Easy – But Yummy – Pasta Salad

When I start making this pasta salad, I know that summer has arrived.  Everyone has their own variation, this is mine.

Summer in a bowl

Ingredients

1 bag – pasta of choice. Hardier pastas work best.  I’ve used Rotini, Fusilli, Farfale (bowtie), and Scoobi-Do is a favourite.  It’s a nice change from  the traditional elbow.

1 jar – Miracle Whip

2 cans – flakes of ham – some people like tuna, I prefer the taste and saltiness of ham

4 eggs – hard boiled

mustard – a healthy squirt

dried dill – a healthy shake

curry powder – to taste

salt and pepper – to taste

Directions

Cook the pasta in salted water to al dente.  Strain and run under cold water until completely cooled.

In a large bowl, break up flakes of ham and cut up hard boiled eggs.  Leave both in fairly large chunks as they will break down more when you stir it all together.

Dump the pasta on top, and add Miracle Whip and combine, to get desired creaminess.  Add mustard, dill and curry, along with salt and pepper, all to taste, testing along the way of course! 😉

That’s it.  It’s best served chilled, though if you plan on storing it in the fridge for a while, the pasta will absorb the dressing, so before serving add a bit more and give it a stir.

I prefer mine very simple, but there are literally hundreds of things you could add to this salad – bell peppers, green onions, spanish onion.  You could add fresh peas if you had some from the garden or market.  That’s what’s nice about it, add what you like to make it your own and suit your tastes.

Serve with a burger or hot dog or whatever summer treat you’ve got off the grill, and enjoy!

Keeping Cool

Whew!

Woah.  It’s a hot one out there.  It’s been a hot week actually.  It’s the humidity that does it.  There is a heaviness in the air that seems to hit you and take your breath away as soon as you step outside.

Summer is here folks – I’m not one to complain about the weather (too much) but it’s here and we might as well enjoy it.

Please stay safe, keep up on heat advisories, and employ these simple practices in your day to day life when its so hot out:

– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Drink plenty of water.  Not just water, look for beverages that have electrolytes.

– Keep your blinds and windows closed during the day.

– Turn off the lights in your home when they’re not needed.

– If you’re outdoors, try to stick to the shade and avoid too much direct sunlight.

– Wear a hat outdoors, but remove it when you go indoors, this will allow your body to cool off quicker.

– Use those fans!  They help to circulate the air, which can be enough sometimes.  If it’s a ceiling fan, make sure it is turning in the right direction for cooling.  You can place a bowl of ice or something frozen in front of the fan to boost the cooling up a notch.

– Minimize the use of your stove and oven.  Cook outside when you can, or use a crock pot!  I know people often associate a crock pot with winter cooking, but you can make some really great meals, all while not heating up your house at all.

– If you have to be outside, and tend to exercise outside, try to limit your activities to early morning or late at night, when the sun isn’t so strong and the humidity isn’t as unbearable.  This includes activities such as grass cutting and gardening as well.  Don’t forget to drink during your activities.  Especially then.

– Mint.  Eat it, look for mint in lotions, etc.  It has cooling properties that will help cool the body down.

– Avoid alcohol when outside in the heat.  I know this sucks, but it dehydrates you.

– Get soaked.  Be it in a swimming pool if you’re lucky enough to have access to one,  a local splash pad, or just a sprinkler or kiddie pool in your backyard.  It’s amazing how a bit of cool water can lower your body temperature to something much more manageable.

There are many other ways to keep cool, the internet is full of them.  If you have to, go to the mall or your local library to cool off.  But please, if you think you are having heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.

Some of these (okay, most of these) are so obvious, but it’s so easy to forget the basics sometimes.

Enjoy the heat, but try to stay cool too.