Salad pita sandwich
- your favorite pita bread
- organic lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onions, olives, guacamole--anything you enjoy in salads (except meat or chicken, of course!)
- your favorite organic salad dressing--avoid dressings with dairy products if you want to go cow-free for your Meatless Monday. My personal favorite dressing is honey-mustard.
1. Chop carrots, tomatoes, onions, olives, etc. into bite-sized pieces.
2. Open the pita bread pocket so you can stuff things inside without things falling through the other end.
3. Stuff lettuce in to the bottom, being careful not to poke through the bread.
4. In which ever order you'd like, place the different veggies into the pocket, topping off with lettuce, guacamole, salsa, etc. based on your preference.
5. Either pour the dressing into the pita salad, or pour into a side bowl for dipping.
Last Thursday, I went up to the mountains and camped for two nights with my mom's family. Campfires, bicycle riding, and swimming in the snow-water lake filled the afternoons and evenings. That Saturday, my dad, step-mom, sister and I drove down the highway to our favorite cabining town to spend some vacation time by the lake and near the pines. A while ago I'd been reading Backpacker magazine and had come across a recipe for pine needle tea. Sounds interesting, right? So, while we were spending time in the pines, I decided to give it a try. It's supposedly packed with vitamin C, so it can be used to fight colds. I also hoped it'd taste good.I cut off some of the greenest clumps of pine needle from a small tree near our cabin and brought them into the kitchen to finely chop them. The recipe I was following was actually from the internet, as I'd forgotten to bring the Backpacker with me. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of finely-chopped pine needles. That's a lot of pine needles. So we shrunk the recipe down to 1/4 cup, and still didn't fill that completely. I added the less-than-1/4-cup of needles to some boiling water (if you use 1/2 cup, recipe calls for 1.5 pints water) and simmered for a little over 20 minutes. The water was still clear--not a good sign. I let the needles steep in a cup overnight, hoping the water would become the reddish color the recipe said it would be. It didn't.
Regardless, I took a taste. It tasted fine at first, but then it gave a kick of sour and I made a face, which my sister and dad laughed at. I got used to it after a few more tastes, but knew that something had gone wrong. Next time, I'd definitely use more pine needles and make sure it turned dark enough before taking the needles out. (To make matters worse, we hadn't had a tea infuser, so we attempted to use a coffee filter resting on top of the water when we let steep overnight. May have contributed to weakness.)
It was worth it though, and I recommend trying it (and doing a better job than I did!) if you're ever among the pines. Just make sure you have a tea infuser and something to sweeten it with if it turns out a little bitter...my personal favorite is raw agave syrup if you want to try something other than honey or sugar.
Have fun testing out these two recipes! Do you know of any interesting teas that can be made from the plants around you? Let me know!
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson