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Brighten your day with lemons!

July 19, 2011
By Wendy Monro - Food Writer

What is up with all of this rain? My garden is now full of grass. Every time I turn around, the garden is overrun with weeds and grass.

I can't get in there in the rain to make it pretty again.

Then, when there is a break in the rain, the mosquitoes are out of control.

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The finished plate of Lemon Herb Orzo (pictured above)

So, when I finally do get into the garden, I leave covered in bites. These bites are actually welts and I have too many to count.

Am I allergic or is everyone getting these enormous bumps from the mosquitoes?

We, my whole family, have these welts on our faces now too. You should have seen Claud's face a week ago. He looked like he had some sort of disease. He was just doing something outside and, afterwards, he walked in looking like some sort of red bumpy monster. I don't know what is going on around here. I don't even really want to look at my garden right now, which is not like me at all.

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Lemon Herb Orzo Recipe

2 cups orzo

1/2 clove of garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

juice from two lemons

zest from one lemon

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon basil, cut into ribbons

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package. While the orzo cooks, cut the clove of garlic in half. In a large bowl, rub the clove all over the bowl. Add the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme and basil to the bowl. Drain the orzo and pour it into the bowl. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serve with your favorite vegetable.

In the back of my mind, I do want to go in there and fix it up. It's just that it is raining right now...again. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Although, I hear there is going to be a heat wave coming.

Okay, after my little pity party, I decided I really had to do something to get my energy back and to get my old happy self back on track.

If I can't have the sunshine outside (or if there is too much heat to be outside) to help boost my mood, I will create a bit of sunshine inside my very own kitchen.

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Maybe I can create sunshine from inside my belly. It's worth a shot.

When I thought of a food that would brighten my mood, lemon came to mind.

Lemons, lemon juice and lemon zest make food taste brighter and lighter. T

he smell of lemons makes me feel cheerier. In fact, an aromatherapy study at Ohio State University found that when participants smelled lemon oil, their mood improved. Participants felt significantly better after smelling lemon. I just happened to have some beautiful bright yellow lemons in my fruit bowl. So, I decided to give lemon therapy a shot.

Lemons are known for cleansing. Yes, they will clean your counter tops; but, lemons also can cleanse your bad mood and your insides.

Many dietary cleanses use lemons as part of a regimen. Furthermore, I have read that lemons are uplifting and help replace negative emotions by creating a cheerful atmosphere of freshness and purity. Also, the aroma of lemons inspires increased concentration and awareness. Who doesn't need a little of that?

Just today, my uncle Kenny posted on Facebook, "If the world gives you lemons...come to my place, I usually have tequila." After reading that, I already felt better. See, lemons do help.

A few weeks ago, I watched a show on the Cooking Channel with David Rocco. He was in the most beautiful setting somewhere in the Italian countryside. He cooked spaghetti al limone right outside in the sunshine surrounded by a vineyard. It looked heavenly.

I had never heard of adding lemon to pasta in this way. Well, maybe if you are making scampi; but, never where lemon was the focus of the pasta dish. The recipe was just so simple and it really looked delicious. He only used spaghetti, garlic, olive oil and two lemons. I decided to make a similar version for my lemony meal.

I used orzo instead of spaghetti because I really love the shape of orzo. I also added some fresh herbs from my garden.

Yes, I went out there and tried to pretend the weeds weren't there. I clipped some fresh basil and fresh thyme. I thought adding fresh herbs would make it even more delightful.

I had a couple of kids over for dinner and I did worry that they would not like it. Once it was finished, I told them to try a bit and see what they thought. I was right. They absolutely hated it. I cooked some Kraft macaroni and cheese for them instead.

I try to keep that on hand for such emergencies. Daphne and I, on the other hand, loved it so much. We ate enough for everyone. I think I had three servings. I served it with steamed broccolini, which was the perfect side.

I loved the lemon sauce and the zest. It tasted light, and yes, cheery.

I also really enjoyed how much Daphne loved it. It makes me so happy when my food pleases someone else.

The lemons were successful in uplifting my spirits that night.

The next day, I went out and bought an essential oil blend with lemon and herbs in it. I have been inhaling the scent every day to add a little bit more sunshine into my life.



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