by: SUBMITTED PHOTO The Cancer Project suggests eating a salad everyday has many health benefits for Americans. Randall shares two recipes from The Cancer Project that are easy and delicious.

Some of my days get pretty packed. Take last Saturday for instance.

Six or more months ago I scheduled cooking classes with Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation for the summer months. On the calendar for July 9 were the first of my Sweet and Savory Summer Fare children's classes and the first of the Luscher Farm Family Dinner classes. The classes were scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sometime after the first of the year my dear friend Lynne Maginnis asked me to be part of Christ Church Episcopal Parish's LO Relay for Life Team. Of course I wanted to be on the team. The relay was scheduled for 10 a.m. July 9 through 10 a.m. July 10.

I didn't recognize I was double booked until I flipped the calendar from June to July. No worries, I thought, I'll just sign up for relay times after my classes.

And then I received the alert that July 9 was Salad Awareness Day for The Cancer Project. I took it as a sign that I was meant to promote the health benefits of salads to those in my classes.

The cooking classes already had a vegetarian focus. Using fresh from the farm fruits and vegetables the children were learning how to pack the perfect picnic and the family class was preparing a vegetarian entrée, salad and dessert to share at an al fresco experience at Luscher Farm. They were both ideal platforms to promote the health benefits of eating more vegetables.

The menu for the children's class included:

* Vegetable Salad with Tortellini

* Their choice of sandwich: Triple Layer PBJ, Cheddar and Green Pepper or Bacon, Lettuce and Cantaloupe sandwiches

* Strawberry Agua Fresca

* Cherry Hand Pies

The Family Dinner featured:

* Frittatas with their choice of fresh spinach, zucchini, red pepper, red onion and assorted cheeses.

* Summer Vegetable Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

* Mixed Berry Cobbler

* Ice Tea and Lemonade

The Cancer Project promotes cancer prevention and survival through a better understanding of cancer causes, particularly the link between nutrition and cancer. Their Salad Awareness Day was sponsored by Saladmaster®, a culinary tool that can speed food preparation.

Eating a salad everyday can bring you closer to consuming the recommended five servings of vegetables you need. Salads provide needed fiber, which in turn lowers cholesterol. You feel fuller when you eat salads so you eat less and lose weight. Green leafy vegetables provide our bodies with high levels of antioxidants, which lower our chances of developing many illnesses, including cancer.

The LO Relay for Life was a huge success on many fronts and chairman April Abernethy and her committee are to be commended for a job well done. In case you were unable to attend and wish to contribute to the cause visit and pg=entry .

It was a win-win weekend all around, jam-packed with the activities I love: inspiring people to cook so that they can eat well and healthfully, supporting important causes and spending time with friends old and new.

And dear readers, I am not leaving you out of the loop. The recipes shared today are from The Cancer Project's website, particularly featured as part of their Salad Awareness Day.

With the abundance of produce available now, making an interesting salad is a snap. See how many different combinations you can dream up. Send me your favorite combinations and dressing recipes and I'll post them here so we can keep the Salad Awareness Experience going all summer!

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Summer Vegetable Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Makes 10 - 12 servings

1 head romaine lettuce

1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

2 small yellow zucchini, sliced

16 yellow or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)

4 large red radishes, sliced

1 cup jicama, peeled and sliced

1 large avocado, peeled and diced

2 lemon cucumbers, sliced

½ cup dry jack cheese, grated (optional)

1 to 2 tablespoons chives, sliced into small rounds

Cilantro leaves

Cut and prepare all vegetables.

Prepare the vinaigrette (recipe follows). Pour most of the vinaigrette onto the vegetables and gently toss. Line the bowl with romaine leaves for a lovely presentation or cut lettuce into bite sizes and mix with vegetables. Dress with the remaining vinaigrette.

Grate the cheese over the top if using and garnish with chives and the cilantro.

Lime Vinaigrette

Grated peel and juice of two limes

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or raspberry vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the lime peel and juice, vinegar, and herbs and seasonings in a bowl, and then whisk in the olive oil.

The Cancer Project Salad Awareness Day

Vegetable Salad with Tortellini

Makes 9 ¾ cup servings

1 cup broccoli flowerettes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup cauliflower flowerettes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

½ cup diced cucumber

½ cup thinly sliced red pepper

½ cup thinly sliced green pepper

2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion

2 ½ cups fresh cheese tortellini, uncooked

For dressing:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or ¾ teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried

¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring 1 quart water to a boil in 3-quart saucepan. Place broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in steamer insert, place insert into 3-quart pan. Cover and steam 3 minutes. Rinse vegetables lightly in cold water to stop the cooking process. Vegetables should be crisp tender.

Cook tortellini in the water that was used to steam vegetables without added salt or fat. Rinse in cold water.

Combine all vegetables and cooked tortellini in a large bowl.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well. Add to vegetables, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill.

TIP: May use other combinations of vegetables, including frozen mixed vegetables. May also add cooked tuna, chicken, crab for a main dish salad. Try replacing the balsamic vinegar with red wine vinegar.

The Cancer Project Salad Awareness Day

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 503-635-8811.

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