Monday, July 14, 2014

The Tale of Two Sandwiches

One of the things I love about cooking this time of the year is The Sandwich.

These two sandwiches have been on my dinner rotation a lot this summer: The No Mayo Chicken Salad and The Grilled Veg and Cheese. 

Let me tell you about them…

The No-Mayo Chicken Salad Sandwich

You may have heard this before, but I'm not a fan of mayo. I know, I know. I have lived in the south long enough to know that dissing on the mayo is kin to sacrilege, but I just can't help it. There is nothing that will bring on the heeby-jeebies faster than seeing mayo being spread on something delicious. It's just disgusting not my thing. So you might imagine that a chicken salad sandwich would not be high on my list of eating pleasure. However, I do like the chicken salad alternative, Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing, which is not only vegan* and delicious, but blessedly mayo free. 

And let me tell you, take some chicken breast and chop it up, throw some poppy seed dressing on it (I like mine on the dry side,) add some slivered almond and chopped grapes, and you will not be disappointed. 

Let me say it again, you will not be disappointed.

*I'm not a vegan but I have an Eater in the house who cannot have any dairy. 

The Grilled Veg and Cheese

Let me apologize in advance for this picture. The day I made this dinner I'd already entered The Hangry Zone. Every once in awhile the Stomach makes the Blogger care very little for staged photos. In the end, it doesn't really matter. This sammy is so good, it doesn't need a focused picture.  I won't say anything more, except to give you the recipe. (But really, it's a nice sandwich…and also mayo free.)

What you'll need:

A pound of zucchini, cut 1/8 inch thick, diagonally
3-4 slices red onion, cut 1/8 inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered ( I used mini bell's cut in half and used both red and yellow)
1 large tomato, not too ripe, cut 1/8 inch thick

2 Tbls Balsamic Vingar
1tsp extra- virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cup salad greens
5 ounces fresh mozzarella
6-8 fresh basil leaves

Single serving Torta bread (pictured) or 1-pound loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally

Mix up the vinegar, oil, salt and pep, in a mixing bowl. Toss veg in bowl with mixture. 

Spray grill with cooking spray, and light her up. Grill veg until tender (about 7 minutes) reserving leftover vinegar mixture. 

When veg is done, build your sandwich… layer cheese, basil, veg, greens, and drizzle reserved vinegar. Cover with top of bread, press lightly. Place filled sandwich on grill rack for 4 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Cut in half (or in quarters if using large loaf). Eat!

Happy sandwich making!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer at The Little Yellow House on the Hill

It's hard to believe summer is more than halfway finished. The good news is that there are still 28 days left!

So far, we have had just the right amount of summer fun. You know, that sweet spot between summer is boring, and, what was I thinking when I planned this much? Either end of the spectrum is really tough, but that middle part? Yeah, it's good.

The Boy has been working as a lifeguard for a country club nearby, and The Girl has been taking full time care of that sweet puppy (whom we all adore, in case I hadn't mentioned it.) They both have had sleep-overs, swim meets, Netflix marathons, and lots of time with friends, which is exactly how it should be when the days are long and warm.

I've been on a major clean up here in the Little Yellow House on the Hill. We haven't moved in six years, and our accumulation was getting ridiculous. I can't stand the clutter, and I haven't done any deep cleaning (of significance) since last summer. I have been systematically going through each room, cleaning up and scrubbing down. I've been to our local Donation Center about five times in the last 10 days. It feels so good to clear space and get things sparkling again. Whew! Its like being able to breathe fresh air after a long time under a blanket.

I've also been working on a project with The Girl. We've been making art journals with the help of this book: Creating Art and the Speed of Life. We've completed the first three lessons (out of 30) and we are enjoying the time to be creative together. We won't finish before summer is out, so we will use it as part of her art curriculum next school year.

Speaking of school, I spent most of June preparing curriculum, and organizing for next year. We are ready… but it has been an adjustment coming to grips that our little school house will have only one student. The Boy will head to public school for his last two years of High School. He has been accepted to a program where he can earn some college credit while finishing out school. It is a great program and he is ready. The Mister and I are so excited for him, but the realities of my changing job description haven't come without some growing pains. It is hard to let go in these later teenage years. And this is just the beginnings…

Thank goodness there is much to keep me distracted… for instance, the neighborhood flowers. I am surprised every summer by the Hibiscus my neighbor keeps in her front yard. Each year she tireless works on her side of the hill, and each year it gets better and better. I'm thankful to enjoy her labor! The Hydrangeas are also so amazing this time of year, and thankfully I have a dear friend who lets me come to her farm to snap pictures anytime I want… and when I do, she'll most likely have hot tea and warm cookies to share. I should have taken pictures of her and those cookies… next time.

We still have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks. We will take a short trip north to visit dear friends before we all head back to school. And I've got a pile of books I'm plowing through (it feels so GOOD to read multiple books in one week.)

I'm sure in 29 days I'll be glad to have routine and structured order to my days, but so far this summer feels just right.