Anyone up for a summer picnic?
All mothers are working mothers.
~ Author Unknown
Greetings bloggers and friends!
I hope everyone enjoyed the treat that was the weekend potluck – I know I discovered a few fine bloggers and enjoyed working my way through everyone’s delicious posts! In case you missed it, you can still catch the action here to see what it was all about!
Today I am grateful for sunshine and still reveling in what was a gorgeous weekend spent with loved ones.
Our Mother’s Day dinner yesterday consisted of a wonderful picnic dinner set against the backdrop of the beach and the mountains here in Vancouver.
It was superb!
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.
~ Mildred B. Vermont
Our meal consisted of a simple array of foods: soft buns, cheese & cold cuts for the men (my hubby’s father is visiting us from Europe), chips and homemade dip, as well as potato salad, deviled eggs, watermelon, and today’s recipe for a yummy fresh pasta salad.
Of course, let’s not forget the chilled white wine, a couple of gin and tonics for us moms (the shared favorite summer cocktail between me and the mother-in-law), and we were all set.
Here is a simple, light recipe for what was a super tasty outdoor salad – perfect for any picnic or summer dinner!
Less white pasta in your diet means more room for alternate grains. Less mayo-drenched pasta means less calories, fat, and oil. Less packaged store-bought picnic food means less cost for more goodness, and less high calorie pasta dishes means less worrying about eating them.
More ways to dress salads means more ways out of the mundane. More alternate grain pastas means more depth of flavour and nutrition. More ways to head outside means more time in the sunshine, so you can get picnicking more often 🙂
Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad:
- (4) cups dry pasta (spelt, kamut, or regular, I used a curly variety)
- (6) tbsp lemon juice
- (1/4) cup olive oil
- (1/4) cup capers
- (1) cup cubed feta cheese (optional)
- (1.5-2) cups cooked chickpeas (a 398 ml can will provide the right amount)
- (3-4) cups chopped broccoli florets, lightly steamed (save the stalks for steaming or grating)
- (2) tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- (3) cloves fresh garlic, minced finely or pressed
- a pinch or two of salt & fresh black pepper if desired
Start by putting up your pasta to boil in lots of water. Follow package instructions for your pasta and cook to al dente. Do your very best to avoid overcooking it! It is especially important to not overcook alternative grain pastas as they tend to turn to mush rather quickly if cooked longer than recommended.
Sometimes this is just unavoidable, but hey, we try!
While the pasta cooks combine the olive oil, lemon juice, & capers and add to the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
Chop the broccoli florets into 1-2 inch pieces and put up to steam in a separate pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until just turning bright green. It is important not to overcook the broccoli here as if it gets too mushy the lemon juice will turn it yellow and it will be come even more mushy. Once the broccoli is steamed, transfer to a bowl and mix with water and ice to shock it for a couple of minutes (this stops the cooking process). Drain.
Chop and prepare the feta, thyme, and garlic. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if using canned).
Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and do not rinse. Let the cooked pasta sit for a minute or two in the colander and then add it to the mixing bowl with the lemon and oil while still warm. Mix well to incorporate with a large spoon. The pasta will soak up all the yummy goodness.
Add the chickpeas, broccoli florets, cubed feta, garlic, & thyme to the bowl and mix all well.
Season to taste with a little dusting of salt (the capers and feta are quite salty but it is nice to dress the pasta with just an additional smidge) and lots of fresh black pepper if desired.
Serve right away or chill and eat later on your picnic!
The ladies in our house are pretty massive fans of capers – the husband not so much – we say it’s his loss!
The garlic in this recipe adds a wonderful flavor to the simple lemon dressing.
It’s light, bright, and delicious!
A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.
~ Author Unknown
This was a perfect cold lunch for my high school daughter today.
Anyone want to bet whether I’ll see that container again? 😉
Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.
~ Marilyn Penland
This dip has also become a bit of a hit.
I’ll share this with you all soon!
It’s rather a goodie 🙂
This is a warm up for the upcoming summer trip to France. I anticipate many afternoons lounging in the grass over a few bites of bread and cheese, with views of picturesque scenery, and of course, the family.
Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.
~ Mother Teresa
God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
Kick off the shoes, spread out the blanket, and remember these times don’t last forever.
Soak it in. Breathe. Be.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, whether you are a mother, or whether you know a mother or two that deserved a little love or recognition.
I so enjoyed your comments and feedback on the last post – turns out I am not the only one who loves bread!
I’ll be posting again this week and am pretty thrilled to be getting a new computer this week (it’s sooo time!) – we are getting away this upcoming weekend for a few days by the pool with great old friends.
I am looking forward to setting up beside the pool…maybe if it gets hots enough I’ll go in too!
- How did you spend Mother’s Day?
- Do you have a favorite picnic food?
We’d love to know!
Yours in Less,