Lemongrass-Scented Rice Noodle Salad with Mint and Cilantro


I’m a huge fan of iced tea.  My mother drank it all day long.  What I just recently learned is that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households.  Did you know that:

·  On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.

·   Approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced.

·   Iced tea now the most consumed beverage at lunch time

Next Wednesday is apparently National Iced Tea Day (I’m really not sure who’s responsible for declaring these days but, why NOT celebrate).

To honor the day, I’m excited to feature a very tasty recipe from Top Chef judge and culinary expert chef Gail Simmons.  I met Gail last year at an event launching her partnership with Pure Leaf Iced Tea where I learned that Pure Leaf is one of the only iced teas brewed from real tea leaves; giving us that refreshing, authentic ‘farm to bottle’ experience.

Needless to say I was hooked and I’ve been cooking from Gail’s recipes ever since.

Gail’s Rice Noodle recipe is just perfect for a hot summer’s day. It’s light and airy yet surprisingly filling. And, who can deny the light zing of  summery flavor from the mint and cilantro.

Go on, try it.


This post is not, in any way, sponsored by Pure Leaf. I was not compensated to help promote Pure Leaf or Gail Simmons, I’m just a big fan.



Bloomin’ Onion Bread

Bloomin Onionmy version pre-bake

We’ve all gone through cooking ruts. Some probably last longer than others but, they still suck the life out of you.

Wracking your brain trying to figure out what to make for your family can become quite stressful.  Sometimes, all you need is that one dish that wows, versus generating an entire 3-course meal.

I was having a stressful moment the other day in the kitchen but, I nipped it in the bud…

I had seen an amazing video on how to make Bloomin’ Onion Bread  (not to be confused with Outback Steakhouses’ Bloomin Onion which is basically an onion that’s been deep fried).

I soon realized I had all the ingredients to replicate my own Bloomin’ Onion Bread.  Don’t fret, you don’t have to actually make the bread and wait for it to rise.  You just need some sort of boule (I used sourdough), cheese, butter and green onions— that’s all.

With these simple ingredients, you can create a Bloomin’ Onion Bread masterpiece that smells spectacular and looks like work of art.  Who doesn’t salivate at the marriage of bread, melted butter and cheese?

And, the finished product?  It looks as if it took hours to assemble when, in reality, it only takes a few minutes to make and bake!

This is a definite crowd-pleaser! You must try (again and again and again).






Cucumber and Carrot Gazpacho


Cucumber and Carrot Gazpacho

Today’s recipe is from resident soup expert Serena, aka Seriously Soupy. Serena has not only given soup tours and taught soup classes, but has a catalog of over 100 original soups! Once month you can join Serena on her soupy journey here, at My Judy the Foodie, sharing her wisdom and helping demystify the world of soup.

I asked Serena to create a light, yet hearty, chilled soup celebrating the bounty of summer.

Here’s what Serena has to say:

Summer is synonymous with enjoying the outdoors while also trying to beat the heat. While I do love an ice cream as a way to stay cool, I also enjoy refreshing (and healthy) chilled soups during this time of year.

Soups offer the same health benefits as salads and smoothies but allow you to benefit from a different method to get your daily dose of veggies.

For this recipe, I enhanced the traditional gazpacho with carrots and cucumbers as the base (tomatoes are also in there)


for a refreshing, light, and wholesome way to beat the heat.


Raisin Bread for Beginners


I’ve always told my kids it’s ok to make mistakes.  We learn from our mistakes.

As the age-old saying goes, “you never touch a hot stove twice.”

And so, I attempted to make a very easy Raisin Bread yesterday and failed miserably.

The best part was that my kids watched me fail, get frustrated, and try again.

I was dubious of the active yeast that I had purchased for the bread making. It was the first time I used a yeast that didn’t require mixing with water.

When, after 90 minutes covered in a bowl in a warm place, my yeast did not rise one centimeter, I knew the recipe was doomed.

breadfaildough didn’t rise a bit after 90 minutes

So, I threw out the mangled floury mess, went to the store to purchase new yeast, and tried again.

Making bread is the ultimate baker’s delight.  It truly is like conducting a fun science experiment (that is, when everything goes as planned).

There’s no greater feeling of success in the kitchen (for me) when your bread dough has risen twice in size!  But, like a science experiment, all conditions must be EXACT.  The yeast is a living organism and requires very specific temperatures and altitudes to rise.  Make sure you pay specific attention to the directions on your yeast packet.  The success of your bread making starts HERE!

So, attempt #2 was not only a success, but, my kids LOVE it.  We’ve enjoyed the some slices as a snack after school and toasted with some preserves in the morning.

yeastrisenTake 2: the dough doubled in size!

Don’t be intimidated to make bread.  Give yourself the latitude to mess up a few times.  I promise, the first time a recipe is successful, you’ll be up for more challenges…..

raisinbreadfinalfresh from the oven


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