Except for a few sporadic drizzles, it’s been absolutely gorgeous here the past few weeks. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and our puppy and toddler are both filled with more energy than usual. Hooray for spring around the corner! I’m a winter girl through and through, but being a mom makes me appreciate the warmer days at a whole new level. Our Beany needs to run. And run and run.
We’ve been taking full advantage of the longer days and loads of sunshine lately. I’ve been itching to get springy photos of Beany for weeks now in hopes of capturing an Easter card-worthy shot, and we turned it into an impromptu family photo shoot. I suppose I shouldn’t say impromptu because we actually had the forethought to buy a $15 tripod from Target before heading to our photo destination. Why we waited so long to get such a handy tool, I have no idea.
The process for getting the family shots was actually pretty hilarious. I’d stand in the designated spot with Beany sitting a few feet to the side and playing in the grass, Jared would focus the camera on me and set the timer, then he’d run over to Beany, making monster noises along the way, pick up our laughing girl and throw her into the air before settling in the frame next to me, just in time for the light to flash and photo to take.
Beany was amazingly cooperative. And boy oh boy, is she getting aware of that camera. I laugh every time I look at some of these. What a silly girl.
To go with our sunny weather and outdoor shenanigans, we noshed on some springtime salad for lunch that day. My salad-making seems to rise exponentially when the weather gets warmer, and this zucchini orzo salad is a zippy, filling, pretty-in-the-bowl recipe that’s super simple to throw together and incredibly forgiving if you change the ingredients here and there. Perfect for a picnic or barbecue or I-need-to-feel-springy afternoon.
Zucchini Orzo Salad
Adapted from Real Simple, June 2010
• 10 ounces orzo pasta
• 2 tablespoon olive oil
• 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 3 small zucchinis, cut into thin half moons (cucumber could easily be substituted)
• a handful of grape tomatoes, cut in half
• 8 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
• ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
Cook the orzo according to package instructions to al dente. Drain and run the pasta under cold water to cool it down.
In the meantime, whisk together the oil, vinegar, red pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the zucchini and tomatoes, and toss to combine. Let that marinate for 20-30 minutes.
Add the cooked orzo to the zucchini along with the Feta and dill, and toss to combine.
Note: This salad could be easily switched up depending on what you have on hand. Kalamata olives, green onions, roasted corn or grated carrots would be yummy additions as well. Also, I tend to prefer zingy dressing over oily, which is why my oil-to-vinegar ration is 1:2. Feel free to adjust it to suit your taste.
How are you enjoying the springtime weather? Any fun new recipes? Fun outdoors? I’d love to hear about it!