Sunday, July 18, 2010

Some vacation pictures and salad

So... how've you been? I've been adjusting to home life once more, after a week and a half away. I'm ready to cook again. Last night, I made steak fajitas, and it was nice to eat home-cooked foods packed with veggies freshly snipped from my patio garden.

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
How it's Done:
  • 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.


Yenta Mary said...

Oh, so much to respond to in one post! I'm glad your grandpa is doing better ... what a relief, even if there's still a lot of work to do. Poor Turtwig! He seems so sweet. And Salade Nicoise -- oh, one of my absolute favorites!!! It's good to have you home again ... :)

StephenC said...

Really nice salad. Fun pictures. Thanks.

April said...

So glad to hear your grandpa is doing better. What a beautiful time you had once you learned he was ok. Love the pictures!

Jenn said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are great! Glad grandpa is doing better! The salad looks scrumptious!

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Oh, yes ... everything Yenta Mary said. Glad to see you got the chance to have fun too, while you were with your family, and continued good wishes for your grandpa.

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