Kendra

    You have your house list? I have my life list. And one of my unchecked items is to eat with you guys in your kitchen or have you eat in mine. One day, man. One day.

  6. ami

    hey thr! I love your blog and yes the salad looks amazing..! I must say you are lucky that your husband enjoys fruits and salads cause mine doesn’t sulk sulk lol. But yes I am going to try it, may be just by myself.. :)

    1. Shannalee

      Ami, The truth is, Tim was loving fruits and salads long before I was. He pretty much showed me the light, ha! : ) That said, good food is something to be enjoyed, whether with many, with one or on your own. Hope you find time for it soon!

  7. Abby

    Lovely writing and photography, as always. This salad looks divine. And I love that you had a list of things you were hoping for in this house, and a list of things to have someday. Each time I move I seem to get one or two more things checked off the list: an older house, beautiful floors, a dishwasher. Next on the list, like you, is space for a garden. I’m making do with containers, but oh, for a stretch of land to plant corn!

  8. molly

    Oh, Shannalee. I love it. All of it. I think that, often. Haven’t said it in awhile. Forgive me that quiet. Summer, you know. But this, the cobwebs to the peaches, excellent, tip to tail.

    Happy fading summer to you, and pinking dawn to you, both.

  9. sarah kate branine

    Okay, I think we need a house tour– to see all of this handmade furniture and new canvases in the kitchen, etc, etc, etc! : )

    I have about 6 different comments to leave on different posts– maybe I will get them done throughout the next 24 hours, ha! Right now I have a little boy desperate for a glass of milk : )

  10. Kim

    Your house sounds a lot like our house, and you have so perfectly put into words what I have been struggling to identify (as you so often do): The nesting of newlyweds. Perhaps THAT’S why I’ve been so focused (in my head, anyway) on settling in and turning our house into a home!

    1. Shannalee

      Every few months, I get laser-focused on making things more homey; then it passes; then I’m at it again. : ) We just had a season of new canvases and decorating the kitchen and writing a new message on the chalkboard, and now I’m distracted again. This is a good season, the newlywed one.

      1. Kim

        I know what you mean. I’m in a laser-focus mode right now (though I’m also focused on some side-projects, and my day job, and…) – I just want to nest, dangit!

  11. Alice Choi

    Beautiful photos and the salad looks absolutely delicious! So simple yet elegant! I don’t know about you, but I “eat with my eyes first” so I am definitely trying this one- thank you for sharing!

  12. Megan Gordon

    Oh how I loved this! Reading about joining your book collections made me smile … we’ve very much done that and quickly ran out of room so we have a huge area set up in the basement for overflow. And I completely agree regarding the extra money on produce. We spend the majority of our money on food, too. Not fancy travel plans or cars, but on really good cheese. Hope you’re having a good week. xx, mg

  13. Vicki

    Beautifully written blog post!! Like the others said, I felt like I was over for dinner at your house. Must admit after seven years of marriage Chris & I still have separate book collections. Our movies are merged though.

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