Summer Fruit Salad with Minty Lime Dressing

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Whew! It’s been a crazy couple months! Summer is normally a bit overloaded, but this summer is even crazier than usual. We went on a trip to Indonesia and that trip was bookended by weddings, friends in town, and several important meetings for Matthew. We’re off again this weekend to a wedding in Austin and are excited to see Texas family.

In the midst of the craziness, I’ve still been cooking and especially enjoying summer fruit! Have you had any peaches yet? They are to die for! I haven’t been able to get enough peaches or blueberries and I’m hoping to visit a blueberry farm to pick my own in the next couple weeks. Growing up, every summer we would drive to Tyler, Texas to pick blueberries. After picking pounds and pounds in the hot summer sun, we’d go to a nearby state park for a picnic and swimming. When we got home, my mom would make blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and freeze lots of the fresh blueberries for later use. I love those summer memories!

Today, I’m sharing an easy summer fruit salad that is refreshing and a little out of the ordinary. It’s great on it’s own or paired with Greek yogurt for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. I definitely recommend eating this the day you make it as berries don’t like to be wet for long and this salad had a sweet dressing with a little extra zing.

Happy cooking and happy summer!

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Summer Fruit Salad with Minty Lime Dressing

ingredients

4 small, ripe peaches or 2 large, ripe peaches, slice
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sliced raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2 Tablespoons water
1 Teaspoon honey
1 Teaspoon lime zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
12 mint leaves, finely chopped

to make

Wash your fruit and slice peaches and strawberries. Place all fruit in a bowl.
In a small jar or bowl, combine water, honey, lime zest and juice, and finely chopped mint leaves. Pour over fruit and stir gently. The dressing will mostly fall to the bottom, but that’s ok. Allow fruit to refrigerate for 30 minutes to soak up the dressing. Before serving, give a stir and top with toasted walnuts. (Don’t add the walnuts too soon or they’ll get soggy)

Enjoy!

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Easy Tomato Burst Pasta + Summer Reads

Easy summer pasta and good books to read, really, what’s better?

We’ve been on the road quite a bit the last couple of weeks with only a day or so in between trips, making it difficult to grocery shop. But with an abundance of cherry tomatoes & basil in my garden, I’ve been making this easy, flavor packed pasta on the days we’re home. Even if you don’t have a garden, tomatoes & basil are in season so you can pick them up at your farmer’s market or grocery.
As you cook the whole cherry tomatoes over low heat in a covered pan, they burst open creating a spectacular sauce. The real star of the show here is actually the cloves of garlic which sweeten up as they’re sautéed whole in olive oil before being chopped and added to the sauce.
Great as a side, light lunch, or dinner entree with the addition of grilled chicken, I hope you try this recipe and love it!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
8 fresh basil leaves, whole or chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups of spiral pasta

To Make:

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drizzle 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil into a sauté pan over medium low heat. Using a chopping knife, lightly smash the garlic cloves with the side of the knife so as to remove the peel. Add whole cloves to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove garlic cloves and add whole tomatoes. Turn heat to low and cover. Allow to sauté for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes burst open.
Roughly chop the garlic and add it to the pan. Add fresh basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
Drain pasta and drizzle 1/2 Tablespoon olive, stirring to get it all covered. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put pasta into a bowl and pour sauce on top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!!

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At the beach, on the plane, by the pool, and before bed at night, here are some great reads I’ve enjoyed this summer!

Love Does by Bob Goff

With hilarious stories of adventure and kindness, Bob Goff brings readers into the journey of learning how to love extravagantly.

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

Real talk on life. Through thoughtful essays sharing stories of life and God, Shauna Niequist reveals her experiences of celebrating each day.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Both through provoking and heart rending, this novel is a geniusly creative weaving together of stories that reveal human nature and the complexities of modern life.

Prophet by Frank Peretti

Probably my favorite novel of the summer. A fictional but truly apt critique of modern society. I wasn’t able to put this book down as the story is both mysterious and compelling!

Leading From the Second Chair by Mike Bonem & Roger Patterson

This is an incredible book for anyone who is in a place of subordinate leadership. The authors share from their experience, providing wise and insightful understanding into the complexities of leadership.

What books are you enjoying this summer?


Eating with the Armstrongs

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Summer has provided some good eats for us with out-of-town guests, birthday celebrations, and the use of my favorite cooking method: the grill. We have greatly enjoyed all of the following recipes and will be making them again!

Key Lime Meringue Pie

Summer in a dessert. The airy meringue topping made this pie an over-the-top treat! My only change is that I made a graham cracker crust rather than the shortbread crust the recipe calls for. I just can’t get away from the fact that graham cracker crumbs + sugar + butter is the best thing on earth. Find the recipe for it on the back of any graham cracker box.

Dark Chocolate Pie with Almond Crust and Raspberry Compote (Vegan & Gluten Free)

In all honesty, when I hear “vegan and gluten free” for a dessert, the I think: “dry and tasteless” because it’s just hard to believe that the omission of flour, butter, and cream can be a good thing. But much to my delight (and health to my body) that’s actually not true and I’m happy to say that I’ve enjoyed several gluten free desserts lately. This pie is absolutely incredibly rich, smooth, and perfect. I made it for a birthday party and everyone raved. The recipe calls for strawberries, but I used raspberries because they are my favorite thing to pair with dark chocolate. Also, I didn’t have any vanilla, and really didn’t miss it, however, I will include it next time as I know it would only add another layer of flavor. The dark chocolate chips are melted with coconut milk and maple syrup for a creamy pie filling and the toasted almond pie crust is divine. My one other note is that I used the whole can of coconut milk rather than just the cream as the recipe calls for because I didn’t have time to chill it overnight, but the consistency was perfectly creamy. Please make this!

Zesty Lime, Shrimp & Avocado Salad

We made this for the Fourth of July and it is truly all things summery, flavor packed, and tasty. How can you go wrong with lime and avocado? I grilled my shrimp to add an extra note and also added black beans which made the salad less pretty but more filling.

Pineapple Cashew Fried Rice

Definitely a different flavor profile from the typical fried rice and one I gladly welcomed. Cooking the rice in pineapple juice and coconut milk provided a scrumptious sweetness that paired wonderfully with salty soy sauce sprinkled on top.

Greek Meatballs

We really enjoyed this version of meatballs. Rather than using lamb like the recipe calls for, I substituted ground beef. The inclusion of Bulgar wheat adds a nice crunch. I served this with my homemade hummus and a little salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh basil & feta topped with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Yum!

Yukon Gold & Sweet Mashed Potatoes

My friend Abigail introduced us to these a few months ago, and I’ve made them a couple times since as they are absolutely incredible! The sweet potatoes add a whole new element to the traditional mashed potatoes. They are great as the original recipe goes but I have also substituted sour cream instead of cream cheese with great success as well.

Happy July and Happy Eating!


Buttermilk Grilled Chicken + Chopped Salad

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The perfect summertime meal is a salad with some sort of grilled meat. I love the smokey charred flavor of chicken or fish paired with light, fresh vegetables. These chicken and red onion kabobs are bursting with flavor: a combination of the grill and the tangy buttermilk marinade/dressing. The addition of sliced cucumber, sweet grapes, and creamy avocado makes this salad fresh and flavor packed.

Buttermilk Grilled Chicken + Chopped Salad

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazinehttp://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/buttermilk-chicken-kebabs-with-chopped-salad/

Ingredients:

2/3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/4 cup juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 head romain, leaves torn
1 large cucumber, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced in chunks
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup red grapes, halved

To Make:

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high.
In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, olive oil, thyme, garlic, lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with half of the buttermilk mixture.
Thread chicken and red onion chunks onto 8 skewers.
Grill, turning frequently, until cooked through and browned in spots, 13 to 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss together the romaine, cucumber, avocado and grapes. Drizzle with the remaining buttermilk mixture; season. Serve the salad with the kebabs.

Enjoy!

I love that this recipe uses cucumber because my cucumber plant is literally taking over! Apparently, cucumber thrives in the heat and humidity; so I’ll be growing lots of it!

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What is your favorite recipe that highlights cucumber?

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Two for One Summer Recipes: Easy Fried Rice & Simple Bean Salad

We’ve been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for almost three weeks and we absolutely love life here! Cajun food, LSU paraphernalia, a multitude of delicious restaurants, and humidity like none we’ve ever experienced are all part of our daily lives. As you may know, my husband and I along with seven other of our close friends are beginning the adventure of church planting in Baton Rouge. We are sending out monthly updates about our life and ministry here via email; if you’d like to receive these updates, send an email to newlybread @ gmail dot com and I’d be more than happy to add you to our list!

As you might imagine, getting accustomed to our new home has been quite the task, albeit an enjoyable one. We have been busy organizing, cleaning, and setting up our home, spending time with new friends in the city, and exploring. While exploring we’ve found a few treasures here in the city, one being a produce market that is open daily and provides fresh and inexpensive fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of moving furniture, hot weather, and humidity does not lend itself to cooking gourmet feasts. I’ve found that whipping up either of the following recipes is easy and tasty. This Easy Fried Rice is a versatile recipe that can be adapted to your personal taste and what you have on hand. Beside the essentials of rice, egg, and soy sauce, the addition of peas, green beans, mushrooms, grated ginger, minced garlic, cilantro, and chicken make this dish filling and delicious. Really whatever vegetables you have at home, fresh or frozen, can be thrown into the mix. I even added white beans to a recent batch which heightened the protein content and melded surprisingly well with the Asian flavors.

The Simple Bean Salad is a light accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. I’ve also enjoyed it by itself as a light lunch or as a dip for pita or tortilla chips.

Hopefully these recipes will help you enjoy cooking in the summer!

Easy Fried Rice

Adapted from Every Day with Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can  (15.5 oz.) white beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

To make:

  1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, cover the rice with water and stir until the water becomes cloudy; drain and repeat twice. Return the rice to the saucepan, add 1 cup cold water, cover and cook over medium-low heat until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for just one minute. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until set and just dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool; coarsely chop.
  3. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and bell pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Add the beans and peas-carrots mix and cook until heated through; transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cooked rice. Spread into a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the rice forms a crust, about 3 minutes. Break up the rice and sprinkle with the soy sauce. Stir in the scallion greens, cilantro, bean mixture and eggs and cook until heated through.

Simple Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can black eyed peas
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

To make:

Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, onion, parsley and rosemary.

2 In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

3 Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.