Leisure Reading Recipes

Simple Labor Day Salad Luncheon

For many, Labor Day celebrations are the last of the summer.  For me it marks my last patriotic-themed weekend.

And just like that, another summer is almost over. Wow.

This year I am downplaying the red, white and blue, and using a lime green background.   Dollar store placemats are topped with plain white World Market plates.  Navy gingham napkins I use all the time are tied with white ribbon. 

Not a single penny spent on this one!

Drinks are corralled on another green placemat on the counter top and guests can serve themselves.

Further simplifying, luncheon is a simple salad with a couple of homemade dressings.  Oh, and maybe a crusty hot buttered roll.  Or two.

For this salad I used packaged arugula, cherry tomatoes and sliced radishes.  A topping of toasted pine nuts or feta ups the protein a bit, but eggs or meat will really boost it.

I love tangy vinaigrette with spicy arugula, but hub made a nice ranch that goes well too.

Bottled ranch and many ranch dressing recipes call for mayo. But we don’t love that in our household, so he skipped that and it tastes great without it.

Of course I used my beloved Quattro jars for the dressings.  Handy for both mixing up the dressing and cute enough to put on the table.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey or to taste

Shake, let flavors meld at least an hour before serving.  Keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix 

Shake and let flavors meld.

What I’m Reading

On my Kindle I finished the Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas.  Can I just say No, don’t do it?  Awful.  The characters are unlikable, self-absorbed and the different possible lives were confusing.

On audio I listened to Last Breath by Karin Slaughter.  I used to love Karin Slaughter, but I think I may be over her.  This was a novella, so the good news is that I wasn’t tortured over-long.  Slaughter’s writing is good, but it’s difficult for me to be engaged with someone she’s trying to convince me is brilliant when she makes so many dumb choices.

The audio version of Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent is another shorter selection I finished up.  This was the last novel Steinbeck wrote and I loved it so much.  Ethan Allen Hawley is a Harvard-educated grocery clerk living in a small town in New England.  Everything is so vivid in this book, I found myself wanting to work in the store and sweep the sidewalk myself.

Steinbeck’s prose is so jaw-dropping.  He comes up with thoughts I never considered, but once heard are exactly right.  I feel so intelligent when I read him because he is clearly brilliant and yet I can understand him perfectly.

Yes, read.  If you haven’t already, that is.

What I’m Doing

Travel has ceased and I’m back to my whatever-we-call-normal-life these days. 

While out walking this week, I came up on this handsome heron beside our golf pond.  He allowed me to come close and take his picture.

We listened to another pool-party tribute concert.  This time it was a Jimmy Buffet tribute.  Hub’s favorite music, for sure.  Fun evening with DF Evon after a bit of pickleball and a glass of wine in the grass listening and warding off mosquitoes.

What are your plans for the upcoming Labor Day holiday?  Please share and thanks for joining me here.