All I Need is a Fat Tomato

Nothing takes me back to my childhood more than tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes. The beefier and redder the better.
Plain and simple the fat, red ones made the best tomato sandwiches. It’s a southern staple.
When summertime hits I can’t wait to slice into that red goodness.
For me the best tomato sandwiches are the ones with few ingredients – light bread, Duke’s mayo (cause its gotta be Duke’s), onions, tomatoes and salt and pepper. That’s it. That’s all I need.

Nothing screams southern like Duke's Mayonnaise. It's all I use, especially on a juicy tomato sandwich.  https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Nothing screams southern like Duke’s Mayonnaise. It’s all I use, especially on a juicy tomato sandwich.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I have my own particular rituals if you will. If I’m slicing into a new tomato then the first slice is thin and near the butt and doesn’t go into the sandwich. I save it, top it with salt and pepper.

I always make a thin cut to the tomato to top with salt and pepper. The onions go on the bottom with lots of mayo. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I always make a thin cut to the tomato to top with salt and pepper. The onions go on the bottom with lots of mayo.
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I slather (yes, slather) mayo on both slices of bread then layer on onions and then comes the star – tomatoes. They get salt and pepper and another coating of mayo.
I can hear the angels singing with that first bite. Aaaaahhhhh!
Trust me there is a method to the madness. Onions on the bread keeps the tomato juice from getting the bread soggy. Although sometimes I like when the bread is soggy and falls apart.
Mayo on the bread and on top of the tomato give the right amount of flavor and gives you a reason to wipe your mouth.
Onion breath is a risk I’m willing to take, besides that’s what Tic Tacs are for, right?
I’ve been eating these sandwiches since my mother introduced them to me. She’s been eating them since her father introduced them to her.

That first bite of a tomato sandwich is quite a heavenly experience for me. I absolutely love when the mayo and tomato combine to soak the bread.  https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

That first bite of a tomato sandwich is quite a heavenly experience for me. I absolutely love when the mayo and tomato combine to soak the bread.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

How great is the tomato sandwich — Google it and find the answer is well above 55 .7 million search results. There’s “how to build a better tomato sandwich,” creating a “broiled tomato sandwich,” and even triple stacked sandwiches, there is even an annual festival in the small town of Woodleaf (NC) that’s about 10 miles northwest of Salisbury.

Some people add garlic, butter, cheese, basil, some make it into a BLT (that’s bacon, lettuce, tomato for you who live under a rock) and some people even grill it. But I don’t want mine grilled or with cheese. I don’t want fancy bread or special seasonings. All I need is a fat tomato and the rest just falls into place. But if you fancy up your tomato sandwich, I’m not hating.

How do you enjoy your tomato sandwiches? Share your sandwiches and recipes with us via facebook, instagram, twitter.

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Oh Crap, it’s July 4th — pull together a day to remember in a matter of hours

Uh Oh. How did it get to be July 4th so fast? You’ve got in-laws and friends coming over in a matter of hours and you don’t have anything planned for today. Quick, you need a menu, decor, and an outfit. Don’t panic. I’ve got a few tips that will pull this day together in a pinch and make it one to remember. The great thing about getting together with family and friends is it doesn’t have to be perfect (it just needs to look like you spent all week planning).

First things first you need a menu. Just think what goes best with a cookout — burgers, dogs, steaks and salads. So keep it simple or go over the top, depending how much time you have. My simple menu will include turkey burgers with avocado mayonnaise dressing, pasta salad, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, and maybe some french fries (cause it’s in the freezer already), but you can add baked beans, hot dogs, slaw, potato salad or macaroni salad and fresh fruit salad. The possibilities are really endless and based on you and your family’s preferences.

In the Walker house we try to eat healthy when we can so this year it’s turkey burgers, plus I bought the meat on sale a week ago (just call me freezer Queen). I needed a good, easy, healthy turkey burger recipe so I scoured the internet while waiting on my oil change. I landed on food.com and discovered “Tasty Turkey Burgers,” a recipe submitted by user Manda. So here is the recipe straight from the site.

I liked that Manda added bread crumbs to “bulk up” the turkey burgers, which she says gives you more bang for your buck. I’m all about that one. I had all of the ingredients in my pantry (ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, onions) and this recipe sounded easy and delish. I didn’t have liquid red pepper seasoning so since she said it was optional, I opted not to use it.

I began thinking I need something to wow people with and kept searching until I found this tasty recipe on food.com for avocado mayo. Unfortunately I committed the ultimate blogger sin and I have no idea who submitted the original recipe. I was so excited to jot it down that I didn’t see who submitted it. Boo. I’ll include it below and hopefully the owner will let me know. I’d hate for someone to think this is my idea.

But here it goes:

Avocado Mayonnaise

1/2 a ripe Hass avocado, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup of mayonnaise (in Walker house we use Duke’s)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (I’m using bottled cause it’s what I got)

2 garlic cloves, chopped (garlic in the jar works for me so typically 1/2 teaspoon minced in a jar equals one fresh clove)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (girl ain’t nobody got time for that freshly ground just pour in what is already in your shaker)

Directions

1. Mix all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend away. Done.

2. Place in the fridge covered until you’re ready to serve.

3. Place in a pretty bowl to serve (pretend you slaved over it all day).

Now for some fun snacks that the kids can help you with and bonus, it involves chocolate.

The first is chocolate covered pretzel rods covered with sprinkles. I’ve made this plenty of times for gatherings at the house.

Take pretzel rods, spread melted chocolate chips, and go crazy with sprinkles.  https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Take pretzel rods, spread melted chocolate chips, and go crazy with sprinkles.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

Directions

1. Take store bought pretzel rods (any brand will do for me).

2. Place a few white or chocolate chips in a microwavable safe bowl and melt in 30 second increments until it smooth and so it doesn’t burn. Stir at the end of each increment.

3. Dip the tip of your pretzel rod into the chocolate or take a spatula and spread a thick layer on it.

4. Take some red and blue sprinkles and have at it while the chocolate is melted.

5. Place upright into a deep bowl with the chocolate end up or on a cookie sheet line with wax paper and place in the fridge.

So since we have all this chocolate, why let it go to waste. What else can we create with it. I know. Popcorn with chocolate and sprinkles. YUM!

Directions

1. Pop the popcorn (We have an air popper so that’s what I used, but you can use the microwave).

2. Place popcorn on a platter or in a deep bowl while it’s hot.

3. Melt your chocolate.

4. While the popcorn is warm, pour melted chocolate on it.

5. Go hog wild with the sprinkles and wait for the chocolate to harden a bit.


 

Now that the meal is all prepared what can you do with your table decor? I’ve got a cheap and easy way to make it pop and it involves card stock.

I searched my favorite site, Pinterest, for inspiration. I wanted something easy, low on the tacky factor and cheap. Maybe you want to go all out or maybe you’re a Dollar Tree chick like me.

For my tablescape I hit up Michael’s, Dollar Tree and my pantry.

I bought navy blue card stock and a couple of red and white card stock at Michael’s for about .16 cents each or 6 for $1. It’s on sale right now and I’ve figured it out that once the holidays or seasons change the card stock goes on sale. Now’s the time to buy.

The card stock will be my place mats. If they get messy it’s OK just toss them. I bought red napkins from Dollar Tree and used paper plates from Dollar Tree as well. You can go bigger with your plates or use real plates (normally I would but I was being artistic here).

A simple tablescape using colored card stock, a Mason jar and imitation flowers. https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

A simple tablescape using colored card stock, a Mason jar and imitation flowers.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

I already had a Mason jar that I wanted to use for my centerpiece. I added some imitation white flowers from Michael’s that cost me $1 a bundle. I bought a .99 cent flag from Michael’s that I ripped off the stick and taped it to the jar. Table done. If you want to keep going then have at it with streamers and burlap and ribbons and flags and such.

This Mason I had on hand, but added a bundle of imitation flowers and an American flag.  https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/

This Mason I had on hand, but added a bundle of imitation flowers and an American flag.
https://thehousethatwalkerbuilt.wordpress.com/


Since I’m six months pregnant and since becoming pregnant I’ve made a conscious effort to be comfortable (looked “snatched” as Tamar Braxton would say) and July 4th is no exception. I looked through my Pinterest boards to see what I’d already pinned and of course that started me pinning a bunch to my July 4 Ideas board (Go check it out for some inspiration).

I settled on a white tank shirt silver beading down the side, tan capris, black sandals, white fedora and for a little sumthin’ extra I’ve added silver bangles.

The nails will be all red, blue and white.

As always, share your meal, decor and outfit ideas with us via any of our social media platforms — twitter, facebook, instagram.

Here’s to a Happy Fourth!!!