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Friday Favorites

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 Summer is here. I know because when I open my laundry room there is a very distinct smell–equal parts water, grass, and dirt. Love.

We’re gonna keep this one short because it’s been a bit of a crazy week what with all the birthday cake eating going on around here. (It’s a tough job, but that cake won’t eat itself.)

Let’s talk about summer cooking. I don’t like to turn my oven on. So, I’m looking for something easy, fresh, and grill or stovetop friendly. My favorite Floridian told me about these little bags of rice. People, they are a game-changer. You can find them at Kroger on the natural foods aisle, and I started jumping in the aisle when I found a six-pack at Costco a couple weeks ago. You microwave the little pouch for 90 seconds. Organic and delicious, what’s not to love? You can use this to make any number of rice salads, but this is my current favorite. Saute in olive oil one diced yellow/orange/red bell pepper, a couple zucchinis cut into coins, and an onion. Toast some pine nuts in a small skillet. (Be careful. They burn easily.) Take some cherry-size bocconcini and halve them. (These are the little fresh mozzarella balls in the fancy cheese section of the grocery store. They come in a little tub surrounded in liquid.) Take a piece of chicken you grilled or a rotisserie chicken and dice or shred it. Mix all of those things together in a big bowl. Next, make the easiest vinaigrette. Put one tablespoon dijon mustard, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, and some salt and pepper in a jar. Shake it up vigorously and pour over the rice mixture. Stir until the vinaigrette has coated everything. You can eat it hot or cold. People, it doesn’t get much easier than this.

Books–I would like to take this moment to tell you that I get the full value of my taxes (and probably yours too) in the amount of books I borrow from the library. Just as a public service announcement, I want to be sure you know that you can go to your library’s website (you will need a library card first) and search for books and place holds for books you want. They will gather all your books at the front desk. You can walk right in, give them your name, and walk out with a happy stack of literary goodness. My love for librarians is deep. I got a big stack yesterday, and I’ll share my favorites after I read them all.

But the book I think should be on your summer reading list is Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom. Per the Amazon description, “Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.” I could not put this one down. The characters are so rich, and I closed the book feeling like I had just met the bravest of the brave.

As far as children’s books Lyd is inhaling the Beverly Cleary books. Lottie’s favorites right now are anything Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems and I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. Peach loves anything as long as she gets to sit in your lap.

I wrote a few blogs for another website this week. You can read those here, here, and here. That first one was especially hard to write because it’s not easy to write about your screw-ups, but I made a promise to myself that the day I stopped writing honestly I would stop writing. So, there it is.

And, finally, let’s talk about summer products. I love this sea salt spray. (As close as I’ll ever get to being blonde.) And this drink. (Lyd calls it fancy water.) And these flip flops.  (When my dad was in Brazil in January, he got Matt and me official Rio Olympic Havaianas. Best souvenir ever. We are Olympics geeks, and we’re okay with that.)

Have a very happy Friday!

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