My Garden is Flourishing (and new recipes!)

We have gobs of fresh-from-the-garden vegetables over here, which happens to be perfect timing since we recently cut our monthly grocery budget.  Starting seeds in late March and planting our garden at the beginning of June has really paid off and brought a lot of joy to our family.
Enjoy, for a moment, the sexiness of these organic, freshly picked beauties!

Sticking to one of my tips for meal planning on a budget, I continue to find ways to use similar ingredients in a variety of meals.  Here are a few easy ideas…

Basil Cucumber Tomato Salad
handful of fresh basil
4-5 medium cucumbers
4-5 small tomatoes
2 T (or so) olive oil
2 T (or so) balsamic vinegar
dash of salt & pepper
Peel the cucumbers.  Before cutting, take a fork and draw lines with it down the length of the cucumber.  Do this all the way around. This is a tip I learned from my husband, who learned from his grandmother, and it helps the cucumbers fully absorb the dressing (plus it just looks pretty).  Slice the cucumbers as thinly as you can.  Chop (and seed) the tomatoes.  Chop the fresh basil.  Mix in a bowl.  Add your oil and vinegar to your liking – enough to coat the salad.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit for 4-6 hours.  This salad is good for a few days and is SO yummy fresh.
Summer Tomato Feta Pasta Salad
1 package of pasta
handful of fresh basil
3 medium cucumbers
2 cups of cherry tomatoes (or tomatoes of your choice)
2 T (or so) olive oil
2 T (or so) balsamic vinegar
dash of salt & pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
Cook any pasta you like according to package (I used this one).  Rinse, drain and let cool.  Mix sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper – adding more oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss with chopped basil and feta cheese.  Refrigerate and eat when cold.  Enjoy.
Your Personal Reflection:  Feed your soul with fresh foods of the season and notice how good you feel! 
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