But let's rewind a bit. I'd love to share with you a few pictures from my trip to south Florida.
First, my Grampa. He's doing better. He's got a road of recovery ahead of him. But he's the sort of man who always puts on a cheerful face. Once he came home from the hospital, he was eager to show my his gardens, which are lovely and amazing.
Once I was fairly certain things were going to be all right with Grampa, I lightened up and we found ourselves some fun.
We visited the Loggerhead Park Marine Life Center, where we encountered injured and sick sea turtles being nursed back to health for re-release. This experience was incredible.
This is Turtwig. He was run over by a boater's propeller, which severed his spinal cord. He has no use of his hind flippers and cannot move foods through his digestive tract without medical assistance. He also sustained an injury to his upper shell, which causes him to retain gas. Because of this, he can't sink to the bottom to feed and hide like most sea turtles. So, he's looking for a permanent home somewhere. He can never be released. His story broke my heart, but I was so thankful for the chance to encounter him and the other turtles.
Another place we visited was Lion Country Safari. If you're ever in south Florida, head over to Loxahatchee and visit this drive-through safari experience. The price is a little steep, but there are always coupons available online, and it's worth the cost. The life experience you bring away from this place is astounding. Rhinos, zebras, ostriches, water buffalo, gazelle, and many more animals walk right past your car. One rhino got really close to us on our trip and made me very nervous. Here are a few pictures from Lion Country Safari:
Simply walking through nature in south Florida is lovely. Everything is lush and green and thick.
Of course, we visited a few beaches while we were there.
No seaweed cleaning this time of year. It's sea turtle hatching time. :)
The kids caught crab, shrimp, and fish on the reef at low tide.
Building castles in the sand.
And, of course, we had our down time, relaxing with family.
Painting sea shells
Me with my mother
Curling up with good books :)
All good things must come to an end. So we're back at home, getting ready for school to begin. It starts in three weeks here. We've got a new middle schooler and a second grader, and we're excited for the new school year.
And now, for the reason you come to my blog, a recipe. This is something I made for my mother during my vacation. It seems wherever I go, folks want me to cook for them, and I'm always happy to do it.
Salad Nicoise for the Average Jane
Measurements are not exact. This will make a platterful of salad.
What You Need:
- lettuce (I used a spring mix) -- enough to cover a good-sized platter
- 2 to 4 cans of tuna, depending on number of people you're serving. (I used 2)
- a can of Italian green beans, rinsed and drained
- small red potatoes, quartered and boiled until cooked (I used 4 potatoes)
- hard-boiled eggs (I used 4 eggs), peeled and cut in halves
- sliced olives (I used black olives, about 1/4 cup)
- capers (optional due to cost, but they were available. I used 1 Tbsp)
- peppers (I used baby bell peppers, cut into rings, about 6 peppers)
- tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes whole, but sliced Roma tomatoes would be great)
- the dressing: 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, and 1 cup olive oil
- No hard and fast rules here. Simply lay the lettuce on your platter and arrange all the salad items on the lettuce in a way that appeals to you.
- Combine the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad.
- Cover and chill several hours to allow the flavors a chance to mingle before serving.