Italian Pasta Salad

Mar 5th

Sunday is daylight savings. I greatly dislike daylight savings. I liked living in Arizona, where they ignored it and never changed times.

But now that I don’t live in Arizona, I need to observe it. Which makes me have a three hour time difference with all my family and friends in Tucson. Three hours is a HUGE difference.

It makes it hard to talk on the phone. And many nights I’ll end up staying up way to late, texting with friends who just started watching the prime time shows. I hope you all appreciate the great restraint I show in not posting spoilers. Like I won’t say that tonight on American Idol it was Joey who got kicked off. Just kidding! I haven’t even watched last weeks yet, let alone this weeks. And I really hope Joey is still on, as she is the only one that I actually remember and like. The kid whose mom declared him a virgin is the one I want I gone. He and his mom annoy me.

But I digress.

What is hardest about the three hour time difference is how it effects my Facebook usage. As I am sure you all do too, when I wake up I first check emails, then I check Facebook. Then I go to etiquettehell.com, then Dear Abby. At some point I remember to wake the kid and get her ready and fed.

But when there is a three hour time difference, and I’ve been up late the night before, there is never anything new on Facebook in the morning. And then I have to wait THREE HOURS for my friends in AZ and CA to start waking up and posting. That is a long time to wait for links to interesting news stories, touching videos (who else got teary at the dancing skeletons?), and status updates with funny comments from friends.

This is unacceptable. Especially since you can’t convince me it’s needed, since this photo was taken tonight at 5:30. See people still in their bathing suits?

beach5-30

And this was taken at 6:10. Averi is playing with a new friend she met.

beach6

And they played while we chatted with the mom (who is a former NFL cheerleader and is now a model and actress, because it is Miami after all) until 6:40 when I finally said we had to go. Not because it was just finally starting to get dark, but because we still needed to eat dinner and have Averi shower.

beach6-40

(yup, this is at 6:40pm)

Luckily, I already had dinner ready as we had planned to picnic on the beach. Earlier in the day I had made an Italian Pasta Salad. I LOVE this salad and make it at least once a month. Everything can be done in advance, it is full of protein and veggies, and it’s best chilled, making it the perfect one dish meal for a picnic.

The original recipe, which I found on Celeste’s Cooking Creation, calls for pepperoni, tomatoes, red pepper, olives and cubed cheddar cheese. I make sure to always use the olives, as Averi loves them. Mainly so she can make olive fingers. Although today she said she was a tree lizard.

olivefingers

Otherwise I normally will just use what I have on hand, or what’s for sale. I’ll toss in spinach, zucchini or broccoli. I’ll use salami instead of pepperoni. It doesn’t matter, because like with the Chow Mein recipe, it is the dressing that makes this salad. DON’T change the dressing!

The dressing will be what gets me through the time change, as even though I can picnic without changing the clock, I will now be out on the beach till so late that I will have time to get hungry again and have seconds and possibly thirds of this salad.

Italian Pasta Salad

1 box pasta

2 cups veggies of your choice – green peppers, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, etc

2 cups tomatoes, diced

6 oz pepperoni or salami, diced

1 can black olives

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 oz cheddar cheese, cubed

Dressing

¾ cup red wine vinegar

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 tbsp oregano

¼ tsp garlic powder

Boil pasta. Drain, and transfer to large bowl. If adding spinach, I like to add when pasta is still a little warm, so the spinach wilts a little. But if you prefer your spinach raw and crispy, wait till pasta has cooled, and add spinach and all remaining salad ingredients. Set aside.

Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Personally, I keep the dressing and the salad separate, as the daughter is not a fan of dressings.

Otherwise, pour dressing over salad, and mix well.

Either way, chill the salad and dressing for at least an hour before serving, as it tastes better cold.