Blueberry Mint Refresher

Summer days are approaching us and that means cool and light refreshing drinks will be coming our way as well! If you are looking for a healthy and light drink this summer- this refreshing beverage is perfect—I love blueberries and they are loaded with all kinds of antioxidants and have many health benefits. It is recommended to eat them often so I am putting them in my drink! As you can see I do like my sweets… but I do also love to eat healthy and cook with fresh fruits and vegetables as often as I can.

Blueberry Mint Refresher

Blueberry Mint Refresher

Add some freshness to your summer with this refreshing sparkling beverage!

Ingredients

1  cups blueberries, plus more for garnish

1/2  cup  honey

1 bunch fresh mint, plus extra sprigs

2 quarts sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup of blueberries, honey and mint in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue to heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the berries burst. Remove from heat and cool. The mixture will be a bit thick.
  2. If you don't want any pulp, gently squeeze berry mixture through a small strainer into an airtight container. If you keep the pulp then just simply add to a container and refrigerate. This will make a blueberry syrup. Chill and then combine ¼ cup syrup with ¾ cup sparkling water for a single serving. Pour over ice and garnish with whole blueberries, a sprig of mint!

If you wanted to make this in a large batch, you can serve this beverage in a large pitcher or bowl.

http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2017/05/blueberry-mint-refresher/

This recipe is great because you can alter the fruits to your choice. I used blueberries this time but next time I want to try strawberries or raspberries. You will be able to preserve the syrup in the fridge for about a week.  If you want more flavor, use lemon or lime flavored sparking water.


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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Pasta Salads are always a good idea and they are my go-to dishes! They are simply so easy to make and everyone loves them. You can also dress them up (or down) in so many ways. This time I tried a light refreshing style pasta salad and added a Mediterranean twist to it. You can snack on this or eat is as a meal..Occasionally I add grilled chicken to this too!

IMG_4771Pasta Salad close up

Mediterranean Pasta Salad Auto

Mediterranean Pasta Salad Auto

Light and zesty pasta salad with a crunch of fresh goodness in every bite

Ingredients

1 pound of Rotelle pasta (wheel shapped pasta)

1 can of artichoke hearts; drained and chopped

1/2 cup kalamata olives; sliced

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

1/2 cup pesto

1/2 cup feta cheese; crumbled

1/3 cup cherry tomatoes; sliced in half

1/2 cup corn

3 Tbsp green onions; thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Once the water starts to boil, add pasta and cook according to its boxed directions. Once pasta is cooked, drain, and let cool.
  2. Once pasta is cooled, add to a large mixing bowl and stir on, italian dressing, pesto until pasta is completely covered in dressings.
  3. Add in olives, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, tomatoes, corn, and green onions. Mix until everything is combined then garnish with more green onions. Let sit for about 20 minutes (this will make all of the flavors come together). Best when enjoyed cold.
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2015/05/mediterranean-pasta-salad/

IMG_4770Pasta Salad close up

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

Skinny Cold Pesto Pasta Salad

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This pasta salad is creamy, but not to worry…it’s made with nonfat yogurt so you can consider this to be on the healthier side (kinda). This is quick, easy, and this is another dish you can add whatever you want. There are NO limits! If you don’t have penne pasta I would suggest using fussili (the swirly pasta). This dish would make a great addition to any party, BBQ or even side dish…remember, summer is right around the corner so you can start planning your party dishes!

Ingredients:
1 lb of penne pasta
1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
½ cup fresh homemade pesto
1 cup mozzarella cheese; cubbed
15 thin slices of  salami
6 fresh basil leaves
½ cup sun dried tomatoes; julienned cut
1/4 cup black olives; sliced
1 cup spinach; chopped (optional, for some extra greens)
Pinch of black pepper

Steps:
1. This recipe is extremely easy so get ready…bring a large pot of water to a boil with a sprinkle of salt. Boil pasta until cooked (read box directions for time). Once cooked, drain, and let cool.

2. Add cooled pasta in a large bowl and add yogurt and pesto. Stir with a wooden spoon until pasta is completely covered. Add in the rest of the ingredients and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes or until completely cold. You can also eat it whenever you would like but I prefer my pasta salad cold! Enjoy!

BLT Iceberg Wedge

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There is nothing better than a salad for dinner on hot summer nights…it may not exactly be summer yet but it sure feels like it lately! You can top these cool wedges with just about anything you desire. I love my salads with a little crunch to it so instead of using croutons, I used bacon because bacon sounded so much better!

Ingredients:
1 head of iceberg lettuce; washed and dried
4-6 Tbsp of your favorite blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
6 slices of cooked turkey bacon; chopped/crumbled into pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes; chopped
1/2 cup cucumbers; chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Steps:
1. Slice iceberg into 6 slices. In a small bowl, mix your favorite blue cheese dressing with blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle dressing on wedge and sprinkle your favorite goodies on top!
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