Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hot Days...Cool Eats!

With temperatures across the country, well into the 90s and humid, I want to offer two no-bake~no cook ideas for healthy, delicious meals.  The first is Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad, which means "little swamp" referring to the texture of the salad.  The main component is bread, even better, stale bread.  I first made this salad when Kelly brought Matt to Seattle for the first time.  We decided on a hike with friends up Rattlesnake Ridge (really funny, because western Washington has NO rattlesnakes!)  A medium hike of about 2 miles with the reward of a spectacular view of the Cascades.  After descending, we laid out our blankets and had a wonderful lunch by the lake.  This salad packs well because the more the ingredients marinate, the better the taste.

The second entree is one of my favorites--Chilled Cantaloupe Soup.  This is the simplest to make and I can attest to how refreshing this is on a hot day.  Even though I used cantaloupe today, you could easily substitute casaba or honeydew.  So, when it's hot, think cool...and satisfying.



1/4 cup water
1-2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. brown mustard
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


3 cups bread chunks, approximately 1" cubes
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1 1/2 cucumber, peeled (seeded if not using an English cucumber) and chopped in 1/2" pieces
2 cups chopped tomatoes, seeded and in 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2" to 1" pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2" to 1" pieces
4 T fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, Italian flat or Curly, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Whisk water, balsamic and mustard together. Add salt and pepper to taste, then, continue whisking and add the olive oil to emulsion.  Place bread chunks in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette over the bread.  Let set about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, start chopping vegetables.  Drain any vinaigrette that hasn't been absorb by the bread (you really shouldn't have that much).  Add the vegetables, minced herbs and taste for seasoning.

Add additional salt and pepper as needed.

The colors are so vibrant and appropriately represents the Italian flag.  Optionally, you can add some chunks of fresh mozzarella or a Greek version, with feta and black olives.  Let the salad "marinate" for at least an hour before serving, but as I say, "this salad is like a gets better with age!"

Cantaloupe Soup
1 cantaloupe, cut and seeded to give you approximately 3 cups of cubed cantaloupe
1 naval orange, peeled and halved to remove any membrane

2 T. fresh lime juice
1 8oz. container of Greek yogurt, I used a honey flavored*
Put all the ingredients in a blender and set to puree.  Refrigerate at least an hour or two to blend flavors and chill completely.  To serve, grate some nutmeg on top.  Enjoy!
*You can also use unflavored or vanilla yogurt; add 1 T honey to the mixture. 

Lastly, I wanted to share with you a wonderful day I had yesterday with a dear friend, Ellen Hutson.  Ellen has an online craft store and a spectacular online classroom where she shows her followers the most innovative products and ideas.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take the time out from a busy week to spend the day creating and showing off my paper flowers with her; a day to cherish!
Take a peek at what we created and feel the joy of nature.  

On a personal note, the hydrangeas I created for the project was Kelly's favorite.  She carried a bouquet of blue hydrangeas for her wedding in 2006.  I loved sharing this with Ellen and am blessed to have such a strong, supportive friend in my life.  Take time to tell your friends you love is short. 



  1. Wow! This soup sounds really great on these very humid days! The kids would enjoy helping out creating this too! What a wonderful post that was shared about your process on Ellen's blog! Your talents never cease to amaze me!

  2. oh, cantaloupe soup sounds like something i wish i had right this second. in fact, that's it. i'm going to the market and getting a cantaloupe right now and diving in. yum!

  3. I have a confession...this soup is so good, you could almost call it a dessert:)

  4. Cantaloupe soup!! Yum! We have been getting a frsh lope at the market each week...and nothing compares, all juicey and perfectly sweet.

    Your paper flowers are amazing!! They look so real! I love how you share little tidbits of Kelly here in your posts. I cherish reading these stories.


  5. Hi Susan,

    Lots of rattlesnakes in Eastern Washington!
    Enjoy seeing all the pictures of your recipes.

  6. Thanks Linda...I'll be sure to stay out of the woods in Eastern Washington:)