Yesterday I was up and out of the house by 9 am. I stopped at my mom's to drop off a bag of chocolate chip cookies that I had baked on Tuesday. Then, I had to fill up my car with gas as I had plans to drive to Northfield and meet with DeAnn at Perkins. It is sort of a half-way point between my house and hers in Hastings. I had planned to stop in Owatonna to get my hair cut as it is all long and shaggy and annoying. But for some reason, I became convinced that it was later than it really was and skipped the hair cutting to go directly to Northfield. Once I was there, I realized that I was a full hour early!
I used my time to look up pasta salad recipes on my cell phone. I copied out three that looked really promising. I have decided that summer is an ideal time to experiment with a variety of salads--especially since it has been so ungodly hot lately!
Here are the recipes I am going to try--just in case you all feel the urge to experiment too:
Broccoli Pasta Salad
7 sweet mini peppers
1 head broccoli
1/3 cup dried cranberries
4 cups cooked bow tie pasta (1/2 of a 12 ounce box)
1 cup 3 Cheese Ranch Dressing
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook and rinse pasta.
2. Dice peppers
3. Chop broccoli
4. Add peppers, broccoli, cranberries, and pasta. Pour dressing over ingredients.
5. Refrigerate for two hours before serving.
Salad will keep two days.
Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing
8 ounces bow tie pasta
4 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/3 cup cashews
1 4-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup olive, vegetable, or canola oil
1. Cook pasta; drain and rinse.
2. Prepare dressing in a jar--combine all ingredients, cover and shake. Refrigerate until ready to use
3. In large bowl, toss together pasta, spinach, craisins, nuts, mandarin oranges, and cilantro.
4. Pour dressing over salad just before tossing and serving.
Avocado Pasta Salad
8 ounces rotini or bow tie pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes
8 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
1 tsp lime juice
1 ripe avocado
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place all dressing ingredients in blender and process until smooth
2. Cook, rinse and drain pasta.
3. Toss diced avocado with lime juice.
4. Combine ingredients in bowl, gently toss with dressing.
5. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
All of these recipes sound really yummy to me.
I was pretty hungry, so I had a raisin bran muffin while waiting for DeAnn. It was delicious. Somewhere, I have a good recipe for raisin bran muffins. I need to find that and make some. I love a good bran muffin.
In my box of books that my aunt gave me was one called Year In, Year Out by A. A. Milne. I had brought that along to read in case I got there first. So, I read a few pages of that. I think it is a collection of some of his favorite articles which had been published in newspapers and magazines. It's humorous and pretty innocent compared to today's standard fare.
DeAnn arrives shortly after 11, and we had a nice chat. I had eggs over easy with toast, hash browns, and steak medallions. It was very good--I love eating breakfast at a restaurant. We chatted about many things--mainly about her beginning a master's program to advance in her job and my progress on the house. I had brought her a gift of a large zip lock bag of cookies. There really isn't anything more delicious than a fresh batch of home made chocolate chip cookies!
We had a lovely visit. On my way home again, I realized it was after 3:30! By the time I got to Owatonna it was after 4 pm. I had thought about stopping for groceries, but traffic was crazy and the parking lot was packed. I decided I would go in the morning instead. So, I went home and did very little. I watched some TV and went to bed fairly early as I wanted to be up and out early enough to get groceries and be home before 11:30 am, when Cynthia Butler was coming over to help me clean.
I was up at least six times in the night to pee. I don't know why as I didn't have that much to drink yesterday--I had two glasses of Diet Coke at Perkins and a medium sweet tea from McDonald's on the way home. I wouldn't think that would make me pee a million times!
My alarm went off at 7:30 am, and while I was in the bathroom, my mother called. I have no idea why--unless it was to see if I had been serious about picking her up at 8 am to go get groceries. She talked for about 20 minutes, so I got a later start than I had planned. We were still in Owatonna well before 9 am. I got almost everything I needed to make all three of those salads. I forgot cilantro and cashews, and I could not find 3 Cheese Ranch Dressing. I got regular ranch and some fresh Parmesan cheese. I will have to look up the recipe again and see what other types of cheese are included in that dressing. I will have to fake it, I guess.
Mom and I got breakfast biscuits with sausage, egg and cheese and orange juice at Hardees. Those were delicious sandwiches. Much tastier than the McDonald's sausage, egg and cheese biscuits.
I dropped Mom off at her house. She had hauled a bunch of stuff out of the basement and put it in her garage. We got that loaded into my car, and then I went home. I was home by 10:45.
Peaches had puked a gigantic puke puddle in my office--she managed to puke on the tote I had used to put stuff that needed to go into the office in, both the journals (1984 and 1985) and the cat grooming brush inside the bag, and the area rug. The brush had grooves in the handle that were encased with dried up puke, so I tossed it. It didn't work that well anyhow. I managed to wipe the covers of the journals off pretty well, threw the tote into the laundry, and scrubbed the puke off the area rug. It was so gross.
When Cynthia arrived at 11:30, I had her carry in all the stuff from my car. Then she moved some books from a double rowed book shelf to an empty book shelf while I put away my groceries. She swept and scrubbed all my floors, dusted the furniture, vacuumed the upholstered furniture, put felt pads on the legs of most of the furniture, cleaned the appliances in the kitchen, and hauled some stuff to the basement for me. I cleaned the cat boxes, bagged up my kitchen garbage, and hauled my garbage and recycling out to the appropriate cans. (They are right outside my breezeway door, so all I have to do is step outside the door and drop the bags in the can.) She put my reusable grocery bags and a bag of stuff that I have to drop off at Susan's the next time I am in West Concord into my car. I sorted out the stuff Mom had sent home with me, and Cynthia put it where I asked her to. She did a very thorough and lovely job.
She stayed two hours. I asked her how much she charged for her cleaning service--she has a few regular customers and is doing this work instead of getting a summer job. She just turned sixteen and has a driver's license, so I don't even have to go get her and take her home again! She said she gets $12 an hour. I told her she was charging too little--most cleaning ladies get at least $20 an hour around here! I gave her $30, a bulletin board I didn't need or want, an old white board I used to use when I was teaching, three cans of mini Ravioli, which I used to love when I was in college, which now tastes HORRIBLE to me, and a Dilly Bar out of my freezer. She was thrilled with all of these items--especially the Dilly Bar.
My house looks so clean and pretty now--what took her two hours would probably have taken me six or more! I arranged with her to come to my house every Thursday at 11:30--I will probably not need her for two hours every time, but it would be great if I could have her do some things like weed the flower garden, wash the windows, help me organize some things, haul boxes to the basement, or other things that a young healthy girl with strong knees can do that I can't.
I had thought I would make at least one of those salads this afternoon--but it turned out that I was really tired. I thought I would sit in my recliner and have a short nap and then do it, but I had one phone call after another, so I never napped and never made any salads. It's okay though--I will make something tomorrow. I bought some hamburger too--perhaps I will make meatloaf. I have been hungry for meatloaf for a long time.