Mediterranean Wheat Salad

This is the first time I’ve made anything with bulgur wheat since I’ve been experimenting with different grains. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m happy to say I’m a big fan of the nutty, crunchy texture and the simple preparation. Traditional tabouli is made with these grains and I wanted to do something like that but not quite that.

I created my own version of this popular greek and mediterranean dish using mostly the same ingredients

tabouli

Soak bulgur wheat in boiling water- 1 part grain 2 parts water. I used one cup of wheat, 2 cups boiling water. Allow to sit until all water is absorbed. About 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop up fresh tomato – I used some cute heirloom green and dark red guys

herbs and tomatoes

1/3 white onion

3 cloves garlic

And a good bunch of fresh herbs. I picked what looked fresh and green on my patio: Parsley, Orange-Mint, and Basil. Mince to make about 1/2 cup or more to taste.

chopped fresh herbs

Mix together with grains after they have completely absorbed the water and cooled.

Add 1/3 cup olive oil and the juice of 1 fresh lemon

fresh lemon

Toss in 1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles

bulgur wheat salad

Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir well and refrigerate before serving

mediterranean salad

Such a cool, refreshing, light salad for summer. I love the combination of the different herbs. I thought about adding chopped nuts or raisins but had to stop myself from over-doing the simplicity of this salad. There’s always a next time……

I am going to use bulgur wheat a lot more. I get tired of brown rice and oatmeal and am enjoying trying different whole grains like buckwheat, oat groats, black rice, wild rice,  and now wheat bulgur. Next stop: Amaranth!

Be sure to visit my new website CreateWholeHealth for more information on healthy eating and lifestyle!

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Natural Naked Beauties

OK I used the title to get your attention, but real food really excites me! Especially right now when all the produce is so boastfully and beautifully displayed. Wearing no stickers, labels, or plastic wrap; they proudly sit, unabashedly baring themselves for us to admire. And I do.

The market this week was so beautiful with ripe, local produce that I wanted to buy one of everything. But I am leaving town and that wouldn’t be a good idea. I did, however, get my blueberries and a couple cucumbers which I knew I would eat quickly.

homegrown cucumbers

I am reminded how nature always knows what’s best for us and what we need- if you follow her, you will never have to over-think how to be healthy.

A bright rainbow of colors gives us all the nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins we need- no supplements necessary!

peppers and tomatoes

This is the time of year when just about everything is bursting with “readiness”- Do you feel that way at all? Our bodies and energy are meant to be one with the seasons and now is the time to show off your ripeness like these beautiful juicy blackberries-

local blackberries

It’s the season to relax and enjoy life’s offerings without caring so much about perfection- like these beautiful heirloom tomatoes, imperfectly perfect

heirloom tomatoes

Summer provides us with balance to the heat with these cooling greens and refreshing herbs- we can also find balance emotionally by enjoying quiet downtime amidst the sometimes overheated pitta energy of summer. The greens below are amaranth, the seed can be eaten as well like millet or quinoa.

cooling summer greens

And summer has special things that we don’t get other times of the year, like this okra. I try to enjoy it as much as possible before the season is up. Check out my recipe that was featured on “Freshly Pressed” I think they are tiny works of art!

okra

Summer is a great time to experiment with new produce and to try out new cooking techniques. Keep it simple and make it about the vegetable, not the “add-ins”. Simple steaming, grilling, or gentle sauteing is usually all that’s necessary.

What is your favorite summer fruit or vegetable?

Farmer’s Market Love + a really big a** peach!

July is one of my favorite months; things are in full bloom, veggies are ripe, and the colors of all plants and flowers are spectacular. I am a pitta so I love the intensity of the weather this time of year- especially the powerful, hot thunderstorms which we’ve had lately. I enjoy a soft spring rain like everyone else, but there is nothing like the energy in the air before and after a mid-summer storm. It makes everything feel witchy and magic!

My neighborhood farmer’s market is showcasing all of the seasonal produce right now.  I’m so glad I volunteered there this year, I’ve met some awesome people. This week I was lucky enough to be given a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) box from the incredible and organic Delvin Farms. For someone like me, that is like winning the lottery. I wanted to cry like Miss America as I carried the heavy box overflowing with veggie goodness to my car.

Lots of tomatoes- all different shapes and sizes. I must make a sauce or something with these.

100_2820

Lots of squash, including this patty pan squash that always reminds me of a little cheerful UFO. Treat it like any other yellow squash, slice it and steam or grill.

pattypan squash

A-Mazing local berries!!!!!!! I wasn’t sure what to do with the blackberries so I am just eating them like candy from my fridge. They are a bit tart but the blueberries are like sugar drops…..

blueberries and blackberries

How ’bout these softball size peaches fresh from Georgia, the official Peach state?? I’m a lucky girl that I got these right from the farmer who picked them that day! I’m just gonna say: that’s a big a** peach!

georgia peach

And I was able to grab some organic celery before it sold out. I’ve been wanting to try homegrown celery for my juicing. It’s got a pretty strong flavor and it’s smaller than the pumped up conventional stuff.

organic celery

If you do anything else this summer PLEASE go find a local farmer’s market and indulge in local, seasonal produce! Use this link to find one in your area. The experience of picking out your produce, talking to the farmer, and preparing it for your family that night is priceless. We so seldom have the opportunity to use our “hunter-gatherer” skills anymore, and the drive-thru at McDonald’s does NOT count.

PS It’s my Blog Anniversary this week!!! 1 year and it’s been so fun! Thank you for reading!

Summer Love at the Farmer’s Market

I love my neighborhood farmer’s market SO much and this time of year I fall deeper and deeper. Each week the tables get fuller, the produce more colorful, and the offerings more plenty as the season deepens and transitions from root veggies to vine vegetables. We are in the Pitta season!

root vegetables

It’s great to finally see tomatoes every week. I always buy the little cherry tomatoes and eat them like candy. I swear I though I was eating berries they were so sweet!

delvin farms at 12south market

I cannot remember the name of these little black and red beauties?

homegrown tomatoes

Today the market showed off the colors of summer with ripe, delicious berries, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, peaches, squash, and even squash blossoms!

12south farmers market

georgia peaches

The huge variety of greens make me happy-

delvin farms

I even bought more zucchini to try after my recent muffin disaster!

summer squash

Wildflowers in a glass jar….one of my favorite things

wildflowers

Chilled Quinoa Pesto Salad

This might be my new favorite thing to eat this summer!  I stumbled onto it accidentally, or actually because of a rabbit….

I had purchased a beautiful basil plant and put it on my back patio with great excitement at watching it grow and thrive during the long summer months. 2 days later I awoke to an empty pot with no evidence of any plant other than all of the leaves being left on the ground around it. A rabbit had come and eaten all of the stems and conveniently left me with the soft fresh leaves. What else could I do but make pesto?

I stuffed the washed leaves into my food processor-

fresh basil pesto

I added olive oil,

basil and olive oil

walnuts, and fresh garlic cloves and blended on high speed. Done!

walnut basil pesto

Nothing tastes as good as fresh homemade pesto! It can be stored in an airtight container or frozen in ice cube trays for later use.

homemade pesto

For the salad I cooked 2 cups of quinoa after rinsing the grains thoroughly. I added a scoop of fresh pesto and halved cherry tomatoes that had been marinating in balsamic vinegar and chopped basil (Thanks again bunny!)

quinoa pesto salad

After blending well,  I added feta cheese and raw cashews for more protein. I snipped some fresh parsley and threw that in too-

quinoa pesto salad

Let chill in refrigerator for more flavor- stir well before serving and garnish with fresh basil!

pesto quinoa salad

I have been eating this straight out of the fridge with a spoon! It’s so refreshing! I did end up buying a new basil plant and placing it high up on a table out of the way of any visitors who think my herb garden is a salad bar!

container herb garden

Neighborhood Farmers Market

I’m lucky enough to live in an area that has a small local weekly farmers market within dog-walking distance of my house. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day so we headed out to the park where it is held. Besides fresh seasonal produce there was a local juice company (I sampled the green juice with lime, kale, apple), salsa maker (sampled the mild), baker, grass-fed beef, and goat cheese (sampled, sampled, sampled).

I was happy to see these baby cherry tomatoes on stems along side the romas and heirlooms.

The beautiful purple okra looked fake it was so perfect! It reminds me of Chihuly glass art.

This beekeeper had candles, raw honey and beeswax squares for sale.

I met some raw food “cooks” (is there such a thing?) who gave samples of  cilantro raw crackers and cashew hummus. They told me all of their food is made with seeds and nuts and whatever produce is in season, including dessert items.

This little stand won ‘Best in show’ in my opinion. They had zinnias, radishes and fresh herbs on display. The radishes were so big I thought they were beets.

The market is going on until November and I cannot wait to see what Autumn will bring to the tables. More to come later in the fall……

Magnificent Moonflowers

I am fascinated with this mysterious plant. The moonflower is a member of the ipomoea family. Morning glories would be it’s daytime sister plant.  Blooming only at night, when the sun begins to set, it is HIGHLY fragrant and lasts only until sunrise. Such a short, sweet life that takes so long to arrive- I think it’s the most unusual, exotic plant that I am lucky enough to be able to grow. It takes a lot patience though as they really take time to begin their journey upwards but the rewards are heavenly. It’s also a late summer bloomer that really only gets going around this time of year.

I started these seeds in April and a storm blew over my egg carton.  I was able to salvage a few seedlings

Almost 8 weeks later in June- just starting to come to life and look like a vine

Later in the summer, the green lushness takes over but still no buds. More patience…..

Then in mid-august- Buds! They stay like this for 24 hours before opening.

FINALLY! You can actually watch them slowly unfurl and open  to saucer sized pure white blooms at dusk.  It’s quite magical to watch

This is what I wait for all summer…..

It’s interesting what we can learn from gardening and growing things from seed. Patience, perseverance, anticipation and accomplishment when we finally see the results.

I wish you could smell this post!

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