Easy Summer Salads

Cook once, eat all week.

My approach to summer cooking.

I’m so lazy in the summer. I love to cook but I really don’t want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen when I could be outside. Or fanning myself on the sofa drinking a lemonade that may or not have vodka in it. So when I am busy with either of those activities and someone living in my house screams “I’m hungry” I can point them to the fridge. I’ll spend a little time on Sunday boiling pasta and chopping fresh veggies and cheese. I just squeeze lemon juice, pour a little olive oil over the pasta, add fresh basil, salt and pepper, and toss. Then I have fresh mozzarella, olives, salami, pepperoni, grilled chicken, hard cheeses, cucumber, artichokes and tomatoes ready to toss in. Sometimes I toss together and store in a covered container to enjoy all week. If my children complain about all the stuff they hate in it , I’ll store the sides in separate smaller covered containers and everyone can choose what they want. Kind of like a covered salad bar in the fridge.

My daughter just wants the pasta and chicken. My son adds pepperoni and whatever cheese he sees first. I add everything. It lasts for a week. So easy. I always have different variations that includes feta, asparagus, green beans, grilled corn, whatever sounds good.

Another favorite in my house is 3-5 bean salad. I say 3-5 because I don’t know what I have in the pantry. If I have five then great! If not, then three it is and great! It’s such a perfect side dish to serve with grilled hamburgers, chicken or anything off the grill. I like it alone for lunch, too. It also lasts in the refrigerator for a full week. The dressing is easy to make and it’s delicious!

These are also easy and ideal to bring to a potluck or serve when guests come over. Isn’t it nice to have a go-to at the ready when you are entertaining in the summer. Spend time with friends not with your stovetop or oven!

Store in the refrigerator in a Pyrex covered container or any covered container for up to a week.

See below for my recipes. I’d love to know what you add to make it your own and especially if your kids love it.

Serve anytime in your favorite dish that makes you happy. These bowls from Anthropologie are my absolute favorites.

Pasta Salad:

  1. Any pasta. I like rotini veggie pasta and I use the whole box. Follow directions on the package.
  2. Drain the water and keep in a colander to cool.
  3. Combine the juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Dice a cucumber, tomato (I like to halve cherry tomatoes), zucchini, onion, whatever veggies you like.
  5. Coarsely chop any cheese such as feta, aged cheddar, fresh mozzarella, manchego, whatever you like!
  6. Add fresh basil leaves.
  7. Mix with the pasta and pour the lemon and oil over the salad. Toss to coat. Or just pour over the pasta and place the other ingredients in separate containers to add later.
  8. Store in the fridge up to a week and enjoy all week long.

Other variations:

I’ll add leftover grilled corn, sauteed green beans, avocado (add fresh to each serving each day or it will turn that yucky brown color) and serve with grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or burgers. Balsamic vinaigrette is great with it, too.

Bean Salad – Any Variation Of:

1 can cut green beans

1 can red kidney beans

1 can wax beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can black beans

1 can northern beans or white beans

1 Vidalia onion or any type you love – shallots are good!

Green pepper, or red or yellow or none at all

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar – any kind is fine but I prefer champagne or apple cider

1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Drain and rinse the beans and put into a large serving bowl or large pyrex that has fitted lid. Add the onions, peppers, and stir gently to combine.

Mix the dressing ingredients well. Pour over the beans and stir well. Store in the refrigerator up to a week. When you take the salad out to serve, make sure to stir well to distribute the dressing.

So good! I hope you like it! If you add anything else, please comment and let me know. I’m always up for new ways to make favorite recipes!

Lipgloss Can’t Solve All Our Problems But It’s a Pretty Great Start

Put on some lipstick and you’ll feel better. – Judy Erickson aka my mother

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have at least 25 or more lipsticks and lipglosses. I am obsessed. My grandmother Maxine always wore red lipstick. British Red by Loreal was her favorite. She also loved Cherries in the Snow by Revlon. I don’t deny that I am a devout believer in retail therapy. If I need a little pick me up a trip to Nordstroms or one of my favorite stores does the trick. While my heart and soul says yes to shopping, my budget says no. But I still need a little something something. now and again. Enter lip gloss. Or lipstick. For me, it’s the perfect way to satisfy my craving of something new to brighten my day, mood, outfit, etc…. So I invited a few friends for lunch and to join me on my quest for a new lippie.

We decided on Nordstroms because they have an amazing restaurant and one quick escalator ride down lands us right in make-up beauty mecca. We had one rule. We weren’t allowed our usual go-to. Meaning Beth was not allowed to reach for another nude gloss, no baby pink for me, and Tina couldn’t even say the word rose. The mission – step out of our lip color comfort zone. It was hard. We had the right person for the job though! We started at MAC because it was right off the elevator. Marlene was the makeup artist working that day and I think it was meant to be. We loved her! She was so helpful and fun that we stayed there the entire time. She went to other lines and brought us all kinds of new products we had never tried. She was tough, too. She fought through all of our hard stares, grimaces, eyebrow raising and “no, that’s not for me statements.” I really don’t think the experience would have been the same without her!

Nymphette was a gorgeous shade that Beth loved but it was too light. I loved it but it turned out too light for me, too. We both ooohed and ahhhed over Money Honey and it didn’t work. It was perfect for Tina though. Beth and I thought we might strike out until Marlene introduced us to Deelight Cremesheen Glass. Neither of us would have reached for it on our own and it was absolutely stunning over Edge to Edge lip liner. Beth was sold! It looked pretty on me but Marlene thought I might have better options for my skin tone. She pulled out a purple glittery gloss. Purple. I smirked. She smirked. I swiped it on just to play nice. And LOVED it! Purple. Gloss. Date Night Dazzleglass! It’s my absolute favorite. On it’s own it’s just a nice plummy shiny hint of color. It brings out gorgeous colors in my favorite lipsticks. I also tried Rags to Riches because my beautiful friend Wendy wears it and I love it on her. So I asked to try it and luckily it worked. It’s a beautiful pearly pink that stands on it’s own or great blended with a lipstick.

Tina struggled a bit to find her perfect shade. She is blonde with fair skin that has pink undertones. Pink shades can compete with her skin tone. Marlene was awesome bringing other brands in for her to try. Bobbi Brown’s Bright Pink gloss was gorgeous on Tina and it’s her new go-to!

What did we gleefully walk away with? Here’s what worked for each of us based on our hair and skin:

Tina – light blonde with fair skin and pink undertones:

  • Bobbi Brown Bright Pink Lip Gloss
  • Kiehls Ultra Face Cream
  • MAC Eyebrows Styler in Lingering

Beth – medium blonde, light complexion with pink undertones:

  • MAC Deelight Cremesheen Lipglass
  • MAC Edge to Edge Lip Liner

Shannon – Strawberry Blonde, fair complexion and pink undertones:

  • MAC Date Night Dazzleglass
  • MAC Rags to Riches Lipglass

Want a pick me up and a fun afternoon? Invite a few friends for lunch and shop for a new lipstick or gloss. Your face will look a little brighter and you’ll feel more energized. It worked for us!


Rise Like The Break of Dawn

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. » Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a bad habit of dragging yesterday’s regrets and sadness into a new day. Sometimes, I wake up upset about things that happened long ago or even the day before. It’s done. Move on. I CAN’T. YES, I CAN. I love arguing with myself. As well, I have a habit of living my life thinking “I will never allow this to happen again” or “I just need to get what I’m going through behind me and everything will be ok”. Darn it if something else doesn’t come up to take it’s place. Does this strike a chord with you?

I recently heard someone say that 30% of any day, work life, relationship, etc…will just suck. Their point was that if we can just accept that, maybe we can focus our time on the 70% that is pretty good. I can’t go to bed or wake up anymore thinking what in the world is going to happen to knock me off my feet next – and I don’t mean that in a positive way. The thing is that something absolutely will. Maybe as minor as getting to work wearing one blue shoe and one black shoe, your child starts rapid fire texting you to please pick them up from school, you rear end a school bus, a fight with a loved one and on and on and on who knows. Hopefully nothing more serious than what can’t be easily fixed. It’s just that we let these little things build up and take over. Why can’t the good things build up and take over. I think it really is our attitude and just being so tired all the time from things that wear us down. Regardless of what it is the day goes on, sun comes up tomorrow, and the earth still spins.

I know it can be irritating for the answer to be change your attitude. Sounds easy but we know it’s not. What choice do we have though? Take the lemons and make the damn lemonade. Fix it, hit reset and go about rocking the rest of the day. Don’t forget the lessons. Don’t regret the past. I love the saying, “Don’t look back, you aren’t going that way”. It’s true ya’ll. I still beat myself up for my failed marriage. I’m happy now. My ex is happy. Time to put it behind me and enjoy what I’ve built since. And yet I still let it weigh me down. Anyone have any great suggestions for letting go what once weighed you down? I’d love to hear it. Post in comments! I could use the inspiration. Maybe someone else reading this post could, too! You never know when the lessons you learn help and inspire others. So let’s help each other out and in the words we all know well Let. It. Go!