Red Potato Salad

I made this potato salad for a picnic last year with my mom, and when I set it out on the table, she said with great astonishment, "Who made this potato salad?"
"Me," I said.
"YOU?!" she said.  With a little more incredulity than was necessary, in my opinion. :)

Yes, it's true.  I never liked potato salad as a child.  Not one bit.  But it's just because I didn't know it could be, you know, GOOD.  And because I have faith in the power of The Potato, one day I went into the kitchen determined to find A Better Way.  And I did.  (For one thing: NO PICKLES.  Please, no pickles!)  Now I look for any excuse to make this recipe (for the children!)---and now that it's Memorial Day, you have no reason not to make it too.

Even having disposed of the pickles, I anticipate another objection.  For some reason potato salad has a reputation of being unhealthy.  It's unfair to the poor potato.  It isn't even a "simple" carbohydrate!  I quote, "Unlike refined foods like white rice and white bread, potatoes are nutritious, whole, rich in fiber and totally unprocessed. The potato can be a great source of energy and nutrients, including vitamins C, B-6, and folate and fiber (4 grams when you eat the skin)."  They are also one of the best sources of potassium (better than bananas!), which helps muscle contraction, so all you pregnant women can avoid those dibilitating nightly leg cramps.  And what other muscles need help contracting?  YOUR HEART.  So if you have one of those, consider the potato.  Cui bono?  You do.

This salad (sorry to go on and on about the healthiness issue, which I don't usually discourse upon, but The Potato needs a Defender) is made mostly with plain nonfat yogurt and lots of fresh delicious herbs.  Mustard and red wine vinegar give it just a hint of sourness.  There's a tiny bit of mayonnaise just to hold it all together, and of course feel free to add hard-boiled eggs if you'd like a little more protein.  All in all, something you can feel quite pleased about making again and again!

Red Potato Salad

8-9 large red potatoes, diced (leave skins on)
1 c. plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. fresh chives, chopped, including blossoms if you have them
1 T. fresh dill
1 T. fresh tarragon (optional)
(substitute 1 t. dried of any of these herbs, if necessary)
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 T. red wine vinegar

Dice your potatoes and bring them to pressure in the pressure cooker.  Cook for 5 minutes.  (For all you without the beautiful benefits of a pressure cooker, just boil them for . . . however long you usually boil potatoes to soften them; I confess I've quite forgotten.)

While the potatoes are cooking, mix in a large bowl: yogurt, mayo, mustard, herbs, salt, and vinegar.  Stir it up and taste it.  Adjust seasonings as desired.

When the potatoes are done, drain them and then pour them into the yogurt mixture.  I like potato salad when it's hot and the potatoes mash up slightly, so I pour them straight in.  But if you like them firmer, cool them a bit first.  Stir it all up and you're done!  Serve warm or cold.  And don't feel guilty about it, not a bit!

Happy Memorial Day, friends!


Who says that boys don't like to engage in pretend-play of domestic activities?  Here are my boys pretending to make a nice batch of cookies.

"Get-out-the-sugar-and-put-it-in.  BAM!"
"Put-the-butter-in-the-microwave. vvvVVV! SLAM! PLOP!"
"Crack-the-eggs-in.  CRRRACK!  CRRRACK!"
"Oh no, the egg fell out and broke!  Get-another-one.  CRRRACK!  CRRRACK!"
"Okay, turn on the mixer.   vvvvvVVVVVVVRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAA . . . " 
"The flour is puffing out.  PUFF!  PUFF!"
"Oh, no, the dough is falling out!  FWUMP!  SPLASH!  FWUMP!"
"Turn it higher.  BRRWAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" 
"Turn it higher!  HIGHER!"

Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter chips

In April I feel grateful for good weather.  In May, I start to feel entitled to it.  (I know this is wrong.)  I suppose that means that days like today:

are only what I deserve.  Point taken!

At least snowy days are good days to make cookies.  Perhaps you would like to try these.  Chocolate and peanut butter, nothing revolutionary, but on a day like this, just exactly the type of warm thing one likes to have in one's tum.

Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter chips

2 c. flour (11.5 oz)
3/4 c. baking cocoa (I use 1/4 c. carob; 1/2 c. cocoa)
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 1/2 c. butter or marg.
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. Peanut-butter chips (or other kind of chips, if desired; white chocolate looks nice, and adding chocolate chips makes a yummy double-chocolate cookie)

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and stir till combined.  Stir in peanut butter chips.  Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350, 8-9 minutes (don’t overbake)


Things I find strange

Reason #52 why I love Sebby: sideways smiles


Listing one item of a list, but labeling it "#244" or whatever, and expecting me to just believe there are actually 243 other things on that list.  Lazy.  (Advertisements use this a lot, e.g. "Reason #37 for eating at Ruby River."  Really?  You've thought of 36 other reasons?  Let's hear 'em.)

Walk-a-thons.  I should pay you . . . for . . . walking.  Nope.*

"Box tops for Education."  The school gets something like 5 cents per box top?  Wouldn't it be, like, 80 times faster just to ask us to go without one box of cereal and donate the whole $3.99?

*On second thought, ANY-a-thons.  Ask me to donate.  Or offer an exchange of goods/services.  But let's not have this weird hybrid, where you're only pretending to offer me something of value, and I'm only pretending to value it.  "I don't care that much about curing cancer, but I DO so want you to walk 15 miles!"


Pink lilacs!  I've seen white before, but not pink.
It seems like the lilacs here are kind of late to bloom this year, or maybe I'm just remembering wrong?  Anyway, they are just starting to come out.  They are gorgeous.  We've seen lots of huge bushes growing on street corners and by empty fields---obviously not being cared for, but flourishing anyway.  We also went to Red Butte Gardens (perhaps the only good thing to come out of the U of U?  Heh heh---just a little joke) and saw several different varieties of lilac.  I loved seeing them all together---so many shades and variations!

Why I married Sam: mot juste edition

Me: Daisy feels so hot!  She's a . . . a . . . would you say she's a hot potato or a hot tamale?

Sam: She's a hottentot.

Me: *admiring silence*

Sugared Violets

Sugaring violets is something I've been wanting to do for awhile, and I decided I'd better get to it quickly before all my violets die for the year.  (I'd like to do it with violas or pansies sometime too---the process is the same.)

It turns out it isn't very hard to do, but it's delicate work---the violet petals fold in and stick to each other if you just dip them in the egg white, so it works better to paint the egg white on with a pastry brush.

First, beat an egg white or two with a whisk till foamy.  Blend some sugar in the blender to make superfine sugar.  Then set up a work station with your violets, the egg whites and superfine sugar in separate bowls, a pastry brush, and some waxed paper.

Paint the violets all over with the egg white.  This is what the sugar will stick to.

Sprinkle the superfine sugar all over each violet, front and back.  Sebby helped me do this and had a great time.

Lay the violets carefully on the waxed paper and let them dry overnight.  Move them or turn them occasionally so they don't stick to the paper in one place.  When dry, put the violets carefully into an airtight container (on top of crumpled plastic wrap or easter grass---a soft bed for them) to store.  They are very delicate, so move them carefully!  I read that they could be stored this way for up to a year, but I used mine within the week.  The boys would have eaten them like popcorn if I'd let them!

We used them for the Mother's Day Dinner we made for our moms---on this lemon curd cheesecake I've made before.  Delicious, and so pretty!


"The Man-Grab"

Remember this post about how the hug/handshake dilemma can be awkward?

Evidently this guy has had the same problem.
The rest of his blog is super funny too.  The illustrations are awesome.  Enjoy!


Sam and I trade off surprising each other with anniversary plans every year, and when I realized it wouldn't be feasible for us to have an actual "overnight getaway" this year, I remembered something Megan had done for Beth a few years ago, where she made her house into a fancy hotel.  Everything good and clever about this idea (the sanitized toilets! the "coming soon!" signs! the toiletry basket!) came from Megan's creativity, so all I had to do was execute it.  Doing so was super fun (you know how I love having a project to work on).

The boys stayed with my mom for the night, and we went out to dinner and had a lovely, lovely time (even when Daisy was screaming for an hour in the backseat of the car).  Then we came home to this: 

Don't mind Bendigo (the concierge).  He's just my stuffed elephant.  He tends to get involved with these sorts of schemes, for some reason.

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