Friday, September 13, 2013

Spaghetti Salad With Garden Fresh Produce

This morning was such a beautiful September morning.  Since I know the cold weather is not too far away I stayed outside enjoying the sun to the fullest.  I took a short bike ride first.  Then, of course, this time of year there is always a good amount of work to do in the gardens and the flowerbeds so I got busy pulling weeds.  My rewards for the effort I put into the garden this morning were tomatoes, cucumbers, and a sweet red pepper. 

I decided to use my freshly picked produce and last nights left over spaghetti noodles to make a cold spaghetti salad.  I Googled some recipes on line and got a few ideas.  The recipes I found all called for bottled Italian dressing and I never have that on hand since I make most things from scratch.  I prefer to make things homemade because then I can choose which oils and other ingredients go into the recipe.  Healing with nutrition is important to me, so cooking the food myself is always the best plan.

I used olive oil for its amazing health benefits along with red wine vinegar for the dressing.  The fresh veggies are just picked and full of vitamins and flavor.  The garlic and paprika are known for calming inflammation in the body. So this salad is a winner for staying healthy.   What I came up with is absolutely delicious and I hope you give it a try. 

Cold Spaghetti Salad

12 oz cooked whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 large tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 sweet bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)

To make the dressing, mix the oil, vinegar, paprika, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and nectar.  Whisk the together well.  Pour the dressing over the cooked spaghetti noodles. 

Cut up the tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into small pieces.  Add them, along with the Parmesan into the spaghetti and mix well.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunshine, Tomatoes, and Salsa

After a couple of cloudy and rainy days, the sun made an appearance again.  It was refreshing to have a bit of a cool down and some needed moisture, but I am always happy to see the sun again. 

I have been in a surgical boot for about 3 1/2 weeks trying to allow my foot time to heal.  But this morning I put on my tennis shoes......
                                                          donned my new helmet.......

                        .....hopped on my bike and rode like the wind in the beautiful sunshine.

It was such a wonderful and freeing feeling.  I didn't put any weight on my foot and, taking extra precaution, used my heel to pedal.  I wonder if I could have been doing that all along.  Hmmmm......

When I returned home, I wandered out to my garden and found beautiful, lush, ripe red tomatoes tucked into the green leaves of the tomato plant.  I picked them with such excitement that had there been a witness they would have laughed at my enthusiasm.  Nothing beats the incredible scent of fresh picked tomatoes from the vine. 

By the looks of things I will be getting quite a few tomatoes this year.  I enjoy canning tomatoes for use in soups, stews, etc. in the winter.  One thing I haven't done in many years though, is make salsa.  When the kids were little my friends and I would get together during tomato harvest and make huge batches of salsa to can.  The first year we did this ended up with a trip to the emergency room for my friend, Gloria.  She had been scraping the seeds out of the jalapenos by hand without realizing the burning effect that would come to her skin later.  So, use caution or better yet use gloves, when prepping the jalapenos. 
Unfortunately, I don't have that recipe anymore, but, you can find some great salsa recipes on the Internet. Let me know if you have one to share :) The peppers, onions, and cilantro that go into salsa are nice and calming for inflammation.  As long as you do not get a reaction to nightshade veggies, then eat up and enjoy :)