Summer Squash/Zucchini/Whatever-You-Have-Available Skillet

One of my favorite dishes every summer is this veggie one.  I always start with extra-virgin olive oil and chopped onions or shallots or leeks (whatever you have on hand).  If you like green peppers, throw those in, too.  Saute the onions in the olive oil until they’re tender.  I’m using a 10-inch pan (with lid for later).Add sliced zucchini and summer squash.

Saute until tender. You can add mushrooms or anything else you enjoy.  Add a shake or two of salt and pepper if desired.

At this point, I love to add a layer of sliced fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes (but they won’t be ripe until next week so I’m doing without them here).  Next, add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese (or sliced if you’re using fresh mozzarella).

Turn the burner off, place the lid on the pan and let it sit for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.  It’ll look something like this:

This is a very versatile recipe for your summer veggies.  Simple, quick, and delicious.

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

A week ago my daughter, Valerie, and her two girls, Natalie and Isabel, came out to Grammy’s house for a swim.  Valerie, Jillian, Julie, Natalie and Isabel all got in pretty quick.  I took longer.  Even though the day was just a tish on the warm side (upper 80’s) the water was cool so it takes me awhile to adjust.  I finally climbed in and immediately started walking around the pool doing some clean-up.  Leaves always fall in and bugs drown so I get my net and clear out all of the debris that finds its way in.

Natalie wasn’t content with this.  “Come on, Grammy!  Sit down,” she said often and with emphasis.

I walked around for 20 minutes or so, acclimating to the water and trying to keep from getting splashed.  I finally put my net away and sank into the cool water.  Jillian had gotten out before this and was sitting on a towel nearby.  Natalie and Isabel found a new plaything–me.  We had a blast as you can see from the pictures.

As the summer winds down we’ll do our best to enjoy every day.  And Nat King Cole’s song–about one of my favorite seasons–echoes through my mind.  =)

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Amy’s Corn Salsa

Feel like something a little different with your tortilla chips?  This salsa is delicious!  Here are all the ingredients you will need (minus the salt and pepper).  And, for those of you who are new to cooking, here’s a picture showing how you dice tomatoes–cut them into slices, then into smaller pieces.
The black utensil on the left is a Pampered Chef corer which also makes melon balls with the other end.  It’s excellent for coring tomatoes and strawberries.  (Can you tell I used to sell Pampered Chef products? The cutting board, tomato knife and towel are also Pampered Chef.)  =)
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can of chopped olives
1 large can of chopped green chilies
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced (can use chopped onions if preferred)
Chopped cilantro to taste (I use my kitchen shears and snip it into small pieces instead of chopping it with a knife, but you can do whatever you want.)
A cup of shredded Colby Jack or cheddar cheese
A can of black beans, drained and rinsed (rinse the beans until the water runs clear)
½ cup of Italian dressing (any brand you like)
1 t. of garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste (remember, you’ve already got some salt from the garlic salt, so err on the side of too little and adjust as necessary when you taste it.)
¼ t. of cumin
Mix together and serve with tortilla chips for dipping.  (Note: I’ve even used Taco Doritos, which were surprisingly good.)  Makes several cups depending on the size of the Roma tomatoes.  Here’s what it will look like when you’re done.  It will store nicely in the refrigerator for a few days.

Myrna’s Grape Salad

This is an easy but delicious recipe that my mother-in-law shared with me.  It is perfect for those hot summer days.

Here is a picture of all the ingredients you’ll need (the white teapot is actually a PartyLite wax warmer and is NOT necessary for a great Grape Salad, but it sure looks pretty and smells great!).

Mix together:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

This is what the above ingredients will look like when they’re mixed together:

Gently stir in:

  • 4 cups green grapes
  • 5 cups red grapes

Refrigerate.  Stores well for several days if refrigerated promptly.

Here’s what it will look like after you’ve mixed it all together:


A Day with Good Friends at Valhalla Resort

Jay, Jillian, Julie and I were invited to spend the day with our good friends Brian and Janna Nelson at Valhalla Resort on Island Lake yesterday.  The girls waited just long enough to get sunscreen on before they were swimming in the beautiful lake with the Nelson boys: DeForrest, Simon and Connor.  Brian took Jay and I around the lake in his boat while Janna hung around with the swimming kids.  He pointed out a Bald Eagle’s nest, the other resorts on the lake (there are also many private homes) that are on one side and the protected, wild land on the other side, and many other interesting sights.

The high temperature was around 80 degrees.  It was sunny with fair winds, perfect.

Janna and I took a short ride around the cabin area in the paddle boat.  Great exercise.

After eating grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, three-bean salad, grape salad, broccoli salad, chips, and s’mores we watched the almost-full moon begin to set over the lake.  Absolutely gorgeous.

Four Hershbergers unaminously agreed that it was a lovely time of relaxing and enjoying the company of our friends.  Memories were made yesterday.  We are truly blessed to have the Nelson family in our lives.

A year ago, if someone had said that my girls would enjoy hanging out with a family of only boys, I would have been skeptical.  But in the past year our families have spent more time together and I think the kids enjoy it at least as much as the adults do!

Skepticism erased.  I’m just a cock-eyed optimist again!

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