Summer means a lot of different things to different people. To me, it means traveling, eating, resting after a long school year, and, most importantly, seeing family and friends. When I was little my family often traveled together in the summers. We explored places like Tahiti, Europe, and Australia. As I’ve grown up and, in doing so, caused my parents the financial burden of my college education, family vacations have consisted more of all of us together in a fun staycation. My older sister comes home from law school, my mom comes home from Nashville, and I come home from college to stay with my dad and play games, watch movies, and talk about what has been going on in our lives. I used to leave half-way through nights like these to go hang out with friends, yet, as I’ve grown older I’ve begun to realize how important nights like these are. We each have our own adventures and we’re all so busy that a lot of times we can’t hash them out on the phone. As we travel as a family a little less, I now go on adventures myself: to Europe, to India, and most recently to Baja. I find that keeping a journal on these adventures allowed me to bring my family into the trip and give them much of the experience that I had. As a family, we still travel, however, it is now to see one another or our extended family. For example, this summer, I went with my parents to visit my mom’s side of the family in Washington. None of the other cousins could make it (two came for the first day) because we all have such different schedules and such busy lives; so, for the first time, I experienced the stories and lives of the adults. I feel much more connected to my aunts and uncles and I finally see the importance in that as well. Furthermore, as my friends and I have started different adventures at different schools with different friends, summer has become the prime time to see them and catch up with their busy lives. We have crazy random adventures (like going to the roller rink, riding the free trolley around my town at night, or trying to sew our own clothes–>which can be super eco-friendly) while discussing the past year and what our plans are for the future. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope you all appreciate the people in your lives. I know that I’ve had times where I didn’t and I wish that at those times I would have realized how important spending time with them is. So if you’re still on summer (as I am), I recommend spending some time catching up with the people that are important to you and getting stories out of them. This summer I’ve spent a lot of time listening to other people’s stories and I’ve learned a lot about that person through them.
Last night, I was all pumped up to power out a delicious meal when I got a phone call from one of my best friends inviting me to dinner at his house. And let me tell you about his mom’s cooking: you don’t say no to eating it. It was the most delicious and summery dinner and I’m totally drooling just thinking about it. It was also really easy to make so I’m going to tell you all about it so you can someday make it as well. Keep in mind most of the ingredients came straight from my friend’s mom’s garden. It’s also the perfect summer meal for you to enjoy with friends (though to green it up I suggest switching the tuna for something a bit less over-fished such as salmon).
Salad Niçoise with Seared Ahi Tuna
- Greens of your choice (I suggest Romaine Lettuce)
- Cooked and cooled Green Beans
- Hard-boiled Eggs, sliced
- Boiled and cooled Potatoes (of a smaller variety)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Niçoise Olives
- Avocado, sliced
- Artichoke Hearts
- Ahi Tuna, seared
- Salad Dressing of your choosing (I recommend a Vinaigrette)
Set all ingredients out separately and allow each guest to choose what they would like. You can add or subtract whatever ingredients you like/dislike. It’s the perfect summer meal.
I’m sorry to say that I do not have a picture for you guys, so I’m going to dazzle you with a picture of me with a whale shark. Let me remind you: the sharks on average were about 20 feet long (though we were dealing with adolescents–>the adults are on average 40 feet long).