Wednesday, July 5, 2017

UGGG! All GOD's Creatures

I love living in the woods, what I don't like is the destruction of all the animals that live here too.  I know, I know, it was their home first, but groundhogs are my arch nemesis, these guys are making me crazy.  They are so destructive!  They dig holes everywhere, have eaten just about every flower or bush I have planted, they come up on the deck and feast on plants there too, and have caused $100's of dollars worth of damage around my home.

So the hubby and I had to wage a war on these guys and borrowed a trap from a friend.  It took three days, some fresh strawberries and cantaloupe and we caught one! Boy did he stink.  I have tried everything over the years to humanely deter them, but they just became immune to all the things I've used.  I was so relieved when we got him, and now everything would have a chance to grow......
 Or so I thought! Yea, that didn't work either.  I found another one proudly "standing his ground" on my front lawn.....
 and another one without a care eating clover .....
 And another one in the back yard. Evidently this is HIS family's homestead and he's not moving. UGGG! I have been defeated, I think.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Berry Good Salad

Berries are plentiful this time of year and at a great price too.  Take advantage of them now because the flavor of them will change come the cooler weather.  I use berries a lot of different ways, I make jam with them, eat them in cereal, eat them plain or sometimes with fresh whipped cream, use them in desserts and I love them in salads.  Using them in salads breaks up the monotony of vegetables in every salad you eat.  They are fruity and satisfying, sweet and delicious with a variety of dressings.

The hubby was amazed the first time I put fruit in a salad, he said "why are you putting that in there, I don't think I'm going to like that". I said "try it, you're going to love it" and he did, and here we are 30 years later and he's loving it!

I made this version of a salad with fruit a few nights ago.  I used fresh spinach, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and pineapple to start building my salad.
Then added grilled chicken and feta cheese.....
Some candied pecans for crunch........
And topped it off with a raspberry vinaigrette.  Delicious, fruity and savory all at the same time.  It was filling and I didn't need dessert!  Summer salads are the best, use a variety of fruits in them, you're going to love it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Awesome Vegetable Pasta Salad

My friend and I bounce different food and cooking ideas off each other all the time. We both have shared many old recipes and ways of making special food dishes.  Summer is here and to keep the kitchen cool and bellies full, lots of salads will be served over the next few months.  I usually back away from preparing heavy meals during the hotter months, I don't like to eat a lot when its hot.
So, my friend shared this great pasta salad recipe with me and now I will share it with you. It's great tasting, full of veggies, that's a plus in my book, and good for you too.  You can switch out the regular pasta for whole grain or wheat if you like.
Recipe below. 
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

I use Barilla pasta for my salad, I think its the best dry pasta around.  Fresh carrots, red and yellow bell peppers and English cucumbers.  The colors all mixed together are so pretty!
 Get the salted pasta water going on the stove and when it boils, toss the pasta in and stir.  I make mine al dente so they hold up in the salad.
 And while that water is coming to a boil, cut up those veggies and set aside.  I also use a can of black sliced olives in my salad.
 Drain the pasta when it's done, and run cold water through it until it's cooled.  Don't worry, you don't need that starch in there, rinse it off!
 Toss the pasta with the veggies in a large storage container. 
 Add cheeses.......
 and the golden Italian Dressing, it's the best.  Toss all together and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Vegetable Pasta Salad

1 lb. box of Barilla Pasta
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 whole carrots
1 large English cucumber
1 small can of sliced black olives, optional
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups of any brand golden Italian dressing

Start a pot of salted water on the stove.  When water comes to a boil, add the pasta and stir.  While pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Seed and chop the peppers, peel and dice the carrots, peel and chop the cucumber.  When pasta is cooked al dente, a little hard in the center,  drain and run under cold water until cooled.  Make sure pasta is completely drained and transfer to a large storage container.  Toss the veggies and olives in and mix together.  Add the cheeses and mix. Add the dressing and stir it in.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Salad may need extra dressing as it may be absorbed by the pasta.