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For years, while I was raising my babies, I diligently dedicated my attention to them, all the while reminding myself that time for self care, traveling and doing nothing without hearing my name yelled from all corners of the house would be in abundance once they were out and doing their own thing.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing — traveling. I am completely smitten. I love picking historic towns like St. Augustine, Florida. It’s basically a walking tour filled with the most picturesque historic homes straight out of a movie — miles of them spaced throughout town squares that also include charming shops and restaurants, fountains, park benches, cast-iron fences, old trees dripping with Spanish moss, and flowers — the flowers!

That was the last trip I had taken before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now that my choices are limited, I opt for natural parks and lakes within driving distance. Kayaking is quickly becoming my go-to rescue when I need a healthy distraction from the world and all its chaos.

Even a quick evening trip with a good friend can be so much brighter with a simple pesto pasta salad that has very little opportunity to spoil in the heat. It’s a delicious bowl of green sunshine with undertones of lemon. Even for a simple, leisurely activity like rowing a kayak on Beech Fork lake needs an impromptu picnic meal like lemon pesto pasta.

Lemon Pesto Pasta

1/2 pound rigatoni pasta, boiled according to the package

1 cup basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, place the basil leaves, garlic, cheese and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth and then add the oil. Mix in a large bowl with the pasta. Serve cold or warm.

Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.