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THE AMISH COOK: Iced coffee cools a hot summer

Courtesy photo

These summer days are just prime for salads, from lettuce, tomatoes, and onions to cukes or radishes; they all get chopped up and tossed into a salad.

Salads are a big part of our menus these days. At our house we chop and throw a little of practically anything; at my in-law’s house, all the salad topping are layered neatly on top of chopped lettuce. Either way, they taste relatively the same.

Now for a different twist on the salad line. I have come to enjoy “salad from a jar,” especially while traveling. Instead of stopping at a fast food restaurant while on the road, this healthy alternative really is a treat! It will require a bit of prepping beforehand but will be well worth it.

First, pour a bit of your favorite dressing into a pint jar (or whatever size jar you prefer). Next, layer in the jar whatever strikes your fancy, starting with items that won’t get soggy, such as radishes, chicken dices, and such. Keep tossing salad toppings until your jar has filled up; your imagination will be the limit.

When ready to eat, dump into a bowl, toss and enjoy! I use a disposable bowl to pour for convenience while traveling, or simply don’t fill your jar, leaving enough space to toss your salad without tossing some on yourself!

Yes, most of our garden has survived the incredible amount of rain showers this year. We have had puddles standing in the garden off and on, only to dry up and soak in more rainfall. So we keep thanking God, knowing that his plan is superior to ours even though we do feel sorry for the many farmers in our area.

Thankfully this year we had wheat in our 11-acre field, which has now been harvested and sown with soybeans. While most of our fields are rented out, we also have a couple pastures for our horses and a milk cow. Yes, my dream of having our own cow to milk has become reality!

Do you recall the story of the day a cow just came roaming through the woods and we recognized it as one that belonged to the neighbors? As you may remember, we ended up all trailing out to the barn and helping each other milk it. Rayni was totally fascinated as she sweetly crooned, “Hi piggy!” and Austin was convinced that he is not using that milk with his granola for breakfast.

Believe it or not, this very cow came up for sale, and we are the delighted new owners! I’ve never before seen a cow that is so easy to milk; even the children enjoy helping, even Rayni can squeeze out some milk. Julia begs to go out and milk the cow on her own or at least get started for us before we make it out to the pasture. Her old-fashioned tinkling bell helps us track her when she’s not at her milking spot.

We relish having plenty of milk for homemade yogurt, enjoyed plain with a cookie, or perhaps most of all used to make iced coffee. Daddy can always drink another glass of iced coffee. The children love taking large glasses of iced coffee out in the shop for Daddy and Uncle John.

I personally didn’t grow up drinking iced coffee, thanks to my husband for gradually training my taste buds over the years. I did really learn to like it! Use whatever type of coffee strikes your fancy. Taster’s Choice is at the top of the list at our house. Be sure to serve it chilling cold.

CHOCOLATE COFFEE SMOOTHIES

3 cups ice cubes or frozen milk chunks

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons instant coffee

1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Put everything in a hand-cranked or electric blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with a dab of whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

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