Disclosure: I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.
I thought the weather finally turned a corner last week when the mercury rose to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. We shut down the furnace and installed the air conditioner. I stripped a few layers from the bedding, getting ready for the sweat-fest that was sure to come. Then Mother Nature threw us a curve ball–as she often does in New England–and it barely reached 56 the next day. And the day after that? Only about 60 degrees. Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel trickster.
Regardless of her grand design, I intend to prepare for picnic season. As I’ve mentioned before, my grandparents have a cottage on a nearby lake which becomes the gathering place for our extended family every weekend, June to September. Aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins–they all can be found at the little yellow house, nearly every Sunday, ready to get their picnic on. Everyone brings their own protein for the grill and a dish to share and just like that, a potluck is formed, week after week. It’s kind of magical how it just works out without any planning.
It goes by too fast.
Last summer, I barely made it to the cottage, despite its close proximity. I slaved away on blog projects the entire 3-month window, desperate to improve my numbers. Pageviews and uniques to increase; bounce rates to reduce. I was a woman with a plan and nothing would stop me.
Except I realized that the season slipped away before I even had a chance to dip in the lake and enjoy even just one moment of gravity-defying flotation. I was pasty white (except for that weird suntan line from a burn I had early in the season in a dress with a cut-out down the middle of the sleeve–a tan line that remains to this day) and while I had fun working on the blog, it was exactly that–I worked, all summer long. I missed out on quality time with my family. They grew overnight and I didn’t see it happen at all. That will not happen again.
I vow to spend more time relaxing. My recent illness has proven that I don’t do enough of that. (You know… that vertigo that we thought was from a ruptured eardrum, but it turned out to be TMJ–only I could go on vacation and stress myself out so much that I made myself sick.) I will make more simple meals so I have more time to bask in the glory of free time, a luxury I rarely allow myself. And I will prepare more salads, the perfect potluck dish–ready in an instant, plenty to feed the masses. I will not let this summer pass me by.
Stonyfield Organic yogurt makes that last resolution easy.
It’s a great replacement for mayonnaise, adding nutrients that you’d be missing otherwise. If you use the plain yogurt, it sits in well for just about any creamy dish–a culinary chameleon. Flexibility is a must! When I created this salad, I started with pineapple and coconut, thinking of piña coladas, cool ocean breezes, and warm sun rays caressing my skin. But it needed something…more. Pecans went into the bowl first, my favorite nut. And before I knew it, I was thinking Hummingbird Cake–that Southern favorite featuring pineapple, pecans, coconut, and bananas–and the bananas were thrown in next. It’s a unique combination in a fruit salad, but I LOVE it. All the flavor without the heaviness. This is summer to me. Just throw it in the cooler and you’ll be all set to go wherever the day takes you. Enjoy.