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I am pretty pumped about this post. I have never been the creative type at all. Very much a left brain thinker. I used to trace Winnie the Pooh and tell my mom I drew it. Sorry mom – those drawings are no longer worth anything.

So, I came up with this recipe during a boring lecture at the lab. And it has been bouncing around in my head for a couple weeks. I just never had the right time to make it. Well, nothing was going to stop me today. Not even both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods being out of 2 of my key ingredients! Before we get to the recipe, something just as exciting, two new discoveries at Trader Joe’s. A Flower Pepper Grinder with rose petals, lavender, and cornflower. And a Sugar, Chocolate, and Coffee bean grinder. Hello morning toast!

IMG 0400I was at the Union Square TJ’s. I do not know if you have been to this location, but it is like hell on Earth when it is busy time. Monday at 630 – ughhhh. But these little beauties made the whole thing worth it. They were sitting on the bottom shelf of an end case. It is a damn miracle I even saw them. I dropped my basket and squatted to ground to get a better look. This was a suicide move in those cramped aisles. People were stepping over the top of me. I did not care. I was too excited. I’m hoping my new found creativity will lend itself to these spice shakers. I can’t wait to add the flower pepper to my salad tomorrow.

Anyway, back to my recipe. So I while ago, I made this strawberry basil pasta salad by Kath. I changed out a few things and up the number of cucumbers and came up with this:

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Blueberry, Cucumber, & Mint Pasta Salad:

For 2 Servings:

  • 2 servings of TJ’s whole wheat pasta (1.5 c dry)
  • 1/2 pint of blueberries
  • 1 large cucumber peeled and sliced into half moons
  • approx. 1/4 cup mint leaves, rough chop if you prefer
  • 1/3 cup strawberry pesto (or just regular!)
  • 2- 3 oz servings of white meat chicken cooked, cubed, and chilled (use white beans for veg. dish – I think I will definitely do this next time)
  • Dressing: 1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar (or other white vinegar), 1 TBSP EVOO, lemon juice, s+p
  • 2 tbsp. of reduced fat feta
  • Served over spinach (spinach and arugula mix would be nice I think)
  • sunflower seeds for garnish

We also shared a Blueberry Wheat Beer with this dish. I think it really gave it a nice touch.

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Bryan rated it a 8 on creativity and presentation and a 7.5 on taste. We have slightly different tastes and his just needed less spinach and more dressing. He was originally worried about the blueberries and mint. But overall we agree it a nice, refreshing light summer meal. Minty and Tart.

On the exercise front – another rest day. With the exception of my 2 mile round trip walk to TJ’s. I am doing some upper body lifting and swimming tomorrow to stay off my knee. I also am seeing a Physical Therapist to get a diagnosis and some exercises/treatment. Really, I want a quick fix. We will see. I suspect it is a IT band issue resulting from my sciatica. I am hoping to be up a moving by Wednesday for run club and I have the Warrior Dash this weekend.

Tell me-

Have you tried either of these new grinder from TJ’s? What did/would you do with them?

Or have you discovered any other great productslately?