About Shirley

A little about me

Image of Shirley

I am Shirley Dawson and I live in the beautiful Ozark hills of Northwest Arkansas with my husband Mel and my 120-pound baby “Bo”.  Boaz is our Giant Schnauzer baby.

I am a retired federal government worker. I retired after 33 years of service with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).  That was in 2006.  I worked for the FDA many years in the IT field and was involved with computer support, training and webmaster duties.  I also loved computer and graphics software.  After retirement, I ran my own Photography Studio for several years until health issues required me selling out. I’m currently in a wheelchair, have degenerating discs in my lower back; live with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis in my hips.  I also have a blood disorder which causes my bone marrow to create too many platelets and they are abnormal also.  This makes me very much a clotting and stroke risk.  I have had one stroke after a major surgery and now avoid any type of surgery if possible. I have experienced the severe pain of a gout attack also and never want to go through that again.

Dealing with some of my health issues triggered my researching a healthier lifestyle, especially in the foods I eat.  Being a type 2 diabetic, on insulin, I have a good reason to learn to eat healthily and control my blood glucose levels.

One major method of control is being conscious and careful of what I eat every day.  Foods with high carbs, especially sugars and bread create major issues for me by greatly increasing my pain and inflammation levels.  I’ve found that eating whole foods (less processed and natural foods) helps me control my BGL (blood glucose level) to a great extent. Eating this way also has a positive effect on my swelling and pain.

As a child and younger adult, I was never that fond of salads, but in more recent years they have become much more appealing to me.  I never enjoyed the salads my mom made – lettuce and maybe a few slices of tomatoes chopped up with a little-shredded cheese on top.  They were never very tasteful nor filling.  But now I’ve learned that salads can be created with amazing tastes and can also be filling, just like the main entrée.

In order to control my diabetes, my weight and help with the inflammation in my body, I’ve been on a journey learning to create and enjoy lots of different kinds of salads.  My husband, Mel is on this journey with me.  After suffering a heart attack in 2003 and undergoing 4 heart by-passes, he became very diet and health conscious.  His cardiologist encouraged him to eat more veggies and become more vegetarian, preferably consuming organically grown vegetables and fruits and only lean, natural meats from range free and hormone free animals.  He has also become very loyal to his exercise program. working out every day.

My mission has been to create meals that utilize lots of whole and clean vegetables, (organic when possible) and meats that are very lean and from range fed animals.  I really like combining these into a great salad.  Thus my excursion into the world of salads has become a way of life.  I know now that the variety of taste and textures to be had in salads can be amazing.

I decided that I would like to share many of the ways I’ve learned to turn a salad into a mouthwatering and filling entrée.

You are invited to share in my journey and my discoveries through this website and some of my favorite recipes. I am in the process of putting together a book of my favorite ways to create wonderful salads that are a delight to consume.


I welcome your comments and questions.  Fill free to share below:



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