Backyard Bargains & Best-Before Dates

Later in the summer I’ll be hosting a garden party to celebrate my daughter and son-in-law’s elopement. And yes, I know I’ve already mentioned it, but it’s become a delightful preoccupation. We’ll need extra seating, of course, and have been keeping an eye out for bargains. Well, look what I scored at a yard sale. For $15!

A pair of Adirondack chairs connected by a table creates a cosy spot for a tete a tete under the old apple tree.

Pairing the set with a gazing ball on a wrought iron stand creates a nice cottage look, don’t you think? Handy Man may paint the chairs at some point, but for now I’m loving them au naturel.

Spending time in our backyard is a favorite pastime and we do a lot of al fresco dining. Last night was no exception.

Salad fixings

The lettuce and beets are from our garden. I used my mandolin to julienne the carrots and beets – super quick and easy! Along with those are diced cheddar, sliced hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, yellow peppers, chopped ham, sliced avocado, and on the far right a little jar of my favorite vinaigrette. Oh, and notice my adorable little crystal salt cellar with its silver salt spoon.

I don’t buy bottled salad dressing. For one thing, I get bored with using the same dressing over and over again. But then if I have several on hand, they hang out in the fridge forever. If you’re a bottled dressing buyer, do you check your best-before dates?

I’ve borrowed a vinaigrette recipe from Prudence Parker, the heroine in my upcoming novella, Kiss at the Cove, and she encouraged me to share it with you.

Pru’s super-simple super-tasty vinaigrette

Juice of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
a drizzle of maple syrup, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake. Done.


Bon appetit! Until next time,


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