In The Kitchen Today

I was blessed enough to go travel back home to Texas recently to visit family.My eating habits were out of control the entire time. I can't even begin to tell you everything we ate while I was there. I did happen to post one recipe already of a drink we made that I just loved!

Did you see it and try it yet?

One of my trip days was spent with my former college roommate...we always love to eat, and she took me to the cutest little place to eat ever called The Tiny Boxwood! Besides amazing food, they have beautiful scenery and seating outside...nextdoor to a plant nursery where you can browse the variety of flowers and shrubs that are growing.

Onto the food..........
Heres a picture of my appetizer (yes I believe in eating dessert first)

I loved my food that I had there so much, that I was inspired to come home and attempt to remake a few things I had there.
Here are just 2 things I made today that I hope someone else will try.
Feel free to alter anything to your taste.

Orzo with Feta and Kalamata Olives

Serves 4-5
1 1/2 cups uncooked Orzo
Crumbled Feta
Pitted Kalamata Olives
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cook your orzo pasta as directed.
After cooking, run under cold water and drain well to stop the cooking process.
Place orzo in a bowl and add the olive oil and pepper to taste.
Cool completely in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.
Just before serving, add crumbled feta and kalamata olives to taste. I used about 1/4 cup of feta and about 8-10 olives.
Stir altogether and serve cold!

Homemade Lemonade with a Hint of Mint

The resulting lemonade is very light with the slightest hint of mint. I personally don't like lemonades that make me feel like I am drinking sugar or making me cringe from sour tastes. I also didnt want to have it taste like a mojito or toothpaste, so I was sure not to over-do the mint.
Don't like mint? Trying using another herb such as Lemon balm or Lemon Verbena
Fresh Mint (20 leaves)
2 quarts of cold water
10-12 Lemons
3/4-1 cup sugar (to your taste)
2 cups of ice
1/2 cup of boiling water
Gather your 10-12 lemons. Give each one a little roll under your palm to loosen them up if they are a little hard. Then cut them all in half and juice them. If you are looking for a handy manual juicing bowl, I got a great one at ikea for just a couple of dollars!
Once juiced, strain the juice over a bowl to make sure you remove seeds and pulp left behind. You can skip this step if you do not care about the seeds/pulp being there ;) My 10 lemons gave me about 1 1/3 cups of pure juice. Set to the side and keep the strainer (rinsed) in will need it again.

Gather your washed mint leaves and 1/4th cup of the sugar into a bowl.
Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the mint leaves, rubbing them against the sugar to release the oils from the leaves.

To this bowl of mashed mint and sugar, add your 1/2 cup of boiling water. The sugar/mint oils will dissolve immediately. Give a stir to make sure the sugar dissolves. Pour this mixture over the  strainer that is still over the lemon juice. The mint flavored water will go right through, giving your lemon juice the hint of mint it needs, while keeping the leaves out!
Find the pitcher you want to serve your lemonade in and put the 2 qts. of cold water inside.
Add your minty lemon juice and also the remaining 1/2-3/4ths cup of sugar (depending on how much you want) to the pitcher and give a good stir.
The last step to make it super chilled and ready to serve is to add the 2 cups of ice.
 I hope you enjoy these sometime soon!