Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bacon, Basil & Tomato Pasta Salad

Fall 2013 019

 I often swing past the ‘fancy’ cheese area in front of the deli meat counter looking for really nice cheeses on ‘Manager’s Special’ – it’s a good way to try something new without investing a fortune, and it makes me get creative when I bring home something that I don’t usually have on hand.  We’ve found some yummy cheeses this way – and that’s good because our family loves cheese! One of the things I often see on sale is the cute individual fresh mozzarella balls packed in water in the little tubs. I usually scoop them up because they are so versatile in so many recipes. I had a ton of little tomatoes coming on strong in the garden at the same time that I found the mozzarella on sale, we were headed to a gathering at church and thus a new recipe was born!

Bacon, Basil & Tomato Pasta Salad

1 pound box mini penne or mini farfalle pasta
2 tbsp. light olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Cook pasta in salted boiling water 7 minutes until just tender. Drain. Immediately submerge in ice cold water for 5-6 minutes. Drain well again. Toss with first amount of lemon juice and olive oil and spread pasta out on a cookie sheet. Place in fridge to cool thoroughly and dry a bit for 30 - 45 minutes.
2 pounds cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese bite sized balls (packed in water , well drained) cut in halves
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
1 white onion, diced finely
½ cup fresh chives (I use scissors to cut these quickly) or green onions
Add tomatoes, onions and first amount of cheese to cooled pasta in a large bowl.
2 small cloves of fresh garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano and thyme, finely diced
1 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
¾ cup olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well until they are emulsified together into a creamy dressing. Pour over pasta mixture and refrigerate overnight.
½ pound low sodium bacon cooked until crisp and crumbled
In the morning add the bacon crumbles and stir well. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving. Garnish with additional bacon, chives or parsley.

Taste before serving – additional sea salt may be needed.

Makes 12 cups of pasta salad.
* Since this was originally for a potluck and needed to be ‘dry’ rather than soupy for traveling and serving, I made a small amount of the dressing. If you like more dressing, double the recipe!
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Monday, November 4, 2013

You know it's time ...

 No doubt about it - it's time to get back to my blog! The blog {that I never intended to abandon so abruptly} has been on the back burner while I figured out this liver cleanse thing. One thing (baseball) lead to another (summer time) which lead to another (homeschool) and got wrapped up in the crazy wonderful mess of  just living simply ... so, my blog and I took a very long break from one another! 

Setting up for the Storyteller's 13 birthday ... baseball theme, of course!

Do you want to know how I know it's time to get back at the keyboard and give you a few tiny glimpses into our simple home at very irregular intervals sharing totally random things about life in our wee corner of the world? Well, it was prayer, Scripture, my Mum, my Dad, three sweet friends and one total stranger. Yes siree - I'd say that I'm pretty slow and sometimes it takes a really BIG push to move me forward!

I've started to actually write down some new recipes I've been  playing with and I've been remembering to take pictures too! I'll get back to sharing some recipes. Soon.

We started studying the spiritual gifts at our church this month - starting with one of those Spiritual Gift inventories. I've done them before, but it's been a while. I've discovered that I've changed a lot in some areas and I haven't changed in others.  God has worked in my heart and life in areas that I didn't really see very well, but I'm learning! I want to share some of that here with you. Soon.

 I still get the most hits on this quiet little blog on a simple little post I scribbled out years and years ago about my Anxiety Relief  and it often leads to amazing e-mails with questions that both bless and challenge me. I need to add more to my blog on that topic. Because you know - I've had a lot to be anxious about, but I've also seen God remove my fears with the TRUTH of His Word over and over and over again and I want to share that here.

Um. I'm 42 pounds lighter then when I last wrote. Yes, that's pretty big! I'm still doing that liver cleanse thing - the one that was supposed to last for 8 weeks that I started in April? That's the one! There's a story there too.

Dreamer turned 16 on October 1st!

Storyteller  aka: My Good Knight

We now have TWO teenagers. One is driving age {but not driving yet} One is driving us crazy! Ha! Not really. Well, maybe a little bit. I am constantly calling out to God for wisdom and strength and patience. Every day. Sometimes every hour. I am so thankful for my husband who pulls me back from the edge and for children who love me and forgive me. Our Storyteller is 6' at 13 and in now playing basketball. He is hungry all the time. All. The. Time.

My sweet Historian and I quietly celebrated 22 years of marriage in October.  We've been on more 'dates' in the past month then we've been on in 5 years I think. All because it's a l.o.n.g. drive to church! I'm not sure they count though, because I've almost fallen asleep on both our dates. Thankfully my Historian is still patient and understanding and he LOVES me. He really does. Even when all I want is hot tea and a warm bed.

 I've been doing a bit of sewing lately. Quite a bit actually. These are some costumes I've recently made. The man in the middle attends the same church we do and is a huge fan of the Renaissance Festival. He wanted a unique costume to attend the festival in and I think he's pretty happy with what we came up with. Dreamer and Storyteller wanted costumes for the Trunk or Treat that was held as an outreach for the first time at our church. Our van was fun to decorate as the 'Ye Olde Amoure' - putting on the full armor of God. Dreamer dreamed it up and did most of the work.  We had so much fun - over 750 kids came through last night. We are praying that many of them will come back and get involved in AWANA and Youth ministry.

So there you have it. I'll be back soon with more and if you have any really pressing questions that you just can't wait to have answered add them in the comments and I'll answer. Soon. It is, after all, basketball season!

 In the meantime I'll leave you with a sweet treat to enjoy! Our Dreamer is moving forward with her music and learning amazing things.  She is so dedicated and committed to practice and learning.  She's preparing for several competitions and auditions right now so our home is filled with beautiful music and not-so-beautiful piano finger exercises which I would gladly do without, but she has deemed absolutely necessary. As I type, I'm enjoying listening to her sight read Canon in D. How blessed am I?  Very, very blessed indeed!