7 Layer Salad, with Sides – Summer Light & Just Right

If you live in a climate where summers can be hot & humid, than you probably have days like me when you can’t even think of cooking dinner, in a hot kitchen.  You’re looking for a meal that is cool, light, and delicious.  We probably all have our regular stand-bys, but I just discovered a new favorite, and I’m here to share it with you!

One of the best parts of having link-up party on Tuesdays, has not only been the simple home decor or craft ideas, but the recipes shared!  This ‘7 Layer Salad’ was a link-up, and I thought it was so enticing, we made it right away, and then featured it! >  Because our whole family loved it!  As I said in the feature, even the kids were ‘scoffin’ & commentin’ through the whole meal, and were thrilled to have leftovers the next night.  (Honestly, they cheered.)

I think the name alone, 7 Layer Salad, is FUN, and sound enticing.  And the great thing is, if you don’t care for one of the ingredients/layers, you can substitute it with something you prefer, and still call it 7 Layer Salad! But we made it just like the recipe called for, and it was a hit in our mouths, and our bellies.

Here’s the recipe, layer-by-cool & easy-layer:

7 Layer Salad

*In order that ingredients are put into the bowl, building bottom to top:

  • 6 cups fresh, washed Spinach
  • 2 cups Grape Tomatoes, halved (Cherry Tomatoes would work too.)
  • 1 cup Red Onion, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cup frozen Peas, thawed & drained
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 6 slices Bacon, cooked & chopped*
  • 3 Hard-Boiled Eggs, quartered or sliced

* Use microwavable bacon!  Remember, we not cooking tonight! ; )


Then, I added a few perfect sides, still keeping the meal cool & light:

Some fresh and cold rolled-up Turkey meat & Apple slices.


Serve with a tall glass of cold lemonade, and you have yourself a perfect and light summer meal!  Lunch or dinner!

(OK, that particular glass in the photo, happened to be my Mike’s Hard Lemonade. But, you know, can do Country Time if you’d like!)

As a salad dressing, consider Balsamic Vinegar, or a Raspberry Vinaigrette.  My kids love both, but yours may prefer their regular favorite.


As if this meal wasn’t perfect enough to me, I added my favorite topping.  Most every salad is ‘betta, with Feta’.


We are always looking for new & delicious recipes to try, any time of the year!  So if you have a favorite or few that you’d like to share with us, send it in!  Just email it to us anytime, and if it sounds good to us, we’ll make it, photograph it, and blog it! (With credit to you!)

That’s all for this share. Keep Cool, Folks!

A Garden Tomato Sandwich

It’s been said that some of the best things in life, are the simple things.

I’ve certainly found that to be true, when it comes to the enjoyment I find in the fruits of my own gardens.

To be able to just walk out my front door, to my own little garden beds, and pick something I need, fresh right off the vine, brings a satisfaction you could have never convinced me that I would relish in one day.
But I really do.

Ripe, brilliant red, fresh tomatoes, are often what I am after.

And a simple tomato sandwich, is often on the immediate menu.

One can hardly call it ‘a recipe’ I guess. But before you think “Oh brother’, try one!

And try it my way.

Start with a fresh garden tomato. This is an Early Girl.

Slice it up about a 1/2 inch thick.

Now toast up 2 slices of your favorite bread. I like multi-grain.

Once it pops, butter just one side, very lightly.

Then load both sides, with Hellman’s Mayonnaise.

Just go ahead. You deserve it.

Layer on a couple of tomato slices (depending on the width of them), and dash on some black pepper!

Cut in half, and enjoy!

It’s my favorite summer time sandwich.

In case you are wondering, those are Sea Salt & Vinegar Cape Cod Potato Chips with my sandwich here.

I deserved those too, this day. ; )

Sometimes, I add some fresh cucumber slices in my sandwich, cut the long way.

That’s how the kids and I had them the other day.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard that my son said to me while eating lunch that day, “Mama, I can taste the love in this tomato and cucumber sandwich!”.

Now that’s discerning taste buds! Don’t you think?

It’s simply that good.

A Simple Lunch Spread, for a Celebration Gathering

If I had one goal, for the entire day of {JM, O & S}’s First Holy Communion, it was to ‘keep it simple’.  I wanted it ALL simple, so that we could all focus as much as possible on the purpose of the celebration, and enjoy it. That certainly included any food prepping I had to do, to feed our guests, who came back to our home following mass.  I didn’t want anything that needed to be re-heated or kept warm, and certainly not anything messy. I was going for a light, spring lunch.  I was pretty happy with what I came up with!

For a few of the platters, I made a wrote a little food description card, so no one needed to ask what was in this or that, nor would they be surprised when they took a bite. ; )

To start, we put out very Fresh Fruit Cups, we assembled the night before.  So very simple, but everyone was commenting how much they were loving the fruit cups.  You can’t miss, with fresh fruit!   We included:  clementine slices, pineapple, strawberries, black berries, and green grapes.

Roast Beef Horseradish Spirals:  This was one of the items I wanted people to know ahead of time, what it was made with – since it would possibly be an iffy preference for some.  So easy to make, so fancy to display, and as it turns out, a real hit for all! (Even the kids, here!) Combine these 6 ingredients:   1 8oz. of packaged cream cheese, 1/2 cup or 2 green onions chopped, 1/4 fresh parsley, 2 TBS prepared horseradish, drained, 1/4 tsp salt, & 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  Spread evenly over 2 10″ tortillas (we used tomato tortillas), leaving 1/2 inch border around edge.   Divide 8 oz sliced deli roast beef  over 2 tortillas. Roll up tightly, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate to firm > 30 minutes to a day ahead of time.  When ready, remove from fridge, and cut diagonally into 1/2 slices, and serve.

Chicken Salad (w/ a touch of Apple):  4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped, 2 apples chopped small, 3 stalks of celery, chopped, and mixed with mayonaise until desired consistancy. (We use Real Hellman’s).  Stuff fresh finger rolls, and serve.

Deviled Eggs: We used 18 hard boiled eggs.     Cut eggs in half the long way using sharp knife, gently  remove egg yolks and place in small bowl.  Mash yolks well w/ fork, add 3 tsp of dijon mustard, 3 Tbs minced onion, 1/2 – 3/4 tsp tobasco (preference), salt & pepper, and 1 cup of mayonnaise. Mix well together.  Fill pastry bags with mixture, fill egg whites, and sprinkle with Paprika.

Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes: Prepare tuna salad as usual.  We add chopped celery and onion.  Hollow out grape tomatoes, using a apple corer first to cut in, and then scoop out all of the inside with a melon ball scoop!  Fill with tuna salad, and arrange on platter.  I garnished the platter with fresh parsley.

Cucumber Sandwiches: I forgot to take photos of these, and darn, because they were so cute!  Very easy, very tasty.  Mix 1 package of cream cheese (8 oz.) with 1 packet of Italian Seasoning.  Peel and slice cucumber.  Spread mixture on slices of minim pumpernickel loaf (usually found near deli), place a slice of cucumber on each, and sprinkle w/ a littledill seed.

We also served pita chips with red pepper humus.

For drinks, we offered water, Raspberry Crystal Light, and we also had a punch bowl made, of which I should share the recipe.  It’s my Dad’s recipe and we have it on many special occasions w/ the kids.

One might wonder where the First Holy Communion Cake is. Well….that was one thing I wanted to be so special.  I knew we would not have time to bake anything and decorate it nicely, with all else we had to prepare, and because of {S}’s peanut allergy, we can’t just order a cake from a bakery. SO…..I hired a ‘professional’ to custom bake for us.  What I wanted instead of a cake, was very special cupcakes. (You all know how much I adore cupcakes!)  After several, (several) very specific e-mails, and an in person meeting at which I also included drawings and reviewed again exactly what I wanted, with a professional local custom baker I found online (who has a convincing web site),  ……. they were a disaster. Not what I asked for, not cute or pretty (or photo worthy), and they were not even enjoyable to eat, as they were HUGE, and so dense.  SO……they were the talk of the party, but not in a good way. It is almost comical, that the one area we hired a PRO to take care, and the one area we spent the most $ on, was the worst part of our whole food spread.  I can’t tell you how disappointed I was, with such a special piece of this special occasion.  That’s why I hired a pro!  Michael said all along “We can do that ourselves Honey, I don’t want to spend the money”…. and I always said, “But this is the one thing I really want to be special!”.  In the end, we could have done much more of a professional job, ourselves. I have not even contacted the baker with my complaints yet, because I am quite sure if I begin to speak, I will spew venom.  And we all know that’s not like me. ; )

And since I don’t want to leave this post on a tense note (doing head/shoulder rolls as I type…)…..please remember the light, spring, cheery lunch items above!  I hope you find some of these ideas useful, for an occasion or gathering of your own sometime!