It’s June, and traditionally during this time we are getting excited for the summer. School is out, graduation ceremonies and parties commencing, wedding season is gearing up, and vacations are being planned. Things in 2020 look a little different. Schools in most states got out early this year as many parents did the last three months of school at home. Most graduation ceremonies and gatherings have been canceled or have been held online or in alternative settings. Weddings have been canceled, postponed, or simply celebrated with immediate families this year, and vacations will look a lot different. Most of our activities for the last three months have been through virtual interactive or safely at a six-foot distance.
For those of who have been blessed to work through the pandemic and have an income or just enough saved for our 2020 vacations, those will need to be modified. Good Morning America did a report recently that highlighted the fact that at least 22 States have some sort of travel restrictions during the summer months due to the coronavirus. This doesn’t mean our plans need to come to a halt, it simply means much more planning needs to go into vacationing this year.
For some, vacation may mean a staycation instead. Those whom have an underlying health condition that could be put at risk simply from traveling or from the virus itself should take precautions as recommended by the CDC and stay home. There are a lot of things you can do at home to make a staycation fun. If you’ve been working from home, the first thing you have to do is throw away ALL your electronics! OK, I’m not being serious, but you need to unplug. Work should be the last thing on your list (actually, it shouldn’t even make it ON the list).
Take time to spend quality time with the family, take drives, hikes, play games, and explore locally. Cook your favorite meals and tell stories. Do something you’ve wanted to do at home like plant a garden or a fun project, but don’t complete every home project you’ve ever wanted to do in a week just because you’re home – leave that for another time. This is your vacation and it should be a relaxing time, so keep your project list fun.
If you are able (or required) to travel this summer, the most important part of your trip will be planning. Some states have a strict 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling from outside the the area. This means, if you only have one week to vacation and you want to go to Hawaii, that may not be the best choice unless you want to spend your entire week in your hotel room because you will spend your time in a state-mandated quarantine inside that room. There are other states with less restrictions and there was an article that USA Today published that lists the general guidelines by state and was updated this week (you can read it here). The best things to remember if you are traveling outside of your area of residence is to keep a safe distance, use hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t readily available, and wear a face covering in public places. You can see all of the CDC’s travel recommendations regarding COVID-19 here.
During the summer, one of my favorite things to do, and one thing you can definitely try if you are “staycationing” is using all the fresh berries and amazing produce that comes with this season! While you’re on vacation the one thing we all want to do is indulge, so I’m including my favorite recipes for you to devour! They may look decadent and you may feel like you’re “cheating”, but they are still good for you, made with real food, and healthier alternatives to what you will find ready-made.
In California we’ve literally got fresh organic peaches falling from the trees here in the Summertime. The only challenge is to figure out more delicious ways to eat ’em. This is an incredible treat for breakfast, a sweet snack, or even a dessert to enjoy in those warm summertime evenings.
- 6oz low fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Medium peach, pitted and diced
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, dried and unsalted
- 1 tablespoon honey (use organic ingredients whenever possible)
- Using a tall parfait glass, layer the following ingredients: peaches, raspberries, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, and honey.
- Repeat layers until all ingredients have been used.
- Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well and enjoy.
The next frontier to conquer in my never-ending quest to get sheer food enjoyment without gaining fat: ice cream. Pear pulp plus some extra time spinning in the ice cream maker makes this non-dairy sorbet creamier than Haagen Dazs but of course with a fraction of the calories. You can even make this ahead for up to one week!
- 1 1/4lb Bartlett pears, cut into cubes (leave peels on)
- 1/2 cup raw honey (organic is best)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Juice of one lemon
- In a medium sauce pan heat 2 cups water with the honey and pears over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
- Next reduce heat to a medium simmer and partially cover the pan.
- Let pears simmer 20-25 minutes or until they are very tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt and lemon juice.
- Mash mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a food mill to remove skins. Whisk to blend evenly.
- Pour purée into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and cool in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Pour into an ice cream maker and spin/freeze for 25-40 minutes (or according to manufacturer directions). I found that the after spinning my pear sorbet for 40 minutes it became incredibly creamy.
- For a firmer texture, transfer into an airtight container such as a plastic deli cup and freeze for another 8 hours before serving.
- Serve with pear slices or a twist of lemon peel and fresh mint leaves.
You could try to make this dessert in the winter and it would be pretty good. But, in the summer, when the peaches are just bursting with sweet juice and the cherries are blossoming your taste buds are going to freak out!
- 4 Medium white peaches, peeled, pitted and cubed
- 2 cups Bing cherries, pitted
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup organic palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup organic palm sugar (or low-glycemic sugar substitute)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar in the raw (also called turbinado sugar)
Preheat oven to 400°. Coat an 8”x8” square baking dish with butter flavored cooking spray.
- In a bowl combine peaches, cherries, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss and coat fruit evenly. Pour into a prepared baking dish. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.
- While the fruit is baking make the topping. Combine dry ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl.
- Add chilled butter by cutting it into small pieces with a pastry blender or by cross cutting with two knives.
- Next, add reduced fat buttermilk and water stirring until the batter is slightly moist.
- Remove fruit from the oven and using a medium sized serving spoon place 8 dollops of topping evenly over fruit.
- Leave a one-inch border around the baking dish. Sprinkle dough with sugar in the raw (also called turbinado sugar).
- Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling.
“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” –Al Bernstein