Growth in the garden- Quick easy salads for busy nights

 

One of my sunflowers in my garden. One of my favorite summer flowers

One of my sunflowers in my garden. One of my favorite summer flowers

I enjoyed my usual August time off. This year more so than ever. I had big plans. All of which got cancelled. I could pout about it but it turned out to be the biggest blessing. The first of those blessings being that my car broke down on Monday, the first technical day, of my vacation. Now the cost and trouble  we went through that day were not a blessing but maybe they were and I don’t know it as of yet. All I know is the 4 teenage boys in my car were safe. We had decided to take a shorter trip. My car broke down in a parking lot when I was doing 3 mph not 65 on the highway. See my steering box went, not in as it slowly broke. Nope something snapped and the car was unable to be steered. It could have been really bad. I counted my blessings as the guys raced go-karts and I called the tow truck looking at my front tires going in opposite directions. I can’t tell you how many times I said thank-you we were all safe.

The car had some damage and I was told I would not have it for the remainder of my vacation time most likely. I was disappointed at first but then remembered something from a few days earlier. I had held a Goddess Circle at my home and one of the ladies told me she felt so relaxed at my home and compared it to being on vacation. We had some good food, meaningful conversation,and  smelling of sage,  we gathered around my fire pit where we released our negative habits then gave thanks for new blessings that were coming. Afterwards, in our dreamy states, we took our cool drinks and walked into the night  to watch the moonrise over Long Island Sound. With our feet dangling over a wall and giggling, we enjoyed each other’s company. I even felt like I was on vacation.  As I thought over that night, I realized how even more blessed I am and how right she was. A staycation is just what I needed.

Sometimes you need someone else to point out the simple blessings you have in your life that you over look. So out came my bicycle and the plans to just enjoy my beach-side home. To get my hands in the soil and work in my yard. To enjoy homemade ice tea on the deck with a good book and the songs of birds in the background.

Simple become my motto. Life has been complicated for far to long. There has been too much pain that I let go of into that fire. There has been too much being busy just to hide from what I don’t want to deal with. That all melted away last week. I took time to call the people I love because life is just to short. I spent time with a friend at the beach. I’ve made plans with others and I can’t wait to see them.  I lounged around longer in the morning with a second cup of tea. It was simply delicious and just what I needed.

Summer calls for this  kind of relaxation and for simple meals. Below are two simple and similar salads to whip up in minutes. Nothing fancy here. Just simple. I’ve been blessed to have some beautiful things from not only my garden but from my son’s mentor who has been sharing some produce and even some homemade wine.   If you’re not lucky enough to have fresh produce from your yard or a good friend/neighbor, I suggest hitting a farmer’s market or getting to know your local produce department lead. I am lucky I know several at the local stores I like to shop at. They really go out of their way to find me the best produce if I am less than happy or can’t find something. So don’t be afraid to ask. Also don’t be afraid to substitute things you like. I often like to toss in heirloom tomatoes that are the many colors to add some brightness to my salads.

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Caprese Style Salad

  • cherry tomatoes – halved, I also used a large garden tomato roughly cut up
  • 8 oz package of mozzarella pearls, drained
  • diced pancetta
  • spring salad leave or spinach leaves
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper

Place your lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella and diced pancetta in a bowl. Toss. Plate and top with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh pepper.  Serve with some great bread and butter. Enjoy on a deck under the evening sky for the best flavor.

 

 

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Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Stacks

  • 2 small eggplants- sliced
  • 2 small tomatoes- sliced
  • 8 oz mozzarella log, sliced
  • basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • baguette slices
  • balsamic vinegar

Heat your grill to medium heat. Brush each slice of eggplant with olive oil and grill untill soft and has slight marks on them. Take off grill and set aside. Brush bread slices with olive oil and place on grill until golden brown.   On a plate put a slice of toasted baguette, top with an eggplant slice, mozzarella slice, tomato slice and a basil leaf. Sprinkle more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve with a salad to round out the meal.

I am still working on the changes that will be coming to this site along with a few other fun surprises I am cooking up. So stay tuned my dear sweet friends who follow this blog. I appriciate you more than you know.

Until next time,

Shelly

 

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