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Thursday Tidbits: Delicious Ways to Use Summer Produce

Posted May 16 2013 5:29pm

Before I go into today’s post, I want to give you a quick update on bedtime . We are now into day four and Keenan has been staying in his bed and going to sleep within 20 minutes of putting him to bed! One of the things (or tricks!) that has been working, in addition to the whole earning and accountability bit, is telling him what my husband and I are going to do after he goes to sleep. For example, as I was tucking Keenan in last night, I told him I had to go downstairs and help daddy do the dishes. He said, “Okay, you do that, Mommy” and stayed in his bed talking to his animals until he fell asleep! We have done this for the past few nights and so far it has worked. I’m still taking things day-by-day and keeping my fingers crossed, but hopefully we are over the hump!

Since we have been enjoying fresh cherries this week, it has made me even more excited for all of the yummy produce that will be in season, soon! Summer is definitely my most favorite time of year because of all the produce that becomes available. My favorites are nectarines, peaches, cherries, sweet corn, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and other summer squash. When I was pregnant with Keenan, I craved peaches and nectarines, in fact, I would eat at least two everyday (sometimes three!).

Enjoying his bowl full of cherries for dessert!

Enjoying his bowl full of cherries for dessert!

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to talk about different ways to use Summer produce for this week’s Thursday Tidbits . If you are new, Thursday Tidbits is a weekly post featuring anything health, fitness or wellness related. If there is a topic you would like to see, let me know!

Though you can get almost any type of produce year-round at your grocery store these days, it is not the same when you are eating something that was grown halfway across the world, versus something that was grown locally. I aim to buy at least 95% of all of our produce locally, buying only what is in season, and mostly from our farmer’s market. So, when Summer is approaching, I’m giddy with all of the produce that becomes available and the different ways to cook with them!

Here are four simple and delicious ways to utilize Summer produce that your whole family with love:

Cold Salads: When it is warm outside, who wants to cook? I sure don’t! Instead, make a cold salad with or without lettuce, adding fresh local veggies and/or fruit, some protein and a little dressing. Mix everything together and you have a wonderful one-pot meal ready in minutes. Some great salad combinations with Summer fruit that I love are peaches or nectarines with goat or feta cheese and roasted walnuts or strawberries, spinach, avocado and roasted walnuts. Another idea is making a caprese salad of slices of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella (packed in water) and basil drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can also grill some veggies and toss them into a salad, such as the  Grilled Corn Fiesta Salad  or Grilled Cabbage Salad . Another tasty and lettuce alternative is using kale, such as Massaged Greek Kale Salad or Moroccan Kale Salad .

Morroccan Kale Salad

Moroccan Kale Salad

Grilling: Take fresh vegetables, such as eggplant, bell peppers and summer squash and toss them onto the grill for a tasty side dish to compliment any protein, or add them to your salad. Just drizzle a little olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper and grill your veggies for a few minutes on each side (until you see grill marks, or slightly charred). Don’t be afraid to experiment: A great flavor combo is eggplant, Chinese Five-Spice, feta, and basil. Grill your protein, too, and make an entire meal using your barbecue. Now that the weather is warm, I hardly use our oven, as we grill most of our veggies and meats!

Healthy Desserts: One of my personal favorites: grilled fruit! Slice a peach or nectarine, drizzle a little olive oil on top and grill it for 3-4 minutes on both sides. Serve with a little balsamic vinegar on top and enjoy! Add fresh cherries to low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt or Greek yogurt, which we have been enjoying the past couple of nights. Or, making homemade ice cream with fresh fruit using low-fat milk, coconut or almond milk is always tasty, too (though, it requires a little more time).

In The Raw: This is such a no-brainer, but enjoy your Summer produce raw, by having plenty available for you and your family. Slice up a watermelon and keep it in the fridge for quick snacks or keep a bowl of fruit on the counter so it’s easy to access.

Questions:

What is your favorite Summer fruit or veggie? How do you like to eat and/or prepare it?

 

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