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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Birthday celebration and the easiest salad ever

We had a riotous, rowdy celebration of four birthdays tonight--belatedly, mine on the 22nd and neighbor Susan's on the 25th; in advance, son-in-law Christian's Aug. 6 and good friend Phil's Aug. 15 when he'll be out of town. Phil enjoyed Jacob's b'day so much that he said that was what he wanted for his birthday--toys. And he got them--a jump rope, an awful sqishy rubber spider, one of those paddles with a small ball attached (never could master that and neither could he). Mostly it was a no-gifts, have fun party--and we did. I am blessed with such wonderful friends, and a daughter who decorated the house with balloons, party favors, and a giant cut-out Darth Vader (remnant of one of Jacob's parties).
Dinner parties at my house are often potluck, as was this tonight. Neighbor Jay (the good looking one) brought his mother-in-law's spaghetti, I made a marinated vegetable salad and artichoke/cheese bread (even Christian, the non-artichoke eater, had several pieces). For appetizers Jordan brought salami, a sharp Irish cheddar, and a cheddar with rosemary plus an artichoke dip--all so good. For dessert Subie brought-at my request--Black Forest Cake. I'm in heaven--they left the one leftover piece with me.
I'm not sure when I've had more fun with this group of people. What I love about them is that they didn't know each other (with a couple of exceptions) until I brought them together and now they are close friends. Sophie was so excited she had to be let out twice before she would come in and quiet down but she finally did and was a good dog. Phil's guide dog, Santiago, always excites her beyond belief but Santiago is nine, a Lab, and all he wants when he's not working is to lie down and rest. Sophie does not understand that. She also pestered Susan's 91-year-old father with a vengeance, I guess because he was new, though he's been here before. Anyway, it was a wonderful evening.

Here's my easy marinated salad recipe:

1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 large can cut green beans (not French style), drained
1 small head broccoli, cut into tiny flowerets
A bunch of teeny tiny carrots
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

You can use whatever else you want--the original recipe left out corn and black beans but called for cauliflower (I couldn't see buying a whole cauliflower and I'm not particularly fond of it), avocado (which gets lost in the mix), and a shredded head of lettuce (which wilts and ruins the leftovers--without it, the salad is good for days).

I jar bottled salad dressing of your choice. I used Paul Newman's Own Vinaigrette. The original recipe called for Kraft Italian. If you're ambitious, you can make your own. I should have but I was also busy making artichoke/cheese bread--so good!

Let the salad sit several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Lovely evening, delicious food.

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