Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Those Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

It's only June 7 and it's already 96 degrees here in middle Tennessee.  Our average daytime temperature for this date normally is 85.  We are way above normal (and not in a good way).  The weather has been wacky up to this point, why should it change now?  

The 13 year cicada invasion is finally starting to subside and now it's time for  the mosquito invasion.  Other than that, we welcome the long, warm days and evenings of summer.  I will take them any day over shoveling snow and slipping and sliding on ice.  Oh yes, long days and evenings, sun, freshly mowed grass and flowers are always better than snow in my book.  It's not quite the same as when we were kids and could enjoy summer vacations from school, swimming, playing, evenings of kick the can and hide and seek with everyone in the neighborhood.  Most of us work all day with only evenings and weekends to enjoy and maybe a couple weeks of vacation.  So who wants to spend all their time cooking?  No one, that's who.

This is a recipe for a quick and easy salad that requires NO cooking, just some chopping.  You can use ANY vegetables that you like to eat raw.  For the salad in the picture I used the following:

1/2 head cauliflower
2 crowns broccoli
1 cup baby carrots, cut in bite sized pieces
1/2 container grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper

You can use onions, mushrooms, yellow squash or zucchini also.  Can't wait for the vegetable garden to start producing!  We will be using all kinds of fresh goodness for this salad!

Cut all the vegetables into bite sized pieces and place in a salad bowl.  Sprinkle liberally with dried basil and thyme.  Toss the vegetables, making sure they all have some of the herbs on them.  Now, pour 1/2 bottle red wine vinegar dressing over the vegetables and stir again.  Make sure all vegetables are coated with the dressing.  Tadah!  You are done.  You can make as much or as little as you want, just adjust the dressing accordingly.

This salad keeps well in the refrigerator and is a good one to take for a potluck dinner or picnic.  It makes a wonderful side when you are grilling out.  No worry about mayonnaise-based dressings going bad in the heat.  When you have eaten all the vegetables, cut up all the ones remaining, add more herbs and dressing.  Now, how easy is that?  I made this all the time when all the kids were home.  They loved it!  They would get it out and eat it as a snack.  It is so cool and refreshing and gets better as it sits.  You can eat it as soon as it is prepared or save it for later in the week, just store it with plastic wrap covering the bowl.   Give this salad a try, I think you are going to like it!

We are sitting on the deck, enjoying this lovely summer evening.  The temperature has dropped and the humidity is low.   Dan is playing his guitar while I type.  We have the deck lights on and the fountain going, listening to all the summer sounds of nature.  There are blooming plants all around us and there is a gentle breeze stirring the trees.  How much better can it get?  Wish you were here!

Everyday Donna

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy— Thich Nhat Hanh

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