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Cool Off with Iced Mint Green Tea

When the temperature in southern New England hits the 90s you'll hear a lot of complaining.  The heat becomes the main topic of conversation throughout the town and finding ways to cool down becomes a focus.  One way to keep cool is with cold drinks and iced teas are a particular favorite. My Spearmint Plant I'm a fan of green tea.  I like it hot most of the year, but in the heat of summer iced green tea is a refreshing cool drink alternative.  I grow a spearmint plant on my deck each summer, mainly because it is an essential component of two favorite summer drinks, mojitos and iced tea.         Iced Mint Green Tea Makes 8 cups 2 quarts of cool water 10 green tea bags, your favorite 8 large spearmint leaves sweetener, optional Directions Pour 8 cups of cool water into a 3 quart saucepan.  Add 10 tea bags.  You are going to want your tea to be a bit stronger than if you were drinking it hot because it will be diluted by the ice.  Add 8 large fresh spearmint leav

Grilled Shrimp and Feta Bowtie Pasta

I was in no mood to cook this week as the temperature hit 90 degrees two days in a row.  What jumped to mind was a favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe, one that I have previously reserved for special occasions.  I was first introduced to Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp and Orzo recipe in 2000 when I hosted a catered holiday party for work associates.  Our caterer suggested this lovely shrimp dish for the menu because it is served either cold or at room temperature.  It was a big hit at the party and as a result I searched and searched for the recipe. At last, the recipe was mine when I found it in Barefoot Contessa at Home , my favorite of the Barefoot Contessa recipe books.  I keep the page for this recipe marked with a Post-It note, so I can get right to it.  The Barefoot Contessa at Home Every time I make this recipe, I make it a little differently though.  I encourage you to do the same.  The first time you make the recipe it is a good idea to follow the original exactly and fr

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

How to Make a Yummy Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing Yesterday I went out to take a look at my garden and was faced with the reality that my spinach crop was on its last legs.  It was time for me to pick the last of my beloved spinach and call it quits for the season.  The spinach was beginning to bolt, telling me it was time to say good-bye.  I decided to celebrate, not mourn, the end of this spinach growing season by making a favorite spinach salad.  Who doesn't love spinach salad with warm bacon dressing?  No one, I say, and you don't need to go to a restaurant to have this delicious salad.  You don't even need to have spinach growing in your backyard.  Grocery stores from coast to coast are stocking baby spinach in their produce departments and as long as you have the tender baby greens you are halfway there. Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing Printer Friendly Recipe Serves 4 Spinach Salad with Warm

Farfalle Del Mondo

Whenever I ask my family the question, "What special dinner would you like me to prepare?" I already know the answer.  The answer will invariably be bow tie pasta.  What they are really saying when they give me that answer is, please, please, please make us Farfalle Del Mondo .   I believe the original recipe came from the Food Network many years ago and over time I have made adaptations to it. Farfalle Del Mondo You'll find this to be a very easy recipe to make and it is packed with lots and lots of wonderful flavor.  First, you'll want to be sure to have some southwest seasoning on hand.  I have a favorite southwest blend that I always keep on hand and I encourage you to do the same.  You'll also want to be sure you have 12 ounces of brie in your refrigerator.  Brie can be pricey, so watch for specials in your grocery store.  I like to buy my brie at my favorite wholesale big box store to save a few dollars.  While you are there check out the pine nut

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

You might remember that next to brownies, chocolate chip cookies are a favorite treat of mine.  As a matter of fact, back in my corporate warrior days, it was well known that if a certain unnamed person needed buttering up, one should come with chocolate chip cookies in hand. Not just any chocolate chip cookie will do.  No, they must be quality chocolate chip cookies.  While bakery chocolate chip cookies can sometimes fit the bill, grocery store brands do not make the cut.  Sorry, but I'm not wasting my calorie budget on packaged chocolate chip cookies.  Blame it on Mom.  My taste buds were trained on the traditional Toll House cookie recipe that Mom always made.  They were buttery, crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle and filled with chocolate chips and walnuts.  Mmmmm.... Perusing blogs the other day, I came across a recipe for Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies at Pie in the Sky's lovely blog.    Those cookies called to me and I wasn't going to rest until I

Southwest Salsa Chicken

It seems like I have been relying on my pantry and freezer quite a lot these past few weeks.  Maybe it's spring, but for some reason, I've found myself with much less time for the kitchen.  As a result, our weeknight dinners have been quick and easy.  Quick and easy doesn't mean boring and tasteless.  This Southwest Salsa Chicken is packed with those Southwest flavors we all love. Easy Baked Chicken with Southwest Flavors Southwest Salsa Chicken There are two key ingredients you need to make this dish.  The first is Southwest seasoning.  You can use my Southwest seasoning recipe , or buy a prepared seasoning in the grocery store.  I'm always sure to have a supply of my own Southwest seasoning on hand.  The other ingredient you'll need is salsa.  I make my own salsa frequently.  This recipe makes a large batch, so if you make some on the weekend you'll have plenty left to make this dish during the week. Southwest Salsa Chicken Print Recipe Serves

Update Time

I'm on the run today with no time for a full on post, so I thought I'd post some quick updates... Remember the wild goose chase I was on?  Yes, I was obsessed with the need to find a garden stool for my three season room.  The wild goose chase is ovem thanks to my very good friend, Robin.  She found me a white garden stool at a local Home Goods store.  Thanks, Robin! My Garden Stool Today is May 14th and I still have healthy poinsettias growing indoors.  I'm amazed at how well my plants lasted!  I'm trying to decide whether to compost them or plant them outside.  A Poinsettia in May Anyone else still nurturing poinsettia plants?  Should I bother to plant them outside? Phase I of my vegetable garden is growing well. My Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach I'm looking forward to my first harvest. The Garlic and Lettuce How does you garden grow? Enjoy!