Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, Basil, & Orzo Salad

This salad couldn’t be simpler to make. Every time I make it, I am surprised at how much I love the flavor.

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First, slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of each. I sliced, as well as cubed the cucumbers to have a variation in texture.

Toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.

Add in about 2 cups of cooked orzo.

Top with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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That’s it! And it’s absolutely easy and fresh. I grew up eating cucumbers and love them fresh, but apparently not everyone does. Hopefully you do, and you maybe try this salad and tell me how good it was!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Garden Pasta

This is an on-the-fly post and a quick snapshot before devoured as I was at my sister’s house visiting her and her newborn and had brought lunch ingredients.

The night before I quickly made a garlic scape pesto which was highly improvised with just garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and some salt. I had it with some sourdough bread and it was super spicy!

This dish has:

Spaghetti noodles: found in bulk at WinCo

Peas: picked from my garden

Garlic scape pesto: from the garden + bulk ingredients

Mint: garden

To make pasta:

Boil water and salt and cook spaghetti, adding in peas (shelled peas or snap peas with shell) in the last minute.

Reserve a couple cups of pasta water.

Drain.

Add in 3/4 cup of pesto into pasta water and stir to combine.

Put pasta back into pot, pan, or bowl then top with the pesto sauce.

Top this off with about 1/4 cup or fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Cold Brew Coffee + fresh mint simple syrup

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Summer is here for me in spirit and weather, just not officially according to the calendar. Nevertheless, it is still time for cold brew coffee sipping. The best thing about cold brew coffee is how easy it is to make and it can just be ready and waiting by morning! All I have to do is reuse or compost the grounds and rinse my bag out to dry.

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If you want a super special summery treat, you can make a mint simple syrup easily, too!

I feel lucky because I’ve been growing mint for years but it never really came back and I’d have to buy new plants, but this year it came back in full force! There’s always a warning about planting mint in the ground because of how much it spreads, but who doesn’t want a whole bunch of mint?

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To make syrup you’ll want about 1 cup of mint, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Simmer in a pan for 10 – 15 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the mint steep in the syrup until cooled. Bottle up in whatever jar you’d like.

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For cold brew coffee you’ll only need a few items, and those can vary based on what you have. The only true needs are coffee grounds and water and something to put those into.

I have been putting coffee grounds into a cloth bag that sits in the water. You could simply use a french press, or even a mesh strainer for when you are ready to drink the coffee. That’s what I used to do and it works fine, there is just more sludge and grounds in the brew.

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I use about 1/2 cup of grounds in a jar that holds about 4 cups of liquid.

Pour filtered water over the coffee grounds and place into the refrigerator.

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It may seem like it’s not infusing very well at first, but it will turn out great by morning.

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This dark brew looks much tastier and is ready to drink!

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I’m kind of particular about my coffee. Hot coffee requires a dash of half & half and absolutely no sugar, but cold brew is nice with just a touch of sweetener, some half & half, and a couple of ice cubes.

In this case, of course, I used the mint simple syrup and it is a divine treat!

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The syrup will keep for at least a few weeks, and probably a couple of months if refrigerated.

Peace and love,

Kristan