Target Giveaway and Labor Day Ideas

September 4, 2011

If you live in the U.S., you are smack dab in the middle of Labor Day weekend.  If you are not on a camping (or some other kind of) trip, you are most likely either hosting a gathering, or are attending a gathering.  We are hosting two gatherings for which I will be making one ton of food.  I will share some of the recipes later in the week but that won’t help you with ideas for what to make, will it?  Labor Day will have passed.  So, I’m going to remind you of some of my very favorite salads if you need salad inspiration for your Labor Day festivities.  But first, a giveaway.

One of the most challenging things about writing is editing.  Doing your own, or someone doing it for you.  I took a history class in high school where each week we would have a pithy contest.  You had to bring in a current event and talk about it clearly in the fewest words possible.  I think about that contest often when I am writing.  I know I am not the pithiest writer but I could be worse.

I started a post that was, honestly, all over the place.  Cookies, bad cookie cookbooks, back to school, and Target.  It was far from pithy.  So let me just dial it down for you.  Target contacted me recently asking if I wanted a $50 gift card to check out their new food offerings.  Did you know that many Target stores carry more than just potato chips?  Like a full-on fresh food section with beautiful produce to boot?  I didn’t either.  We did our back to school shopping at Target and I was thrilled to be able to get the things I couldn’t find at the farmer’s market in the same place as the pencils and erasers.  One stop shopping taken to a whole new level.

Now.  When I am offered something like this, I always ask if I can have two.  One for me, one to give away.  The Target people didn’t bat an eyelash.  So, who wants a $50 Target gift card?  In the comments, tell me the name of your favorite grade school teacher and (optional!) why he/she was your favorite.  You have until Friday, September 9th at 9am PDT to enter.  And now, salad!  (UPDATE: Contest is now closed!)

Zucchini and Olive Salad could not be easier and it elicits oooh’s and aaahh’s when you bring it to the table.

Everyone loves Greek Salad and in this post, I offer some tips on making a great one.

That old saying, “What grows together, goes together” is exactly what you find here.  Peaches, heirlooms, green beans.  Perfection.

If you are thinking of making a potato salad, why not try something a little different?  Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette.  Be sure sure to use the purples.

I’ve made this salad, Lentils with Capers, Walnuts, Walnut Oil and Mint, more than just about anything in my life.  I love it.  I’m making it this weekend.

Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes.  Think of it either as a salad or a side dish.  Either way, delicious.


  1. Her name was Mrs. Larson (I think) and she was my teacher when I moved to the States. I remember her being very nice and welcoming, during what was a pretty tough last 2 months of 6th grade.

    Comment by Kirsten — September 7, 2011 @ 2:30 am

  2. My 1st grade teacher Mrs Golding was my favorite teacher. She was so patient. She was the sweetest woman, even when my best friend Beth threw up all over her. I still can recall the smell of her perfume and I always think of her when I catch a whiff of it.

    Comment by Melissa — September 7, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  3. My favorite teacher was my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lowe. She ran a kindergarten with her daycare, so she just put me in the school area with the older kids when I was about three years old. Because of that, I learned everything early and it set me on a course to believe I was smart (I was reading at a third grade level by kindergarten graduation). I’m not really that smart, but I think if a kid believes it, that’s all that really matters for success. I owe her everything.

    Comment by Lesley — September 7, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  4. My 4th grade teacher, Mr. Chiponis. Not the typical grade school teacher, he had a dry sense of humor and expected a lot out of us. But he had a sweet side and taught in a way that made sense and stuck with me.

    Comment by Erin — September 7, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  5. my favorite teacher was my 4th grade teacher, ms. randolph. she & her niece lived on a farm & we took a field trip there the year i was in her class. it was magical – she had dogs, cats, horses, birds & lots and lots of land to roam around on. i remember it being around christmas time & she had baked cookies for us as well. she was a wonderful teacher — you could tell this woman was absolutely living a life she loved.

    Comment by megan — September 7, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  6. My 1st grade teacher, Mrs. McBride, saved my school career. I had the worst kindergarten teacher ever, and as a result I hated school. But Mrs. McBride showed me that school could be wonderful! Patient, kind, and so much fun, she made me look forward to school.

    Comment by Tina — September 7, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  7. Mrs. Anderson, my 3rd grade teacher. She had the best themed activities/events to go with our school work. We read Little House on the Prairie books and had a dress up day along with hands-on learning of things like churning our own butter and making our own ice cream.

    Comment by Charise — September 7, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  8. I had nuns. I was scared to death of Sister Perpetua, but she taught me to diagram sentences which has served me well to this day!

    Comment by Mona — September 7, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  9. Ms. Wielly; my kindergarten teacher. She help this little shy girl feel special!

    Comment by Rachel — September 7, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

  10. Miss Lisa with the curly hair that I was in awe of. :)

    Comment by Evee M — September 8, 2011 @ 12:22 am

  11. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Blodgett, my kindergarten teacher. She read the most fantastic books to us, fostering my need to read everything that I can!

    Comment by marti — September 8, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  12. I was very blessed to have numerous really great teachers throughout my education, so choosing an absolute favorite is difficult for me. In elementary school I would have to say it was 6th grade Ms. Splain. She was such a character and always went out of her way to bring her lessons to life, be it through costumes/skits/games/food/fun and once for a whole week she rented an indoor blow up planetarium which the whole class climbed inside of and we explored the galaxy together. It was magical.

    Thanks for the great giveaway! We love celebrating teachers! They are so unappreciated and overworked.

    Comment by Jacob's Kitchen — September 8, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  13. Mrs. Volz, my second grade teacher. My parents were having problems, and I was a mess at school. She took me under her wing, and was a real source of stability for me. She was also a fantastic artist, and really nurtured my creative side.

    Comment by Emily — September 9, 2011 @ 2:29 am

  14. My favorite was Mr. Becker, my 5th grade teacher! He was so funny and nice and fair and made the misbehaved kids behave without being mean or losing his temper!

    Comment by Liz M. — September 9, 2011 @ 3:02 am

  15. Oh I do! Target is my new Nordstrom. :) I miss you and your classes – that’s my favorite! Okay so my favorite elementary teacher was Ms. Harbor and I had her for reading in 1st grade. She was just the nicest lady who thought the stories I made up for creative writing were funny. xo

    Comment by Lindsey — September 9, 2011 @ 5:42 am

  16. Mrs. Walker came to our 4th grade class late in the year after the majority of my peers’ parents, mine included, had chosen to switch us to a different school the following year. Our original star teacher got pregnant and had to leave early on in the year. Our class was left with a ‘soon-to-be-permanent’ substitute teacher who was worse than Cruella de Vil, Miss Hannigan, The White Witch, or any other wicked villain. I spent most afternoons of my 4th grade year crying to my mother and wondering why a teacher could hate me so much and for so many things – how I dressed, for being smart, for my creativity, my knack for organization and tidiness, and her perception that because I am an only child I was spoiled.

    I remember the day that our new teacher, Mrs. Walker, came to our class. Mrs. Walker saw through my behavior, my need for perfection and for gold stars of recognition. She looked past my walls of hurt and saw me for me. She saw my insecurity and sensitivity as the odd numbered girl who desperately wanted to be liked but didn’t fit into the “cool girls’” cliques, my deep desire for stability at school because at home my parents were separated and on the verge of divorce, and how scared I was to fail at anything because that would mean I was not perfect. Mrs. Walker was kind, tenderhearted, caring and generous. She was young, stylish and fashionable, outgoing and energetic, and has a smile and personality that could make any child feel like it was Christmas every day in her classroom – she was my fairy godmother, my Glenda the Good Witch, my Mary Poppins.

    Cameron (formerly known to me as “Mrs. Walker”) and I shared a special bond that year that remains to this day. Her first child, Craig, was the first child that I ever babysat. I nannied for Cameron and watched her family grow to include two more beautiful children, both of which I cared for as well until I left for college. Life has moved on. Cameron’s children are in high school now and I’ve moved 3,500 miles away. We exchange Christmas cards and try to see one another when we can. When I think about the importance of teachers in children’s lives, I think back to my own experience. In one year I had two teachers that changed my life in very different ways. Thankfully for Cameron, she changed my life for the better.

    Comment by blair — September 9, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

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