School Time

The long, hot “dog days” of August are with us! It’s still hot and dry and almost no rain, other than the occasional shower. Most gardens in my area have either been plowed under or the wilted plants have been tossed to a compost heap, with the exception of a few okra plants left standing. Fresh tomatoes, squash and beans are just a pleasant memory, and we begin a new season. (Yes, it’s still officially summer, but…)

School is about to begin after what seems a really short summer break, so you need to remember the rules of driving in school zones. If you come up on a school bus and the lights are flashing, STOP! Do not pass a school bus that is loading or unloading students. Those flashing lights and that stop sign are a sure indicator that the bus is doing something important; it is either picking up children before school or delivering them home after school. Always remember, children don’t always look where they are going or what they are doing, so we, as adults, have to be more aware of what is going on, even if it is something unexpected.

Please, do not forget that 20-MPH is the speed limit in and around schools. The school speed limit on Windy Knoll exists from Park St. to just past Fay Ave. It is very well marked. On Hwy. 173, the speed limit is 30 MPH when the lights are flashing.

If you see children riding bicycles, slow down, they don’t always look before crossing streets or coming out from behind parked cars. And, last, but by no means least, always make sure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt and small children are restrained according to their weight or height.

Here are a couple of light summer-time salads for you to try!

Light Chicken Salad

3 or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped

2/3 cup finely diced celery

1/3 cup sweet pickle relish

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Enough light mayonnaise to moisten

Cook chicken breasts in water seasoned with salt and a small amount of onion and celery, cool until you can handle the meat, remove skin and bones and cut into small pieces.

Wash the apple, and cut it up, and add to the chicken, add remaining ingredients along with enough light mayonnaise to moisten. Serve with crackers, Melba toast or bread rounds.

Cinco de Mayo Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked, diced chicken,

4 sliced green onions, including tops, ( 2 sliced green onions or 1½ Tbs. chopped sweet onion)

½ cup diced green bell pepper, (¼ C.)

1 avocado diced and tossed with lemon juice to prevent discoloration, (1/2 avocado)

½ cup bottled chili sauce (Hunt’s, DelMonte)*, (¼ C.)

4 tablespoons mild picante sauce, (2 Tbs.)

½ teaspoon dry mustard, (¼ tsp.)

½ teaspoon black pepper, (¼ tsp.)

1 teaspoon chili powder, (½ tsp.)

Combine chicken, onions, bell pepper and avocado in mixing bowl. Combine chili sauce, picante sauce, dry mustard, black pepper and chili powder in a bowl and mix well. Pour over chicken mixture until coated thoroughly. Serve with tortilla chips. Garnish with additional avocados if desired. *This is found in the aisle with the ketchup and the store brand (if they have one) is OK also. (Measurements in ( ) are for ½ recipe).

Tortilla Bites

1 package (8-oz) cream cheese at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

½ cup chopped or sliced black olives (drained well)

1 can diced green chilies, (drained)

1 to 1½ teaspoons grated onion

1 tablespoon Gebhardt® Chili Powder

2 cups shredded cheese (can use a mixture of cheddar, Colby Jack, Mexican blend and pepper Jack, depending on how much heat you like). Most people just use cheddar or half cheddar and half pepper Jack.

6 to 8 flour tortillas*

Beat cream cheese until smooth, and blend in sour cream until combined, beat in the olives, chilies, onion and chili powder and mix well. Beat in the cheese until well mixed. Spread the mixture on flour tortillas, to the edge at the top and sides and about ¾ of the way to the bottom. Roll up, place on a plate, seam side town and finish rolling remaining tortillas. Cover and chill thoroughly, then cut crosswise into slices about ½ to ¾-inches thick. (Taste the mixture and if you feel you need a little more ‘bite’ add a couple splashes of Tabasco® or a finely diced fresh jalapeno pepper, before spreading on the tortillas). *How many you use depends on how thickly you spread the mixture!

For a slightly different version, leave out the green chilies, olives and onion and substitute ½ to ¾ cup French onion dip for the sour cream.