We’re big on kombucha in my house. It’s is one of my favorite healthy thirst quenchers, and I wrote a guest post for MindBodyGreen about how and why to make kombucha at home. I’m posting the recipe below as well, along with some links to additional recipes and resources that may be helpful if you are interested in making your own kombucha :)

Note that I adapted this recipe just slightly from the new (and wonderful!) book Mastering Fermentation: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Fermented Foods. There are many different recipes for making kombucha floating around the internet, but I like this one because it’s very simple. A lot of people seem to be intimidated when it comes to homemade kombucha, but it’s not at all difficult. Give it a try! If you have questions or concerns, please ask them in the comments section below.

Homemade Kombucha | Healthy Green Kitchen

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Summer’s almost over and I haven’t yet shared my iced coffee frappe recipe? This is a problem. A problem that must be remedied immediately.

coffee drink 1_text

If they weren’t super expensive (and filled with who-knows-what as far as the ingredients go), I’d be at Starbucks getting a “frappucino” pretty much every day in the summer. I mean it…I really love them! So to avoid that scenario, I came up with a simple, yet delicious, homemade version.

The secret ingredient in this drink is organic, freeze-dried, instant decaf coffee. I love this stuff…it’s tasty and so convenient! And it’s perfect for making blended iced coffee drinks. (My health food store carries it in both the regular and decaf versions…maybe your’s does, too.) Sure, you can make a blended iced coffee drink with chilled brewed coffee but I don’t make mine that way, so I can’t help you out as far as a recipe goes.

You need a good blender for this recipe. Not necessarily an expensive on, but one that won’t crap out on you when you attempt to blend lots of ice in it. I have a high speed blender called a Blendtec and I love it. It’s not cheap but I use it every single day and have for years…it’s an excellent machine for making smoothies with frozen fruit, too.

By the way, you know what makes this iced coffee frappe even more delicious? You guessed it: ICE CREAM! Add a scoop or two of vanilla (or chocolate or coffee) ice cream for extra deliciousness. If you do so, you may want to cut back on the maple syrup (or whatever sweetener you decide to use) so it’s not too sweet :)

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I grow many types of organic heirloom tomatoes each summer. Though I have made and water-bath canned several different kinds of cooked salsas in years past, I decided not to bother this year. I far and away prefer to make and eat fresh salsa (aka Salsa Fresca or Pico de Gallo) with my tomatoes right after I pluck them off the vine.

Fresh Salsa | Healthy Green Kitchen

I take a pretty loose approach to salsa making. I don’t really follow a recipe- I simply chop up a slew of tomatoes, then add a little of this and a little of that. Red onion is a must. So is lime juice, cilantro, and some jalapeño chile. Sometimes I may add cucumbers…avocado is another option. In the pictures here, you’ll notice I added fresh (raw) corn sliced right off the cob.

Fresh Salsa | Healthy Green Kitchen

Below is a basic fresh salsa recipe with which you may play around. Chop the tomatoes as big or as small as you like, and use different colored heirloom tomatoes, if possible (though if you want your salsa to contain as little liquid as possible, it’s best to use plum tomatoes). Make a little to snack on with crackers or chips, or to eat with veggies, or throw together a big batch to enjoy with tacos or any Mexican-inspired meal. I’ve been known to eat a big bowl in lieu of a salad! Have fun and enjoy.

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My house has a longish rocky driveway and purslane grows like crazy along the edges. I also find it in my garden beds, so I eat it quite a lot. I love its slightly sour flavor raw in salads, and I occasionally cook with it. But it never occurred to me to make pickled purslane until I saw a recipe in Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving by Kevin West.

pickled purslane 1_text

I am new to Kevin’s work (he also has a blog called Saving the Season) and I really enjoy his writing. I own many preserving books but have found Saving the Season to be particularly charming. I’ve loved everything from the book I’ve made so far this summer, including several types of jams and the Sunshine Pickles…Kevin’s recipes are truly inspiring and unique.

Pickled Purslane | Healthy Green Kitchen

Purslane is an edible wild plant with an incredible nutritional profile. According to herbalist Susun Weed, purslane is an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, as well as the minerals calcium and magnesium. Purslane is also a source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid). This recipe is easy to make except for one thing: you have to pluck the leaves from the purslane stems (and 1/4 pound is A LOT of purslane leaves!). This is a bit of a pain to be sure, but if you quiet your lazy bits and get meditative about it, you may actually enjoy it. I did.

Pickled Purslane | Healthy Green Kitchen

So how do you eat pickled purslane? Kevin suggests serving it with sandwiches or charcuterie. I like it straight out of the jar…I’ve found it to be a welcome addition to scrambled eggs and enjoy it tossed into salads, too.

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Thank you all so very much for your kind words after my dog died. We miss Jezebel tons but we are keeping busy (and showering her brother Jake with lots of extra attention)…we’re doing okay :)

For the past week and a half, my husband and I have been home while our kids are away at camp. It’s been a really wonderful “staycation”…the type of experience I recommend for all parents, if possible! My husband usually travels quite a bit for work and is only home on the weekends, which means we don’t get to spend that much time together. Having almost 2 straight weeks for just the two of us to hang out has been really, really amazing.

Earlier in the summer, we came to the realization that our house was in major need of deep cleaning, some painting, and a bunch of small fixes here and there. We also hatched a plan to redecorate our kids rooms. With the kiddos gone, we’ve been working steadily to accomplish these tasks (except for the painting…we hired someone to do that) and it feels really good. We rented a 10 yard dumpster and got rid of SO many things that were cluttering up our home; we’ve also donated lots of items and even sold some at a yard sale.

In addition to all the working (and multiple trips to Ikea), we’ve played a lot, too. We’ve gone on lots of walks and hikes, and watched a bunch of movies…Crazy, Stupid Love was my favorite! We’ve also been cooking a lot. Because our kids don’t really like fish or seafood, and we don’t eat it much when they are around, we’ve had it for a lot of our meals. We thought this Seared Scallops recipe was really terrific.

Scallops with Gremolata | Healthy Green Kitchen

I adore scallops. They are a great source of protein and they are SO quick to make…seriously, this recipe only takes about 10 minutes. I adapted it slightly from my friend Lynda and it’s a keeper, for sure.

I love the idea of the Pea Purée on which Lynda served her scallops, but peas aren’t in season now so we enjoyed ours over chopped broccoli and yellow squash (from our garden) sautéed with garlic and olive oil instead. I think these scallops would also be great over rice (or any grain, really); pasta would work, too (but seriously…when does pasta NOT work?).

I LOVE the Alaskan Weathervane scallops from Vital Choice(< --affiliate link). They are pricey but delicious, and wild/sustainably harvested. I think they are worth the occasional indulgence, but otherwise just use the best quality scallops you can find. As for the gremolata, you can play with it, if you like: parsley and mint are more "traditional" gremolata ingredients, I believe. I like using preserved lemon rind because it's so flavorful (instead of "regular" lemon zest); if you do this omit the salt in the gremolata, since preserved lemons are already quite salty.

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