Going on vacation next week....details at the end of the post. See you in September!
When I was a younger woman, I had no time for breakfast. Of course I choked down all the coffee I could manage and then, on high throttle, ran to catch the bus for work or jumped in the car to run kids to school. By lunch I was Starved with a capital “S” and surely ate more than I needed. I particularly remember drinking chocolate milk with my noon meal every day for one year of my short teaching career. (I also had to buy new and larger pants that year. It only takes one constant change, you see.) It wasn’t that I hadn’t been raised to eat a good morning meal; I had. Thanks, Dad. Somehow that daily oatmeal had gotten lost in the shuffle along the way, perhaps at college, much to my detriment. One fateful fall, however, weight having finally gotten the best of me, I joined Weight Watchers (WW). The doctor also called me on my caffeine habit; sigh. (I drink half-caff now so I can still have a humongous mugful.) If you know anything about WW and particularly old school WW –before points–you’ll know you must eat breakfast. You’ll fall flat on your face if you don’t. While I’m still a faithful member of the WW tribe (I’d be even larger if I weren’t), I also have become even more attached to the idea of a filling, substantial breakfast so I don’t lean into snacking or want two lunches. Plus I simply love breakfast!
Aside: Why have I done WW for so long? It keeps me honest. Can’t forget that ice cream bar if you’re tracking everything you eat.
When the temperature soars to 90 F and above, I’m looking with a vengeance for any way to avoid turning the stove on. Sometimes even grilling or eating outdoors sounds too warm. Shades are pulled; lights are dimmed or off and yes, the AC is on, on, on during the day. I know; it’s not perfect. BUT! It is the perfect time to be able to reach into the refrigerator and just pull out dinner right along with a can of lemony sparkling water to top off a little cold Chardonnay. If it’s all in one bowl and ready to slip onto our plates, I’m even happier. Sometimes that’s a salmon pasta salad or, if we’re really lucky, it’s a quiche defrosting from the freezer or our chilled no-cook Spicy Cucumber-Feta Soup. This week it’s a silky-crunchy and perky bean and chickpea salad I’ve named PESTO BEAN SALAD. This is nothing in the world like your great aunt’s potluck 3-Bean Salad, no matter how much you loved or hated it. (I’ve never made 3-Bean Salad myself but who knows what lies ahead?) Homemade or jarred pesto is the simple summer sauce and there are enough vegetables to satisfy every mother on the planet. Fresh mozzarella lends a chewy, decadent, fatty note and since I added cherry tomatoes, there’s more than a nod toward my adored caprese. Today, a friend asked about leftovers; would this hold a few days in the fridge? “It’s lovely,” I told her. I haven’t even needed to add more dressing or seasonings. A big stir has been all it’s wanted. Can’t ask for much more in July.
It all started out gloriously. A beautiful Fourth of July brunch on the deck. Husband cooking one of my egg “recipe” favorites. Big ol’ hot sun in the true blue sky. Coffee in the tall mug, thanks. Unleaded Bloody Mary in the frosty pint glass. Dog next to us and a whole New York Times to read with all the time in the world to do it. Dinner, and making what would come to be known here as “Grilled Broccoli Potato Salad,” was light years away.