My oldest son returned home from his first year of college last weekend, and I’ve been a little off kilter this entire week. It feels like I’m a day or two behind…perhaps it was the five loads of laundry that he deposited on the floor of our laundry room when he arrived home, or the extra food that I had to take into consideration when shopping and cooking this past week. There was one evening when there wasn’t enough food to go around. I was just as happy eating a salad for dinner, but it has been a bit of an adjustment increasing the quantity of food I make for dinner.
My other boys always tease me when their older brother comes home. “Oh, I get it, Ryan’s home, so you’re making all his favorite foods.” Well, there is some truth to that I have to admit. After nine months living on dorm food, I am happy to feed my son as much good food as possible before he returns to college in the fall. In fact, he has come home a more diverse eater – he now likes Thai food, something he wouldn’t touch before he left for college.
Apparently, he has not been eating too many vegetables at school (he reports that he has been putting lettuce and tomatoes on his sandwiches and eating bananas daily so I guess that’s better than no vegetables or fruit at all), so I am making sure he gets as many vegetables and fruits into his system this summer as I can. I even tried sneaking some vegetables into his chicken quesadillas at lunch one day, but got called on it. I just laughed it off, and he ate it, so hey, it was worth it.
My husband and I are thrilled to have our son home for the summer. So many of his friends are working away from home this summer, so I am thankful that he was able to find a job locally and will be able to spend some time with his siblings. Our family dynamics have shifted once again, and although there will be three drivers in the house sharing one car come June, all four of the boys are together again, playing basketball outside, and back to their old antics. There’s definitely more noise and activity in the house.
Now that summer is on the horizon, I’ve been thinking about more casual, outdoor entertaining, which often includes a variety of cold salads that can be made ahead of time. For some Spring salad inspiration, here are some salads from last Spring and Summer that I am planning on making again soon. Our local farmer’s market just opened last weekend, and my CSA (“Community Shared Agriculture”) box should be starting in a few weeks, so I will have plenty of farm fresh produce to play with.
Cucumber and Red Onion Salad (cucumbers, red onions, dill, rice vinegar, and a little organic sugar)
Another American favorite for picnics, barbeques and casual entertaining is potato salad. There are so many varieties of potato salad, some savory, some on the sweeter side. I tend to like the more savory types of potato salad that are not laden with mayonnaise. This week, I tried a lighter Greek Potato Salad by Cat Cora with a Mediterranean twist. I was drawn to this recipe because it contained no mayonnaise, making it egg-free and picnic-friendly, meaning this potato salad can sit out for a longer period of time than the typical potato salad. On a hot summer day, this is particularly important when entertaining. You don’t want to get anyone sick .
Today, a group of bloggers is honoring Cat Cora as one of the Top 50 Women Game Changers in Food. I can’t believe we are nearing the end of this list at #48 today. I have been watching Cat Cora on Iron Chef for the last several years and always admired her as the first and only female Iron Chef.
Cat Cora is of Greek descent and was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where she grew up in a Greek community. Her cooking style was influenced by some of the great cooks in America – Julia Child, Barbara Tropp, M.F.K. Fisher, as well as her grandmother. Not only did Cat receive Bon Appetit Magazine’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2006, but she was also named executive chef of the magazine in the same year.
Cat Cora is also president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization that was founded in response to the 2004 tsunami disaster, and serves as the nutritional spokesperson for UNICEF.
I would love to hear what your favorite healthy Spring and Summer salad ideas are.
If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from One Perfect Bite. Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Cat Cora:
Linda from There and Back Again
Val from More Than Burnt Toast
Taryn from Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan from The Spice Garden
Heather from girlichef
Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney
Mary from One Perfect Bite
Sue from The View from The Great Island
Barbara from Movable Feasts
Nancy from Picadillo
Kathleen from Bake Away With Me
Veronica from My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook
Alyce – More Time at the Table
Amrita – Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades
Martha - Simple Nourished Living
Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink