Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

Garden Fresh Pasta

I haven’t always been a pasta lover.  

In times past I saw pasta only as a vehicle for a grey, pasty, congealed type of sauce with chunks of meat sprinkled in and cooked to oblivion.

And then I discovered gardening.

Garden Fresh Pasta Suddenly I had access to fresh garden tomatoes, sweet white onions, and crisp delicious peppers in every color of the rainbow, My world of pasta changed in an instant.  

Garden Fresh Pasta is one of my favorites. It is a simple meal that can be thrown together quickly. Change up the spices, throw in a few herbs and the possibilities are endless. I love spicy, so when I don’t have any homemade chili oil ready to go, I substitute cayenne pepper instead.  I love the added benefit that cayenne pepper gives to boost my immune system. It’s even better when I’m using my own cayenne peppers I have dried from the garden.

Garden Fresh Pasta Another of the things I love about this salad is the juice from the tomato makes up part of the delicious dressing. So, I pick out the juiciest looking tomatoes I can find. Usually this means a vine ripened tomato like a Beef, or Celebrity variety. A Roma or any Italian variety is usually too dry for this salad. Also, don’t worry about the seeds from the tomatoes. You will want to scrape up every bit of tomato juice for the yummy dressing to cover your pasta and you wont even notice the seeds.

Orecchiette Pasta with garden fresh veggies, feta and toasted walnuts all add up to a wonderful mouthful of delicious fresh flavor. 

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad
  • 1- 2 tbsp chili infused olive oil or substitute ½ tsp cayenne pepper with 1 -2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 links Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 lb package of Orecchiette (may substitute any shaped pasta)
  • 4 vine ripened garden fresh tomatoes chopped with liquid reserved
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 cup chopped colorful peppers (whatever you have available)
  • ¼ cup chopped Walnuts
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped flat italian parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 1-2 tsps sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Lay walnuts on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Cool.
Italian Sausage
  1. Heat saute pan to medium.
  2. Add 1 tbsp chili infused oil (or oil and cayenne pepper)and cook sausage until well browned on all sides and cooked completely through, adding additional oil as necessary.
  3. Remove from pan, cool and slice into ¼ inch rounds.
  1. Cook according to directions on package.
  2. Drain pasta in colander and rinse in cold water to stop cooking process.
  3. Pour into large bowl and place in refrigerator to chill while preparing vegetables.
  1. Place 1½ Tbsp olive oil in saute pan heated on Medium low.
  2. Add chopped basil and stir.
  3. Remove from heat after basil has wilted and turned bright green in color, about 1 minute.
  4. Cool.
Assembling your Salad
  1. Add tomatoes with their reserved liquid, peppers, onions, Italian sausage, olive oil basil mixture, parsley, garlic salt, salt, and freshly ground pepper to the chilled pasta and stir gently.
  2. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted walnuts.
  3. Serve immediately.
Great Tip
Prepare walnuts, Italian sausage, pasta and vegetables (with the exception of the tomatoes, because you want every dip of that juice for your dressing) earlier in the day. This way, your salad will be quick to throw together when you are ready to eat it.


15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood


Ever wonder about how to keep your fruits and veggies fresh? Whether you buy them in the store or grow them at home, it is no fun to see them deteriorate almost right before your eyes. I am always in search of ways to keep my fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness for as long as possible, so when Hometalk approached me and asked if I would share my board on Keeping it Fresh I jumped at the chance. I knew this would be valuable to you, my readers, and it would also give you a chance to check out the great things going on at Hometalk if you haven’t already.

Here are a few of my favorites from Keeping it Fresh.

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood How to Grow Onions – How To Store Onions: The Seasoned Homemaker 

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood Keeping Berries Fresh: Adventures of a Busy Bee

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood Cleaning Garden Produce: Chaotically Creative


15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood I Would be remiss if I didn’t share a few of my own ideas too! :)

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood Preserve your Homegrown Herbs in 3 Different Ways

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood How to Preserve Peppers in 3 Different Ways

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood How To Sun Dry Tomatoes

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood How to Preserve Home Grown Herbs with Sea Salt

15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh #foodstorage #fresh #wholefood #realfood

How to Make Infused Oil

Be sure to head over to Hometalk to see the rest of the 15 Ways to Keep Food Fresh and all the other great preserving, gardening and DIY ideas too. 

15 Ways to Keep your Food Fresh shared with:

*Memories by the Mile: Treasure Box Tuesday *Lou Lou Girls *April J Harris: Hearth and Soul  *Table for Seven: Share your Stuff *Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays *Recipes for our Daily Bread: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop *Teach Inspire Love Raise: Wake up Wednesday *Crafty Allie: Worthwhile Wednesday *The Crafty Wife: Wednesday Roundup * Smart School House:Whimsy Wednesday * The Cookie Puzzle: Party in your PJ’s **Lamberts Lately: Create it Thursday *Sweet Haute: Sweet Haute  * 2 Crochet Hooks: Snickerdoodle Sunday  *Baking in Pyjamas: Sweet and Savoury Sunday

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw

 Learning sleeps and snores in libraries, but wisdom is everywhere, wide awake, on tiptoe.

— Josh Billings

A funny thing happened this weekend at the Camp Blogaway conference. After weeks of build up, anxiety, and terror, all the while working myself up into a frenzy, once I arrived, I forgot to be nervous. 

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw

The camp setting was located in a beautiful forested area of Angelus Oaks, in Southern California.  As I pulled to a stop at Camp de Benneville Pines , the clean scent of pine rose up to greet me, along with a very large woolly mammoth of a dog, wagging his tail, excited to see me. I took a quick look around and realized I had arrived yet again to another function way too early. Not a big surprise… my eager beaver attitude was out in full force. I hopped back in my car, thinking I would take a little drive to kill some time and came across our fearless leader and the organizer of Camp Blogaway, Patti (Worth the Whisk). She quickly and efficiently sent me off to my cabin to unload and then set me to work, unpacking boxes, keeping me occupied. Nicely done Patti, thank you!

Seared Salmon with Fennel and  Sugar Snap Slaw

All during the weekend I met up with kind and generous bloggers that were willing to impart their special bits of wisdom learned over their years of blogging. My first encounter was with Gary (Cooking Outdoors). His blog is chock full of amazing outdoor grilling, dutch oven and BBQ recipes. His nugget was the importance of getting involved in the community outside of my blog; great advice I plan on pursuing. Next up was Sara (My Imperfect Kitchen). I had already interacted with Sara prior to coming to camp online through social media. In all honesty I was a bit in awe of her and wondered how she had become so successful while holding down a full time job as well. She handled my fawning superbly, was gracious and humble, all the while making a huge impression on me, one I hope to remember and model.

Seared Salmon with Fennel and  Sugar Snap Slaw

While Camp Blogaway had quite a few Alumni, I was not alone in being a first timer. I gravitated toward Louise, another newbie, (Mom Start) right from the beginning. While this was her first time at Camp Blogaway, she was not new to blogging (not by a long shot) with many notable achievements under her belt. In fact, this week she is off to see the premier of Maleficent and then on to an interview with Angelina Jolie!  Louise saved me a spot at the table our first evening;  figuratively holding my hand and wiping my nose (just like a mom).  This was a great comfort in all the newness.  The cabin I slept in came with a roomie. I am always a bit nervous, not knowing who I will be paired with. Eureka, I hit the jackpot with Caroline ( The Grateful Foodie); no snoring, no talking in her sleep, and such delightful and enlightening conversation! Her blog consists of information on how to  live a full life when one has food allergies and asthma. She does an outstanding job!

Seared Salmon with Fennel and  Sugar Snap Slaw

I could go on and on about the wonderful bloggers I met, but this post would be way too long and no one would finish it. Suffice to say each and every one had something to offer. My biggest surprise though was in the generous, down to earth, fun and engaging sponsors I had the privilege to talk with. Several were already favorites, with products I love to cook with. Two I particularly gravitated towards were Aifric O’Reilly (very Irish don’t you think?) from Kerrygold;  producing some of the best butter you can buy anywhere, and Klondike Brands; featuring delicious Idaho Potatoes that are hard to resist. I loved the varieties that were presented. I had no idea potatoes had so many delicious varieties, textures, and flavors. Of course, potatoes and butter go together so I am sure I will be cooking up something special in the kitchen to commemorate with in the near future. All in all, a memorable trip filled with plenty of information to stuff in my brain. The trick now is to put it to good use. Can’t wait to get started!

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sweet Pea Salad

I recently made Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sweet Pea Salad at the request of my Mother for her Mother’s Day gift. I was visiting San Diego at the time and wanted to do something special. She chose this dish with Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado. Never content to leave well enough alone, I tweaked the recipe here and there from the Eating Well Recipe she had chosen. The salmon was moist and cooked to perfection and the slaw was amazing. This is one dish I am sure to make again and again. Thanks mom, great choice!  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 tbsp mince shallots
  • ¾ tsp finely ground sea salt, divided
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, with fronds
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1¼ pounds fresh wild caught Alaskan Salmon, skin removed
  1. ***Fennel and Sweet Pea Salad;
  2. Combine lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, shallots, raw sugar, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper into a large bowl, setting aside 2 tbsp in a small dish.
  3. Slice top of fennel bulb.
  4. Chop 2 tbsp of the frond and place in large bowl with dressing.
  5. Core and slice the fennel bulb thinly.
  6. Slice snap peas thinly on the diagonal into long pieces (about ¼ inch).
  7. Add fennel and snap peas to the large bowl, toss well. Cover and chill until salmon is prepared.
  8. ***Salmon
  9. Cut salmon into 4 pieces and season with remaining salt and pepper.
  10. Heat remaining oil in a large non stick skillet over high heat.
  11. Add salmon and cook on high heat for 2 minutes, reduce heat and cook an additional minute.
  12. Gently turn salmon, cook for 1 minute and turn off heat.
  13. Allow to sit in pan for two to 3 minutes. Salmon should still be slightly pink in the center, opaque towards the outside.
  14. Place salmon and salad on 4 plates and drizzle all with reserved dressing.
  15. Serve.

Adapted from Eating Well., May/June 2014 Seared Salmon with Sugar Snap-Fennel Slaw  

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw shared with:

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Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday

Sweet Haute: La Dolce Vita: Thursday Sweet Haute Share Link Party

Momma Lew: Pin it Party

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Living Well Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday

Juggling Real Food and Real Life: Let’s Get Real

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SoHo Sonnet: Link it Or Lump it Sunday

My Pinterventures: Merry Monday Linky Party 

Cherished Handmade Treasures: Creative Corner Hop

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Lou Lou Girls: Lou Lou Girls

Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays 

Oh My Heartsie Girl: Weekends are Fun Blog Hop

*The Pink Sprinkle: A Wholesome Bunch

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

Preserve your Homegrown Herbs: 3 Simple ways

“How I would love to be transported into a scented Elizabethan garden with herbs and honeysuckles, a knot garden and roses clambering over a simple arbor.” –  Rosemary Verey

Signs of fall are beginning to pop up everywhere at Pure Grace farms. The green bean plants look shaggy, corn stalks are turning yellow, and pumpkins have turned bright orange overnight.   Homegrown Vegetables - Sustainable Living with Pure Foods A sure signal it’s time to harvest the flavorful home grown herbs planted in late spring and early summer, before the chill sets in.  Now is when sustainable living kicks into full gear. Homegrown tomatoes will be canned, frozen, sun dried and made into every kind of sauce imaginable. Root vegetables, leafy greens, onions and garlic are readied for planting to ensure a steady supply of pure food over the winter and on into spring of next year.

How to Preserve Homegrown Basil: In the Freezer-My first choice for preserving fresh garden herbs is to place them in a bed of ice.  I appreciate simplicity and this method is very simple.  The herbs retain their color and flavor my pure food recipes as they would if I had picked them straight out of  my garden.

When harvesting your herbs it is good to remember that basil, savory, parsley, marjoram and dill are considered tender herbs and will not survive even a light frost.  The leaves from these herbs should be harvested and the plants removed. For sustainable living, you can leave a  few plants until they flower and produce seed.  Then harvest the seeds to use for next years season. 

How to Dry Homegrown Herbs: In The Pantry-Drying fresh homegrown herbs does not have to be difficult.  I have found a way that works for me that is quite simple and painless.

Oregano, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, mint and sage are hardier herbs. Harvest the leaves heavily leaving plants intact. Before the first frost, place a clay pot upside down over the herbs and spread a thick layer of straw around the pot. This helps to keep the plants viable and they will return in full force next year in spring and early summer.

Preserving homegrown herbs makes sense. You save money, they are delicious for pure food recipes and preserving also increases your progress towards sustainable living.

How to Preserve Homegrown Basil: In the Freezer-My first choice for preserving fresh garden herbs is to place them in a bed of ice.  I appreciate simplicity and this method is very simple.  The herbs retain their color and flavor my pure food recipes as they would if I had picked them straight out of  my garden.

Fresh herbs are a delicious way to season pure food recipes.  Unfortunately, they do not stay fresh forever. 

I would like to share with you three simple ways I preserve my herbs after harvesting. The first way is to freeze them in small usable portions.  These little cubes work great in soups and sauces for a wonderful homegrown fresh flavor. 

How to Preserve Homegrown Herbs with Sea Salt: In the Pantry

The second way I preserve herbs is using sea salt as a natural preservative.  The beauty of sea salt is that it preserves your herbs fresh and once preserved no refrigeration is necessary.

 The final way I preserve my herbs is by drying on a simple homemade drying rack.  Tim has made several racks. They are great for stacking. The drying  process is quick and easy.

How to Dry Homegrown herbs: In The Pantry-Drying fresh homegrown herbs does not have to be difficult.  I have found a way that works for me that is quite simple and painless.

Once dried, herbs can be mixed together in different combinations to make tasty blends that save you the expense of buying them at the grocery store. Best of all you know exactly what you are getting when you grow, preserve and make your own blends. Sustainable living at it’s best.

I will be sharing  my favorite seasoning blends in my upcoming post. Write and tell me your all time favorite seasoning blend and I will spread the love and share some of those recipes in my next post.

This post shared with:

Seven Springs Homestead:Green Thumb Thursday