Summer! The season for sand castles, flip-flops, vacations and farmer’s markets! With the temperatures warmer and the sun brighter, the great outdoors is much more inviting. Being prepared is important; safety is key.
Staying cool and hydrated during the heat of the summer is important. Drink water – about half your body weight in ounces – and even more on days when you’re sweating and active. Protect yourself from too much sun exposure by wearing a high SPF sunscreen and wearing a hat when outside.
With the weather being so nice, it is the perfect time to explore your local farmer’s market. Try new things; eat locally and in season! Eating foods that are light and cooling are great for the summer heat. Pick up a watermelon at the Farmer’s Market and try cooling off with my recipe for a perfect summertime frozen treat –
- 4 cups fresh watermelon
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 5 tablespoons maple syrup, honey or ZSweet
Step 1 – Place fruit in a blender and puree until smooth.
Step 2 – Add coconut milk, lime and sweetener and blend for 10 more seconds. Do not blend to long because the mixture will turn foamy.
Step 3 – Pour mixture into 8×8 inch metal baking dish.
Step 4 – Freeze for 2 hours and scrape mixture with a spoon until the whole dish is “scraped” into frosty granules.
Step 5 – Return to freezer and continue to scrape every 30 minutes for another 2 hours and serve.
With June being National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, I wanted to share some other great recipes that you can use for your next picnic, barbecue or potluck!
This recipe is so simple anyone can make it, yet they look amazing on a plate and taste incredible! A great appetizer or side dish that won’t have you sweating in the kitchen during a hot summer day:
- 1 pint part skim mozzarella ball
- 2 grape tomatoes
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
Step 1 – On toothpicks, place organic basil, grape tomato, and ½ a ball of part skim mozzarella. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar for taste.
If you are looking for something that tastes super fresh, is loaded with fiber and antioxidants, AND tastes amazing, try my Artichoke & Asparagus Pesto Pasta. Not only is it delicious, but the color combos on this dish look fantastic, too! This is a perfect seasonal dish for National Fruit and Vegetable Month.
Spring Vegetable Pasta
- 1lb asparagus, trimmed, blanched and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2lb artichoke hearts, quartered ((fresh or packed in water))
- 1 red onion, cut into thinly sliced rounds
- 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 3/4 cups mozzarella, reduced fat, shredded (c)
- 1lb whole wheat penne ((I like Barilla Plus which is packed with fiber and protein))
- 1/4 cup Vegetable broth ((your favorite))
- 2 tablespoons extra vigin olive oil
- 2oz fresh pesto ((use commercial pesto if you don’t want to make it homemade))
- 2 cups basil, tightly packed ((about 1/2 of a 4 oz. box of fresh basil leaves))
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, reduced fat
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Spring Vegetable Spring Pasta
Step 1 – Wash, trim and blanche asparagus. Save the water you boiled the asparagus with for cooking the penne.
Step 2 – Cook penne according to package directions using asparagus water. (This will boost the nutrient value of the pasta.)
Step 3 – Set range to medium-high heat. In an extra large frying pan sauté asparagus, artichoke hearts and red onion in olive oil until onions begin to caramelize. If you don’t have an extra large frying pan, do this in batches.
Step 4 – Deglaze pan with vegetable broth or your favorite white wine scraping all the brown bits from the pan. Deglazing simply means adding the vegetable broth to the hot pan and scraping the brown bits loose from the bottom with a spatula. Next add 2 tablespoons of pesto and lightly sauté until pesto is evenly distributed.
Step 5 – Add pasta and grape tomatoes and lightly toss with a set of tongs.
Step 6 – Plate and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
Step 7 – Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Slowly pour olive oil into mixture as it is processing. Blend for about 45 seconds or until mixture looks bright green and thick.
This month is also a great time to start making sun tea. Sun tea is so easy to make, and very versatile. Try adding your favorite fresh fruit for added sweetness and flavor that is both good for your body and your taste buds! I’d love to know what your favorite recipes for sun tea are – tag me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram so I can see your creative drinks.
While you’re trying new things, try a new exercise program. Take your routine outside the gym: jog, hike, swim or try an outdoor sport like tennis. I am partial to tennis – it’s my favorite outdoor activity; plus, everything is more fun in pairs =) Grab a friend and find a court near you.
Good-bye Spring and hello summer! Keep active, and stay hydrated!