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Citrusy, cilantro pasta salad with peas, green beans and almonds

Pasta salads are one of the most simple and versatile dishes around. There’s a seemingly endless combination of delicious pastas, veggies, herbs and spices out there. With fresh ingredients, they rarely fail. This pasta salad uses whole wheat penne for a hearty base and matches it with the snap of green beans, the pop of peas, and the crunch of almonds. Yet, it’s the citrus and cilantro that take it to the next level. Enjoy this light and summery pasta salad with chicken, fish or even on its own. (Use fresh green beans for best flavor. You may substitute Royal Burgundy (Phaseolus vulgarism) for a purple pop along side the green peas and oatmeal colored pasta. The color combo is a real show stopper!) Citrusy Pasta Salad with Peas, Green Beans Prep time: 30 minutes, Serves 3-4 Ingredients 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (I like the shape of penne to match the beans) 4 cups…

How to perfectly cook a pot of rice

It’s one of the most commonly consumed foods in the world. It’s also seemingly one of the simplest to make. So how is it that we are still perplexed over how to make a perfect pot of rice? Sure, you can purchase a rice cooker, but that will run you from $30 to $200. And unless you’re cooking rice every day, it could just become another cumbersome appliance. Cooking basic, fluffy white rice, where each grain is separate and slightly firm, is possible if you know a few pro tips. Step 1: Rinse or soak your rice Rinsing rice in cold water helps for two reasons. Some rice mills outside of the U.S. may coat the grains in glucose or talc, so this step is extra important for imported rice. Although safe to eat, the coating could cause your rice to become downright gluey if not properly rinsed. Rinsing will…

Watermelon, mulberry, lime smoothie is light and refreshing

Smoothies are a great way to use up extra watermelon. With so much juice inside, there’s no need to give your blender any more liquids to power through the other ingredients. Mulberries are about 85 percent juice anyway, so be prepared for a light, refreshing summer smoothie. And don’t let the dark color fool you. Mulberries aren’t as strong as other common berries, so they won’t crowd out the watermelon flavor. The two flavors are enjoyed in perfect harmony — and hopefully outside on a sunny porch somewhere. Enjoy! Watermelon, mulberry, lime smoothie Serves 2 Ingredients 4 cups ripe watermelon, seedless 1 – 1 1/2 cups mulberries 1 half lime, juiced 2 cups ice Directions Combine all ingredients in blender. Mulberries have a dark juice that easily stains, so be sure the lid is on tight! Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour over ice and enjoy this…

Watermelon layered popsicles are a perfect summer treat

Kitchens with appliances and gadgets for everything tiny task bring to mind one thing — A&E’s Hoarders. Not to say all are appliances are bad, but unless you have unlimited shelf space, surely you don’t have any real need for an separate appliance for making hotdogs. This week I broke that rule — but I’m not even ashamed. I now own a popsicle mold. But in defense of my new purchase, it seems like a perfect opportunity to make healthier version of the sugary store-bought treats, but also as a great way to use up leftover fresh squeezed juices and smoothies. (More on that in a coming post). I had a giant watermelon already cut in my fridge, so I decided to start there. Watermelon is a perfect popsicle fruit since it has such high water content. It purees and freezes easily. In one bite, I became a believer. The sweet watermelon pairs perfectly with just the…

Add flavor to your meals with flowers

Edible flowers are a fun way to add color to a cocktail or a meal — just be sure what you’re grabbing for in your garden won’t make you sick. Denise Schreiber, edible flower expert and author of Eat Your Roses… Pansies, Lavender and 49 Other Delicious Flowers, has been a flower-as-food fan for decades. On a trip to England’s Mottisfont Abbey in 1999, Schreiber discovered rose petal ice cream and her interest blossomed from there. “They had this little cup of of the ice cream, and once you put it in your mouth, it was the aroma of the rose on your tongue and in your mouth. It was fantastic,” said Schreiber. “When I came back to the States I started looking for recipes.” The edible flower trend has recently been on the rise, largely thanks to social media, but harvesting flowers as food is nothing new. Flowers have been included in the human diet as…

Facebook survey reveals how we post about beverages

If you’re going out to a restaurant or bar tonight, there’s a 1 in 3 chance you’ll be posting a picture to social media — and it’s probably going to be food or drink. While it may be creepy that Facebook can anticipate your actions so specifically, it actually makes sense. People want to present the best versions of themselves and show their friends the experiences they’re having. This largely includes nights on the town. In a recent survey, Facebook found that, while out and about, many people will share their opinions of their beverages and tag them #coffee or #craftbeer, inspiring others to go sip for themselves. About 50 percent of the people surveyed said they’ve intentionally gone and tried the drinks that friends and family have shared and tagged online. People have always purchased drinks when they were thirsty, but smart phones are changing the path they take to purchase, making it…

Simple watermelon salsa is sweet, mildly spicy

Who would have thought watermelon and jalapeño would be such a delicious pair? What’s better, is that this quick condiment only requires six ingredients. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of watermelon lately, so get ready for quite a few juicy recipes coming up.. This one was one of my favorites, since it’s a perfect match-up of sweet and spicy, combined with saltiness from the chips. I’ve only tried it as a salsa so far, but I could see this going great with grilled chicken or fish, or atop a grilled vegetable dinner. Watermelon Salsa Serves 6-8: Prep time 10 min Ingredients 4 cups watermelon (seedless, or seeds removed and chopped) 1 cup cucumber, chopped 1 cup red onion (about 1/2 large onion, chopped) 2 medium jalapeños (remove seeds for less heat, chopped) 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 lime, cut in half salt (to taste) Directions Add watermelon, cucumber, onion,…

Global vanilla shortage will see pastry, ice cream prices soar

The world-wide vanilla shortage is coming to an ice cream cone near you. Pastry chefs and ice cream makers alike are looking to cut back overall consumption due to the rising cost of fair-trade vanilla, meaning that the recipes of our favorite summer sweets could be effected. And we have no one but ourselves to blame. The high demand from consumers, in recent years, switching to all-natural foods has caused the shortage. The problem was then compounded by major corporations like Nestle and Hershey’s that, in response to consumer demand, declared they were then switching from cheaper, chemically created synthetic versions of vanilla to all-natural varieties, too — meaning that they want vanilla from orchid seeds, and not factories. Factories can crank out the synthetic stuff around the clock, but there just aren’t enough vanilla pods in the world to meet demand. A few years ago, a 1-gallon bottle of organic, fair-trade vanilla would cost about $64 — today,…

Chick-fil-A rolling out gluten-free bun, but there’s a catch

Chick-fil-A has gone gluten free! Not entirely, but the nationwide chicken sandwich chain is poised to capitalize on its consumers’ dietary needs with a new menu offering. Chick-fil-A announced on Monday that it will offer gluten-free buns at restaurants nationwide, after reportedly receiving positive feedback from test marketed areas in 2016. The gluten-free bun is made with ancient grains quinoa and amaranth and sweetened with molasses and raisins. “We know our customers are looking for more gluten-sensitive alternatives. They asked, and we listened,” said Leslie Neslage, senior consultant of menu development at Chick-fil-A in a release on the company’s Chicken Wire. “Our hope is that the Gluten-Free Bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu.” The new bun can be ordered with any of the restaurant’s sandwiches. But there is one catch. Customers who order the gluten-free buns will have to assemble their sandwiches themselves. According to…

Here’s how much water you should actually be drinking

Hydrating your body is the most important thing you can do when the weather heats up. Most people undervalue the importance water plays in their overall health. From clearing skin to alleviating headaches, helping with weight loss and aiding in digestion, just increasing your water consumption can save you money on a lot of other medical bills down the road. If your pee is light enough you can barely notice it in the bowl, you’re doing a good job. But if you’re leaving behind a bowl full of what could be described as Chernobyl yellow, you might want to make adjustments. So how much water is enough? Just like calorie intake, that answer depends on the individual. The old adage said you should drink 8 glasses of water every day, but experts are beginning to cater their advice more to the individual. The Mayo Clinic says men should drink about 13 cups (3 liters) of water…