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Simple Tomato Salad

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It is that time of year.  My girls are back in school & I’m starting to think fall thoughts, but I’m not quite ready for the cold that I know is coming here in the midwest!  I find myself holding onto summer. The flavors of vine ripened tomatoes and fresh basil helps me savor these last few days of August!

I’m continuing to love my square foot garden.  I practically ignore it all summer long and it produces amazingness with no weeds.  It is my type of gardening.  This year I kept it simple by planting just 2 types of tomatoes (early girls & cherry 100’s), one cucumber plant, one basil plant, and some swiss chard.  I have had great success with no garden pests this year.  Last year I was bugged by those ugly, squash bugs and it was dreadful!

We have had enough rain lately to give my tomatoes a huge growth spurt, and I’m super excited to make some Freezer Salsa & Henry & David Knockoff Onion & Pepper Relish with the abundance of tomatoes that I have.


In the meantime, I have been enjoying the tomatoes by simply slicing them, sprinkling them with ribbons of fresh basil, a bit of feta, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  I sprinkle just a bit of garlic salt and pepper to taste. This could not be more simple or delicious! It tastes so fresh, the sweetness of the tomatoes and balsamic, the bite of feta and the freshness of the basil all come together to create a mouthful of flavor.  It is simply delicious!


Do you have an abundance of tomatoes? Need some great ideas of how to use them? Then go visit my Recipes: Tomatoes! board on Pinterest.


Simple Sliced Tomato

(a no recipe, recipe)

1 tomato

2-3 leaves fresh basil, rolled up then sliced into ribbons

a bit of feta cheese

a drizzle of balsamic vinegar

a sprinkle of garlic salt

a sprinkle of pepper


Slice the tomatoes, sprinkle with basil, feta, garlic salt & pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!


What are your favorite ways to use up those garden or fresh from the farmer’s market tomatoes?

Gardening/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

Square Foot Garden Progress & What To Do With All Those Tomatoes!

Collage of herbs including dill and basil

Square foot gardening is one of the BEST projects I have ever done.  I cannot tell you how much joy it is to grow fresh herbs and vegetables with minimal amount of work!  I have two, 4×2 feet garden beds along the side of my home.  It is the only place other than our front yard that gets enough sun, so we were limited, but thanks to square foot gardening I can still grow an abundance of organic food for our family!
I built these beds 3 years ago, other than the initial work of building the beds and mixing “Mel’s Mix” (the KEY to square foot gardening & my gardening success), square foot gardening is one of the easiest things I have done.  There is next to NO weeding.  Watering is minimal as the Mel’s soil mix absorbs and retains moisture, and the only thing I do each season is add one bag of compost to each bed at before planting.  

Two months change in a square foot garden
Impressive results, huh?  Every year the garden has performed beautifully and I have just had a ball with it.  Right now I am harvesting the sweetest tomatoes, lots of herbs, and patty pan squash.  My banana peppers are about a week away from harvest. I will be going to my local garden center and buying some kale starter plants for a cool fall harvest, as we live in Nebraska and the time is right.
Collage of tomatoes grown from garden

I’ve been eating tomato sandwiches, making fresh marina sauce, and eating lots of tomatoes on toast (my version of bruschetta.)  I even have enough to share with neighbors.  I’ve just started a Tomatoes! board on Pinterest that has lots of great ideas, so check that out if you, too, have an abundance of tomatoes.
{Tomatoes On Toast–Click here for recipe}

Do you garden?  What is your favorite thing to grow?  Have you ever thought about square foot gardening?
All New Square foot gardening- grow more in less space!
This is the book I used.  Best way to garden! 
Click here to order, and I will get a small percentage.
Thank you!!
More on Gardening From New Nostalgia:


Pasta with Tomatoes and Chard

Last night was one of those evenings that I simply did not want to make dinner!  I was so tempted to order a pizza, but then took a little stroll out to my garden.  We have had little rain, and I have been very lazy in watering, so my garden is pretty sad looking right now, but I was able to harvest some beautiful cherry tomatoes and gorgeous swiss chard.

I decided to buckle down and throw some dinner together, so I put a pan of pasta on to boil, added some olive oil & garlic to a sauté pan, washed and roughly chopped the chard, and cut the tomatoes in half.  Pasta with Tomatoes and Chard was born.

It was awesome & so simple.  The swiss chard became almost buttery tasting, and the tomatoes added a sweetness and helped form a light sauce.  It was the perfect simple summer supper!

Pasta with Tomatoes & Chard

1/2 lb. pasta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil*
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large leaves swiss chard, ribs cut out & roughly chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan on medium heat.  Add olive oil & garlic.  Let garlic soften, then add basil & swiss chard.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until chard shrinks and softens & turns a dark green color.  Add tomatoes.  Cook 2 minutes more.  Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve tomatoes & chard on top of pasta.  Top with parmesan cheese if desired.

(*if you have fresh basil, add it with tomatoes at the end.)


Fresh Lemon Pasta Salad With Asparagus & Tomatoes

Easter Sunday was a beautiful, meaningful, relaxing and delicious day for us.  After a great church service, we went to my in-laws, and the food was wonderful!

I had to take a picture of my plate, I thought it was one of the prettiest plates of food that I have seen in awhile.  Look at all those colors!  I skipped out on the ham, but sure was not missing it due to all the wonderful food we had.

We have a large family so my mom-in-law does much of the cooking, and then we all bring a side dish or dessert to share.

I brought Fresh Lemon Pasta Salad With Asparagus & Tomatoes.  I had seen it on Pinterest, and it sounded so light, fresh and delish!  That is exactly what it was.  Very simple, very fresh, very light.  I made it Sunday morning while getting ready for church, yes, it was that easy.  I loved that it can be served warm, cold, or room temperature.

Fresh Lemon Pasta Salad With Asparagus & Tomatoes

12 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti, the original recipe calls for Orzo pasta)
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Salt & Pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (leave out to keep it vegan)

Bring 2 large pots of water to boil.  Add a big pinch of salt in each.

To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.  Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.

To the second pot, add the pasta.  Cook per package instructions.  When tender, drain and place in a large bowl.  Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves.

Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Stir into pasta and vegetables.  Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, if using.

This can be served warm, room temperature or cold.


Tomatoes On Toast A Delightful Lunch

There is a neighborhood Italian Bistro here within walking distance of my home.  The owner is from Italy so the food authentic and delish.  His soups are to die for, but what I crave the most when I go is his Bruschetta.  I have had many types of bruschetta, but his is so simple and fresh!  There are no chunks of garlic, so he must use garlic salt or powder, and he finishes it off with freshly ground pepper.  I decided to try and replicate what he does, since paying almost 7 dollars for tomatoes on toasted bread seems like a bit much these days! I tried, and nailed it!
The key is good ingredients, especially the tomatoes. His out-shined mine in the bread area, but I used what I had and paired with a green salad it made a delightful lunch.


Tomatoes On Toast


1 cup chopped tomatoes

11/2 tbs. olive oil

1/2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
a couple small leaves of basil, chopped (optional)
toasted bread


sprinkle of freshly ground pepper
sprinkle of salt, if needed


Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic salt.
Let sit for a few minutes.
Scoop with a slotted spoon onto toasted bread.
Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.