Heirloom Caprese Salad

Summer inspires all of us to include more fresh fruits and veggies in our dishes. Now is the perfect time to do so because we can never get enough fruits and veggies in our diets. I have been on a tomato caprese kick lately because there is nothing better or sweeter than an heirloom tomato. My Dad grows the tomatoes that I have been enjoying so they are extra sweet and fresh–I can’t eat them fast enough so making this dish definitely helps! My favorite way to indulge in these are to simply drizzle olive oil, balsalmic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. To make it even more exciting, I add fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese–and that’s what you call a caprese salad!
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Heirloom Caprese Salad

Heirloom Caprese Salad

It's definitely summertime with these sweet and juicy tomatoes!

Ingredients

2 medium heirloom tomatoes; sliced thick

12 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese

Drizzle of olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic reduction

About 10 fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. I also added the mini mozzarella balls because I had them left over and they are so cute! They make a great addition to the salad. Arrange basil leaves between the slices. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, be sure you are getting a little bit on each slice. Do the same with the balsamic reduction.
  2. End with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. ****TIP: If you want to make your own balsamic vinegar reduction, its super easy! In a small saucepan, bring about 2 cups of balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl--allow to cool!
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2016/07/heirloom-caprese-salad/

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Cold Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are always an idea that comes to mind when I am trying to figure out what to make for either dinner or a side dish..or even snack. They have a lot of great pre-made pesto sauces at the grocery stores that I shop at. It would also be great if you can use a homemade recipe as well! My easy homemade Pesto Recipe can be found here (My Easy Homemade Pesto). With only 5 ingredients, you can whip up a great meal in less than 20 minutes. This will last up to a week in the fridge and it is best eaten cold (in my opinion). Chopped cucumbers, spinach, and bell peppers make a great addition to this dish!

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Cold Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad

Cold Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad

This tasty easy cheesy cold pasta salad makes those busy nights easy!

Ingredients

1 lb spinach & cheese tortellini

7 ounces (about 1 cup) of pesto

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes; quartered

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese; cubed

1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until cooked, or al dente.
  2. Drain and let cool for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, quarter the cherry tomatoes and cube the cheese.
  3. Once pasta is cooled, add pesto, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Mix with a spoon until combined and enjoy!
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2016/06/cold-tortellini-pesto-pasta-salad/

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Guest Post–Summer Drinks

This is a guest post from a work from home Mother who has an interest in healthy living, enjoys cooking, baking, and creating new recipes to keep fit. Enjoy some of her refreshing summer drink recipes below! 🙂

“Drinks equally suited to thirsty kids or adults, here are the perfect summer’s afternoon drinks. When all you want is a refreshing flavor to enjoy, or to help you cool down in one of those scorching days. Homemade drinks are so much healthier than regular sodas, you can always adjust the ingredients to make them that little bit more individual, suited to your preferences. Most summer drinks are perfect with the addition of some crushed ice, and these two are no exception!”

Raspberry Lemonade
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This drink is great for when you want something not too sweet. So often, summer drinks are excessively fruity and sweet, also containing too much sugar. This one does not fit that style, and it’s a very versatile drink, it would make for an excellent aperitif before a dinner party or that weekend bbq with family and friends.

Ingredients
One and a half cups of fresh raspberries
One cup of lemonade
A handful of fresh mint leaves
Sugar (to taste, if needed)
Method

Wash the raspberries thoroughly in running water before blending them. For the best results, set your food processor to a relatively low speed and liquidize it, adding a few at a time to the mix as you go, once you have made a smooth paste, add the lemonade and half of your mint leaves blending all the ingredients, blast the lot for a few seconds, and there you have it. If it’s too sharp, add a little sugar with a teaspoon to taste. Serve over crushed ice in tumblers with a sprig or two of mint leaf.

Galia Melon Cucumber Cooler
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This summer refresher has a subtle combination of flavours, it could be a perfect drink to serve before food and work as a non-alcoholic alternative to champagne. If you can’t get hold of a galia melon, then use a cantaloupe instead for similar results.

Ingredients
One galia melon
One English cucumber
Eight limes
A handful of fresh mint leaves
Method
Peel the melon and remove the pips, dicing the remaining flesh. Now chop up half of the cucumber and place it with the melon into a food processor to liquidize them. Juice seven of the limes and add them to the mix, taking care to remove the pips. Finally, throw in the mint leaves. Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour, and then strain the lot into a pitcher for serving. Pour into tall glasses with some crushed ice, add a slice or two of lime per serving along with four or five thin slices cucumber.

Image by domeckopol and any_t used under the Creative Commons license

Rosemary Lemon Water

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Rosemary  and lemon infused in water has got to be one of the most refreshing drinks I’v had. I’m one of those people who has to constantly force myself to drink water throughout the day. The best way for me to drink more water is to infuse my water with some of my favorites. This time I tried something I never thought I would try; rosemary and lemon…and what a combo– love it!

All you need to do is:
Add a spring or 2 of fresh rosemary in a pitcher of water. Add in a sliced lemon (about 8 chunky slices). Let steep over night and there you have it!

Cucumber, Lemon, & Mint detox water

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The last few detox waters I made have been a MAJOR hit! I have received tons of great feedback from them all so I am always in the makings of more delicious and refreshing waters. After all, water is the most important drink so why not make it extra delicious!? 😉

All you need is:
About 5 cucumber slices
3 lemon slices
About 4-6 mint leafs

Place ingredients in a mason jar and add water to the top. Let sit over night so the water can absorb all of the nutrients. I highly recommend making a large batch of this because you are going to want more…the best part about it is, the more you drink the best it is for you!

Try my other detoxifying & refreshing waters:
Apple Cinnamon Detox Water
Strawberry Lemon Detox Water
Orange Mint Detox Water
Strawberry Chia Seed Water
Pomegranate Lemon Sparkling Water