It’s the unofficial start to summer and you know what that means: dining alfresco! Whether it be picnics, backyard BBQ’s or lunch hours outside on a bench while soaking up a little sunshine, this grain salad with it’s rainbow of colors has you covered.
It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy nature’s bounty of fresh vegetables. If you are trying to eat a little cleaner and healthier, grain salads are for you! The satisfying chewiness of whole grains, the crunch of fresh veggies, the freshness of herbs and the zing of red wine vinegar make this salad a home run.
I’ll be honest with you, I was in the grocery store with a big loaf of crusty bread in my hand thinking “What’s the big deal… I’ll just buy it instead of making it”, but I JUST. COULDN’T. DO. IT.
So, I put that gorgeous loaf of bread back amongst it’s friends and headed home to start the focaccia.
I pulled out the stand mixer, made my dough, let it rise… Placed it ever so lovingly on my sheet pan to puff up again before sliding it in the oven… And yet, something was amiss. It just didn’t look quite right, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Once it was time for the bread to come out of the sauna, I realized I had a bit of a problem.
Not really sure how I screwed it up, but it was more of a focaccia pancake. It didn’t rise properly and looked rather pathetic. So I salvaged what I could, not wanting to waste everything and started over.
Truth be told, the Ohio State game was on and I was a tad distracted… There, I’ve said it. I wasn’t paying attention to my work, I was watching football.
That’s what happened.
Summer time is when I really enjoy salads. The anemic tomatoes of winter are happily forgotten and replaced with gleaming, juicy, bright red beauties. The delicious, but boring cucumbers can go on hiatus along with their carrot friends.
The same ol’ stuff that routinely finds its way into your salad can go by the wayside to make room for things like stone fruit!
Sometimes we are on auto-pilot and occasionally get stuck in a bit of a rut. Considering all of the amazing things available to us in the summer, this is the time to branch out and mix it up.
Making a salad for dinner is a great option. The clean up is pretty minimal and the ingredients are merely a suggestion. Use it as a jumping off point for an idea; if you don’t like an ingredient, swap it out for something you do like…
Perhaps the most important reason to go with a meal that takes about 10 minutes from start to finish:
It’s finally summer and you know what that means… picnics, barbecues and long days at the beach.
This pasta salad is perfect for taking on the go. It is light, yet substantial and dressed in a light vinaigrette, so no worries over gloppy mayo sitting out in the sun.
I love this particular pasta salad because of all the veggies in it and you can even add more… broccoli, julienned zucchini, summer squash, cauliflower, red bell pepper, summer beans, etc. would all be great in this salad. The beauty of summer is that so much fresh, gorgeous produce is available!
One of my goals in summer is to avoid turning on the stove most days… The black tar roof of the building I live in is my ceiling, need I explain further how I have come to understand what a roast chicken must feel like in the oven?!
A very good childhood friend of mine sent me some salted caramels over the holidays and I have been rationing them out on a daily basis. Needless to say, when I see commercials for all of the various weight-loss companies it makes me cringe a bit knowing I’m a few bites away from needing an intervention.
Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to get back into the swing of things. Like everyone else, I get a bit out of control during the holidays and then, when all of the over-eating makes me feel like Jabba the Hutt, the pendulum swings back the other way and I get myself back in line.
As you well know from previous posts, I have no shortage of mason jars in various shapes & sizes cluttering my cabinets and there is a reason for this, besides canning. They are useful for many different things, quick salad dressing being one of them.
It honestly couldn’t be easier… pour everything in & shake it up. The best part of making your own salad dressing aside from it being much less expensive, is that you know exactly what’s in it. There are no dyes, no high-fructose corn syrup, no ingredients that require a Ph.D. in Chemistry to pronounce.