This morning has been quite fun. I had my tush kicked in a game of Stratego with Button who definitely had the upper hand being that it was my first time. I thought I had laid out all my players in a strategic order and hidden my flag well. Nope! Button scooted around every bomb I’d placed, managed to scoop up my spy, and take all my high numbered men within about five minutes. Luckily, I’m a quick learner and now have my own set of plans for the next game! I did not miss the irony that my American kid beat his English mommy on this historic day 🙂
Yesterday the Fourth of July festivities began. We had the first party and Peanut’s first Friendship League game. Naturally both occurred at the same time so we decided to divide and conquer: Daddy and Peanut went to game first them party; Nana, Button, and myself went to the party from the beginning.
Today we were invited to two parties and decided which one to attend based on the fact we had just spent a lot of time with one group of friends and felt we should see the other group. Thankfully, all my friends are very easy going and there are no hard feelings. (We are also going camping with the group we are not seeing so we have plenty together time soon.)
Naturally I needed to prepare dishes for the parties. The weather is hot and I really didn’t feel like my usual heavy sides of Stilton and creme fraise mashed potatoes, or roasted carrots and parsnips. Instead I opted for lighter faire.
My first dish was Greek Spinach-Pasta Salad with Feta and Beans. For this I used the following:
I can of great Northern Beans
Dried tomatoes (I like Sundried)
Lemon for lemon peel and lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon thyme or thyme
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dried farfalle pasta (I used the gluten free organic type but not my usual whole grain as I was not sure many people would go for it…my kids remarked at how pale the pasta was and turned their noses up at it!!!)
Shaved Parmesan cheese
In a large serving bowl I combined 5-6 ounces of spinach, 15 ounces beans, 4 ounces of the Feta cheese, 1/4 cup of the dried tomatoes (not oil packed), 2 chopped green onions, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of finely shredded lemon peel, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and oil, 1 tbsp of oregano or thyme, followed by a pinch of salt and pepper. Once all ingredients were added and stirred in, they were covered and left to stand for just over two hours at room temperature.
Once it was almost time to leave for the party, I cooked the pasta until it was al dente (about 7 minutes), then drained reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. I then tossed the cooked pasta and pasta water with spinach salad mixture. Shaved Parmesan cheese topped the dish and the results were delicious.
For the second party, later today, I will make a delicious Three Bean Salad
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
After draining and rinsing the beans, I will combine them all in a large bowel and add the chopped celery, onion, parsley, and rosemary. I like to make these really finely chopped as my kids prefer the texture.
I will then whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowel. I’ll drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. This dish is best served at room temperature.
Such easy dishee which taste delicious. The kids can help too. Happy Fourth of July everyone!