This post is a guest post from my friend, Lindsey. She's one of those people that I have always admired from afar and wish that I knew better. I really respect the choices that she and her husband have made and how they raise their children. She's also one of only two people that I know personally who has had a home birth like we did. The more I get to know her the more I really like her. I hope you will too! When I think of summer time eating, I think of FRESH fruit, FRESH veggies, farmers markets and grocery stores with produce galore. Naturally it can be easy to eat REAL food during the summer months and most of us do, but then there is the other side of summer time eating... Potato chips with cool french onion dip, BBQ's filled with hot dogs and all the fixin's, ice cream and other sweets. All the food items my family has come to call, "dead foods". Then there is the eating out that we add in on a hot day so to avoid heating up the kitchen or when there is someplace to rush off too... I'll admit that our family has fallen into these bad habits already this summer, but after upset stomachs and "dead food" headaches, we decided to come up with ways to keep our healthy eating lifestyle, but still enjoy a few fun foods during the hot summer months.
Since all of our less healthy choices started when we got our first 80+ degree day I came up with some ways to keep the kitchen cool and still eat at home. Cooking first thing in the morning I have been cooking up our meat, baking breads or any thing else we might need for the day while I cook our breakfast with windows wide open. This not only makes for a more comfortable envoirment during the day, but I have found it is a great way to avoid eating out. It's already to go so no need for excuses! Cooking out doors Instead of only using the grill for when friends and family are over for a good ol' BBQ, we are using it a lot more for our evening meals and I suppose if you wanted, you could also do some of your weekday lunches out there. Grilling meats, melting quesadillas, roasting vegetables and on low, heating up leftovers. It is also a great way to stretch your time in the fresh air and soaking up Vitamin D from the sunshine. Add in a quick game of tag or Frisbee and you got some exercise in for extra bonus!
Eating Raw It's summer after all, so why not take advantage of the wealth of local produce to add in more Raw eating. Starting off your morning with a green smoothing might give you that extra kick of energy that you are looking for to fully enjoy summer time. Here are some simply and delicious green smoothie recipes to get you started. One thing to remember is keeping a veriity of different recipies in your diet. Fruits and veggies are exactally what our bodies need to thrive, but especially greens can contain lots of toxins. So switching up your greens every few days is a good idea. Avocado is also one of my favorite mix ins. Here are some simply and delicious green smoothie recipes to get you started:
Eating out is easy to do since most of our summers are so go, go, go, but can get rough on our budget and wear on our bodies. Having a good meal plan written out every week has helped our family avoid the frequent eating out stops. We also keep a large cooler packed with ice packs and snacks or meals for the day in the back of our van.
I have thought trying to bulk cook more might help with our sometimes unpredictable days.
Here are some of our families summer loves and what we have come up with to replace them:
Ice cream If you have an ice cream maker this one is easy. We don't so we got creative one hot night and whipped up some raw heavy whipping cream with a little coco powder and top it with fresh peaches or strawberries. You don't need much to satisfy the desire.
We found using 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream to 1/2 teaspoon coco powder per person is a good amount.
Whip cold cream with coco in a stand up mixer or whip by hand, if you have the touch. Whip until thick and spoon-able. Server in small dishes, like a ramekin dish, and garnish with fresh fruit. Dust with a bit of sugar if you need a little extra sweet.
Soda Fresh Juice mixed half and half with sparkling water. Grape fruit or any other citrus fruit is easy and refreshing! You might try mixing with store bought 100% organic berry juices, like grape or cranberry too. This is one of our staple potluck items to bring to friends homes as soda tends to flow at most BBQs and camping trips and very tempting. Best if served over a large amount of ice cubes.
Instead of buying the large box of sweet, brightly colored popsicles, why not go old school and mix up your own frozen treats? You can take the fast road by picking up some organic juices from the store to fill freezer molds OR you can try to add in a some extra nutrients and make your own juice. We like lemon, carrot with a little spinach or barley. Add in blended berries for a little sweet and color. Have fun with this one and if you have children invite them to creat new flavors. Add in a little more fun by creating a contest of best flavor of the week with friends or family.
Chips Though I haven't tried to make any chips at home yet here is a link to some good ideas on how to go about it. We do make baked French Fries though when we want a little salty potato goodness. Cut potatoes to the size and shape you wish lay flat on cooking sheet, drizzle a little olive oil over and toss. Salt and bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Side note on why buying organic potatoes over conventionally grown: The Expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board. The Reason: Herbicides and pesticides may not be sprayed directly on root vegetables (since they're underground), but they absorb the chemicals through the soil and water. Because potatoes are considered the nation's most popular vegetable, producing a healthy crop is essential to keep up with demand. In order to maintain their health, the article exposes the scary fact that "they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting." But here's the scary thing, Moyer says that he's talked to potato growers "who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals." The Solution: Another no-brainer— Only buy organic potatoes.
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Check out all the links for lots of great food inspiration!
The Tomato picture above was taken by Beth Stedman, the Ice Cream Sandwich picture was found on-line without a credit - if it's your picture let me know and I'd love to credit you for it.