Once upon a time, I’d have talked up a recipe for hot wings as being the best type of game day food — and we did enjoy these recently before a Chargers game. Unfortunately the Chargers have been playing so horribly this season, my husband — the world’s most dedicated sports fan — didn’t bother to turn the game on. And I’m glad, because he isn’t a happy camper when a team he likes, a team he’s been behind forever — the home team — is playing poorly. It’s intense. Perhaps you know a sports fan like my husband? Bless you.
I’ve been back from my trip East for a couple of weeks now and think I’ve finally caught up with sleep and processed all my memories along with the more than 500 photos I took. It’s a relaxing task to process photos after a trip and I find myself grinning like a sap as I work, time passing much more quickly than I’d like. Laundry, dishes, and other chores are waiting, but to be so engrossed in a task that little else interferes with is a good thing — something that confirms I enjoy what I’m doing. It helps when the photos I’m processing are of good things as well: lovely places, good times with people I care about, and great food, of course.
Returning our son to San Francisco for another year of school marks an unofficial end of summer for us. Twelve weeks of his being at home included road trips filled with yummy eats, movie nights, drives through fast food joints, and food we haven’t had in the house in a while. Tortilla chips, anyone? One of us managed to keep weight gain under control, and the other? Well, he looked at me on the long drive home and said, “Salads for a week starting tomorrow.” I didn’t bother to remind him we’ve enjoyed hearty salads all summer long — salads that are a meal — and that gaining back half of the weight he worked so hard to lose the first five months of this year was more about office food grazing, snacking in general, and the second portion he enjoys whenever something tasty is on the menu. Around here, that’s pretty much every day.
The official end of summer isn’t for another month, so that more than allows me an excuse to share some of the salads we’ve had recently. Like this Southwestern BBQ Chicken Salad we had mid-July. When the boys were much younger, we liked to go to TGI Fridays once in a while and I loved their southwest chicken salad. I don’t remember the exact ingredients, but no matter. How hard is it to figure out what qualifies as “southwest?”
I marinated a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with some of my husband’s left over barbeque sauce (I need to share that recipe!) and allowed them to sit in the fridge all day. At dinner time, I sent him outside to put them on the grill while I chopped the veggies. The salad dressing in this recipe is a riff on a buttermilk dressing I made with yogurt instead to keep that tang I like so much.
It’s a quick and easy meal with a salad dressing that won’t bust your calorie counting for the day.
Kefir cheese with a bit of honey and sliced strawberries on sprouted grain toast.
For most of my life, my morning routine involved waking to an alarm set to sound well before the the sun had even thought about sending its rays to brighten the black horizon outside my window. I was ready for work in less than forty minutes and shuffling out the front door with my coffee in hand, satchel thrown over one shoulder and purse over the other. There was rarely a thought for breakfast of any kind unless I remembered to grab a cup of yogurt I could eat in the car — not the safest decision one can make.
Although I no longer have that routine, the habit of not eating breakfast has stayed with me and I’ve had to work to remember to eat before 9am each day. I’m rarely hungry first thing in the morning, and once I’ve had coffee, that seems to delay any hunger pangs that remind me to eat. I get busy with my day and then don’t think about eating until I look at a clock and realize it’s nearly noon. I’m famished by that time so reach for something with little or no thought. A portion much too large. Something — anything with some nice rib-sticking carbs.
Two pieces of toast with butter and maybe some jam or honey for added flavor. A cup and a half to two cups of cereal. A piece of left-over cake or pie. Perhaps another of the muffins I’d baked the day before. Left-over white rice with warm milk, butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Lots and lots of carbs. I will admit the toast was always whole wheat or multi-grain and the cereal the likes of Raisin Bran or Wheaties. And thankfully there wasn’t always cake or pie sitting around, but I think you get the idea.
Clearly, I needed to make some adjustments with the first being to actually eat breakfast early in the morning instead of at lunchtime. Next, I needed to make sure there were better options available. That meant I had to spend more time thinking about what to put in the cart when I was at the market.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s become routine in the last couple of months and I’ve noticed the more I stick with it, the more ideas I get. Variety seems to be the key for me because I’ll stay interested. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll ease back into my old habit of skipping breakfast.
What do you eat breakfast every day?
You thought I was gone, didn’t you? Gone as in not writing here any longer. Not posting recipes, or photos, or recording notes of what I’ve made.
I’m sure someone somewhere has deemed such negligence to be a blogging foul and most likely written a post about it listing the “Top Ten Things Not to Do” in blogging. But I’m here, not intentionally avoiding writing, but busy with other things and enjoying every minute of it.
It feels exactly like a vacation.
Chalk it up to amazing summer weather — weather that completely makes up for what we didn’t have last year. Clear skies, warm days, almost no humidity. Night breezes through open windows with a hint of salt in the air reminding me there’s an ocean not too far away.
I’ve not been lolling about, however.
My oldest niece asked me to make her wedding cake, and since I’ve not made one before, it’s been the excuse du jour to obsess over details — some important, and some not so much.
I’ve continued to behave like a DIY groupie on the patio project with my husband who has finally had time to help with the work. He mixes cement and I set the stones on the planter tops, making progress more quickly than I’m able to by myself. Bathroom towel bars have been replaced sans appropriate tools, dust has been wiped from my ancient sewing machine to make drapes for my office of fabric I purchased months and months ago, and boxes of things I saved for a reason I’ve forgotten have been sorted. At this point, cooking would be far easier.
I have done some cooking, but mostly uninvolved salads or pasta wedged between wedding cake experimentation, forced by lemon cake that wasn’t lemony enough according to taste testers.
Not so perfect.
When I was tired of having my head in the cake world, we’d get sandwiches from our favorite deli on the way to or from the beach after a rare walk, or before watching a not so rare sunset. We’ve sampled some of San Diego’s food trucks and taken a bit of a staycation, enjoying Southern California like a tourist might instead of taking it for granted which is something I’ve done for years and years.
Sounds pretty summerish, doesn’t it?
All I need is a hammock, some shade, a beverage and perhaps a bit of this carrot raisin salad I put my own spin on. It’s light, just slightly sweet, and full of fresh crunchiness. Perfect for a picnic anywhere you want to relax.
Hope your summer is going well, too.